Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC Notes: Glennon, Rams, Eagles, Fewell

Assuming the Buccaneers intend to draft a quarterback in April with the first overall pick, that should make Mike Glennon expendable, and this spring could be an ideal time to move him in a trade, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. As Cummings points out, the free agent market for QBs is weak, and there are few viable rookie options besides Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. For teams looking to add a potential starting quarterback, Glennon may actually be one of the best options available, and should only cost a mid-round pick.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has a second interview lined up with the Rams for their offensive coordinator position this week, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Per La Canfora, the Bills would like to bring back Hackett, who is also drawing interest from Washington and the Jaguars as a potential quarterbacks coach.
  • In addition to considering Chris Polian for their front office opening, the Eagles have Dolphins scout Chris Grier and internal candidate Ed Marynowitz at or near the top of their list of targets, reports Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. One source tells Mosher that he believes Grier is coming in to interview for a second time with Chip Kelly.
  • Ex-Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has an offer from the 49ers to become their defensive backs coach, says John Keim of ESPN.com (via Twitter). However, before he makes a decision on that offer, Fewell is speaking to Washington about a similar role on Jay Gruden‘s staff, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
  • CFL receiver Duron Carter is expected to make a decision on his NFL team this week, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities, who tweets that the Vikings and a couple other teams remain well-positioned — one of those other suitors is certainly the Colts, who were reported on the weekend to be the frontrunners. Carter can’t officially sign an NFL contract until February 10 unless the Montreal Alouettes release him from his CFL deal.
  • Speaking to reporters in Arizona, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said it was “very tough” to pass up a free agent offer last year from the Bears, who offered him “way more money.” Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the quotes and the details.
  • Locking up linebacker Lavonte David to a long-term deal, perhaps in the neighborhood of $7MM annually, should be a priority for the Buccaneers this season, writes Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

Extra Points: Luck, Chiefs, Mariota

Let’s take a look at some interesting notes as we wrap up this Pro Bowl Sunday:

  • Reports have suggested that the Colts will make their star quarterback Andrew Luck the highest-paid player in the NFL, but Luck hasn’t had a chance to worry about his contract as of yet, writes Stephen Holder of IndyStar.com“There’s nothing there right now,” Luck said. “I didn’t think about it all during the season and it’s only been a few days since it ended. I haven’t thought about it. I will have conversations with my agent just because you have to prepare, but I’m not sure where that report came from.”
  • The Chiefs will need to address a number of weaknesses this offseason if they have any hope of getting back to the playoffs in 2015. Their top priorities will be across the offensive line and at wide receiver. Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star highlights seven potential free agents that could come in and have an immediate impact. He chooses four offensive lineman the team could target, as well as receivers Randall Cobb and Jeremy Maclin to end the infamous “consecutive weeks without a touchdown to a wide receiver” streak.
  • The speculation on whether Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston will be the first quarterback selected in the 2015 NFL draft will undoubtedly dominate that part of the offseason, but Chris Mortensen of ESPN painted a picture that had the Buccaneers taking Mariota first overall, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Mortenson connected the dots between Mariota and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, under whom Mark Helfrich began his career in offensive coaching. He also referenced Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian’s history running the spread offense.
  • ESPN put together an evaluation of the rosters of all 30 NFL teams that missed the Super Bowl this year, with the goal of finding out how far away their rosters are from realistic Super Bowl contention. Using Pro Football Focus player grades for the 2014 season, the list ranks every team based on how many above average players they need to add (or develop) before having enough to field a team strong enough to win its conference. ESPN’s report places the Cowboys as the closest to the Super Bowl, and place the Jaguars furthest away.

Sunday Roundup: Morris, Harman, Graham

Let’s take a look at some links from around the league as the Seahawks and Patriots prepare to head off to Arizona:

  • We learned earlier today that the Falcons, who will name Dan Quinn as their next head coach on February 2, will also hire Washington defensive backs coach Raheem Morris for an assistant-defensive coordinator hybrid position. NBC4’s Dianna Marie Russini tweets that Morris will not be the team’s defensive coordinator and that he will serve as an assistant of some kind.
  • Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com adds that Wade Harman, the Falcons’ assistant offensive line coach in 2014, will be named as the team’s next tight ends coach. Harman served as the Ravens‘ tight ends coach for 15 years before coming to Atlanta in 2014.
  • Washington has 12 players eligible for unrestricted free agency, and Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com offers his thoughts as to which of those players the team should re-sign.
  • LeGarrette Blount has fallen out of favor with both collegiate and professional organizations in his football career, but Adam Kurkjian of the Boston Herald writes that Blount’s second stint with the Patriots has proven that his true home is in New England.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe wonders if the Buccaneers’ hiring of Mike Bajakian as their quarterbacks coach signals that they have already decided to draft Marcus Mariota with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Volin points out that Bajakian’s spread-option attack is much better suited to Mariota’s skillset than Jameis Winston‘s.
  • Marc Sessler of NFL.com writes that Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will use tonight’s Pro Bowl as a gauge to determine whether he should undergo offseason shoulder surgery.
  • Mike Klis of the Denver Post says the Broncos have reached a crossroads, and he believes the team will have more questions with Peyton Manning than without.
  • Surprise Pro Bowler Justin Forsett reaffirmed this week that he wants to remain with the Ravens, writes Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. The journeyman veteran is tired of bouncing around the league and would like to establish a long-term relationship with the team that gave him the best chance to finally enjoy a breakout season.

Coach Updates: Eagles, Raiders, Bucs, Fewell

We’ve already seen one club make a defensive coordinator hire today, as the 49ers promoted Eric Mangini from tight ends coach to DC. Let’s take a look at some position coach hires and news from around the league…

  • The Eagles are expected to add Boston College offensive coordinator Ryan Day as their quarterbacks coach, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). Day, who’s been at BC for nine years, will replace Bill Musgrave, who left to take the Raiders’ OC position. Day has a history with Eagles HC Chip Kelly, as Day played under and coached with Kelly at New Hampshire.
  • The Raiders have also found a new QB coach, as they are set to hire Bills quarterbacks coach Todd Downing, per Caplan (on Twitter). Downing also interviewed for roles with the Browns and Buccaneers, according to Caplan.
  • Not to be outdone, the Buccaneers have become the third team to hire a new QBs coach, as they’ve brought in Mike Bajakian to fill their vacancy, reports Roy Cummings of the Tampa Bay Tribune (Twitter link). Bajakian, previously the offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee, worked under Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith with the Bears. The Bucs have also added ex-Falcons assistant Andrew Weidinger as an offensive quality control coach, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.
  • Ex-Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has an interview lined up with the 49ers, according to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 (via Twitter). San Francisco just hired Mangini, so Fewell is presumably a candidate for the Niners’ DB coach job, as Cam Inman of the Mercury News tweets.
  • Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com expects (Twitter link) that Falcons assistant offensive line coach Wade Harman will remain on staff as the tight ends coach; as McClure notes, Harman held that same role in Baltimore from 1998-2013.
  • Former 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell has accepted the same position with the Bears, but as Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes, Donatell might have missed out on other opportunities in the past. In each of the last two offseasons, San Francisco blocked Donatell from accepting interview requests from the Buccaneers and the Saints, per Maiocco.

South Notes: Saints, Wayne, Buccaneers

Years ago, Saints owner Tom Benson designated granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc as his handpicked successor. Tonight, he told Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune that he will instead transfer ownership of the city’s two major pro sports franchises (Saints and the NBA’s Pelicans) to his wife, Gayle, when he dies. As for LeBlanc, her offices at the teams’ Metairie headquarters recently have been vacated and her company-issued Mercedes-Benz and cell phone have been seized. More from the South divisions..

  • Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne still isn’t sure if he’ll return for another season as Zak Keefer of the Indy Star writes. “Once I hit Nashville, I’ll figure out the rest,” the wide receiver said. “I’ll make my outline and go from there. I don’t have a plan. I’ve never had one. I just gotta make a couple phone calls, say a couple of prayers and see what route the good Lord sends me.” While it’s uncertain whether the Colts want the aging wideout back, Wayne reiterated on several occasions late in the season that he can’t imagine himself suiting up for any other team.
  • The Saints are just two hours from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, but no member of the team’s coaching staff is in attendance to scout potential draft prospects, writes Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune. “He has his hands full in New Orleans,” Loomis said of head coach Sean Payton. “It’s just the normal activity that you would do,” Loomis said. “Sean felt like the staff would be better served to stay in New Orleans and work on those aspects as opposed to being here.”
  • Heavy-hitting linebacker Denzel Perryman could be a target for the Buccaneers in this year’s draft, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The University of Miami standout, who is just shy of 5’11”, could potentially be in the mix for Tampa Bay at No. 34. Perryman is often knocked for his pass coverage skllls, but he says he’s determined to show off his improvement in that area.

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.

NFC South Notes: Colston, Bucs, Falcons

A source close to Saints wide receiver Marques Colston tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) that the veteran expects the team to ask him to take a pay cut. Colston is set to make $6.9MM in base salary, but he would be open to a modest cut in order to stay in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that Colston hasn’t been approached by anyone from the Saints with a request to take a pay cut, nor has he expressed a willingness to do that. Last year, Colston hauled in 59 catches for 902 yards and five scores. More out of the NFC South..

  • The Buccaneers will face a $7MM decision on defensive end Michael Johnson this winter, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains. Per Florio, the Bucs are already on the hook for $7MM in guaranteed money for Johnson whether or not they cut him, but another $7MM will become guaranteed if he’s on the roster past the third day of the 2015 league year.
  • The Falcons like Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. However, Pauline cautions that if the team does in fact hire Dan Quinn, Ray’s hand and arm measurements could become crucial, since Quinn is “a stickler for arm length.”
  • Longtime Saints college scouting director Rick Reiprish says he has been let go, as Triplett tweets. Reiprish says he was surprised by the news, which was delivered to him by GM Mickey Loomis.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Coach/GM Notes: Gase, 49ers, Eagles

Following his nine seasons as John Elway‘s backup, Gary Kubiak bounced around a bit when he entered the coaching profession. He started as the running backs coach at Texas A&M before spending a year with the 49ers as the quarterbacks coach. Kubiak then spent more than ten seasons with the Broncos before he was hired as the Texans head coach. Last season, the 53-year-old was the Ravens offensive coordinator.

As a result, Kubiak is hoping to have a lengthy tenure in Denver (via Mike Klis of The Denver Post):

“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the work. It’s great to be home again.

“Hopefully it works out so this is the last coaching job I have in my career.”

Here are some more assorted coach and front office notes from around the league:

Coaching:

  • Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase will interview with the Ravens this evening, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Ironically, Gase’s meeting would be for the position previously held by the current Broncos head coach.
  • The 49ers have requested permission to interview Colts special assistant Rob Chudzinski to become the team’s offensive coordinator, tweets Rapoport. We learned earlier today that the Bears had also requested permission.
  • The Eagles have hired former Broncos defensive backs coach Cory Undlin for the same role, the team announced. The team also promoted assistant Justin Peelle to tight ends coach.
  • Meanwhile, former Eagles defensive backs coach John Lovett and former tight ends coach Ted Williams will stay with the organization in the pro scouting department, according to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News (via Twitter).

