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.