Tagged in: QB

Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz has sprains to both his ankles, Frank Reich says

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz’s status for the key Week 3 AFC South game at Tennessee is up in the air because of two sprained ankles suffered versus the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, coach Frank Reich stated Monday.

Wentz’s most severe sprain occurred on his right ankle when he tried to scramble and was taken to the ground by Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald with less than eight minutes left in the game.

Wentz didn’t return after limping to the sideline and then throwing his helmet in frustration. Wentz sprained his left ankle earlier in the game, according to Reich.

The coach stated he still had to meet with the team medical staff to get a better indication about Wentz’s ankles.

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“I know Carson has a high threshold for pain,” Reich said. “When you have guy who is a pocket passer, it affects his game less than a guy who is a mobile quarterback. That’s not rocket science. My history with Carson is that he’s a pretty fast healer and he’s tough. If there’s any chance he can play with these ankle sprains, he’ll play. It’s an incredibly big game.”

Wentz is 45-of-69 for 498 yards with three touchdowns and an interception through the first two matches of the season.

The most alarming stat with Wentz is that he has been sacked six times and hit an additional 21 times in those two games. He has played a full season only twice since entering the NFL as the No. 2 overall pick in 2016.

Second-year quarterback Jacob Eason will start against the Titans if Wentz is inactive. Eason threw an interception on his second pass attempt after entering the game in Sunday’s 27-24 loss.

Eason found himself in a quarterback battle with rookie Sam Ehlinger to potentially be the starter when Wentz was out for three weeks while recovering from left foot surgery during training camp. The Colts have not started a season 0-3 since 2011.

“If Jacob has to play, Jacob will be ready,” Reich said. “The situation he got thrown into [late in Sunday’s game] was as tough as it gets. I can tell you that from experience. He’ll be ready if he has to be.”

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Green Bay Packers bringing back Jake Dolegala for QB depth

With Jordan Love’s shoulder still an issue and Aaron Rodgers not expected to play in the preseason, the Green Bay Packers are bringing back quarterback Jake Dolegala.

The signing was not revealed by the team but was made public by his agency, Generation Sports Group.

The team will have to make room on the roster before it can make it official. They were at the NFL-mandated limit of 85 players as of Tuesday.

Dolegala spent nearly two months with the Packers this offseason. He was signed in June after participating in the team’s mandatory minicamp but was released on July 27 shortly before training camp, when Rodgers ended his holdout and returned to the team. The Packers also released veteran Blake Bortles on the same day.

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Love injured his right (throwing) shoulder in the Packers’ preseason opener on Saturday. Coach Matt LaFleur implied that there’s no long-term concern but that Love might miss some time. He was held out of practice on Monday, and the team did not practice on Tuesday. They Packers start two days of joint practices with the New York Jets on Wednesday leading into their preseason game on Saturday.

LaFleur said Love could “potentially” play versus the Jets.

Love was expected to play into the third quarter last week against the Houston Texans but instead was pulled at halftime. Kurt Benkert, the third quarterback on the roster, played the second half.

Dolegala was originally signed by the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He was the Bengals’ No. 3 QB that season but was released following the 2020 training camp. He spent parts of last season on the Patriots’ practice squad and briefly returned to them early in training camp this year.

Before Tuesday’s cut to 85, the Packers also swapped cornerbacks with the New York Giants. They traded 2018 second-round pick Josh Jackson for 2018 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom.

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Green Bay Packers sign QB Jake Dolegala after minicamp tryout

Make it five quarterbacks now on the Green Bay Packers’ roster.

Jake Dolegala signed with the team after his tryout during the three-day minicamp finished Thursday.

He did not get many reps during the 11-on-11 portions of the three practices, but he showed enough during drill work that the Packers want to take a longer look.

In other news, the NFL revealed Thursday that Packers tight end Jace Sternberger was suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season for violating the league’s policy and program on substances of abuse.

With the addition of Dolegala, the Packers’ quarterback depth chart looks like this: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Blake Bortles, Kurt Benkert and Dolegala, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of Central Connecticut and also spent part of last campaign on the New England Patriots’ practice squad.

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While Rodgers was a holdout during mandatory minicamp, the Packers gave Love the bulk of the work in team periods. Instead of dividing reps during 11-on-11s, Love took the majority of the snaps. Of the 31 snaps Thursday, Love took 26, while Bortles got two and Benkert three.

Less than a month ago, the Packers had only two quarterbacks on their roster: Rodgers and Love. They added Benkert, who had previously been on the Falcons’ practice squad, after a tryout during their rookie camp and then added the veteran Bortles just days later.

The Packers released defensive tackle Anthony Rush to make room for Dolegala.

Sternberger said in a statement posted to Twitter that he fell asleep behind the wheel in February 2020 after making the “horrible decision” to drink after taking anti-depressants.

“I want to apologize to the GB Packers organization and everyone else who has supported me along this journey,” Sternberger said in the statement. “It is never okay to drink and get behind the wheel.”

Sternberger, who said he has been going to therapy over the past 16 months, can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and matches but then will be out until Week 3.

“I will never ignore my mistakes,” he said. “I have owned up to my poor decision and accept the consequences.”

Sternberger, a third-round pick in 2019, has 12 career catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. He was a healthy scratch in both of the Packers’ playoff games last season.

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Jacksonville Jaguars select former Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with No. 1 overall pick in NFL draft

The wait is over. Trevor Lawrence is finally the Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback, as the club selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

The pick ended a process that started last December when the New York Jets’ Week 16 upset of the Cleveland Browns gave the top selection to Jacksonville.

“Pretty surreal,” Lawrence told ESPN’s Marty Smith on the draft telecast from Seneca, South Carolina, shortly after being picked. “Obviously this has been the dream for the past few years. And like I’ve said, I didn’t even dream this as a kid, so [it’s] really special and just having all the people that I care about here watching, it’s really hard to explain.

“I was super nervous before and just am so excited to be a part of the Jacksonville community. … I’m super excited to be coming to Jacksonville and play for you guys and can’t wait to go to work.”

Make no mistake: There’s a ton of work to do. The Jaguars were 1-15 last campaign, have lost 10 or more matches in nine of the last 10 seasons, and made the playoffs just once since 2007.

The offense has been one of the worst in the NFL in the last decade: They’ve ranked 30th or worse in points scored, yards per game, red zone efficiency, third-down conversion percentage, completion percentage and passer rating over that 10-year stretch.

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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has no doubt Lawrence can handle it the pressure of turning the franchise around.

Lawrence was the No. 1 recruit in the nation, followed Deshaun Watson at Clemson, and won a national title as a freshman. He’s also lost just four games as a starting quarterback since he entered high school.

“This’ll be a very easy transition,” Swinney said. “He’s well prepared. What he’s stepping into, the expectations, all those things, that’s his normal and it has been for a long time. He’s built the right way. … He is the epitome of consistency and if you know anything about Urban Meyer he values consistency and toughness.”

Lawrence was 34-2 as a starter for the Tigers — the fifth-best winning percentage by a quarterback with at least 30 starts in FBS history. He never lost a regular-season game and threw for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns with only 17 interceptions, and he ran for 231 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Owner Shad Khan hired head coach Urban Meyer, who won national championships at Florida and Ohio State, in January to fix the mess. The hope is that the selection of Lawrence, along with Meyer’s hiring, will end the franchise’s prolonged struggles and culminate with the Jaguars’ first Super Bowl appearance.

The Jaguars have drafted three previous quarterbacks in the first round: Byron Leftwich (seventh overall in 2003), Blaine Gabbert (No. 10, 2011) and Blake Bortles (No. 3, 2014), the only one of those three to win a playoff game.

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New Orleans Saints bring back QB Jameis Winston on 1-year deal worth up to $12 million

Quarterback Jameis Winston now has a chance to become Drew Brees’ successor with the New Orleans Saints.

Just one day after Brees revealed his retirement, Winston and the Saints reached agreement on a one-year deal worth up to $12 million, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner spent his first five seasons as a starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before signing a one-year deal in New Orleans last summer to try to revive his career as the Saints’ backup.

Although Winston played sparingly, the Saints were impressed enough to bring him back to compete with Taysom Hill for the starting job this year.

Sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the Chicago Bears were serious suitors for Winston in Monday’s free-agency process before he picked the Saints.

The Saints will have to carve out a bit more salary-cap space before the beginning of the new league year on Wednesday. They started the offseason nearly $100 million over the cap but had whittled that figure down to around $10 million by the start of this week.

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Winston, who turned 27 in January, went 28-42 as a starter with Tampa, completing 61.3% of his passes with 19,737 yards, 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions. He displayed some dynamic highs and lows during that tenure — especially in 2019. That year, he led the league with 5,109 passing yards but also became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 30 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions in the same season.

Turnovers have been Winston’s biggest hurdle, with a league-high total of 111 from 2015 to 2019.

When the Buccaneers elected to move on to Tom Brady, Winston decided to try to revive his career in New Orleans. He signed a one-year deal worth just $1.1 million plus incentives because he said he wanted to get a “Harvard education in quarterback school” under coach Sean Payton and Brees.

Winston didn’t get much on-field experience in New Orleans behind Brees and Hill. But Winston did make his best play of the season when he completed a 56-yard touchdown pass on a trick play in the Saints’ playoff loss to his former team. Winston was 7-of-11 for 75 yards in the regular season with no touchdowns or turnovers.

Payton made it clear after the season that the Saints wanted to re-sign Winston and let him compete with Hill for the starting job following Brees’ retirement. Payton stated Winston was “fantastic as a leader” in addition to his arm talent.

Winston was suspended for the first three matches of the 2018 season after an eight-month NFL investigation ended that he engaged in detrimental conduct in March 2016 by touching a female Uber driver “in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent.” A settlement was reached in a separate lawsuit.

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QB Cam Newton returning to New England Patriots on 1-year deal

Cam Newton is re-signing with the Patriots on a one-year deal, sources have confirmed to ESPN.

The contract is worth up to $13.6 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. About $6 million of the deal is tied to incentives, a source told ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Newton posted a video on Instagram later Friday with a caption that read in part, “Run it back!! Chapter 2.”

Newton, who will turn 32 in May, hoped to return to New England after signing a modest one-year deal with the team in 2020. On the “I Am Athlete” podcast in late February, he said he would be open to another one-year deal in New England. “I’m getting tired of changing (teams),” the quarterback stated.

“I am at a point in my career where I know way more than I did last year. Yes, I would go back.”

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In 2020, Newton was 242-of-368 for 2,657 yards passing, with 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. But while that production didn’t meet his personal standard — in part because the receivers and tight ends around him weren’t high-caliber options — he was effective as a rusher, with 592 yards on 137 attempts (4.3 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns.

Newton had started hot in 2020 after joining the Patriots in late June, but after testing positive for COVID-19 in early October, he said it was a challenge for him to catch up to the pace of the team’s ever-evolving offense.

His performance dipped notably, and he said it reinforced how important it is to be with a new team in the offseason.

The Patriots went 7-8 with Newton at the helm and concluded 7-9, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season.

Before joining the Patriots, Newton, the No. 1 pick in 2011, was released by the Carolina Panthers after missing 14 games in 2019 with a Lisfranc injury and the final two matches of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury that also required surgery.

He spent nine seasons with the Panthers and was named the NFL MVP in 2015, when he accounted for 45 total touchdowns in the regular season and led Carolina to Super Bowl 50, where it lost to the Denver Broncos.

Newton, who holds most of Carolina’s career passing records, has thrown for 31,698 yards and 190 touchdowns with 118 interceptions and has rushed for 5,398 yards and 70 touchdowns.

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QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys reach four-year, $160 million deal

The Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott have agreed to a four-year, $160 million deal, including $126 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday.

The deal, which is technically for six years but voids to four so as to help Dallas against the salary cap, can be worth up to $164 million, a source said.

Prescott’s signing bonus is $66 million, the highest in NFL history, with a record $75 million due in year one, Schefter reported. The first three years of the deal average $42 million per year, according to a source.

The Cowboys revealed they had agreed to a contract with Prescott but did not disclose terms. The Cowboys will place the franchise tag on Prescott on Tuesday as a procedural matter, a source told Schefter.

The Cowboys announced they will hold a Wednesday news conference. Prescott’s salary-cap number for this campaign will be $22.2 million instead of the $37.7 million that would have come along with the franchise tag, a savings of $15.5 million against this season’s cap, Schefter reported.

