Trace McSorley

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/20/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Lachavious Simmons

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: RB T.J. Logan; Logan remains on IR

QB Notes: Washington, Taylor, Ravens

Here are the latest developments from quarterback rooms around the league. At least 11 teams will go with different starting QBs compared to Week 1 of last season. Two teams confirmed they are going in that direction Wednesday:

  • Alex Smith has made a remarkable recovery, having returned to team drills after undergoing 17 surgeries to repair career-altering injuries. But Washington ended any suspense about its quarterback competition Wednesday, announcing Dwayne Haskins will start in Week 1. This was the expected route for the rebuilding team, which selected Haskins 15th overall last year. Kyle Allen is in line to back up the second-year player, with Smith looming as a wild card. The latter is guaranteed a $16MM base salary this season.
  • Hard Knocks has given more attention to Justin Herbert‘s throws, but Tyrod Taylor did not lose his job in the Chargers‘ abbreviated offseason. While the No. 6 overall pick looms, Anthony Lynn did not throw a curveball and named Taylor as his Week 1 starter. “Tyrod Taylor is our starter right now,” Lynn said, via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. “Until someone steps up and shows that they can run this team, that’s [how] we’re going into it.” Taylor was a Week 1 starter from 2015-18 and worked with Lynn in Buffalo from 2015-16. While Herbert should be expected to take this job at some point this season, Taylor may have it for longer than he held off Baker Mayfield two years ago in Cleveland.
  • In a lower-stakes competition, the Ravens have not decided on their third quarterback. Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III are locked in, but Baltimore’s QB3 race between Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley remains “up in the air,” Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. McSorley, a sixth-round 2019 pick out of Penn State, held this job last year. The Ravens signed Huntley as a UDFA out of Utah this year. The latter was a three-year starter for the Utes, though McSorley was the more productive college passer and rusher.
  • Both the Cowboys and Falcons changed up their quarterback depth charts Wednesday. The latter brought in a former Giants mid-round pick.

North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Decker

Before Vinny Curry reached an agreement to sign with the Eagles, he received a better offer from the Browns, Geoff Mosher of InsidetheBirds.com tweets. Curry wanted to stay in Philadelphia, per Mosher, but one-year Eagles exec Andrew Berry — now the Browns GM — made a push to bring the veteran defensive lineman to Cleveland. This does not mark the first time the Browns have submitted what was believed to be the best multiyear offer for a defensive lineman only to wind up not signing him this offseason. They represented Jadeveon Clowney‘s best offer, but the former No. 1 overall pick did not go for it and remains a free agent. The Browns redid Olivier Vernon‘s deal, seemingly taking them out of the Clowney sweepstakes, but still appear to be in the market for D-line help. Cleveland did add Adrian Clayborn earlier this offseason, and he stands to be the top backup to Vernon and Myles Garrett.

Here is the latest from the North divisions, shifting first to a more famous Browns cog:

  • Odell Beckham Jr. made some comments recently that indicated he would not be especially upset if the 2020 season did not happen. “I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen,” Beckham said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “and I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it.” These comments, however, came before the NFL finalized its safety protocols. Beckham did not opt out and is set for his second season with the Browns. After skipping most of the Browns’ voluntary activities last year, Beckham has been engaged in the process this year, Berry said, via the AP’s Tom Withers.
  • The pre-Lamar Jackson Ravens routinely rostered two quarterbacks, but they again plan to carry three this year, John Harbaugh said. The Ravens have Robert Griffin III signed up for a third season in Baltimore, while Trace McSorley enters his second NFL season. Harbaugh indicated the team kept three passers last year because it did not believe McSorely would pass through waivers to the Ravens’ practice squad.
  • Two-plus months after the last Taylor Decker contract update, the Lions are not believed to have discussed an extension with the fifth-year left tackle. They have prioritized a Kenny Golladay re-up over Decker’s, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Decker indicated this week the Lions have not made him an offer yet. A new Decker deal would likely cost the Lions north of $16MM annually. Both players are going into contract years. Decker making it through his fifth season without a new deal would make him a franchise tag candidate, though tags will not be as easy to apply next year if the cap plummets as expected.
  • The Packers announced they will not have fans at their first two home games. However, the team will re-evaluate the situation after those two September dates.

North Notes: Steelers, McSorley, Lions

The Steelers have a few players they need to take care of. Cornerback Joe Haden is looking for an extension, and all indications are that he’s going to get it. Javon Hargrave‘s situation has flown a bit more under the radar, but he’s also heading into the final year of his deal. The Steelers drafted the defensive tackle in the third round in 2016, and he’s started at least 12 games for Pittsburgh every year since. Hargrave has been keeping quiet about his contract, but Mark Kaboly of The Athletic thinks Hargrave will get an extension from the Steelers before the start of the season.

The Steelers restructured Stephon Tuitt‘s contract late last month to free up some cap space, and Kaboly thinks they’ll use some of it here. He also writes that “Haden’s extension could very well add money to the cap so money shouldn’t be an issue.” He also notes that Haden, Hargrave, and safety Sean Davis all have a self-imposed deadline of Week 1 for a new contract to get done by. Kaboly writes that it seems like Davis “is the odd man out” in that trio, indicating he might be playing out his walk year without a new deal. Davis recently signed with superagent Drew Rosenhaus, and said at the time he was looking to land top safety money next offseason.

Here’s more from the league’s North divisions:

  • Ravens rookie quarterback Trace McSorley is doing everything he can to make the team, and it seems to be working. Baltimore indicated as soon as they drafted him in the sixth round out of Penn State that they planned to use him on special teams and perhaps as a returner, in a similar role as Taysom Hill with the Saints. McSorley “has shown Ravens enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster,” even after Robert Griffin III returns from his injury, writes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Hensley points out that McSorley will give the Ravens necessary depth “in an offense where QBs will take hits running the ball.”
  • The Lions gave offensive lineman Joe Dahl an extension last week, and now we have the full details. His two-year extension will be worth $3.6MM in new money, with a signing bonus of $750K, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. The signing bonus appears to be the only fully guaranteed money, although his $1.1MM salary for 2020 becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the new league year. Rothstein also has the breakdown on the various roster and workout bonuses he’ll receive assuming he makes it through the duration of the contract. The Lions drafted Dahl in the fifth round back in 2016 and he’s served as a reserve guard ever since, starting four games over the past two years.
  • In case you missed it, it looks like Ravens slot corner Tavon Young will miss the entire 2019 season after suffering a “serious” neck injury in practice.

North Notes: RGIII, Duke, Vikings

Ravens backup QB Robert Griffin III will miss four to eight weeks after suffering a hairline fracture in his right thumb Saturday night, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Baltimore is optimistic that RGIII will be ready for Week 1, but if he cannot return on the early side of his recovery timeline, he will miss at least some regular season time. The Ravens will surely sign a free agent signal-caller in short order, as the only other QB on the roster behind starter Lamar Jackson is sixth-round rookie Trace McSorley. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Josh Johnson, who has been on Baltimore’s preseason roster before, makes the most sense (Twitter link).

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Browns RB Duke Johnson suffered a hamstring injury Saturday, and ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that the ailment could force Johnson to miss some time (Twitter link). That will not help the fifth-year back in his quest to get traded out of Cleveland.
  • The way that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin ran his field-goal drill Saturday — having incumbent Chris Boswell and challenger Matthew Wright alternate kicks rather than having Boswell take all of his tries before resetting the drill — is a departure from the way he has done things in the past, which suggests that Pittsburgh really is open to moving on from Boswell. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic still believes it’s more likely than not that Boswell will be kicking for the Steelers in 2019, but the pressure is definitely on.
  • Darren Wolfson of KSTP.com says that the Vikings have some interest in running back Theo Riddick, who was released by the Lions on Saturday (Twitter link). Minnesota does not have a visit set up at this time, though Riddick will meet with at least one other team in addition to his summit with the Saints.
  • Orlando Scandrick visited with the Vikings last week before signing with the Eagles, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that Minnesota did not extend a contract offer to Scandrick. The Vikes have worked out several CBs recently, and when asked whether the club would ultimately sign one, head coach Mike Zimmer said that’s ultimately up to GM Rick Spielman. Zimmer said, “we’re always looking for players. We’ll keep pounding the pavement” (Twitter link via Tomasson).

AFC Notes: Raiders, Jets, McSorley

We previously heard that the Ravens were envisioning a role for rookie Trace McSorley that was similar to Taysom Hill‘s role on the Saints. However, the sixth-rounder is already experimenting with a position that isn’t played by Hill. Talking with “The Lounge” podcast on the Ravens’ website, McSorley said that he took reps as a punt returner during OTAs.

“It’s something that’s a new challenge for me, something that I hadn’t really had never done,” McSorley said (via NFL.com’s Logan Reardon). “So it’s just something interesting to be able to come in and learn and try and prove myself in a different way that I can be able to get on the field and make an impact.

“It’s been interesting. It’s had its ups and downs, obviously the first couple times doing it, but it’s going well. I’m looking forward to be able to come out and do anything that I can, especially in the special teams aspect for the team. I want to prove myself there.”

While the former Penn State quarterback is unlikely to supplant Lamar Jackson under center, he’ll have an opportunity to contribute elsewhere. McSorley already displayed this versatility during his collegiate career, as he rushed for 1,697 yards and 30 touchdowns through three seasons.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Could a pair of Jets third-rounders already be on the hot seat? Albert Breer of SI.com writes that “it’s worth keeping an eye” on Florida defensive end Jachai Polite (No. 68) and USC offensive tackle Chuma Edoga (N0. 92). Considering their “character and makeup,” Breer opines that neither players are Joe Douglas– or Adam Gase-types. Of course, Breer also notes that the duo have “a boatload of talent,” which makes their future even more intriguing.
  • While the Raiders have done a whole lot to revamp their roster this offseason, the team still has some major holes. As Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, the team’s defensive line is accompanied by a long list of question marks. Part of the unit’s success will naturally depend on first-rounder Clelin Ferrell, who is expected to play a three-down role for the Raiders. Bair also points to former Giants and Cardinals defensive end Josh Mauro as someone who could play a relatively important role on the front-seven.
  • We learned earlier today that Bengals first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Incognito, Ravens, Ansah

Some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • Mutual interest exists between the Raiders and Richie Incognito, but the team is hesitant at the moment because of the suspension the embattled guard is likely to receive. The former Rams, Bills and Dolphins guard obviously has a checkered past, and the Raiders would like some clarity on the soon-to-be 36-year-old’s situation before moving forward, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Jon Gruden‘s failed gamble on Martavis Bryant last year factors into this caution, Tafur writes, though it does not sound like an Incognito ban would nix a potential deal.
  • The Raiders have added the following players to their wideout room: Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, J.J. Nelson, Hunter Renfrow and Jalin Marshall. They also re-signed return specialist Dwayne Harris. But Gruden told UDFA Keelan Doss he has a “solid” chance of making the 53-man roster, Tafur writes (subscription required). An Alameda, Calif., native, Doss turned down better offers from other teams to play with his hometown squad, Tafur adds. Doss finished his UC Davis career with 312 catches and 4,069 yards — both school records.
  • Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley is currently slotted in as the Ravens‘ third quarterback behind Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III, but the team may have bigger plans for the rookie. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes that the team is envisioning him playing a similar role to Taysom Hill on the Saints. McSorley is expected to take a few reps at quarterbacks, get a handful of carries, contribute on special teams, and perhaps make a few cameos at safety.
  • Zrebiec also believes the Ravens will make a push to sign defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah. The organization already met with the free agent several weeks ago, and it was rumored that the 29-year-old would wait to sign a contract until he wasn’t attached to a compensatory pick. Ansah appeared in just seven games for the Lions last year before his shoulder took him out of action. However, Ansah has shown serious potential in the past with two 12+ sack seasons. As recently as 2017, Ansah profiled as one of the best edge rushers in the game.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/4/19

We’ll keep track the latest late-round draft pick signings here:

  • The Ravens announced the signing of sixth round quarterback Trace McSorley. After signing three picks yesterday, the Ravens have now locked up all their Day 3 picks, and are just waiting on their first three picks to sign. McSorley set records at Penn State, but was widely viewed as being too small and inconsistent with his accuracy to be a top rated passer. The Ravens took a flier with the 197th pick, and they might experiment with him. McSorley played safety in high school, and he was by far the fastest quarterback at the combine. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has mentioned the possibility of using him on special teams and as a gadget player, and it sounds like McSorley could play a similar role with Baltimore as Taysom Hill does with the Saints. He should be fun to watch no matter where the Ravens end up using him.

Extra Points: Brown, Packers, Seahawks, Combine, Cardinals

Another day, another update in the Antonio Brown saga. The All-Pro Steelers receiver is still demanding a trade, and now we have an update on his preferences of where he’d like to land. Brown has been loosely connected to a handful of teams, but they apparently aren’t all equal in Brown’s eyes. “Quality of quarterback play will be a factor” in determining whether Brown will agree to play for a potential trade partner, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

We heard earlier today that the Titans, Raiders, and Redskins had been expressing the most interest in Brown so far. It’s unclear if any of those three teams would meet Brown’s apparent standards for quarterback play. The trade market has been relatively quiet for Brown thus far, and his public demands have seemingly reduced the Steelers’ leverage in negotiations. Brown has played his entire career with one of the league’s top quarterbacks throwing him the ball, so it makes sense why he wouldn’t want to downgrade.

Here’s more from around the league on combine Saturday:

  • The Packers could really use some extra pass-rushing help, and they might already have their eyes set on someone in this year’s draft class. The Packers “really like” Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite, according to Tony Pauline of Draftanalyst.com. Green Bay owns the 12th pick in the draft, and that’s right around where Polite is slated to go in most mock drafts as of right now, so it could be a good fit. Polite racked up 11 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss this past season with the Gators.
  • Doug Baldwin never looked 100 percent right for the Seahawks this past season, and we now have confirmation he was dealing with multiple serious injuries. The receiver underwent surgery on his knee and his shoulder after the season ended, Pete Carroll revealed from the combine this week, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (Twitter link). Carroll did say that Baldwin, 30, will be fine for the start of the regular season. Baldwin missed three games in 2018 with a knee injury, and was clearly not fully healthy during the 13 games he was on the field. He finished with just 614 yards, by far his lowest total since he became a starter in 2013.
  • Former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley was asked to workout as a defensive back at the combine this week, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Schefter notes that McSorley declined the request, citing a desire to concentrate on being a quarterback. McSorely played defensive back in high school, so it’s not entirely out of nowhere. Teams sometimes do things like this, like when Lamar Jackson was controversially asked to workout as a wide receiver at last year’s combine. McSorley set records at Penn State, but isn’t thought of as one of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class.
  • The Cardinals will be non-tendering defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, a source told Florio (Twitter link). Pierre, a 2015 undrafted free agent, made his first NFL appearance with Arizona in 2017. He ended up starting seven games for them that year and was very productive, racking up 5.5 sacks. He appeared in ten games for them last year with one start, but the new coaching staff apparently wants to move on. He should be able to latch on somewhere when the market opens in a couple of weeks.