Jake Browning

Bengals Extend QB Jake Browning, Sign QB Logan Woodside

Teams regularly come to extension agreements with players to replace RFA tender numbers; the Bengals will move forward on this front with Jake Browning a year early.

Cincinnati’s backup quarterback agreed to terms on a two-year extension. Browning was tied to an ERFA tender. The team has announced the extension, one that could ensure the status quo remains on the Cincy QB depth chart for the foreseeable future.

This deal keeps Browning on track for unrestricted free agency in 2026, but the Bengals will bypass the RFA process next year and have him locked down until then. This marks a notable commitment from the team for Browning, who had been the team’s third-stringer prior to Brandon Allen‘s 2023 exit. Joe Burrow‘s season-ending wrist injury last year elevated Browning’s profile.

While Browning’s near-half-season sample represents a notable caveat, the former UDFA leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.4) during a season in which he averaged eight yards per attempt certainly impressed given his profile. Browning, 28, had been with the Bengals since September 2021. The Vikings waived Browning — a transaction he memorably reminded the NFC North team of after Cincinnati’s last-second win over Minnesota late last season — to set up his relocation.

Browning was ultimately unable to keep the Bengals afloat in the playoff race, but the team’s fortunes did not completely crater post-Burrow. The Bengals had already dug themselves an early hole, with Burrow’s training camp calf injury proving an impediment once the season started. The Bengals won three of Browning’s first four starts, including a 34-31 overtime win over the Jaguars that featured a 354-yard showing from the visitors’ backup QB. Browning then added 275 yards and two touchdown passes in a 34-14 win over the Colts the next week. Although the Bengals stumbled down the stretch, they saw encouraging signs from their low-cost backup during Burrow’s absence.

In addition to Browning’s new terms, the Bengals signed Logan Woodside on Tuesday. This marks a reunion for Woodside, who entered the NFL as a Bengals draft choice back in 2018. Considering Zac Taylor was not yet with the team when that selection occurred, this is an interesting addition. Woodside, 29, steps in as Cincy’s third QB. New OC Dan Pitcher, however, was with the Bengals during Woodside’s 2018 cameo.

Woodside’s initial Bengals stay proved short-lived; Marvin Lewis‘ team waived him in September 2018. The Toledo alum caught on with the Titans soon after and ended up staying with Tennessee until December 2022, when the Falcons — and ex-Titans OC Arthur Smith — added him to their active roster. Woodside has never made an NFL start, totaling 14 pass attempts, but brings considerable experience for a potential third-string role.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 2/28/24

Decisions were made for three exclusive rights free agents today:




Cincinnati made the call to hold on to their starting long snapper of the past two seasons, as well as their backup quarterback. An undrafted free agent out of Washington back in 2019, Browning finally made his NFL debut this year, getting significant run due to a season-ending injury to starter Joe Burrow. In seven starts as Burrow’s replacement, Browning led the league with a 70.4 completion percentage, throwing 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions while averaging just over 215 passing yards per game. The team won four of the seven games in which Browning started. As tendered exclusive rights free agents, Adomitis and Browning will have the option to either sign the tender offer or work towards a long-term deal.

Dorsey, on the other hand, will head to the free agent market after Detroit opted not to pick him back up. A depth cornerback, Dorsey started two games for the Lions this year but had a bigger impact on special teams, where he served as the team’s top kickoff return man.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Browning, Steelers

In between the Browns going public with Deshaun Watson‘s season-ending injury and the team signing Joe Flacco, GM Andrew Berry gave his top two front office lieutenants an assignment. Berry asked assistant GMs Glenn Cook and Catherine Raiche to independently rank the veteran QB options, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, while doing the same himself. Although this process produced different second- and third-place finishers, Flacco ranked first across the board. Kevin Stefanski reaching out to ex-Vikings coworker Gary Kubiak on Flacco also helped the veteran’s cause, Breer adds. Flacco’s OC with the Ravens in 2014, Kubiak spoke highly of the former Super Bowl MVP. One of Flacco’s best seasons came under Kubiak in 2014, helping the latter become the Broncos’ HC.

After years as a backup, Flacco has taken the reins in Cleveland and has the team on the cusp of its second playoff berth over the past 20 years. Out of football until November, Flacco is now interested in playing next season. The Browns are interested in Flacco staying in Cleveland to do so.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Jake Browning took a step back in a Bengals Week 16 loss, but coming into that Steelers matchup, Joe Burrow‘s backup had been highly effective. The fifth-year veteran, who had never taken a regular-season snap until this year, still carries a 72% completion rate and an 8.5-yard average per attempt. Browning, 27, moved up from third-stringer to backup this year, with the Bengals letting Brandon Allen walk in free agency, and Outkick.com’s Armando Salguero notes he is interested in seeing what is out there for him in free agency. A 2024 free agent, Browning would at least generate appeal as an intriguing QB2. Teams have been burned by signing backups to be starters in recent years — as the additions of Brock Osweiler (Texans) and Nick Foles (Jaguars) have most famously shown — but this is a rather valuable position. Browning finishing the season strong will only up his price for 2024.
  • Patrick Peterson made his first start at safety in Week 16, intercepting Browning. Replacing Minkah Fitzpatrick in a depleted Steelers secondary, Peterson views the move as something that could extend his career. Aiming to play through at least the 2025 season (which would be his 15th year), the All-Decade cornerback said the move could be a prelude for his future. “I feel like this is a great move for me at this stage of my career,” Peterson said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Joe Rutter. “We have good corners who can be a cornerstone for this team. This could be my second career.” The Steelers had some safety work in mind when they signed Peterson to a two-year, $14MM deal. It will be interesting to see how Peterson, 33, is used moving forward. Steelers have Keanu Neal on IR and Damontae Kazee suspended for the regular season’s remainder.
  • Browns linebacker Anthony Walker underwent arthroscopic knee surgery recently, per ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter. The veteran defender missed Week 16 and is week-to-week. Walker suffered a torn quad tendon last year, ending his season after three games, but re-signed with the Browns and has started 12 games this season. Pro Football Focus ranks the ex-Colts draftee 32nd among off-ball ‘backers this season. Walker is not on IR, but he joins a growing number of unavailable Browns defenders. Ogbo Okoronkwo, Grant Delpit and Rodney McLeod are out of the mix as well. Delpit is on IR but could return in the playoffs, while Okoronkwo remains on the active roster despite a torn pec.

AFC North Rumors: Bengals, Battle, Watson, Steelers

The Bengals have already announced that starting quarterback Joe Burrow‘s season is over after he suffered a thumb ligament tear. The only information left to report on Burrow’s situation is that he is set to undergo wrist surgery tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The expectation is that Burrow will be able to make a full recovery in time for the 2024 season.

On the administrative side of things, Rapoport also reports that the league is “investigating if Cincinnati should have listed Burrow on its injury report prior to” the game in which he seemingly suffered the season-ending injury. The night before the team’s matchup in Baltimore, Burrow was shown on a team social media post with an apparatus on his right wrist before the post was taken down. That same wrist is the one receiving surgery tomorrow. Rapoport says that the Bengals have “turned in hours of footage to the NFL showing that Burrow was healthy prior to the game.” The team’s doctors claim that the injury was acute and not one that happened over time.

The team opted to run Burrow’s offense and playbook in Jake Browning‘s first career start. The Bengals coaches had full confidence in Browning running the offense but still planned to run the ball a bit more than usual to take some pressure off his shoulders. Browning and the Bengals would lose to Pittsburgh, but Browning would complete 19 of 26 pass attempts for 227 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. The plan to run the ball a bit more fell through as limited possession time and offensive success led to only 11 carries.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC North, staying in Cincinnati for a beat:

  • Another position for the Bengals experienced a change in starter as defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo announced rookie third-round pick Jordan Battle as the team’s starting strong safety over Nick Scott earlier this week, per Kelsey Conway of USA Today. Scott still had a role in today’s game but played a clear second fiddle to Battle. Asked what about Battle made him the choice at starter, Anarumo claimed it was his tackling ability.
  • Another AFC North starting quarterback underwent surgery for their season-ending injury as the BrownsDeshaun Watson had a procedure done on his shoulder earlier this week, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Watson is expected to be healed in time to start the 2024 season.
  • A big story in the struggles of the Steelers’ offense this year has been the frustration of wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Those frustrations reportedly boiled over after last week’s loss to the Browns, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, leading to a heated argument with star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick that needed to be broken up by teammates Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt. Johnson only had two catches on the day and was visibly upset on the sideline as he engaged in an animated conversation with head coach Mike Tomlin. Johnson’s annoyance would continue as he was later seen “chirping” at the coaches all the way to the locker room after the game before being confronted by Fitzpatrick. Perhaps the firing of former offensive coordinator Matt Canada helped to cool Johnson down, as Johnson received eight targets today.

Will Grier Will Compete For Bengals’ Backup QB Job

The Bengals recently signed quarterback Will Grier to their practice squad, and Jake Browning is the only signal-caller other than Joe Burrow on the 53-man roster. Nonetheless, Grier will have an opportunity to unseat Browning as Burrow’s backup, according to Jay Morrison of Pro Football Network.

Grier, a third-round pick of the Panthers in 2019, entered training camp as a member of the Cowboys and was vying for a spot on the club’s QB depth chart alongside Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush. But when Dallas swung a trade for Trey Lance mere hours before its preseason finale against the Raiders, it was clear that Grier would soon be cut.

Knowing that he was now auditioning exclusively for other teams, Grier took every snap of that third and final preseason contest. He threw for 305 yards, rushed for 53 yards, and accounted for four total touchdowns (two throwing and two on the ground). Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called it the best preseason performance he had seen since 1999, and it caught the attention of the rest of the league.

As Morrison writes, Grier fielded mutliple phone calls after Dallas officially released him, but Grier ultimately felt Cincinnati represented the best fit.

