Kyle Allen

Steelers Sign QB Kyle Allen, DL Dean Lowry

Moving on from their entire 2023 quarterback group, the Steelers have an interesting replacement setup on tap. Russell Wilson and Justin Fields comprise the core components of the 2024 QB room, but the team added a third piece Monday.

Kyle Allen is joining the Steelers, per’s Brooke Pryor. The well-traveled passer spent last season with the Bills as Josh Allen‘s backup. As long as both Wilson and Fields are on the Steelers, the former Carolina, Washington and Houston backup stands to hold steady at No. 3 on Pittsburgh’s depth chart.

Additionally, GM Omar Khan said the team is adding defensive lineman Dean Lowry as well. An eight-year veteran, Lowry operated as a Packers D-line starter for several seasons. He signed a two-year Vikings deal in 2023 but found himself a cap casualty earlier this month.

To close last season, the Bills’ two-Allen plan comprised the depth chart on the AFC East champions’ active roster. The team dressed only the Allens at QB against Pittsburgh in the wild-card round. With Mitch Trubisky moving from a Steelers cut back into a role as the Bills’ QB2, Kyle Allen is on the move. The six-year veteran, as of now, has a clear path to becoming the Steelers’ QB3.

A former UDFA, Allen has 19 starts on his resume. Most of them came for the 2019 Panthers, who lost Cam Newton to a season-ending foot injury early that year. Allen then followed Ron Rivera to Washington, factoring into a QB room housing Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith. Both 2020 Washington passers were out of the picture by 2021, with Haskins a backup in Pittsburgh and Smith retiring. Allen stood as Taylor Heinicke‘s backup for most of the ’21 season. He overtook Davis Mills as a Texans starter for two games in 2022 but ceded the job back to the former third-round pick soon after, ultimately relocating as the team signed Case Keenum last year.

Over his career, Allen is a 62.6% passer who is 7-12 as a starter. He has thrown 26 touchdown passes, a number that notably tops Kenny Pickett‘s total amassed in 24 career starts, compared to 21 INTs. Unless the Steelers part with Wilson or Fields this year, Allen would seem positioned as a third-stringer. The Steelers also may look to the draft to round out this position, but considering they have expressed interest in having both Wilson and Fields come back for 2025 — a setup that would seem untenable — a rookie arm may not be in the cards next month.

Lowry, 29, made 80 starts for the Packers from 2017-22. The former fourth-round pick was one of the more durable players during much of this stretch, not missing a game from 2017-21. Lowry played opposite Kenny Clark in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme and was brought in to start in Minnesota. But Lowry’s two-year, $8.5MM contract only produced four starts. The Vikings benched the veteran interior D-lineman, who needed an IR stint for a second straight season.

The longtime Green Bay starter needed pectoral surgery while in Minnesota, but Jonathan Bullard had seen more time up front last year. Lowry’s ironman run ended late in the 2022 season, when he sustained a calf injury. During his most recent full season (2021), Lowry totaled five sacks and four pass deflections. He started for three straight Packers teams that secured playoff byes.

The Steelers still have stalwart Cameron Heyward under contract, ahead of what would be a 14th NFL season, and re-signed Larry Ogunjobi last year. A rotational role seems likely for Lowry at this point.

Bills Have “Open Competition” For QB2 Role

The Bills have an open competition for the backup quarterback job behind Josh Allen, as head coach Sean McDermott confirmed after the team’s first preseason contest yesterday (Twitter link via ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg). Matt Barkley, who remained with Buffalo via a reserve/futures deal he signed in January, will battle free agent signee Kyle Allen for the QB2 gig.

Kyle Allen, 27, spent the 2022 season with the Texans and has also seen action with the Panthers and Commanders. Last year, he started two games in relief of the struggling Davis Mills and did not perform particularly well, completing 59% of his passes for two TDs against four interceptions (Houston lost both contests). In his pro career, Kyle Allen has a 7-12 record as a starter to go along with an 82.2 quarterback rating.

Barkley, who will turn 33 next month, has just seven career starts to his name, the last of which came in 2018. He spent the 2018-20 seasons with the Bills and saw some action as a fill-in for Josh Allen during that time, and after stints on the Titans’ and Panthers’ taxi squads in 2021, he rejoined Buffalo last March. However, Case Keenum operated as Josh Allen’s backup in 2022, and Barkley spent the year on the Bills’ p-squad.

Kyle Allen got the starting nod in yesterday’s 23-19 victory over the Colts and largely struggled, completing eight of 15 passes for 122 yards and an interception. Statistically, Barkley had the superior outing, as he completed 14 of 15 attempts for 172 yards and two TDs, though it should be noted that his efforts came against Indianapolis’ third-stringers. While acknowledging that Barkley may have gained a slight advantage over Kyle Allen, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic notes that Barkley did not have much zip on his throws and would not have been as successful against better defenders (subscription required).

Interestingly, Buscaglia believes the player who will ultimately serve as Josh Allen’s clipboard holder may not be on the roster yet. After Kyle Allen’s unimpressive camp and underwhelming preseason performance, and given the lack of speed on Barkley’s passes, GM Brandon Beane may seek a more compelling option to hold the fort in the event of a Josh Allen injury in 2023. Buscaglia names the 49ers’ Sam Darnold as a possible trade target.

There are, of course, other position battles worth monitoring in western New York. Per Buscaglia, Tyrel Dodson appears to be the favorite to win the starting inside linebacker job next to Matt Milano in the wake of Tremaine Edmunds‘ free agent defection to Chicago. Dodson’s primary competition, Terrel Bernard, suffered a hamstring injury in practice last week and did not play against the Colts. And, although second-year pro Baylon Spector got first-team reps in one practice at the end of July, he has not seen another opporunity with the top unit since then. He worked exclusively with the third-string defense in the preseason opener.

Meanwhile, rookie right guard O’Cyrus Torrence played the entire first half against Indianapolis, though Buscaglia suspects incumbent Ryan Bates will get his chance with the first team when the Bills take on the Steelers in their second preseason contest. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey recently dubbed the competition between Torrence and Bates “really close” (h/t, and it appears the battle remains too close to call.

Bills To Sign QB Kyle Allen

The Bills are adding another body to their QB room. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Bills are signing quarterback Kyle Allen.

The 27-year-old spent the 2022 season in Houston, the third stop in his NFL career. He saw a pair of starts with the Texans, as they attempted unsuccessfully to give Davis Mills an opportunity to establish himself as the team’s full-time No. 1. Allen went 0-2, completing 59% of his passes and throwing twice as many interceptions (four) as touchdowns (two).

The Texans still have Mills under contract for the next two years, but the team was interested in adding a veteran during the free agent period in anticipation of using their top pick on a rookie passer in the upcoming draft. They recently elected to reunite with Case Keenum a move which pointed to Allen being forced to find a new employer.

The former UDFA also has experience dating back to his time in Carolina and Washington, though he has just 19 starts to his name across five seasons. In Buffalo, he will enter the most desirable QB situation of his career from a team (but not playing time) perspective. Josh Allen comfortably sits atop the NFC East champions’ depth chart at the position.

The backup spot will now be up for grabs, however. Buffalo has Matt Barkley under contract for next season, after he began a second stint in Western New York in 2022. Allen will be able to compete with the latter, who has not seen game action for the past two years. That could give Allen an edge in his bid to take the No. 2 spot behind his namesake.

Texans To Reinstall Davis Mills As Starter

After two more one-sided losses, the Texans are going back to their original quarterback plan. Davis Mills is set to retake the reins from Kyle Allen against the Cowboys in Week 14, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports.

Houston shut down Mills following a Week 11 loss to Washington — a game that featured five first-half Texans yards — but the team will return to the 2021 third-round pick. The Texans’ evaluation of Mills for long-term starter purposes may be complete, but the team has dropped two more games under Allen.

[RELATED: Texans Losing Confidence In GM Nick Caserio?]

Signed to a low-cost deal this offseason, Allen accounted for five turnovers in the Texans’ losses to the Dolphins and Browns. This included a failed quarterback sneak that resulted in a Denzel Ward stroll-in touchdown. Cleveland managed a two-score win in Houston despite not scoring an offensive TD. With Lovie Smith aiming to avoid being another Texans one-and-done HC, Mills — who left his post initially ranking 30th in QBR — will have another try. The Texans are 17-point underdogs against the Cowboys this week.

The Texans passed on a higher-profile passer with the worst QBR rating Tuesday, joining 30 other teams in not submitting a claim for Baker Mayfield. Three spots behind the Texans in waiver priority, the Rams claimed the Texas native. Mills, 24, has thrown 11 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in his second season. The Stanford product’s completion percentage has dropped by nearly five points, to 61.9, from last season; his yards per attempt down to 6.5 this year.

Moving toward securing the 2023 No. 1 overall pick, the Texans (1-10-1) will be connected to quarterbacks with that selection. The team last held the top pick in 2014 but went with a veteran option (Ryan Fitzpatrick) over selecting an arm in that class. Jadeveon Clowney became the pick. While the Texans will enter the 2023 draft with two first-round picks and needs at several positions, quarterback is an obvious weakness for the rebuilding team.

Texans Not Eyeing Baker Mayfield, Considering Starting Davis Mills?

When it was announced that Baker Mayfield had been let go by the Panthers yesterday, the most logical destination for him seemed to be the 49ers. The NFC West leaders have pushed back against the notion that they are interested in adding him, however, which could lead to a team higher in the waiver priority putting in a claim.

