Louis Riddick Is Candidate For Chiefs GM

ESPN commentator and former NFL executive Louis Riddick is a candidate for the Chiefs general manager position despite his denial on Sunday, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Although Kansas City didn’t contact Riddick himself — meaning his denial was technically accurate — a source tells Florio the club has indeed reached out to Riddick’s representation.

[RELATED: Chiefs GM Search Tracker]

Several reasons may have lead Riddick to issue his public denial, Florio speculates. For one, Riddick may not communicated the Chiefs’ interest to his employers at ESPN, which could potentially complicate matters. Second, ESPN’s reporters may have been disappointed they didn’t land the Riddick news given that he’s currently employed at the network (Ian Rapoport of NFL.com initially reported Kansas City’s interest in Riddick).

A candidate for the 49ers’ GM job earlier this year, Riddick has worked at ESPN for nearly four years. Prior to becoming an analyst, Riddick served in the Redskins and Eagles personnel departments. The 48-year-old played for the 49ers, Falcons, and Browns during his NFL career.

Riddick is the fifth candidate to be linked to the Chiefs vacancy, joining incumbent co-directors of player personnel Mike Borgonzi and Brett Veach, Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden, and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer.

NFC North Rumors: Vikings, Bears, Packers

Vikings wideout Michael Floyd will only receive a one-day jail sentence for violating the terms of his probation, and that fact alone is considered a “huge win,” a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Floyd will also serve the remaining five days of his house arrest, but as Florio writes, Floyd could have conceivably forced to spend more time in jail, either on a revamped or altogether new sentence. The 27-year-old will begin his punishment this evening, meaning he’ll be ready for action by the time training camp rolls around. In a statement, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman indicated the club will continue to support Floyd, who is still expected to be hit with a league-imposed suspension.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Given that veteran tight end Zach Miller only has one year left on his contract, the Bears could potentially release him this summer in favor of the younger Daniel Brown, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune speculates. Miller, 32, reached career-highs in receptions and yards a season ago despite missing six games with injury. He’s still recovering from the foot ailment that cost him those contests, and if Chicago is worried about his ability to remain healthy, it could conceivably cut bait, saving north of $1.8MM in the process. Free agent signee Dion Sims and second-round pick Adam Shaheen are Bears roster locks, meaning Miller, Brown, MyCole Pruitt, and Ben Braunecker could be competing for one spot.
  • The Packers had been working on a deal for Lance Kendricks even while talking with other tight ends this spring, and were going to sign Kendricks regardless of whether they agreed to terms with Martellus Bennett or Jared Cook, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Bennett was the Packers’ ultimate choice, of course, and finding two tight ends was an offseason goal for head coach Mike McCarthy, who considers TE an exceedingly valuable position in the vein of quarterback or edge rusher.
  • In case you missed it, Vikings assistant general manager George Paton declined to be interviewed for the Chiefs’ GM vacancy, citing a “variety of reasons.” Paton was also in consideration for the GM positions in Indianapolis and San Francisco earlier this year.

Falcons Owner: Devonta Freeman Extension Coming Soon

Extension talks between the Falcons and running back Devonta Freeman have seemingly progressed smoothly, and given that Atlanta reportedly believes a new Freeman deal could be in place by training camp, it’s perhaps unsurprising that franchise owner Arthur Blank became the latest member of the club’s management to express confidence a long-term pact will be completed.Devonta Freeman (vertical)

“I know that [general manager] Thomas [Dimitroff] is working hard with him and his agent (Kristin Campbell),” Blank said on 92.9 The Game (link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). “I feel very confident that we’ll be able to work out something with him for a long-term solution, fairly soon I think. It’s just a matter of timing.

You can’t do all these big deals all at once; not even for financial reasons but they take time. … The relationship we have with the player is critical. It was with Desmond [Trufant]. It will definitely be that way with Devonta. It will be that way in the future with any of our other players as they come up.”

Negotiations between Freeman and Atlanta have seemingly been enveloped by cooperation on both sides, as the only comment from either party that was even mildly rancorous — Freeman’s notion that he’d be seeking “elite money” — has since been walked back. Freeman has indicated that he won’t request a trade, won’t hold out, and is willing to wait until next spring for talks to resume, while Dimitroff has suggested a Freeman extension is an important item on the Falcons’ itinerary.

Based on his production, Freeman should be able to target a contract in the $7-8MM per year range, akin to that of LeSean McCoy or Doug Martin. Freeman, 25, has earned Pro Bowl nods in each of the past two seasons, and averaged 1,068 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns during that span. He’s also been highly effective in the passing game, where he averaged 64 receptions and 520 yards from 2015-16.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Details On Jeremy Maclin’s Ravens Contract

When Jeremy Maclin‘s two-year, $11MM contract with the Ravens was first announced, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports indicated the deal didn’t contain much “funny money,” suggesting the accord was a fairly straightforward pact. While that’s true, the structure of the contract will still allow Baltimore to escape the deal after the 2017 campaign with little dead money accelerating onto its cap.Jeremy Maclin (vertical)

Maclin received a $5MM signing bonus, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, meaning $2.5MM will be prorate onto the Ravens’ salary cap in both 2017 and 2018. For the upcoming season, Maclin’s base salary will be only $1MM, meaning he’ll take home $6MM in year one of his new contract. In 2018, however, Maclin’s salary will increase to $4MM, $2MM of which is guaranteed for injury, per Hensley. Additionally, Baltimore holds a $1MM roster bonus on Maclin that must be exercised by the third day of the 2018 league year.

In sum, Maclin’s cap charges will be $3.5MM and $7.5MM over the next two seasons. If the 29-year-old struggles again in 2018 as he did with the Chiefs in 2016, the Ravens could move on relatively easily. Assuming he’s healthy, Baltimore could cut ties after the 2017 season with only $2.5MM in dead accelerating onto its cap (against a savings of $5MM).

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Saints May Try To Recoup Portion Of Nick Fairley’s Contract

The Saints have begun to examine ways to recoup a portion of the money already paid to defensive tackle Nick Fairley after placing him on the non-football injury list earlier today, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Doctors ruled a heart condition won’t allow Fairley to play in 2017.Nick Fairley

The NFI allows a club to withhold a player’s salary, and though most teams opt not to use such a punishment, clubs certainly hold that right. In many cases, such as the 2016 standoff between Desmond Bryant and the Browns, the two sides will negotiate a lower salary in lieu of a complete recoup.

While the Saints could try to work out a similar arrangement with Fairley, the more pressing matter between the two parties is Fairley’s signing bonus. Fairley received an $8MM bonus as part of a $9MM overall guarantee, and that bonus has likely already been paid. It’s unclear if New Orleans will be able to go after some or all of that money, but Katzenstein reports it’s “premature to speculate” about exactly what course of action the Saints may take.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs GM Search Tracker

The Chiefs surprised everyone last week by firing GM John Dorsey. The timing of the move was puzzling, to say the least, since Dorsey already called the shots during the important stages of free agency and the draft.

Coach Andy Reid, who finalized a multi-year extension just minutes before the Dorsey news was announced, may or may not have played a role in the team’s GM change. And although the team press release indicated that the parting of ways was mutual, the call was actually made unilaterally by owner Clark Hunt. Hunt apparently grew tired of Dorsey’s easy-going demeanor and lack of internal communication, particularly since that did not jibe with the way Reid conducts himself.

The Chiefs will be looking at both internal and external candidates to fill the vacancy. Here’s an up-to-date list of the names involved in the search:

Vikings’ Michael Floyd Gets One Day In Jail

Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd was sentenced to one day in jail for his positive alcohol tests during probation (Twitter link via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com). Floyd’s one-day sentence will begin tonight in Arizona, after which he’ll complete his five remaining days of house arrest (presumably also in Arizona), per Weinfuss.Michael Floyd (vertical)

Arizona prosecutors were gunning for Floyd to serve significant jail time, so today’s news is a big win for the player as well as the Vikings. Floyd, as you probably know by now, argued that his positive tests were the result of drinking kombucha tea. For what it’s worth, the Vikings supported Floyd’s excuse and didn’t use his probation violation as an opportunity to bail on the contract.

The Vikings have Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Jarius Wright, and Laquon Treadwell as their top receivers, but Floyd is hoping to make the cut as the WR5 on Minnesota’s depth chart. The one-time Arizona WR2 faces competition from Isaac Fruechte and late draft picks Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley for a roster spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Nick Fairley Won’t Play In 2017

Nick Fairley‘s season has ended before it could even start. The Saints announced that the defensive tackle has been placed on the non-football injury list for the season due to his heart condition. He has been ruled out for 2017 and, unfortunately, he might not be able to play football again, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. Nick Fairley (Vertical)

Fairley, 29, consulted with at least three doctors before reaching the conclusion that he could not play this year. He signed a four-year, $28MM deal to stay in New Orleans in March, but the Saints will now have to figure out a different plan at nose tackle. The team reportedly plans to use Tyeler Davison, a 2015 fifth-rounder, in the middle, though he is currently recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Last year’s fourth-round pick David Onyemata could be called upon if Davison suffers a setback.

Beyond Davison and Onyemata, it stands to reason that the Saints could explore external options. PFR’s Dallas Robinson recently ran down some of the best available interior defensive linemen, but not all of those names are fits for the Saints’ 4-3 scheme.

Fairley started 16 games and posted 6.5 sacks during his first season with the Saints, grading out as the league’s 34th best interior defender among 127 qualifiers, according to Pro Football Focus. Per the terms of his deal, Fairley has already cashed in on $9MM in guarantees, including an $8MM signing bonus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Drug Charges Against Matt Elam Dropped

Former Ravens safety Matt Elam has been cleared of drug charges stemming from his February arrest, according to ESPN.com. After also recently being cleared of theft and battery charges, Elam is now free of all the criminal charges that were hanging over him this offseason. Matt Elam (vertical)

[RELATED: Theft, Battery Charges Against Elam Also Dropped]

Police said that Elam had 126 grams of marijuana and three grams of oxycodone in his possession when he was arrested in Miami this winter. He was charged for possessing upwards of 20 grams of cannabis, possession of cannabis with the intent to sell/deliver, and possession of a controlled substance. Now, he’s off the hook for each of those.

Legally speaking, Elam is in the clear, but NFL teams will be thinking long and hard before getting into business with the safety. Even before the two arrests, the former first round pick didn’t do much for the Ravens. Elam struggled in his first two NFL campaigns and he missed the entire 2015 campaign thanks to a biceps tear in training camp. After losing much of last year to a knee injury, Elam didn’t do much in his nine games on the field.

It also seems likely that Elam will face discipline for the league office for his missteps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Prosecutors Want Jail Time For Michael Floyd

Michael Floyd says that kombucha tea is to blame for his positive alcohol tests during house arrest, but that excuse doesn’t fly with Arizona prosecutors. In Scottsdale, prosecutors say they will ask a judge to hit the Vikings wide receiver with jail time for violating the terms of his probation. Michael Floyd (vertical)

[RELATED: Vikings Support Michael Floyd’s Claim]

It appears he’s in violation and he should be ordered to serve the rest of his jail time,” city prosecutor Caron Close told Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press on Monday. “The deal he made really gave him special considerations by letting him transfer out of state to continue his career.”

Floyd served 24 days of a 120-day jail sentence after his February conviction for a DUI. He was allowed to serve out the remainder of the sentence from home, but prosecutors say they are miffed after Floyd violated the terms of his arrangement. The Vikings are supporting Floyd and backing up the fermented tea story, but it remains to be seen whether CEO Kevin Warren‘s letter to the judge will help Floyd’s case.

Floyd‘s one-year deal with the Vikings doesn’t contain any guaranteed money, so the Vikings won’t be on the hook for any portion of the deal if they want to bail. So far, however, they’re standing beside him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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