Posts Tagged ‘Starting Quarterback’

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Vince McMahon announced the XFL’s unexpected return to widespread shock and disbelief in 2018, and while the controversial football league isn’t set to restart until February 2020, new details have emerged on how much the WWE Chairman intends on paying his top stars.

Per Dave Meltzer in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the XFL will fork out up to $300,000 per annum for the league’s quarterbacks.

The organisation will look to attract “eight high-profile QBs” (one for each of the announced host cities) before long, and hope to have them, along with every head coach, signed by March’s end. The idea is that this will give the XFL 10 full months to advertise and get ready for the upcoming season.

As expected, this number is but a fraction of what a top NFL QB can earn, with Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers pocketing a salary of $66.9 million in 2018. Therefore, it remains to be seen how McMahon’s group will compete with the world’s top American football league.

The XFL’s previous run was an unmitigated disaster. Whether the revival succeeds where it failed remains to be seen, but at least McMahon has a plan in place.

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As the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bruce Arians is willing to overlook quarterback Jameis Winston’s past – which includes a three-game suspension at the start of the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy – and build the team around him.

“I’ve known him for a long time. We all make mistakes. He’s made his, I’ve made mine,” Arians said on The Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday. “I feel like I’ve got a great feel for him, his excitement for the game.

“His willingness to work is unbelievable. He’s in the office at 5 o’clock in the morning. I have no qualms about that. … The whole thing is going to be built around him.”

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 14,628 yards and 88 touchdowns with 58 interceptions over 56 games. He’s added nine total scores on the ground, six of which came during his Pro-Bowl rookie campaign.

Winston will carry a cap hit of $20.9 million on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal in 2019.

Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’ll turn 37 in 2019 and made seven starts this season, will become a free agent at the end of the league year in March.

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The Tennessee Titans are in need of yet another offensive coordinator after Matt LaFleur recently filled the Green Bay Packers’ head coaching vacancy.

Tennessee’s now in search of a fourth OC – and fifth play-caller – since quarterback Marcus Mariota was drafted second overall in 2015.

General manager Jon Robinson understands the difficulties the turnover has imposed on the 25-year-old since joining the league.

“It is always challenging when you are talking about new terminology and concepts. I kind of liken it to learning a foreign language, and he is on his fifth language now,” Robinson said, according to Jim Wyatt of Titans Online. “But we’ll do our best to try and help the team and keep a lot of that the same. We’ll talk to coach Vrabel and we’re still just going through that process now about the direction that we’re going to go.

“But it is always difficult with any player when there is change because you have to learn new things. One thing was called ‘this’ with this coach, and now this is called ‘that.'”

Mariota had the highest completion percentage of his career in 2018 at 68.9, though he threw for career lows of 2,528 yards and 11 touchdowns over 14 games (13 starts) with eight interceptions. His 64 rushing attempts and 357 yards were both career highs, adding two more scores on the ground.

He missed Week 17 due to injury as the Titans lost a must-win game against the Indianapolis Colts and missed the playoffs for the third time in his four seasons under center.

Robinson remains confident Mariota can adapt to whatever style a new coordinator instills and lead the Titans to success in his fifth season.

“Marcus is a smart guy,” Robinson said. “We’ll work at it. Whatever we ask of him from a studying and learning and terminology standpoint, I am confident that he’ll definitely put the time in to try and be his best.”

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If Sunday marked Joe Flacco‘s last game with the Baltimore Ravens, the quarterback is at peace with his tenure.

Flacco backed up rookie Lamar Jackson during the Ravens’ wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, a role he’s been demoted to since Week 15. Though he’s admitted that sitting on the sideline has been tough, the veteran maintained a team-first mentality.

“We made the (starting quarterback) decision what was going to happen here weeks ago,” Flacco said following the game on Sunday, via Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun. “I just really wanted to see the guys turn it up a little bit and make a play of it, which they did.”

“You’re a part of the team,” he continued. “As a backup, really you’re just ready to be called on. You want to see your guys play well. So the fact that we weren’t playing maybe the way we wanted to, I just felt for the guys on the team. I didn’t really feel any way about me doing anything about it.”

Jackson struggled in his first playoff game, completing just 48.3 percent of his pass attempts. But head coach John Harbaugh made it clear that the 22-year-old is the team’s quarterback moving forward.

Baltimore is expected to move on from Flacco this offseason, either via a trade or release, but he has no ill will toward his first NFL home.

“I love the people of Baltimore,” Flacco said. “It’s been 11 years, and you come in and you feel one way and you don’t know what to expect, but the people warm up to you, you warm up to the people, and to be honest with you, I can’t imagine a better 11 years with this place becoming my home, my children’s home and just how many different life changes I went through and how much we won here.”

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John Harbaugh made it abundantly clear after Sunday’s playoff game who’ll be under center for the Baltimore Ravens going into next season.

“Lamar Jackson is our quarterback going forward. There’s no question about that,” Harbaugh said after the Ravens’ wild-card round loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, according to Luke Jones of WNST.net.

Joe Flacco had been the team’s starting quarterback since 2008. His hip injury in Week 11 opened the door for Jackson to take over the team. The No. 32 draft pick in 2018 helped the Ravens win six of their last seven regular-season games to capture the AFC North crown.

Harbaugh was appreciative of the past 11 years he’s shared with Flacco in Baltimore and believes the veteran quarterback won’t be long for work.

“Joe is going to have a market,” he said, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “I’m going to be in Joe’s corner unless we play him. He’s the best quarterback in Ravens history. He’s going to be fine.”

Even after Jackson’s poor performance in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Chargers, the Ravens remain confident in the dual-threat quarterback’s ability to lead the team going forward.

“He’s the future,” veteran safety Eric Weddle said after the game, according to Hensley. “As you can tell, he’s devastated (with the loss). But that’s going to drive him next year. He’s going to be a great one.”

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As Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson gets set to lead his team into Sunday’s wild-card game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Super Bowl XLVII champion Joe Flacco has been relegated to a new role as the backup.

The 33-year-old was asked after Friday’s practice if he’s changing his routine.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be any more different or not,” Flacco said, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “It’s definitely not the most fun position in the world. It is what it is.”

Flacco remains under contract for the next three seasons and carries a cap hit of $26.5 million for 2019, which would account for 13.9 percent of the team’s cap space. Cutting or trading him would create a dead cap penalty of $16 million, with that number being cut in half if the move is made with a post-June 1 designation.

With the Ravens expected to move on and receive upward of $10 million in cap relief by going either route, Sunday could mark the former first-round pick’s final game at M&T Bank Stadium as a member of the home team. But he’s hoping for a return later on in the postseason.

“I haven’t really thought too much about it, to be honest with you. It is what it is,” Flacco said. “We’re a No. 4 seed. There’s always a possibility that in the final round before the Super Bowl you can come back here. So you never know.”

Jackson, the No. 32 selection of April’s draft, won the starting job for the postseason – and likely the foreseeable future – by going 6-1 as the starter after replacing Flacco in Week 11. He’s completed just 58.23 percent of his passes for 1,114 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions over that time, but he’s torched the league on the ground for 556 yards and four touchdowns on 119 rushing attempts.

Flacco set a high bar for any rookie quarterback who would follow him in Baltimore by leading the Ravens to the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008.

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In August 2017, the Detroit Lions rewarded franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford with a five-year, $135 million contract extension that temporarily made him the NFL’s highest-paid player.

Just two seasons later, Stafford’s future in Detroit has been in serious question after the Lions stumbled to a six-win campaign during one of the worst statistical years of his career.

But Lions general manager Bob Quinn fully committed to Stafford as his starting pivot during Friday’s season-ending press conference, rejecting any possibility of trading the former No. 1 overall pick.

“Matthew Stafford is our quarterback. He will be our quarterback here,” Quinn told reporters, including ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.

Quinn added the coaching staff needs to put the signal-caller in better situations to maximize his skill set, according to Paula Pasche of LionsLowdown.com.

Trading Stafford would have serious financial ramifications for the Lions. The 30-year-old has a cap hit of $29.5 million in 2019. If Detroit moved him before June 1, all of his salary – plus an additional $500,000 – would turn into $30 million in dead money, according to Over The Cap.

Stafford posted his lowest 16-game touchdown total since 2012 and a career-low in yards this season. But the Lions offense was hit hard by injuries, especially on the offense line, while Golden Tate‘s departure in a midseason trade robbed Stafford of one of his most reliable weapons.