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The process to reach a long-term deal with Prescott covered three offseasons, multiple mega-million offers and hours of negotiations. The Cowboys, all along, said they wanted Prescott to be their franchise quarterback for the present and future, and Prescott stated he wanted to stay with the Cowboys.

It just took a lot longer than normal.

Prescott, who will turn 28 in July, is coming off a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle suffered in the Week 5 win versus the New York Giants in October, but he was predicted to make a full recovery during the offseason.

The Cowboys have missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons.

Prescott’s absence in 2020, however, showed how integral he is to their success. Before getting hurt, he threw for 1,856 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions in five games.

The Cowboys’ offense scuffled along for a few weeks without Prescott, scoring one touchdown in three games after scoring at least 31 points in four of their first five games.

In five seasons, Prescott has a team-record seven 400-yard passing games and 24 rushing touchdowns, the most by a Cowboys quarterback. He is second to Tony Romo in 300-yard passing games with 15. Prescott also has proved to be clutch with 15 game-winning drives.

Prescott, the Cowboys’ 2016 fourth-round pick, has posted a 42-27 record with 17,364 passing yards to go along with 106 touchdown passes and 40 interceptions.

With the contract secured, the expectations will be even greater on Prescott to deliver a Super Bowl to an organization that has not made it to the title game in 25 years.

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Philadelphia Eagles trade QB Carson Wentz to Indianapolis Colts for two draft picks

The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to trade quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that could turn into a first-rounder, league sources told ESPN.

The Eagles will get the 85th overall pick in this year’s draft, and the conditional second-rounder can become a first-round pick based on Wentz’s playing time, according to sources.

Wentz needs to play at least 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps for the 2022 conditional pick to convey to a first-rounder, according to sources. The pick also could become a first-rounder if Wentz plays at least 70% of the snaps and the Colts reach the playoffs. But the worst the 2022 pick can be is a second-rounder, meaning the Eagles are assured of netting two value picks for Wentz.

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The Eagles and Colts spent much of the past two weeks trying to conclude the trade, which cannot be officially processed until the new NFL year starts March 17.

Despite being speculated as a potential suitor for Wentz in trade talks, the Chicago Bears did not wind up making an offer to the Eagles, according to a source.

The Eagles will take a $33.8 million dead-cap hit — the largest dead-cap hit that any team ever has taken for a player — while the Colts will assume the balance of Wentz’s $128 million extension, including the $10 million guaranteed roster bonus due March 19.

Each team walks away from the deal with what it wanted across all fronts: Wentz will be reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich, his former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, and help fill the void left by Philip Rivers’ retirement, while the Eagles are likely to turn to Jalen Hurts, though they also intend to bring in competition for him.

The Eagles’ starting job is not expected to automatically go to Hurts.

Trading Wentz marks the end of an unexpected chapter and year with the Eagles. Wentz went from a former MVP candidate to backing up Hurts — a rookie second-round pick in 2020 — while his relationship with former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson disintegrated.

Wentz wanted out of Philadelphia even though the Eagles hired former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni as their new head coach.

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Sean Payton wants New Orleans Saints to re-sign QB Jameis Winston ‘sooner than later’

So much for Sean Payton’s poker face. The New Orleans Saints coach didn’t try to cloak the team’s desire to re-sign free-agent quarterback Jameis Winston if Drew Brees retires as expected.

Payton spoke glowingly about Winston to ESPN and other media outlets while doing some Super Bowl week appearances on Wednesday, saying the Saints would like to re-sign him “sooner than later.”

Payton also specifically told CBS Sports’ Pick Six Podcast that he believes Brees to make an announcement “in the next week or two.”

Payton has been saying for months that he thinks the Saints’ next quarterback is already “in the building” — a reference that contains both Winston and Taysom Hill. And he reiterated Wednesday that the Saints have a “pretty good vision” for both players.

It was notable that Payton mentioned Winston first and talked about him in greater detail when asked about the Saints’ future QB plans by ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Show and by NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” show — saying it was an “easy” question.

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However, Payton stressed that the reason he mentioned Winston first was that he’s a free agent and Hill is already under contract for one more year.

“Jameis Winston, we know. We had a year with him. He was fantastic as a leader. He’s got tremendous arm talent. He’s a young prospect that we like a lot,” Payton said in his ESPN appearance.

“When you have a player for a season, he’s kind of giving you a chance to see what he’s about, and there’s a little bit of an audition there. But the same audition takes place for us. He’s getting a chance to see, ‘Hey, this is how they do it here. Does this fit me? Does this head coach, this position coach? Is this a place I feel comfortable playing?'”

Payton told “Good Morning Football”: “A lot of times you want to hold your cards closer to the vest [with a] free agent. But him along with Taysom Hill, we’ve said it all along, we’re gonna develop and coach those guys. And Jameis is one of those guys that we have a big interest in.”

Winston, who just turned 27 in January, signed a one-year contract with the Saints last spring for $1.1 million plus incentives because he specifically wanted to learn under Payton and Brees while trying to renew his career. He called it “a Harvard education in quarterback school.”

Winston didn’t get much on-field experience, since there was no preseason and Payton elected to start Hill while Brees was sidelined for four matches by broken ribs and a punctured lung.

However, Winston did make his best play of the season when he completed a 56-yard touchdown pass on a trick play in New Orleans’ playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston was 7-of-11 for 75 yards in the regular season with no touchdowns or turnovers.

Hill, 30, went 3-1 in those four starts, with some highs and some lows. But Payton explained that part of the reason he selected Hill over Winston was that Hill was in his fourth year in New Orleans — and Payton had made a promise to Hill that he would get such an opportunity when he re-signed last year as a restricted free agent.

It appears that this year would be more of an open competition between Winston and Hill, assuming the Saints don’t make any other big moves at the position.

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Tua Tagovailoa believes he’s Miami Dolphins’ franchise QB, but says he must ‘prove’ it

Tua Tagovailoa considers he can be the Miami Dolphins’ franchise quarterback but knows he has to prove it with better play in Year 2.

Tagovailoa is coming off a rookie season where he went 6-3 with a 64.1% completion rate, 14 total touchdowns and five interceptions. But the former Alabama star was substituted twice in the fourth quarter by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and struggled at times to throw the ball effectively downfield.

With the Dolphins in the thick of offseason quarterback speculation for the second straight year, Tagovailoa was asked whether he is convinced that Miami is all-in on him as the franchise quarterback.

“In my mind and in my heart, I would hope so,” Tagovailoa said Monday during an interview with Sirius Mad Dog Radio. “With the way things went last year, you always have to prove yourself to do better, and I want to do better.”

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Dolphins coach Brian Flores told ESPN last month that he’s “excited about the future with Tagovailoa,” and the Dolphins believe in him. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier also said last month that Tagovailoa is their starting quarterback and they are happy with his development.

This offseason will prove if the Dolphins’ strong public commitment to Tagovailoa matches their actions, with multiple options potentially available, including unhappy Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported that Watson has requested a trade, while ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Watson has Miami high on his preferred trade destination list.

The Dolphins are one of the few teams with the draft capital to potentially entice a Watson trade.

Tagovailoa told Sirius Mad Dog Radio that he hadn’t heard the Watson trade rumors until his agent told him about them, but “that’s something that would be out of my control regardless.”

“That would be a decision of the Dolphins organization,” he said. “I have to control what I can control — work hard and do well next season.”

Tagovailoa was also honest in his evaluation of his 2020 season, saying he “would describe my rookie season as below average. This past season wasn’t up to the expectation that I have for myself.”

If the Dolphins do move forward with Tagovailoa, as is their existing plan, the focus would be on his Year 2 improvement. He told the Dan Patrick Show that there’s a “big difference” in his health this offseason compared to last year, when he was coming off serious hip surgery, and he can focus this year on improving mental elements of his game.

The Dolphins already have made it a focus to build around Tagovailoa early in the 2021 offseason, including hiring his former Elite 11 high school camp coach Charlie Frye as the their quarterbacks coach.

They also spent significant time at the Senior Bowl getting to know Alabama star receiver DeVonta Smith and running back Najee Harris; both are fits for the Dolphins’ offensive needs, have a great relationship with Tagovailoa and could be options for Miami to select with each of their first-round draft picks (Nos. 3 and 18).

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