Zach Mettenberger

Extra Points: Haynesworth, CBA, XFL

We have unfortunate news, as former NFL defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is dealing with a serious health issue. Haynesworth is battling kidney disease, and he recently took to Instagram to announce he was in desperate need of a transplant, per Ethan Cadeaux of NBC Sports. Haynesworth posted a caption that reads as follows:

“Some of you may know I’ve been battling kidney disease for a few years now the time has come family, friends and fans I’m in dire need of a kidney mine have finally failed me on July 7 2019. It’s hard to believe from being a professional athlete to only 8 season in retirement that my body has taken another major blow. First with the brain aneurism (sic) 3 seasons out of the NFL to now my kidneys failing me. But the bright side of this latest ordeal I can ask for help by asking for someone to generously donate a kidney. If you are interested in giving this precious gift please call Vanderbilt at 615-936-0695 and hit option 2. GOD BLESS thank you for your prayers and thanks for sharing this message.” 

Haynesworth entered the league as a first-round pick of the Titans back in 2002, and became one of the league’s best defensive tackles. He was a back to back first-team All-Pro in 2007 and 2008. The Tennessee product played ten seasons in the league before hanging them up following the 2011 campaign. All of us here at PFR wish Haynesworth the best and send him our thoughts.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There’s been a lot of talk about a proposed 18-game schedule recently. Ever since it was leaked that owners planned to push for an extended schedule in the next round of CBA negotiations, there’s been a lot of pushback. In response to that pushback, the league is reportedly planning on pitching a plan for 18 games, but where players are only eligible for 16 of them. In order to guarantee players don’t have to play more than they currently are, each player would have to sit out at least two of his team’s games. In that hypothetical scenario players wouldn’t have to play more than they currently do, but they apparently aren’t buying it. Some people in the NFLPA are “suspicious of the idea of an 18-game schedule with only 16 games for players to be eligible, believing it will morph players playing all 18 some day,” according to veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole (Twitter link). It’s understandable why the union would be skeptical, as the idea of star quarterbacks being forced to sit out at least two of their team’s games likely wouldn’t last very long. In all likelihood, the schedule will stay the exact same in the next CBA.
  • The XFL held its last showcase today, and some more notable names were in attendance. In addition to the presence of Connor Cook and Trent Richardson, which was previously reported, quarterback Zach Mettenberger, running back David Cobb, tight end Clay Harbor, and defensive end Jacquies Smith were all in attendance, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Mettenberger, who had a brief stint as the Titans’ starting quarterback a handful of years ago, was playing in the AAF before that upstart league folded. Cobb, Harbor, and Smith all had somewhat notable stints in the league.
  • In case you missed it, Dak Prescott doesn’t plan on taking a hometown discount from the Cowboys.

Extra Points: Bengals, Lewis, Eagles, Foles, Chiefs, AAF

The Bengals are counting on some new coaching roles making a major difference this season. Marvin Lewis survived another year on the hot seat but knew he would need to rearrange his staff after another disappointing season. Teryl Austin will succeed now-Raiders DC Paul Guenther in running Cincinnati’s defense, and Lewis made Bill Lazor the full-time OC. The team jettisoned longtime offensive line coach Paul Alexander as well, with other new staffers coming in to help a team that’s fallen in the AFC hierarchy the past two years.

I made up my mind I wanted to coach,” Lewis said, via Jonathan Jones of SI.com. “So, do I want to go start over somewhere where I don’t know the people or coach these group of guys downstairs that no one else has? That’s an easy decision. You look at what’s open and these are the best players. And that’s what you want.

I knew we were going to have a lot of change on the coaching staff. I knew I had to make changes and those are the things that (owner) Mike (Brown) and I had to discuss. I had to make changes on people that had been with me for a long time and had been friends, and it’s difficult.”

Lewis added that he didn’t want to make wholesale roster changes, pointing out the number of Pro Bowlers still on the team, but the Bengals aren’t receiving much attention as a contender this season. They’re hoping these staff moves can re-route them back to the AFC playoffs.

Here’s the latest from the football landscape:

  • The Eagles received a scare Thursday night when Super Bowl MVP and temporary starting quarterback Nick Foles went down with a shoulder injury. The shoulder sprain Foles suffered is believed to be a minor malady and not one that will require a significant rehab effort, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. It’s looking like it will come down to the wire on whom the defending Super Bowl champions will start at quarterback on opening night, with Carson Wentz unlikely to play in the preseason. The Eagles not having Foles would throw a major wrench in their plans, despite third-stringer Nate Sudfeld having a nice offseason.
  • Steven Nelson will be a full-time outside cornerback this season, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star notes. This change emerged in the offseason, one that featured breakout slot man Kendall Fuller’s arrival, but the Chiefs are evidently committed to trying Nelson – their most frequent slot corner over the past two seasons – as an outside man. The 2015 third-round pick is entering a contract year. While Kansas City has looked at other corners this month – Bashaud Breeland and Orlando Scandrick – the trio of Fuller, Nelson and David Amerson remains atop the depth chart. Nelson did leave the Chiefs’ game Friday night with a head injury, however.
  • Former Jets second-round pick Stephen Hill and ex-Titans backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger are two of the notable new names signed on to play for the Alliance of American Football. The AAF announced 100 more players will join. Ex-Rams running back Daryl Richardson, former Saints and Jets ball carrier Khiry Robinson, linebacker Deontae Skinner and running back Storm Johnson are among the new contingent. Former Giants and Ravens safety Will Hill and veteran kicker Nick Novak, who was with the Chargers last season, were among the first wave to sign.

Extra Points: Thomas, Cowboys, Saints, Falcons, Mettenberger

While appearing on the Ireland sports talk show “Off The Ball” Seahawks safety Earl Thomas didn’t sound overly confident in his status with the Seahawks for the upcoming season.

“Hopefully I stay,” Thomas said on the talk show via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “But right now nobody knows. It’s a guessing game. So we’ll see.”

Thomas, a three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler, is set to enter the final season of his four-year, $40MM deal with Seattle. The Seahawks have reportedly shopped Thomas around in trade talks, with the Cowboys believed to be one of the teams interested in trading for the Texas native.

“In my case, whether I’m in Seattle or anywhere else, I’m going to be rich and happy regardless,” Thomas continued.

The Seahawks are reportedly seeking first- and third-round picks for Thomas’ services. He didn’t miss a game through the first six years of his career but has missed seven games over the last two seasons due to various injuries. The Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” has seen a shakeup this offseason, with the departure of Richard Sherman to the 49ers. Fellow cornerback Byron Maxwell is an unrestricted free agent this offseason as well.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

Poll: Which Free Agent QB Will Sign First?

Last week, a veteran quarterback came off the board, but it wasn’t one of the names that the football world has really been waiting on. Dan Orlovsky will now look to make the Rams’ final cut while more notable players continue to look for work.

Colin Kaepernick (vertical)

Things continue to be eerily quiet for Colin Kaepernick, despite the fact that he is widely regarded as the best backup quarterback option available. The Ravens say that they have some degree of interest, but they’re also concerned about how adding him to the roster would be publicly perceived. A late May workout with the Seahawks did not result in a deal and, depending on who you ask, Seattle may have passed because of Kaepernick’s salary expectations. The Cowboys also found themselves in the market for a quarterback when Zac Dysert went down with injury, but they scooped up Luke McCown without calling Kaepernick. For what it’s worth, Chip Kelly says that Kaepernick’s political activism was not a distraction while they were together in San Francisco.

Robert Griffin III (vertical)There was hope for Robert Griffin III to find a home after he had a successful audition with the Chargers earlier this month. Unfortunately for the former Redskins star, it seems that the Bolts used his quality tryout to leverage the Bills into a more favorable trade for Cardale Jones. The Bolts workout was Griffin’s first of the offseason and although the Ravens are thinking about bringing him in for a workout, it’s not clear if they’ll follow through. Griffin is eager to show teams that he can recapture some of the magic from his rookie season in 2012. But, after Griffin missed the bulk of 2016 with a shoulder injury and fell flat in his five starts, teams are not all that interested in seeing what he can do.

Kaepernick and Griffin are the most well-known QBs left on the market, but other notable names left include 37-year-old Shaun Hill, former first round pick Christian Ponder, and ex-Titans signal caller Zach Mettenberger. Of those five players – who do you think will be the next to sign? Click below to cast your vote and back up your choice in the comments.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Cut QB Zach Mettenberger

Zach Mettenberger is out of a job. The Steelers announced on Monday afternoon that the quarterback has been released. Zach Mettenberger (vertical)

Mettenberger has been shown the door following the team’s selection of Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round. As a senior, Dobbs turned in his finest season yet, throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. He completed 63% of his throwns, his best showing as a full-time starter.

Mettenberger, a former sixth-round pick of the Titans, cycled through three different teams in the 2016 offseason. After being dropped by the Titans, he was claimed by the Chargers. In late August, the Bolts waived him, allowing the Steelers to claim him. He did not see the field for Pittsburgh in 2016 and we have not seen him throw a live action pass since late in the 2015 season with Tennessee.

The Steelers now have a three players on the QB depth chart: Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, and Dobbs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Claim Zach Mettenberger

4:16pm: The Steelers announced they placed Bruce Gradkowski on IR to clear a roster spot for Mettenberger. Gradkowski re-signed with Pittsburgh in May on a one-year, $965K deal with $80K guaranteed. The 33-year-old passer spent last season on IR as well, with a thumb injury derailing his season. This time, a torn hamstring will end his season early.

3:25pm: Zach Mettenberger is now with his third team of the 2016 offseason. The Steelers have claimed the quarterback off waivers from the Chargers, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets.

Mettenberger now joins Landry Jones and Bryn Renner on the depth chart behind Ben Roethlisberger. It’s possible that the Steelers are looking at Mettenberger as a third-string option instead of Renner, a player who could probably be snuck through waivers and stashed on the taxi squad.

The 24-year-old was a sixth-round pick of the Titans in the 2014 draft. In his rookie season, Mettenberger saw time in seven games (six starts) and threw for eight touchdowns with seven interceptions. Early on this offseason, the Chargers claimed Mettenberger off waivers from the Titans. Days ago, the Bolts dropped him as they trimmed down to a 75-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Waive QB Zach Mettenberger

Zach Mettenberger is now on the hunt for his third NFL team. Today, the Chargers will release the quarterback, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. Zach Mettenberger (vertical)

Mettenberger, a one-time starter for the Titans, was waived by the team earlier this offseason. The Chargers used their high waiver priority to snag him, beating out other claiming teams like the Giants and Bengals. Apparently, he didn’t do enough to impress San Diego coaches in recent weeks. The Chargers will head into the season with Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens, and Mike Bercovici at quarterback.

The 24-year-old was a sixth-round pick of the Titans in the 2014 draft. In his rookie season, Mettenberger saw time in seven games (six starts) and threw for eight touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Titans, Bolts, Chiefs, Bills

The latest from the AFC:

  • Titans GM Jon Robinson confirmed that he tried to trade Zach Mettenberger before waiving him. “There were a lot of teams we touched base with over the course of the draft weekend that had interest in Zach, and a lot of those teams ended up selecting quarterbacks at some point in the draft,’’ Robinson said (via Jim Wyatt of Titans Online). “For whatever reason those discussions never really manifested, or culminated into anything.”
  • The Chargers‘ two-year contract with center Matt Slauson carries a $3MM base, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego tweets. The veteran can earn another $1.25MM in bonuses and escalators via playing time.
  • The Chiefs had free agent guard Amini Silatolu in for a visit recently, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The team is continuing to evaluate the guard position, and that includes a potential signing of the former Carolina lineman.
  • Mike Rodak of ESPN.com has details on Cordy Glenn‘s five-year extension with the Bills. In 2018, $8MM of his $9.25MM base salary is guaranteed for injury only at signing, though $1.5MM of that amount becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2017 league year. The other $6.5MM of that amount becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2018 league year. He can also earn up to $1MM in All-Pro and Pro Bowl escalators. His $2MM roster bonus is due on the fifth day of the 2018 league year.

Giants, Bengals Tried To Claim Mettenberger

The Chargers claimed Zach Mettenberger off waivers on Tuesday, but two other teams also tried to land the quarterback. The Giants and the Bengals also put in claims, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, but the Chargers had higher priority on the waiver wire. Zach Mettenberger (vertical)

The Giants’ depth chart at quarterback has gone largely untouched for the last few years with Ryan Nassib backing up Eli Manning. Had the Giants successfully claimed him, Mettenberger could have competed with B.J. Daniels for the No. 3 spot on the team’s depth chart. The Giants’ real motive in making a play for Mettenberger could have been to give themselves insurance in case they did not re-sign Nassib following his contract year in 2016. Mettenberger potentially could have allowed the Giants to entertain trade options for Nassib as well.

The Bengals also appear to be pretty set at quarterback with Andy Dalton as starter and A.J. McCarron – a capable backup – slotted in as his understudy. McCarron completed 66.4% of his passes last season, throwing six touchdown passes compared to two interceptions in three starts in relief of Andy Dalton. Teams inquired on the Alabama product over the offseason and while head coach Marvin Lewis said that he was not interested in trading him, owner Mike Brown did not rule it out. It’s possible that the Bengals were curious to see if Mettenberger could have performed well enough over the summer to make them comfortable enough to move McCarron. Or, maybe they were only looking to put some additional competition for the No. 3 spot alongside with Keith Wenning and undrafted rookie Joe Licata.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Claim Zach Mettenberger, Waive Bryn Renner

4:02pm: The Chargers waived Renner in order to make room for Mettenberger, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link).

3:16pm: The Chargers have claimed Zach Mettenberger off waivers from the Titans, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The quarterback was with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt last year in Tennessee. "<strong

As of this writing, the Chargers have three quarterbacks under contract behind Philip Rivers: Kellen Clemens, Bryn Renner, and rookie Mike Bercovici. Bercovici, an undrafted rookie out of Arizona State, could be the odd man out now that Mettenberger has arrived. In the longer-term, Mettenberger have to compete in order to make the roster in San Diego and displace Renner or Clemens.

Mettenberger was once viewed as the Titans’ potential signal caller of the future, but that was before Marcus Mariota came into the picture. When the Titans used the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft to tab the Oregon standout, Mettenberger’s future in Tennessee became murky. Now, he’ll try and forge a different path in San Diego.

Mettenberger, 24, was a sixth-round pick of the Titans in the 2014 draft. In his rookie season, Mettenberger saw time in seven games (six starts) and threw for eight touchdowns with seven interceptions. Not long ago, Mettenberger probably would have fetched a lower-round draft pick in a trade. However, the Titans likely shopped the QB around in recent days without finding a taker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.