Green Bay Packers

Eagles Promote Ed Marynowitz

After what has been nearly a month-long search for a new personnel executive to join the team’s front office, the Eagles have promoted a candidate who has been with the team all along. The Eagles have named assistant director of player personnel Ed Marynowitz the team’s vice president of player personnel, signing him to a new three-year contract, according to a press release. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk first reported (via Twitter) that an announcement was expected to come as early as today.

“Ed is someone who has really impressed me going back to my interview process with the Eagles two years ago,” head coach Chip Kelly said in a statement. “He’s very bright, detailed, organized and his vision was aligned with what we want to accomplish. I spoke with a lot of people outside of our organization over the past few weeks and in the end, Ed was the most impressive.”

The Eagles shook up their front office structure shortly after the regular season ended, parting ways with personnel exec Tom Gamble and giving Kelly the final say on the 53-man roster, the draft, and all personnel decisions. Former general manager Howie Roseman received an extension and a new title, though his involvement in football decisions was reduced. That left room for Kelly to bring on a new exec in a personnel role.

Still, Philadelphia seemed to have some trouble finding viable candidates for the job. Multiple candidates seemed uninterested or unwilling to leave their positions with other clubs to join the Eagles, since the Philadelphia role meant not having the final call on the draft or the roster. In some cases, that meant that it wouldn’t necessarily be a promotion.

Most recently, Packers director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst and Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz did not interview for the job, according to Florio — their teams either denied requests for permission or the candidates declined the opportunity. Chris Grier (Dolphins), Chris Polian (Jaguars), and Brian Gaine (Texans) were among the other Eagles’ targets throughout the process.

Although the Eagles spoke to several outside candidates and primarily targeted executives with more experience than the 30-year-old Marynowitz, the club sounds pleased to have him in his new role.

“I can’t tell you how well thought of Ed is in the scouting business,” Kelly said. “What many people in the football community told me matched exactly what I thought of him from Day One. When you work with him and meet with him regularly – which I have done over the last two years – you appreciate how smart and thoughtful he is.”

North Notes: Briggs, Bears, Taylor

Veteran linebacker Lance Briggs wants to continue playing for the Bears, but he’s not 100% sure that he’ll continue playing football. “It’d be nice,” Briggs said, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. “But as much as I don’t know, I’m excited no matter avenue that I go. If I get to play football, it’s going to be great. That’s priority No. 1. But if I don’t, there’s plenty of avenues for me afterwards. There’s plenty of things that I want to do.” Briggs also said that he’s happy about the arrival of new head coach John Fox while being very careful not to bash former coach Marc Trestman. More from the North divisions..

  • Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor was toying with retirement, but he tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that he’s training as if he’ll be playing in 2015 and he’d like to go another two or three more years. He’d have interest in following former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to a new team and he’d also be open to playing safety, if it means continuing his playing career.
  • Opinions are split on whether the Lions should give Ndamukong Suh a whopping payday, whether on a record-smashing long-term deal or via the super expensive franchise tag, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. “The talent speaks for itself,” O’Hara said. “I think he’s a phenomenal defensive lineman, very strong, very active. I think the big question, if I’m looking at it big picturewise and I’m running a team, (is) the amount of money that he’s going to command, can I afford it?
  • Browns cornerback Joe Haden wants people to stop slamming Josh Gordon and he hopes that the wide receiver remains with the team, as Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer writes. “JG is a good kid,” Haden, said. “It’s time for people to stop bashing Josh Gordon. Before they start talking about him, they’ve got to figure out what’s really going on.
  • The Browns chatted with Kevin O’Connell today about their quarterbacks coach vacancy and they scheduled an interview with ex-Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper for tomorrow, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). O’Connell worked with Johnny Manziel before he was drafted last year.
  • It sounds like changes could be on the way when it comes to the Packers‘ special teams coaching unit. “It’s important to evaluate,” said head coach Mike McCarthy, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “I obviously haven’t had that opportunity. So we’ll look at everything. We’ll look at every job description, every job responsibility, performance – mine included – and we’ll look to make changes.” All the assistant coaches, including embattled special-teams coordinator Shawn Slocum, were given this week off.

NFC Notes: Lions, Highsmith, Fewell

Throughout the course of last offseason and in the season, Lions GM Martin Mayhew made a plethora of moves to try and improve the team. Some worked and some didn’t and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com broke it all down. Mayhew hit on some, like wide receiver Golden Tate, who proved to be one of the best free agent pickups in the entire NFL. The same can’t be said for tight end Brandon Pettigrew, however, who was brought back on a deal with $8MM in guaranteed money and hardly used in the passing game. More from the NFC..

  • The Packers denied Washington‘s request to interview personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith, a league source tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Texans were blocked from hiring him a few years ago, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes.
  • Washington announced that they have hired former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell as their new defensive backs coach, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Fewell replaces Raheem Morris, who was plucked away by the Falcons earlier this week.
  • Brandon LaFell doesn’t understand why Panthers GM Dave Gettleman rebuilt the roster after a successful 2013, but he’s not dwelling on it, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. “They didn’t give me an explanation for why they did it. They didn’t owe me one,” LaFell said. “I appreciate those guys drafting me and giving me an opportunity to play ball. I love those guys and wish them the best.” LaFell got a three-year, $9MM offer from New England and Carolina chose not to match.
  • Panthers offensive assistant John Ramsdell is retiring, as Bryan Strickland of Panthers.com writes. Ramsdell has spent 19 years as an NFL coach and 19 more as a college coach.

NFC Notes: Packers, Bears, Cruz, Falcons

As 2015’s Super Bowl Media Day rolls on, let’s round up a few Tuesday notes from across the NFC….

  • Only four of 11 Packers players who had per-game roster bonuses in their contracts failed to collect all their money, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, breaking down the players who did and didn’t receive their bonuses.
  • The Bears announced today (via Twitter) that they’ve reached an agreement with Clint Hurtt to become their outside linebackers coach. The fact that the team is distinguishing between outside and inside linebackers coaches now suggests a transition to a 3-4 defense under new DC Vic Fangio.
  • Victor Cruz‘s $8.125MM cap number will be the second-highest on the Giants‘ books in 2015, prompting Dan Graziano of ESPN.com to explore whether the team will need to address Cruz’s contract this offseason.
  • A pair of Falcons assistant coaches recently interviewed for other jobs, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com, who tweets that Glenn Thomas talked to the Browns about their quarterbacks coach position, while Gerald Brown met with the Raiders about their running backs coach job.
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Mike Sando takes a detailed look at how the Seahawks built the team that’s looking for its second consecutive Super Bowl win this Sunday.
  • Seahawks defensive tackle Kevin Williams is happy with the choice he made in free agency last offseason, but considering he narrowed his options down to Seattle and New England, he admitted this week that he “couldn’t have gone wrong,” writes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
  • Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News expects the Cowboys to target a pass rusher with their first-round pick this April, or at least to nab a defender if there are no ideal pass-rushing fits at No. 27.

Minor Moves: Monday

Today’s minor moves..

  • The Packers announced that they have signed former Alabama punter Cody Mandell. Mandell, a 6-foot-2, 217-pound first-year player out of the University of Alabama, spent part of the 2014 offseason with the Cowboys.
  • The Chiefs and defensive end Vaughn Martin have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Martin, a former fourth-round pick who has played for the Chargers and Dolphins, inked a minimum salary deal with the Lions near the start of the free agent period, but was cut by the team in June.

East Notes: Fins, Clay, Pats, Ayers, Washington

The Dolphins would like to re-sign impending free agent tight end Charles Clay, and are preparing an offer with the intention to submit it to Clay’s representatives in the coming weeks, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Clay, who turns 26 in about three weeks, earned $1.431MM in base salary last season, and should be in for nice pay increase despite a somewhat disappointing campaign that saw him catch 58 passes for 589 yards and three touchdowns. I profiled Clay as an extension candidate before the season, and while the four-year, ~$21MM contract I projected at the time now seems a tad high, a $4MM AAV isn’t out of the question.

Let’s look at some more notes from the two East divisions:

  • In the same article, Jackson passes along some other Dolphins news, including Miami’s visit with defensive tackle prospect Danny Shelton, and league-wide interest in Dolphins executives Chris Grier and Adam Engroff.
  • The NFL bears significant responsibility in the DeflateGate scandal, argues Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Despite vowing to investigate the matter fully, the league hasn’t discovered much in the way of evidence or intent, writes Florio. Instead, the Patriots and the NFL as a whole are now being tarnished in what is the most important week in the league calendar.
  • Akeem Ayers doesn’t have any hard feelings towards the Titans regarding the trade that sent him to the Patriots, as the linebacker tells Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal. “They made a decision that they felt like they needed to make,” said Ayers. “…I just took it as motivation and especially being here on this team, I feel like they did me a favor, honestly…I came here and I did a good job here and we’re going to the Super Bowl.” New England acquired Ayers and a seventh-round pick for a 2015 sixth-rounder. A free agent at season’s end, the 25-year-old Ayers registered 20 tackles and four sacks in nine games with the Pats.
  • Washington would like to speak with Packers senior personnel executive Alonso Highsmith about its director of personnel position, but hasn’t heard back from Green Bay as of yet, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.

NFC Mailbags: Panthers, Suh, Rodgers, Giants

We checked out ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now switch focus to the NFC…

  • David Newton still believes the Panthers could re-sign Byron Bell, even following the offensive lineman’s subpar season. Even if the 26-year-old proves that he can’t cut it as a starter, the writer believes the former undrafted free agent could still contribute as a depth piece.
  • Michael C. Wright would choose a safety in the first round if he was in charge of the Bears. However, the writer notes that general manager Ryan Pace believes in selecting the best player available, regardless of position.
  • If Ndamukong Suh ultimately leaves Detroit, Michael Rothstein thinks the Lions have the flexibility to move to a 3-4 defensive scheme. If the team decides to stick with a 4-3, then Rothstein suggests the team could look to sign Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton as Suh’s replacement.
  • It’s not necessary for Aaron Rodgers to restructure his contract, writes Rob Demovsky. With more than $18MM in projected cap room, the Packers shouldn’t have an issue retaining free agents such as Randall Cobb.
  • Dan Graziano explores potential cap casualties for the Giants. The writer points to defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka as the most likely to be released, while linebacker Jon Beason and center J.D. Walton are also candidates.

Extra Points: NFLPA, Mayo, Van Pelt, Raiders

The NFL Players Association has formally filed a grievance against the league challenging the NFL’s new personal conduct policy, which was adopted in December despite the NFLPA’s objections, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The union contends that it didn’t have an opportunity to collectively bargain many key points of the new policy, arguing that the policy violates the CBA and that it was adopted “without the consent, and over the objections, of the NFLPA.”

While we wait to see what comes of the union’s grievance, let’s round up several items from across the NFL….

  • Injured Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has been prioritizing his rehabilitation after a season-ending knee injury, and fully intends to get back on the field in 2015, but he has also developed an interest in coaching during his time spent on injured reserve, writes Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can,” Mayo said. “If I do choose to go down that road, hopefully I can apply some of these principles that I’ve learned from coach [Bill] Belichick in my coaching career.”
  • While a previous report revealed the Packers turned down the Rams’ request to speak to Alex Van Pelt about their offensive coordinator job, St. Louis wasn’t the only team rebuffed by Green Bay. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Jaguars and Bears were also denied permission to interview Van Pelt.
  • The Raiders have officially confirmed a handful of new additions to Jack Del Rio’s staff, announcing in a press release that they’ve hired Todd Downing (QB coach), Marcus Robertson (DB coach), Sal Sunseri (LB coach), and Mike Tice (OL coach).
  • The Jets also announced several new assistants in addition to their new coordinators. According to the team, Mike Caldwell (assistant HC/ILB coach), Mark Collins (OLB coach), Joe Danna (DB/S coach), and Karl Dorrell (WR coach) are among the new arrivals.
  • Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey isn’t phased by the fact that 2015 could be a make-or-break season for him and head coach Joe Philbin, suggesting that he approaches every season as if it’s make-or-break, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • The Texans have made some front office changes, promoting Jon Carr to director of college scouting and hiring Matt Jansen to the new position of college scouting coordinator, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links).
  • We learned yesterday that Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett met with the Dolphins at the Senior Bowl, but Miami is far from the only team to interview Lockett. The wideout, who is generating plenty of buzz in Mobile, tells James Walker of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that he spoke to 28 NFL teams this week.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Cobb, Mathis

With cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House both eligible for free agency this offseason, the Packers must decide whether to retain one, neither, or both, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. For his part, House would like to see both he and Williams work out new deals with the team.

“In a perfect world, we both come back,” House said. “But there’s only two starting corners on each team. Tramon is well-deserving. I feel like my potential is pretty high. So we’ll see, we’ll see.”

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • A team source tells Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com that he can’t see Packers GM Ted Thompson letting wideout Randall Cobb get away in free agency. However, Cobb says that until he has signed on the dotted line, he “can’t be for certain on anything.”
  • Asked at the end of the 2014 season if he wanted to play one more season, cornerback Rashean Mathis suggested that he may have more than one year left in him, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press details. Although Mathis turns 35 before the 2015 season, he’s coming off a strong year, and would like to re-sign with the Lions, though he didn’t rule out the possibility of playing for another team.
  • Longtime Vikings nose tackle Kevin Williams is playing for the Seahawks now, looking for his first Super Bowl ring next Sunday, but when he eventually retires he wants to sign a one-day contract with Minnesota and go out as a Viking, as he tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Extra Points: Luck, Wilson, Ireland, Chudzinski

With Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson now eligible for extensions, there’s speculation that new high watermarks could be set for quarterback salaries and guarantees, but there’s also “major concern” among rival agents about negotiations for the two star signal-callers, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). As Cole explains, both players are represented by fairly inexperienced agents — Wilson is repped by Mark Rodgers, primarily a baseball agent, while Luck’s uncle William Wilson reps the Indianapolis star.

These two deals are expected to have a significant trickle-down effect on future contracts for players at every position, not just for other quarterbacks. Wilson and Luck already have such impressive resumés that they should be in line for guarantees in excess of $50MM+ on their next contracts, rather than anything close to the limited guaranteed money that players like Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton accepted in their recent extensions, so fellow agents are hoping that neither Luck’s camp nor Wilson’s camp settles for a modest deal, lowering the bar for future extensions.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • After Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported overnight (via Twitter) that former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland was expected to become the Saints’ college scouting director, general Mickey Loomis confirmed today to reporters that Ireland had indeed been hired to oversee the team’s college scouting process (Twitter links).
  • Having reported earlier that the Colts were denying Rob Chudzinski permission to speak to teams about offensive coordinator jobs, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds an important piece of clarification (via Twitter): Chudzinski’s contract is set to expire in a week, at which point he’s free to interview anywhere, meaning he could still be in play for a team like the Bears, 49ers, or Rams.
  • In addition to having their attempt to talk to Chudzinski rebuffed, the 49ers were denied permission to speak to Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph about their defensive coordinator opening, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Cincinnati also blocked the Broncos’ efforts to pursue Joseph for a DC job.
  • According to Jason Fitzgerald’s projections at Over the Cap, the Patriots, Chiefs, and Bengals appear likely to land third-round compensatory picks in this year’s draft for losing Aqib Talib, Branden Albert, and Michael Johnson – respectively – in free agency a year ago. Fitzgerald also forecasts rookie pool amounts by team for 2015, with the Buccaneers’ rookie cap projected to exceed $8MM.
  • While the Rams are often said to be “only” a quarterback away from contention, finding that QB isn’t exactly an easy task, writes Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. Wagoner passes along a number of quotes from Rams general manager Les Snead about the team’s quest to identify a long-term answer at the position.
  • Former agent Joel Corry of CBSSports.com takes a look at the upcoming offseasons for the league’s championship weekend losers, the Packers and Colts.