Kyle Lauletta

Eagles Eyeing Quarterbacks In Draft?

During the pre-draft process, the Eagles have been doing some due diligence on a number of quarterbacks expected to be late-round selections in the upcoming draft, according to Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports, and he expects the team to come away with one. Mike Kaye of NJ.com examines four potential fits and what the fallout of their selections could mean for the other backup quarterbacks on the roster like Kyle Lauletta and Nate Sudfeld.

While no Day 3 pick would be expected to compete for the team’s starting job, held by Carson Wentz, his extensive injury history makes questions about the team’s backup a particular concern for the defending NFC East champs. Of course, Philly may be less focused on replacing Lauletta and Sudfeld and more so targeting a raw prospect who can develop next season on the team’s practice squad.

The 26-year old Sudfeld is entering his fourth NFL season but has only thrown 25 career passes. Just a 6th round pick out of Indiana in 2016, Sudfeld at one time, developed a decent reputation with some speculating he could be a starter elsewhere down the road. In fact, the Eagles applied a restricted-free agent tender on him just last offseason. However, this year as an unrestricted free agent his market was not quite as lively and he returned on a one-year, $2MM deal.

Lauletta was selected in the 4th round by the Giants in 2018, but general manager Dave Gettleman and co. waived him after just one season on the roster. The Eagles signed him to their practice squad last season, but their long-term vision for his role remains unknown. With such little proven talent behind the oft injured Wentz it makes sense that the team is looking at bringing in some competition.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/6/20

Here are Monday’s reserve/futures deals:

Green Bay Packers

  • WR Reggie Begelton, RB Elijah Wellman

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

  • CB Dylan Mabin

Philadelphia Eagles

Notable NFL Practice Squad Salaries

Playing on an NFL practice squad isn’t a bad gig. You work with a club’s 53-man roster every week, have a good chance to get called up if/when injuries strike, and collect a solid paycheck ($8K per week minimum). And for some practice squaders, the pay can get even better.

While all practice squad salaries count towards the salary cap, there’s no restriction on how much a team can pay a practice squad player. When a club desperately wants to retain a player but can’t fit him on its 53, they’ll often bump up his salary in an effort to keep him around. Here’s a look at several players who are earning much more than the NFL’s $8K per week standard, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

The 49ers clearly have no problem with spending a little extra on practice squad players, as both Lee and Harris are earning at least $22K more than the league PS minimum. Lee’s been with San Francisco since 2017 and started five games for the club last season, but the 49ers’ front seven depth is keeping him on the taxi squad for now. Harris, too, was a part-time starter for San Francisco in 2018.

The quarterbacks on the list are also interesting. Rypien has been deemed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello‘s “project” and could be called up to the active roster at some point given that Denver is only carrying two quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen (rookie second-rounder Drew Lock is on injured reserve). And the rebuilding Dolphins seem intent on hanging onto Rudock, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Lions.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cowboys, EaglesGiants, and Redskins are noted below.

Additionally, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads today. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Latest On Giants’ QB Situation

Most of the attention on the Giants’ quarterbacks room this offseason has been focused upon Daniel Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in April’s draft, and Eli Manning, the 38-year-old two-time Super Bowl MVP. But as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, the battle to be Big Blue’s third QB is expected to become quite heated once training camp opens next month.

Jones was able to quiet some of the negative chatter surrounding him with an impressive spring, and Schwartz says that if the Giants are convinced the Duke product will be able to step in for Manning whenever he’s called upon — and OC Mike Shula has already expressed that level of confidence in Jones — then the club may elect to keep just two signal-callers and send both Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney packing.

Between an October arrest and a poor professional debut, Lauletta, a 2018 fourth-round pick, has dug himself into a bit of a hole. Although Lauletta is just 24 and had enough upside to merit a mid-round selection from the Giants’ new regime, Schwartz says that the 31-year-old Tanney — who has played a total of one game in his professional career, which came in 2015 — is the current favorite to stick around. After all, New York signed Tanney to a two-year, $2.1MM contract with $775K guaranteed this offseason, which was a fairly telling show of faith.

Tanney has learned several offensive systems in his career and is a quick study, so the Giants see him as a better complement to Manning and Jones. Even though waiving Lauletta just one year after drafting him would not be a good look for the Giants’ front office or coaching staff, New York can’t worry about that just now.

And although it would be shocking if Jones were named the starter to open the season, there are already some rumblings that the Giants should do just that. If Jones builds on his spring performance with a strong training camp, Schwartz suggests the gap between the rookie and the 15-year year vet could close.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Bucs, Lions, Giants

Could the Panthers be in the market for a backup quarterback? They’re meeting with Auburn signal-caller Jarrett Stidham today, while Carolina has spent “considerable time” with West Virginia’s Will Grier, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter links). Cam Newton missed two starts last season, and the Panthers were subsequently forced to rely on unproven options like Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen under center. Head coach Ron Rivera indicated earlier this year that Carolina would likely eschew a veteran quarterback addition in favor of utilizing the draft, but as Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer tweets, it’s unclear how high of a pick the Panther are willing to use in order to land Newton’s new backup. Stidham, meanwhile, has also visited the Giants, per Pelissero.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns‘ next visit will be with the Buccaneers, as he noted on Chris Simms Unbuttoned (link via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk). After sitting down with Tampa Bay, Burns is expected to meet with the Lions, Giants, and Colts, the latter of whom has shown the most interest in Burns thus far. The ex-Seminole could come off the board within the top-10 selections of the draft, and he’s viewed as one of the best pass rushers in the 2019 class. After posting 23 sacks and 38.5 tackles for loss during his collegiate career, Burns tested like an elite athlete at the scouting combine.
  • Giants head coach Pat Shurmur prefers a veteran backup behind starting quarterback Eli Manning, as Ryan Dunleacy of NJ.com writes. New York re-signed Alex Tanney last month, and if he’s set to serve as the club’s No. 2 signal-caller, 2018 fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta‘s roster spot could be in danger, especially if the Giants select a quarterback early in the upcoming draft. Big Blue spoke repeatedly about inserting Lauletta into game action last season, but he ultimately attempted only five passes (all of which were incomplete and one of which was intercepted) in Week 13. He was subsequently deactivated for the next two contests. Lauletta’s late October arrest probably doesn’t help his roster chances, either.
  • More Alliance of American Football veterans could be heading to the NFL. The Vikings worked out linebacker Davis Tull on Wednesday, tweets Pelissero, and will audition linebacker Greer Martini on Thursday, per Rob Demovsky of NFL.com (Twitter link). More than 40 AAF alums have landed NFL contracts since the fledgling league folded, and Tull and/or Martini could force that number to rise. Tull, notably, was a fifth-round pick of the Saints in 2015 but has yet to appear in an NFL game.

NFC Notes: Saints, Giants, Eagles, Cowboys

The Saints have had a relatively quiet offseason ever since their season ended in devastating fashion in the NFC Championship game. That’s about to change though, as they have several big decisions to make in the coming days and weeks. Mark Ingram is set to be a free agent, and there’s been a lot of talk that the Saints might move on and choose to give Alvin Kamara more of a featured role. Ingram “wants nothing more than to strike a deal to stay in New Orleans,” writes Larry Holder of The Athletic. Holder also writes that head coach Sean Payton wants to keep him around. Holder points out that Ingram doesn’t have the typical wear and tear a 30-year-old running back usually has, because he’s usually split time in whatever backfield the Saints have put together throughout his career.

The Saints also lacked consistent options in the passing game beyond Michael Thomas last year, and could be looking to add a receiver. Sources told Holder that “Someone like Adam Humphries intrigues the Saints.” Holder thinks Humphries might get priced out of their range though, and that New Orleans might end up turning to the draft to add receiver help. Multiple sources also told Holder the Saints aren’t interested in adding Antonio Brown.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • There’s been a ton of discussion about the Giants’ quarterback situation, but not a lot has been written about Kyle Lauletta. Lauletta was the Giants’ highly-touted fourth round pick last year, but was relegated to third-string duties behind Manning and Alex Tanney for much of the season. The Giants re-signed Tanney earlier today, which could bode poorly for Lauletta. Lauletta also underwent knee surgery this offseason, sources told Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. Dunleavy isn’t bullish on Lauletta’s future with the team, and writes that he’s already shown he isn’t “capable of challenging Manning.” Lauletta only attempted five passes this past year, completing zero and throwing an interception. With the Giants a definitely possibility to draft a quarterback high in this April’s draft, Lauletta could prove to be a one-and-done in the Big Apple.
  •  The Eagles extended guard Isaac Seumalo earlier today, and they might not be done locking up offensive linemen. The “expectation” is that Philly “will attempt to extend OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai this offseason”, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Vaitai was the Eagles’ fifth round pick in 2016, and has been a backup tackle for them ever since. In 2017, he filled in for Jason Peters at left tackle and started the entire second half of the season plus the playoffs. Peters is 37 now, and his status for 2019 is still unclear. It’s very possible that the Eagles view Vaitai as the successor to Peters on Carson Wentz‘s blindside.
  • “When the 2018 season ended there was an expectation that Sean Lee would not return to Dallas,” writes Calvin Watkins of The Athletic. But now things appear to be shifting in the direction of the veteran linebacker returning for one more season in a reduced role, Watkins notes. Lee wants to play again and is willing to accept less playing time, according to Watkins, and Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones sounded open to the idea of bringing him back. “When he has played, he has played really well. He’s had a big impact on our football team, not only what he’s doing on the field, but off the field with his leadership,” Jones said. In the same piece, Watkins also took a look at the looming contract negotiations between Dallas and Ezekiel Elliott. Watkins thinks that Elliott “will probably get at least $50 million guaranteed”, topping the $45MM guaranteed Todd Gurley received from the Rams.

NFC Notes: Lauletta, Lee, Cards, Koetter

We learned earlier today that Eli Manning is increasingly likely to remain with the Giants in 2019, and the fact that New York does not presently have a legitimate replacement on its roster is a big reason for that. Indeed, although the team selected Kyle Lauletta in the 2018 draft and repeatedly indicated it wanted to give him some game action this year, Lauletta’s first appearance in a regular season NFL game — during garbage time in last week’s blowout win over the Redskins — did not go well. Lauletta has now been demoted to the team’s No. 3 QB, where he spent most of the season, and he is inactive for the club’s game today. As Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com suggests, that move speaks volumes about where Lauletta is in his development.

Let’s round up a few more NFC items as the Week 15 early afternoon games get underway:

  • Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is active today for the first time since November 5 and will play a reserve role behind rookie phenomenon Leighton Vander Esch, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Lee still provides value when healthy, but Jane Slater of the NFL Network tweets that Lee told the team he did not want to start and interfere with Vander Esch’s progress. It remains to be seen how Lee will be deployed moving forward.
  • At the beginning of this month, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said the Cardinals were going to reassess their front office and coaching staff at the end of the season, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reaffirms that report today. JLC writes that Arizona is mulling sweeping changes, and some sources say it would be a “major surprise” if first-year head coach Steve Wilks keeps his job. The bigger question, according to those sources, is whether GM Steve Keim is retained, but if he is not, he is a strong candidate to join the Raiders‘ front office.
  • The Buccaneers are expected to move on from head coach Dirk Koetter at the end of the season, but La Canfora writes that Koetter is still highly-respected as an offensive coordinator and plenty of teams with OC vacancies this offseason will be pursuing him to fill that role. Koetter’s own OC in Tampa, Todd Monken, will also be a highly-coveted offensive coordinator candidate in 2019 assuming the Bucs cut ties with him.
  • The Eagles remain committed to Carson Wentz, and Nick Foles is expected to hit free agency in 2019.
  • Jay Gruden‘s future with the Redskins is uncertain, but Alex Smith is out of the hospital and there is optimism that he will be able to resume his playing career.

