P.J. Walker

NFC South Notes: Hill, Brate, Walker

The Saints expect Taysom Hill to take over for Drew Brees when Brees calls it a career, and to that end, they placed a first-round RFA tender on the BYU product earlier this month. Teddy Bridgewater had served as the backup to Brees over the past couple of seasons while Hill’s role as a gadget player grew, but head coach Sean Payton confirmed that Hill will be the QB2 in 2020. “He’s earned that opportunity,” Payton said (Twitter link via Jeff Duncan of The Athletic).

However, the team still expects to use Hill as a rusher and receiver next season, so Payton said New Orleans will add another QB that will be active on game days (Twitter link via Duncan). The Saints are expected to explore a long-term contract for Hill in the near future.

Now for more from the NFC South:

  • Cameron Brate‘s recent restructure with the Buccaneers is better classified as a pay cut. Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Brate accepted a decrease in his 2020 salary from $6MM to $4.25MM (Twitter link). The move will keep Brate, a quality red zone target, in the fold for Tom Brady while buying the team a little more cap space.
  • Several days ago, the Panthers beat out several clubs for the services of XFL signal-caller P.J. Walker. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle says Walker’s pact with Carolina is a two-year deal worth $1.565MM, a pretty nice haul for an XFLer who has yet to crack an active roster in the NFL (Twitter link).
  • CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson‘s new one-year deal with the Falcons includes a base salary of $1.05MM and a singing bonus of $137.5K, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets.

Panthers, QB P.J. Walker Agree To Deal

After an abbreviated run in the XFL, P.J. Walker drew interest from several NFL teams. But he will reunite with his former coach.

Walker will sign with the Panthers, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The recent Houston Roughnecks standout played for Matt Rhule at Temple. This will mark another NFL opportunity for the former UDFA quarterback, who will receive a $150K signing bonus, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Monday marks the first day NFL teams can sign XFL players. While it is unclear how many will have markets, Walker did well for himself in the rebooted league. He generated interest from the Broncos, Cardinals and Seahawks and will have a chance to become the Panthers’ backup quarterback behind Teddy Bridgewater. Though, this crowds the Panthers’ quarterback group.

Walker, 25, guided the Roughnecks to a 5-0 start. He threw 15 touchdown passes and four interceptions, completing 66% of his passes. The XFL ended its season early because of the COVID-19 pandemic and freed up its players to sign NFL deals. Previously, XFLers could not sign until after the league’s season ended.

Walker was Temple’s starter for four seasons, from 2013-16. Rhule was the Owls’ coach throughout that span. Despite Walker being unable to catch on with an NFL team’s active roster previously, his history with Rhule points to a good shot at sticking around in the league this time. The Panthers, however, still have primary 2019 starter Kyle Allen under contract. They also used a third-round pick on Will Grier last year. The team recently extended Allen and has Grier signed through 2022. Rhule not drafting Grier, however, could play into the team’s plans.

While he was on track to be the XFL’s second MVP, Walker has enjoyed NFL opportunities previously. He bounced on and off the Colts’ practice squad in 2018-19. The Colts cut Walker from their P-squad in September of last year. No other team signed him, but he remade himself into an intriguing commodity during XFL 2.0’s shortened season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Cardinals, Broncos Interested In XFL QB P.J. Walker

The second incarnation of the XFL didn’t make it a full season due to COVID-19, but before that things had been going surprisingly well. Things were much smoother than in the ill-fated AAF, and some players are already starting to reap the benefits.

The Seahawks, Cardinals, and Broncos have all reached out to the Houston Roughnecks to express interest in their quarterback P.J. Walker, a source told Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). XFL players are allowed to sign with the NFL starting Monday morning, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com tweets, and it sounds like Walker could get scooped up pretty quickly.

The Temple product signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017, and spent most the next three years on their practice squad. Walker became one of the first stars of Vince McMahon’s upstart league, as he led the Roughnecks to a perfect 5-0 start before the rest of the season was cancelled.

In those five games Walker had 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns, leading the league in both categories. Now we see why Indianapolis kept bringing him back each offseason. All three of the interested teams won’t be looking at Walker as anything more than a backup, but he could make for a good reserve option as all three have similarly athletic and mobile starters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC South 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 Texans, Colts, Jaguars, and Titans are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. 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 AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Houston Texans

Claimed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Practice squad:

Indianapolis Colts

Claimed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Practice squad:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Practice squad:

Tennessee Titans

Practice squad:

* = practice squad exception

Colts Sign 18 Undrafted Players

The Colts announced the signing of 18 undrafted players, bringing their roster to the 90-man max. Here’s the full list:

Sanchez has experience in both kicking and punting. Last year at Hawaii, he averaged 44.6 yards per punt and nailed all 13 of his field goal tries. According to Stephen Holder of the Indy Star (on Twitter), Sanchez received a $12K bonus, which is rather high for a kicker.

Griffey is the son of baseball great Ken Griffey Jr. The wide receiver had 23 catches for 382 yards and two scores in his final season at Arizona.

Walker is Temple’s all-time leader in completions, passing yards, and touchdowns. In 2016, he threw for 3,295 yards with 22 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. His yardage and TD totals marked a career high.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.