Jake Locker

AFC Notes: Pats, Jets, Rivers, Locker, Colts

The Jets have filed tampering charges against the Patriots based on owner Robert Kraft‘s comments yesterday concerning New England’s pursuit of Darrelle Revis, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. As Florio writes, this is likely the Jets seeking revenge after New England filed similar charges against Gang Green in January (also regarding Revis comments).

It’s unlikely that anything comes of this tit-for-tat scenario, so let’s check out some news from around the AFC…

  • Chargers sources have not flatly denied that they’ll trade Philip Rivers, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Team sources have said they don’t want to move the veteran quarterback, but as Rapoport notes, that’s different than saying they won’t deal him. If a trade were to occur, the price for Rivers would be multiple first-round picks, says Rapoport.
  • Jake Locker‘s retirement was just as stunning to the Titans as it was to the general public, Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt tells Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Whisenhunt says the club found out about Locker’s decision at the same time as everyone else, adding that the subject of retirement never came up during his year-end talks with Locker.
  • GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano told reporters, including Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), that the Colts are not finished in free agency, and could look to add pieces to the club’s defense.
  • Titans interim president Steve Underwood maintains that the team is not for sale, writes Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

Jake Locker To Retire

Former Titans quarterback Jake Locker has decided to retire, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Locker, he adds, had interest from teams this offseason. Garafolo passes along a statement from Locker (link):

I am retiring from football after much reflection and discussion with my family. I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to realize my childhood dream of playing in the NFL and for the lifelong relationships I developed because of that experience. Football has always played a pivotal role in my life and I love the game, but I no longer have the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living; to continue to do so would be unfair to the next organization with whom I would eventually sign. I realize this decision is surprising to many, but I know in my heart that it is the right decision and I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other interests,” the statement read.

The former first-round pick has shown some flashes of talent throughout his brief career, and the 26-year-old had interest from teams, including the Eagles. The Titans, meanwhile, were not interested in a reunion. The former Tennessee playcaller never played more than 11 games in a season for Tennessee. In 2014, he was placed on IR in mid-December after suffering a shoulder injury.

Eagles Interested In Bringing Back Mark Sanchez

Despite Nick Foles return from injury and the Eagles reported interest in prospect Marcus Mariota, the organization is apparently exhausting all of their options at the quarterback position. According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, the Eagles and free agent Mark Sanchez have a mutual interest in a reunion, and Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com reports that the team has also discussed bringing in signal callers Tarvaris Jackson and Jake Locker.

Sanchez elevated his stock considerably following his performance in 2014, and the 28-year-old is arguably the best quarterback available via free agency. Filling in for the injured Foles, Sanchez passed for 2,418 yards and 14 touchdowns against only 11 interceptions, but his statistics weren’t necessarily reflected in his record, as he finished 5-4 as a starter. Shorr-Parks indicates that Sanchez would likely return to the team in a backup role, whether he’s playing behind Foles or someone else.

If Sanchez wants to compete for a starting job, he may bolt for another organization, leading the Eagles to pursue one of the alternatives mentioned above. Jackson has served as Russell Wilson‘s backup over the past two seasons, compiling only 14 attempts, 151 yards and one touchdown. The Eagles potential pursuit of the 31-year-old would make sense for multiple reasons. The veteran can run the ball well for a quarterback (4.0 average yards per carry throughout his career), which appears to be an important attribute to coach Chip Kelly. Furthermore, Jackson is clearly content with a backup role, and the former Seahawks player could provide his new squad with some insight on how to stop the conference foe.

Meanwhile, Locker would be a buy-low candidate similar to Sanchez last offseason. The former first-round pick has shown some flashes of talent throughout his brief career, and the 26-year-old is still young enough for a team to take a chance. However, the former Titans playcaller never played more than 11 games in a season for Tennessee, and his career-highs in passing yards (2,176) and touchdowns (10) don’t come close to matching Sanchez’s career-highs during his tenure with the Jets.

NFC East Notes: Bryant, JPP, Eagles, Locker

Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com views the Cowboys as one of the four teams likely to use their franchise tag this offseason, identifying Dez Bryant – rather than DeMarco Murray – as the probable recipient. According to La Canfora, there is “trepidation” within the Cowboys’ front office about putting a ton of guaranteed money on the table for the star wideout, given his off-field history.

While La Canfora doesn’t include the Giants among the four clubs likely to use the franchise or transition tag this winter, he thinks the club will at least consider tagging Jason Pierre-Paul. However, he doesn’t see it happening since JPP has been streaky, and hasn’t always been able to stay on the field. The Giants don’t make use of their franchise tag too often, but Dan Graziano of ESPN.com believes it might be the best course of action for their standout defensive end.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

AFC Mailbags: Jags, McFadden, Chiefs, Jets

It’s Saturday, and that means ESPN.com’s NFL writers are opening their mailbags and answering questions from readers. Let’s start off the morning by checking out some notes from the AFC…

Extra Points: Titans, Morgan, McKenzie

The Titans are 2-13, and looking at a very high draft pick this offseason, but they also have a number of contributors who are set to hit free agency at the end of the year. Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com takes a look at a 16 players who the Titans will make decisions on, and gives an idea of whether the team will try to keep them.

Notably, he writes that Michael Roos would probably not sign even if the Titans wanted to keep him. With Taylor Lewan taking over at left tackle, Roos would likely find work elsewhere rather than make the transition to right tackle. Jake Locker is another player who isn’t expected to return, although his is a case of the team not being interested.

Kuharsky doesn’t pick out many players the team would have to keep, aside from Derrick Morgan, but most of the list are players who can contribute but are not vital to the operation, much as one would expect from a two-win team.

Here are some other notes from around the league:

  • While Morgan is probably the best player on the Titans that is hitting free agency, he has said that the team has not approached him at all regarding an extension, according to Terry McCormack of TitansInsider.com (via Twitter). Kuharsky wrote that Morgan adjusted well to the 3-4 defense, but could pursue a return to a 4-3 in free agency.
  • Raiders‘ general manager Reggie McKenzie has had a tumultuous season, in which he fired head coach Dennis Allen and heard rumors that his own job may be in jeopardy. However, he believes that he has built a foundation in Oakland, highlighted by rookies Khalil Mack and Derek Carr, writes Vic Tafur of SFGate.com. “Derek and Khalil stopped being rookies a little while back. Now they are veteran players. They can carry this into next season and help build this team into winners,” said McKenzie. “They’ve shown their teammates who they are as players and men off the field, and they’re definitely guys everybody can count on.”
  • The Panthers have activated defensive end Frank Alexander for this week’s matchup against the Falcons, reports Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 (via Twitter). Alexander is coming off a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The move was expected after the team decided not to activate him in time for the Browns’ game on Sunday.

Titans Sign Jordan Palmer; Locker To IR

Like the division-rival Texans, the Titans are cycling through quarterbacks as injuries pile up, and have added a veteran free agent to the mix, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who reports that Jordan Palmer is signing with the club. To accommodate the new addition to the 53-man roster, Tennessee is moving Jake Locker to the injured reserve list, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

Palmer, the younger brother of Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, spent last season with the Bears as the No. 3 QB, behind Jay Cutler and Josh McCown, but was cut by the team during the 2014 preseason. The 30-year-old Palmer has also spent time with the Bengals and the Jaguars, and had a brief stint with the Bills prior to the regular season. He has logged just 15 pass attempts in his career.

The other half of the quarterback shake-up is perhaps of greater interest to Titans fans — with Locker heading to the IR list, his season is officially over, and his career in Tennessee appears to be coming to an end as well. The former first-round pick is eligible for unrestricted free agency in March, and new head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t shown much interest in keeping or developing the 26-year-old. Locker likely won’t draw much interest in the offseason as a starter after a subpar, injury-plagued 2014 season. But in the right situation, he could become a solid backup with upside.

With Zach Mettenberger also sidelined, Charlie Whitehurst looks like the probable starter for the Titans’ Thursday night game against Jacksonville.

Injury Updates: Sunday

We’ll keep track of the latest injury news here, with the newest updates added to the top of the list…

  • Lions‘ right tackle LaAdrian Waddle left today’s game with a right knee injury, according to Josh Katzenstein of DetroitNews.com. Waddle’s teammates were not optimistic about the injury, writes Michael Rothstein of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • Seahawks‘ left tackle Russell Okung was forced out of the matchup with the 49ers before halftime with a chest injury, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention earlier today, and were down to their third string running back at times. We heard that Frank Gore was knocked out of the game with a head injury, which was diagnosed as a concussion, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter).
  • Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy hyperextended his knee, an injury that could end his season, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. With no chance of playoffs and the 2015 top pick in their grasp, keeping McCoy on the sidelines for the final two games could be the smart long-term decision for the team.
  • Washington lost two starters earlier today, with left tackle Trent Williams and quarterback Colt McCoy both leaving the game and not returning, reports Tarik-El Bashir of CSNWashington.com. Williams suffered a shoulder injury, while McCoy aggravated his neck during the game.

Earlier updates:

  • After having his right ankle taped during the first half of today’s game against the Broncos, Chargers receiver Keenan Allen had to be carted off the field during the second half, tweets Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. It’s unclear whether Allen re-aggravated his ankle ailment, or suffered a new injury.
  • Texans quarterback Tom Savage was limping after today’s game against the Colts, and will have an MRI tomorrow, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Savage, selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft, was filling in for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is likely lost for the year. If Savage can’t go next week, Houston would presumably turn to journeyman Thad Lewis, who was signed less than a month ago.
  • 49ers running back Frank Gore is headed to the locker room after suffering an head injury while blocking in today’s game against the Seahawks, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link).
  • The Ravens’ secondary has been ravaged by injuries this season, and it appears as though they’ve lost a few more key defenders. Rookie safety Terrence Brooks‘ season is over after he suffered damage to his PCL and possibly his MCL on a kickoff today, while cornberback Asa Jackson‘s status is unclear after he injured his PCL, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Another AFC North team is down several players in its defensive backfield, as Browns corners Joe Haden (shoulder) and Joe Haden (concussion) were forced from today’s game against the Bengals, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Starting in the absence of an injured Zach Mettenberger, Titans quarterback Jake Locker suffered what appears to a shoulder injury after taking a hit from the Jets’ Quinton Coples, per Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Charlie Whitehurst has taken over at QB for Tennessee.

South Notes: Clowney, Newton, Locker

After undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee today, Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is expected to miss nine months as he recovers from the procedure, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That timeline could prove problematic, as John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes, because it could mean that Clowney will be still be sidelined when the 2015 season begins. Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, was placed on injured reserve last week after playing in only four games, registering just seven tackles. Here’s more from the South divsions…

  • Cam Newton is unlikely to play this weekend after being injured in a car accident earlier today, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Newton suffered two transverse process fractures in his lower back, the same injury that forced Tony Romo to miss one game earlier this season. The Panthers, who at 4-8-1 are still in NFC South hunt, will turn to backup Derek Anderson against the Buccaneers.
  • While one quarterback in a contract year – Browns signal-caller Brian Hoyer – has been benched as he nears free agency, another will get an opportunity to showcase his skills before he hits the open market. Former first-round pick Jake Locker will start the Titans’ final three games with Zach Mettenberger out, as John Glennon of the Tennessean details.
  • Two days after he made several errors in the Saints’ loss to the Panthers, second-year safety Kenny Vaccaro has been benched, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Vaccaro, the fifteenth overall pick in the 2013 draft, recorded an outstanding rookie season, and was expected to form an excellent defensive backfield duo with free agent signee Jairus Byrd. Now, Byrd is on injured reserve, while Vaccaro, who rates as the third-worst safety in the league per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), will watch from the sideline.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

AFC Mailbags: Chiefs, Raiders, Colts, Jags

It’s Saturday, and that means a fresh batch of mailbags from ESPN.com’s NFL writers. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting tidbits from the AFC…

  • The Chiefs may have some second thoughts about releasing cornerback Brandon Flowers following his success with the Chargers, writes Adam Teicher.
  • The Raiders need to either sign a top free agent wideout next offseason or use one of their top draft picks at the position, opines Bill Williamson.
  • If the Colts were going to release LaRon Landry, they would have done so already, writes Mike Wells. The writer notes that cutting ties with the safety would be “admission” that the team made the wrong choice in signing him to a four-year deal.
  • Michael DiRocco would be shocked if the Jaguars selected an offensive lineman with their upcoming first-rounder. Instead, the writer says the team should focus on pass-rushers, linebackers and safeties.
  • Paul Kuharsky can’t envision the Titans re-signing Jake Locker to be a backup. The writer believes if the team is in fact done with the quarterback, they should completely move on.