Extra Points: Jaguars, Coughlin, Ravens, Giants, Lauletta, Hunt

It’s been a rough year for the Jaguars. After making the AFC Championship game last year, they were supposed to be contenders again in 2018 but nothing has gone according to plan. They were just 3-8 entering today, and benched Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler while firing their offensive coordinator. While they squeaked out a 6-0 victory over the Colts, major changes are still coming this offseason, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

La Canfora says that “sweeping changes are inevitable, which may include coaching and front-office moves”, and cites “multiple NFL salary cap executives” who say the team will need to “gut its roster” because of their cap situation. Jacksonville has spent big on free agents the past couple of years to build the team, but La Canfora writes their win-now window is “now effectively closed”, and they’ll have to start dumping the high-priced veterans soon. La Canfora seems to think head coach Doug Marrone‘s job is in danger, and notes that team president Tom Coughlin could “consider a return to the sidelines” to lead the team. Whatever happens, the Jaguars will be one of the most interesting teams to monitor this offseason.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh may have saved his own job with the team’s recent three game winning streak, but he could be losing one of his assistants soon. Baltimore’s defensive line coach Joe Cullen interviewed for the head coaching job at UMass, and is considered a “top candidate” for the position, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Cullen played at UMass in the 80’s, and was an assistant coach there in the early 90’s. He’s coordinated at Indiana and Richmond, but has always been a defensive line coach at the NFL level.
  • Although Eli Manning has played a lot better recently and the Giants have now won three of four games, the team still plans to get rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta in a game at some point, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link). Vacchiano notes that it may only come in the second half of a blowout game and not a start, but that the team wants to get a look at him either way.
  • It’s been speculated that a team might claim Kareem Hunt off waivers in order to get him on his cheap rookie contract that has him locked up through 2020, but “multiple executives” told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that Hunt is likely to go unclaimed on waivers. While one GM told Schefter there’s “no chance” he gets claimed, it still wouldn’t be a shock if he does. While he’s likely facing a lengthy suspension, Reuben Foster is also facing a lengthy suspension and got claimed even though he’s making significantly more money than Hunt.

 

Giants Eyeing Kyle Lauletta Game Work

Last season became somewhat of a missed opportunity for the Giants. Davis Webb did not see any action, and the team moved no closer to a post-Eli Manning future. With Webb now off the team, and the Giants bypassing the 2018 first-round quarterback contingent, the focus may be shifting to the next mid-round backup.

The Giants are planning to give Kyle Lauletta game work at points down the stretch, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports. They don’t want to make a similar mistake like they did in 2017, especially with Manning possibly in his final games as a Giant.

This plan, however, will be contingent on the Giants’ standing in an increasingly muddied NFC East. After two straight wins, the Giants are 3-7 and three games behind the now-Colt McCoy-led Redskins. The Giants do not plan to bench Manning until the playoffs are out of the question, Vacchiano adds. The 37-year-old quarterback has played well against the 49ers and Buccaneers and will face a battered Eagles secondary this week.

But the team would like to see what it has in Lauletta, a fourth-round rookie out of Division I-FCS Richmond, despite his legal issues. The Giants would, if possible, like to see third-stringer Alex Tanney on the field as well, per Vacchiano, though that might be a tough ask. One plan for Lauletta would hinge on the Giants either leading by a big margin or losing by one — similar to how an MLB team would use a mop-up reliever — to allow for a second-half switch, Vacchiano notes.

Last year, New York benched Manning for Geno Smith, snapping his historic start streak to cost both Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo their jobs. Pat Shurmur, however, seems to like Lauletta’s prospects, per Vacchiano. So, if/when the Giants fall out of remote contention, some potentially awkward Lauletta substitution sequences may occur as the franchise explores how it will go about replacing Manning.

Manning is under contract through 2019 and has a no-trade clause in his deal, but with the Giants looking readier to rebuild, he may well be off the roster next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.