NFL AM: Chargers Claim Zach Mettenberger


San Diego Chargers claim Zach Mettenberger:

Having second waiver priority behind the Cleveland Browns, the San Diego Chargers were quick to claim former Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger to reunite him with Ken Whisenhunt, who was the head coach of the Titans when the team selected him in the sixth round in the 2014 NFL Draft.

For Mettenberger, there probably couldn’t have been a better outcome. There isn’t a team in football where the former LSU quarterback would have an opportunity to start anytime soon, so the opportunity to go somewhere where he knows the offensive coordinator believes in him, and where he’ll sit behind one of the game’s most competitive and professional quarterbacks in Phillip Rivers.

If Mettenberger can show improvement in San Diego while sitting behind Rivers, it’s not completely inconceivable that he could eventually become the solution when the veteran quarterback decides to hang them up.

Even if he’s only the eventual placeholder for another early round pick as he became in Tennessee, if Mettenberger shows growth and improvement when he gets that chance, he’ll likely open himself up to another opportunity to start in the NFL.

While it’s easy to point to his 0-10 record as a starting quarterback, or the fact that he’s thrown just 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions in his career in Tennessee, but we’ve seen plenty of young quarterbacks (drafted much higher than Mettenberger) struggle with accuracy and reading complex coverages early in their careers. Top those adversities off with one of the worst rosters in recent memory, and it’s a little silly to pretend this young man could have come in and looked like the poor man’s Tom Brady that Whisenhunt once described him as.

Mettenberger certainly hasn’t done enough in the NFL to earn the respect of many coaches or front offices, but he’s got at least one guy who believes in him in Whisenhunt. He likely won’t be plan A when it comes time to figure out how to replace Rivers, but if he ever has an opportunity to be a team’s plan A in the future, it will likely be because he was picked up by the Chargers this time around.

If getting to work with Whisenhunt again, and learn under Rivers isn’t enough to turn him into a starting NFL quarterback, then probably nothing would.

Rams sign Dominique Easley to one-year deal:

Dominque Easley was a first-round pick for the New England Patriots in 2014, but the team released the defensive tackle in mid-April after the team was unhappy Easley refused to follow the Patriots injury program despite finishing each of the last two seasons on injured reserve.

Easley finished his rookie season on IR with a knee injury after suffering a torn ACL in both knees in college, and finished his second season with the Patriots on IR with a quadriceps injury.

When healthy, Easley was a very productive and disruptive pass-rushing defensive tackle. The kind of player you don’t cut hallway into his rookie contract. If this were any team but the Patriots, we’d probably be speculating about Easley having some serious off the field concerns, but cutting players you never thought he’d cut is just par for the course for Bill Belichick.

The fact that the former Florida Gators defensive tackle hung around on the open market for over a month, and only signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams points to concerns about either Easley’s attitude or availability.

Despite showing that he can be as disruptive as some of the best defensive lineman in football and the fact that teams are desperate for players who can create havoc up the middle, Easley’s inability to land more than a one-year deal shows that he has a lot to prove to NFL teams if he wants to extend his very short career.

Of course, this could work out very well for the disruptive defensive tackle. If Easley can stay healthy and excel on of the league’s best defensive lines, he could open himself up for a big pay day at the end of his new deal. While he may not get as many snaps as he could on lesser defensive fronts, showing that he can be an explosive pass rusher from an interior position will certainly peak team’s interest next offseason.

Sam Bradford talks about his frustration:

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles were unable to facilitate a trade of Sam Bradford to the Denver Broncos as he and his agent had tried to force, the Eagles quarterback now knows that Philadelphia is the best place for him.

Despite that line of absolute nonsense, Bradford was actually pretty forthcoming at the first day of Eagles’ OTAs as he spoke about staying away from the team after learning they had traded up in order to draft the quarterback of the future.

I just felt like I needed some time,” Bradford said. “I could have stayed here, could have continued to work here, but I’m not sure my head really would have been here those two weeks.”

Bradford acknowledged that he knows the Eagles will be Wentz’s team and talked about how he thought he could have turned his two-year contract into a long term relationship with Philadelphia.

“There’s no promises in this business,” Bradford continued. “It wasn’t a long-term deal. It was a two-year deal. I was well aware of that. My goal was to play well for the next two years and create that stability that I talked about for pretty much my whole career. Philadelphia is the place I wanted to be. I wanted to play well for the next two years, create that stability, and then sign a longer-term deal and stay here for the rest of my career.”

The more Bradford speaks, the harder he is to believe in. A competitor who wanted to be in Philadelphia long term would fight for the position and say I’m going to play well enough that they’ll have to admit their mistake and trade Wentz when they realize I’m the guy. But Bradford isn’t the guy. His whiny, refuse to earn the things I want attitude confirm that.  How he expects the Eagles or anyone else to want him to lead their franchise is unthinkable.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.