T.J. Yates

AFC Notes: Kizer, Wilkerson, Broncos, Yates

Hue Jackson took a step back from championing DeShone Kizer following the Browns‘ 14th loss of the season, and on Wednesday, the second-year coach backed off previous talk that the second-round rookie would be the team’s quarterback of the future.

We did not draft a quarterback in the first round and say, ‘This is our quarterback of the future.’ We took a quarterback. We’re trying to grow him,” Jackson said Wednesday when asked of Kizer’s longer-term status, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. ”

… I understand when you take a guy in the second round, everybody suspects that that’s the guy. We wish it is. I mean you hope it is. But if it isn’t, that’s OK, too. And hopefully guy will continue to grow and get better, but you also have to continue to get better at the position.”

Jackson has said this season Kizer could be the Browns’ long-term quarterback solution but said Sunday he wondered if the Notre Dame product — who has 19 interceptions, five more than any other passer this season — would ever “get it.” The then-Sashi Brown-led front office may have viewed the 2018 quarterback crop as superior to this year’s, inducing the Browns to bypass a first-round quarterback in order to not block a possible 2018 Round 1 pick. The Browns are almost certainly going to hold the No. 1 overall pick, so they’ll have their chance at the best quarterback prospect come April.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, shifting to the Muhammad Wilkerson situation.

  • In response to a question about if he’d like to stay with the Jets, Wilkerson said it wasn’t going to be up to him. “That’s up to Todd (Bowles) and the organization,” Wilkerson said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (video link). Although Wilkerson returned to the Jets on Wednesday, he is not expected to be a part of next year’s team due a turbulent season and disappointing run following his 2016 contract extension.
  • Conversely, Brock Osweiler still wants to stay with the Broncos next season despite the team presumably not viewing him as a starter going into a pivotal offseason. Osweiler’s contract is up after Week 17, but he wants to stay in Denver, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post relays (on Twitter). The Broncos have not decided if he or Paxton Lynch will start on Sunday against the Redskins. Osweiler may be amenable to again being the backup in Denver, with the franchise likely to explore options in what promises to be one of the more unique groups of available quarterbacks in the free agency era, and is unlikely to be be viewed as a starter-level talent by another team.
  • With the Broncos having little inclination Lynch can be counted on as a potential above-average starter, Troy Renck of Denver7 explores the idea of the team adding Kirk Cousins. While it would surely cost a team Derek Carr or Matthew Stafford money to sign Cousins, should be become a free agent, Renck notes the Broncos’ inability to replace Peyton Manning has cost them dearly. Manning wasn’t even making $20MM per year, so the prospect of Cousins — whom Renck lists as a player who figures to be pursued by the Jaguars, Bills, Browns, Cardinals and Jets as well — would be interesting. The Broncos are projected to have $30MM in 2018 cap space.
  • On the subject of cap space, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap analyzes some of the league’s worst situations. He lists the Chiefs, who are projected to be $3MM-plus over the ’18 cap, but notes the Alex Smith contract could be moved to create relief. The Chiefs would save $17MM by moving Smith’s deal off their books. Veterans like Tamba Hali or Derrick Johnson ($8MM apiece in cap savings) could also be cap casualties at little cost (less than $5MM between them). The Chiefs will also have decision regarding Dee Ford‘s $8.718MM fifth-year option to make. Fitzgerald adds the Chiefs’ failure to be proactive in extending Justin Houston or Eric Berry helped put them in this place.
  • The Texans will indeed start T.J. Yates again Sunday. Tom Savage could well miss the rest of the season. Savage is a free agent at season’s end.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Ross, Texans, O’Brien

Before he landed on IR, the Bengals spoke with first-round pick John Ross about the possibility of moving to cornerback, Mike Florio of PFT hears. It’s not clear how serious the Bengals were about a position change or why they were thinking about it in the first place. One source speculated that it was a move to help solidify the team’s depth at cornerback and Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears the same thing. But, another suggested to Florio that the proposed switch had to do with Ross’ overall toughness.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Head coach Bill O’Brien said he wants to be back with the Texans next season. “I enjoy being the head coach of the Houston Texans,” O’Brien said (Twitter link via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com). “I expect to be here, but those decisions are not made by me.” Since taking over in Houston in 2014, O’Brien’s teams have gone a combined 31-30, including three straight 9-7 seasons and two AFC South titles.
  • O’Brien said he expects T.J. Yates to start for the Texans on Sunday against the Jaguars (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Tom Savage was left shaking on the field after a big hit in this weekend’s loss to the Niners. He was later brought back on to the field for a series, raising questions about the league’s concussion protocol.
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he doesn’t get the feeling at all that new GM John Dorsey wants to hire his own coach (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). Although the team has pledged to bring Jackson back for the 2018 season, a report over the weekend indicated that Dorsey is not sold on him.
  • Head coach Sean McDermott says that Tyrod Taylor will be the Bills‘ starting quarterback this week, provided that his knee is healthy enough (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). Meanwhile, backup Nathan Peterman is in the concussion protocol. The Bills finished out Sunday’s game with Joe Webb under center, so it will be at least a couple of days before they get some clarity on who their starting QB will be against Miami.

Texans Sign QB T.J. Yates

T.J. Yates is back with the Texans. The quarterback agreed to sign with Houston on Friday morning, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

"<strongAfter losing starter Deshaun Watson for the season on Thursday, the Texans moved fast to sign Matt McGloin. Yates will dress and serve as the No. 2 QB for the game, but McGloin will not be on the roster Sunday’s game against the Colts. Tom Savage, the initial starter for the 2017 season, will be the first man up.

Yates, 30, has seven regular season starts on his resume, plus two playoff starts with Houston. This offseason, the Bills signed him as a reserve, but a concussion in the preseason led to his release in September. He worked out for the Titans and Bengals in October before circling back to the Texans here in November.

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Bengals Audition Three QBs

After working out for the Titans earlier this week, quarterbacks Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and T.J. Yates worked out for the Bengals on Thursday, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Each player was a training camp cut and each trekked to Nashville, Tenn., earlier this week for that group Titans audition. The Titans chose a fourth player in their workout group, Brandon Weeden, to be a likely temporary solution while Marcus Mariota battles a hamstring injury.

The Bengals have two active-roster quarterbacks in Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron, but potential third-stringer Jeff Driskell is on IR with a shoulder injury. McCarron’s also been hobbled by an Achilles injury, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets.

The Eagles cut McGloin after signing him earlier this offseason, and the Bills parted ways with Yates. The 49ers cut Barkley after signing him early in free agency.

Barkley worked out for the Patriots in September, while McGloin also traveled to that workout. Yates did not join that group in New England but is part of the traveling passer crew this week.

 

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Titans Show Interest In Four QBs

With Marcus Mariota on the mend, the Titans are looking into adding a quarterback. The team auditioned Brandon Weeden, Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and T.J. Yates on Tuesday, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). "<strong

Mariota is day-to-day with a strained hamstring and his status is up in the air for Sunday against the Dolphins. Currently, the Titans have only Matt Cassel on the roster with Tyler Ferguson on the practice squad. If Mariota can’t go, Ferguson could get promoted to serve as Cassel’s backup. Alternatively, the club may prefer to have a QB with some in-game experience at the ready.

The Titans lost by a score of 57-14 to the Texans on Sunday. After Mariota exited the game, Cassel completed 4-of-10 passes and threw two interceptions. He had 21 passing yards in total.

The team’s decision to not include Colin Kaepernick in the audition will raise some eyebrows, particularly since Kaepernick offers similar mobility to Mariota.

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Bills Cut QB T.J. Yates From IR

The Bills released T.J. Yates from IR today, according to the NFL’s transactions wire. The quarterback will be free to sign with any team once he recovers from his concussion. "<strong

Yates and starter Tyrod Taylor were both knocked out of action with concussions in August, but only Taylor was able to recover in time for the season opener. The Bills could have brought Yates off of IR after eight weeks, but it appears that Buffalo is comfortable with their current trio of Taylor, rookie Nathan Peterman, and recent addition Joe Webb.

Yates, 30, has only seven regular season starts on his resume. He does, however, have two playoff starts to his credit thanks to his time with the Texans.

With Yates out of the picture, the Bills have only two players on IR: wide receiver Jeremy Butler and tight end Keith Towbridge.

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Bills Place QB T.J. Yates On IR

The Bills announced that they have placed quarterback T.J. Yates on injured reserve. In other QB news, the Bills confirmed that Tyrod Taylor will be ready to go for Week 1 against the Jets. T.J. Yates (vertical)

Both Yates and Taylor suffered concussions in August, putting the team’s QB depth in serious jeopardy. The team signed Joe Webb on Monday to brace for the possibility that rookie Nathan Peterman would be left as the team’s only other healthy signal caller. Now that Taylor has been given the green light, Webb may or may not stick on the roster as the QB3. Yates will be eligible to return after eight weeks, if the Bills want to use one of their two IR-DTR spots on him.

In other news, the Bills signed safety Colt Anderson and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. Defensive tackle Deandre Coleman has been released.

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AFC Notes: Ravens, Steelers, Jets, Bills

Free agent running back Ryan Mathews may be a fit for the Ravens, but signing him would require the club to overlook his ball security issues, observes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Mathews has fumbled a league-high 20 times since 2010, notes Hensley, who adds that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh cut the playing time of Ray Rice, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Javorius Allen in recent years after each had problems in that department. “You play the best players, and at running back, the best players don’t fumble,” Harbaugh said in 2015. While Mathews has his flaws, including injury concerns, he has nonetheless averaged a lofty 4.4 yards per carry on nearly 1,200 career attempts. A Ravens team that tied for 20th in YPC last year (4.0) and won’t have the injured Kenneth Dixon in 2017 could use the type of per-carry production Matthews’ brings to the table.

More from the AFC:

  • The Steelers invested a second-round pick in Senquez Golson in 2015, but the cornerback’s lack of availability could bring an end to his time with the team, according to defensive coordinator Keith Butler (via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette). “If he can’t stay on the field we can’t keep him,” said Butler. “That’s just the fact of the matter. That’s not threat or anything like that. That’s just the fact of the matter. It’s just the way it is for all of them.” Injuries prevented Golson from playing a down in either of his first two seasons, and a hamstring issue has kept him out for almost all of training camp this year.
  • Jets wide receiver/return man Lucky Whitehead will undergo surgery on his broken foot, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters Wednesday (via Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press). While it’s unclear exactly how much time Whitehead will miss, he’ll be on the shelf for a while. Bowles said that Whitehead “could potentially” play this year, per Waszak. The late-July waiver claim from the Cowboys had been in line to begin the season as Gang Green’s top returner. With would-be replacement Jalin Marshall out the first quarter of the season because of a suspension, the Jets could turn to one of Frankie Hammond, Romar Morris, Chris Harper or Marcus Murphy, Waszak suggests.
  • Fifth-round rookie Nathan Peterman has passed T.J. Yates on the Bills’ depth chart at quarterback, leading Mike Rodak of ESPN.com to argue that the team should release the veteran. The Bills would only have the untested Peterman behind starter Tyrod Taylor at that point, but as Rodak writes, the loss of Taylor for an extended period would kill their already slim hopes of contending anyhow. Further, cutting Yates would allow Buffalo to keep another player at a position of need, and it’s possible the team would be able to re-sign him at a later date if an emergency were to arise under center. Yates nearly went without an employer last season until the Dolphins signed him in mid-December, after all, though he did suffer an ACL tear late in the previous year.

Bills Sign QB T.J. Yates

The Bills announced the signing of T.J. Yates. It’s a one-year deal for the veteran quarterback. T.J. Yates

Yates hooked on with the Dolphins late last season but Miami’s addition of David Fales left him without a spot on the depth chart. Now, he projects to be the Bills’ third option behind starter Tyrod Taylor and youngster Cardale Jones. Of course, if the Bills’ flirtations with quarterbacks in this year’s draft are to be taken seriously, then Yates might not be long for Buffalo.

Yates, 30 next month, has only seven regular starts on his resume. He does, however, have two playoff starts to his credit thanks to his time with the Texans.

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Bills Host QB T.J. Yates On Visit

The Bills hosted free agent quarterback T.J. Yates on a visit today, per a team announcement. T.J. Yates

Yates was effectively displaced in Miami this offseason when the Dolphins signed quarterback David Fales as their new QB3. Now, Yates might have an opportunity to serve as an emergency option behind Tyrod Taylor and Cardale Jones in Buffalo. It has been said that the Bills are very high on Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, so it’s not clear if they would be willing to give guaranteed money to a reserve signal caller. A player of Yates’ caliber, however, might not require any type of guarantee.

Yates, 30 in May, has only started seven games during his regular season career. Interestingly, he also has two playoff starts on his resume from his time with the Texans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.