Rex Grossman

Falcons Release Rex Grossman, T.J. Yates

3:27pm: The Falcons have cut Yates as well, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). That leaves Ryan and Renfree as the only quarterbacks on the roster at the moment.

3:23pm: A little over a week after signing him to a contract, the Falcons have released quarterback Rex Grossman, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Because he’s a vested veteran, Grossman won’t have to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent.

Grossman, who turned 35 last month, hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass since 2011 in Washington, and we heard earlier in August that he was still recovering from an injury he sustained while training. However, the veteran QB has a history with Kyle Shanahan, so it was no surprise when the new Falcons and their new offensive coordinator brought in Grossman.

It’s a little surprising that Grossman only lasted about a week and a half on the roster, but it could be a case of the team intending to re-sign him after Week 1, when veteran salaries are no longer guaranteed for the season. For now, T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree remain on Atlanta’s roster as Matt Ryan‘s backups.

Falcons Sign Rex Grossman

8:48am: The Falcons have waived/injured running back Evan Royster to make room for Grossman, per McClure (via Twitter). That means the team will carry four quarterbacks on its roster for now.

8:12am: After taking a physical and working out for the team yesterday, free agent quarterback Rex Grossman has agreed to terms with the Falcons, according to Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). Grossman will be signing a one-year deal with Atlanta, reuniting with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Throughout the preseason, T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree have been vying for the Falcons’ backup quarterback role behind Matt Ryan, but neither signal-caller has seized the job. Yates entered camp as the presumed favorite, but he has completed just 52.8% of his passes in the preseason so far, and has thrown the team’s only two interceptions.

Grossman, who turned 35 on Sunday, hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass since 2011 in Washington, and we heard earlier this month that he was still recovering from an injury he sustained while training. However, the veteran QB has a history with Shanahan, so the new Falcons offensive coordinator may feel more comfortable with Grossman than he currently does with Yates or Renfree. It remains to be seen whether Yates or Renfree will be cut to accommodate Grossman’s signing, or if the team will temporarily carry four quarterbacks.

In addition to being the last season in which he saw regular-season playing time, 2011 was a year that saw Grossman get an extended opportunity as a starter for Washington — he went 5-8 as the club’s starter, throwing 20 interceptions and just 16 touchdowns. In Atlanta this time around, Grossman shouldn’t see any real game action unless something goes horribly wrong.

According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Grossman’s deal will be for the minimum salary, which is $970K for a player with his experience.

Rex Grossman Visiting Falcons

Free agent quarterback Rex Grossman is currently in Atlanta, where he’s geting a physical with the Falcons, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter links). According to McClure, Grossman is also expected to work out with the team this afternoon, following his physical.

It’s not clear yet which quarterback will back up Matt Ryan in Atlanta this season, with T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree vying for the No. 2 job. Yates entered camp as the presumed favorite, but he has completed just 52.8% of his passes in the preseason so far, and has thrown the team’s only two interceptions.

Grossman, who turned 35 on Sunday, hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass since 2011 in Washington, and we heard earlier this month that he was still recovering from an injury he sustained while training. However, the veteran signal-caller has a history with new Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, so Shanahan may feel more comfortable with Grossman than he currently does with Yates or Renfree.

The Falcons figure to make a decision on whether or not to sign Grossman following today’s physical and workout.

NFC Notes: Benjamin, Falcons, AP, RGIII

The Panthers are holding their collective breath as they await the results of an MRI on Kelvin Benjamin‘s left knee. The Panthers wideout went down with an apparent non-contact injury during today’s joint practice with the Dolphins, and while head coach Ron Rivera indicated that it’s a sprained knee, there’s a chance the injury is more serious than that. If Benjamin has to miss regular-season action, it’ll be bad news for a Carolina receiving corps that’s lacking legit playmakers outside of Benjamin. Jonathan Jones and Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer have the details.

As the Panthers and their fans wait on the results of that MRI, let’s round up a few more items from across the NFC….

  • A report yesterday suggested that free agent quarterback Rex Grossman was drawing interest from the Falcons, but D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says it’s the other way around, tweeting that Grossman is interested in the Falcons. According to Ledbetter, the team is happy with T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree behind Matt Ryan.
  • Within an extensive look at Adrian Peterson‘s unusual offseason, Eli Saslow of ESPN The Magazine says that the Vikings running back wants to play another eight season in the NFL, in the hopes of breaking Emmitt Smith’s career rushing record.
  • Washington would like to stick with Robert Griffin III as the team’s starting quarterback for the entire 2015 season in order to make a fully informed decision about his future, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). The club has already picked up RGIII’s fifth-year option for 2016, but that salary doesn’t become guaranteed until the first day of the ’16 league year, so Washington could still decide to move on from the young QB if this season doesn’t go well.
  • The Cardinals‘ signing of running back Chris Johnson is a potential coup, and a move straight from the Steve Keim playbook, writes Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic.
  • Lions safety James Ihedigbo, who had been seeking a new contract earlier this year, still feels like he’s in his prime as he prepares to turn 32 years old, he tells Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Rex Grossman Turned Down Jets

The Jets signed Matt Flynn after Rex Grossman turned them down, Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com tweets. Meanwhile, Grossman is drawing interest from the Falcons.

We heard last week that Grossman is dealing with an injury he suffered during his training and will need a few weeks to get ready for live action. The former Bears signal caller was linked to the Jets shortly after Geno Smith‘s jaw was broken and it would seem that he was one of the top options – or perhaps the top option – for Gang Green.

Alas, the University of Florida product won’t be coming to New York and he could instead pop up in Atlanta. At present, the Falcons have T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree backing up Matt Ryan.

Grossman, 35 on Sunday, last appeared in the NFL in 2013 with Washington, though he did not see any time on the field. His last season under center was all the way back in 2011 when he started 13 games in D.C., throwing for 3,151 yards with 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. The veteran is known for his proclivity for throwing the deep ball, which has led to a great deal of turnovers in the past.

Jets Cancel Workout For QB Tyler Thigpen

7:59pm: The Jets have cancelled their workout with Thigpen, a league source tells Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Anderson (Twitter link) hears that the Jets don’t have imminent plans to work out either Thigpen or Grossman.

7:44pm: A Jets source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that the thinking for the team at this time is to go into their preseason opener against the Lions “with the three arms that we have.” No surprise here, but the Jets won’t be signing anyone prior to Friday, when they’ll get a look at Thigpen.

6:08pm: The Jets will work out quarterback Tyler Thigpen on Friday, a league source tells ESPN’s Dianna Marie Russini (on Twitter). Thigpen could be called upon to provide the Jets with depth in the wake of today’s incident which left starter Geno Smith with a broken jaw.

Thigpen, 30, joined the Browns on a one-year deal in May 2014 after a strong performance at their minicamp. He was cut in August to make way for Rex Grossman, but he returned to the roster late in the season when Cleveland needed depth at the quarterback position. A seventh-round pick in the 2007 draft, he saw his most significant action during the 2008 season, when he started 11 games for the Chiefs and put up respectable numbers, including 2,608 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions. Since then, he has served as a backup in Kansas City, Miami, Buffalo, and Cleveland.

Speaking of Grossman, Sexy Rexy is reportedly a possible target for the Jets, though he’ll need a couple weeks to get ready as he recovers from an injury.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Grossman, Bills

In the wake of the locker-room altercation that left Geno Smith with a broken jaw, the Jets are in the preliminary stages of adding another quarterback to their roster, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

It makes sense that the team would want to add another veteran to the mix while Smith is out, since Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the only signal-caller on the roster with NFL experience — rookies Bryce Petty and Jake Heaps are also on the Jets’ roster, but Heaps is likely just a camp arm and a potential practice squad candidate, while the club would probably rather not have Petty see regular-season action this year.

One potential target for the Jets may be Rex Grossman, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network, who tweets that the team reached out to the veteran free agent. However, Grossman is dealing with an injury he suffered during his training, and would need a few weeks to get ready, so the Jets figure to consider other options as well.

As we wait to see which direction the Jets go, here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • Jonathan Martin, the offensive tackle at the center of the Dolphins‘ bullying scandal in 2013, explained in a since-deleted tweet that he decided to retire from the NFL because “in the end, football was just a job, albeit a fun and well-paying one.” Alluding to the health concerns inherent in being an NFL player, Martin added that “being in a wheelchair at 50 isn’t worth any amount of money,” per Bill Voth of the Black and Blue Review. As Voth observes, another Martin tweet in which the former lineman compliments his Panthers and 49ers teammates, without mentioning his Dolphins teammates, serves as a reminder that Martin’s time in Miami didn’t exactly go smoothly.
  • Jim Turner, the offensive line coach who was dismissed by the Dolphins after Ted Wells published his report on the 2013 bullying scandal, filed a lawsuit against Wells and his law firm, but didn’t name the Dolphins or the NFL as defendants, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
  • Former Clemson cornerback Garry Peters is working out for the Bills, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Peters signed with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent earlier this offseason, but was cut at the end of July by Carolina.

Browns Place Johnny Manziel On IR

WEDNESDAY, 10:38am: The Browns have officially placed Manziel on IR, along with defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, the team announced today (via Twitter). The two moves accommodate the previously reported roster additions of long snapper Charley Hughlett and defensive lineman John Hughes.

MONDAY, 3:56pm: Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel will not be available for the last game of the season against the Ravens, according to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com (via Twitter). Manziel injured his hamstring in last week’s loss to the Panthers, and the injury would have reportedly forced him to miss a few weeks had this not been the last game of the year.

The team’s other quarterback option with experience is Brian Hoyer, who started for most of the season before being benched for Manziel. His status for Sunday’s game is uncertain due to a shoulder injury as well, which could leave the Browns without their two top quarterbacks.

The next option is undrafted rookie Connor Shaw, who the team signed after the draft this season. The former University of South Carolina quarterback is expected to get the lion’s share of the reps with the first team in practice this week in anticipation of the matchup with Baltimore (via Twitter).

According to Grossi, the team is also considering bringing in a quarterback from outside the organization, to serve as a backup under the circumstance where Hoyer cannot dress for the game. Grossi expects that the team will bring Rex Grossman in as an emergency option for Week 17 (via Twitter).

Grossman played under Kyle Shanahan for years, first with the Texans as a backup and also during their time together in Washington. Grossman was also with the team for a few weeks this August, and should have some comfort level, if not familiarity, with the offense.

Browns coach Mike Pettine was asked about the prospect of bringing in Grossman, and was noncommittal but noted that the team was exploring their options, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (via Twitter). Pettine said he would get together with general manager Ray Farmer and they would look into how to proceed.

Extra Points: Marrone, Grossman, Draft

If the Bills‘ new owners, Terry Pegula and Kim Pegula, have decided to retain head coach Doug Marrone beyond this season, they haven’t told Marrone yet, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. However, as Marrone told reporters today, he’s not worried about receiving assurances about his job.

“Now is really not the time for that in our profession,” Marrone said. “Maybe some other people would do that. I’m probably not the best person to talk to because I’m wired a little bit differently. Like I said, my focus is just on this game and winning. I don’t want to focus on the other stuff. The things that you can’t control, you don’t worry about. Those things will happen, I’m sure, when the season is over.”

Let’s check in on a few more Tuesday items from around the NFL….

  • Browns head coach Mike Pettine confirmed today to reporters, including Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald (via Twitter), that Cleveland tried to sign quarterback Rex Grossman before reaching out to Tyler Thigpen. Grossman reportedly declined because he wanted to spent the holidays with his family instead.
  • Boise State running back Jay Ajayi announced this week that he’ll forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL draft, says Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman, who notes that Ajayi made the decision earlier this month. Ajayi, who racked up 1,689 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns in his junior year, currently ranks as the 10th-best back in this year’s class, per Mel Kiper of ESPN.com.
  • Utah offensive tackle Jeremiah Poutasi is expected to enter the 2015 draft early, sources tell Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link). Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com tweeted earlier this year that Poutasi is “pretty raw,” but is an intriguing prospect with a good deal of upside.
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune explains why it wasn’t a practical solution for the Bears to use the franchise tag on Jay Cutler a year ago.
  • While Tony Sparano deserves praise for the job he’s done as the Raiders‘ interim coach, the club needs to “aim higher” when selecting its next coach, in the view of Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Grossman, Hoyer, Philbin

The Browns could use some depth at quarterback with injuries to Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer and they called on Rex Grossman to serve as a backup. Unfortunately for Cleveland, Sexy Rexy isn’t interested, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Grossman is hosting his whole family for the holidays and he says he would rather spent Christmas with them than with the 7-8 Browns. Here’s more from around the NFL..

  • It sounds like Hoyer could be healthy enough to serve as an emergency backup for the Browns in their season finale, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Meanwhile, signal caller Connor Shaw could be promoted from the practice squad for additional depth.
  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross kept coach Joe Philbin because he likes him as a person and he refused to hire a GM who wanted him gone, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (on Twitter).
  • With the Saints now eliminated from playoff contention and headed for a top 15 draft pick, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap looks at what they can do next season. Much of the Saints savings, he explains, will probably come through contract restructuring with veterans.