5 Key Stories: 12/25/16 – 1/1/17

Upheaval in Buffalo… The Bills finally made official what was widely expected, firing head coach Rex Ryan in advance of the club’s final regular season game. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was promoted to interim head coach, and is considered a “virtual lock” to take over the open position on a full-time basis. Doug Whaley, meanwhile, will return as Buffalo’s general manager, and has seemingly already made a decision on quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who was benched for the team’s final game. By sitting Taylor down, the Bills protected themselves from tens of millions in Taylor money becoming guaranteed.Gary Kubiak (Vertical)

…and Denver… Due to health concerns, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak is expected to step down after the conclusion of the 2016 season. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke during a game as the Texans’ head coach, and was forced to miss a game earlier this year while dealing with migraine issues. Whether Kubiak intends to fully retire from the NFL is unclear, but Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is already being bandied about as a candidate for the expected opening.

…and San Francisco. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported last night that the 49ers are expected to fire both general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly as part of a complete overhaul of the team’s decision-making structure. Baalke, for his part, confirmed today that he was officially fired on Friday, and supports San Francisco’s reset. Kelly, meanwhile, has not yet corroborated reports of his termination.Doug Martin (vertical)

Doug Martin sidelined. The Buccaneers chose to bench RB Doug Martin again last week, and we quickly learned why — Martin has been suspended four games for violating the league’s PED policy. Martin had announced prior to the suspension that he was “stepping away” from Tampa Bay, and reports have indicated that he could be seeking help for Adderall usage. The ban will void the remaining guarantees in Martin’s contract, meaning the Bucs could easily part ways if they so choose.

The Browns are on the clock. By losing to the Steelers earlier today, the Browns have officially clinched the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. Cleveland will have its choice of quarterbacks — such as Mitch Trubisky or DeShone Kizer — or could use the pick to select a game-changing edge rusher in Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett. The Browns will also have a pick later in the first round thanks to a trade with the Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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