Gilbert had stints on the Raiders practice squad during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The 2014 sixth-round pick has turned into a true journeyman during his eight seasons of professional football. Besides his stint in Oakland, the Texas/SMU product has had gigs with the Rams, Patriots (two stints), Lions, Panthers, Browns, Cowboys, and Washington. He also led the AAF in passing yards during his time with the Orlando Apollos.
In total, the QB has seen time in eight career games (two starts), completing 57.3 percent of his passes for 477 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He got a start for Washington in 2021.
Josh McDaniels has some familiarity with Gilbert dating back to their days in New England, and the FA addition may have an opportunity to stick around as the number-two quarterback behind Derek Carr. 2021 backup Marcus Mariota is currently a free agent.
It’s now official. On Tuesday, the Washington Football Team announced that quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen were unable to test out of COVID-19 protocols. With that, journeyman Garrett Gilbert will start tonight against the Eagles.
Gilbert, recently signed off of the Patriots’ taxi squad, started for the Cowboys last year in a Week 9 loss to the Steelers. Filling in for Dak Prescott (injured) and Andy Dalton (on the COVID list), Gilbert went 21-of-38 for 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. It wasn’t a particularly memorable performance, but it was at least better than what the Cowboys were getting out of Ben DiNucci.
The 30-year-old passer has dressed for just seven games in his NFL career. This will be his biggest one yet as Washington fights for a playoff spot. A win tonight would give them a 43% chance of qualifying; a loss would require them to win out and get extremely lucky.
Washington has been able to activate a couple of its players for tonight’s game — cornerback Troy Apke and defensive tackle Tim Settle. Beyond that, they’ll elevate four practice squaders: fullback Alex Armah, linebacker De’Jon Harris, tackle David Steinmetz, and quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who will serve as the QB2 behind Gilbert.
Today’s minor moves:
- Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list: QB Andy Dalton and CB Duke Shelly
- Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Elijah Wilkinson
- Activated from Reserve/COVID-19 list: WR Cedrick Wilson
- Placed on Injured Reserve: TE T.J. Hockenson
- Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Justin McCray
- Signed to active roster: LB Malik Jefferson
Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints
- Activated from Reserve/COVID-19 List: RB Mark Ingram
New York Giants
- Promoted: DT David Moa
Washington Football Team
The hits just keep on comin’. One day after placing Kyle Allen on the COVID-19 list, the Washington Football Team has done the same with quarterback Taylor Heinicke, per a club announcement. In desperate need of a signal caller, Washington has signed Garrett Gilbert to potentially start on Sunday against the Eagles.
The NFL’s revised protocols could conceivably allow Heinicke and Allen to dress this week. But, with a little over 48 hours between now and kickoff, Washington had to act fast. Enter Gilbert, a 30-year-old journeyman with just seven pro appearances on his resume.
Gilbert’s lone start came with the Cowboys last year, a Week 9 loss to the Steelers. That too was a desperation move. Dak Prescott was injured, Andy Dalton was parked on the COVID-19 list, and youngster Ben DiNucci was coming off of a rough performance in Week 8. Gilbert finished the game 21-of-38 for 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
At 6-7, Washington still has a path to the playoffs. Their fate may rest in the hands of Gilbert or one of their practice squad QBs, either Kyle Shurmur or Jordan Ta’amu.
We previously learned that the Patriots had added quarterback Brian Hoyer and linebacker Jahlani Tavai to their practice squad, and the team has made two more notable additions. The Patriots added kicker Nick Folk and quarterback Garrett Gilbert to their taxi squad today, according to the team.
The Patriots parted ways with Folk earlier this week, making rookie Quinn Nordin their new starting kicker. However, the veteran, who connected on 26 of 28 field goals and 30 of 33 extra point attempts for New England in 2020, will stick around on the practice squad. Folk entered the league back in 2007 and spent his first few years as the Cowboys’ kicker, although he’s most well-known for being the Jets’ kicker for seven seasons from 2010-16.
The Cowboys moved on from Gilbert this week, and now the quarterback will land back with his former organization. The 30-year-old spent parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons with New England. He got his first NFL start in 2020 with the Cowboys, completing 21 of his 38 pass attempts for 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The rest of New England’s practice squad players can be found here.
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 Bills, Dolphins, Jets and Patriots moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Placed on IR:
Signed to practice squad:
- G Jack Anderson, DT Brandin Bryant, G Jamil Douglas, QB Jake Fromm, WR Tanner Gentry, LB Joe Giles-Harris, CB Ojaijah Griffin, WR Isaiah Hodgins, CB Cam Lewis, DE Mike Love, TE Quintin Morris, S Josh Thomas, QB Davis Webb, CB Rachad Wildgoose, RB Antonio Williams
- DB Elijah Campbell (from Jets)
- CB Jamal Perry
Signed to practice squad:
- LB Shaquem Griffin, QB Reid Sinnett
New England Patriots
- WR Malcolm Perry (from Dolphins)
- LB Harvey Langi
Signed to practice squad:
- LB Tashaun Bower, DB Myles Bryant, C James Ferentz, K Nick Folk, QB Garrett Gilbert, QB Brian Hoyer, TE Matt LaCosse, FB Ben Mason, DT Bill Murray, WR Tre Nixon, OL Alex Redmond, CB D’Angelo Ross, G/OT Will Sherman, WR Kristian Wilkerson
New York Jets
- DE Tim Ward (from Chiefs)
Placed on IR:
Same as it ever was. Dak Prescott will begin his sixth season as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, and Cooper Rush is set to be his backup. The Cowboys, however, will part ways with two other quarterbacks — Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci — on roster cutdown day.
Gilbert and DiNucci played roles during Dallas’ dreadful 2020 season, which featured Prescott go down in October and Rush begin the season with Jason Garrett in New York. A year later, the Cowboys have restored their late-2010s status quo.
“I just think that he’s shown that he can run the complete offense,” Jerry Jones said of Rush. “Credit to him, he had some tough competition. Those guys didn’t cut him any slack. He’s had a lot of reps – a lot of our quarterbacks have, because of the absence of Dak.”
Rush spent three seasons with the Cowboys, from 2017-19, and will be the only non-Prescott passer on this year’s squad. The Cowboys signed Gilbert off the Browns’ practice squad shortly after Prescott went down. DiNucci arrived in Dallas as a 2020 seventh-round pick. Both quarterbacks ended up making one start apiece last season, one that featured plenty of Andy Dalton, who departed for Chicago in March.
Most of the talk about Cowboys quarterbacks this offseason has understandably revolved around Dak Prescott, his new contract, and his comeback from a devastating ankle injury. But flying a bit under the radar is the team’s unsettled backup QB situation. Last year the team had an established veteran backup in Andy Dalton, who ended up becoming the starter when Prescott went down. Dalton is off in Chicago now, leaving Dallas with very little on the depth chart. The team currently has only Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci behind Prescott.
Rush has thrown three career passes, and DiNucci (a 2020 seventh-rounder) and Gilbert have each made one start. That’s led to some speculation the Cowboys could add a veteran backup. Barring a bigger name veteran addition, Gilbert is currently the “favorite” to backup Prescott in 2021, Rob Phillips of the team’s official site writes. Phillips frames it as a battle between Gilbert and Rush without even mentioning DiNucci, who was disastrous in his lone 2020 start in primetime against the Eagles. Gilbert almost led Dallas to an upset victory over the Steelers in his one start last year, and was a star in the ill-fated AAF.
Here’s more from around the NFC as we kickoff the new week and continue to await training camps:
- Elsewhere in the NFC East, it sounds like the Giants are scheming up various ways to get Kadarius Toney involved as a rookie. New York has Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton already at receiver, so it might be hard for the 20th overall pick of this past draft to get heavy targets right away. That doesn’t mean Toney won’t get touches. The Giants are “motivated to get the ball in his hands, whether it’s out of the backfield, on jet sweeps, screen passes or maybe in the Wildcat formation,” Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes. Raanan writes they want him to be a year-one factor, and that “they believe the best way to make that happen is to tap into his versatility.” In other words, use him as a gadget player. The Florida product should be fun to watch.
- Heading down to the NFC South, Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown may have just had his probation terminated early to close his previous criminal case, but he still has civil case headaches to deal with. In addition to a lawsuit from a truck driver alleging assault that came in mid-May, Brown was apparently hit with another lawsuit later that month. This time, it’s from a sports marketing company alleging that Brown didn’t pay them commission on $2MM in earnings they got him, Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The company, KCB Marketing, is seeking over $100K in damages.
After his rough outing against the Eagles, the Cowboys will bench quarterback Ben DiNucci, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Instead, the Cowboys will allow Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert to compete for the top job in practice.
The Cowboys entered the season with one of the best starter/backup situations in the league. Then came Dak Prescott‘s injury, followed by Andy Dalton‘s concussion and COVID-19 diagnosis. That led the Cowboys to DiNucci, who is not quite ready for primetime.
A former UDFA out of Central Michigan, Rush spent three seasons with the Cowboys, spent a bit of time with the Giants, then returned to Dallas in late October. Rush has appeared in five games for the Cowboys, exclusively in a mop-up role. Gilbert, meanwhile, has no NFL starts to his credit — his only first-string pro experience came with the Orlando Apollos, a team in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.
Between the two, whoever emerges as the better option in practice this week will be the Cowboys’ starter against the Steelers on Sunday afternoon.