August 31st, 2019 at 6:03pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Lions are the latest team to officially trim their roster all the way down to 53. After stockpiling quarterbacks, they’ve now cut two of them. Former AAF passer Luis Perez and Tom Savage were both let go. That means that legendary journeyman Josh Johnson has made the team as Matthew Stafford‘s backup, and recently acquired rookie David Blough has made the squad as the third-stringer. Detroit also waived Isaac Nauta, a rookiie tight end out of Georgia who they drafted in the seventh-round.
When announcing the new extension for linebacker Jaylon Smith at a press conference today, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sent a clear message to a few other high-profile players who are eligible for extensions. Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic, “[t]he team takes precedent at a point over the opinion or the demand of the individual. The team takes precedent. This was a team move we are talking about today. The team takes precedent. And I’ve got the backbone to keep it that way” (Twitter link).
Obviously, that statement suggests that Jones is going to hold firm on the offers that have been extended to Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and Amari Cooper, and as we detailed earlier today, Smith’s extension looks relatively team-friendly. Jones did say that there is “enough pie left” to get deals done with all of them, though he did not have an update on negotiations with the trio.
Let’s check out more from the NFC:
Free agent linebacker Will Compton will work out for the Saints, as John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. Compton, who played for the Redskins from 2013-17, was a full-time starter as recently as 2016. However, his 2017 campaign was marred by injury, and he played only 79 defensive snaps for the Titans last year in his first and only season in Tennessee. He would provide experienced LB depth in New Orleans, and he could also contribute on special teams.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press examines the Lions‘ backup QB situation, noting that presumptive QB2 Tom Savage missed his seventh straight practice on Tuesday (Savage is in the concussion protocol). That has meant more reps for DavidFales and JoshJohnson, but Birkett says the Lions are unlikely to carry three QBs. So if Savage cannot be medically cleared by next Saturday, he could be cut. Fales looked sharp in the team’s last preseason game while Johnson struggled, so Fales may have a leg up if Savage can’t get healthy.
As Garafolo points out, current backup Tom Savage left yesterday’s preseason game after his head hit the turf, necessitating this move. Savage has a history of concussion issues, so it’s possible he’ll be sidelined for a while. Former Bears and Dolphins third-stringer David Fales is currently the only healthy quarterback on the roster behind Stafford.
Johnson is a legendary journeyman, already having spent time with 12 different NFL teams in his long and winding career. The 33-year-old turned into one of the best stories of the 2018 NFL season when he was signed off the street by the Redskins late in the season and suddenly thrust into the starting role. He played about as well as could’ve been expected, but has remained unsigned this offseason.
Johnson recently turned down a contract from the Ravens as he apparently felt he wasn’t going to be anything more than a short-term camp arm. Jones, a 2013 fourth-round pick of the Steelers, notably spent a few seasons as Ben Roethlisberger‘s backup. He was always somewhat competent when forced into action, but Pittsburgh eventually decided they wanted to upgrade, cutting him on the eve of the 2018 season. He briefly latched on with the Jaguars but spent most of the year out of the league. He spent a couple of months with the Raiders earlier this offseason before getting released.
While Johnson may not be mending fences with the Lions any time soon, the show must go on in Detroit, and Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com has passed along a few interesting nuggets from the second week of organized team activities. While it’s certainly early, Tom Savage reportedly looks like the favorite for the Lions’ backup quarterback job, per Twentyman. Savage has been taking most of the club’s second-team snaps, and he boasts far more experience than his competition (Connor Cook). Meanwhile, second-round linebacker Jahlani Tavai was viewed as something of an over-draft, but he’s already seeing some time with Detroit’s first-team defense.
Although Laquon Treadwell has struggled mightily during his first three seasons in a Vikings uniform, now is not the time to release the former first-round wide receiver, argues Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. Treadwell, 24 later this month, posted the best season of his career in 2018, but that only entailed 35 receptions and 302 yards as he played behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Minnesota would incur $2.5MM in dead money by cutting Treadwell, but the club would open up roughly $654K in cap space by doing so. As Cronin indicates, the Vikings could be hoping Treadwell flashes during the preseason and increases his trade value.
Vikings chief operating office Kevin Warren was today officially named as the new commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com indicated Monday (Twitter link). Warren will become the first African-American commissioner of a Power Five conference. As Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement, Warren plans to assist Minnesota in a transition phase over the next three months.
The Lions have signed free agent QB Tom Savage, per Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website (via Twitter).
Savage has had a tough go of it since entering the league as a fourth-round pick of the Texans in 2014. He served as a backup in his rookie campaign, missed all of 2015 with a shoulder injury, worked primarily as a backup to Brock Osweiler in 2016, and finally got his chance to start in 2017. But he made it through just the first half of the first game of the 2017 season, and he was benched at halftime in favor of Deshaun Watson, whom the team had drafted in the first round that year. He reentered the starting lineup when Watson went down with an ACL injury, but he ended up putting together a 1-6 record and a 71.4 quarterback rating.
Savage signed with the Saints last April but was cut before the start of the regular season, and he bounced on and off of the 49ers’ roster for several months. He finished out the 2018 campaign with the Bengals, who claimed him off waivers in November, but he did not see a regular season snap last year.
For his career, Savage has a 2-7 record and has thrown for five touchdowns against seven interceptions. With Detroit, he will compete to serve as Matthew Stafford‘s backup. The only other QB currently on the Lions’ roster is Connor Cook, though the club may select a passer in this month’s draft.
Andy Dalton‘s thumb injury will end his season. The Bengals will place their starting quarterback on IR, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter).
Cincinnati also claimed Tom Savage off waivers from the 49ers, per Dehner (on Twitter). Jeff Driskel, who took his first NFL snaps this season, will be in line to start the rest of the way for Cincinnati. This may deal a massive blow to the Bengals’ fleeting playoff hopes.
Torn thumb ligaments will cause Dalton to venture to IR, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). It’s not known if a surgery is scheduled, but that would be logical given the IR announcement. This malady forced Dalton out of the Bengals’ Week 12 loss, but it was initially reported the eighth-year quarterback did not suffer a break. Still, he will head to IR for the first time in his career.
Dalton has missed just three games in his career — all in 2015, which crushed probably the best Bengals team in the past 30 years — and the Bengals did not invest much in a backup quarterback this offseason. A.J. McCarron departed via free agency, but the Bengals retained Driskel and essentially promoted him to QB2.
The Bengals started out 4-1 but have lost five of their past six games. Dalton did not finish losses against the Saints and Browns, the former because of the nature of the game. He was enjoying a better season than he produced in 2017, throwing 21 touchdown passes and holding a 64.6 Total QBR — nearly 20 points better than his 2017 mark.
Dalton had cooled off, though, since Cincy’s hot start, failing to eclipse 160 passing yards in three of his past five starts — the most recent such instance because of his injury. A.J. Green‘s absence had plenty to do with this, but while the Bengals’ top player may be ready to return in Week 13 against the Broncos, Driskel (36 career pass attempts) will be throwing him passes.
Driskel began his college career at Florida before transferring to Louisiana Tech. He landed with the 49ers in 2016 as a UDFA.
Savage spent parts of this season with the 49ers but was jettisoned multiple times, the most recent cut coming Saturday. He was the Texans’ opening day starter in 2017, but Deshaun Watson quickly replaced him. After Watson’s injury, Savage returned. He finished last season with 1,412 passing yards, five touchdown throws and six INTs.
Mullens played well in his NFL debut last night, and coach Kyle Shanahan remains high on Beathard, so Savage won’t push for any playing time this season. That being said, San Francisco clearly wants something of a veteran presence in their very young and inexperienced quarterback room.
It’s the third time this year Savage has been signed by the 49ers, as they’ve already done this release and re-sign routing twice. Savage was initially brought in for a workout and considered the favorite to sign in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo‘s ACL tear, but it took a few weeks for the team to actually sign him. Savage opened 2017 as the Texans’ starter but was quickly benched for Deshaun Watson. After Watson tore his ACL, Savage ended up starting a handful more games in Houston, and performed poorly.
The 49ers are cutting quarterback Tom Savage, according to a team announcement. In related moves, the Niners have activated safety Marcell Harris (story) and linebacker Dekoda Watson from injured reserve. They also promoted cornerback Emmanuel Moseley to the active roster.
The release of Savage is a sign C.J. Beathard will probably be active for Thursday night’s game against the Raiders. However, he will not start for San Francisco. Because of a wrist injury that is hurting his ability to properly grip the football, Nick Mullens will throw his first NFL pass and get his first NFL start against Oakland, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
Savage, like all players released after the NFL trade deadline, will be subject to waivers. If he is not claimed by Friday afternoon, he will be free to join any team.
For nearly 48 hours, Tom Savage was not a 49ers employee. That will change soon, with Pro Football Talk reporting (Twitter link) the quarterback will re-sign with the team.
The 49ers cut Savage on Saturday to make room for a reinforcement in an injured secondary, but the rumors circulating the team planned to bring the quarterback back look accurate. Savage will return as a veteran presence on a young passing staff, though his job security should certainly be considered tenuous based on recent events.
San Francisco brought in Savage last week to work behind C.J. Beathard and rookie Nick Mullens. He’s back in that capacity, at least for now.
The Texans’ 2017 opening day starter, Savage was benched last season but returned to action after Deshaun Watson‘s ACL tear. The Texans did not re-sign Savage this offseason, and a Teddy Bridgewater trade led to the Saints cutting Savage after they’d reached an offseason agreement with the fifth-year passer.