Nathan Peterman

Extra Points: Murray, Njoku, Contracts

Before he was the first overall pick of the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyler Murray was the ninth overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s. Then he went on to win the Heisman Trophy, causing him to rocket up NFL draft boards. Even after winning the Heisman Murray initially was reported to be pursuing baseball over football, but obviously that changed when it became clear just how high he’d be drafted. We haven’t heard a ton about his baseball passions since, but he made it clear he isn’t over the game in interviews this past week. “I would love to” play baseball again one day Murray said on The Pat McAfee Show, via Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic. “I think it’s still there because I’ve been doing it my whole life. It wasn’t like I have to turn this off to be elite at football.”

When asked if he could see himself playing football and baseball at the same time one day soon, Murray said “I hope so. I hope so. I mean, I would love to. I think that would be good for everybody … I think it is tough because I play quarterback.” He also added that walking away from Oakland was “definitely the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.” The Cardinals likely aren’t as enthused about the possibility, and it’s specifically in his contract that he’s not allowed to play baseball. Maybe when it comes time for Murray to get a contract extension from Arizona, he’ll look to negotiate a clause that allows him to try his hand at baseball? It’s certainly fun to think about, and I think every fan would be hoping he can become the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders.

Here’s more from around the league as we officially turn our attention toward the offseason:

  • David Njoku had a rocky season with the Browns, even as the team had their most success in decades. The drafting of Harrison Bryant and signing of Austin Hooper reduced his role on offense, and Njoku demanded to be traded this past summer, then changed his mind on that demand, then apparently changed his mind once again and wanted to be traded in October. Obviously Cleveland didn’t want to deal him, and it looked like everything had more or less been worked out, but Njoku fanned the flames again this past week. “That’s a good question,” Njoku said recently on the Jim Rome Show when asked if he’s in the right spot, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m not going to answer that right now. I have no comment towards that at this moment,” Njoku said cryptically. The 29th overall pick of the 2017 draft added that everything would work itself out in the “near future.” Thanks to his fifth-year option the tight end is under contract for 2021 at a hair over $6MM, although that’s not guaranteed. If they choose to keep him at that number, it sounds like another trade request could be in the cards.
  • Reserve/futures deals are non-guaranteed pacts to keep unheralded players a part of a team’s offseason 90-man roster, so they usually don’t come with any bonuses or guaranteed money. When they do, that makes them a lot more notable, and Field Yates of ESPN.com recently tweeted out this cycle’s biggest. Cornerback Grant Haley got $35.7K from the Saints, safety Marqui Christian and cornerback Xavier Crawford got $35K and $31.3K respectively from the Bears, long snapper Dan Godsil got $27.4K from the Bengals, and tight end Tyree Jackson got $25.2K from the Eagles while punter Arryn Siposs got $25K from Philly. All these guys would seem to have a better than normal chance of cracking next year’s 53. Haley saw a lot of run his first two years in the league with the Giants, and was up and down from New Orleans’ practice squad in 2020. If Cincy is giving a reserve/futures long snapper $25K, you’ve gotta figure they think there’s a good chance he’s their guy next year. Jackson is a notable name since he’s the former University of Buffalo star quarterback who has since transitioned to tight end.
  • Speaking of relatively minor contracts, Yates also tweeted the details for the recent extensions for Raiders quarterback Nathan Peterman and 49ers long snapper Taybor Pepper. Peterman got a guaranteed $1MM base salary on his one-year deal, a $25K workout bonus, and a max value of $2.775MM with incentives. Pepper got two-years, $2.08MM with an $80K signing bonus and $220K of his $920K salary for 2021 guaranteed. It’s pretty eyebrow-raising to see Peterman get his $1MM guaranteed considering he’s thrown all of five passes the past two seasons, but Jon Gruden clearly loves the guy. This would suggest he’s got a good shot to hold the clipboard for Derek Carr, or whoever is the Raiders’ starter next year.

Raiders Extend QB Nathan Peterman

While the annual questions exist around Derek Carr‘s status with the Raiders, the franchise now has two of his backups under contract for 2021.

The Raiders announced Thursday they have agreed to terms with Nathan Peterman on a one-year deal. The deal could pay Peterman up to $2.775MM, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes.

Peterman being back on Las Vegas’ 53-man roster in 2021 would mark a fourth season in silver and black for the former Bills draftee. The Raiders initially added Peterman to their practice squad late in the 2018 season. Being a 2017 draftee, Peterman was eligible for unrestricted free agency in March.

Despite Peterman’s Bills performances prompting constant criticism, he has found a home with the Raiders. The team reworked his rookie deal last summer and now will have him entering the 2021 offseason on the roster behind Carr and Marcus Mariota. The latter is signed through the ’21 season.

A former fifth-round pick, Peterman has played in one game as a Raider. He completed 3 of 5 passes in the Raiders’ blowout loss to the Falcons in November. Overall, Peterman’s numbers are ghastly. He has thrown three touchdown passes and 12 interceptions — five of those picks coming in a disastrous start against the Chargers as a rookie — and has averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt. But while the Raiders have employed Mike Glennon and DeShone Kizer since acquiring Peterman, Jon Gruden kept Peterman around over those former starters. This relationship is now set for a fourth season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Place Marcus Mariota On IR, Add DeShone Kizer To P-Squad

The Raiders have placed quarterback Marcus Mariota on injured reserve, per a club announcement. For added insurance, the club has added one-time Notre Dame star DeShone Kizer to the Raiders’ practice squad. 

Mariota’s strained pectoral muscle will keep him out for at least three weeks, per the league’s modified rules for 2020. Without him, the Raiders are rolling with two QBs on the active roster – Derek Carr and Nathan Peterman. Mariota’s temporary absence may take a little bit of pressure off of Derek Carr, who has certainly heard the footsteps. Mariota, who was leapfrogged by Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee, finished the year with a career-low 59.4% completion rate and just 1,203 yards.

Kizer has been on the workout trail ever since he was cut by the club in May, but those tryouts didn’t land him a deal. Now, the 2017 second-round pick will stick around in Las Vegas as he waits for his next opportunity. Kizer, 24, has made 18 appearances over the course of his NFL career, most of which came during the Browns’ winless season. All in all, he’s got eleven touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

Here’s the full rundown of the Raiders’ practice squad after Monday’s move:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rework Nathan Peterman’s Deal

Nathan Peterman‘s job appears to be safe. On Friday, the Raiders reworked the quarterback’s contract to go from a non-guaranteed $2.133MM to a guaranteed one-year, $1MM pact (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com).

Quarterback depth is more important than ever amidst the pandemic and the Raiders see Peterman as a worthwhile QB3 to stash behind Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota. Of course, Peterman’s on-field track record has left much to be desired. The Bills cut him midway through his second pro year, following a historically bad start to his career. Pro Football Reference’s “indexed” statistics, which account and adjust for different eras of the game, rated Peterman dead last among all QBs since 1970 in passer rating, yards per attempt, interception percentage, and numerous other passing statistics.

Peterman looked sharp in the 2019 preseason, but he landed on IR before the start of the Raiders’ season. This year, he’s healthy, and he’ll be on call for Jon Gruden if needed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders QB Nathan Peterman Signs Tender

Raiders quarterback Nathan Peterman has signed his restricted free agency tender, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Ditto for offensive tackle David Sharpe. Both players will return to Las Vegas on one-year, $2.133MM deals. 

[RELATED: Raiders’ Morrow Signs RFA Tender]

Peterman, 26 in May, was a fifth-round pick of the Bills back in 2017. The Bills cut him midway through his second pro year. Pro Football Reference’s “indexed” statistics, which account and adjust for different eras of the game, rated Peterman dead last among all QBs since 1970 in passer rating, yards per attempt, interception percentage, and numerous other passing statistics.

Still, several teams took an interest in him when he hit the open market. The Raiders signed him towards the end of ’18 and he rewarded their confidence with a surprisingly strong preseason in ’19. Peterman connected on 60 of his 84 passes for 475 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. But, just before the start of the year, he landed on IR.

Earlier this week, fellow Raiders RFA Nicholas Morrow also inked his tender. Tendered at the second-round level, he’ll see a bump from $645K to $3.26MM.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/16/20

Monday’s restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decisions will be posted below. Deals will be updated throughout the day.

RFAs

Tendered at original-round level:

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

  • Chiefs: TE David Wells

Raiders Place Nathan Peterman On IR

The Raiders placed quarterback Nathan Peterman on injured reserve, per a team announcement. With that, the Raiders are back to having three quarterbacks: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon, and newcomer DeShone Kizer.

The Raiders claim of Kizer on Sunday was something of a head-scratcher, but now it makes perfect sense. There’s no word yet on Peterman’s injury, but he’ll now get at least two months of rest. Even if he’s able to play, he might stay parked on IR for the entire season, barring injury to Carr, Glennon, or Kizer. Teams are only permitted to bring two players back from IR each year and they’ll probably have better candidates to choose from than the No. 3 QB.

Peterman was counted out by many, but he came roaring back in the preseason by completing 60 of 84 passes for 475 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions across four games.

Raiders Notes: Brown, Peterman, Good

We’ve got a new twist in the seemingly never-ending Antonio Brown saga. The last we had heard, the NFL had given the Raiders receiver the go-ahead to find a helmet of his usual model that was less than ten years old. The league had told him he would be able to play in it if he could find one less than ten years old, but they apparently changed course and told him the new helmet would still need to be tested, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Brown was able to find “several” of the Schutt AiR Advantage helmets made in the last ten years, but “earlier today, Brown was informed that the helmet failed the test,” Florio writes.

Brown has already reported back to the Raiders, so hopefully this doesn’t cause too much new drama. He had appeared to have gotten over the helmet issue, before this potential loophole came to light. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be the final word on the helmet. The same source told Florio that “we haven’t heard the last of Brown on this issue,” so we should all buckle up. It’s hard to see what his next move would be, although he apparently has at least one more trick up his sleeve. We’ll keep you posted when we find out what it is.

Here’s more from Oakland:

  • Speaking of Brown, he at least seems to be headed in the right direction health-wise. Brown appears to be almost over his foot issue, and Raiders coach Jon Gruden said “I think so, yeah,” when asked earlier today if Brown would be a full participant in practice soon, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. Gruden added that “he took all the reps today in our walkthrough.” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said “you can tell Antonio’s been studying because he came out and didn’t miss a beat,” and that Brown “was a part of everything we did today.” While the helmet issue doesn’t seem to be going away, it looks like Brown’s frostbitten feet won’t be a story moving forward.
  • There’s been a lot of talk about Oakland’s backup quarterbacks this offseason, mostly due to the infamy of Nathan Peterman. Gruden caused quite the uproar a few weeks ago when he heaped praise on Peterman, leading many to believe he had a legitimate shot to become Carr’s primary clipboard holder. That being said, Vic Tafur of The Athletic predicts he’ll end up getting cut in his new 53-man roster projection. Mike Glennon has been impressive during the preseason, so this isn’t too surprising. There’s also a chance the Raiders decide to keep three quarterbacks because of Gruden’s affinity for Peterman. Notably, Tafur also projects veteran receiver Ryan Grant and defensive tackle Justin Ellis, who just got a $15MM extension last offseason, to miss the cut.
  • More good injury news for the Raiders, as guard Denzelle Good has been activated off the PUP list and will return to practice, Tafur tweets. “That’s huge for us,” Gruden said. He’s not wrong, as the Raiders are very thin at guard at the moment. Gabe Jackson is currently sidelined with a knee injury and Richie Incognito is suspended for the first two games of the season, so Oakland will be without both of their starting guards in Week 1. Good started three games at guard for the Raiders last season after being claimed off waivers from the Colts. He’ll now presumably join the competition to fill in for Jackson and Incognito. The Raiders are also said to be exploring the trade market for veteran guards.

West Notes: Chiefs, Hill, Reaser, Seahawks, Collier, Gruden, Peterman

Just a few months ago, it looked like Tyreek Hill‘s time with the Chiefs was coming to an end. Since then the situation has changed completely, and Hill didn’t even get suspended by the league. The team reportedly always felt like Hill was being honest with them, and they stood by their star receiver despite taking a lot of heat. Kansas City apparently never considered disciplining Hill on their own outside of the league’s investigation, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.

In Breer’s piece, he also notes that Chiefs owner Clark Hunt spoke recently on his first conversation with Hill since this saga started. “So I had a good visit with him earlier in this week. I’m not going to get into the details of that conversation, but it was a very frank conversation, talking to him about responsibility as he comes back to be a Kansas City Chief,” Hunt said. Now that Hill has been cleared by the league, he’s reportedly likely to get an extension soon.

Here’s more from the league’s western divisions:

  • Speaking of the Chiefs, it sounds like they may have gotten some tough injury news. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said it looks like cornerback Keith Reaser may have an Achilles tendon tear, according to Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). Teams usually know right away but have to wait for MRI confirmation, so it’s almost certainly an Achilles tear for Reaser if Reid would say that publicly. Assuming that’s the case, he’ll miss the entire season. Reaser spent parts of the last two seasons with the Chiefs, and also played for the Orlando Apollos in the AAF. Kansas City’s already thin cornerback group just got a little less deep.
  • Speaking of injuries, it sounds like Seahawks first-round pick defensive end L.J. Collier is going to be on the shelf for a while. Collier, the 29th overall pick in April’s draft, is dealing with a high ankle sprain, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Collier almost certainly won’t be playing in the preseason, and it sounds like he’s in danger of missing regular season time. The Seahawks traded away their best pass-rusher in Frank Clark this offseason, and they’re counting on Collier to play a big role for them in 2019. If he’s sidelined for regular season action, it’ll be a huge blow to their already depleted pass-rush.
  • Raiders coach Jon Gruden caused quite the uproar online earlier today when he raved about quarterback Nathan Peterman. Speaking to the media at camp, Gruden said “this Nate Peterman is growing on me,” per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link). Gruden also said “I know he’s got some nightmare performances in the NFL, but when you watch the film, you can see why: It’s not all his fault.” Peterman, of course, has become somewhat of a punchline during his brief NFL career due to a couple of brutal performances. In his first career start as a rookie for the Bills in 2017, he threw five interceptions before being benched. He was equally as disastrous last year, tossing seven interceptions in just two starts and two relief appearances. After being cut by Buffalo, the Pittsburgh product latched on with Oakland. He’s battling with Mike Glennon for backup duties, and it sounds like he has a very real chance to hold Derek Carr‘s clipboard in 2019.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/1/19

Here are the New Year’s Day reserve/futures contract decisions:

Cincinnati Bengals

  • K Tristan Vizcaino

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers