At one point, Demetric Felton looked like he could be a worthy backup to Nick Chubb, but the versatile offensive weapon has fallen down the depth chart. The former sixth-round pick had an okay rookie season in 2021, finishing with 205 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. However, he was limited to only three touches in eight games last season.
Kellen Mond seemed like a long shot to make the roster, and the Browns ultimately decided to role with only two quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Mond has only gotten into one regular season game, completing two passes for the Vikings in 2021.
The Cardinals are still not done on the trade front. Arizona is on the acquiring end of a deal this time, however. The Browns are trading quarterback Josh Dobbsand a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Cardinals for a 2024 fifth-rounder (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network). CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones was the first to report (via Twitter) that Dobbs was on his way to the desert.
This move ends a second Dobbs tenure early. The Browns had rostered Dobbs as their Jacoby Brissett backup last year, but Watson’s return from suspension led to the team cutting him. Dobbs ended up in Detroit and then Tennessee, where he was immediately called upon to start (over Malik Willis) in the Titans’ final two games. Now, the veteran reserve, months after rejoining the Browns on a one-year deal worth $2MM, will join a Cardinals team that came into the day with five QBs rostered. The move points to Kyler Murray remaining on Arizona’s PUP list to start the season.
The trade also comes not long after Kevin Stefanski (via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot) had named Dobbs as their backup. That was believed to be the plan all along, with the seventh-year vet operating as QB2 as Thompson-Robinson developed. This move will still allow for Thompson-Robinson to grow behind Watson, though an injury to the starter would throw the fifth-round rookie into the fire.
Although Colt McCoy, David Blough, Jeff Driskel and fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune are on Arizona’s roster, the Cardinals brought in Dobbs, who has a history with new OC Drew Petzing. The Browns’ QBs coach last year will bring in Dobbs as McCoy insurance, per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter). McCoy’s season ended early because of a concussion last year, and he went on IR with another issue prior to that. An elbow problem sidelined McCoy to start this offseason program as well. The 14th-year veteran is going into his age-37 season. Under contract for one more year, McCoy considered retirement this offseason.
To start the year, the Cards’ depth chart will likely be McCoy-Dobbs-Tune at QB, Weinfuss adds. With Petzing on board as the play-caller, TheLandonDemand.com’s Tony Grossi notes the Cardinals tried to sign Dobbs as a free agent. Thompson-Robinson’s emergence changed the Browns’ thinking regarding their QB depth chart, per Grossi.
Despite Dobbs coming into the league as a 2017 fourth-round pick, he had only attempted 17 passes coming into December of last year. The Titans summoned the rocket scientist, and he completed 69% of his passes in a do-or-die game against a much healthier Jaguars squad. The injury-plagued Titans pushed the Jags in that Week 18 game, with Dobbs throwing for 232 yards and a touchdown. Mired in some QB uncertainty until Murray returns, the Cardinals now have the former Steelers draftee in a familiar system.
As a result, Cleveland now has three signal-callers on the roster: starter Deshaun Watson, veteran backup Josh Dobbsand fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The latter has impressed during training camp and the preseason, making it a relatively easy decision to move on from Mond. The 24-year-old will now be on the lookout for another new opportunity.
The Browns claimed Mond off waivers last August after his time with the Vikings came to an end. Minnesota intended to keep the 2021 third-rounder in the fold via the practice squad, but the Browns added him to a QB room which was in flux to begin the 2022 season due to Watson’s 11-game suspension. Jacoby Brissettended up starting each contest which Watson missed, however, so Mond did not see any regular season action in Cleveland.
The Browns will have Watson available for a full season for the first time since their blockbuster trade acquisition for (and fully-guaranteed extension of) the three-time Pro Bowler. Brissett’s decision to sign with the Commanders left a vacancy at the backup spot, which the reunion with Dobbs (who began the 2022 season in Cleveland but finished it as an emergency starter in Tennessee) filled. The Browns have been connected to carrying three signal-callers on the 53-man roster, something again made possible ahead of the 2023 campaign.
Mond, who has one regular season appearance to his name, will now be available on the waiver wire. It will be interesting to see if the Vikings – who notably do not seem to have a Kirk Cousinssuccession plan in place at the moment – are interested in bringing back the Texas A&M product. If he goes unclaimed, Mond will be free to pursue a depth role anywhere around the league, something which will be complicated by the approaching roster cut deadline (August 29).
In addition to Mond, the Browns waived defensive end Charles Wiley. The 25-year-old signed in Cleveland earlier this month, after previously spending time with the Ravens and Giants. He has yet to see any regular season games at the pro level.
Much of the Browns’ success on offense in 2023 will be dictated by Deshaun Watson‘s ability to rebound from a suspension-shortened debut season with the team last year. Cleveland will likely have a pair of signal-callers backing him up this campaign.
The Browns have Watson on the books through 2026 after going all-in on him via a huge trade with the Texans and subsequent fully-guranteed contract (which, having been restructured, will represent a major cap burden starting next year). The three-time Pro Bowler put up less-than-impressive numbers during his six games in 2022, which marked his first regular season action since 2020. After a full offseason in Cleveland, one which has included upgrades to the team’s receiving corps, expectations will be raised significantly for Watson.
His backup will be veteran Joshua Dobbs, who was in Cleveland in 2022 to serve as Jacoby Brissett‘s backup until Watson’s suspension had been served. Dobbs signed with the Titans late in the year, and he started Tennessee’s final two contests while the team dealt with the absence of Ryan Tannehill. Cleveland lost Brissett in free agency, but brought back Dobbs to resume his QB2 duties.
The Browns added a long-term backup option in the form of Dorian Thompson-Robinsonby selecting him in the fifth round of this year’s draft. The presence of the UCLA product leaves Cleveland likely to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster this year, per Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. The NFL’s move to allow emergency QBs to dress despite not counting as a gameday activation has left teams with interesting roster decisions to make.
As Easterling notes, the Browns view Thompson-Robinson as their Watson understudy for the foreseeable future, though Dobbs has seen second-team work in spring practices. Thompson-Robinson had a career-year in 2022, which helped make him one of several developmental passers selected on Day 3 as teams looked to emulate the success the 49ers found with Brock Purdyin 2022. Given his experience in Cleveland in particular and the NFL in general, though, Dobbs represents a logical candidate for the backup position at this point.
With a top three at the QB depth chart seemingly settled, Easterling adds that the Browns are unlikely to retain Kellen Mond. The former Viking was claimed off waivers last August and he remained on Cleveland’s roster throughout the year. After the other moves made at the position this year, however, he is likely to find himself on the outside looking in come roster cutdowns at the end of the summer.
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 Bengals, Browns, Ravens and Steelers moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Ahead of what will be a historically unusual quarterback season in Cleveland, the Browns added a recent Day 2 pick to their equation. Kellen Mond will head to Cleveland as a waiver claim, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
The Vikings waived the 2021 third-round pick Tuesday, but Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes the team was planning to bring him back on its practice squad if he cleared waivers (Twitter link). The Browns interrupted that process and are adding the Texas A&M product to an active roster that features Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs.
Mond did not particularly impress the Vikings regime that drafted him, and his issues this offseason undoubtedly led the new Minnesota staff to trade for Nick Mullens. The Browns are offering another developmental opportunity. Brissett is in place as the fill-in for Deshaun Watson, whose 11-game suspension began Tuesday, and Dobbs beat out Josh Rosen for the backup job. Mond will be in place to train behind the veterans.
In his final season with the Aggies, Mond set a new career-high mark in completion percentage (63.3%), and passer rating (146.9). The multiyear Aggies starter, however, only came to Minnesota after the team’s push to trade up for Justin Fields failed. Despite Mond’s draft status, the Vikings still brought back veteran backup Sean Mannion this offseason. He and Mond split reps in camp, leading to the Mullens trade. Mullens spent last season with the Browns.
Beyond the previously covered quarterback situation, the Watts departure is Minnesota’s most notable cut. The 2019 sixth-round pick started nine games last season, moving into the lineup after Michael Pierce‘s injury. The Vikings cut Pierce this offseason, though Watts did not profile as a pure nose tackle. He was also drafted to play in a different scheme.
Minnesota hired a new DC this offseason (Ed Donatell), and the team acquired former Texans second-round defensive tackle pick Ross Blacklock on Tuesday. The Vikes had also added veteran Jonathan Bullard this offseason. These moves appear to have affected Watts’ status, as does the Vikings keeping only six D-linemen. They retained 10 after 2021’s cutdown day. Some of the changes can be attributed to classification, with edge defenders classified as outside linebackers in 3-4 sets. Watts also carried a $2.5MM cap charge, allowing Minnesota to save some decent money.
The Davis cut represents a quick bailout on a 2021 third-round pick. One of two guard Davises the Vikes shipped out Tuesday (along with Jesse, whom they traded to the Steelers), Wyatt — an Ohio State alum — played in six games last season and did not log an offensive snap. In addition to drafting Ed Ingram in the second round this year, the Vikings signed veteran interior linemen Chris Reed and Austin Schlottmann.
12:45pm: Mannion also received word he has been cut, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. This leaves only Cousins and Mullens at quarterback on Minnesota’s roster. Unlike Mond, however, it appears Mannion has a chance to come back. The Vikings would like Mannion to be their practice squad QB, per Tomasson. As a vested veteran, Mannion does not need to pass through waivers. He can join Minnesota’s practice squad as soon as Wednesday.
10:30am: The Vikings are in line to sort out their crowded quarterback room. The team is waiving Kellen Mond, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).
Minnesota drafted the Texas A&M product in the third round last year, setting him up as a potential Kirk Cousinssuccessor. The interest shown by the Texans in the draft process demonstrated how he was regarded coming out of college.
In his final season with the Aggies, Mond set a new career-mark in completion percentage (63.3%), and passer rating (146.9). While not known for his mobility, he added 294 yards and four touchdowns on the ground as well, cementing his status as a Day 2 candidate. After just one NFL season – during which he made one appearance – though, his future is now far more uncertain than his age and draft status would imply.
The Vikings spent training camp splitting reps evenly between Mond and veteran Sean Mannion. That competition alone left the former in danger of being left off the 53-man roster, but another recent move left him in that position to an even greater extent. The Vikings traded for Nick Mullens, who was himself displaced as a backup by Jarrett Stidhamin Vegas.
With Mond on waivers, the Vikings (now led by GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah) are content to move forward with Cousins and Mullens at the top of the depth chart. Mannion, meanwhile, is now without competition for the No. 3 role.
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 Mullensto 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 forJarrett 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 Mondin 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.
A strange situation may be developing in Chicago. Roquan Smith made his trade request public earlier this week, and the standout linebacker is staging a hold-in effort at Bears camp. Smith does not have an agent, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports a person claiming to represent the fifth-year defender has been contacting teams to gauge trade interest. The person calling teams is not an NFLPA-certified agent, per Florio, and the Bears have not given Smith permission to seek a trade. The team still wants to extend the two-time second-team All-Pro, even though Smith does not have much hope for salvaging this situation. A team that negotiated with this unknown Smith representative would face tampering charges. While teams are interested in the former top-10 pick, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus does not expect a first-round pick to be offered — if it reaches the point the Bears are fielding offers.
Here is the latest from the rest of the NFC North:
The Lions signed veteran wide receiver Devin Funchess and converted him to tight end, a position where he spent some time while a Michigan freshman in 2012. Funchess is not a lock to make the Lions’ roster, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes the team may only keep three tight ends. In addition to T.J. Hockenson, Dan Campbell plans to a keep a blocking tight end and an all-purpose player. Funchess would obviously be competing for the latter spot, with Birkett adding Shane Zylstra and fifth-round pick James Mitchell are in that group as well. Garrett Griffin and Brock Wright are vying for the blocking gig. Funchess would still have practice squad eligibility, and teams can still keep 16 players on their taxi squads.
Detroit also brought back Jarrad Davis this offseason, but the former first-round pick is not a lock to make the team. Davis has worked with the second- and third-team defenses in training camp, per Birkett, who adds the ex-Florida standout might need to show he can be a productive special teams player to make the team. Davis logged a career-high 46% special teams snap rate with the Jets last season. The Lions are not particularly deep at linebacker, but this regime did not draft Davis, who was brought in during Jim Caldwell‘s final season under GM Bob Quinn. Davis, 27, started 45 games for the Lions from 2017-20.
Despite the Vikings selecting Kellen Mond in last year’s third round, they brought back Sean Mannion for another potential run as Kirk Cousins‘ backup. The two have split time behind Cousins at training camp, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. They are listed as co-backups on Minnesota’s depth chart, with Mond — after a year of seasoning — seemingly having a better chance to move into the QB2 role. Under Mike Zimmer, Mond worked only with the Vikings’ third-team offense. The quarterback said earlier this offseason he played at less than full strength throughout his rookie year due to contracting COVID-19 during camp.