The Ravens–Steelers rematch is no longer a guarantee to follow the customary Lions and Cowboys contests on Thanksgiving. With the Ravens having five coronavirus positives among players and the Steelers at four, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes that more cases will result in the NFL moving the game off the Thanksgiving schedule (Twitter link). It is not known how many more positive tests between these franchises would cause the NFL to move the game, but given its time slot and the fact the league has resisted postponing games since Week 7 would make this a game difficult to move. However, this situation may be close to producing a postponement. In addition to five Ravens players having tested positive, Mark Maske of the Washington Post notes five Ravens staffers also have in recent days (Twitterlinks). Both the Ravens and Steelers encountered virus issues earlier this month but played their respective games as scheduled.
Here is the latest from the AFC North:
The Ravens are working to determine if these are connected or isolated incidents part of a spread in the Baltimore community, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The team remains on track to leave for Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
More COVID-19 issues have hit the Bengals‘ coaching staff. Defensive line coach Nick Eason tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the team to go through contact tracing, Pelissero notes (on Twitter). This followed multiple games of Cincinnati coaches being sidelined. Cornerbacks coach Steve Jackson, wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell and safeties coach Robert Livingston missed the Bengals’ Week 11 game due to COVID protocols; linebackers coach Al Golden and senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner did not coach during the team’s Week 10 game. Considering the volume here, this is a situation to monitor ahead of Week 12.
As of now, the Bengals’ Joe Burrow-less quarterback plan consists of Ryan Finley as the starter and recent practice squad cog Brandon Allenbacking him up. But the team is scrambling for depth. The Bengals worked out ex-Browns QB Kevin Hogan and Alex McGough on Tuesday. Hogan was last with the Broncos from 2018-19. He failed to make Denver’s 53-man roster in ’19, when the team used Allen as its backup. The Bengals should be expected to sign a quarterback to their practice squad.
August 31st, 2019 at 8:43pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Denver Broncos made a slew of moves today to get down to 53 players. Notably, the team will place rookie second-round quarterback Drew Lock on injured reserve, meaning he’ll have to miss at least the first eight games of the season as he recovers from his thumb injury. The team cut journeyman Kevin Hogan and UDFA Brett Rypien, leaving them without a quarterback behind Joe Flacco. GM John Elway has said they’ll sign a veteran to backup Flacco for now, and we’ve already heard they’re interested in Brian Hoyer.
There weren’t too many surprises that we didn’t already know of. Brendan Langley, a 2017 third-round pick, failed to make the team. He was drafted as a cornerback, but switched to receiver earlier this offseason after he didn’t pan out on defense.
The Broncos will go with a young contingent behind Joe Flacco. Incumbent quarterback Kevin Hogan will not make their 53-man roster, with Mike Klis of 9News reporting (via Twitter) the fourth-year veteran will be cut.
Hogan served as Case Keenum‘s backup for most of last season, catching on with the Broncos via waiver claim. He ascended to the QB2 spot after Chad Kelly‘s release. This year, the Broncos drafted Drew Lock and added Brett Rypien as a UDFA.
Lock is set to miss several weeks due to an injury to his throwing hand, and it looks like Rypien will either become Flacco’s backup or the Broncos will look elsewhere for their top signal-caller reserve. Brian Hoyer did not make the Patriots’ roster. He spent time in new Denver OC Rich Scangarello‘s system in 2017, beginning that season as the 49ers’ starter. The Patriots released Hoyer earlier today.
Hogan is not yet a vested veteran and will head to waivers. He last attempted a regular-season pass for the 2017 Browns.
Jamie Collins held the distinction of being the highest-paid off-ball linebacker for nearly two years. His new deal with the Patriots is less glamorous. Escalators exist in Collins’ one-year, $2MM contract, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com broke them down Sunday. If the eighth-year linebacker plays 50% of the Pats’ 2019 snaps, he will obtain an additional $250K. A 60% snap clearance will mean another $250K. This goes up in 10% increments until the 80% mark, when the incentives increase but also venture into not-likely-to-be-earned territory. Should Collins wind up in the Pro Bowl, he would earn an additional $500K. Collins was making $12.5MM per year on his Browns deal.
Here’s the latest from the AFC, moving westward:
It should be expected that Drew Lock is the Broncos‘ backup quarterback once the regular season begins, even after a shaky preseason start. But the Broncos also moved rookie UDFA Brett Rypien into position to challenge Kevin Hogan‘s roster spot. The nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien received the third-team reps ahead of Hogan in practice Sunday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Lock took the second-team snaps. Hogan served as Case Keenum‘s backup last year, after Chad Kelly‘s departure. Rypien could conceivably be a practice squad stash, but Klis views the Broncos as giving him every opportunity to unseat Hogan.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos made a move to address their depleted inside linebacker corps. Third-year safety Jamal Carter is now an inside linebacker, with Vic Fangio indicating (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) Carter sought this switch. “I’ve been wanting to play this since high school and college,’’ Carter said, via Klis. “I like being in the trenches. I’m a physical specimen. I don’t like being too deep away from arms and contact. It’s going to fit me.” Todd Davis, Josey Jewell and Joe Jones are out with injuries presently. Carter, a 2017 UDFA out of Miami, missed all of last season due to injury and is on Denver’s roster bubble.
Set to use Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback for a ninth season, the Bengals did draft another passer this year. Their Ryan Finley fourth-round investment has gone well as the offseason has progressed, and The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (subscription required) views a Bengals final roster that only includes Dalton and Finley at quarterback. This would mean Cincinnati cutting Jeff Driskel, who was needed for five starts after Dalton’s IR trip last year. A 2016 sixth-round pick, Driskel posted a 31.6 QBR in his 2018 work.
The Raiders placed cornerback D.J. Killingson IR on Sunday, doing so because he tore a pectoral muscle in the team’s preseason opener Saturday. Killings, a third-year UDFA, will undergo surgery, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets.
The Broncos traded for veteran QB Joe Flacco in February with the clear intention of having him serve as their starting signal-caller for at least the 2019 season. But given the state of Denver’s quarterback situation since Peyton Manning retired, GM John Elway hedged his bets in a big way, drafting talented but raw prospect Drew Lock in the second round of this year’s draft and handing a $136K guarantee to UDFA Brett Rypien.
Mike Klis of 9News.com examined the status of the Broncos’ QB depth chart as we inch closer to training camp, and to no one’s surprise, Flacco is the unquestioned starter. His performance during early Broncos practices this year made Elway comfortable enough to eschew a QB prospect in the first round of the draft, and despite some speculation that Lock could push Flacco for the starting job at some point in 2019, Klis says the long-time Raven will be Denver’s one and only quarterback this season, provided he stays healthy. The fact that Flacco has looked his best when playing in an offense similar to the one that new OC Rich Scangarello runs will certainly help his cause, and he built on his strong work early in the offseason by continuing to play well throughout OTAs and minicamp.
Klis notes that Lock has shown flashes of his potential, but his decision-making and ability to read defenses still need a great deal of refinement, and the Missouri product will have a legitimate battle with Kevin Hogan for the club’s backup job. Hogan has started just one game in his professional career, but he apparently showed enough in practice in 2018 for Denver to re-sign him this offseason. However, if Lock wins the No. 2 spot, then Hogan will likely be cut, with the third-string job going to Rypien. If Lock struggles and cedes the backup role to Hogan, then Rypien may be forced onto the practice squad, where he could be poached by another team.
The AFC West looks as if it will be a highly-competitive division in 2019, and Denver will not have an easy road back to the playoffs after a three-year absence. But if Lock shows significant improvement and can become a real candidate to start in 2020, that would be a decent consolation prize.
Kevin Hogan is back with the Broncos. After being non-tendered by Denver earlier this month, the Broncos have agreed to re-sign the quarterback, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post tweets.
Hogan, 26, first entered the league as a sixth-round choice of the Chiefs in 2016. He didn’t catch on there, but he hooked on with the Browns’ practice squad as a rookie and eventually worked his way on to the varsity squad. In 2017, he had a brief stay as the Browns’ starting quarterback – one game, to be exact – before being pushed down to No. 3 on the team’s QB depth chart.
Hogan is still looking for his next opportunity to start. Last April, he pushed the Browns to trade him to the Redskins, but he was unable to make their final cut. The Broncos scooped him up off waivers, but he did not see the field as he backed up Case Keenum.
The Cardinals and Patrick Peterson appear to be moving forward together, despite the All-Pro cornerback’s trade request. A key part of Peterson reaffirming his commitment to the franchise was a 30-minute meeting with team president Michael Bidwill, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). The parties discussed ways the Cardinals could improve, with Bidwill assuring Peterson the franchise is committing to winning, per Schefter.
“I think we definitely have a clear understanding and I have two years left under my contract, so I’m here,” Peterson said, via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter), who adds the cornerback didn’t exactly exude much happiness during his remarks Wednesday, which could be understandable given the state of the Cardinals (Twitter link).
Peterson also responded to a question about why he wanted to be traded by saying (via Weinfuss, on Twitter), “You see the record.” He’s signed through the 2020 season but has little guaranteed money left on an extension he agreed to in 2014.
Here’s the latest out of the West divisions:
The Broncos do not plan to sign a backup quarterback in the near future. While Mike Klis of 9News notes the team likely will add another signal-caller to either the active roster or practice squad, expect that player to now work behind previous No. 3 passer Kevin Hogan. “Kevin is the backup right now,” Vance Joseph said. “We’ll see as time progresses here. Kevin is fine. Kevin has played in games. He’s a smart guy; he’s picked it up quick and we have full confidence in Kevin.” Hogan is a career 59 percent passer who started one game and saw action in eight with the Browns from 2016-17. The Redskins waived him before the season began, and the Broncos’ subsequent claim led to Paxton Lynch‘s departure.
Addressing the trade that sent Amari Cooper to the Cowboys, Jon Gruden said (via the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken, on Twitter) this was more about acquiring a valuable draft pick than the Raiders being dissatisfied with the wide receiver. Reggie McKenzie said Monday that Dallas offering a first-rounder was a proposal he could not pass on.
Both K.J. Wright and Ed Dickson are expected to make their season debuts for the Seahawks on Sunday, Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson). An arthroscopic knee surgery and a setback kept Wright out for this long. Dickson’s spent time on the NFI list because of a quad injury. The Seahawks signed Dickson to a three-year, $10.7MM deal this offseason.
The Seahawks placed safety T.J. Green on their exempt list, and Carroll said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, on Twitter) Green simply didn’t want to play football anymore. The former second-round pick out of Clemson hadn’t seen action with the Seahawks. He’d started 11 games prior to the Colts cutting him two months ago.
Citing Gruden’s inconsistent draft history with the Buccaneers, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry wonders how well the Raiders coach will fare in rebuilding this team that now has three 2019 first-round picks. Gruden assumed full Bucs control during the 2003 season, and only one of his draft choices (2006 first-rounder Davin Joseph) made a Pro Bowl as a Buccaneer (although, 2008 first-rounder Aqib Talib made several after leaving Tampa Bay). Both Michael Clayton and Cadillac Williams started strong before failing to match their rookie seasons’ excellence, with Corry adding Gruden’s draft work in Tampa Bay does not measure up to McKenzie’s high-end 2014 haul of Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson.