September 6th, 2020 at 12:21pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Steelers are bringing back a couple of familiar faces. Pittsburgh is signing safety Sean Davis and they’ve claimed quarterback Josh Dobbs off waivers from the Jaguars, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (Twitterlinks).
In order to make room for Dobbs, the team has cut fellow quarterback Devlin Hodges. The Steelers drafted Davis in the second round in 2016, and he spent his first four years in Pittsburgh. He started 31 games between 2017-18, but missed almost all of last season due to injury. He signed a one-year deal worth $5MM with Washington this offseason, but couldn’t make it out of camp.
During these uncertain times, teams are clearly placing an emphasis on familiarity and system knowledge. Davis played closer to the line of scrimmage his first couple of pro seasons, but moved to free safety in 2018. The Steelers drafted Dobbs in the fourth-round in 2017, but he became expendable when they drafted Mason Rudolph the following year and they ended up trading him to Jacksonville.
Dobbs lost the battle in Jacksonville to be Gardner Minshew‘s backup, which is how he ended up on waivers. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a season-ending elbow injury, and Pittsburgh apparently wants all the insurance they can get behind him.
Hodges was an incredible story last year, as the unheralded UDFA from Samford was promoted from the practice squad after Big Ben went down and ended up starting games. Hodges ended up starting six games, becoming a fan favorite in the process. He declined sharply as more tape on him became available, but he’ll still probably end up on Pittsburgh’s or someone else’s practice squad.
Armstead is one of six players currently on a COVID-19 list around the league. He was expected to lead a Jaguars running back committee, following Leonard Fournette‘s departure. Players can be removed from the COVID list at any point. Armstead’s status will leave Devine Ozigbo and rookie UDFA James Robinson as the Jags’ running backs. This will be a team to monitor for waiver-claim adds at running back.
Nickerson, Giles-Harris and Orzich spent time on the Jaguars’ 53-man roster last season. The players jettisoned Saturday will become practice squad candidates, at least the bulk of them, on Sunday. Teams can begin signing players to their taxi squads Sunday, and after years of P-squads residing at 10 players, they will be 16-man units in this unique season.
The Jaguars are moving on from a pair of backup quarterback contenders. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Jacksonville is cutting Mike Glennon and Joshua Dobbs.
This means rookie sixth-rounder JakeLuton is currently the only quarterback on the depth chart behind starter Gardner Minshew. However, as Rapoport notes, the team could end up inviting back one of Glennon or Dobbs based on how the final roster “shakes out.”
The 30-year-old Glennon seemed like a natural choice to backup Minshew. However, it’s been almost seven years since the veteran got an extended look as a starter. Glennon spent the 2018 season with the Cardinals and 2019 season with the Raiders, appearing in four total games. During those cameos, Glennon completed 21 of his 31 pass attempts for 230 yards and two scores. In total, the former third rounder has appeared in 29 games (22 starts), tossing 36 touchdowns vs. 20 interceptions.
Dobbs, 25, spent the first two-plus seasons of his career with the Steelers, including a 2018 campaign where he completed six of his 12 pass attempts for 43 yards and one pick in five games. He was traded to Jacksonville last September for a 2020 fifth-rounder following an injury to Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles. Of course, Minshew stepped up as the starter, and Dobbs never got into a game with Jacksonville.
The Jaguars have a new quarterback. On Monday, the Jaguars traded a fifth-round pick to the Steelers in exchange for Joshua Dobbs, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The Jaguars lost their brand new starter, Nick Foles, to a clavicle fracture in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. After that, Gardner Minshew and performed well, even though the team was unable to keep up with the Chiefs’ relentless offense.
Minshew will continue as the Jags’ starter, but Dobbs will be on hand to hold the clipboard in support. Prior to the trade, the Jags did not have another QB on the roster.
Dobbs, a former fourth-round pick, was Ben Roethlisberger‘s top backup last year and appeared in five games as a reserve. This year, he lost his footing to Mason Rudolph, making his superfluous in Pittsburgh.
Minshew, with Dobbs as his backup, will lead the Jaguars against the Texans in Week Two.
August 30th, 2019 at 8:41pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
It turns out Kareem Hunt‘s suspension won’t be as significant as it originally seemed. The Browns’ running back is suspended for the first eight games of the season, but he would’ve missed the first handful of those games anyway. Hunt underwent sports hernia surgery on Thursday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The injury will likely sideline Hunt for the next 4-6 weeks, according to a tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The Browns announced in a tweet of their own that a “full recovery is anticipated prior to his return to action in Week 10 of the regular season.” Hunt will be eligible to return from his suspension on November 10th against the Bills. Until then Cleveland’s backfield will still be in good hands, as they have Nick Chubb holding down the fort. Once Hunt returns, the Browns will have a potentially scary one-two punch. Hunt was one of the best running backs in the league before Kansas City cut him last year, scoring 14 touchdowns in just 11 games.
Here’s more from the league’s North divisions:
Ben Roethlisberger has a new backup. Second-year player Mason Rudolph has won the competition to be the Steelers’ backup in 2019, sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Pittsburgh drafted Rudolph 76th overall last year, and he spent the 2018 season as the third-string passer behind Roethlisberger and Joshua Dobbs. During the preseason Rudolph impressed by completing 65 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdowns and only one interception, and some think he’s a potential heir to Roethlisberger. He hasn’t been cut yet, but it looks like this could be the end of the line for Dobbs, a 2017 fourth-rounder, in Pittsburgh.
The Lions gave defensive tackle Damon Harrison an extension last week, and now we have the full details, courtesy of Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. In addition to getting an extra year tacked onto his deal, Harrison also received a $2MM raise for the 2019 season. He also got a $7.5MM signing bonus. His contract now runs through the 2021 season, with an option on the final year that must be exercised by the final day of the 2020 league year.
Speaking of Lions contract details, punter Sam Martin had his deal reworked, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Martin had a non-guaranteed base salary of $2.4MM for 2019, which was bumped down to a guaranteed $1.7MM. Yates adds that 2020 is now a voidable year in his contract. Martin took a pay-cut for 2019, but he’ll now get the chance to reach free agency sooner and cash in as a result of the 2020 year becoming voidable when it was previously just non-guaranteed salary.
The Packers have settled on their starting left guard. After a training camp battle between veteran Lane Taylor and rookie Elgton Jenkins, the team has opted to go with Taylor, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “It’s going to be a competition throughout the season, but right now Lane Taylor is the starter,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. Taylor signed with Green Bay as an UDFA back in 2013 and has been with the team ever since. He’s started at least 14 games each of the past three seasons, although his play has been underwhelming at times. The Packers drafted Jenkins 44th overall out of Mississippi State back in April.
September 3rd, 2018 at 12:56pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
When the Steelers took Mason Rudolph in the third round of this year’s draft, many assumed it was the beginning of the end for Josh Dobbs. Since it’s extremely rare for a team to carry four quarterbacks, the conventional wisdom was that Pittsburgh would keep Landry Jones as a veteran backup, Rudolph as the developmental rookie, and that Dobbs would either be traded or cut.
Despite facing questions about his future all summer, Dobbs was focused and showed tangible improvement this preseason. His performance in the fourth preseason game in particular was very strong, and it was enough to convince the Steelers to cut Jones instead.
While Dobbs will enter the season as Ben Roethlisberger‘s backup, the Steelers apparently did have opportunities to trade him, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN (Twitter link). Fowler reports that both the Texans and Raiders were interested in Dobbs, but that the Steelers ultimately decided to keep the second-year signal caller from Tennessee.
Here’s more from the league’s northern divisions:
The Lions had a group of running backs in for workouts, including recently released Donnel Pumphrey, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Pumphrey, a 2017 fourth round pick of the Eagles, received a lot of hype his rookie year, but injuries derailed his stay in Philadelphia.
The Browns got defensive lineman Carl Davis and LB Tanner Vallejo on waivers, but only because they picked first. Four teams in total submitted claims on Davis, and three on Vallejo, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link), showing that the Browns had plenty of competition for their services.
Linebacker Nigel Harris, cut by the Buccaneers on Saturday, will work out for the Browns on Tuesday, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Harris has spent time with the Chargers, Giants, and Bucs since entering the league as an UDFA in 2017. He started a game for the Chargers in 2017, but was waived just a few weeks into the season.
On Wednesday morning, the Packers traded Brett Hundley to the Seahawks. That deal is unlikely to be the last trade involving a backup quarterback, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Mike Glennon of the Cardinals, Tom Savage of the Saints, and Joshua Dobbs are the Steelers are among the QBs being discussed by teams of need, Rapoport hears.
The Cardinals signed both Sam Bradford and Glennon in March, but the QB room changed dramatically in April when they drafted UCLA star Josh Rosen. Rosen may not be ready for primetime, but the Cardinals may feel that he is ready to be a capable No. 2 QB. Glennon flamed out in his one month as the Bears’ starter last year, but he would represent a QB2 upgrade for many teams around the league.
The writing has been on the wall for Dobbs ever since the Steelers used a third-round pick on Mason Rudolph in this year’s draft. Landry Jones is locked in as the backup quarterback and Rudolph is locked in as the No. 3, so Dobbs is clearly on the block.
Antonio Brown missed eight out of 10 OTA practices held by the Steelers. While a star player missing OTAs certainly isn’t uncommon, it is for Brown. As laid out by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, Brown is a “football junkie”and him missing OTAs is something that’s very out of character. Kaboly writes that he “couldn’t tell you the last time that he missed a training camp practice or a regular-season practice” and that “in Brown’s eight previous seasons he may have missed two total OTAs.”
Kaboly notes that even in past seasons where Brown was unhappy with his contract and demanding a new one, he still showed up for OTAs. So what’s responsible for Brown’s sudden prolonged absence from the voluntary portions of the Steelers’ offseason program?
It’s anyone’s guess, but it’s surely a distraction Mike Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers’ coaching staff would rather not have.
Here’s more from Pittsburgh:
Kaboly thinks quarterback Josh Dobbs is a near certainty to not make the 53-man roster. Despite being taken in the fourth round last year, the Steelers appeared to throw in the towel on Dobbs by taking Mason Rudolph in the third round this year. Kaboly writes that Landry Jones is locked in as the backup quarterback and that “there is no impending camp battle” for the position. With Rudolph assured a spot as the number three, Dobbs is very likely to be cut as the Steelers “always keep only three quarterbacks” notes Kaboly.
Wide receiver Marcus Tucker has a “real shot” at making the team, according to Kaboly. Tucker has spent the last two seasons on the Steelers’ practice squad and “was one of the best receivers during OTAs” he writes.
During a recent Q & A with fans, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that he thinks the Steelers will extend kicker Chris Boswell this offseason, but not running back Le’Veon Bell. Both Boswell and Bell are set to be free agents after the year, but Bouchette thinks the Steelers will again play it year-to-year with Bell.
Of the 15 quarterbacks selected in last year’s draft, seven ended up starting at least one regular-season game in 2016. The Rams’ Jared Goff and the Eagles’ Carson Wentz comprised the top two picks of the draft, but it was Cowboys fourth-round signal-caller Dak Prescott, the 135th overall choice, who ultimately emerged as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the face of a 13-3 team.
When the Cowboys drafted Prescott, there was little expectation he’d garner significant playing time right away, let alone thrive from the get-go, with Tony Romo on the roster. But debilitating summer injuries to Romo and backup Kellen Moore opened the door for Prescott, who’s now firmly entrenched under center in Dallas. Romo, realizing he wasn’t going to start again for the Cowboys, is now working for CBS.
While it’s hard to imagine any rookie quarterback from this year’s 10-man class bursting on the scene in Prescott-like fashion, it stands to reason at least some will get opportunities to do so. Like last year, three passers went in the first round of the 2017 draft, though immediate playing time isn’t a guarantee for any. For now, Mitch Trubisky (No. 2 overall, Bears), Patrick Mahomes (No. 10, Chiefs) and Deshaun Watson (No. 12, Texans) are in understudy roles.
Trubisky, a one-year starter at North Carolina for whom Chicago somewhat controversially traded up a spot to select, reportedly won’t see the field as a rookie unless free agent investment Mike Glennon flops. Considering Glennon previously held a starting job in Tampa Bay but didn’t do enough to keep it, he very well could struggle enough for Trubisky to grab the reins in 2017.
Watson might also take the helm sooner than later, as the ex-Clemson national championship winner whom the Texans traded up 13 spots to draft is behind a veteran, Tom Savage, who’s almost completely untested. Given that the Texans have sullied quality rosters with subpar quarterbacks in recent seasons, it could behoove them to plug in Watson if Savage, he of two career starts and zero touchdown passes, looks like another Brock Osweiler this year.
An early path to playing time appears less clear for Mahomes, even though Kansas City paid a high price to go up 17 places to secure him. At the moment, the ex-Texas Tech gunslinger looks like a good bet to red shirt 2017 behind Alex Smith as the Chiefs take at least one more kick at the Super Bowl can with the steady (albeit non-elite) veteran at the helm.
Perhaps more than any other QB in this year’s class, Browns second-rounder DeShone Kizer stands out as someone who looks destined to amass playing time as a rookie. The 52nd pick and former Notre Dame dual threat has impressed in the very early going in Cleveland. Moreover, his main competitors for the Browns’ open starting job, Osweiler and Cody Kessler, aren’t exactly Otto Graham and Bernie Kosar.
As Prescott and 2012 third-rounder Russell Wilson have shown in the past half-decade, a quarterback doesn’t necessarily have to come off the board at the top of the draft to star right away. That’s surely heartening to the Giants’ Davis Webb (third round, No. 87), the 49ers’ C.J. Beathard (third round, No. 104), the Steelers’ Joshua Dobbs(fourth round, No. 135), the Bills’ Nathan Peterman (fifth round, No. 171), the Lions’ Brad Kaaya (sixth round, No. 215) and the Broncos’ Chad Kelly (seventh round, No. 253). Barring injuries, though, Webb, Dobbs and Kaaya have virtually no chance to earn starting roles at any point in 2017, as each is behind an established veteran. On the other hand, there’s no Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger or Matthew Stafford on any of the rosters of the 49ers, Bills and Broncos, which could give Beathard, Peterman and Kelly a glimmer of hope. Still, for various reasons, all three look like major long shots to break out as rookies. Then again, the same could’ve been said about Prescott 12 months ago.
Joshua Dobbs and the Steelers agreed to terms on the quarterback’s four-year rookie contract on Monday. The fourth-round pick out of Tennessee is the sixth of Pittsburgh’s eight draft picks to sign.
Only first-rounder T.J. Watt and third-round cornerback Cameron Sutton, Dobbs’ teammate while at Tennessee, are unsigned. Dobbs will begin learning behind Ben Roethlisberger, who is under contract for three more seasons. Although, Roethlisberger said the retirement talk many didn’t consider serious was, in fact, real. Dobbs and Landry Jones comprise the Steelers’ backup sect.
Dobbs was rumored to be coveted by the Browns, Seahawks and Vikings. The 22-year-old started two full seasons for the Volunteers, with his finest work coming in 2016. He led the team to a 9-4 record, a bowl win and threw 27 touchdown passes compared to just 12 interceptions.