What we learned: Foles, Fitz riding QB carousel

Print

Change happens quickly in the NFL.

Two offseasons ago, Nick Foles was basking in the glow of a Pro Bowl MVP award after posting the best single-season touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history.

Just after Rams camp opened last summer, Foles landed a two-year contract extension with $13.8 million in guarantees to take the offensive reins from Sam Bradford.

As recently as this past March, Foles collected a $6 million roster bonus, capitalizing on the team's uncertainty under center.

Four months later, Foles is looking for work after Wednesday's release, deemed by coach Jeff Fisher as "the best decision for all parties involved."

Foles' 16-month stint with the Rams was emblematic of the conundrum facing NFL teams without the benefit of a franchise quarterback.

General manager Les Snead pulled the trigger on the Foles-Bradford trade with eyes wide open, fully understanding that he might have to embark on another search for a quarterback within the next year.

Sustained success in the 21st century correlates to steady quarterback performance. If absent that luxury, desperate organizations are forced to conduct exhaustive searches for a solution to professional sports' trickiest position, depleting resources otherwise spent stockpiling talent to compete with the perennial superpowers.

Foles was exposed as the putative solution in Los Angeles. Perhaps he can salvage his career as a high-end insurance policy in Kansas City, Dallas, Baltimore or Seattle.

Here's what else we learned from Wednesday's action in training camps around the league:

Back in the saddle


The most overplayed anti-drama of the offseason has mercifully been extinguished. The Jets have reeled in free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick back into the fold with a one-year, $12 million contract that features an additional $3 million in incentives. The new deal constitutes a raise of nearly 300 percent for Fitzpatrick, who was reportedly holding out for a multi-year contract before the Jets imposed a 7 p.m. Wednesday deadline to pull their offer off the table.

Now that Fitzpatrick is en route to camp, Jets fans can finally banish fears of a Geno Smith-led offense for 2016.

Three-horse race in Denver


When coach Gary Kubiak closed out the Broncos' offseason program last month, he noted that Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian were neck-and-neck for the top spot on the QB depth chart. Entering training camp, though, it's clear that first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch remains in the hunt for the Week 1 starting job.

Kubiak emphasized Wednesday that Denver will hold an "open competition" with all three quarterbacks receiving "equal reps." The Broncos' coaching staff has "no timetable" for selecting a starter, which means this derby could run through the third preseason game.

M*A*S*H unit


1. The other side of the ball provided news of its own on Wednesday, as cornerback Aqib Talib and pass rusher DeMarcus Ware opened camp on the non-football injury list. Kubiak said he expects Talib back on the field "real soon." The three-time Pro Bowler is recovering from a June 5 incident in which he was shot in the leg. Ware has been sidelined by ongoing back issues.

2. We learned Tuesday that the Chiefs will be without two of their most decorated defensive stars for the opening of training camp. Now we know that the team's biggest offensive star will also be sidelined -- at least temporarily. Returning from ACL surgery, Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles will open camp on the PUP list. Unlike Justin Houston, Charles is fully expected to answer the bell by the time the regular season rolls around in September.

3. Cowboys second-round draft pick Jaylon Smith will be placed on the NFI list due to the gruesome injury he sustained during the Fiesta Bowl. Anything he contributes in Dallas this season will be a bonus.

4. Jaguars first-round cornerback Jalen Ramsey, on the other hand, has been medically cleared for practice after undergoing surgery in May to repair a small tear to the meniscus in his right knee.

5. Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is "healthy and ready to go" for training camp, per NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon. Benjamin missed the entirety of his second NFL season after tearing his ACL last August.

Wideout$


1. Antonio Brown will be on hand for the start of Steelers camp on Thursday, reported NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, but the All-Pro wideout is confident that the organization will reward him with a pay raise before the season opens. Brown has outplayed a six-year, $43 million contract that calls for a $6 million salary in 2016.

2. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Michael Floyd hopes to stay in Arizona on a long-term contract, but understands the onus is on him to produce at a more consistent level in 2016.

"Basically the ball's in my court," Floyd acknowledged. "How I perform is all up to me."

3. Former Giants postseason marvel Hakeem Nicks is back on the NFL radar after managing just seven catches in six games last season. Nicks is signing with the Saints, per his agent.

Print