Ryan Griffin (QB)

Bears Staffer Ryan Griffin Playing QB In Italy, Expected To Join Team In June

Ryan Griffin‘s lengthy career as an NFL reserve quarterback ended after the 2022 season. The Buccaneers, who had rostered Griffin as a third-stringer behind Tom Brady and Blaine Gabbert, did not re-sign the experienced practice arm last year.

This led Griffin to the coaching ranks. He joined the Bears’ staff as an offensive assistant, but the NFC North team agreed to an unusual arrangement that is allowing the longtime QB to continue throwing passes. Griffin is finishing up a season in the Italian Football League. He will join the Bears later in the offseason.

Griffin signed with Skorpions Varese of the IFL late last year and has been playing with the team since its season began in March. Matt Eberflus said the expectation is Griffin is at the Bears’ mandatory minicamp, per The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain (subscription required). That said, Griffin’s IFL team holds the league’s top seed in the playoffs, going 8-0 in the regular season. The IFL playoffs begin with opening-round games June 8, so it should be expected the QB/rookie staffer will return overseas to finish out his season.

While this is a rather unusual schedule for a coach attempting to break into the league, the Bears did accommodate one of their players — Marquise Goodwin — in the not-so-distant past as he moonlighted in another sport. Goodwin attempted to qualify for Team USA’s long jump roster back in 2021. However, the London Olympian did not make the Tokyo team and was on the field by the start of training camp.

Griffin, 34, became the rare third-string quarterback to enjoy a lengthy tenure with a team. The Bucs claimed Griffin off waivers in 2015 and then kept him around on five additional contracts from 2017-22. The Tulane alum only saw action in 2019, throwing four passes. But he managed to play 10 NFL seasons, finishing his career in Brady’s final season. The Bears, who employed the NFL’s other Ryan Griffin (a tight end) in Ryan Poles‘ first offseason as GM, have the rookie assistant set to work with QBs and wide receivers in his debut season.

Elsewhere on Chicago’s staff, Poles is making more adjustments to his scouting department. The Bears are promoting Ryan Weese from Combine scout to Midwest area scout and hiring Nick Papagno as their new Combine scout, InsidetheLeague.com’s Neil Stratton tweets. Papagno previously worked with the Raiders. Previous Bears Midwest scout Ryan Cavanaugh will shift to the southeast on Poles’ staff.

Bears Finalize 2024 Coaching Staff

This offseason, the Bears had to replace both coordinator positions, a situation that usually results in quite a bit of turnover on either side of the staff. Head coach Matt Eberflus allowed each coordinator to make final decisions on their staff, but many assistants (particularly on the defense) were retained in Chicago for the 2024 NFL season.

We’ll start on defense, where Eberflus likely influenced some of the decisions made by new defensive coordinator Eric Washington. The staff looks fairly similar to last year’s with defensive line coach Travis Smith, linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi, cornerbacks coach and defensive passing game coordinator Jon Hoke, safeties coach Andre Curtis, and defensive quality control coach Kevin Koch all being retained in their prior roles. David Overstreet also remains on staff, but his title changes from assistant defensive backs coach to nickelbacks coach. Kenny Norton III also earned a promotion, going from coaching assistant to defensive quality control coach.

The only two new additions on defense appear to be Bryan Bing, who replaces Justin Hinds as assistant defensive line coach, and new defensive analyst (advance/special projects) Matt Pees. After Hinds departed to take the defensive line coaching job in Seattle, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, the Bears landed on Bing, who served as a defensive assistant with the Colts last year as a Tony Dungy Diversity Coaching Fellow. Pees is the son of long-time defensive coordinator Dean Pees and previously spent the last three years as a defensive assistant with the Falcons, working two of those years under his father.

On the offensive side of the ball, we already knew that new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron had hired Kerry Joseph as quarterbacks coach, Chad Morton as running backs coach, Chris Beatty as wide receivers coach, Thomas Brown as passing game coordinator, and Jason Houghtaling as assistant offensive line coach. Houghtaling will assist Chris Morgan, who was retained as offensive line coach and granted the additional title of offensive run game coordinator. Also retained were tight ends coach Jim Dray and offensive quality control coach Zach Cable.

There were three notable additions to the staff on offense. Both Ryan Griffin and Robbie Picazo will serve under the title offensive assistant (quarterbacks and wide receivers). Griffin, a former NFL quarterback, is taking his first coaching gig after a short stint in the Italian Football League last year. Picazo spent the past two years as an offensive assistant with the Seahawks and Texans, coaching at Rice and Stanford at the collegiate level for several years before that. The final offensive addition is Jennifer King, who will be the team’s offensive assistant (running backs). After becoming the first black woman to be named a full-time NFL coach as an assistant running backs coach for the past three year with the Commanders, King continues her NFL journey, this time in Chicago.

Lastly, the Bears enlisted the services of Chavis Cook to manage coaching administration.

There you have it. Eberflus has crafted a new staff with a mix of new and familiar faces. With the new staff locked in, the team can now turn its attention to free agency, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and the future of quarterback Justin Fields.

Buccaneers Re-Sign QB Ryan Griffin

Since coming into the NFL in 2013, Ryan Griffin has thrown four career passes. But he has impressed the Buccaneers for years. The veteran quarterback landed another deal with the team Thursday. Griffin signed for near the league minimum again, with The Athletic’s Greg Auman tweeting the sides agreed to a one-year, $1.1MM deal (Twitter link).

The Bucs announced they another Griffin contract. He joins a team that has seen its quarterback situation go from uncertain to stable in recent weeks, with Tom Brady coming back. Blaine Gabbert remains unsigned, however, and Griffin will rejoin Brady and Kyle Trask on Tampa Bay’s QB depth chart.

Griffin, 32, signed with the Bucs last year but did not make their 53-man roster, instead spending the season on the practice squad. Tampa Bay carried Gabbert and Trask as its Brady backups in 2021. Bruce Arians has consistently talked up Gabbert, who played under the Super Bowl-winning coach in Arizona and Tampa. But Arians stepped down as Bucs HC on Wednesday, leaving the former first-rounder’s path unclear. Trask, last year’s No. 64 overall pick, currently resides as Brady’s backup.

Griffin’s Bucs arrival predates Gabbert’s by a few years. He caught on with the team back in 2015, being claimed off waivers from the Saints. One of two Ryan Griffins who entered the NFL in 2013, the former Tulane quarterback saw his lone game action in 2019. But he has been with the team under Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter, Arians and now Todd Bowles. The Bucs tendered Griffin as an RFA in 2018 and gave him a two-year deal in 2019; he collected a Super Bowl ring on the latter contract.

Buccaneers Reduce Roster To 53

The defending Super Bowl champs made a long list of moves today to get down to the 53-man roster limit. The Buccaneers made the following transactions:



  • T Brad Seaton


Placed on reserve/PUP list

Griffin had been with the Buccaneers organization since the 2015 season, but he’s only seen time in a pair of games. After winning a ring last season, the veteran re-signed with the organization this offseason. For the time being, Blaine Gabbert and rookie Kyle Trask will serve as Tom Brady‘s backups.

Mickens is another notable cut, as the 27-year-old served as one of Tampa Bay’s primary return men in 2020. Mickens finished the campaign with 16 punt returns for 99 yards and 14 kick returns for 340 yards.

Contract Notes: Bucs, Rodgers, Rudolph, Pats

We’ve got a handful of interesting notes on contracts to pass along, including for several quarterbacks:

  • The Buccaneers’ quarterbacks room is a bit crowded now with Kyle Trask getting drafted in the second-round. One of Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin will be the odd man out, since Bruce Arians won’t be keeping four signal-callers. “Their new contracts tell you who’s ahead” in the competition to hold Tom Brady‘s clipboard in 2021, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets. Auman reports that Gabbert got $1.5MM in guaranteed money, $750K in base salary and a $750K signing bonus. On the other hand, Griffin only got a $75K signing bonus guaranteed. Gabbert has always been Bruce Arians’ guy, while Tampa’s front office has loved Griffin enough to keep him around since 2015. If these financial figures tell us anything, and they usually do, it’s that Gabbert will be back for the title defense while Griffin won’t be.
  • The language of Aaron Rodgers‘ contract is going to get a lot of attention if his current beef with the Packers turns into a real holdout. Rodgers earned a $6.8MM roster bonus on the third day of the league year, but he hasn’t actually received that money yet since it’s to be “paid concurrently with his 2021 base salary,” former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry tweets. Corry notes that Green Bay has “the right to take fines & any recapture of signing bonus due to a training camp holdout from this money.” There was talk of Rodgers having to pay back that $6.8MM, but it turns out he hasn’t even gotten it yet. The Packers can start chipping away at that the moment he doesn’t show up for mandatory practices.
  • One last quarterback note. Mason Rudolph recently got a one-year contract extension from the Steelers to keep him under team control through 2022, and it turns out the team gave him some real money. Rudolph’s new pact with Pittsburgh is worth $5MM for the 2022 season, which included a $2MM signing bonus, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets. As Kaboly points out, Rudolph is the only passer the team has under contract for 2022. Rudolph hasn’t exactly looked like a franchise quarterback in his nine career starts, but with Ben Roethlisberger‘s status more than uncertain beyond this year, it makes since why the Steelers would want to make sure they have someone at least somewhat competent under center just in case.
  • When Trent Brown got traded from the Raiders back to the Patriots, he reworked his contract from having two years and $29.5MM left to a one-year pact for $11MM. Turns out that new one-year deal has some interesting details. The massive offensive tackle’s contract has a series of weight-based incentives, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes. The 6’8 behemoth will have earned $150K if he weighed “385 pounds or less on the first day of the offseason program (April 19).” Brown will have an opportunity to earn another $150K if he clocks in at or below 375 pounds on June 1, and another $200K for 365 pounds on July 15. That’s a total of a half million bucks in weight-based incentives. Brown was with the Patriots for one season back in 2018, and won Super Bowl LIII with the team.

Buccaneers Re-Sign QB Ryan Griffin

Two members of the Buccaneers’ most recent quarterback depth chart are now signed for 2021. Ryan Griffin is back in the fold. The longtime Bucs third-stringer re-signed with the defending Super Bowl champions Tuesday.

Griffin has been with the Bucs since 2015, serving as by far the team’s longest-tenured quarterback. The 31-year-old passer is in line to return for a seventh season in Tampa, rejoining Tom Brady ahead of his second. As Greg Auman of The Athletic points out, no Bucs QB has lasted seven seasons with the team previously (Twitter link). Griffin would certainly make for an unusual first.

Blaine Gabbert, whom GM Jason Licht indicated could potentially succeed Brady after he retires, remains unsigned. Gabbert has served as Tampa Bay’s QB2 for two seasons, backing up Jameis Winston in 2019 and Brady last year.

As for Griffin, he has suited up for two games in eight NFL seasons. The former Saints UDFA caught on with the Bucs as a 2015 waiver claim. The Bucs tendered the Tulane alum as a restricted free agent in 2017 and have since given him three new deals. Although Licht’s comments give Gabbert a clear path back to the Bucs, Griffin is currently penciled in as Brady’s backup. He stands to see plenty of time in the Bucs’ three preseason games, with Brady unlikely to play much in the league’s revamped exhibition slate.

Bucs QB Blaine Gabbert Dislocates Shoulder

It sounds like the Buccaneers may need another quarterback. Coach Bruce Arians said that backup signal-caller Blaine Gabbert dislocated his non-throwing shoulder during last night’s preseason win (via The Athletic’s Greg Auman on Twitter). ESPN’s Jenna Laine tweets that it’s not yet known if Gabbert will need surgery.

Arians also added that the team could end up signing another quarterback (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times on Twitter), although the head coach acknowledged that he’s very content rolling with Ryan Griffin as Jameis Winston‘s primary backup.

“More than comfortable,” Arians said. “He’s proven with some of the guys he’s playing with, directing them, poise. He’s moved our team up and down the field, just like he did again tonight.”

The Buccaneers signed Gabbert back in March, and his addition was partly attributed to his familiarity with Arians’ offense. The 29-year-old got into eight games (three) starts last season for the Titans, completing 60.4-percent of his passes for 626 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions. He previously teamed up with Arians in Arizona, including a 2017 campaign where he started five games.

As Arians mentioned, the team is comfortable having Griffin as Winston’s main backup, and the former undrafted free agent proved his worth last night. Griffin finished last night’s game having completed 11 of his 17 passes for 121 yards and one score.

Contract Details: Taylor, Wright, Harris, Lutz

Some assorted contract details from the around the NFL:

Buccaneers Re-Sign QB Ryan Griffin

While the status of Ryan Fitzpatrick is uncertain, the Buccaneers know who one of Jameis Winston‘s backups will be.

Ryan Griffin re-signed with the Bucs on a two-year deal. Griffin has been with the Bucs since the Lovie Smith regime, catching on via September 2015 waiver claim, but has yet to play a regular-season down. He will now work with Bruce Arians, his third Tampa Bay HC.

While he has not played beyond the preseason, Griffin has been on the past four Bucs active rosters. He spent time on the Saints’ active roster from 2013-14. The Bucs made Griffin their No. 2 quarterback near the end of last season, but Winston logged all the game snaps during those contests.

A Tulane product, Griffin is set to turn 30 this year. He has a chance to keep that backup job, but Arians may well prefer someone with more experience. Fitzpatrick is a free agent.

Latest On Buccaneers’ QB Situation

Although the Buccaneers could not conjure quite enough FitzMagic to pull off a comeback win against the Steelers on Monday, Tampa Bay will start Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Bears this afternoon, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). This was the expected move given how well Fitzpatrick has generally played through the first three weeks of the season and in light of the fact that the team is on a short week this week.

Plus, we heard earlier this month that Fitzpatrick would remain under center for as long as he performs at a high level. But according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter told his team during a meeting on Wednesday that he was “one or two plays away” from lifting Fitzpatrick on Monday night in favor of backup Ryan Griffin. At the time Koetter was contemplating that move, Fitzpatrick had just thrown his third interception and the club was trailing Pittsburgh 23-7.

Koetter, of course, did not end up pulling Fitzpatrick, but the fact that he made his thought process known to his team took some Buccaneers by surprise. Some players simply took Koetter’s words at face value, but some wondered whether he was laying a foundation for Jameis Winston to return, perhaps as soon as Week 6 (Tampa Bay has a bye in Week 5). After all, the team still views Winston as its long-term quarterback, so it stands to reason that he will be under center at some point soon, even if Fitzpatrick continues to overachieve.

Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports that the Bucs will reassess their QB situation during their bye week, and that Koetter has informed Fitzpatrick and Winston of his plans. Koetter said, “We know what we’re going to do. Both guys know what we’re going to do. Hope everybody can appreciate that it doesn’t do us any good to tell our opponents what we’re going to do.”

Winston was not permitted to practice at the team facility during his suspension, but Laine writes that he brought in quarterbacks coaches George Whitfield and John Beck and longtime trainer Otis Leverette to help him maintain the same schedule he had with the Bucs, and the group conducted daily workouts with 25 free agents and former teammates.

Winston’s initiative impressed Koetter, who said, “Hats off to Jameis for putting together a group of guys to do what he did…Jameis is a quarterback, coach and GM all at the same time — perfect. I think there is a little adjustment period, and that’s one of the things we’re trying to move along as quickly as we can.”

Reading between the lines, it certainly seems as if Winston may be starting for the Bucs in Week 6.