While they already have three quarterbacks on the roster, the Panthers likely are in need of another arm for training camp with Cam Newton (shoulder) on the shelf for the time being. While Gilbert hasn't thrown a regular season pass in his career, he could theoretically push Joe Webb for the No. 3 job in advance of the 2017 season opener.
McCown signed a one-year contract Monday, joining 2015 fourth-rounder Bryce Petty (shoulder) and 2016 second-rounder Christian Hackenberg in the Jets' quarterback room. The 37-year-old likely will enter training camp as the favorite for the starting gig, but there should at least be some form of competition to give the younger signal-callers a shot to win the job on a rebuilding team. Given his age, injury history and the nature of his team's current roster, McCown is unlikely to make it through the season as the starter even if he wins the Week 1 job.
After visiting with team officials Wednesday, Sanchez and the Bears finalized a one-year deal with the veteran late Thursday. The Bears gave Mike Glennon a multi-year deal earlier in the offseason, so Sanchez's arrival in Chicago is primarily to add depth behind the former Buccaneer. Sanchez served as Dak Prescott's backup in Dallas last season and appeared in two games, completing 10-of-18 passes for 93 yards and two interceptions.
The veteran signal caller had a successful meeting with the Bears on Wednesday and it appears the two sides are working towards finalizing a deal. Given that the Bears inked former Buccaneer Mike Glennon to a hefty, multi-year deal earlier in the offseason, Sanchez would presumably be signing to be Chicago's backup. Sanchez appeared in two games with the Cowboys in relief of Dak Prescott last season, completing 10-of-18 passes for 93 yards with two interceptions.
Murray was reported to be signing with the Rams and his signing on Thursday just makes things official. He'll be the team's third-string quarterback behind Jared Goff and Sean Mannion.
This doesn't mean the Saints have any interest in Manziel, who was released by the Browns last March and spent 2016 out of the NFL. The 24-year-old quarterback likely sought out Payton's advice because the veteran coach is a well-known, respected figure around the league. If he does in fact catch on with a team, Manziel will still need to serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Any interested teams likely would view him as a developmental project more so than a potential 2017 contributor.
The contract suggests Manuel may be released if he doesn't beat out 2016 fourth-round selection Connor Cook in a battle for the No. 2 quarterback job. Starting signal-caller Derek Carr (broken fibula) is believed to be on schedule or even slightly ahead in his rehab process.
With new starter Mike Glennon and Connor Shaw currently the only QBs the Bears have under contract, the team's interest in Sanchez makes some sense. The fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft is veteran backup material these days and is coming off a 2016 season in which he made two appearances for the Cowboys, completing 10 of 18 passes for 93 yards and two picks in the process.
The recent signing of Josh McCown puts another obstacle in Hackenberg's path, following a rookie season in which the second-round draft pick didn't attempt any passes even though the Jets' quarterback corps was decimated by injuries. While Hackenberg's struggles in practice kept him behind Petty on the depth chart, the Jets apparently still believe the former has a higher long-term ceiling than the latter. Hackenberg may well be headed for another season as the No. 3 quarterback, but that doesn't mean he won't have a shot to compete with McCown and Petty for the starting job in training camp. It sounds as if Hackenberg would be a long shot in such a competition, unless he is drastically improved from what the Jets saw in practice last year.
Newton suffered a partial tear of his right rotator cuff in Week 14 of last season, after which his practice participation alternated between limited and full in preparation for the final three games. While he didn't miss an offensive snap down the stretch, he statistically posted the worst campaign of his six-year career, completing a miserable 53 percent of his throws for 3,509 yards with a 19:14 TD:INT ratio, while failing to reach 500 yards on the ground (359 yards, to be exact) for the first time. After the season, the Panthers placed a specific rehab schedule upon him. "We developed a plan for Cam to take a period of rest, a period of rehabilitation and treatment, and then start a gradual throwing program the first part of March," head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said. "Cam started his program, and the early parts of his rehab had been going well. However, as we worked to advance him into the next stage -- the strengthening stage, the throwing stage -- he started to have an increase in his pain level and started having pain while throwing. As a result, Dr. Pat Connor [head team physician] felt the most prudent procedure would be to arthroscopically repair the shoulder." Newton is expected to require 12 weeks before commencing "an early throwing program" and 16 weeks before throwing in a team setting. With attendance during the offseason program ruled out, he'll aim to be ready by the start of training camp in late July.