A year after making the Pro Bowl in 2015, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor found himself in an unenviable game of organizational ping pong this season, which eventually led to him watching the season finale on the sidelines.
The Bills classified his absence, which gave way to an EJ Manuel / Cardale Jones combination on Sunday against the Jets, as injury-related and a "business decision" before more was known about a potential hernia surgery this offseason. Taylor told reporters on Monday that his job was taken from him.
While it's easy to understand the Bills wanting to see one more performance out of Manuel and a first performance from Jones, they are putting a lot of pressure on general manager Doug Whaley to nail the quarterback position this offseason, the story said. Taylor was not a top 10 quarterback but he was more than replacement level. In two seasons, he completed an average of 62.6 percent of his passes for 6,058 yards, 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also ran for another 1,148 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The silver lining to Cam Newton's turbulent 2016 campaign: His beaten-up body won't require surgery.
"Rest," Newton said, per The Charlotte Observer. "Rest. A lot of rest."
One year removed from a torrid MVP campaign, Cam finished 2016 with the NFL's lowest completion percentage among qualified passers (52.9) and a career-low passer rating (75.8).
This time, the possibility of Saints HC Sean Payton leaving seems even more serious, with NOLA.com reporting Sunday night that the Los Angeles Rams are expected to seek permission to speak with Payton and that Saints general manager Mickey Loomis would be open to a trade.
A source told ESPN that Payton and Loomis met on the subject following Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons and will continue meeting into the week. For any deal to be struck, it would have to be considered a win-win-win for the Saints, Rams and Payton, as Loomis and Saints owner Tom Benson really have ultimate control.
The Saints signed Payton to a five-year contract extension worth more than $9 million per year this past offseason, and multiple sources have told ESPN that they are happy with the direction the team has been headed this year. But, they won't force Payton to stay if he wants to leave.
"As of right now, no," he said after Sunday's season-ending loss to the New York Jets. "I think the biggest thing was finishing the season, and probably Monday when we do physicals or whatever, they'll basically give me the outline on my offseason, whether I should get surgery or not. I'm leaning towards not."
Watkins left for the locker room to be evaluated for a hip injury in the second half of Sunday's finale; he did not return. Watkins said he "got popped pretty hard" earlier in the game and began feeling tight at halftime.
If Watkins can avoid surgery this offseason, it will be his first full offseason in the NFL without undergoing a medical procedure.
The year that Sam Bradford has dubbed his most bizarre in the NFL also will go down as his best. The quarterback set an NFL single-season record by completing 71.6 percent of his passes. He threw for a career-high 3,877 yards, with 20 touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions while playing behind eight different offensive line combinations in 15 starts.
"You always believe in yourself, and I think you always believe you can go out and play at a high level," he said. "This year, just in terms of the trade [from Philadelphia] and showing up Week 1, it's been crazy. But, it's been fun and I've enjoyed being a part of this locker room."
There seems little doubt Bradford will be a part of it in 2017, as the Vikings remain unsure of what they'll get from Teddy Bridgewater. What the Vikings will have to decide, though, is how they want to approach Bradford's long-term future. His base salary will rise to $14 million, after Bradford hit a $1 million salary escalator clause by playing more than 90 percent of the team's offensive snaps.
Both Josh McDaniels -- and Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia -- have been among the hottest candidates for a head coaching gig this offseason. The 40-year-old McDaniels was previously a head coach for the Denver Broncos in 2009-2010.
After his first run as a head coach ended poorly, McDaniels eventually ended back up in New England, where the general attitude is that the talented offensive mind had taken strides in improving on the subtleties of the job that tripped him up in his first run as a head coach.
A source said McDaniels could have three interviews this week while the Patriots are on a bye.
The Broncos announced Monday that coach Gary Kubiak informed the team that he officially stepped down.
"As I told our team last night, this is an extremely difficult decision to step down as head coach," Kubiak said in a statement. "I love to work and I love football, but ultimately the demands of the job are no longer a good fit for me."
On the heels of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the 49ers fired Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke on Sunday.
Baalke, who served as GM since 2011 and whose firing he confirmed earlier Sunday morning, couldn't reverse a franchise trajectory that has been falling since the team's appearance in Super Bowl XLVII at the end of the 2012 season.
San Francisco will have its fourth coach in five seasons when it opens the 2017 season.
After finishing dead last in the AFC West two years in a row, the Chargers are parting ways with head coach Mike McCoy.
The team confirmed the move on Sunday following San Diego's 37-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
With San Diego mulling a potential move to Los Angeles, the franchise has extra incentive to start fresh with a coach unlinked to the team's recent string of failure.
Reports said McCoy wanted to get back in the game but there was no reason for that. McCoy had a great fantasy year and should be a top back next summer when drafts come around.
Lamar Miller should be ready to go for the playoff game.
With the Texans already wrapping up the division, Miller didn't play in Week 17 but it appears he'll be good to go next weekend.
Johnson will have an MRI on Monday but this is potentially very good news for owners.
Sunday, January 1, 2017, 7:11pm
The playoff-bound Oakland Raiders are down to their third quarterback.
McGloin made his first start since 2013 on Sunday after starter Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula last week.
The Raiders were trailing 17-0 when Cook entered the game. McGloin was 6-for-11 with just 21 passing yards when he was injured. The team announced he was questionable to return in the second half. The Raiders would clinch the AFC West title and No. 2 seed with a win. With a loss and a Kansas City Chiefs win in San Diego, Oakland would instead be a wild-card team and play next week at Houston.