Here is the latest coming out of the Eastern divisions as the eight remaining teams begin full preparations for their divisional-round matchups.
- After Washington‘s wild-card loss to the Packers, Jason Hatcher will consider retirement, Mike Jones of the Washington Post tweets. The 33-year-old defensive end had a postgame conversation with GM Scot McCloughan, and Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com notes Washington may have to convince him to return next season. “I’ve been thinking lately about this being my last year, you know, retiring,” Hatcher told media. “One thing I’ve got to pray about. [McCloughan] said he wanted me around. I’m not going to hold them up on my decision. I’m going to make it pretty quick.” Hatcher just completed the second season of a four-year, $27.5MM contract. He’s set to occupy an $8.73MM cap number in 2016.
- Now a free agent, Alfred Morris was noncommittal about a Washington return, John Keim of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). “When I first came into the league, no matter what team I went to … I just wanted to do my whole career with the same team. That’s still my goal. I would love to return, but a lot goes into that. I haven’t thought about that,” Morris told media. Coming off by far his worst season as a pro, Morris enters free agency in a class with Matt Forte, Lamar Miller, Chris Ivory and probably Marshawn Lynch. A former sixth-round draft pick, Morris averaged a career-low 3.7 yards per carry and would likely not command a high salary despite being set for his age-27 season come training camp.
- Ryan Mathews recently underwent groin surgery, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter). First listed with the malady on the Eagles‘ injury report in Week 6, Mathews played 13 games this season. He finished with a career-best 5.0 yards per carry, although the 107 totes represented Mathews’ lowest number in a season in which he played at least 12 games.
- The Eagles’ new coaching search resembles safer, Andy Reid-type candidates than Chip Kelly-esque innovators, Les Bowen of Philly.com writes. Adam Gase did not receive an offer from the Eagles, and Doug Pederson, someone who Bowen doesn’t think would have captured the Eagles’ attention in 2013, entered the process as Jeffery Lurie‘s favorite among non-head coaches. Pederson reportedly interviewed with the Eagles for 4 1/2 hours from Kansas City.
- Cleared to play in the Patriots‘ sixth straight divisional playoff game, Julian Edelman will do so with a steel plate in his left shoe in an attempt to prevent re-fracturing his foot, WHDH’s Joe Amorosino reports (via WEEI.com). Edelman missed the Pats’ final seven regular-season games after breaking a bone in his foot Nov. 15.
- Gase’s innovative offensive methods notwithstanding, sources tell SI.com’s Don Banks the 37-year-old coach’s intellectual approach may struggle from a leadership perspective, considering the kind of year the Dolphins just had and the fact that the mild-mannered Joe Philbin didn’t exactly win over the team.