Jarrett Stidham

Raiders To Bench Derek Carr, Start Jarrett Stidham

The Raiders may be making a big-picture move. For the first time in his career, Derek Carr will be the Raiders’ backup quarterback. Josh McDaniels announced Jarrett Stidham will start in Week 17.

Carr, 31, is the longest-tenured starting quarterback in Raiders history and the team’s all-time passing leader. He has started 91 straight games. But he threw three interceptions last week and now leads the league with 14 this season. Considering the structure of Carr’s contract, this decision could have long-term ramifications.

This move is for the rest of the regular season, per McDaniels, who said (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, on Twitter) the Raiders will evaluate the younger quarterback as well as other younger players. The team is already shutting down Chandler Jones and Denzel Perryman; other vets could follow. This could impact the AFC and NFC playoff races; the Raiders host the 49ers in Week 17 and the Chiefs in Week 18. For Las Vegas, however, this decision may bring a major change.

Months after McDaniels took over, he and GM Dave Ziegler authorized a second Carr extension — this one a three-year, $121.4MM deal — that locked down the ninth-year quarterback through 2025. But the contract gives the Raiders an out. Three days after Super Bowl LVII, $40.4MM — Carr’s $32.9MM 2023 salary and $7.5MM of his 2024 base — will become guaranteed. The Raiders, then, have a narrow window to find a trade partner.

Carr’s market should be expected to heat up after the Super Bowl, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets, though the Pro Bowl QB’s extension does include a no-trade clause. That will complicate a potential deal. If the Raiders do move him, it would free up $29.3MM in cap space, Joel Corry of CBS Sports offers (via Twitter).

Raiders brass discussed the Carr plan over the past two nights, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, and Wednesday’s decision increases the likelihood Carr could be on the move in February. No trade can become official until the 2023 league year begins in March, but high-profile QB swaps — such as the Matthew Stafford deal or the Alex Smith exchange — have taken place around the Super Bowl in recent years. The Raiders sitting Carr now protects against an injury affecting the longtime starter’s value, even though the 6-9 team is not technically eliminated. On the fringes of “In the hunt” graphics, however, the Raiders are effectively looking ahead to next season.

Carr trade rumors persisted during Jon Gruden’s tenure, but given his performance level, the Raiders securing a replacement who could outplay him was difficult. Thus, Carr stayed on and steadily improved under Gruden. Under McDaniels this season, he has taken a step back. The former second-round pick has thrown nine INTs over his past five games, completing 57% of his passes in that span.

Were the Raiders to make Carr available, a few teams would likely be interested. The Jets, Commanders, Saints, Panthers and Colts are teams who could upgrade with Carr. Excepting the Colts, that lot will not hold top-five draft choices. The Commanders, Panthers, Colts and Saints were in this offseason’s QB market, while the Jets are likely to enter the mix in 2023. Zach Wilson may already be on the way out, and Mike White‘s contract is up after the season. If Carr becomes available, he would join Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady and Daniel Jones as the top potential targets. Other QBs, as recent years have shown, may be on the trade market. But the Seahawks are aiming to retain Geno Smith. And it will take a Deshaun Watson-level package to pry Lamar Jackson from the Ravens, who are all but certain to use their franchise tag on the former MVP.

Carr has enjoyed an up-and-down run in Oakland and Vegas but offered the Raiders QB stability for the first time since Rich Gannon in the early 2000s. The JaMarcus Russell pick and Carson Palmer trade highlighted a wayward stretch between Gannon and Carr. The team is currently sitting in the No. 9 draft slot; multiple quarterbacks will likely be off the board by that point. Of course, moving Carr would give the team more assets to potentially climb in the draft. With Stidham (zero starts in New England) unlikely to be a true option for 2023, the Raiders will seemingly join the aforementioned teams in the QB market — provided they pull the trigger on a deal.

McDaniels’ previous HC stay — an eventful Denver tenure cut short before the end of his second season — featured him moving on from the team’s starting quarterback (Jay Cutler) just weeks into the polarizing HC’s stay. Multiple quarterbacks set for free agency — Brady, Garoppolo — have extensive pasts with the former Patriots OC. The Raiders potentially preparing to move on so soon after this year’s extension/trial balloon — and months after they acquired longtime Carr friend Davante Adams — will inject more intrigue into what promises to be another action-packed quarterback market.

Raiders To Trade QB Nick Mullens To Vikings

The Raiders faced a decision with respect to their backup quarterback position at some point before the start of the regular season. They have apparently made it, as the team is sending Nick Mullens to the Vikings in exchange for a conditional 2024 seventh-round pick (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). 

His colleague Ian Rapoport adds that Mullens must be active for one game this season for Vegas to receive the pick. The Raiders signed Mullens this April as an insurance policy for starter Derek Carr. The former UDFA spent three seasons in San Francisco, wining five of his 16 starts filling in for Jimmy Garoppolo. He then joined the Eagles briefly, but spent last season in Cleveland, where he made one start as the Browns were dealing with a long list of COVID-related absences.

One month after signing Mullens, though, the Raiders also traded for Jarrett Stidham. The former Patriots fourth-rounder got an opportunity to once again work with Josh McDaniels in Vegas, and has impressed in training camp and the preseason to the point where he has won the competition with Mullens for the No. 2 spot.

The Vikings, meanwhile, will likely be able to accommodate Mullens for their backup gig. Minnesota drafted Kellen Mond in the third round last year, but have also rostered Sean Mannion. The two have been receiving equal work so far in training camp, indicating that neither has significantly distanced themselves from the other. With Mullens, who has familiarity in the kind of offensive system new head coach Kevin O’Connell will install, the Vikings will have more of a known commodity behind Kirk Cousins.

The team will be likely to try and retain Mond as well, given his draft status. His hold on a 53-man roster spot has now become much less certain, though, as both the Raiders and Vikings look for clarity in their QB rooms in the build-up to campaigns carrying significant expectations.

Patriots To Trade Jarrett Stidham To Raiders

After they added more depth to their quarterback room, the Patriots were likely to make a move with Jarrett Stidham. They have done so today, as Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports (on Twitter) that New England is trading him to the Raiders. 

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero adds that New England is sending a seventh round pick along with Stidham in exchange for a sixth-rounder from Vegas (Twitter link). The deal represents a new beginning for the 25-year-old, but it will reunite him with a familiar face on the Raiders’ staff in Josh McDaniels.

After being drafted in the fourth round by New England in 2019, Stidham worked with the new Vegas head coach when he served as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator. That season marked Tom Brady‘s last with the team, so it came as no surprise that he only attempted four passes in the regular season. After Brady’s departure, though, expectations were raised for Stidham to be able to take over the starting role.

That didn’t end up happening, however, as the Baylor and Auburn alum sat behind Cam Newton. Stidham made five appearances, completing 22 of 44 passes for 256 yards, a pair of touchdowns and three interceptions. Between the level of play showed by both signal-callers, the Patriots entered the subsequent draft needing a new quarterback. They filled that need by selecting Mac Jones in the first round.

This year, the team selected Bailey Zappe in the fourth round to further add to the depth chart. Given the presence of the Western Kentucky product, as well as veteran Brian Hoyer, Stidham would have faced stiff competition for a roster spot. The same could be true in Vegas, as he will join Nick Mullens, Garrett Gilbert and Chase Garbers in vying for the backup job behind Derek Carr.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/9/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Patriots Reduce Roster To 53

The Patriots made headlines earlier today when they cut quarterback Cam Newton, a move that made rookie Mac Jones the starter. The team has since reduced their roster to 53 players, and we’ve detailed each of the moves (including those previously reported) below:



Placed on Reserve/PUP list

Placed on Reserve/NFI list

Placed on Injured Reserve

The Patriots veterans are most notable, but the organization also waived a pair of 2021 draft picks. Sherman was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado who appeared in 30 games during his collegiate career. Nixon was a seventh-round pick; the wideout split his collegiate career between Ole Miss and Central Florida, earning All-AAC honors in 2019.

Patriots Claim QB Jake Dolegala

The Patriots have added another quarterback. The team announced today that they’ve claimed quarterback Jake Dolegala off waivers from the Packers. The 24-year-old was waived by Green Bay yesterday.

More notably, it sounds like today’s transaction was insurance for another QB on the roster. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (via Twitter), backup Jarrett Stidhamisn’t expected back in the near future.” The quarterback landed on the physically unable to perform list earlier this week, and Howe writes that the player is battling a shoulder injury that could ultimately lead to surgery.

At one time, it was believed that Stidham could be the heir apparent to Tom Brady. Instead, the 2019 fourth-round pick barely played during his sophomore season, and he fell further down the depth chart when the team added Mac Jones this offseason. The Auburn product will be 25 by the start of the next season, and despite collecting only 48 attempts through two seasons, it’s unlikely his NFL career is in danger. However, it’s looking like he doesn’t have much of a future in New England.

Dolegala actually spent most of his rookie season on the Patriots practice squad, and after earning a reserve/future contract in January, he was waived by the team in April. His best chance of sticking with the Patriots is probably via the practice squad; even with Stidham temporarily out of the picture, the team is still rostering Jones, Cam Newton, and Brian Hoyer.

Patriots Re-Sign QB Brian Hoyer

The Patriots are re-signing a familiar face. New England is signing veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer to a one-year deal, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Jim McBride of the Boston Globe was first with the news (on Twitter).

Hoyer has had three stints with the Patriots throughout his 12-year career, earning a Super Bowl ring as Tom Brady‘s backup in 2018. Following a one-year stint with the Colts in 2019, Hoyer re-joined the Patriots last offseason following Brady’s defection to Tampa Bay. Hoyer ended up starting a single game for New England, completing 15 of his 24 pass attempts for 130 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and a fumble. The veteran didn’t end up seeing the field again following that Week 4 loss to the Chiefs.

This offseason, Hoyer was briefly mentioned as a potential option for the Jets as a backup, but he’ll instead be heading back to New England. The team’s depth chart looks a bit different in 2021. The team used the 15th-overall pick on Mac Jones, and the rookie is expected to compete with 2020 starter Cam Newton for the starting gig. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, Newton could serve as Jones’ competition while Hoyer could serve an important role as Jones’ mentor.

This signing is probably bad news for Jarrett Stidham. Following Brady’s decision to join Tampa Bay last offseason, there were some whispers that the 2019 fourth-round pick could end up inheriting the starting job. Instead, Stidham started a whopping zero games, although he did complete 50-percent of his passes for 256 yards, two scores, and three interceptions in limited snaps.

Patriots Notes: Kraft, Newton, Stidham, Free Agency

The Patriots went 7-9 during the inaugural season of the post-Tom Brady era, making it the first time New England had missed the postseason since 2008 (when the team was forced to rely on Matt Cassel in place of an injured Brady). Robert Kraft and the entire Patriots brass are focused on getting back to the playoffs, and they made that clear when they handed out an NFL-record $165MM in guaranteed money during the early parts of free agency.

“What happened here last year was not something to our liking. We had to make the corrections,” Kraft said (via ESPN’s Mike Reiss). “In all the businesses we’re involved in, we try to take advantage of inefficiencies in the market. We were in a unique cap situation this year and it allowed us to try to [fix] things we missed, to a certain extent, in the draft. So this was our best opportunity.”

While Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office were able to patch some holes by spending in free agency, Kraft also acknowledged that this strategy isn’t a recipe for long-term success.

“In the end, if you want to have a good, consistent, winning football team, you can’t do it in free agency. You have to do it through the draft. I don’t feel we’ve done the greatest job the last few years and I really hope, and I believe, I’ve seen a different approach this year,” Kraft said.

Tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, linebacker Matt Judon, and wideout Nelson Agholor were among the Patriots’ major free agent acquisitions.

Let’s check out some more notes out of New England:

  • Kraft seemed to excuse quarterback Cam Newton‘s uneven play in 2020, noting that the veteran was joining a new team during an abbreviated preseason, had COVID-19, and dealt with an inconsistent receiver corps. “In fairness to Cam, I’m not sure he had the proper weapons around him last year,” Kraft said. “I really do believe Cam getting COVID, and what it did to the team, it changed a lot. Now we’ll get a chance to see…Players on the team, in the locker room, really love the guy. In the end, I trust Coach Belichick’s ability to build a team, and put the right players in the best position to succeed.”
  • While the owner seemed to hint that Newton would be under center next season, he also kept the door open for former fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham, who was expected to receive more playing time during his sophomore season. “I don’t know that Jarrett has ever really gotten a fair shot,” Kraft said. “We have to wait and see what happens, and we still have the draft. … Quarterback is the most important position on the team. One way or the other, we have to get that position solidified.”
  • While the Patriots certainly had the ability to spend on free agents, Reiss writes that Belichick’s “cachet” was a major reason why the Patriots were able to recruit players. “This opportunity couldn’t be passed up because of the prestige, being coached by some of the best coaches in the NFL,” said linebacker Raekwon McMillan. “Coach Belichick told me that he’s been watching my career. For a player, you’re talking to a Hall of Fame coach, that really inspired me.”
  • Former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia rejoined the organization this offseason as an assistant, but Reiss notes that the coach’s role has continued to evolve. Patricia has spent recent weeks helping to negotiate and finalize contracts, thus serving “as an added layer of support to Belichick,” per Reiss.

Latest On Patriots’ QB Outlook

We heard at the beginning of January that the Patriots and quarterback Cam Newton were unlikely to reunite in 2021, but a report from earlier this week suggested that the the door is not closed on a Newton return to Foxborough next season. And multiple sources tell Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that they would not be surprised to see the Pats re-sign the 2015 league MVP.

After all, HC Bill Belichick reportedly loved coaching Newton, and Volin hears that even after the 2020 campaign, Belichick has raved about the effort that Newton put forth last season. He is concerned about Newton’s arm strength — which is understandable given the 31-year-old’s disappointing passing performance during his first season with New England — but he appears open to continuing the relationship just the same. Newton, meanwhile, has been similarly candid about how much he enjoyed playing for the Pats, so if the two sides can agree to another inexpensive contract, a re-up could be in the cards.

Of course, the club has also had conversations about every quarterback in the league that could be available via trade, and the expectation remains that the Pats will select a QB in the early rounds of this year’s draft (perhaps with their No. 15 overall selection). So if Newton comes back, it obviously won’t be as anything more than a bridge option to a younger passer, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com suggests that the team could even re-sign Newton and pair him with another veteran.

If New England goes that route, one obvious option would be to re-sign longtime Patriot Brian Hoyer, as Volin notes. Volin also believes that Mitchell Trubisky could be on the Pats’ radar, and at this point in their respective careers, Trubisky certainly appears to have a higher ceiling than Newton. Some have connected the dots between New England and former Belichick draftee Jacoby Brissett, but Volin sees a Brissett signing as unlikely since he did not “click” with Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels before he was dealt to the Colts in 2017. Assuming the Patriots do end up adding two QBs this offseason, Jarrett Stidham‘s roster status will be very much in doubt.

One collegiate signal-caller that has been routinely mocked to the Patriots is Alabama QB Mac Jones. As Reiss notes in the piece linked above, former New England OC Charlie Weis was effusive in his praise of Jones, and Weis sees him as a perfect fit in the Pats’ offense. Though he is not as athletic as some of the other passers in this year’s class, Jones is more than capable of moving around in the pocket and can make accurate throws to every part of the field.

If the Pats really want Jones, though, they may have to trade up from the No. 15 pick. His stock is rising, and ESPN draftniks Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay both believe he will be off the board by the time New England is on the clock.

Jarrett Stidham To Start For Pats If Cam Newton Is Unavailable

The Patriots are currently scheduled to play the Broncos on Monday, and if starting QB Cam Newton is unable to take the field, New England will turn to second-year passer Jarrett Stidham, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Newton has been taking part in Zoom meetings with the team, and there is still hope that he will be able to suit up.

Of course, Newton’s positive COVID-19 test sidelined him for last week’s matchup against the Chiefs, and though New England’s defense generally held its own against Patrick Mahomes & Co., the club was clearly missing the 2015 league MVP. The Pats turned to veteran Brian Hoyer to start the game, but Hoyer lost track of his team’s timeouts at the end of the first half, and he lost a fumble late in the third quarter. Both mistakes likely cost New England points.

Hoyer was benched in favor of Stidham, and the Auburn product kept the Pats in the game on a nice TD pass to N’Keal Harry, but he ultimately threw two interceptions in just 13 pass attempts (though to be fair, one of them was really receiver Julian Edelman‘s fault, and the other came on something of a desperation heave that Stidham might not have tried but for the score of the game at that point). Given that Stidham, a 2019 fourth-round selection, clearly offers more upside than Hoyer, it makes sense that the Pats would look his way.

Of course, Stidham appeared to be the leading candidate to open the 2020 season as the Patriots’ starting signal-caller until Newton fell into their laps at the end of June. Then, a disappointing training camp that included some injury concerns forced the team to slide Stidham behind Hoyer on the depth chart. Stidham will surely welcome the opportunity to rebuild his stock if Newton has to sit.