[RELATED: 49ers Not Expecting To Add Mayfield?]

The Texans, by virtue of having the league’s worst record, sit atop that list. They have already taken advantage of that by claiming running back Eno Benjamin and wide receiver Amari Rodgers earlier in the year. In the case of Mayfield, though, a repeat of those moves does not seem to be forthcoming.

It is considered “extremely unlikely” that Houston will add the former No. 1 overall pick, reports Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. The Texans have had issues at the quarterback position throughout the season, but head coach Lovie Smith indicated that the team’s focus will be on deciding the starter moving forward from amongst their in-house options.

“Everybody that’s available we look at,” he said when asked about the potential of claiming Mayfield. “We see if they fit. We’re constantly trying to improve our roster, so if there’s anybody that’s out there, that’s what we do. Don’t know enough about Baker or anything like that. We’re trying to get better play from the guys we have on our current roster.”

2021 third-rounder Davis Mills started each of the team’s first 10 contests this season, but he has taken a significant step back statistically compared to the promise he showed as a rookie. That has led to the widespread expectation that they will select a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming draft, but his struggles also prompted a short-term move when Kyle Allen was named the starter two weeks ago.

The former UDFA has thrown four interceptions in his two starts, however, leaving the Texans with a murky situation regarding their signal-callers for the remainder of the season. Smith declined to state publicly who will be under center for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, but Wilson reports that the team is “seriously contemplating” going back to Mills.

With Houston set to play out the string in 2022, they seem unlikely to give Mayfield, a pending free agent, the opportunity to compete for playing time in the waning weeks of the season. Such an opportunity could still come elsewhere later today in the event he is claimed.

Texans To Start QB Kyle Allen In Week 12

NOVEMBER 25: Despite this news emerging Wednesday, Allen said he was officially informed of his new role Friday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. Allen and Mills split first-team reps this week.

NOVEMBER 23: Another member of the 2021 quarterback class will not keep his starting job into Week 12. The Texans are set to bench Davis Mills, Mike Garafolo of tweets.

Lovie Smith declined to name a starter for Houston’s next matchup, but Garafolo notes Kyle Allen will receive the call. This will be Allen’s first start since a severe ankle injury ended his 2020 season. Allen, 26, has not taken a snap since signing with the Texans this offseason. This scenario was rumored to be on the table earlier this week. Mills will dress and work as Allen’s backup, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

This news comes barely an hour after Robert Saleh announced Zach Wilson‘s benching. The Texans are not in a similar situation, with their 1-8-1 record keeping them firmly on the rebuilding track. That would seemingly allow for more Mills growing pains. But the team may be finished with its evaluation of the former third-round pick. Wilson and Mills being yanked leaves only Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Mac Jones still starting from a 2021 QB class that had placed six players in QB1 roles to begin this season.

Smith reaffirmed Mills’ status as Houston’s starter last week, but the Stanford product struggled in a one-sided loss to the Commanders. The Texans totaled just five first-half yards in the 23-10 defeat, and Mills exited the game leading the NFL with 11 interceptions. He ranks 30th in QBR. Despite being a third-round pick, Mills has already made 21 starts for the Texans. This has given the franchise a reasonable evaluation window.

Mills, 24, made some surprisingly decent starts to close last season — considering the personnel he was working with at the time — and outflanked both Wilson and Fields in QBR as a rookie. Although Mills went 2-9 as a starter for a woeful Texans team in 2021, he quarterbacked wins over the Jaguars and Chargers in December and threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a close loss to the Titans in Week 18. Mills has not built on that momentum this year. While Saleh called the Wilson benching a reset, the Texans may be ready to move on after their subsequent decision.

Allen’s start count nearly matches Mills’; the former UDFA lined up as a first-stringer in 17 games for Carolina and Washington. He has completed just more than 63% of his passes (6.9 yards per attempt). A Texas A&M recruit, Allen also finished his college career at the University of Houston. He signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal this offseason to back up Mills. While Washington retained Allen via ERFA tender in 2021, the team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick and then went to Taylor Heinicke the rest of the way following Fitz’s injury. The Commanders nontendered Allen as an RFA this year.

Houston is steamrolling toward the No. 1 overall pick, which would be the franchise’s first since it took Jadeveon Clowney first overall in 2014, and will be connected to quarterbacks over the next several months. The Texans also stand to have a high first-round pick by way of the Browns, who sent over a historic trade package for Deshaun Watson in March. This will give a team on a rather lengthy rebuilding track extensive options to fill this need come April.

Texans Considering Quarterback Change

The Texans finished with one first-half first down in Sunday’s one-sided loss to the Commanders, and a week after Lovie Smith indicated it was not time to consider making a quarterback change, the rebuilding team seems to be changing its tune.

