Combine Pressers: Broncos, Falcons, Panthers, Chiefs

As we’ve done several times over the last couple days, we’re rounding up noteworthy comments from head coaches and general managers from their sessions with the media at the combine in Indianapolis. Here are a few of this afternoon’s highlights, with all links going to Twitter:

Broncos general manager John Elway (via Lindsay Jones of USA Today):

  • Elway sidestepped a question about whether or not Peyton Manning‘s contract situation will play a role in the QB’s decision for 2015, but said that he believes the future Hall-of-Famer will return. “We’re hopeful Peyton comes back. We want him back. He has not given me a definitive answer,” Elway said.
  • There’s no deadline for Manning to make his decision, according to Elway. That includes March 9, when his 2015 salary becomes guaranteed.
  • Elway confirmed that the Broncos intend to use their franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas if the two sides don’t work out a longer-term agreement by March 2.
  • Terrance Knighton has recently voiced frustration with the slow process of contract negotiations, and Elway said today that he “can’t calm” that frustration. Per Elway, most deals for free-agents-to-be will be consummated right before the free agent period begins on March 10.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff (via Vaughn McClure of

  • The Falcons are excited about the No. 8 overall pick, and while they could go in any number of directions, adding a pass rusher figures to be their preference.
  • According to Dimitroff, the team has yet to make any decisions on its current players, including free-agents-to-be or potential cap casualties.
  • Dimitroff said today that his first order of business after the club hired Dan Quinn was to discuss the team’s new scheme and how players will fit into that scheme. Presumably, that discussion covered players currently on the roster as well as potential outside targets.
  • The general manager stressed that he’s “very excited” about working with Quinn, who will have control over the 53-man roster. The two men will work together, and if there’s a disagreement, the head coach will make the final call, per Dimitroff.
  • Dimitroff said there’s no doubt in his mind that Josh McDaniels, who interviewed with the Falcons, will be an NFL head coach again.

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera (via David Newton of

  • The Panthers were pretty quiet last year when it came to adding free agent receivers, but Rivera said today that GM Dave Gettleman will pull the trigger on a wideout in the right situation. The head coach also noted that the team needs to find a way to make plays over the top and to stop those plays on defense, which suggests Carolina will be targeting speedy wideouts and/or cornerbacks.
  • The Panthers aren’t in the market for a quarterback, per Rivera. While that’s not particularly surprising, given the presence of Cam Newton, it’s a little notable since the former first overall pick is entering the final year of his contract.
  • Left tackle Byron Bell, who is eligible for free agency, did some nice things for the Panthers in 2014, according to Rivera. However, the coach didn’t say whether or not the team would look to retain Bell for 2015 and beyond.

Chiefs general manager John Dorsey (via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star):

  • Asked about free-agent-to-be Justin Houston, Dorsey said discussions with the pass rusher’s agent are “ongoing.” The GM didn’t explicitly say that the Chiefs will franchise Houston if a long-term deal can’t be reached, but he did say he plans on having the NFL’s sack leader back in 2015, which strongly suggests that the tag is in play.
  • Kansas City can afford to keep backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who has a cap hit of $4.8MM in 2015, according to Dorsey. However, he didn’t go so far as to say Daniel will return.
  • Third-string quarterback Tyler Bray also remains in the Chiefs’ plans for now, per Dorsey.
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