Clemens finished 2017 with 36 passing yards and an interception across eight passes and enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Clemens once again played sparingly for the Chargers, making only one meaningful appearance in 2017, a Week 10 mop-up performance against the Bills. The long-time backup has entered free agency in the past only to re-sign with the Chargers, but with the team trading for Cardale Jones in the preseason, there's a chance the 34-year-old may simply not have a roster spot available come fall.
Clemens will remain in a backup role for the Chargers' game Sunday against the Bills after starting quarterback Philip Rivers (concussion) received clearance from an independent neurologist Friday to play in the Week 11 matchup, Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Rivers is still listed as questionable on the Chargers' injury report, but that's just a formality at this point since he had remained in the concussion protocol at the time the report was released. Sunday will mark the 195th consecutive start of Rivers' career, with that remarkable durability limiting Clemens to a combined 10 pass attempts over his three-plus seasons with the Chargers.
The Chargers released Clemens on Saturday but plan to re-sign him soon, Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. While it initially seemed the team would move forward with Cardale Jones as the only quarterback behind Philip Rivers, it now appears Clemens will be brought back in short order, potentially even as the top backup. The Chargers presumably cut Clemens for short-term roster flexibility or cap purposes.
Clemens did not play in Saturday's preseason win over the Rams and could also be held out of the final contest against the 49ers, ESPN's Eric D. Williams reports. It's all in an effort to give coaches ample amount of opportunity to study Cardale Jones, who has been slow to grasp the playbook after joining the Chargers just prior to training camp. At least for now, it appears as if Clemens has a firm grasp on the backup role and should be the first man in if Philip Rivers were to succumb to an injury. However, if Jones continues to develop over the course of a season, don't be surprised to see the Chargers opt to further invest in the growth of their developmental QB next season, as opposed to the veteran career backup.
Clemens has agreed to a one-year contract with the Chargers, Michael Gehlken reported on Thursday. While the move doesn't guarantee Clemens will make the Chargers' final roster, he certainly appears to have the upper hand in any potential backup QB battle, having held the job in each of the last three seasons. As a result, the 33-year-old will act as an insurance policy should Philip Rivers go down with an injury.
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