Front office:

  • The Buccaneers have denied the Eagles the opportunity to interview director of player personnel Jon Robinson for the open general manager vacancy, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. While the Philadelphia job may have the GM title, Chip Kelly will have final say over roster and personnel decisions, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a promotion for an exec who already holds a director of player personnel title.
  • The Eagles will have an opportunity to interview candidates from the front offices of both the Patriots and Seahawks this week, reports Jeff McClain of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). However, the team will still need organizational permission to reach out to candidates.

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Bucs, Bears, Fangio, Washington

The Buccaneers have been willing spenders in free agency in recent years, but those dollars have not equated to wins. General manager Jason Licht has vowed that this experience only confirms that the best way to build a team is through the draft, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

“We went out and got a lot of pieces and even though there was a lot of money going out the door and equal to the money coming in,’’ Licht said. “Nonetheless, we spent a lot of money on free agents and some didn’t work out and it was very disappointing. It’s further proof that free agency is not the safest way to build your team. We’re not hiding from the mistakes.’’

This year, the Bucs will have the opportunity to start drafting for the future, armed with the number one overall selection. Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Bears asked the Titans for permission to interview Mike Mularkey for their offensive coordinator vacancy, but were turned down, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Tennessee previously rebuffed the Buccaneers when they wanted to talk to Mularkey about the OC job in Tampa.
  • Vic Fangio‘s interview with Washington is taking place tonight, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, adding that the club has “very serious intent.” The former 49ers defensive coordinator looks like Washington’s top choice for the same position in D.C.
  • The Vikings want to get younger as the 2015 season nears, but that approach to roster-building shouldn’t cost linebacker Chad Greenway his spot on the team, writes Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune.
  • While running backs have been devalued in modern NFL offenses, DeMarco Murray is the exception, according to Tim Cowlishaw of DallasNews.com, who thinks the Cowboys need to re-sign him.

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.

Coach Notes: Bucs, Bears, Marrone, Coyle

The Buccaneers have parted ways with quarterbacks coach and interim offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Arroyo stepped in to run Tampa Bay’s offense during the 2014 season during Jeff Tedford‘s absence, but hadn’t been mentioned as a candidate to step into the role permanently since the team officially let Tedford go at season’s end.

Let’s round up a few more afternoon news items and rumors on the coaching front….

  • One coach the Buccaneers tried to interview for their OC opening was Mike Mularkey of the Titans, but Tennessee turned them down. John Fox and the Bears are expected to seek permission to speak to Mularkey about the offensive coordinator position in Chicago, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter), so we’ll see if the Titans say no to Fox as well.
  • Following Teryl Austin‘s lead, Doug Marrone has canceled his head coaching interview with the Broncos, which had been scheduled for Saturday, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Marrone will wait to see what happens with Gary Kubiak, who is set to talk to Denver on Sunday, and is viewed as the frontrunner for the position.
  • Despite some initial uncertainty at the end of the regular season, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle will remain with the Dolphins for the 2015 campaign under head coach Joe Philbin, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • Current and former Falcons coaches are among Jack Del Rio‘s targets for the Raiders, according to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com and Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 in Washington (Twitter links). Williamson continues to hear that Del Rio has interest in Mike Tice, but Atlanta won’t give the Raiders permission to interview the offensive line coach. Per Russini, Del Rio is trying to hire Mike Smith as his defensive coordinator, but it most likely won’t happen.
  • Russini (Twitter link) is hearing that Mike Shanahan may be in play for the 49ers‘ offensive coordinator job under Jim Tomsula.
  • Former Bills offensive coordinator Nate Hackett is interviewing with the Jaguars today for the team’s OC opening, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that at least two other clubs are also interested in Hackett.
  • We can also add the Jaguars to the list of teams looking to interview Adam Gase for their offensive coordinator opening, tweets Schefter. The Falcons and Rams want to speak to Gase about an OC role as well.
  • If Teryl Austin lands the Falcons‘ head coaching job, Packers safeties coach Darren Perry looks like a candidate to become his defensive coordinator, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).