“A big part for me was being on a good, competitive team, somebody that had talent and was a Super Bowl contender, which clearly this place is,” Grier said. “That was a big part of the decision.”

The fact that Grier has a real chance to become the QB2 doubtlessly influenced his decision to sign with the Bengals as well. Browning, who signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2019, has never thrown a regular season pass, and while he has spent the past two years in Cincinnati, much of that time has come on the taxi squad. He did beat out Trevor Siemian for the backup quarterback gig this summer, but he did not necessarily dazzle the coaching staff with his performance, and we heard towards the end of last month that the Bengals could be looking to supplement their QB room.

They did just that with the Grier acquisition. It is true that Grier does not have substantially more regular season experience than Browning; the former West Virginia standout has played in just two regular season games, and they were the final two contests of the 2019 campaign, when a dismal Panthers squad was playing out the string. Grier started and lost both games, completing just 53.8% of his passes while throwing four interceptions and no touchdowns.

Still, the Bengals (among other teams) saw something they liked, and Grier, who believes he is playing the best football of his career, will get his shot to back up one of the league’s best QBs.

Bengals To Release QB Trevor Siemian

As Joe Burrow works his way back from the calf strain he suffered early in training camp, the Bengals are moving their more experienced QB2 option off their roster. Trevor Siemian will be cut, per ProFootballNetwork.com’s Jay Morrison.

The well-traveled backup, whom Cincinnati signed midway through the offseason, lost the job to Jake Browning. Both the Bears and Bengals have cut Siemian, 31, this year. While the Bengals could conceivably circle back once they set their roster or reunite with Siemian on a practice squad agreement, the defending AFC North champions are rolling with a Burrow-Browning depth chart for the time being.

When Burrow went down, Zac Taylor said the superstar QB would be out “several weeks.” The former No. 1 overall pick has rehabbed to the point it is considered likely he will be back in time to start the season. This is a similar role for the ex-LSU record-setting passer, who missed the preseason in 2021 due to ACL rehab and 2022 because of an appendectomy. Burrow has piloted the Bengals to the past two AFC championship games and has not missed regular-season time due to injury since his rookie-year knee setback in 2020.

The Bengals, however, let their primary Burrow backup — Brandon Allen — sign with the 49ers this offseason. They added Siemian on that May day. Allen does not look like he will be moved off the 49ers’ 53-man roster, with San Francisco dealing Trey Lance to Dallas. With Allen unlikely to come back to the Bengals — a rumored scenario prior to the Lance trade — the team may be on the hunt for a better backup. Browning has never taken a regular-season snap.

Siemian becoming a surprise starter for a defending Super Bowl champion back in 2016 made him a household name of sorts early in his career. The former seventh-round pick has bounced around since his two-year run as Peyton Manning‘s Broncos successor. Siemian has since been with the Vikings, Jets, Titans, Saints and Bears. The Northwestern alum could catch on with an eighth team soon.

The Bengals are also waiving quarterback Reid Sinnett, per The Score’s Jordan Schultz, though they are interested in circling back on a practice squad deal. Sinnett could become Cincinnati’s emergency gameday quarterback, but the team would need to elevate him to its active roster to greenlight that prospect.

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.

Latest On Bengals QB Joe Burrow

It’s been quiet on the Joe Burrow front, but the Bengals quarterback showed that he’s progressing from his calf sprain before last night’s game. As ESPN’s Ben Baby writes, Burrow had a throwing session before Friday’s preseason game against the Packers. This was the first time the quarterback has been seen throwing since suffering his injury in July.

[RELATED: Bengals Expect Joe Burrow To Miss Several Weeks]

Zac Taylor didn’t provide a whole lot of insight after the game, but he acknowledged that Burrow is “progressing as he should.” As Baby notes, Burrow returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since suffering the leg injury, although the quarterback was obviously just a spectator on the sideline.

The entire organization held their breath when Burrow went down with a non-contact injury during a late-July practice. The quarterback was later diagnosed with a calf strain, with the Bengals asserting that he wouldn’t see the practice field for “several weeks.” Burrow is still out indefinitely, and while that’s led some panicked pundits to wonder if he could miss regular season time, Ian Rapoport reported a few weeks ago that the star quarterback should be ready for Week 1.

“He’s been rehabbing quite a bit,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said this week. “He’s doing a good job and to have him out at practice is always beneficial. Guys like seeing him too. I think you saw everybody excited to have him out, standing around watching.”

With Brandon Allen gone, the Bengals will be eyeing a new backup in 2023. 2022 practice-squad player Jake Browning got the first shot at the QB2 role during last night’s preseason game, connecting on 10 of his 17 pass attempts for 95 yards and one interception. Offseason acquisition Trevor Siemian later took over, going 15-of-28 for 121 yards and a pick.

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/31/23

Here are today’s reserve/futures contracts handed out:

Cincinnati Bengals

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/28/23

Today’s minor moves as we prepare for Championship Sunday:

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers