5 Key NFL Stories: 12/3/17 – 12/10/17

Giants make changes at the topDespite reports that the Giants wouldn’t fire any of their decision-makers until the regular season concluded, Big Blue parted ways with both general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo last week. In turn, Eli Manning has been reinstated as the club’s starting quarterback, while defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been named interim head coach. Dave Gettleman, the former Panthers general manager who also worked in New York for years, is considered the front runner for the Giants’ GM post.

…and the Browns do, too. Hue Jackson has seemingly won the power struggle in Cleveland, as the Browns fired executive vice president Sashi Brown last week. Ownership acted quickly to install a new GM, as former Chiefs personnel executive John Dorsey was hired as the team’s general manager roughly 11 hours after Brown was fired. It’s unclear if Cleveland will immediately turn away from the analytics movement given Brown’s departure, but Paul DePodesta is staying put. Dorsey has moved quickly, as he’s already released albatross wideout Kenny Britt.Rob Gronkowski (vertical)

Suspensions galore. The NFL suspended Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for illegal hits in Week 13, while Bengals safety George Iloka saw his initial one-game ban overturned following an appeal. Gronkowski, of course, went after Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White after the whistle, while Smith-Schuster hit Bengals ‘backer Vontaze Burfict on a block. Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, meanwhile, was handed a team-imposed suspension after throwing an official’s flag into the stands last week.

Ravens lose CB Jimmy Smith. Midway through a season that registers as the best of his NFL career, Smith will be sidelined for the remainder of the year after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 13. Incidentally, Smith was also subsequently suspended four games for performance-enhancing drug use, but he’ll be able to serve that ban while on injured reserve. Smith’s injury will have wide-ranging implications not only on the field, but on Baltimore’s salary cap: the Ravens may have considered releasing fellow corner Brandon Carr this offseason, but such a move is now unlikely given Smith’s uncertainty.

Roger Goodell‘s extension is done. Goodell is officially locked up as the NFL’s commissioner through the 2024 campaign, as he agreed to a contract extension that could reportedly be worth as much as $200MM via incentives. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones opposed the deal and attempted to stop negotiations, although compensation committee chairman Arthur Blank noted “nearly unanimous consensus” on Goodell’s new pact.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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