Tyrod Taylor

QB Tyrod Taylor Sues Chargers’ Team Doctor

Tyrod Taylor‘s time as a starter with the Chargers came to a bizarre end, and it has resulted in legal action. The veteran quarterback is suing the team’s doctor, David S. Gazzaniga, for “at least” $5MM, as detailed by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter

Taylor was sidelined just prior to the Chargers’ Week 2 game in 2020 when a pain-killing injection was administered, puncturing his lung. The accidental action by Dr. Gazzaniga left Taylor unavailable and opened the door to then-rookie Justin Herbert taking over as the team’s starting signal-caller. The latter has held onto that spot (and much more) in the time since, leaving Taylor to hit the open market the following offseason.

As the lawsuit notes, though, Taylor did so as a backup, rather than the starter then-coach Anthony Lynn stated he would have remained for at least a short time. “The economic difference between a starting quarterback’s salary and a back-up quarterback salary,” the suit states, “is at least $5MM and is more than likely much greater. The exact amount of such past and future loss is unknown to [Taylor] at this time.” As a result, the amount he seeks could be subject to change.

The trial resulting from Taylor’s suit – which also names Dr. Gazzaniga’s Newport Orthopedic Institute as a defendant – was originally scheduled to take place in November, but it has been moved to April to accommodate the NFL calendar. It will be after the 2022 campaign, then, that the matter of Taylor’s alleged “severe physical pain resulting in hospitalization, physical therapy, emotional distress and other past pain and suffering” will be presided over.

In 2021, Taylor signed with the Texans on a one-year deal which paid him $5.5MM. He made six total starts, dealing with a hamstring injury and ceding the No. 1 role to Davis Mills. This summer, he inked a two-year contract to serve as a high-end backup to Daniel Jones with the Giants. The pact carries a similar AAV of $6.5MM.

Dr. Gazzaniga, meanwhile, still holds his position with the Chargers. He will be the subject of plenty of attention once again in the coming days as Herbert deals with the rib cartilage injury he suffered on Thursday. The NFLPA will “closely monitor” Herbert’s treatment, per the ESPN report. Regardless of how that situation plays out, Dr. Gazzaniga will have this suit looming throughout the season.

Latest On Giants, QB Daniel Jones

Off to a 1-0 start after upsetting the Titans, the Giants have begun Brian Daboll‘s tenure better than Pat Shurmur‘s or Joe Judge‘s started. Daniel Jones finished 17-for-21, with much of his yardage (188) coming on a 65-yard TD toss to Sterling Shepard. But the fourth-year quarterback likely still has plenty of work to do to earn the trust of the Giants’ new decision-makers.

Upon taking over in New York, Daboll and GM Joe Schoen harbored “major concerns” about Jones’ viability as a long-term option, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes.

Although the new Giants brass being “far from sold” on Jones is not too surprising, given the team’s decision to pass on its starting quarterback’s $22.4MM fifth-year option in May. Jones, who is now with his fourth NFL play-caller (though, he made it only one game with interim play-caller Freddie Kitchens last season), is on track for free agency in 2023. The oft-criticized passer could revitalize his career with a strong season under Daboll, but the fifth-year option era’s short history works against Jones being a long-term Giant.

In the option era (since 2014, when 2011 draftees’ options could be exercised or declined), no team has declined a QB’s fifth-year option and then circled back via an extension or re-signing. Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, E.J. Manuel, Teddy Bridgewater and Mitch Trubisky saw their options declined. None of this passer lot played beyond four seasons with his original NFL team. The 49ers passed on Gabbert’s option after acquiring him via trade in 2014; Brandon Weeden, Paxton Lynch and Josh Rosen were off their first-round contracts before their option decisions arrived. Bridgewater was on his way to earning a Vikings extension, but his severe 2016 knee injury intervened. Jones did suffer a neck injury that required offseason surgery, but after back-to-back down years, the Duke product has never been tracking toward a Giants extension.

The Giants should be expected to give Jones a long look, despite this regime not drafting him. Ownership backed Jones as its starter in March, and John Mara said earlier this offseason the Giants had “done everything possible to screw up” Jones’ development. But Daboll is high on backup Tyrod Taylor, per La Canfora, who adds that some around the league believe the first-year HC would not hesitate to bench Jones for Taylor if it helps this year’s team. It is too early for such talk, and a Jones benching would effectively signal the Giants are back in the quarterback market for 2023. They would join several other teams, including some that have two first-round picks, in that mix.

Injury Updates: Giants, Leonard, Smith, Rivers, Sharpe

In a sequence of events that no one ever wants to see, the Giants had four players leave their final preseason game this Sunday with injuries. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was carted off the field after a vicious hit to the chest by Jets pass rusher Micheal Clemons. New York also saw three players leave the game with concussions, but only one of them made the final roster: tight end Daniel Bellinger.

Head coach Brian Daboll has insisted that Taylor’s back injury is not serious, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. This is great news for Giants fans who may have worries that starting quarterback Daniel Jones will continue his trend of not being able to appear in every regular season game the Giants play. Since being drafted in 2019, Jones has missed at least two games each year, sitting out of six contests over the past year alone.

The Bellinger-concussion is significant as the fourth-round rookie out of San Diego State is currently set to start at tight end for New York with Ricky Seals-Jones on injured reserve to start the year. Going into the season as a rookie starter, Bellinger needs all the practice he can get before the season opener in Nashville.

Here are a couple other injury updates from around the league, starting with some good news from the Hoosier State:

  • The Colts are thrilled to get star linebacker Shaquille Leonard back in practice after the three-time first-team All-Pro missed the entirety of training camp, according to Nick Shook of NFL Network. Indianapolis activated Leonard just before it would be forced to commit him to the reserve/physically unable to perform list to start the season. This means he won’t be forced to miss the first four games of the year after offseason back surgery, but it doesn’t rule out that he still might. General manager Chris Ballard told James Boyd of The Athletic, “I can’t give you a timeline. Maybe Week 1, maybe Week 6. We’ll work and we’ll deal with it however we gotta deal with it.”
  • The Ty Smith that will start at left tackle for the Cowboys against the Buccaneers on September 11 may not be the one Dallas’s fans were hoping for. First-round pick Tyler Smith is being forced out at tackle with incumbent starter Tyron Smith on injured reserve. The latter Smith is set to undergo surgery this Friday that will “reattach a torn hamstring tendon to his left knee,” according to Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. The “uncommon sports injury” will likely hold the 31-year-old out until at least December.
  • Texans defensive end Derek Rivers will start the season on injured reserve after suffering a torn biceps tendon this week, according to Mark Berman of FOX Houston. Rivers earned his first career start with the Texans last year, tallying one sack on the year for Houston. The elbow injury is expected to keep Rivers out for up to three months.
  • Offseason free agent addition for the Bears wide receiver Tajae Sharpe will miss the entire 2022 season with a rib injury, according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic. The length of the absence was confirmed by head coach Matt Eberflus.

Giants To Sign QB Tyrod Taylor

The Giants have been looking for a high-level backup for Daniel Jones, and they’ve apparently found one. The team is signing quarterback Tyrod Taylor, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

Taylor is inking a two-year deal worth $11MM and a max value of $17MM, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). The QB will get $8.5MM in guaranteed money, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

The Giants were reportedly in the market for a player who could provide some competition in the QB room, with Mitchell Trubisky among their targets before he landed in Pittsburgh. This logic makes sense; Jones has been inconsistent during his three seasons in the NFL. He went 4-7 as a starter in 2021, and while he completed a career-high 64.3 percent of his passes, he also tossed only 10 touchdowns vs. seven interceptions. While the team has committed to Jones for next season, they also want to provide him with some competition.

So, in comes Taylor. The veteran joined the Texans last year, and he ended up getting six starts for his new team. He went 2-4 in these contests, completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 966 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions. He added another 151 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. There is some familiarity with the QB and the front office; new Giants GM Joe Schoen crossed paths with Taylor when the two were in Buffalo.

While the Texans sound set with Davis Mills as their quarterback in 2022, the team did have some interest in retaining Taylor. We heard earlier this week that Houston was impressed by the QB’s professionalism and ability to mentor the team’s younger quarterbacks.

QB Rumors: Trubisky, Winston, Taylor, Lock

The Giants’ new head coach, Brian Daboll, worked with free agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky when they were both with the Bills last year (Daboll as offensive coordinator). Well, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Daboll has interest in luring Trubisky to join him in New York.

