Mitch Trubisky

Bears Notes: Glennon, Trubisky, Howard

The Bears have not yet had a discussion about replacing starter Mike Glennon with fellow quarterback Mitch Trubisky, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Through two games (both Chicago losses), Glennon has completed 67.1% of his passes for 514 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He currently ranks 21st in quarterback rating and 25th in adjusted net yards per attempt, while the Bears’ passing offense is just 26th in DVOA.

Here’s more from the Windy City:

  • Running back Jordan Howard is playing through a sprained AC joint, tweets Rapoport, who adds the injury could help explain why some scouts believe the Bears second-year back is running “tentatively.” Howard, who topped 1,300 yards on the ground in 2016 after entering the league as a fifth-round pick, has seen his snap percentage decrease this season as rookie Tarik Cohen takes on more passing game responsibility. Heading into today’s game Howard had managed just 2.7 yards per carry, but he’s already managed 46 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers in Week 3.
  • While the Bears originally believed Nick Kwiatkoski was done for the year after suffering a pectoral injury last week, the linebacker’s health issue may not be season-ending, per Rapoport (Twitter link). While Kwiatkoski will miss several games, he’s likely to be available later this year. That’s an extremely positive development for Chicago, which had already placed starting linebacker Jerrell Freeman on injured reserve.
  • Can the Bears rebound from their 0-2 start? Not according to PFR readers, who ranked Chicago as one of the least likeliest winless teams to perform better down the stretch. Check out the rest of the poll results and add your own thoughts here.

North Notes: Tuitt, Trubisky, Vikings

Following the extensions for Antonio Brown and Alejandro Villanueva, the Steelers locked down Stephon Tuitt on the eve of their 2017 opener. Tuitt agreed to a five-year, $61MM extension on Saturday, and the details of that deal are out. Tuitt will receive an $11MM signing bonus and stand to earn $24MM in new money in the deal’s first two years, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports, adding the fourth-year defensive end will collect $14MM in 2017 as opposed to the $1.05MM he was set to make. Florio adds there is no guarantee after the first year of the contract, which is typical for Steelers deals.

A $7.5MM roster bonus will be owed to Tuitt on the fifth day of the 2018 league year, Florio adds, and a $3.5MM roster bonus will be due on Day 5 of the 2019 league year. In 2018, Tuitt will earn a $3.5MM base salary and stands to collect a $6MM base in 2019. Tuitt’s ensuing base salaries are as follows: $9MM (2020), $9MM (’21) and $9.05MM (’22).

In Tuitt and Cameron Heyward, the Steelers have two interior defensive linemen earning at least $10MM annually. They join only the Jaguars and Bills in that group.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions on Week 1 Sunday eve.

  • Mike Zimmer considered giving up Vikings defensive play-calling duties in advance of this season, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. However, the fourth-year coach resumed that responsibility during the preseason. The Vikings ranked ninth in defensive DVOA last season and made a point to extend key starters Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen and Xavier Rhodes this offseason.
  • Mitch Trubisky‘s ability to process an NFL offense surprised the Bears, J.J. Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com notes. This led to the No. 2 overall pick — a one-year starter at North Carolina — commandeering the Bears’ backup job and prompting John Fox to declare him “ready to play” if needed Sunday.
  • Rick Spielman is entering his 12th season making Vikings personnel decisions, but he’s only overseen one playoff victory — a Brett Favre-led divisional-round win over the Cowboys. The Vikings are again expected to compete for a playoff spot but Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune writes ownership will have to weigh the GM’s status if another season ends short of a playoff triumph. Illustrating Spielman’s effectiveness while showing obvious difficulty in establishing consistency, Minnesota has made the playoffs with four different quarterbacks — Tarvaris Jackson, Favre, Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater — in the decision-maker’s tenure. The Vikings likely have to do so with a fifth, Sam Bradford, if they’re to return this season.
  • The Bears’ Akiem Hicks extension followed Tuitt’s by a few hours Saturday, and he will be just shy of the Steelers defensive end on the AAV spectrum.
  • The Browns once again have a new starting quarterback, but they’ll again trot out a new No. 2 man. Kevin Hogan will be the next man up behind DeShone Kizer on Sunday.

NFC Rumors: Pryor, Eagles, Ward, Trubisky

Terrelle Pryor already confessed his camp might have misjudged the market when he ended up signing a one-year deal with the Redskins. The wideout’s back in a contract year but said Wednesday other teams presented multiyear offers.

A lot of teams … I got four or five offers from four or five teams for four or five-year deals for a lot of money, but it wasn’t where I thought I needed to be,” Pryor said, via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. “At the end of the day, I wanted to really show I can do it, dominate at it again, and really just set myself up to have a home for four or five years, that way I can sign somewhere for four or five years instead of always moving around.”

Evidently hoping this one-year agreement can be a pathway to more lucrative long-term proposals, the 28-year-old Pryor also revealed he was negotiating with the Eagles prior to his Redskins pact. Pryor said he “believed” the Eagles were one of the teams pursuing him before something “in house” changed. This could allude to Alshon Jeffery signing a one-year deal on the same day Pryor agreed to his Washington contract. The Eagles were connected to just about every UFA wideout of note this offseason, and Pryor’s comments back up a March report of five teams being interested in signing him.

Here’s the latest from the NFC as 15 of its teams make preparations for their Week 1 games.

  • The one NFC franchise that won’t play this weekend has a new safety that now has an extra week to acclimate to Mike Smith‘s system, and details of T.J. Ward‘s contract continue to emerge. Ward will earn $3MM guaranteed on his one-year deal with the Buccaneers, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. The veteran safety’s contract has a base value of $3.875MM, and offers the chance for an extra $1MM via incentives. Ward, of course, signed with Tampa Bay less than 24 hours after being released by Denver, a move that led the Buccaneers to trade fellow defensive back J.J. Wilcox to the Steelers.
  • While this is not exactly a surprise, Mitch Trubisky will ascend to second on the Bears‘ depth chart for Chicago’s Week 1 tilt. The rookie quarterback usurped Mark Sanchez and will back up Mike Glennon on Sunday, John Fox said (via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, on Twitter). Of this rookie class, only DeShone Kizer will receive an opening day start. Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, C.J. Beathard and Nathan Peterman join Trubisky in being second-stringers entering their first NFL seasons.
  • Dontari Poe‘s latest weight check-in, which is today, will secure the Falcons defensive tackle $125K, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Poe earned the $125K by coming in under 330 pounds in late July. The pre-regular-season weight ceiling remains the same.
  • No offset language existed in Alex Boone‘s Vikings contract, Joel Corry of CBS Sports notes (on Twitter), so Minnesota will be stuck with $3.5MM in dead money on this year’s cap. Terms of Boone’s Cardinals deal are not yet disclosed, but it won’t go toward helping the Vikings offset dead money remaining on the four-year, $26.8MM contract they authorized for Boone last year.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report.

North Notes: Osweiler, Trubisky, Carey

The latest from the North:

  • With DeShone Kizer likely to open the season as the Browns’ starting quarterback, the probable runner-up in the competition, Brock Osweiler, is now on the trade block. The problem is that the Browns are unlikely to find a taker for him, even though they’re willing to eat around $10MM of his $16MM salary if the right offer comes along, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. The Browns wanted at least a third-round pick for Osweiler when they were shopping him in March, according to Cabot, which is a preposterous asking price when you consider the struggles he had in Houston last season. While Cleveland did give up a fourth-rounder to acquire Osweiler from the Texans, it also received a second- and sixth-rounder just to take on his bloated contract. Regarding the possibility of the Browns flipping the 26-year-old before Week 1, an NFL personnel executive told Cabot, “Good luck with that.”
  • The Bears will give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky some first-team reps in their preseason game against the Titans on Sunday, which is the latest sign that the second overall pick will emerge as their starter sometime this year, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes. Trubisky’s preseason play has easily trumped free agent signing Mike Glennon‘s (granted, the former has faced lesser competition thus far), but the job still belongs to the veteran, according to head coach John Fox. “Right now, Mike Glennon is the starter,” Fox said. “He’s going to start preseason (Game) 3, which is a pretty good indicator where you start the (regular) season. I’ll leave it at that.”
  • Bears running back Ka’Deem Carey underwent wrist surgery and will miss approximately six weeks, Fox told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune and other reporters on Wednesday (Twitter link). Carey, who’s behind Jordan Howard and Kendall Langford on the Bears’ depth chart, has totaled just 111 carries since they chose him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. He averaged 3.9 yards on 32 attempts last season.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Norman, Dez, Trubisky

Dave Gettleman‘s ouster as the Panthers general manager stands as this week’s most shocking NFL story, and Joe Person and Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer detail some of the reasons behind his firing. Gettleman’s “brusque management style” and his reshaping of Carolina’s roster after its 15-1, NFC-winning campaign in 2015 contributed to his demise, with his decision to rescind cornerback Josh Norman‘s franchise tag in 2016 helping to decide his fate. Letting Norman loose on the free agent market meant allowing a No. 1-caliber corner to walk away without the club receiving compensation, and it irked some of the team’s players.

A year later, the departure of ex-assistant general manager Brandon Beane also weakened Gettleman’s grip on the GM job. Beane took over as Buffalo’s GM in May, which cost Gettleman the good cop to his bad cop. The loss of Beane negatively affected Gettleman’s work relationships, according to Person and Fowler, as the former “acted as a go-between among the front office, coaching staff and locker room,” the reporters explain. Former Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert, who signed with the Bills after Gettleman released him in February, confirmed that Beane was a valuable figure in Carolina. “As players we all love Beane. We all love being around him,” said Tolbert. “He’s part of the reason we did what we did. I’m happy to have him in Buffalo now, I can tell you that much.”

More from the NFC:

  • Speaking of Norman, who’s now with the Redskins, he could end up as a cap casualty next offseason if he doesn’t make more of an impact this year, suggests Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic. With 14 infractions, Norman led the league in penalties last year, Tandler points out. However, it seems he has otherwise lived up to Washington’s five-year, $75MM investment thus far. Norman picked off three passes and forced two fumbles last season – a slight drop-off from four and three, respectively, in 2015 – started all 16 games, easily led Redskins defenders in snaps (1,057) and ranked 24th among Pro Football Focus’ 109 qualified corners. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that designating the soon-to-be 30-year-old Norman a post-June 1 cut in 2018 would save the Redskins a healthy $14MM and leave them with a manageable $3MM in dead money next season.
  • A lack of punctuality has been a problem for Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant throughout his career, and his issues with reporting to team functions on time have already cropped up this year. Bryant made it to training camp three hours late on Friday, relays Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though the player informed Jane Slater of NFL Network that he has been dealing with sinus infections and headaches. He’s now working with the Cowboys’ training staff to alleviate his sinus troubles, adds Rapoport. Further, Bryant apologized to Cowboys coaches and “took full responsibility” for his tardiness, writes Slater, but it’s still likely the team will fine him, reports Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram (Twitter links here).
  • Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky‘s rookie contract contains partial offsets, tweets Albert Breer of The MMQB. His deal is similar to the one Marcus Mariota signed with the Titans in 2015, when he, like Trubisky this year, entered the league as the second overall pick in his draft class. Mariota and the Titans agreed to make his base salaries (a total of $2.28MM) subject to offsets, but the vast majority of his $24.214MM pact is protected.
  • Cardinals running back Chris Johnson‘s one-year deal includes a $1MM base value, $200K in guarantees and a chance to earn more in incentives, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Bears Sign Mitch Trubisky

The Bears have signed first round pick Mitch Trubisky, according to a team announcement. It’s good timing for both sides as Bears rookies report to training camp today.

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Even as the two sides took additional time to come to an accord, Trubisky made it clear that he would not be training camp holdout a la Joey Bosa.

“I’m not going to miss any practices or anything like that,” Trubisky said in late June. “I’m excited to sign my contract as soon as possible, however that goes down. But I don’t see that being held out through training camp; even if it did, I’m going to be practicing and all that. I’m looking forward to getting it done as soon as possible. I’m a Chicago Bear, no matter if they let me sign or what. I guess not, but I am.”

The Bears shocked the world in April by not only selecting Trubisky with their top pick, but trading up from No. 3 overall to No. 2 for the right to do it. Switching places with the 49ers cost picks No. 67 and No. 111 in the 2017 draft, plus a 2018 a third-round pick.

The pressure is on for Trubisky, though it won’t necessarily be felt right away. For now, the plan is for free agent acquisition Mike Glennon to be the Bears’ starter while Trubisky learns from the bench.

The deal leaves us with six unsigned first round picks: defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (49ers), wide receiver Corey Davis (Titans), safety Jamal Adams (Jets), quarterback Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), cornerback Gareon Conley (Raiders), and safety Jabrill Peppers (Browns).

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky Won’t Hold Out

Although Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky is one of only 10 unsigned 2017 draft picks, he has no intention of holding out once training camp begins, as Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times details.Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

“I’m not going to miss any practices or anything like that,” Trubisky said. “I’m excited to sign my contract as soon as possible, however that goes down. But I don’t see that being held out through training camp; even if it did, I’m going to be practicing and all that. I’m looking forward to getting it done as soon as possible. I’m a Chicago Bear, no matter if they let me sign or what. I guess not, but I am.”

Seven of the 10 unsigned 2017 picks are first-rounders, so Trubisky, the second overall selection, isn’t much of an outlier just yet. A first-round pick, and especially a quarterback like Trubisky, can often exert a bit of leverage in rookie contract negotiations. Though the NFL contractual bargaining agreement makes rookie signings a breeze, small terms — such as timing of bonus payments or offset language — can be brokered.

Last year, of course, the Chargers failed to sign No. 4 selection Joey Bosa until the end of August as the two parties haggled over contractual details. After giving up a haul of draft picks to move up to the No. 2 overall pick, Chicago clearly doesn’t want the same situation to play out with Trubisky, who is expected to play behind starter Mike Glennon, at least to start the 2017 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Highest-Impact Rookie Quarterback?

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.

Deshaun Watson Texans (vertical)

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.

DeShone Kizer

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.

Photos via USA Today Sports Images and Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Extra Points: Trubisky, Dolphins, 49ers, Bucs

The Bears played it close to the vest before making their Mitch Trubisky trade from No. 3 to No. 2, one that headlined the draft and one that may have the team’s power structure at odds. Chicago’s brass tried to throw teams off the scent early in the process by sending an armada of personnel to Deshaun Watson‘s pro day while orchestrating a secret dinner meeting with Trubisky, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. The Bears also “begged” Trubisky’s camp not to leak news of that summit, and that part of the operation succeeded. Ryan Pace followed Dave Caldwell‘s secretive playbook when he made the Blake Bortles pick few expected.

Here’s more from around the league as rookie minicamp sessions are upon us.

  • Charles Harris experienced a similar type of draft misdirection. The Dolphins cancelled a pre-draft visit with the Missouri product without providing a reason for the change of plans. “I was like, ‘Man, that’s messed up,” Harris said, via James Walker of ESPN.com. Miami was linked to edge defenders coming into the draft despite re-signing Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, and Harris fell to the Fins at No. 22 to validate their pre-draft plot. The Dolphins met with Harris at the Combine but didn’t prompt him for a post-Combine workout before the cancellation tactic. “It’s just there are some players that we purposely try and stay away from once we are comfortable with the player, his character and what type of kid we are getting,” Dolphins GM Chris Grier said, via Walker. “We just do not feel the need to spend any more time with them.”
  • John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan were split on one of the 49ers’ eventual draft picks, and the coach won out. Lynch had Utah running back Joe Williams off his draft board, but Shanahan convinced the new GM to give the go-ahead for a fourth-round selection, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Shanahan, who was tied to the 49ers midway through the GM hunt and thus received an opportunity for additional control, helped sway Lynch to trade a fifth-round pick to move up in the fourth round and select Williams. The Utes runner’s questionable off-the-field past had Lynch skeptical, but Shanahan saw some promise in the back who ran the Combine’s second-fastest 40 time at 4.41 seconds. With Carlos Hyde entering a contract year, Williams could be a key component of the 49ers’ future.
  • Both Kendell Beckwith and Buccaneers management expect the linebacker to be ready to return by training camp, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Beckwith tore his ACL late during his senior season at LSU last fall. Stroud expects Beckwith to be a possible early-season starter on the strong side, with the writer believing primary 2016 starter Daryl SmithPFR’s No. 4 UFA off-ball linebacker — is closing in on retirement rather than returning for a 14th NFL season.
  • Bucs running back Jeremy McNichols underwent surgery shortly after the Combine to repair a torn labrum, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine reports McNichols’ timeline hovers at around four months, noting the Boise State-developed back hopes to be ready for camp. McNichols arrived via fifth-round pick for a Bucs team that has questions about Doug Martin‘s future. The team still employs Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and Peyton Barber on the roster. McNichols caught 103 passes at Boise State in three seasons, but Jason Licht views him as a possible three-down back as opposed to a passing-game specialist.

NFC Draft Notes: Bears, 49ers, Saints, Lions

Reports emerged last night that Bears head coach John Fox was unaware of his club’s intention to draft North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky until a “couple hours” before the draft. GM Ryan Pace subsequently denied those reports, saying his head coach is involved in all of the team’s decisions.

“That stuff is so false,” Pace said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “There’s consistency in everything we do, so we all work arm-in-arm and that’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

“John is involved in every decision deeply. The respect I have for John is enormous, especially his experience and all of the players that he’s been with. I think if you look back — and we talked about this — I think a lot of it was kept secret I thought we did a good job keeping this thing pretty under wraps, it’s so sensitive. But if you go back to the private workouts that we had, I mean John and I — it’s pretty hard to hide him — but we’re traveling to Chapel Hill and having dinners and workouts with Mitch, so he’s been deeply involved from the very beginning.”

Let’s check out some other draft notes from around the NFC…

  • The Vikings reportedly approached the 49ers about trading for the 104th pick, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter). However, San Francisco wanted to guarantee that they’d get Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, so they rebuffed Minnesota’s advances. Ironically, Minnesota was previously in possession of that pick.
  • The Saints were fans of Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, general manager Mickey Loomis told Larry Holder of NOLA.com (Twitter link). However, with Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore still being on the board, New Orleans wasn’t too interested in moving up for the signal-caller. Mahomes was ultimately reelected 10th overall by the Chiefs.
  • UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau‘s pectoral muscle is “looking great,” tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. This reassurance probably convinced the Redskins to take the defensive back with the 81st-overall pick.
  • The Lions selected cornerback Teez Tabor with the 53rd pick, despite the fact he suffered a hamstring injury during his workout with the team. Rapoport tweets that the Florida product didn’t end up working out for any other teams.