Feel free to call this time of year surrounding the NFL rumor mill silly season—Detroit Lions quarterback Jake Rudock is the headline act.
While the biggest outright news centers on the latest drama with Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the rumor mill gets a break of sorts thanks to changes in how the cutdown process works.
With teams having more time to figure things out, this is a bit of a dull period for rumors, at least in the sense the floodgates haven't opened when it comes to releases.
But with a few major names still searching for homes and one random trade rumor popping up, it is time to dive in and take a look at the latest.
The Kony Ealy Sweepstakes
It is understandable if fans didn't think an edge-rusher like Kony Ealy would generate a ton of interest on the open market.
After all, the Carolina Panthers gave up on him after a few years despite his three sacks in the Super Bowl. More recently, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots threw in the towel despite trading for him in a manner that affected draft order.
Alas, the New York Jets put in a claim on Ealy and won through the usual process, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
A rebuilding team like the Jets taking a risk on Ealy isn't the biggest surprise. What is, though, is the huge list of teams that apparently did, according to Garafolo's colleague Jane Slater:
The interesting thing here is the Patriots dropped Ealy in large part due to schematic fit. It seems like a miscalculation because other teams might have had an interest in making a deal for him, provided both sides were patient.
This is proof enough the need for pass-rushing help is at an all-time high in the NFL as defenses look to counter the pass-happy league. The Jets just landed a 25-year-old player with upside at no investment cost—not bad for a late-August move.
Ahmad Brooks Makes the Rounds
It was only a matter of time before former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks started gaining serious traction on the open market.
Linebacker is about as saturated as running back around the league these days, yet Brooks is something of a household name who has been a solid presence on the field for years.
Granted, the 49ers saw fit to move on thanks to a youth movement while mired in a rebuild. But a 33-year-old back getting served walking papers so a younger guy like Eli Harold can get more playing time doesn't mean the older guy has nothing of value to offer a new team.
Hence the Green Bay Packers' interest in setting up a meet, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
This is a notable turn of events because the Packers aren't normally a team willing to make a splash like this, let alone this time of year. Green Bay likes its versatility in linebackers too, with Brooks filling a rather defined role.
Still, it isn't too hard to see why Brooks has a market like this. The Packers could use him in a rotational sense alongside Clay Matthews and let him produce considering he hasn't recorded fewer than six sacks in a season since 2010.
From the sounds of it, though, this bidding war may be just heating up, with the Denver Broncos said to be lurking in the background.
Jake Rudock's Rumor-Mill Debut
A bidding war for a former sixth-round pick who hasn't attempted a regular-season pass defines what we called silly season above.
NFL fans haven't heard much from Rudock since the Detroit Lions drafted him out of Michigan in the 2016 draft. The Lions promoted him to the 53-man roster last November so a team like the Chicago Bears couldn't swipe him off the practice squad, but at the time, the Bears' need for any and all help under center didn't mean much of anything.
Apparently it did.
Rudock tossed two touchdowns in his preseason debut this year and has three total over as many games, looking solid in the process of nailing down the backup gig behind Matthew Stafford.
That is unless the Lions decide to capitalize on his booming trade value, noted by Rapoport:
The report doesn't mention any teams, though it isn't too hard to see why a handful would have an interest in a 24-year-old quarterback who has shown a solid arm and the mobility necessary to escape pockets.
Interested parties are likely doing a bit of simple math here considering the Lions drafted Miami's Brad Kaaya in the sixth round this year. If the team doesn't want to roster three quarterbacks and knows one won't slip on the practice squad, one of them should be available for trade, right?
This likely comes down to whether the price is right. Detroit knows the value of a quality backup quarterback, even if Stafford hasn't missed a game since 2010. But the Lions don't have a reason to cough up an understudy who might have the talent to go start elsewhere unless the price is quite high, hence guys like AJ McCarron haven't moved, either.
Rudock simply joins the pile of backups who could fetch a nice price if a team wants to go and get them.
Stats courtesy of NFL.com.