There’s been some interest in bringing Trubisky to Pittsburgh, as well, where a path to starting is much more clear. If Daboll’s familiarity with the sixth-year quarterback is able to attract him to the Giants, though, the head coach sees the potential for him to mirror the results of Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. A quick refresher: Tannehill arrived in Nashville in 2019 in a trade with the Dolphins. Tannehill started the season in the role of back up quarterback to the incumbent starter Marcus Mariota. After a 2-4 start to the season, Mariota was benched in favor of Tannehill, who went 7-3 for the rest of the year and led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game.

Daboll holds hope that, while Daniel Jones may retain the starting job in New York, if the need presents itself, Trubisky could provide the same effect as Tannehill.

Some other notes concerning quarterbacks around the league:

  • Another option the Steelers could be looking into, Jameis Winston is looking like the most likely starting quarterback for the Saints in 2022, according to Graziano. With Teddy Bridgewater headed to free agency, a return to New Orleans could be possible, and Winston may see some opportunities in testing the free agent market, himself. But Winston is a locker room favorite that saw success on the Saints before tearing his ACL midseason last year.
  • Tyrod Taylor lost the starting job in Houston last year to rookie quarterback Davis Mills. With Mills expected to return to the starting position next year, the Texans do have interest in bringing Taylor back in the role of back up quarterback, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Taylor has chased starting jobs throughout his career and has seen some success at times. He may search for a new opportunity to start, but, if not, Taylor has shown professionalism several times in back up roles mentoring young quarterbacks.
  • After receiving Drew Lock in the Russell Wilson-trade with the Broncos, Seattle is considering the elements to Lock’s lack of success in Denver, according to Fowler. Some believe that the revolving door of offensive coordinators contributed to his struggles. Seattle is analyzing whether they believe in Pete Carroll‘s ability to develop Lock, who showed glimpses of promise in his early appearances as a Bronco, or whether they need to make moves for Deshaun Watson to win now.

QB Rumors: 49ers, Wilson, Winston, Texans

Of the starting quarterbacks mentioned in trade rumors, Jimmy Garoppolo looms as the likeliest candidate to move. The five-year 49ers starter saying as much and having talked to his general manager about a potential destination is a fairly clear indicator of a move. However, Garoppolo being dealt is not a certainty. Trey Lance has a long way to go in his climb toward being a reliable starter, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com said during an interview with Pro Football Focus’ Ari Meirov (via SI.com). The 21-year-old Division I-FCS alum was “further away than people realized” this past season, Schefter adds, noting Garoppolo remains well-liked in San Francisco’s locker room. While it would be a surprise if the 49ers kept Garoppolo, the prospect of him playing out his contract and keeping Lance in developmental mode in 2022 did surface last summer.

The statuses of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins may put the 49ers in a good spot regarding a Garoppolo trade offer, however. The QB trade market drying up would lead to more Garoppolo interest; as of now, the 49ers are seeking a Day 2 pick and change in a trade. They would need to weigh offers, Lance’s readiness and the prospect of a third-round 2024 compensatory pick — for Garoppolo’s 2023 free agency exit — in this equation.

Here is the latest from the quarterback rumor circuit:

  • Wilson has said he wants to stay with the Seahawks, but coming out of a disappointing season, the veteran quarterback has also been connected to exploring his options to see if another team could give him opportunities his current one cannot. For the time being, owner Jody Allen is behind keeping Wilson, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. It is unclear how much Allen supports ensuring the perennial Pro Bowler stays in Washington, and given Wilson’s value at age 33 and with two years left on his contract, Breer does expect a trade to eventually happen. After Rodgers makes his intentions known, this will be the top QB situation to monitor.
  • The Saints used four starting quarterbacks last season and have their preferred 2021 starter on track for free agency. Jameis Winston is coming off an ACL tear and might again need a prove-it season. Many around the league expect the Saints to again provide that opportunity, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. New Orleans is once again in its own league for cap purposes, being more than $75MM over the projected 2022 cap. Winston coming back on a low salary would help the Saints, even if the seven-year veteran would represent another stopgap year post-Drew Brees.
  • The Texans are behind Davis Mills as their starter, but they are interested in keeping Tyrod Taylor around. Taylor impressed Houston’s coaching staff during his first Texans season, Fowler adds. Taylor signed a one-year, $5.5MM deal to work as a starter during Deshaun Watson‘s time away from the team. Mills supplanted Taylor, continuing a familiar routine for the ex-Bills starter, but it sounds like his relationship with new OC Pep Hamilton — Taylor’s position coach with the Chargers in 2020 — is solid enough it could well lead to another year of QB2 work in Houston.

Texans Could Draft DE If QB Mills Shows Promise

With two defensive ends topping most 2022 NFL mock drafts and the Texans staring down a potential spot in the top 3 draft picks, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that his sources have told him Houston may elect to draft Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux should rookie quarterback Davis Mills show promise in the last four games of the season.

The third-round pick out of Stanford has started seven games this season, taking over for season starter Tyrod Taylor after Taylor suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2 of this season. When Taylor returned to health, Mills went back to his backup role. In Week 13, due to an injured wrist and general ineffectiveness Taylor was benched for Mills and the Texans announced that Mills would be tabbed as the starter for the remainder of the season.

In his play as a rookie, Mills has shown impressive accuracy completing 65.8% of his passes. He’s thrown for eight touchdowns and eight interceptions and, in games he’s started, he’s averaged about 227 passing yards per game for a Texans team that isn’t necessarily rich in offensive weapons. The Texans did say that, if Mills struggles down the stretch, they still may aim for a quarterback with a high draft pick.

This decision may end up being a bit more complicated than they’re currently saying. If Mills shows too much promise en route to proving they don’t need to draft a quarterback and wins a couple of games, he could potentially push them out of range of the draft’s top defensive ends. If Mills does indeed struggle in the tail end of the season and Houston decides they need to draft one of the top quarterbacks available in the draft, due to the lack of a consensus top quarterback prospect, they may be tempted to let an anxious team trade up into their high draft pick, assuming that some of the top quarterback prospects may still be available throughout the top 10 picks.

Regardless of the their thought process, Houston has provided Mills with motivation and an opportunity to take hold of the starting job and has put the onus on him to determine how they approach the 2022 NFL Draft. In his attempts to prove his starting abilities, Mills will face the Jaguars, Chargers, 49ers, and Titans in the final four games of the season.

Texans To Start Davis Mills

Davis Mills will start the rest of the way for the Texans, head coach David Culley announced on Friday (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). That means Tyrod Taylor will serve as the backup quarterback starting this week, when the Texans host the Seahawks. 

It’s been a trying week for Taylor, who hyperextended his left wrist last Sunday against the Colts. Even though that’s his non-throwing arm, handoffs and snaps proved to be challenging. Taylor exited in the third quarter after going 5-of-13 for 45 yards and one interception. Mills, meanwhile, completed 6-of-14 of his throws for 49 yards. None of those passes achieved much in the end — the Texans lost 31-0, dropping them to 2-10 on the year.

Mills has made six starts for the Texans this year, filling in for Taylor when he was on IR. To date, he’s got a 65.5% completion percentage with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Unless he really shines in the coming weeks, he’s unlikely to return as the Texans’ starter in 2022. If the season ended today, the Texans would own the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, behind the No. 1 Lions and No. 2 Jaguars — ample ammo to select, or trade down for, one of this year’s top QBs.

Taylor, meanwhile, will be a free agent when his one-year deal expires in March. His pact could have been worth up to $12.5MM via incentives, but the final tally will wind up closer to his base of $5.5MM.

Texans Activate QB Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor is officially back. The Texans activated the quarterback from injured reserve today, per ESPN’s Sarah Barshop (via Twitter). To make room on the roster, the team placed linebacker Christian Kirksey on injured reserve.

Taylor returned to practice in late October, and head coach David Culley made it clear that the veteran would start once he was healthy. The 32-year-old started the Texans first two games this season, completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 416 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He added another 55 yards and one touchdown on five carries. Taylor landed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury during Week 2.

Davis Mills has been serving as the starter ever since, but the results haven’t been great. His best performance came against the Patriots as he completed 21 of 29 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Pats went on to win 25-22 and the Texans went on to drop their next two games to the Colts and Cardinals.

Taylor hasn’t started more than three games since the 2017 season. While his return should provide a small spark to a struggling Texans offense, it’s unlikely the veteran will be able to guide Houston out of the cellar.

Kirksey suffered a fractured thumb and ligament damage during Sunday’s loss to the Rams, and now he’ll be sidelined for at least the next three games. The 29-year-old joined the Texans this offseason, and he’s collected a team-leading 56 tackles in eight starts.

NFL Minor Transactions: 10/27/21

All of today’s minor transactions in one place:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers