Jeff Driskel

Lions To Sign Sloter, Place Driskel On IR

2:04pm: Instead of placing Stafford on IR, the Lions will slide Driskel to their injured list, per Yates (on Twitter). Driskel started three games for the Lions in place of Stafford this season but missed Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day game with a hamstring injury. Although Driskel got in three limited practices this week, he will nevertheless end up on IR. Sloter and Blough are now the only healthy quarterbacks on the Lions’ roster.

1:55pm: Kyle Sloter will head back to an NFC North franchise. The Lions will sign the former UDFA quarterback off the Cardinals’ practice squad, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

This will give Detroit four quarterbacks on its active roster. While it could be a precursor to a Matthew Stafford IR trip, no such move has been made yet. Stafford, Sloter, Jeff Driskel and David Blough will reside on the Lions’ 53-man roster.

Shortly after teams finalized their rosters in early September, the Lions scheduled a Sloter workout. But he instead opted to join the Cardinals’ practice squad. Nearly three months later, Sloter will head to Detroit.

Sloter spent two seasons with the Vikings, who plucked him off waivers from the Broncos after his strong 2017 preseason as a rookie UDFA. The Northern Colorado alum, however, could not beat out Sean Mannion for Minnesota’s backup job this year. The Cardinals signed him to their practice squad shortly after the Vikings cut him.

Stafford has missed the past four Lions games, giving way to first Driskel and then Blough. Stafford has objected to being shut down early, but with the Lions now well out of contention at 3-8-1, it would not make much sense to redeploy their franchise centerpiece this season. The 31-year-old passer is dealing with fractured bones in his back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions QB David Blough Expected To Start Thursday

Lions quarterback David Blough is expected to make his first career start tomorrow in place of Jeff Driskel, a source tells Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. Driskel is not expected to be able to play through a hamstring injury that’s been causing him problems.

Blough will be the third different player to start under center for the Lions. Driskel stepped in for franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford when he went down with an injury of his own. The Lions do not have another quarterback on their roster, which means tight end (and collegiate quarterback) Logan Thomas will serve as the team’s emergency backup.

An undrafted free agent out of Purdue, Blough, originally signed with the Browns. However, as roster cuts approached, the Lions agreed to swap conditional draft picks in exchange for the rookie signalcaller. Unlike Driskel, Blough is not a mobile quarterback (he ran a 4.9 40-yard dash during the draft process), and will have to rely on his skills as a pocket passer to take down the Bears.

In his first career start, Blough will be going up against one of the better defenses in football (Bears) on one of the biggest stages of the year (Thanksgiving). The pressure and bright lights will be on and he will get a chance to make an impression.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/17/19

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Lions Worked Out QB Jeff Driskel

Quarterback Jeff Driskel had his first workout. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the 26-year-old auditioned for the Lions.

The 2016 sixth-round pick had spend that majority of his career with the Bengals, playing behind Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron during his rookie and sophomore campaigns. He finally got a shot to play in 2018, and despite going 1-4 as a starter, he managed to put up solid numbers. Driskel ultimately appeared in nine total games last year, completing 59.7-percent of his passes for 1,003 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also added 130 rushing yards and two scores (along with four fumbles) on 25 carries.

Driskel was beat out by fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley during the preseason, leading to the veteran being released from the IR with an injury settlement.

With Matthew Stafford earning big bucks as the starter, the Lions are still rostering a worthy backup in Josh Johnson. Driskel could potentially earn a role on the practice squad, or the team could move on from third-stringer David Blough.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/11/19

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: TE Dax Raymond

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: OL Kyle Kalis

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Promoted from practice squad: S Rolan Milligan
  • Released from IR via injury settlement: LB Ahmad Thomas

New York Giants

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: WR Alex Wesley

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bengals Trim Roster To 53

The Bengals announced their final 53-man roster. One of the moves will be, as expected, placing Darqueze Dennard on their reserve/PUP list. Dennard now must miss at least the first six games of the season. This comes after the Bengals re-signed their former first-round pick on a one-year, $5MM deal. The team knew Dennard needed a post-signing knee surgery, but the arthroscopic procedure was performed several months ago.

Cincinnati is also placing Jonah Williams on its PUP list instead of season-ending IR. While the first-round tackle was believed to be set to miss the season, this move is a way of retaining a chance he can recover. Williams would revert to IR if he cannot recover from the shoulder injury he sustained this offseason.

Here’s the full list of the Bengals’ moves to meet the 53-man limit:

Placed on Reserve/Injured list:

Placed on the Reserve/PUP list:

  • CB Darqueze Dennard (sixth-year player, Michigan State; knee injury)
  • OT Jonah Williams (rookie, Alabama; shoulder injury)

Released:

Waived:

Suspended:

  • G Alex Redmond (third-year player, UCLA, suspended for four games)

All of the waived players, except for Core, will be practice squad eligible if they clear waivers.

Extra Points: Foles, Driskel, Butt, Cardinals

After a rough year with the 2015 Rams, Nick Foles nearly retired. That turned out to provide astonishing benefit to the Eagles, who won Super Bowl LII thanks largely to Foles’ virtuoso performance. But going into the 2017 season, Foles had retirement on his mind again. Injuries at the time prompted Foles to inform at least one Eagles teammate, Brandon Graham, he planned to retire at season’s end (video link via ESPN.com’s Tim McManus). Fortunes changed for the 30-year-old passer, who piloted four playoff wins since considering another early NFL exit. The Jaguars guaranteed him $50MM in March on a four-year, $88MM contract. This will be Foles’ eighth NFL season.

Ahead of preseason Week 2, here is the NFL’s latest:

  • Jeff Driskel is not a lock to make the Bengals‘ 53-man roster, with fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley progressing toward the QB2 role. On Tuesday, the team experimented with its 2018 backup as a wide receiver, Jay Morrison of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Driskel would still prefer to play quarterback, but Finley will work with Cincinnati’s second-stringers in the team’s second preseason game. Zac Taylor approached Driskel on Tuesday about taking reps at receiver, per Morrison. Driskel played quarterback at Florida and Louisiana Tech; he was also a late-round Red Sox draft pick in 2013. He rushed for 130 yards last season (5.2 per scramble).
  • Attempting to return to the Broncos‘ 53-man roster after a third ACL tear, Jake Butt spent most of camp sidelined because of another setback. But he made it back to 11-on-11 drills Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Despite Austin Fort‘s season-ending injury, the Broncos still have three other tight ends — Noah Fant, Jeff Heuerman and Troy Fumagalli. But the latter, a 2018 fifth-rounder who missed all of last season, worked as an H-back/fullback on Tuesday. Vic Fangio said Fumagalli could fit in there while Andy Janovich recovers from a pectoral injury. This would be a way for the Broncos to roster four tight ends.
  • Despite A.Q. Shipley and Mason Cole listed as co-starters at center on the Cardinals‘ depth chart, the former is expected to earn his job back. The 33-year-old is a “virtual lock” to be Arizona’s first-string snapper in Week 1, Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com notes. Cole has also worked at guard, pointing to an interior swing role for the team’s 2018 starting center. Shipley, the Cards’ center starter from 2015-17, missed all of last season due to an ACL tear but was given a one-year, $1.6MM extension during his recovery.
  • Browns defensive end Chad Thomas dodged a scare in a recent practice. The second-year defender was carted off the Berea, Ohio, practice field Monday and hospitalized. But the Miami product was quickly released and diagnosed with a neck sprain.
  • Buccaneers wide receiver Bryant Mitchell was not as fortunate. He suffered a torn left Achilles’ tendon in the team’s preseason opener, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets. A three-year Edmonton Eskimo, who posted 867 receiving yards in 2018, Mitchell caught on with the Bucs in May.

North Notes: Bengals, Matthews, Bears

Now that quarterback A.J. McCarron has been granted unrestricted free agent status, there’s essentially no chance the Bengals will seek to re-sign him for the 2018 season. Cincinnati will likely collect a compensatory draft pick in 2019 as a result of losing McCarron, but the Bengals need to solidify their backup quarterback position in the near-term, as Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. With starter Andy Dalton locked up through the 2020 campaign, the Bengals could add a developmental signal-caller — as they did when selecting McCarron in the fifth round of the 2014 draft — or ink a veteran backup.

At present, 2016 sixth-rounder Jeff Driskel is Cincinnati’s No. 2 quarterback, but it’s unclear if the Bengals will trust Driskel to serve as Dalton’s backup next year. Per Owczarski, the Bengals asked Driskel to take practice reps at wide receiver heading into their 2017 regular-season finale. Driskel did so, but broke his left arm making a leaping, one-handed catch. He’s undergone surgery, and should be ready for offseason workouts in April.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • While veteran defender Clay Matthews has been viewed as a potential candidate for release, the Packers and new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could see enough value in Matthews to stave off a parting of ways, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “When you can move guys around and trade jobs, not just within game but week to week, because a big part of offense is identifying who the rushers are and what positions they’re playing,” said Pettine in discussing Matthews’ ability to play inside and outside linebacker. “When you have guys like that, the creative part, you can do a lot more with those players.” Matthews ranked as the league’s No. 27 edge defender in 2017, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned the 31-year-old his highest grade since 2012. The Packers could clear the entirety of Matthews’ ~$11.369MM cap charge by cutting him this offseason.
  • A number of key Bears players have roster bonuses and guarantees due on March 16, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. While defensive end Akiem Hicks ($3MM bonus), guard Kyle Long ($5MM bonus), and tackle Bobby Massie ($1MM bonus) are likely to be retained, the same can’t be said for several other veterans. Tight end Dion Sims, cornerback Marcus Cooper, linebacker Willie Young, safety Quintin Demps, and quarterback Mike Glennon will be due guarantees or bonuses in mid-March, meaning Chicago will have to make decisions on their respective fates. The Bears currently rank 11th in 2018 salary cap space with more than $41MM available, but the club could increase that figure to greater than $70MM by releasing Sims et al.
  • Don’t expect the Browns to shift left guard Joel Bitonio to left tackle if Joe Thomas does indeed retire this offseason, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland (Twitter link). Bitonio started all 16 games at left guard for the Browns last season. He does have experience at left tackle, though. Bitonio played left tackle at Nevada before being taken by the Browns with the 35th overall pick of the 2014 draft. Thomas is still undecided on if he’ll return in 2018 after missing the first nine games of his 11-year career last season.
  • In case you missed it, the Vikings recently hired former Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing as a senior offensive assistant. Downing, 37, is a Minnesota native, and will be joining ex-Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo as new additions to the Vikings’ offensive staff.

Ryan Posner contributed to this report.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/17

Today’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Designated to return from injured reserve: QB Jeff Driskel

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

  • Signed off Chiefs‘ practice squad: OL Damien Mama

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Promoted to active roster: LB Riley Bullough
  • Waived: CB Deji Olatoye

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/4/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • The Browns claimed offensive lineman Zach Banner off waivers from the Colts, who cut him despite drafting him in the fourth round this year. Cleveland made room for Banner by placing offensive lineman Rod Johnson on IR. Additionally, the Browns continued their busy offseason regarding secondary turnover by releasing former safety starter Ed Reynolds from IR.
  • The Steelers re-signed linebacker Steven Johnson and waived safety Jordan Dangerfield with an injury designation. Johnson initially saw his name appear on Pittsburgh’s cut list Saturday, but the backup will return. Pittsburgh also placed cornerback Cameron Sutton, a rookie third-rounder, on IR.
  • Jacquies Smith will move from the PUP list back to the Buccaneers‘ 53-man roster. The team reinstated the defensive end on Monday. A fourth-year player, Smith is expected to be a rotational player in Tampa Bay this season.
  • The Dolphins re-signed tackle Sam Young. Miami cut the offensive lineman on Saturday but will keep him around for now. Miami guaranteed Young’s salary, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets, signing Young this week instead of next because an unspecified team wanted him. This will mark Young’s eighth NFL season. The Dolphins signed him to an extension in December.
  • Quarterback Jeff Driskel will land on the Bengals‘ IR list. The former 49ers sixth-rounder has yet to play in a game.
  • A starter in three games last season, linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin landed on the Jets‘ IR Monday. To replace the third-year player, Gang Green re-signed linebacker Bruce Carter. Now a seventh-year veteran, Carter played a depth role with the Jets last season.
  • Wide receiver Chris Matthews re-signed with the Ravens, who made room on their 53-man roster by placing cornerback Maurice Canady on IR.
  • The Falcons released defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, who resides on the Commissioner’s Exempt list as a result of misdemeanor charges from 2016. While Hageman is on that list, the Falcons will not have to pay Hageman.
  • The Chargers claimed linebacker Hayes Pullard off waivers from the Jaguars. A former Browns seventh-rounder in 2015, Pullard started two games for the 2015 Jags and played in all 16 Jacksonville contests last season.
  • Jelani Jenkins was expected to start for the Raiders, but the former Dolphins linebacker found himself on the team’s cut list Saturday. The Raiders, though, reached an injury settlement with the fifth-year linebacker, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (on Twitter). Jenkins suffered a groin injury during the preseason. Oakland also reached an injury settlement with Jaydon Mickens, per Gehlken, who adds Mickens suffered an ankle injury.
  • The Seahawks waived cornerback Demetrius McCray with an injury settlement, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets.
  • The Redskins reached an injury settlement with center Ronald Patrick, waiving the interior blocker from IR as a result.