Nick Scott

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.

Bengals Sign S Nick Scott

Mar 17: Cincinnati has officially reached an agreement with former Rams safety Nick Scott, according to Adam Schefter. The two parties reportedly agreed to a three-year, $12MM deal as Scott is set to join the team he helped defeat in Super Bowl LVI.

Mar 16: The Bengals are zeroing in on a deal with Nick Scott. Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus tweets that Cincinnati is “working towards” a deal with the free agency safety. While the deal isn’t finalized, Spielberger says “progress [is] being made.” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler confirms (on Twitter) that the two sides are “working something up.”

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweeted earlier today that Scott was visiting with the Bengals. Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets that “it was a great visit today for all involved,” and the two sides are now moving towards a contract.

The former seventh-round pick transformed from a special teamer into a starting-caliber defensive back during his time with the Rams. Scott only started one of his first 48 appearances for Los Angeles, although he took on a significantly larger role during the Rams’ run to a championship. Despite only starting one game during the 2021 campaign, Scott started all four playoff games for the Rams with Jordan Fuller out of the lineup. He compiled 14 tackles during that postseason run en route to a Super Bowl championship.

Scott mostly held on to his starting gig in 2022, starting 16 of his 17 appearances while setting career-highs in tackles (86), passes defended (five), forced fumbles (two), and interceptions (two). He only graded as Pro Football Focus’ 78th safety (among 88 qualifying players), although the site gave him one of the better grades at the position in rush defense. According to Rodrigue (on Twitter), the Rams had preliminary discussions with Scott about bringing him back for 2023.

With Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell out the door, the Bengals have been hunting for a safety to play opposite 2022 first-round pick Dax Hill. The Bengals will surely bring in more depth at the position, but Scott will likely get the first look in the starting lineup.

Rams S Nick Scott Placed On IR

The long list of Rams’ starters either out or on injured reserve for the team’s season finale grew one player longer today as Los Angeles placed safety Nick Scott on IR to end the season. Scott had started every game of the season up to this point.

Scott suffered a shoulder injury two days ago in practice, separate from the stinger he sustained in the Rams’ loss to their cross-town rivals last week. Head coach Sean McVay was the one who informed the media that the shoulder issue will prevent Scott from completing a fully healthy season.

In Scott’s absence, rookie seventh-round pick Russ Yeast will earn the first start of his career next to Taylor Rapp. Yeast started the season as a core special teamer but earned more and more playing time on defense as the season progressed. His first start will occur in his 15th NFL appearance.

The Rams made two more roster moves in preparation for their season-ending matchup in Seattle. Practice squad tight end Jared Pinkney has been signed to the active roster, taking Scott’s spot in the 53-man group. Los Angeles also promoted defensive back T.J. Carter from the practice squad as their last standard gameday elevation of the year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/22/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

West Notes: Carr, Broncos, Rams, 49ers

Derek Carr left Thursday night’s AFC West matchup early because of what Jon Gruden called a “significant” groin injury. The veteran Raiders quarterback’s rest-of-season status can be considered in doubt. Carr is facing a 10- to 14-day return timetable, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes. This puts his availability for next week’s pivotal Dolphins game in question, though Rapoport adds Carr will push to return for what could be an elimination game against another fringe AFC contender. Carr has not missed a game due to injury since 2017. The former MVP vote-receiving passer has only missed two regular-season games in seven years. Marcus Mariota played well in relief of Carr on Thursday, and Carr’s status going into next weekend stands to give the Dolphins some extra work due to the differences in the Raiders QBs’ skill sets.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, moving first to another team’s quarterback situation.

  • Drew Lock has shown some potential as a long-term answer this season — including last week in Charlotte — but ranks 28th in QBR and has thrown 13 INTs in 10 games. The Broncos sat out this year’s veteran QB market, but Troy Renck of Denver7 notes the team is likely to bring in a veteran to compete with Lock (or potentially replace him) next year. A similar batch of vets — Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston — on track to be available again would qualify as competition, and the Broncos were also high on Sam Darnold in 2018. A trade for Matthew Stafford, a scenario Renck mentions, would be to replace Lock. The Broncos have used four different Week 1 starting QBs since Peyton Manning‘s retirement, moving from Trevor Siemian to Case Keenum to Joe Flacco to Lock.
  • Sean McVay is not ruling out an Andrew Whitworth regular-season return, and it sounds like the Rams having their left tackle back for the playoffs is realistic. “Andrew is doing great,” McVay said. “He continues to amaze me. He’s somebody we could potentially really push to have him play whether it’s the (Week 17) Cardinals game or next week. If we’re fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play after the regular season, I think that’s the goal, but nothing’s guaranteed for us.” Whitworth suffered MCL and PCL tears Nov. 15 but was believed to be ahead of schedule on his recovery timetable.
  • A Rams positive COVID-19 test resulted in offensive lineman Bobby Evans and safety Nick Scott landing on the reserve/COVID list; they will miss Week 15, McVay said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, Twitter links). The Rams also held starting center Brian Allen and rotational pass rushers Justin Hollins and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo out of practice Friday, though McVay expects the latter trio to play Sunday.
  • The 49ers‘ Arizona arrangement will extend through season’s end. Santa Clara county extended COVID-19 restrictions that have prevented the 49ers from playing at Levi’s Stadium, but the Cardinals will permit their division rival to use the stadium for their Week 17 game against the Seahawks, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The 49ers will also be in Glendale next week but will do so as the road team against the Cardinals.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/18/20

Here are today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Jamal Perry

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams Sign Second-Round Pick Taylor Rapp

In recent years, the Rams have been the last team to start signing their incoming rookies. On Friday, they finally put a dent in their draft class by signing second-round safety Taylor Rapp as well as seventh-round picks Nick Scott and Dakota Allen

Rapp, a University of Washington product, notched 59 tackles, six tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions, and three fumble recoveries last season. In his first year with the Rams, he’s expected to support starters Eric Weddle and John Johnson.

Rapp profiled as one of the best open-field tackling safeties in this year’s class and has a strong football IQ for a player of his age. After he opened his collegiate career with four interceptions but saw that number tail off with time, it’ll be interesting to see if he has a nose for the ball at the pro level.

With Rapp, Scott, and Allen signed, the Rams are left with five unsigned rookies to go, as shown in PFR’s tracker.