Houston is considering benching Davis Mills for veteran Kyle Allen, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports. Mills has operated as the Texans’ starter since late last season, when he replaced Tyrod Taylor. But after a game in which the Texans totaled five first-half yards, Smith may be ready to try something else. Mills and Allen are the only two quarterbacks on the Texans’ 53-man roster.

Have I watched the video a few different times? Yeah, and made some decisions on how we’re going to go forward,” Smith said Monday. “But you can probably understand, with all changes and anything that we do from week to week, we talk to the players first before we talk to you. We’re not pleased with where we are. Do we need to do some things differently? Yes, and we will.”

A third-round pick in 2021, Mills posted a better rookie-year QBR than draft classmates Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. Despite the Texans having Laremy Tunsil back and having drafted guard Kenyon Green in Round 1, Mills has not built off his strong finish to last season. The Stanford alum ranks 30th in QBR and leads the league with 11 interceptions. Admittedly saddled with an unspectacular pass-catching corps, Mills has not completed more than 60% of his passes in a game since Week 7.

Allen signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal to back up Mills this offseason. Houston was linked to signal-callers in this draft, which seemingly would have dropped Allen to a third-string role, but the franchise passed on adding a young arm. This opened the door to a full-fledged Mills audition. Ten games in, the Texans may have seen enough.

A former UDFA who finished his college career at the University of Houston, Allen has a fairly extensive sample size as a pro starter. With Carolina and Washington, Allen has appeared in 21 games and made 17 starts. He has completed just more than 63% of his passes (6.9 yards per attempt). The 6-foot-3 QB led the 2019 Panthers to five wins, following Cam Newton‘s early-season foot injury, but suffered a severe ankle injury midway through the 2020 season with Washington. Allen, 26, has thrown just 19 regular-season passes since that injury.

The Texans benching Mills would seemingly signal the team is prepared to make a true post-Deshaun Watson quarterback investment. At 1-8-1, Houston is steamrolling toward the 2023 No. 1 overall pick. No other NFL team has fewer than three wins. The Texans could also have a second top-10 pick — via the 2023 first-rounder obtained from the Browns (3-7) — to use as trade-up ammo if they wish to go with a “best player available” approach with their own first-rounder. Heisman winner Bryce Young, Ohio State standout C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis are expected to be the top quarterbacks available in 2023, though these prospects will need to declare for the draft first.’s Todd McShay ranks Young, Stroud and Levis as next year’s Nos. 2, 3 and 13 draft-eligible QBs. Texans connections figure to emerge over the next few months.

Panthers QB Transactions Since 2020

It’s been two years since the Panthers moved on from Cam Newton, and the organization’s QB room has seen plenty of change in that short amount of time. Besides the financial commitments to free agent additions like Teddy Bridgewater and Newton (for a second stint), the Panthers have also invested plenty of draft capital into the position. Over the past 15 months, the organization has effectively used a second-round pick, third-round pick, fourth-round pick, fifth-round pick, and sixth-round pick to construct their current depth chart of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Matt Corral.

Of course, the Panthers have rostered plenty of additional signal-callers since settling on their current trio. Over the past two years, the Panthers have started four different QBs, and 13 different quarterbacks have made their way through the organization (either via the active roster or practice squad). These 13 different QBs have accounted for 18 different transactions over the past 28 months.

We went back to the 2020 offseason and listed all of the Panthers QB transactions below:

March 10, 2020

Allen inked a one-year pact with the Panthers to avoid ERFA.

March 17, 2020

March 23, 2020

March 24, 2020

April 5, 2021

  • Acquired Sam Darnold from Jets for 2022 second-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick, 2021 sixth-round pick

April 28, 2021

April 30, 2021

August 31, 2021

Grier was a 2019 third-round pick by the Panthers.

September 2, 2021

November 2, 2021

November 9, 2021

Barkley was signed off the Titans practice squad.

November 11, 2021

December 28, 2021

December 31, 2021

April 29, 2022

May 1, 2022

July 6, 2022


Texans Sign QB Kyle Allen

Houston is still awaiting a resolution on the Deshaun Watson situation, but that won’t stop them from making changes to their quarterbacks room. The Texans are signing QB Kyle Allen, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (on Twitter).

Allen is inking a one-year, $2.5MM deal, including $2.25MM in guaranteed money.

Allen spent the first two seasons of his career in Carolina, including a 2019 campaign where he went 5-7 as a starter while tossing 17 touchdowns (vs. 16 interceptions). He was traded to Washington prior to the 2020 season, and he ended up appearing in six games (four starts) during his two seasons with the organization. In total, Allen has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 4,318 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions in 21 games (17 starts).

The Texans reportedly aren’t interested in receiving a QB in a Watson trade, and the team is content to move forward with Davis Mills as the starting QB. Allen will join a depth chart that also includes Jeff Driskel.


RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/10/22

The deadline for teams to extend tender offers to their restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents looms next week. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here: