Brandon Allen

49ers To Re-Sign QB Brandon Allen

Brandon Allen will remain in San Francisco for at least one more offseason. The veteran quarterback has agreed to a new 49ers deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

A report from January tapped Allen as the likely backup for San Francisco in 2024. Sam Darnold held that role last season, but his play under head coach Kyle Shanahan could price him out of the Bay Area. Retaining Allen marks another sign that Darnold could be playing elsewhere next season.

Allen, 31, entered the league as a Jaguars draftee in 2016, but it was three years later that he saw his first regular season action. He made three starts with Denver in 2019 before a three-year span in Cincinnati. The former sixth-rounder worked as Joe Burrow‘s backup during that time, but the Bengals did not retain him last offseason.

That left Allen free to head elsewhere, and he did so by joining the 49ers. Even with Trey Lance in the fold at the time, San Francisco set a high asking price for any potential Allen trade. It was Lance who wound up being dealt to the Cowboys, setting up Darnold and Allen to hold down the backup and third-string roles, respectively. Brock Purdy will retain the starting gig moving forward, but a Darnold departure would line up Allen for a new QB2 position.

The latter has only won two of his seven career starts while posting a passer rating of 78 along the way. While those figures help explain why he will no doubt be relegated to backup duties for the remainder of his career, he will once again be in a QB-friendly environment working with Shanahan for the 2024 campaign.

49ers View Brandon Allen As QB2 Option For 2024

Previously Joe Burrow‘s backup in Cincinnati, Brandon Allen could soon see the cards fall in his favor in San Francisco. Not joining the 49ers until May, their current third-string quarterback looks to have an opportunity to move up the depth chart fairly soon.

Sam Darnold resides as Brock Purdy‘s unquestioned backup, but after injuries changed a slew of teams’ QB plans this season, it would not surprise to see the NFL collectively place a greater emphasis on the backup role in free agency. Darnold would stand to benefit, being one of the league’s top backups. While Darnold said he chose the 49ers in large part because of Kyle Shanahan and the team’s weaponry, the former No. 3 overall pick may well become too expensive for the team to retain.

Enter Allen, whom The Athletic’s Matt Barrows notes the team views as a “strong candidate” to be Purdy’s backup next season (subscription required). The 49ers made it a priority to acquire Allen after the draft, despite employing Trey Lance at the time. Allen is tied to a veteran-minimum deal (one year, $1.23MM) for his experience level. The journeyman backup will carry a much lower price tag compared to Darnold, who will be in position to command more than the one-year, $4.5MM deal he signed in March.

Allen, 31, is a ninth-year veteran who has taken snaps in just four of those seasons. A 2015 Jaguars sixth-round pick, the Arkansas alum spent time with the Rams and Broncos prior to a three-year run as Burrow’s Bengals backup. Allen’s most notable work came during the 2019 and ’20 seasons, when he made eight combined starts in place of injured starters (Joe Flacco and Burrow). Allen does not bring an impressive statistical resume, holding a career 6.1-yard average per attempt and a 56.7% completion rate. He is 2-7 as a starter. But the 6-foot-2 passer, who stepped into the QB3 role in earnest after the 49ers traded Lance to the Cowboys, will have a year of experience in Shanahan’s offense.

Considering the issues the 49ers have experienced at quarterback under Shanahan, it would surprise if the team did not explore a higher-end backup in the event Darnold leaves for either a bridge-QB job or joins a team with a less solidified starter. San Francisco, however, has seen Purdy recover from his UCL tear and become a Pro Bowl invitee. The experience gap between Darnold and Allen is certainly notable, and even with Nick Bosa on a defender-record extension and Brandon Aiyuk an extension candidate, it would surprise if the 49ers did not explore the backup market again. But Allen looks to be a clear QB2 option for 2024.

Bengals Could Target QB Addition

Neither Jake Browning nor Trevor Siemian have run away with the Bengals QB2 gig, a job that’s becoming increasingly important considering Joe Burrow‘s questionable status to start the regular season. Head coach Zac Taylor admitted that the organization could add another quarterback to the mix, but he also cautioned that introducing an outside QB to Cincy’s system could be difficult with only weeks remaining until the regular season.

“I think anything’s feasible,” Taylor said (via The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.). “But at the same time, there are a lot of nuances to our offense when you’re asking that guy to learn that quickly and be able to operate it in a game, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge in any system. I think it’s a challenge in our system. These guys, I like where they’re headed mentally with our system. I like where they’re headed physically in terms of operating with the urgency and the communication that we want, and the accuracy.”

As Dehner Jr. writes, the Bengals may need an outside QB to “win games the first month of the season,” and that free agent acquisition might not have enough time to pick up the offense. Further, the front office isn’t in a position to spend big on a backup quarterback, which probably eliminates some of the big names remaining in free agency.

One of the most realistic targets for the Bengals could be Brandon Allen, who spent the past three years as Burrow’s backup. The quarterback signed with the 49ers earlier this offseason, but he’s the clear QB4 on a depth chart that also includes Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold. Assuming Allen is cut loose, he’d fit the low-cost, system-familiar option that the Bengals could be seeking.

Of course, the easiest route is for one of the Bengals’ in-house options to turn into a definitive backup to Burrow. As Dehner Jr. notes, Browning has had his ups and downs during the preseason, but he’s still had a better showing than his veteran teammate. The former Vikings UDFA has spent almost two years in the Bengals organization, and Taylor said that the experience gives Browning an upper hand.

“Jake has now been here for several years,” Taylor said. “He understands the system and how you want to operate it. That’s an advantage he’s had from the jump. I think his urgency has continued to increase lately. I really like that. He does a great job just as a leader. Guys believe in him and as he moves around and operates there is a confidence there that guys have. You see that from Trevor as well. Jake, you can see why he’s had a really successful high school career, a really successful college career and he’s getting these opportunities in the league to fight his way up a depth chart really has been the story of his career.”

We heard earlier this month that Burrow is “progressing as he should” in his return from a calf sprain. Recent reports indicated that the Pro Bowler should be good to go for Week 1, but the Bengals will proceed with the utmost caution as they pursue another AFC crown.

49ers Likely To Carry Three QBs; Brock Purdy Ramps Up Throwing Program

The 49ers closed last season with only Josh Johnson backing up Brock Purdy, moving to that two-quarterback setup after Jimmy Garoppolo‘s foot injury. That approach’s conclusion ended up leading to the NFL changing the rules regarding QB availability.

Going into this year, the 49ers will likely take a more conventional approach. They are prepared to carry three quarterbacks on their active roster, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

San Francisco’s offseason roster houses four quarterbacks — Purdy, Trey Lance, Sam Darnold, Brandon Allen — and the team just worked out recent XFL arm Jack Coan (along with four-year veteran wide receiver Jason Moore), KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. With a four-QB arrangement rarely used during the regular season, one of the team’s current four passers will not be on the active roster once the team sets it August 29. This does invite questions regarding Lance and Darnold coexisting, but Allen could make sense as a practice squad option.

Despite Allen spending the past three years as Joe Burrow‘s Bengals backup, he landed with the 49ers midway through the offseason. Allen would pass straight to free agency if cut in late August, opening the door for a spot on San Francisco’s 16-man P-squad. It is possible another team would view the veteran backup as a second- or third-string candidate, however. In the event the 49ers do pull the trigger on a Lance trade — a rumored scenario earlier this offseason, though John Lynch has veered in the other direction as of late — Allen makes sense as their third-stringer.

He’s obviously not just a camp arm around this league,” Shanahan said of Allen. “He’s been a backup for a while.”

Allen, 30, is going into his eighth NFL season. For now, Lance and Darnold are splitting first-team reps while Purdy recovers. But after the events of last season, the 49ers could carry three QBs on their active roster and have an insurance option on the P-squad.

Lance went down in Week 2 of last season and underwent two ankle surgeries, while Garoppolo’s Bay Area run coming to an end in early December. The latter issue led to a March surgery, which has affected the Raiders’ 2023 plans. Purdy’s UCL tear did not lead to Tommy John surgery, but it has still thrust the 49ers into another offseason headlined by post-surgery rehab. Garoppolo came back from shoulder surgery last year, moving off the trade block and into the role of Lance’s backup. Johnson, signed off the Broncos’ practice squad after Garoppolo’s injury, suffered a concussion that brought a severely compromised Purdy back into the NFC championship game. Last month, the NFL approved the return of the emergency QB rule, which allows for teams to designate a non-active-roster passer as its game-day emergency option — only in the event its top two QBs go down.

This scenario opens the door to the strange proposition of Lance or Darnold not dressing but being an emergency option. Purdy continues to look like he will not need a stay on the reserve/PUP list to start the season. Although the second-year passer’s rehab timetable may still threaten his regular-season availability, the 49ers will likely play it week to week and keep Purdy on their 53-man roster in that case. Not long after beginning to throw post-surgery, Purdy has ramped up his throwing program to three times per week, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News notes.

Considered ahead of schedule in his recovery from an internal brace procedure, Purdy remains in the driver’s seat to start for the 49ers. Training camp will provide a better indication of Darnold or Lance’s capabilities at unseating last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, but for the time being, Purdy’s grip on the job remains firm.

NFC West Notes: Carter, Cards, Rams, 49ers

Closely connected to Jalen Carter ahead of the draft, the Seahawks decided to select Devon Witherspoon at No. 5. The Lions were believed to be targeting the Illinois cornerback at No. 6, and Tyler Dunne of notes the Seahawks were pleased rumors circulated they were eyeing Carter at 5. That said, some among the Seahawks did make a late push for the Georgia defensive tackle, per Dunne, who adds some teams viewed the polarizing prospect as “unapologetic” regarding the off-field incident that docked his draft stock. Carter faced misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing — in connection with a fatal crash that killed two members of Georgia’s football program in January — but said he did not encounter extensive questioning from teams about the January scene. The Eagles are not believed to have inquired deeply about the event.

Pete Carroll was believed to be onboard with the Seahawks drafting Carter, but the team passed on one of this draft’s top talents. They were not alone in doing so. The Lions were prepared to draft Jahmyr Gibbs over Carter, before the Cardinals sent them a trade offer for 6, and the Raiders and Falcons passed as well. The Bears, who were eyeing D-line additions in the draft, traded out of No. 9 to allow the Eagles to land this class’ top D-tackle. Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The Cardinalstrade-up to No. 6 completed their Paris Johnson acquisition effort. After being tied to the Ohio State prospect in the days leading up to the draft, Arizona will likely move him into its starting lineup immediately. Johnson earned his high prospect ranking as a tackle, but Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic notes the Cardinals have not determined if the ex-Buckeyes blocker will start his pro career at tackle or guard. Johnson played guard in both 2020 and ’21, being a full-time starter at that position as a sophomore, before sliding to left tackle last season. The Cards have both their top tackles — D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum — under contract and re-signed Will Hernandez this offseason. Josh Jones, a guard who slid to tackle to replace an injured Humphries, remains rostered as well. Regardless of where Johnson starts his career, he is expected to become the Cards’ long-term left tackle, McManaman adds.
  • Staying on the topic of Cardinals positional uncertainty, Zaven Collins began working as an edge rusher when the team convened for its offseason work, Darren Urban of notes. The 2021 first-round pick spent his first two NFL seasons as an off-ball linebacker, but the Cardinals have Isaiah Simmons and the recently added Kyzir White — who followed HC Jonathan Gannon from Philadelphia — at the ILB spots. While Collins played 785 snaps at linebacker last season, he did line up as a D-lineman on 182 plays.
  • With Gannon and Cards DC Nick Rallis departing Philly, the Eagles hired Matt Patricia. Prior to that relocation, Patricia spoke with the Rams about a role on Sean McVay‘s staff, Albert Breer of writes. Patricia, who interviewed for the Broncos’ DC job and was on the radar for another role on Sean Payton‘s staff, has only previously coached for two teams (the Patriots and Lions) throughout a 19-year NFL career.
  • The 49ers added Brandon Allen as their fourth quarterback. While Allen would not be part of San Francisco’s active roster if every other QB on the team was fully healthy, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco notes the team gave the ex-Bengals QB2 $200K guaranteed. Allen spent most of the past three seasons as Joe Burrow‘s backup. While the 49ers have Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold on their roster, Purdy is not expected to be cleared until potentially September and Lance has been involved in trade rumors to the point John Lynch felt compelled to address those with the former No. 3 overall pick.

49ers, QB Brandon Allen Agree To Deal

John Lynch said post-draft the 49ers would add a fourth quarterback. The team has decided on veteran Brandon Allen. The former Bengals backup agreed to terms with the 49ers on Wednesday, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo report (via Twitter).

The 49ers have Brock Purdy rehabbing a torn UCL; the anticipated starter is not expected to receive full clearance until close to Week 1. Coming off a season marred by a September broken ankle, Trey Lance has come up in trade rumors. Sam Darnold committed to the NFC West team early in free agency. Allen will join the former Jets and Panthers starter as outside hires.

Allen, 30, spent the past three seasons as Joe Burrow‘s primary Bengals backup, signing three one-year deals. Cincinnati hosted Trevor Siemian on a free agent visit earlier this offseason but has not agreed to terms with the veteran backup yet. But Allen, who made five starts in relief of Burrow in 2020, will not be part of the Bengals’ equation any longer.

Both Allen and Siemian were part of the Broncos’ collection of post-Peyton Manning/pre-Russell Wilson lot of starters. The former made three starts during the 2019 season, the first game appearances for the 2016 draftee, as the Broncos transitioned from an injured Joe Flacco to then-rookie Drew Lock. The Jaguars initially drafted Allen in the sixth round out of Arkansas, but he spent the 2017 and ’18 seasons as a Rams reserve.

For his career, Allen holds a 56.7% completion rate and has averaged just 6.1 yards per attempt. While the former Razorbacks starter won his first career outing, he is 2-5 as a starter. One of those wins came in a December 2020 start in Houston, in which Allen finished with 371 passing yards and two touchdown strikes. For a potential camp arm, the 49ers can do a lot worse.

The 6-foot-2 QB, of course, will join an unusual situation. Lynch has discussed the above-referenced trade rumors with Lance, the team’s 2022 Week 1 starter, and Darnold has received early momentum about being the team’s starter — in the event Purdy is not ready to roll by Week 1. For all the uncertainty, the 49ers — who saw all four of their 2022 quarterback options go down — have three healthy QBs going into the offseason.

Bengals Make Three Waiver Claims

SEPTEMBER 2: To no surprise, the Bengals are indeed re-signing Allen, Thomas and Williams now that they have the open roster spots to do so, per a team announcement. Cincinnati is also placing safety Tycen Anderson and tackle Isaiah Prince on IR.

AUGUST 31: The Bengals have made some notable additions in the aftermath of yesterday’s roster cutdowns. Per the waiver wire, they have claimed tight end Devin Asiasiguard Max Scharping and defensive tackle Jay Tufele.

[RELATED: Bengals Expected To Sign TE Howard]

Asiasi came to New England with significant expectations, given his draft status and the organization’s success at the position. The third-rounder made just 10 appearances in his first two seasons, though, recording only a pair of receptions. The Patriots made a substantial free agent investment in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith last offseason, limiting his future with the team. In Cincinnati, he will face steep competition for playing time from Hayden Hurst and, in all likelihood, O.J. Howard.

Scharping is in a similar situation to Asiasi in terms of being an underwhelming high draft choice yet to finish their rookie contract. A 2019 second-rounder, the 26-year-old started 33 of the 48 contests he appeared in with the Texans, moving from the left to right guard spot this past season. Regardless of where he lined up, the Northern Illinois alum graded out in the mid-to-high 50s with respect to PFF rating, leaving him on the roster bubble. Scharping’s vacated spot is likely to be filled by A.J. Cann; he will challenge for a backup role behind top free agent addition Alex Cappa with the Bengals.

Tufele, meanwhile, has seen the least playing time of the new trio. As a rookie last season, he made just four appearances in Jacksonville, totaling two tackles. His PFF pass rush grade of 77 indicates some upside on third downs, which dates back to his time in college. Moving on from the USC alum so soon may have come as a surprise, though the additions of Folorunso Fatukasi and Adam Gotsis along the d-line were likely to significantly lessen his chance of seeing significant playing time with the Jaguars. The Bengals lost Larry Ogunjobi in free agency, but re-upped B.J. Hill, whom Tufele will look to provide depth behind his new home.

The defending AFC champions will return many of the members of last season’s team, but these additions could prove effective at areas of relative need. Among the cuts necessary to accommodate the new arrivals is veteran quarterback Brandon Allen. The 29-year-old signed a one-year deal for the third consecutive offseason to remain in Cincinnati.

For now, Allen’s departure leaves the Bengals with only Joe Burrow under center. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets, however, that Allen “will be back.” Cincinnati is also parting ways with safety Michael Thomas and running back Trayveon Williams.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BengalsBrowns, Ravens and Steelers moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Baltimore Ravens




Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals




Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Cleveland Browns



Signed to practice squad:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Bengals To Re-Sign Brandon Allen

The Bengals are set to retain the top two names on their quarterback depth chart. The team is re-signing backup  Brandon Allen on a one-year contract, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). 

Pelissero notes that Allen “was Cincinnati’s top choice” to serve as Joe Burrow‘s No. 2, so the move shouldn’t come as a surprise. The 29-year-old has been with the Bengals for the past two seasons, after he spent one year in Denver. He’s made a total of nine starts in his career, going 2-7 while completing 56.2% of his passes. The former sixth round pick has thrown 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.

In his time in Cincinnati, the numbers look slightly better. Allen’s completion percentage sits at 60.8% with the Bengals, and his passer rating is 82. While he doesn’t seem destined to find a starting role in the NFL, the former Razorback has clearly pleased the Bengals enough for him to be their preference as a backup.

Before the deal was announced, the Bengals still had just under $13MM in cap space to work with. That should leave them the flexibility to make at least one more noteworthy signing to augment the roster of last season’s AFC-winning team. In any event, they will at least carry over the same quarterbacks that they had that season into 2022.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans