03 May

Why Quinn Ewers will remain atop Texas QB depth chart despite Arch Manning shining in 2024 spring game

After a quiet true freshman season, Arch Manning was thrust back into the limelight during Texas’ spring game on Saturday. The former No. 1 overall prospect stole the show while completing 19 of his 26 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, incumbent starter Quinn Ewers only played two series with the offense before giving way to younger options.

That in mind, let’s make one thing clear: There’s no QB controversy in Austin, Texas. No matter how great Manning performed, Ewers is well-seated as the featured act in a deep Texas quarterback room. His continued development and comfortability in Texas’ offense have made sure of that.

“To the outside world, it may look like, ‘Wow, Arch is closing the gap on Quinn Ewers,'” Horns247’s Chip Brown told CBS Sports. “Inside that quarterback room, the thought process is, okay, Quinn Ewers is one of the top quarterbacks in college football, and if he has to miss time, Arch Manning looks like a quarterback who could come in and win a game or two like Maalik Murphy did last year.”

It would be hard for anybody to usurp a player like Ewers, even if his main competition is a former No. 1 overall prospect with a football bloodline that includes a grandfather in the College Football Hall of Fame and two uncles — one of which is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — that won a combined four Super Bowls as quarterbacks. After a shaky 2022 season with the Longhorns, Ewers led his team to a Big 12 title and an appearance in the College Football Playoff last season while throwing for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns.

“Sarkisian is just a massive proponent of playing second- and third-year quarterbacks, and so he knew he was going to take some pain in Quinn’s first year,” Brown said. “There were ups, there were downs … Then it got better, obviously, last year. He had the three-turnover game against Oklahoma, but he finished that game 26-of-28 passing. And so by the time they get to the end of the year, he’s killing it.”

Despite Manning’s insistence that he has no intentions of leaving via the transfer portal, there’s always some level of concern given the modern college football environment and Manning’s pedigree, which would lend itself to a starting opportunity at multiple programs around the nation. No one around Texas is expecting that outcome, though.

“Arch Manning did not want to go somewhere where he would have to be the savior,” Brown said. “He wanted to be able to grow and enjoy the process. Sarkisian laid that out for him and he liked that idea, so everything that’s playing out right now is going exactly according to the way that Arch Manning and Arch Manning’s family thought it would.”

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Manning fans will have to wait at least another year to see him play meaningful snaps in the burnt orange. Until then, enticing peeks at the future — like the spring game — will have to suffice.

03 May

Who’s in, who’s out as Deion Sanders turns over roster ahead of Year 2

In what is becoming a tradition under Deion Sanders through his young stint as Colorado coach, the Buffaloes have endured a busy week in the spring transfer portal. There’s a full-on carousel spinning in Boulder, Colorado with several notable players leaving the program and some of the top names in the portal committing to the Buffs.

On April 16 — the first day of the spring window — 14 Colorado players entered their names into the portal. That included Cormani McClain, former five-star prospect and 247Sports’ No. 1 ranked cornerback in 2023. McClain represented Sanders’ first major recruiting coup at Colorado in 2023. While McClain wasn’t a major contributor last year for the Buffs, his departure would have a negative impact on the optics of the program moving forward.

Read more: Sanders among coaches under the most pressure entering 2024 season

This news comes on the back of a major loss in starting offensive lineman Savion Washington. The 6-foot-8 standout started 10 games at right tackle for the Buffaloes last season and played well despite some struggles elsewhere in the offensive trenches. With Washington hitting the portal, Colorado now has to replace all five of its starting offensive linemen and 114 combined starts from last season’s unit.

But it hasn’t been all bad news. Colorado had a loaded slate of visits this past weekend, and the staff has already parlayed a few of those into impactful commitments. Former Ohio defensive lineman Rayyan Buell and Pittsburgh edge rusher Dayon Hayes immediately improve Colorado’s profile on the line of scrimmage, while ex-Texas offensive lineman Payton Kirkland provides much-needed depth at a position of great need.

LIVE transfer portal updates: Follow along with latest news and analysis as the 2024 spring window opens

Here’s a rundown of the players that Colorado has lost to the transfer portal thus far with the spring window opening as Sanders gears up for his second year leading the program.

03 May

Alabama, Colorado headline college football transfer portal winners, losers after one week of spring window

College football’s spring transfer portal window has been open for a week and, with one week left until the portal closes May 1 to undergraduates for the rest of this athletic year, there are some teams that have already impressed — and some that seem to be falling behind in the early going. Whatever the case may be, there’s already been enough action to determine some “Winners” and “Losers” from the last seven days.

Colorado is an enigma. On one hand, the Buffaloes are up to their usual business of making a splash via the portal, but there’s also been a notable exodus from Boulder that’s hard to discount. Roster flips are nothing new for Deion Sanders, but this same sort of overhaul led to a 4-8 record last season.

Elsewhere, SEC teams like Alabama and Ole Miss are loading up on talent at positions of need. Both the Crimson Tide, helmed by first-year coach and former Washington boss Kalen DeBoer, and Rebels are hoping to make a run for the expanded College Football Playoff in 2024.

On the other side of the spectrum, Arizona State, which is making a move to the Big 12 in 2024, has had a sour start to the spring thus far. So has Louisville, fresh off its run to the ACC Championship Game in coach Jeff Brohm’s first year leading the program.

Here are the winners and losers from the first week of the spring transfer window.

Winner: Colorado
Though it should come as no surprise to those that have paid attention to what Sanders is doing in Boulder, Colorado is off to a hot start in the spring transfer window. The Buffaloes had a huge weekend and parlayed impactful visits into a flurry of commitments from players at positions of need. Pittsburgh edge transfer Dayon Hayes, one of the best pass-rushers on the market, and Ohio defensive line transfer Rayyan Buell will add some much-needed disruption along Colorado’s defensive front. Texas offensive line transfer Payton Kirkland may not be a plug-and-play starter, but he’s got four years of eligibility remaining and will have a shot at establishing himself in a relatively thin room. Former Ohio State running back Dallan Hayden had a phenomenal freshman campaign but fell behind in a loaded running back room the past couple years; he’ll have an opportunity to shine in Colorado. Overall solid work, and there could be more on the way if Colorado’s visit schedule is any indication.

Loser: Colorado
How can Colorado be listed as both a “winner” and a “loser,” by this article’s definition? While it’s true that the Buffaloes have had more impactful additions than any other school during the spring window, they’ve also lost over 17 players to the portal thus far. Whether those that have left are worthy of a starting role or not, as Sanders has called into question, established and consistent depth is important for a team that’s trying to build off of three straight losing seasons. And some of those departures have almost certainly been more than depth pieces. The killer so far is running back Dylan Edwards, who flashed as a freshman and has a longstanding relationship with Sanders. Edwards had four touchdowns in Colorado’s rousing opening win vs. TCU.

Offensive lineman Savion Washington started at right tackle, playing 660 snaps, and was a lone bright spot on an otherwise lackluster offensive line last season. He was one of three linemen to enter the portal from a unit that so desperately needs depth and an injection of talent.

Former five-star cornerback Cormani McClain has some questions off the field, but his talent is undeniable. Former Cincinnati tight end Chamon Metayer, a four-star transfer from the winter window, re-entered the portal after going through spring practice. Even if they’re mere second-stringers, there’s some quality pieces that Colorado lost.

Colorado 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Winner: Alabama
Although Kadyn Proctor’s return to Tuscaloosa was telegraphed, it’s still a huge that coach Kalen DeBoer and Co. were able to seal the deal and return the Crimson Tide’s former and now future starting left tackle. To briefly recap the Proctor saga: he entered the transfer portal in January following Nick Saban’s retirement, quickly ended up at Iowa (his home-state school), told Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz in March (a day before Iowa started its spring practice slate) that he’d be returning to Alabama, and confirmed the move back to the Crimson Tide the day the spring transfer window opened. To make a long story short, Proctor — a Freshman All-SEC selection in 2023 — is entering his second year as Alabama’s starting left tackle. Though it’s overshadowed by the Proctor news, credit to Alabama for nabbing Miami (OH) kicker Graham Nicholson out of the portal. The former Lou Groza Award winner will replace Will Reichard, one of the Crimson Tide’s most impactful offseason losses.

Alabama 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Loser: Arizona State
It hasn’t been the best week for second-year coach Kenny Dillingham. Two days after the portal opened, news broke that former starting quarterback and top-50 overall prospect Jaden Rashada would be entering the portal. Though he struggled at times during an injury-riddled true freshman season, and Michigan State transfer Sam Leavitt pushed for the starting job during spring practice, losing a player of Rashada’s caliber is a blow. Leading receiver Elijhah Badger, who had 1,640 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving in three years as a Sun Devil, and tight end Bryce Pierrer, Arizona State’s only returning scholarship player at the position, quickly followed. On Monday, 247Sports reported that starting cornerback Ed Woods is expected to transfer out of the program.

Arizona State 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Winner: Ole Miss
Following the departure of star Quinshon Judkins to Ohio State, Ole Miss’ staff had running back highlighted, circled and underlined at the top of its list of transfer needs. So far, the Rebels have hit it out of the park in that department. Former New Mexico rusher Jacory Croskey-Merritt, who had 1,190 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing last season, committed on April 19. Miami running back Henry Parrish Jr., who initially signed with Ole Miss out of high school and spent two years in Oxford, followed suit by announcing his return to the Rebels Monday. He had at least 600 yards rushing in each of his two seasons with the Hurricanes. Those two will form quite a formidable stable with the returning Ulysses Bentley IV as Ole Miss uses a by-committee approach to replace Judkins’ production.

Ole Miss 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Loser: Louisville
Louisville’s defense has taken its fair share of hits in the early going. A pair of starters in linebacker Jaylin Alderman and defensive lineman Jermayne Lole are leaving the program. Lole has battled through injuries throughout his career but has NFL upside if healthy and is a particular blow. The Cardinals have also had a string of players that transferred in during the winter window decide to look elsewhere as the spring has played out. That includes four-star running back transfer and former Toledo star Peny Boone, who was named the 2023 MAC Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns, and former Tennessee starting safety Wesley Walker. Offensive line depth, with former Houston transfer Reuben Unije and 6-foot-8 tackle Luke Burgess entering the portal, has also taken a significant hit.

Louisville 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

05 Apr

Ravens’ John Harbaugh welcomes Lamar Jackson weighing in on college prospects ahead of draft

When it comes to the NFL Draft, there are a lot of people involved in the decision-makings process for each team, from executives to coaches to scouts. The Baltimore Ravens are also getting their quarterback involved.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Lamar Jackson is sharing his opinions on who Baltimore should pick in the April event. During NFL’s Annual League Meeting, Harbaugh noted that he and Jackson have similar thoughts regarding college prospects.

“He is looking at guys now,” Harbaugh said (via ESPN). “He and I agree on a few guys. We haven’t disagreed on anybody yet. We’re sharing our vision together.”

This is not Jackson’s first run at being a part-time quarterback, part-time scout. Jackson broke down every receiver in the draft from South Florida after the 2022 season, giving Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta his notes. With the No. 22 pick in that following draft, the Ravens took pass catcher and Fort Lauderdale native Zay Flowers, who led the team in receiving yards last season.

It is no surprise the defending NFL MVP wants a say in who he throws to and with wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Devin Duvernay both exiting this offseason and other receivers nearing the end of their contracts, the team has a hole to fill on offense.

Last year, DeCosta said Jackson has “strong opinions” on the prospects and it seems those strong opinions are also present this year.

The Ravens’ first three picks are currently No. 30, No. 62 and No. 93.

Baltimore has drafted seven wide receivers over the past six years and whether the Ravens take someone at that position with their first-round pick is something we will have to wait until April 25 to find out. The team also has to address its offensive line.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in February, DeCosta spoke about wide receivers, complementing the prospects in this year’s draft.

“That’s a position where some of these guys are like race cars; they break down at times,” DeCosta said. “And so, having depth at that position is critical, [and] we saw that this year. We think we built the room out pretty well this year and were able to sustain some injuries along the way. So, we will look at that. I think it’s a very, very deep year in the draft. This draft class is pretty impressive from a receiver standpoint.”

The Ravens offense already got a major addition, when the team added running back Derrick Henry in free agency.

Harbaugh says there is “no doubt” that the offense will “look different.”

“That’s the one thing we believe in — keeping it moving. You can never keep it the same,” Harbaugh said.

When figuring out how the Ravens often will look next season, Harbaugh wants Jackson to have a lot of say.

“He’ll come back, and he’ll look at everything, and we’ll want to know what he thinks,” Harbaugh said. “Like, ‘Do you prefer this or this? Are you comfortable in this direction or that direction? What do you like? [Are there] any other ideas you had since we talked last?’ I believe he’ll be a big part of the architecture of the offense.”

The Ravens are once again expected to make a deep playoff run and Jackson says he is more motivated than ever to win a championship. The Ravens were just eight points away from a Super Bowl appearance, but fell to the defending and eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

05 Apr

3-round mock draft, plus a prospect of the day and more to kick off NFL Draft month

Welcome to the ceremonial kickoff of Year 2 of the With the First Pick newsletter, and we’re launching today because we know the insatiable need for NFL Draft nuggets will only intensify as the month progresses. Here, you’ll get NFL Draft news, prospect evaluations, and enough mock drafts to make your head spin … on a daily basis. As the internet’s preeminent NFL newsletter creator John Breech wrote Friday, we’re rebranding the Pick Six newsletter for the next month, starting today, continuing through the end of April, and maybe into early May. I, CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Chris Trapasso, will be with you every step of the way.

I’ll be tracking everything that transpires in the NFL and spin everything into a draft angle. There’s always a draft angle! Trust me. At least in my head there is, and with this newsletter you’ll be getting a daily glimpse inside my draft-obsessed brain from now until the morning of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Before I begin, this paragraph will be your daily reminder to tell all your buddies and that one uncle who’s always texting you the importance of drafting mid-round offensive linemen to sign up for the With the First Pick newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

Today’s NFL mock draft 🔮: Three-rounder with trades!
Top QB prospects Caleb Williams (left) and Drake Maye Getty Images
My esteemed NFL Draft analyst colleague Josh Edwards completed no easy task: a three-round mock with a few swaps included. Instead of only highlighting some fascinating Round 1 selections, I’ll dip into the imaginary Day 2 here.

  1. Chicago Bears – Caleb Williams, QB, USC
  2. Washington Commanders – Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  3. New England Patriots – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
  4. Minnesota Vikings (mock trade w/ Arizona) – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
  5. Cincinnati Bengals – Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
  6. Detroit Lions – Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
  7. Los Vegas Raiders – Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
  9. New York Giants — Trey Benson, RB, Florida State
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami

Of course, there’s plenty to digest here in this three-rounder, including history being made with quarterbacks off the board with the first four picks. As every day goes by, this feels more like a lock to actually happen in real life, doesn’t it?

I’d love Robinson to Detroit to give Aidan Hutchinson a legit running mate rushing around the corner — although James Houston is no slouch when healthy. Benson is my RB1, and the Giants need a back after watching Saquon Barkley sign with the rival Eagles. I seriously think Benson deserves Breece Hall-type buzz. He’s that big, fast and elusive.

And for the Steelers, an instinctive, playmaking, hard-hitting safety is essentially part of that organization’s DNA. The poor pre-draft workout sinks Kinchens’ stock, but he and Minkah Fitzpatrick would formulate a stellar pairing on the backend in Pittsburgh.

‘With the First Pick’ podcast 🎧: Three-headed mock draft
Above was a three-rounder, but here, in what is Mock Draft 12.0 for the With the First Pick crew, our resident GM Rick Spielman, Super Bowl-winning cornerback Bryant McFadden, and draft analyst Ryan Wilson ripped through a one-round mock draft, alternating selections along the way.

I won’t spoil every juicy pick, but there was a surprise edge rusher sent to the Falcons at pick No. 8. Cowboys fans, Wilson will pique your interest with a massive trade up for arguably the most uber-talented blocker in this class, an offensive tackle who’d fill the void left by Tyron Smith re-locating to New York to play for the Jets. There’s also an Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love esque baton-passing pick for the Chiefs that would be a nightmare scenario for the rest of the league attempting to stop Kansas City from a three-peat. Listen to the entire episode right here.

Prospect of the day 📈: Javon Baker, WR, UCF
UCF WR Javon Baker Getty Images
All you’ve heard for months now is how good and how deep the 2024 wideout class is, so it’s only natural I feature one of the receivers who represents the depth that has been mentioned ad nauseam since the Senior Bowl in late January.

It was love at first sight for me with Baker on film.He’s got nifty releases to beat press at the line, deceptive route-running salesmanship, and a leaping/rebounding combination that led to the fourth-best contested-catch win rate in the class. He has it all. Well, except for speed. Baker’s slower 40-yard dash time could be the lone reason he’s still on the board well into the second round, and if he’s a third-round pick, no one should be shocked.

But this is a former Alabama pass-catcher who rocked after transferring to UCF with over 100 catches and more than 1,800 yards with 12 touchdowns in Orlando.

Notable combine results: 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 37-inch vertical, 10-foot-1 broad jump
Combine measurements: 6-foot-1 and 1/4, 202 pounds
Current CBS Sports prospect ranking: No. 46 (No. 9 WR)
Pro Day primer: Top prospects to watch 👀
Yale OL Kiran Amegadjie: Pro days are all but officially done — although we will get an individual workout from Iowa’s Cooper Dejean on April 8 — but I’m compelled to keep this section part of the Year 2 kickoff because Amegadjie could be the first non-Power 5 prospect offensive player off the board. He’s that good on film at 6-foot-5 and 325 pounds with the second-longest arms among offensive linemen in the class. The Yale Bulldog blocker is a masher in the run game with plenty of athletic gifts, although he probably kicks inside to guard in the NFL. Honestly, I got serious Trey Smith vibes evaluating him, and Smith has been a rock for the Chiefs in their back-to-back Super Bowls. He’s bound for a monstrous payday next offseason, if not before.

News & Notes 📝
Inside how NFL teams handle draft month. We’re thrilled to have Shrine Bowl director Eric Galko contributing to the site over the next month, and as someone who works closely with NFL teams, he wrote an enlightening piece detailing the finishing touches teams put on their respective draft boards starting today.
Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott have mutual interest in a reunion. Given the enormous extension Jerry Jones gave Elliott just a few years ago, and the owner’s long standing affinity for bell cow running backs, this should come as no surprise. And if these two link up, I wonder how much it alleviates Dallas’ need at running back in the 2024 draft. Hmmm.
Pro day workout incoming for NC State basketball star DJ Burns? The 11-seed Wolfpack have made a Cinderella run to the Final Four, and at the center of it all has been the 6-foot-9, 275-pounder, who scored 29 points in the upset over Duke in the Elite Eight. And the athleticism he’s demonstrated on the court has apparently drawn legitimate NFL interest.

05 Apr

Veteran CB wants to know what position he will be asked to play before signing

Patrick Peterson is willing to be patient in finding a new team for 2024. As free agency is in the midst of its second wave, the former Steeler will wait things out until he gets the right call.

When that call comes, Peterson wants a warning if he’s going to play a different position than cornerback. He’s open to playing safety, but with certain conditions.

“I don’t want to start at safety because that’s a different animal back there,” Peterson said, via the NFL on Fox podcast. “That’s a different view back there. If that is the case, I would need to be warned going into the season to get my body, my mental prepared. It’s different being at the safety from the cornerback position, having those open-field tackles.”

Peterson has played cornerback for the majority of his 13-year career. He played 1,045 snaps listed as a defensive back, playing 218 snaps at free safety and 105 snaps at box safety (per TruMedia). He hasn’t played safety full time, which might be what some teams want him to be.

“As corners, we’re used to knifing in and slicing guys down,” Peterson said. “When you’re in the open field as a safety, especially if you’re in the middle of the field, that guy’s got 24 yards right and 24 yards left of you. There ain’t no way to cut him off by any means. You’re the last line of defense.

“So if that is something, I would need notice and probably, you know, get one of these old-time safeties like an Ed Reed or (Troy) Polamalu to coach me up.”

Peterson had 42 tackles and two interceptions in 17 games last season in Pittsburgh, as opposing quarterbacks had a 62.8 passer rating targeting him. He can still start in the NFL, even if cornerback appears to be his preferred position.

05 Apr

Why Doug Pederson thinks Trevor Lawrence is ‘light years’ ahead of this part of game compared to rookie year

Trevor Lawrence didn’t have the season he nor the Jacksonville Jaguars anticipated. Lawrence had 21 giveaways in a season which he regressed after a promising first year under Doug Pederson, as the Jaguars went 0-5 in his last five starts to miss the playoffs.

The turnovers were shades from 2021, a disastrous first season from Lawrence under Urban Meyer. In that season, Lawrence had 22 giveaways (17 interceptions and five fumbles lost). Lawrence lost confidence in his game from that first season with Meyer, something Pederson fixed in his first year under his tutelage.

Has Lawrence reverted back to his ways under Meyer. Pederson was adamant at the NFL Annual League Meeting last week, saying Lawrence was “light years” past there.

“Just where he is mentally, just the mental part,” Pederson said, via a Jaguars transcript. “We’ve got to get better as a football player, but mentally he’s in a good place. Again, I wasn’t here in 2021, so I don’t know, but I can only speculate and say that he couldn’t have been in a very good mental headspace coming out of that year, but now he’s playing meaningful games.

“He’s taken, the last two years, our team right there and now we’ve got to push through that. Now it bothers him. That part bothers him. Football bothers him and that’s a good thing. That’s where we’ve got to get him pushing us through that envelope, that wall. The way we ended our season, that’s his motivation too.”

Lawrence has finished with 20+ giveaways in two of his three seasons. He had 17 in the 2022 season when the Jaguars won the AFC South (eight interceptions, nine fumbles lost). Turnovers have always been a problem for Lawrence since he entered the NFL, which Pederson continues to work on. Pederson wants to cut down the giveaways by reducing the fumbles.

“Obviously, interceptions are going to happen but it’s the pocket stuff. It’s the fumbling in the pocket, out of the pocket. That’s the part that we can help him with, the ball security stuff,” Pederson said. “It’s hard for young players because they feel like they can make every play. It’s okay to throw the ball away.

“We just have to keep educating him in these situations. You can coach it. You are the guy that’s touching the ball every snap. We have to make smart decisions too.”

05 Apr

Brock Purdy, DaRon Bland nearly double their salary with incentive system

The NFL on Monday announced its performance-based pay distribution for the 2023 season, and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland were among the top 25 earners.

The performance-based pay program uses a fund “created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary,” according to the league release. The distribution is computed by using a player index, which the NFL notes uses a player’s “PBP Playtime” (defined as the player’s regular season total plays played on offense, defense, and special teams, divided by the number of plays payed by the player with the most total combined plays on that team) divided by his “PBP Compensation” (defined as regular season full salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives).

Purdy, a seventh-round pick in 2022, started 16 of 17 games and played 93% of San Francisco’s offensive snaps. At just $870,000, he was the league’s lowest-paid starting quarterback. His take-home of $739,765 ranked 24th in the league in performance-based pay, and nearly doubled his pay. Purdy finished fourth in MVP voting and sixth in Offensive Player of the Year voting after throwing for 4,280 yards, 31 touchdowns, and just 11 interceptions while helping lead the 49ers to the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Bland similarly drew just $870,000 in base salary last year, and his distribution of $759,759 (20th) nearly doubled his pay as well. A 2022 fifth-round pick, Bland began the season as Dallas’ slot corner but moved outside when Trevon Diggs tore his ACL. He played all 17 games, making 15 starts and playing 90% of defensive snaps. He eventually set an NFL record with five pick-sixes among his league-leading nine interceptions, and he finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting while being named both a Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro.

Former Ravens guard John Simpson, who signed with the Jets earlier this offseason, checked in first in performance-based pay, collecting $974,613 after he played 99% of Baltimore’s offensive snaps.

05 Apr

Commanders sign veteran QB to help mentor rookie they’ll likely take with No. 2 overall pick in 2024 NFL Draft

The Washington Commanders have the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and will likely use that selection to bring in what they hope will be a franchise quarterback. USC quarterback Caleb Williams is expected to be taken No. 1 overall by the Chicago Bears when the draft kicks off April 25 in Detroit.

CBS Sports mock drafts have either North Carolina’s Drake Maye or LSU’s Jayden Daniels going at No. 2 and while neither are a sure bet, as no quarterback is, both are loaded with potential.

Whether it is Maye or Daniels, the Commanders pick will likely be their starter this season. They already have Marcus Mariota as a member of their quarterback room and on Monday, they added a second veteran to the group.

Washington signed Jeff Driskel to a one-year deal, marking the quarterback’s sixth team in seven years. He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 2016 draft and was waived before that season began. He then played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and most recently the Cleveland Browns. He has started 12 games across those five teams, including one start last season.

Another arm in the QB room@jeffdriskel | #HTTC pic.twitter.com/OAy4ueHljX

— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) April 1, 2024
The 30-year-old has 2,394 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Commanders general manager Adam Peters said he wants four quarterbacks during camp ahead of the 2024 season, per the Washington Post.

Driskel will likely compete with 2020 fifth-round pick Jake Fromm for QB3. Fromm joined the Commanders in 2022 and was waived by the team before re-signing to the practice squad in August 2023. He signed to the active roster in December, after Jacoby Brissett went down with an injury.

Fromm has played in three games, all with the New York Giants, with two starts. He has an 0-2 record with 210 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

While Driskel has more experience, how they look in camp will be a major factor in determining how the depth chart will look.