Entering the season on one of the hottest seats among the current crop of head coaches, Vic Fangio has overseen an up-and-down slate. After starting 3-0, the Broncos lost four straight. They have since rebounded with back-to-back wins, despite significant injury issues. This midseason stretch certainly has helped Fangio’s case for a fourth season in Denver, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes that George Paton is fond of the John Elway-hired HC not necessarily looking to bring in his own leader. While the Broncos have endured several blowout losses during Fangio’s three-year tenure, it appears the defensive-minded leader has a decent chance of saving his job. Paton did say recently the team must play better offensively, potentially putting Pat Shurmur‘s job in question. The Broncos rank 18th offensively but averaged just 16 points per game during their four-game losing streak.
Here is more from Denver and the latest from around the AFC West:
The Rams came through with the best offer for Von Miller, but there was at least one more offer including a Day 2 pick. During the low-key Miller sweepstakes, the Rams believed another team offered the Broncos a Day 2 pick and was willing to absorb Miller’s salary, per Nick Kosmider and Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (subscription required). This motivated the Rams to include a second Day 2 selection in their offer, and Paton essentially bought that pick by agreeing to pick up $9MM of Miller’s remaining salary. The Rams are only responsible for $700K of that total. The Cardinals and Cowboys were believed to be the other teams in on Miller.
In a turbulent stretch for the Raiders, more troubling signs were present ahead of Damon Arnette‘s exit. During the first-rounder’s rookie season, he crashed four rental cars within roughly a month-long span, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Arnette, whom the Raiders waived after he appeared in a video threatening someone with a gun, has seen a car accident result in a lawsuit. The Ohio State product is facing multiple lawsuits, one for a car accident that resulted in injuries. The Raiders moved on from both their 2020 first-round picks — Arnette and Henry Ruggs — in a week’s time.
Mike Shula will indeed call plays for the Broncos this week, the Broncos announced. Second-year offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will not be with the team after testing positive for COVID-19. Shula last called plays when he served as the Panthers’ OC from 2013-17. He has spent the past four seasons working with Shurmur, holding the posts of Giants OC and Broncos QBs coach in that span.
Mark Davis said recently the Jon Gruden emails being leaked during the season created a major issue for the Raiders, who parted ways with the embattled head coach last month. Davis said the NFL may have known about these emails for months and that the Raiders being forced into an offseason coaching change would have obviously been easier, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Gruden has since sued the NFL and Roger Goodell.
Tight end Jace Sternberger worked out for the Broncos on Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. A 2019 Packers third-round pick, Sternberger bounced from Green Bay to Seattle to Washington this year. He is now on the workout circuit, battling to stay on the NFL radar. The former Texas A&M standout has not played this season and has 12 career receptions.
The Washington Football Team will place tight end Logan Thomas on the injured reserve list (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). He’s expected to miss the next four weeks as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Thomas enjoyed a career year in 2020 as he hauled in 72 catches for 670 yards and six touchdowns. His 72 receptions were the third most of any tight end in the league last year; his yardage total put him seventh at the position. Through four games this year, he has 12 catches for 117 yards and two scores.
To replace Thomas, Washington has plucked fellow TE Jace Sternberger from the Seahawks’ practice squad. Sternberger, a 2019 third-round pick, was dropped by the Packers late month, leading him to the Seahawks’ taxi squad. The Texas A&M product posted 48 passes for 832 yards and ten touchdowns before turning pro, but he’s yet to achieve anything close to that as a pro.
September 22nd, 2021 at 5:32pm CST by Sam Robinson
Unclaimed on waivers, Jace Sternberger will nevertheless receive another opportunity shortly after his Packers exit. The Seahawks are signing the young tight end to a practice squad deal, according to his agency (on Twitter).
Sternberger received a two-game suspension to start the season, and Green Bay opted not to activate him ahead of Week 3. The Packers did save one of their two IR-return spots for Sternberger in 2019, when teams had just two such transactions at their disposals, but not much has materialized statistically for the Texas A&M product. Sternberger has just 12 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown — all in 2020 — in his career.
The 6-foot-4 tight end posted a strong college season to land on the draft radar, catching 48 passes for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns in his lone season with the Aggies. Prior to transferring to College Station and earning All-America acclaim, Sternberger played at Kansas and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. He will relocate again in hopes of igniting a stalled NFL career.
The Seahawks have three tight ends — Gerald Everett, Will Dissly and second-year UDFA Tyler Mabry — on their active roster, and Colby Parkinson resides on IR rehabbing his second significant foot injury. The team tried multiple ex-college basketball players as P-squad tight ends this offseason, but neither lasted long. Sternberger does have basketball experience, perhaps appealing to the Seahawks, but none of it came in college.
September 21st, 2021 at 1:19pm CST by Zachary Links
The Packers are cutting tight end Jace Sternberger (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Since he is not yet a vested veteran, he’ll be available on the waiver wire for the next 24 hours. If he goes unclaimed, he’ll be free to sign with any team.
Sternberger had some hype a couple of years ago as a third-round pick. However, he’s yet to show much at the pro level. In six games as a rookie, he failed to record a single catch. He was a bit more involved last year, securing 12 grabs for 114 yards and a touchdown. Still, Sternberger has yet to meet expectations, and his two-game ban to open the year didn’t do him any favors.
The Packers will not have Jace Sternberger to start their season. The third-year tight end incurred a two-game suspension Thursday for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
This represents a critical setback for the former third-round pick. Sternberger has yet to make much of an impact with the Packers, who have since found a productive receiving tight end in UDFA Robert Tonyan. Green Bay also re-signed Marcedes Lewis this year.
A Texas A&M product, Sternberger missed a chunk of his rookie season after beginning it on IR. He ended up missing 10 games as a rookie. Last season, the 6-foot-4 pass catcher played in 12 contests and caught 12 passes. He was on the field for just 19% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps, however, with Tonyan (61%) and Lewis (41%) playing bigger roles.
Two seasons remain on Sternberger’s rookie contract, but this suspension will not help his chances of carving out a notable role in his third NFL season.