A pair of offensive skill players signed their tenders with the Chargers today. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), wide receiver Jalen Guyton and tight end Donald Parham officially inked their exclusive rights free agent tenders.
Guyton, a 2019 undrafted free agent out of North Texas, has spent the majority of his three-year career with the Chargers. He basically redshirted his rookie campaign before turning into a serviceable target for Justin Herbert over the past two seasons. In 32 games (11 starts) between the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Guyton has hauled in 59 receptions for 959 yards and six touchdowns.
After bouncing around the NFL and XFL to begin his professional career, Parham caught on with the Chargers in 2020. He’s seen time in 27 games (14 starts) over the past two years, hauling in 30 receptions for 349 yards and six touchdowns. His 2021 season ended on IR after he suffered a scary concussion in December.
The Chargers also officially announced the signing of linebacker Troy Reeder today. We learned that Reeder was inking a one-year deal with the team this past weekend.
Hunter Henry could be in line for a significant pay day this offseason, as the 26-year-old will headline the class of free agent tight ends. Like any free agent, Henry is naturally looking to secure a lucrative contract in free agency, but the five-year veteran admitted that he’ll also be valuing his suitors’ quarterback situations.
“Obviously, you’ve got to look at it financially,” Henry said during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via Twitter). “That’s part of it, but I don’t think it’s all about that.
“I want to play somewhere there’s a good quarterback. That’s huge for our position … Playing with a good quarterback always makes things better. You got to look at both. You got to look at some of the financial stuff, but not dive too deep into it that you go chasing it because I also want to play with a good quarterback.”
Of course, some would naturally point to Henry’s incumbent team as a match. Justin Herbert had a standout rookie season, and Henry benefited by hauling in 60 receptions for 613 yards and four touchdowns. Henry noted his connection with Herbert, and he said he’d welcome a return to Los Angeles.
“I really enjoyed my time here, so I’m not going to ever rule that out,” Henry explained. “With a young quarterback, me and Justin have formed a relationship. But I think I’m open to whatever, and I kind of have to [be], in a way. But I’ve really enjoyed my time, and if that continues, I’ll be excited. If it doesn’t, then that will be a new step.”
Due to his lack of consistency and previous injury concerns, Henry will have a tough time reaching the average annual values of fellow tight ends George Kittle ($15MM) and Travis Kelce ($14.3MM). However, after being slapped with the franchise tag last offseason, Henry still ranked third in AVV at $10.6MM (a number that would climb if he’s franchised a second time). Austin Hooper managed to secure a four-year, $42MM deal last offseason ($10.5MM AAV), and that would be a logical financial framework for Henry’s next contract.
BrianDaboll could soon be heading to the west coast. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Bills offensive coordinator “has emerged as a favorite” for the Chargers head-coaching gig.
Predictably, the Chargers organization is waiting to see how tonight’s Bills game goes before making any moves. If Buffalo loses, Los Angeles can offer Daboll the job as soon as possible. If the Bills win, then the organization has to wait until Buffalo is eliminated before they can negotiate a contract with their new head coach.
As Schefter notes, there are two logical reasons why Daboll has emerged as the leading candidate for the vacancy. For starters, Daboll received a lot of credit for Josh Allen‘s emergence this season, and the Chargers are hoping the coach can help Justin Herbert take the next step. Daboll also went to high school and played football with Chargers general manager TomTelesco, so there’s an obvious connection there.
Daboll, 45, started his NFL coaching career back in 2000 with the Patriots. He got his first coordinator gig with the Browns in 2009, and he’s since held the same role with the Dolphins, Chiefs, and the Bills (along with Alabama). Daboll was mentioned as a candidate for the Jets vacancy, and he was one of the nine reported candidates for the Chargers job. As our 2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker shows, that list includes:
Anthony Lynn has acknowledged what became known fairly early in Justin Herbert‘s three-game run subbing for an injured Tyrod Taylor. The fourth-year Chargers HC confirmed the quarterback job is Herbert’s going forward.
Lynn had previously kept the door open for Taylor to reclaim the job when he recovered from the chest injury a pregame shot aggravated just before the Bolts’ Week 2 game. In stepped Herbert, a rookie who was a candidate to sit behind Taylor for many games this season. But the rookie has outperformed expectations and will keep the starting job.
This represents another abrupt end to a Taylor bridge-QB period. The Browns moved to Baker Mayfield in Week 3 of the 2018 season, and Taylor did not start another game in a one-season Cleveland stay. His 2020 starting stint did not end up lasting that long. Taylor, who backed up Philip Rivers in 2019, will return to a QB2 role. Taylor, who started under Lynn in Buffalo during a three-season run as the team’s top quarterback, has not dressed since a lung-puncturing chest injection paused his season.
