Kyle Allen

South Rumors: Mariota, Jags, Falcons, Bucs

This season did not produce the uptick in Marcus Mariota production the Titans wanted, but part of the reason for that was the starting quarterback’s multiple injuries. Elbow troubles plagued Mariota for much of this season, but he is not expected to need offseason surgery, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets. A nerve issue affected Mariota (11 touchdown passes, eight interceptions, 2,528 passing yards) this season and cost him a chance to help the Titans back into the playoffs, forcing Blaine Gabbert back into action in Week 17. Mariota is attached to a $20.9MM fifth-year option in 2019.

As the 2019 hiring period ignites, here’s the latest from the South divisions a

  • Dirk Koetter‘s interview for his old job as Falcons offensive coordinator will occur Saturday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. The Falcons’ OC from 2012-14, Koetter is a free agent again after being fired by the Buccaneers. He may well be the leading candidate to succeed Steve Sarkisian running Atlanta’s offense. Matt Ryan has praised Koetter in the recent past. Mike Mularkey, Atlanta’s OC from 2008-11, and Darrell Bevell are the other known candidates.
  • The Jaguars voided the $7.1MM in remaining guarantees in Leonard Fournette‘s rookie contract. He has 50 days to file a grievance, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes Fournette surely will. Florio argues the contract does not include language addressing the voiding of guarantees for on-field misconduct, and such an omission will be key for the former top-five pick keeping those guarantees in his four-year deal.
  • Although the Jets are believed to be ready to make a run at Le’Veon Bell, Albert Breer of SI.com does not see that pursuit winning out. Instead, Breer said during an interview with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd (via the Tampa Bay Times) the Buccaneers are his best guess as to who will be signing the running back’s checks in 2019. This would be interesting because of the Jets’ cap-space advantage ($106MM-plus to $17MM-plus, though the Bucs can clear a substantial amount of room without incurring dead money) and the fact Tampa Bay used a 2018 second-round pick on Ronald Jones.
  • Kyle Allen was not the first player summoned to action when Cam Newton was shut down, but he ended the season as the Panthers‘ quarterback. His short stay as the Panthers’ first-stringer earned him a legitimate chance to be Newton’s backup next season, Breer notes. Allen was a UDFA but came to college as a five-star recruit. He threw two touchdown passes and no interceptions in Carolina’s season-finale win over New Orleans.
  • Alex Okafor stood to miss a $400K bonus because he fell one sack short of the incentive’s five-sack threshold, but, interestingly, the Saints paid him the bonus anyway, per NOLA.com’s Luke Johnson. This could be a key component of the starting defensive end’s upcoming decision on whether or not to opt out of his contract. Okafor signed a two-year deal with a player option to stay in New Orleans and has until the final day of the 2018 league year to decide on the option.

Latest On Panthers’ Quarterbacks

It sounds like Cam Newton will be able to avoid offseason shoulder surgery. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Panthers quarterback doesn’t have any structural damage to his throwing shoulder (Twitter link). This means Newton won’t have to undergo surgery (or deal with the accompanying rehab) during the offseason.

While Newton only recently acknowledged his shoulder injury, Rapoport says the quarterback had been dealing with pain through the second half of the season. This clearly had an impact on his production; over his past three games, Newton threw only two touchdowns vs. six interceptions (he had thrown seven interceptions in his team’s previous 11 games). The Panthers decided to shut down their franchise quarterback, allowing Taylor Heinicke to take over as the starter.

Unfortunately, the former undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion also suffered an injury during yesterday’s loss to the Falcons. Head coach Ron Rivera said Heinicke will undergo an MRI on his elbow today (via ESPN’s David Newton on Twitter). The quarterback was briefly knocked out of yesterday’s game after suffering an elbow injury, but he returned and managed to finish the game. He ended up completing 33 of his 53 pass attempts for 274 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He also added 33 rushing yards.

If Heinicke is unable to go during the team’s season finale against the Saints, Kyle Allen would likely earn the starting nod. The rookie quarterback had a brief cameo during yesterday’s contest, completing all four of his passes for 38 yards. Newton notes that activating Newton “doesn’t sound like an option.” Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the team could also consider adding signal-caller Garrett Gilbert, who was cut by the team prior to the regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/1/18

Today’s practice squad updates:

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 10/29/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise specified.

Buffalo Bills

Indianapolis Colts

New York Giants

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Manuel, Allen Join 49ers’ QB Auditions

The 49ers are doing their homework in their search for a backup quarterback. More names continue to surface as Kyle Shanahan‘s coaching staff examines how they’ll go about organizing their post-Jimmy Garoppolo passer depth chart.

E.J. Manuel and Kyle Allen worked out for the 49ers on Tuesday, NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. This brings the total of San Francisco signal-caller auditions to seven. Tom Savage, T.J. Yates, Matt Simms, Landry Jones, Kellen Clemens, Manuel and Allen comprise the list so far.

San Francisco already promoted quarterback Nick Mullens from its practice squad, and Shanahan said C.J. Beathard will be his starter following Garoppolo’s season-ending ACL tear. But the team appears focused on adding a veteran passer. Shanahan also said Colin Kaepernick will not be considered, due to the longtime 49ers starter not being a good fit for his offense.

Manuel could not make the Raiders’ 53-man roster and has not come close to justifying his former No. 16 overall draft status. However, he was on an NFL roster from 2013-17 and has made 18 career starts. He’s only 58 percent career passer (with just 5.8 yards per attempt) and has a 20-to-16 career TD pass-to-INT ratio.

Allen worked out for the Patriots, Raiders and Redskins this month. The Houston product was a Panthers practice squad cog before the team released him from its 10-man unit earlier in September.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/18/18

Here’s the latest from the NFL workout circuit on a busy Tuesday. All links to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

West Rumors: Chiefs, Hawks, Rams, Tryouts

With Patrick Mahomes being arguably the NFL MVP through two weeks, the Chiefs are exiting a tough two-game stretch — road assignments against the Chargers and Steelers — at 2-0. They’ve done this without their defensive centerpiece. Eric Berry‘s been bothered by a nagging heel injury and hasn’t practice since early August. However, the three-time All-Pro safety is improving in his recovery and may be ready to practice this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The cancer survivor was already trying to surmount his second severe NFL injury, having also missed most of the 2011 season prior to tearing his Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of last year, and is important for a Chiefs defense that’s struggled in shootout wins.

Here’s the latest out of the Wests entering the Seahawks-Bears Monday tilt.

  • Mychal Kendricks will play plenty in his Seahawks debut Monday night, John Schneider said (Twitter link via Stacy Jo Rost of ESPN 710). Austin Calitro will be Seattle’s middle linebacker in place of the injured Bobby Wagner, Schneider said, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects Kendricks to primarily play on the weak side (Twitter link). He’s working with the starters in warmups, per Condotta (on Twitter). Kendricks is facing an NFL suspension for his insider trading charge but is appealing and is thus allowed to play tonight.
  • Rams practice squad center Aaron Neary‘s run into trouble. He was arrested Sunday for suspicion of DUI and hit and run charges, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reports. Neary’s blood-alcohol level of .17 was more than twice the legal limit, and Thiry adds he was booked into the Ventura County Jail. Neary came to the Rams recently, after being waived by the Browns to create roster space for Anthony Zettel. He spent most of last season on the Rams’ practice squad, playing in one 2017 game, but may have trouble keeping that spot.
  • Clive Walford ventured to Kansas City for a Chiefs workout on Monday, Rapoport tweets. The former Raiders tight end was a Jets cut this summer. After being a regular in Oakland’s passing game in 2015-16, the one-time third-round pick only caught nine passes for 80 yards last season.
  • The Raiders‘ affinity for 30-somethings this offseason should be well known, and Jon Gruden said the team would have signed Clinton McDonald in March had a medical issue not intervened, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). McDonald signed with the Broncos, but they reworked his contract because of an injury. He’s now with the Raiders, having made his Raider debut in Denver.
  • Joe Callahan was among a contingent that worked out for the Raiders on Monday, Gehlken tweets. The now-well-traveled backup quarterback was most recently with the Eagles during the preseason. Quarterback Kyle Allen, tight end Billy Brown, running back Orleans Darkwa, wide receivers Roger Lewis and Hunter Sharp also auditioned for the Silver and Black, per NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter). The Colts, Jets, Bills, Patriots (twice) and Redskins have brought in Darkwa for workouts this year.
  • Former Broncos backup inside linebacker Zaire Anderson will work out for the Cardinals on Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Anderson spent three years with the Broncos — 2015-17, being on Denver’s practice squad during its Super Bowl season — before being a post-preseason cut. Also working out for the Cardinals: linebacker Nigel Harris, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).

NFL Workout Updates: 9/11/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Buffalo Bills

  • DT Du’Vonta Lumpkin (link)

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/10/18

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Philadelphia Eagles