Case Keenum

Restructured Deals: Packers, Broncos, Bills, Patriots, Giants

As free agency continues, teams will keep finding ways to open up additional cap. We’ve had a handful of reworked contracts in recent days, which we’ve compiled below:

  • The Packers opened $10.15MM in cap space by restructuring the contracts of wideout Randall Cobb (which was previously reported) and safety Adrian Amos, per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets that Green Bay turned $5.88MM of Amos’ $7MM base salary into a signing bonus and added four void years.
  • The Broncos opened up some space via a pair of restructured deals. Wideout Tim Patrick converted $6.9MM of his roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating around $4.6MM in cap space, per Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (on Twitter). The Broncos also converted receiver Courtland Sutton‘s $10.5MM roster bonus into a signing bonus, saving $7.875MM in 2022 cap space, per Klis (on Twitter).
  • The Panthers converted $11.765MM of wideout Robby Anderson’s 2022 pay into a signing bonus, creating $5.88MM in cap space, per Yates (on Twitter). Staying in the NFC, Yates also tweets that the Eagles converted $14.88MM of cornerback Darius Slay’s salary into a signing bonus, creating $11.90MM in 2022 cap space.
  • The Giants converted $2.63MM of kicker Graham Gano’s salary into a bonus, creating $1.753MM in cap space, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). The team also added a void year to the contract, something GM Joe Schoen was trying to avoid (per Raanan).
  • After getting traded to the Bills, quarterback Case Keenum agreed to rework his contract. Per Yates (on Twitter), Keenum reduced his base salary to $3.5MM. Another AFC East team, the Patriots, also got into the game, reducing defensive end Henry Anderson‘s base salary from $2.5MM to $1.25MM (per Yates).
  • Yates passes along three more restructures (on Twitter): the Vikings opened $6MM in cap space by reworking safety Harrison Smith‘s contract, the Bills opened $5.172MM via linebacker Matt Milano‘s contract, and the Titans opened $6.45MM via linebacker Zach Cunningham‘s contract.

Bills Sign QB Matt Barkley

After spending the 2021 season playing elsewhere, Matt Barkley has landed back in Buffalo. The Bills announced that they’ve signed the quarterback to a one-year contract.

[RELATED: Bills To Acquire Browns QB Case Keenum]

The journeyman had his longest career stint with the Bills, spending two-plus seasons with the organization. He saw time in eight games (one start) during his time in Buffalo, completing 54.6 percent of his passes for 788 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions.

He signed a two-year contract with the Titans last offseason but didn’t make it to the regular season, and he later spent the 2021 campaign with the Panthers and Falcons. Barkley previously spent time with the Eagles, Cardinals (two stints), Bears, 49ers, and Bengals.

The Bills have Josh Allen sitting atop their depth chart, and they acquired veteran Case Keenum from the Browns last week. However, as Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic tweeted at the time, a Barkley move was anticipated even when the organization acquired Keenum. In other words, it sounds like the two acquisitions will be fighting it out to replace Mitchell Trubisky as the No. 2 QB in Buffalo next season.

Bills To Acquire Browns QB Case Keenum

It looks like the Browns will be making three quarterback trades this offseason. They are sending Case Keenum to the Bills in exchange for a seventh-round pick, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Cleveland’s stunning Deshaun Watson deal will lead to a full-on reshaping of the team’s QB room. The Browns are expected to follow the Watson and Keenum trades with a Baker Mayfield swap. As of Saturday afternoon, Mayfield remains on the team. The disgruntled former No. 1 overall pick will be elsewhere to start the 2022 season.

[RELATED: Browns To Sign Jacoby Brissett]

The Bills lost 2021 backup Mitchell Trubisky to the Steelers in free agency. Keenum, 33, is now poised to take over as Josh Allen‘s understudy. After receiving starter work with the Vikings, Broncos and Washington from 2017-19, Keenum resettled as a backup in Cleveland, working behind Mayfield for the past two seasons. Keenum led the league in QB DVOA in 2017, piloting Minnesota to the NFC championship game, but crashed back to earth in Denver and Washington. He made two starts in Cleveland, both in 2021, with the Browns winning both games.

The Browns are bracing for a Watson suspension, which would thrust Brissett into the spotlight. Given their Watson investment, the Browns are expecting to be a Super Bowl contender soon. Keenum’s replacement will be important to those prospects, regardless if Watson’s suspension hits in 2022 or 2023.

Allen has not missed a start since his 2018 rookie season, which began with the superstar signal-caller on the bench. One season, with a $6.1MM base salary, remains on Keenum’s contract. It would not surprise to see the Bills give their new QB2 an extension to reduce his 2022 cap number.

Browns’ Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett Expected To Be Active Today

The Browns will have their top QBs available for this afternoon’s showdown with the Packers. The team reported that QB Case Keenum has cleared protocols and accompanied starter Baker Mayfield to Green Bay. Mayfield posted an IG story this morning showing him arriving in Green Bay for the afternoon game (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com on Twitter).

Per Stacey Dales of NFL Network (on Twitter), Mayfield is “ready to roll,” and his “body feels the healthiest it’s been in a while.” The QB was asymptomatic during his stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but he stayed “very involved virtually” for his eventual return. Mayfield tested positive for the coronavirus December 15 but could not navigate the return protocol until yesterday. Now, he’ll have a chance to guide Cleveland to a crucial win against the top team in the league.

Keenum landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on December 17, forcing him to miss a potential start against the Raiders (a start that ultimately went to Nick Mullens). The veteran got one start filling in for Mayfield earlier this season, completing 21 of his 33 pass attempts for 199 yards and one touchdown in a win over the Broncos.

Myles Garrett is also planning on playing this afternoon. The star pass rusher is listed as questionable with a groin injury, but Garrett told Cabot that he has no intention of missing the Christmas game.

“I feel like I’ll play regardless of how I feel,” Garrett said. “I haven’t practiced, so we’ll see. But I’m going to go out there and give my all. We’ve got to win out to make the playoffs and I’m going to play in every second of the game that I can.”

 

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/24/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: S Chuck Clark, C Trystan Colon
  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: RB Nate McCrary
  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: QB Chris Streveler

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: DB Jordan Fuller, TE Tyler Higbee
  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Cole Williamson

Miami Dolphins

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: RB Gerrid Doaks

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Travis Homer
  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: OL Pier-Olivier Lestage

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Browns Activate Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry From COVID-19 List

Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry did not practice this week, but both will be in line to play on Christmas Day. The Browns are activating Mayfield and Landry from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Mayfield tested positive for the coronavirus Dec. 15 but could not navigate the return protocol until Friday. Still, he will be expected to start against the Packers.

The Browns also activated backup Case Keenum, cornerback A.J. Green and defensive lineman Ifeadi Odengibo from the virus list for their Green Bay trip. Cleveland’s loss against Las Vegas, in a game Nick Mullens started with a host of backups at other spots, significantly diminished its playoff chances. The team was without 10 starters against the Raiders.

Some Browns remain on the virus list, including center J.C. Tretter and left tackle Jedrick Wills. Still, the Browns will be in better shape to face the Packers compared to the squad they were forced to deploy Monday.

Mayfield is still dealing with the left shoulder fracture he suffered earlier this season. The former No. 1 overall pick has dealt with other injury issues this season, but the shoulder problem will require surgery in 2022. Some of Mayfield’s numbers are well off his 2020 pace. He has thrown just 13 touchdown passes. While his completion percentage (62.8) is identical to his full-season 2020 mark and yards-per-attempt figure (7.6) up from last year, QBR slots Mayfield 25th. The metric placed the Browns starter 10th in 2020, putting him on track for a potential extension this year. Those talks have since been tabled, with a new deal unlikely until next year at least.

Browns’ Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum Ruled Out

Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum weren’t able to test out of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols in time for today’s game (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). With that, Nick Mullens is set to start for the Browns against the Raiders today.

[RELATED: Raiders-Browns Moved To Monday]

The Browns were able to activate safety John Johnson III from the list, but the bulk of their COVID-19 positive players from last week will be held out. To fill the roster, the Browns have elevated cornerbacks Brian Allen and Herb Miller, safeties Tedric Thompson and Jovante Moffatt, defensive end Joe Jackson, guard Hjalte Froholdt, and running back John Kelly for tonight’s game.

Without their top two QBs, the Browns will need a big day out of their running backs. Unfortunately, that group won’t include Kareem Hunt, who also finds himself on the COVID-19 list. Instead, they’ll look to Nick Chubb, who has 5.5 yards per carry on the year, and D’Ernest Johnson, the reserve who turned in a couple of impressive performances earlier this year.

Browns Place RB Kareem Hunt, Seven Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Browns have placed more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including running back Kareem Hunt. The team announced that the following players have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

In his third season with the Browns, Hunt has totalled 386 rushing yards and five touchdowns, along with an additional 174 yards on 22 catches in eight games. The 26-year-old has been a key member of the Browns’ backfield alongside Nick Chubb, helping the team average 143.5 rushing yards per game, ranking fourth in the NFL.

The team also announced that offensive assistant coach T.C. McCartney has tested positive for COVID-19. We learned earlier today that the NFL was pushing Saturday’s game between the Browns and Raiders to Monday.

Meanwhile, Cleveland activated linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and they’ve signed quarterback Kyle Lauletta to the active roster off the Jaguars practice squad. Lauletta, 26, has appeared in just two NFL games. Both were with the Giants in 2018, where he went 0-for-five with one interception. He has since spent time on the Eagles’, Falcons’ and Browns’ practice squads, only going to Jacksonville’s after being waived at the end of August.

QB Nick Mullens Expected To Start For Browns On Saturday

7:52pm: Cornerback A.J. Green and linebacker Jacob Phillips have also tested positive for COVID-19, reports Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal (via Twitter).

4:59pm: The Browns will likely have to turn to their third-string QB for Saturday’s matchup against the Raiders. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), quarterback Case Keenum has tested positive for COVID-19. With Baker Mayfield already on the reserve/COVID-19 list, this means Nick Mullens is in line to start.

[RELATED: Browns’ Baker Mayfield Tests Positive For COVID-19]

The Browns are facing at least five more positive tests in addition to Keenum, according to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (on Twitter). This would bring the total to 20 players on the Browns who have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. One of those players is Grant Delpit, as Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal tweets that the safety tested positive. While the Browns are eyeing a handful of absences, coach Kevin Stefanski wouldn’t rule out any players following the NFL’s changes to COVID protocols.

“Certainly when they tell me we have run out of days in terms of negative tests and those type of things, then it will be official, but I don’t know that we’re ruling any of those guys out just yet,” Stefanski said (via Ulrich).

Either way, it’s looking like Mullens will be forced into the lineup for a crucial start. The 26-year-old has spent the majority of the 2021 campaign on Cleveland’s practice squad, although he is coming off a 2020 campaign where he started eight games for the 49ers. Mullens is 5-11 in his 16 career starts, and his 4,405 passing yards are the second most by any quarterback in their first 16 career starts in NFL history (behind Patrick Mahomes (h/t to ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter)). Mullens also has 25 career touchdowns vs. 22 interceptions.

Keenum started one game for the Browns this season, completing 21 of his 33 pass attempts in a win over the Broncos. In total, the 33-year-old has seen time in six games for Cleveland this season, tossing one touchdown vs. zero interceptions.

QB Case Keenum To Start For Browns Tomorrow

Baker Mayfield will officially miss his first game since taking over as the Browns starting quarterback in 2018. The Browns announced that they’ll be without their starting QB tomorrow against the Broncos. Cleveland will have backup Case Keenum under center.

Keenum will have a chance to start against his former team, as the veteran started all 16 games for Denver back in 2018. He went 1-7 in eight starts with Washington in 2019, but he still got a three-year, $18MM deal from the Browns in 2020. In one-plus seasons with the team, the 33-year-old has seen time in four games, completing six of his 13 pass attempts for 52 yards.

“We have full confidence in him to lead us and do the things necessary to put us in position to win,” coach Kevin Stefanski said of Keenum. “Baker fought really hard to play, he’s a competitor and obviously wants to be out there but just couldn’t make it on a short week. We know he will continue to do everything in his power to return as quickly as possible.”

Mayfield suffered a shoulder injury back in mid-September, but he’s continued to play through the injury. He aggravated the injury during the Browns’ loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, and ESPN’s Jake Trotter writes that Mayfield was advised not to play by both team doctors and his own personal doctor.

Earlier this week, Mayfield clarified that he wouldn’t see the field if he ever thought he’d be hurting his team’s chances.

“Only I know how my body feels,” Mayfield said (via Trotter). “If anyone questions whether I am hindering the team and going out there injured, that’s just not right. It’s my decision. I get to say whether I am able to play or not, and that’s just how it is.”