Although Herbert was linked to the Dolphins at No. 5 overall at points leading up to the draft, Scouts Inc. ranked the Oregon passer far behind Tua Tagovailoa overall. When the Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa, the Bolts quickly nabbed Herbert at No. 6. So far, the 6-foot-6 prospect has impressed. In Week 4, he helped the Bolts gain a three-score lead on the Buccaneers in a game that featured three Herbert touchdown passes — to UDFAs Tyron Johnson, Donald Parham and Jalen Guyton — and an 80% completion rate. Through three games, Herbert ranks 12th in QBR.
Herbert being ahead of the curve, despite some skepticism coming out of the draft and an offseason altered by the pandemic, would be a major win for a Chargers team that has enjoyed QB stability for most of this century. The Bolts signed a few 30-something veteran starters best suited to play for a contending team now. While the Chargers are 1-3, Herbert’s early promise would help the likes of Bryan Bulaga, Linval Joseph and Chris Harris contribute to a contender either in 2020 or ’21 — rather than play for a team dealing with uncertainty at quarterback.
We already knew that Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor would be unavailable for the team’s contest against the Panthers this afternoon, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the veteran signal-caller will also miss next Sunday’s game against the Bucs. Rookie Justin Herbert will continue to get the call in Taylor’s absence.
Taylor, of course, suffered a punctured lung at the hands of a team doctor last week when the doctor was administering a pain-killing shot for Taylor’s rib injury. Schefter reported a few days ago that the NFLPA was looking into the matter, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports elaborated on that point this morning.
According to La Canfora, the union is seeking clarity on the timeline of events, whether there was any negligence or malpractice on the part of the doctor, and whether Taylor is now more susceptible to long-term injuries as a result of any such negligence. The investigation will also focus on how Taylor’s future earning potential might have been impacted.
Indeed, while the Chargers continue to insist that Taylor will be reinstated as the starting QB when he is healthy enough to return, that will be a difficult sell for HC Anthony Lynn if Herbert continues to play well. The rookie nearly pulled off an upset over the division rival Chiefs last week, and according to Schefter, his teammates already view him as a strong leader. So Taylor could point to the medical mishap as the turning point in his fortunes with the club.
On the other hand, the plan was always for Taylor, who is eligible for free agency next year, to serve as a bridge to Herbert. So as long as Taylor’s punctured lung did not cause any lasting damage, it seems as if the team would have a good chance of defeating any earnings loss claim that the union might bring on Taylor’s behalf.
September 23rd, 2020 at 11:00am CST by Zachary Links
A Chargers team doctor accidentally punctured quarterback Tyrod Taylor‘s lung just prior to Sunday’s game while administering a pain-killing shot, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitterlinks). Taylor was preparing to play through broken ribs before matters were made worse by the complication.
Taylor is now looking at an extended absence and doctors have advised him to stay home “indefinitely,” according to Schefter. Rookie Justin Herbert — who was thrust into action against the Chiefs — is now slated to start against the Panthers on Sunday. Odds are, Taylor will need even more time to heal after that point.
Taylor, 31, was a three-year starter for the Bills between 2015 and 2017. During his 2015 Pro Bowl campaign, Taylor averaged 8.0 yards per pass, threw 20 touchdown passes, six interceptions and ran for 568 yards. All in all, he owns a career 23-21-1 record as a starter. Taylor is historically safe with the football: among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 attempts since 2015, Taylor ranks third in interception percentage.
September 22nd, 2020 at 2:53pm CST by Sam Robinson
Tyrod Taylor could be on the verge of being benched in September for a second time in three seasons. A chest injury he was battling caused Justin Herbert to be called upon Sunday, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report Taylor received a pregame injection to the area (Twitter link). Complications ensued, prompting Chargers HC Anthony Lynn to call on Herbert. While the No. 6 overall pick fared better than could be expected, given the lack of offseason prep time, Lynn has not named him the Chargers’ Week 3 starter. The fourth-year coach said he will turn back to Taylor when he is “100%” recovered from the chest setback.
Whether “100%” will be how the Bolts justify keeping Herbert in the lineup or not, it would seem difficult for the team to give the job back to its bridge starter. The Chargers drafted a quarterback in the first four rounds for the first time since 2006 and saw him throw for 311 yards in an overtime loss, making it entirely possible Taylor is benched again. The Browns sidelined Taylor after three starts in 2017.
Here is the latest from the AFC West:
Von Miller has not given up on returning this season. The Broncos‘ future Hall of Fame linebacker has been studying how some non-NFL athletes returned in three months from the injury he suffered — as opposed to the four- to six-month timetable he was given after suffering a dislocated peroneal tendon — and has told teammates he could return in mid-December, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. However, since this report surfaced, the Broncos lost Drew Lock for perhaps more than a month and Courtland Sutton for the season. They are already down A.J. Bouye and Phillip Lindsay for the foreseeable future, making a playoff run more difficult to envision. As for Miller’s long-term future, the 31-year-old pass rusher has told teammates he is eyeing five or six more seasons, per La Canfora. This tracks with previous Miller plans.
Speaking of Lindsay, the Pro Bowl running back will almost certainly miss Week 3 and may be out longer. Rather than turf toe, Lindsay is dealing with a toe sprain, Rapoport notes. This represents a tough break for the UDFA success story, who was discussing an extension shortly after last season’s conclusion. However, the Broncos instead opted to sign Melvin Gordon to a two-year, $8MM deal. Lindsay is set for restricted free agency in 2021.
Brandon McManus‘ four-year, $17MM Broncos extension will guarantee the Denver kicker $4MM in 2021, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the deal’s final three seasons are not guaranteed (Twitter link). McManus is due to earn base salaries of $3MM (2022), $3.75MM (’23) and $3.95MM (’24) over the course of the deal, which also came with a $2.5MM signing bonus. The Broncos have used McManus as their kicker since 2014 but are not committed to him beyond 2021.
Richie Incognito left Monday night’s Raiders win with an Achilles issue, but the veteran guard may not miss any time. Incognito aggravated a previous injury but did not suffer a tear, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Raiders were already down right tackle Trent Brown, due to a reportedly not serious calf injury, and backup tackle Sam Young against the Saints.
September 20th, 2020 at 3:50pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The NFL debut of Justin Herbert is coming in unexpected fashion. Just moments before kickoff, the Chargers announced the rookie first-rounder would be making his first career start.
In an unusual situation, normal starter Tyrod Taylor apparently injured his chest during pregame warmups and needed to be pulled. That meant the sixth overall pick of April’s draft was suddenly thrust into his first real action without being prepped for it against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
He certainly didn’t look overwhelmed initially, scoring a touchdown on his first pro drive. There’s no word yet on how serious the injury to Taylor is, but we’ll be sure to pass on word to you shortly. Taylor entered the season as the starter, but it was likely only a matter of time before the Oregon product took over anyway.
Los Angeles escaped with a narrow victory over the Bengals in Week 1, but Taylor didn’t play too well and failed to move the offense consistently. If Herbert plays well today against Kansas City he probably won’t be relinquishing the job regardless of Taylor’s health.
Here are the latest developments from quarterback rooms around the league. At least 11 teams will go with different starting QBs compared to Week 1 of last season. Two teams confirmed they are going in that direction Wednesday:
Alex Smith has made a remarkable recovery, having returned to team drills after undergoing 17 surgeries to repair career-altering injuries. But Washington ended any suspense about its quarterback competition Wednesday, announcing Dwayne Haskins will start in Week 1. This was the expected route for the rebuilding team, which selected Haskins 15th overall last year. Kyle Allen is in line to back up the second-year player, with Smith looming as a wild card. The latter is guaranteed a $16MM base salary this season.
Hard Knocks has given more attention to Justin Herbert‘s throws, but Tyrod Taylor did not lose his job in the Chargers‘ abbreviated offseason. While the No. 6 overall pick looms, Anthony Lynn did not throw a curveball and named Taylor as his Week 1 starter. “Tyrod Taylor is our starter right now,” Lynn said, via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. “Until someone steps up and shows that they can run this team, that’s [how] we’re going into it.” Taylor was a Week 1 starter from 2015-18 and worked with Lynn in Buffalo from 2015-16. While Herbert should be expected to take this job at some point this season, Taylor may have it for longer than he held off Baker Mayfield two years ago in Cleveland.
In a lower-stakes competition, the Ravens have not decided on their third quarterback. Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III are locked in, but Baltimore’s QB3 race between Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley remains “up in the air,” Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. McSorley, a sixth-round 2019 pick out of Penn State, held this job last year. The Ravens signed Huntley as a UDFA out of Utah this year. The latter was a three-year starter for the Utes, though McSorley was the more productive college passer and rusher.
The Chargers have wrapped up their 2020 NFL Draft class, per a club announcement. Quarterback Justin Herbert was the first reported signing, and the rest of the crop followed soon after. The full rundown, per our tracker:
Herbert was a polarizing prospect. Those that are high on the Oregon product believe that his elite arm strength will allow him to succeed as a starter. Others are concerned about his pension for holding on to the ball for too long. The debate between Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa was fierce, but, ultimately, the Dolphins made the decision for the Chargers by selecting the Alabama star No. 5 overall. At No. 6, GM Tom Telesco said that he would have been perfectly happy with either passer.
Herbert will have the unenviable task of eventually stepping into Philip Rivers’ shoes. For now, the 6’6″ rookie will likely begin the year as the QB2 behind Tyrod Taylor.