Earlier this week, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulled himself out of the race to become San Francisco’s head coach. It turns out he might be content to remain an assistant in New England until head coach Bill Belichick retires, at which point he would potentially take over, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). There are no indications the 64-year-old Belichick is pondering retirement, however, and Cole adds that McDaniels could leave the Pats after next season if either Tennessee or Detroit fires its head coach. McDaniels’ goal is to work with a general manager with “strong personnel skills,” per Cole, and he’s familiar with both Titans GM Jon Robinson and the Lions’ Bob Quinn. Those two were longtime members of New England’s front office before departing for their current jobs last offseason.
The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.
Here are this year’s carryover totals:
- Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
- Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
- San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
- Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
- Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
- Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
- Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
- Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
- Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
- Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
- Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
- Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
- Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
- Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
- New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
- New England Patriots: $5,292,335
- Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
- Houston Texans: $4,935,924
- Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
- Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
- Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
- Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
- Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
- Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
- Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
- New York Giants: $1,800,000
- Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
- Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
- New York Jets: $371,487
- Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
- Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693
According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.
If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.
Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:
Bengals: Russell Bodine, C
Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL
Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB
Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G
Cardinals: John Brown, WR
Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR
Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB
Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB
Giants: Devon Kennard, LB
Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Although the Lions were ousted in the first round of the playoffs, the club’s 9-7 season can largely be considered a success. Since the campaign ended, Detroit has announced that head coach Jim Caldwell will be retained, while the Lions will also bring back both coordinators — Jim Bob Cooter (offense) and Teryl Austin (defense) — despite each being linked to head coaching vacancies around the league.
Let’s take a quick look at the latest out of the Motor City:
- The Lions will aim to find talent through the free agent process, says general manager Bob Quinn, but the draft is still the primary way that Detroit will seek to procure players, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press details in a pair of articles. “I’m not opposed to free agency,” Quinn said. “I think you have to pick and choose your spots.” Armed with with roughly $41MM in cap space, the Lions will need to bolster a defense that dead last in DVOA in 2016 while also answering several questions on the offensive side of the ball.
- Offensive guard Larry Warford indicated that he’s likely to test free agency, and will likely be more valuable to other clubs than he is to the Lions, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. Detroit boasts Laken Tomlinson and Graham Glasgow as potential options on the interior offensive line, meaning the Lions will be reticent to offer Warford a deal commensurate with his market value. Warford will compete with fellow guards Kevin Zeitler and T.J. Lang in free agency this March.
- The Lions are unlikely to retain both Warford and free agent offensive tackle Riley Reiff, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. Reiff moved to the right side in 2016 following the first-round selection of fellow offensive tackle Taylor Decker, and graded as the league’s No. 48 tackle among 80 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. According to Rothstein, Reiff has given no indication as to whether he’s comfortable remaining at right tackle for the foreseeable future.
- In case you missed it, Detroit blocked quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan from taking at least one offensive coordinator interview this offseason.
- Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan is a “future coordinator to watch,” tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. The reporter adds that the organization has blocked Callahan from taking at least one interview with another team. Prior to his tenure in Detroit, Callahan spent six years with the Broncos.
- Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press believes the Lions need to add “playmakers” this offseason. However, coach Jim Caldwell said those flashy additions are not necessary. “I don’t think (we need one) because I just think that you find a lot of teams that have an abundance of what you call quote-unquote superstars and they function dysfunctionally as a team,” Caldwell said. “I think that we’re more interested in what kind of team that we build. That’s the thing that’s most important to me. It’s how we function as a team.”
- The decision to retain head coach Jim Caldwell was made before the Lions clinched a playoff berth, general manager Bob Quinn told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I really believe in his approach to managing the team, how he practices the team, how he maintains the health of the team,” Quinn said. “So, listen, winning nine games is good. It’s not good enough. But I felt really comfortable with the way things went this year. I’m looking forward to 2017 with Jim.”
- It sounds like Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin is leaning towards a return in 2017. “I haven’t sat down with my family yet, but there’s still a passion that runs in me for football,” he said (via Nate Atkins of MLive.com). Boldin, 36, caught 67 passes for 584 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns in 2016.
SUNDAY, 8:45pm: The Chargers will interview Austin on Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson reports (on Twitter).
SUNDAY, 8:05am: Now that the Lions have been eliminated from the playoffs, Austin will interview with the Rams and Chargers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). It is not yet clear when those interviews will take place.
TUESDAY, 5:36pm: Two teams with head coaching vacancies, the Rams and Chargers, have requested interviews with Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter links). Austin, who’s preparing for the Lions’ wild-card game against the Seahawks on Saturday, will likely meet with the Rams and Chargers at the end of this week, per Rapoport.
The Rams and Chargers are the first clubs this offseason to court Austin, who has been a popular head coaching candidate over the past couple years. The well-regarded 51-year-old interviewed with four teams last winter, but he ended up staying in Detroit for his third season atop its defense. The results weren’t particularly impressive, though, as the Lions’ defense finished 13th in scoring, 18th in yardage and dead last in DVOA.
Austin is already the 10th known candidate whom the Rams at least hope to interview, as PFR’s head coaching search tracker indicates. The Chargers, who could join the Rams in Los Angeles next season, have Austin, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub on their target list thus far.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.