Josh Allen (QB)

Bills Pick Up Options For Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds

No surprise here. The Bills have picked up the fifth-year options on quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, per a club announcement. 

Allen, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is now set to make $23.106MM in 2022. Edmunds, the No. 16 choice in the same class, will earn a salary of $12.716MM. The Bills didn’t have to stress over either decision, though negotiating Allen’s next deal may be a bit trickier.

“Josh and I have spoken,” Beane said recently. “We’d love to get Josh extended, but it has to be a number that works for him and us. We’re all on same page. Josh wants to be here. That gives me hope we’ll get something done at some point. Can’t guarantee it’ll be this year.”

Clearly, there’s mutual interest in a longer arrangement, but Allen has serious leverage. His breakout 2020 saw 13 wins for the Bills, transforming him into an MVP candidate. Allen finished the year with a 69.2-percent completion rate, 4,544 yards, 30 touchdowns, and ten interception. And, for good measure, he added another 421 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. Thanks in large part to Allen, the Bills reached the AFC Championship Game, their first appearance since 1993.

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Latest On Extension Talks Between Bills, Josh Allen

It sounds like Josh Allen and the Bills will eventually agree on a long-term pact, but the two sides are starting to play some hardball. Speaking to reporters, general manager Brandon Beane seemed to hint that the two sides weren’t close on a deal.

“Josh and I have spoken,” Beane said (via Chris Brown of the team’s website on Twitter). “We’d love to get Josh extended, but it has to be a number that works for him and us. We’re all on same page. Josh wants to be here. That gives me hope we’ll get something done at some point. Can’t guarantee it’ll be this year.”

That tiny revelation at the end is a bit telling. It was only last month that Beane revealed that the two sides would likely focus on extension talks following the draft, and there seemed to be some optimism that the deal would be completed relatively quickly. Now, it’s sounding like the organization isn’t convinced that a deal will get done any time soon.

Of course, there shouldn’t be any cause for concern. Allen could simply play the 2022 season on his fifth-year option, meaning there’s no urgency to get a deal done before the start of the 2021 season. In fact, Beane has plenty of experience dealing with this contract scenario; the former Panthers executive detailed how his front office was unable to extend Cam Newton following the QB’s third season.

“He played that season and then after that season, we got it done pretty quick that next offseason,” Beane said (via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News). “We were all on the same page. I guess what I’m saying is, you can’t force it. It happens when it happens. If it happens this year, great. If it doesn’t, I’ll be very positive that we’ll get it done next year.”

Allen had a breakout campaign in 2020, transforming into an MVP candidate and guiding the Bills to 13 wins. He finished the year having completed 69.2-percent of his passes for 4,544 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions, and he added another 421 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the grund. He also helped lead the Bills to the AFC Championship Game, the organization’s first appearance in the game since 1993. Considering some of the recent quarterback deals that have been handed out, Allen will certainly be eyeing a lucrative pay day when he inevitably puts pen to paper.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills GM Discusses Potential Josh Allen Extension

Josh Allen is now eligible for an extension, but it doesn’t sound like the Bills are currently prioritizing a long-term pact for the franchise quarterback. During an appearance on The Cris Collinsworth Podcast, general manager Brandon Beane admitted that his team was focused on free agency and the draft.

“Yeah, [Allen] said he was going to give us a nice hometown discount, and hopefully we’ll get him done,” Beane joked (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “No, in all seriousness, we’ll talk to Josh and his people later in the spring, get through the draft where we can just focus on that. That’s obviously a big financial commitment that you have to make. That will probably be sometime May through the summer. I don’t know.”

In other words, the Bills are obviously going to explore an extension with their star quarterback, but there are more pressing matters at the moment. We heard similarly earlier this year, when NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Bills would likely approach Allen’s camp about an extension in the spring or summer.

Allen had a breakout campaign in 2020, transforming into an MVP candidate and guiding the Bills to 13 wins. He finished the year having completed 69.2-percent of his passes for 4,544 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions, and he added another 421 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He also helped lead the Bills to the AFC Championship Game, the organization’s first appearance in the game since 1993.

With the 24-year-old passer under team control through 2022 — via the fifth-year option the Bills will exercise by May — the team will have some time to complete this process. Considering some of the recent quarterback deals that have been handed out, Allen will certainly be eyeing a lucrative pay day when he inevitably puts pen to paper.

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AFC East Rumors: Watson, Mariota, Allen

Add veteran NFL reporter Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com to the list of writers who have heard that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is not budging on his desire to be traded, and that he continues to ignore every call from Houston brass. Of course, Watson has a no-trade clause that he could use to help dictate where he goes — assuming the Texans give in and deal him, which they have insisted they are not going to do — and we recently heard that the 49ers and Broncos are on his destination list.

Dunne’s source indicates that the Dolphins — who have been considered one of the frontrunners for Watson since trade speculation started to swirl — and the Niners are Watson’s top two preferred clubs. In Dunne’s view, a trade to Miami makes too much sense to not happen, and he believes the ‘Fins and Texans could line up on a deal that sends Watson to South Beach in exchange for the No. 3 and No. 18 overall picks in this year’s draft along with Miami’s 2022 first-rounder.

Now for more rumors from the AFC East:

  • Recent reports have indicated that Raiders QB Marcus Mariota is generating legitimate trade interest, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes the Patriots could be in the mix. New England obviously needs a quarterback, and Mariota is attached to a reasonable $10.6MM salary for 2021 and would not cost much to acquire in terms of draft capital. Although he could demand a raise if he is being acquired to serve as a starter, his current salary would not preclude the Pats from continuing to explore other options, like Jimmy Garoppolo — if the the 49ers land a different QB and release Garoppolo — or a collegiate passer.
  • Reiss does not expect the Patriots to make a deal with the division-rival Jets for Gang Green QB Sam Darnold, though what the Jets do with Darnold could certainly have a major impact on New England (for instance, if New York trades Darnold to San Francisco, Garoppolo could become available).
  • The Jets have among the most cap space in the league at just shy of $70MM, and they can easily create even more flexibility, thereby giving them a huge advantage in what could be a buyer’s market given the decreased salary cap. Connor Hughes of The Athletic believes New York will release DE Henry Anderson, which jibes with a report from December. That move will save the club $8.2MM in cap space, and Hughes suggests that guards Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis might be goners as well (their releases would save $3.4MM and $5.1MM, respectively).
  • Meanwhile the Jets don’t have too many of their own free agents that must be retained. Hughes expects safety Marcus Maye to be re-signed, and he also says OL Pat Elflein — who played well in 2020 after being claimed off waivers from the Vikings — is a logical candidate to return, especially if the team moves on from Van Roten and/or Lewis.
  • Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News does not foresee the Bills laying out major free agent dollars this offseason. Instead, he expects the club to use the majority of its cash on an extension for QB Josh Allen, which means that the Bills will likely allow LB Matt Milano to test the open market — contrary to GM Brandon Beane‘s assertion that a franchise tag could be in play — and will not be in the running for a top pass rusher like Shaquil Barrett or Bud Dupree.

Bills Set To Discuss Josh Allen Extension

With his third regular season complete, Josh Allen is now eligible for what stands to be a monster extension. Despite an uncertain salary cap future, the Bills may be ready to check this key item off their to-do list this year.

The Bills are expected to approach Allen about an extension in the spring or summer, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Although a cap reduction is expected to occur for just the second time, Allen sits in prime position to become one of the highest-paid American athletes.

Allen’s 2020 season changed his career trajectory. The Bills saw their quarterback morph from an erratic passer into an MVP candidate, giving the franchise a true cornerstone quarterback for the first time since Jim Kelly‘s retirement. And after Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson finalized extensions last year, a new market emerged for superstar quarterbacks.

Allen has not been as consistent as the two 2017 draftees, but his dominant 2020 season — 45 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards accounted for — and value to the Bills will point to a deal that eclipses Watson’s $39MM-per-year contract. That pact serves as the ceiling for traditional NFL accords, with Mahomes’ $45MM-AAV deal remaining an outlier due to its 10-year length. As far as traditional QB contracts go, Watson is the only player earning more than $35MM annually.

With the 24-year-old passer under team control through 2022 — via the fifth-year option the Bills will exercise by May — the team will have some time to complete this process. But finalizing an extension in 2021 would stand to save the franchise some money, given where the quarterback market could be headed as the NFL’s long-term cap growth becomes a clearer reality.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Darnold, 2017 Draft, Gase, Maye

Some rare good news for the Jets. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Sam Darnold‘s precautionary MRI of his right shoulder only showed a “reaggravation.” The 23-year-old will attempt to work through the injury and won’t be sidelined.

Darnold initially suffered the shoulder injury during the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Broncos, and that forced Joe Flacco into the lineup for Week 5. Darnold returned under center for the past two games, but he’s only completed 56.6-percent of his passes for 253 yards and two interceptions. Prior to the injury, Darnold completed 59.42-percent of his passes for 792 yards, three scores, and four interceptions.

Darnold has missed eight games through his three NFL seasons. If he’s forced to miss more time, the team could either turn to Flacco, third-stringer James Morgan, or practice squad signal-caller Mike White.

Some more notes out of the Big Apple:

  • Prior to the Jets loss to the Chiefs yesterday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini gave the “inside story” of why the organization passed on future MVP and champion Patrick Mahomes during the 2017 draft. There were a variety of reasons that went into the decision: the Jets had already invested in Josh McCown as their bridge quarterback, there was still some optimism that Christian Hackenberg could work out, former GM Mike Maccagnan already had his eye on the 2018 quarterbacks class (including Darnold), and the organization was much more infatuated with their eventual pick, safety Jamal Adams. Still, prior to the draft, Mahomes thought he could end up in New York. “I definitely thought there was interest there,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you go on those visits, you know they’re pretty interested in doing their due diligence. I definitely thought there was interest there.”
  • While we’ve heard a similar sentiment throughout the past few weeks, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reiterates that the Jets aren’t expected to fire head coach Adam Gase midseason. “They really don’t want to do it,” a source told Vacchiano. “They may have to, at some point. But they know a midseason coaching change doesn’t change their situation. I think they’re going to hold off as long as they can.” Vacchiano provided a variety of reasons why it makes sense for the Jets to hold on to Gase, including the fact that the head coach serves as a “lightning rod” while distracting from general manager Joe Douglas‘ shaky first season with the organization.
  • Safety Marcus Maye‘s rookie contract is set to come to an end, and Cimini believes he could be eyeing a contract that will pay him around $7MM per season. As a result, Cimini reports that rival teams believe the 27-year-old could be had as part of the team’s fire sale. The reporter had a similar sentiment about Bradley McDougald, although the impending free agent safety has since landed on IR.
  • In the same article, Cimini passes along an anecdote from 2018, when the Jets “boxed” out the QB-needy Bills by moving from No. 6 to No. 3 in a deal with the Colts. The move allowed the Jets to select Darnold, who was Buffalo’s top-rated QB. In fact, the Bills were so displeased with the deal, they refused to negotiate with Indy for the remainder of the draft. Buffalo ended up trading up from No. 11 to No. 7, and they proceeded to select Josh Allen.

Seahawks, Browns Discussed Russell Wilson Trade In 2018

In 2018, the Browns were armed with a very rare assortment of premium draft capital: the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks. Ultimately, of course, they used those picks on quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward, but they were reportedly involved in trade discussions that would have sent at least one of those selections to the Seahawks in exchange for superstar quarterback Russell Wilson.

In a recent appearance on the PFTOT podcast, Chris Simms says that Cleveland and Seattle discussed a trade wherein the Seahawks would have acquired the No. 1 overall pick from the Browns while sending their Super Bowl champion signal-caller to Ohio (story via Mike Florio of PFT). And according to Florio’s source, the discussion did indeed happen, though the source couched it as being more of a conceptual conversation.

These sorts of discussions certainly happen all the time, and they never really get anywhere because the teams involved have no real intention of trading their assets but simply want to exercise due diligence in case their prospective trading partner is willing to make an offer that’s impossible to turn down. But the fact that the Seahawks even considered trading Wilson is notable, especially given that he was only 29 at the time and had already established himself as one of the best QBs in the game.

As Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes, the ‘Hawks would not have traded Wilson for just the No. 1 pick; they would have demanded the No. 4 selection as well. Even that, however, seems like a small price to pay for a player of Wilson’s caliber, and one would think that the Browns would have pounced on the opportunity if it had truly presented itself.

At the time, Wilson and the Seahawks were in the midst of contract discussions that would culminate with Wilson becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history. And he has more than lived up to that deal thus far, posting back-to-back MVP-worthy seasons with an average QB rating of 108.6 and an average triple-slash of 3,779/33/6. He has added 718 rushing yards and three rushing scores for good measure, and he has yet to miss a game in his career.

Nonetheless, Florio’s sources do say that Wilson will be traded at some point in the relatively near future. By Wilson’s own admission, the inclusion of a no-trade clause in his current contract was instrumental in getting the deal done — perhaps because of the Cleveland discussions — but he could always waive it if he feels the time is right. Though a trade in the next several seasons would not be feasible because of the dead money charges it would leave on Seattle’s books, something could happen by 2022.

Indeed, Condotta notes that the Seahawks likely would have selected Patrick Mahomes if he had fallen to them in the 2017 draft, and GM John Schneider was also poking around Josh Allen the following offseason. In a couple of years, he may pull the trigger on a collegiate signal-caller and send Wilson elsewhere, difficult though that may be to fathom.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills QB Josh Allen Expected To Play Sunday

Josh Allen will be under center when the Bills take on the Titans tomorrow. The team announced this morning that the quarterback has cleared the concussion protocol and is expected to play on Sunday.

Allen suffered the concussion last weekend following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones. It was initially thought that the Bills might sit the former first-rounder as a precaution, especially since the team has a bye in Week 6. This would have made Matt Barkley the starter against Tennessee.

Allen apparently progressed throughout the week, and we heard yesterday that he managed to log a full practice. Coach Sean McDermott told reporters that Allen would start tomorrow as long as he was cleared by the medical staff and an independent neurologist (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com).

Allen has led the Bills to a 3-1 record, completing 60.3-percent of his passes for 903 yards and three scores. He’s also thrown six interceptions, including three last weekend against the Pats. He’s continued to show talent running the football, as he’s compiled 131 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries.

The Bills also announced that safety Dean Marlowe and fullback Pat DiMarco have passed the concussion protocol and are expected to play tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Darnold, Allen, Bears, Colts

Previously targeting Week 5 for his return from mononucleosis, Sam Darnold did not hit a key checkpoint Monday. Doctors did not clear the Jets quarterback for full work Monday, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. This scuttles some momentum for a Darnold return against the Eagles. Adam Gase said Darnold remains a “question mark” as to his Week 5 availability. While Cimini adds the second-year passer received partial clearance and can begin doing some non-contact work, he points out Gase did not sound optimistic about having Darnold back for the Jets’ next game. This points to Luke Falk receiving another start, with recently promoted backup Mike White being the Jets’ QB2 against the Eagles. Falk completed 12 of 22 passes for 98 yards and an interception against the Patriots.

Here is the latest from some quarterback situations around the league:

  • The Bears have yet to announce anything on Mitch Trubisky‘s injury, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets the team may be without its starting passer for a bit. Trubisky’s MRI revealed a dislocated left shoulder and a slight labrum tear, per Schefter, who adds the third-year QB is unlikely to face the Raiders in London. Trubisky is not expected to need surgery. Chase Daniel has proven to be a capable fill-in, having piloted the Bears to two wins in relief of Trubisky in the past two seasons. Trubisky missed two games with a right shoulder malady last season.
  • As expected, Josh Allen is going through the Bills‘ concussion protocol. Sean McDermott said backup Matt Barkley will prepare this week like he will start against the Titans. With the Bills having a Week 6 bye, it would make sense if the improving team held its starter out this week.
  • Chad Kelly made his way back to the Colts after initially being waived. Now on Indianapolis’ practice squad, the 2017 Mr. Irrelevant will still make a fair amount of cash in his third NFL season. Kelly will earn $33K per week, Mike Chappell of CBS4 tweets. That comes out to around $570K for the season. The NFL’s practice squad minimum is $8K weekly. Kelly is back on the developmental track, serving as the Colts’ de facto third-string quarterback behind Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer.

Injury Updates: Trubisky, Smith, Hockenson, Allen, Ingram, Mack, Stills

Perhaps the most significant injury of Week 4 afternoon games was Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky going down. Trubisky went down hard on his left shoulder, and was quickly ruled out before returning to the sideline with his arm in a sling. Bears coach Matt Nagy didn’t offer many details after the game, but he said he didn’t expect the injury to be season-ending, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). While it certainly could be worse, that does seem to suggest that the Bears expect Trubisky to miss at least a little time. Chase Daniel will fill in under center.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Bears linebacker Roquan Smith was surprisingly inactive for the team’s win over the Vikings, and Nagy said after the game Smith’s absence was for personal reasons, Pelissero tweets. Nagy wouldn’t elaborate and wouldn’t say whether Smith’s personal issue would extend beyond this week. This will be something to monitor, as Smith is a key part of Chicago’s defense.
  • Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson took a hard hit in Detroit’s loss to the Chiefs, and was ruled out with a concussion. The Lions drafted Hockenson eighth overall back in April, and he’s shown a lot of promise in the first few games. He had three catches and a touchdown before going down against Kansas City, and is a big part of Detroit’s passing game. Hopefully he’ll be able to get cleared in time for Week 5.
  • Speaking of concussions, Bills quarterback Josh Allen suffered one on a brutal hit in Buffalo’s loss to the Patriots. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and if he can’t get cleared by next week, Matt Barkley will be under center. Allen was struggling before getting hurt and had thrown three interceptions, but Barkley wasn’t much better in relief.
  • The Chargers’ injuries continued to pile up, as star pass-rusher Melvin Ingram left their game against the Dolphins and was quickly ruled out with a hamstring injury. Los Angeles was already one of the most banged up teams in the league, so this was the last thing they needed. Head coach Anthony Lynn said after the game that Ingram pulled a hamstring and they didn’t know how long he’d be out, according to a tweet from Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com.
  • Colts running back Marlon Mack tweaked his ankle, but it doesn’t seem serious. Mack only had two carries in the second half, but he said after the game it was just “coach’s decision” to hold him out and that he expects to be fine for Indy’s Week 5 game against the Chiefs, according to Charlie Clifford of WISH 8 (Twitter link).
  • Texans receiver Kenny Stills left his team’s loss to the Panthers with a hamstring injury, but it’s unclear how severe it is. After the game, head coach Bill O’Brien said the team would have to wait until Monday to determine the severity, per a tweet from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Stills would be a big loss, but Houston would still have a very solid receiving corp in Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, and Keke Coutee without him.