In a few hours, we will know which teams will be heading to San Francisco for Super Bowl 50. In the meantime, let’s dive into some news and notes from around the league:
- Although the story has largely fallen out of mainstream coverage, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that the NFL is still reviewing the HGH allegations surrounding Broncos QB Peyton Manning and that the matter is not yet resolved.
- Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that new 49ers head coach Chip Kelly has been very noncommittal in his comments regarding Colin Kaepernick, suggesting that Kelly is less excited about the prospect of having Kaepernick run his offense than one might think. It is especially strange that Kelly claimed he could not discuss how Kaepernick might fit into his offense because it was against NFL offseason rules, when in fact it is not against league rules to discuss a player who is under contract. Of course, Kelly’s comments could just be a reflection of his guarded, introverted personality, but the lack of enthusiasm is still somewhat surprising.
- The 49ers are still looking for a new defensive coordinator, and per Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via Twitter), the team is interested in former Browns DC Jim O’Neil. Former Browns head coach Mike Pettine has said he wants to take the 2016 season off.
- Panthers CB Josh Norman, an impending free agent, is set to cash in on his terrific 2015 campaign, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (article via Conor Orr of NFL.com) observes, Norman will likely seek a contract in the Richard Sherman/Patrick Peterson neighborhood (both of whom recently signed deals with more than $40MM in guarantees). The Panthers could, of course, put the franchise tag on Norman–at a value of $13-14MM–but Carolina should have around $20MM in cap space and does not have many other high priority free agents to worry about.
- Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Steelers must improve their secondary in the offseason, but the problem is that they have few internal options that they can reasonably rely upon. The team may be forced to open its checkbook, and Bouchette thinks it would be wise for the Steelers to re-sign Brandon Boykin. He also names Eric Weddle as an intriguing possibility.
- According to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, one of the reasons the Jaguars handed a one-year extension to head coach Gus Bradley was to avoid a situation like the one Chuck Pagano recently faced in Indianapolis. Pagano’s expiring contract, of course, created a season-long distraction that Jacksonville hopes to avoid.
- Jordan Raanan of NJ.com compared the Giants‘ roster to those of the four conference finalists, and in so doing, he discovered the biggest problem that the team faced in 2015 and may continue to face moving forward. Although the Giants do not have enough homegrown talent, and although they need to get more production from their first-round draft picks, the most significant concern the team faced relative to the league’s more successful franchises is that it did not get enough production from its highest-paid players. Big Blue got nothing, or next to nothing, from three of its highest-paid players–Victor Cruz, Will Beatty, and Jason Pierre-Paul–which will make for some interesting decisions in the offseason.