Gronk to make a retirement decision soon. Fresh off winning Super Bowl LIII, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t make everyone wait on his NFL fate. The four-time All-Pro says he’ll make a decision on his possible retirement within the next “week or two.” Gronkowski, of course, reportedly mulled retirement at various points during the 2018 offseason, and reportedly threatened to hang up his cleats after nearly being traded to the Lions last year. He didn’t pass the eye test this past year, appearing slow while posting his worst full-season production since his rookie campaign. Gronk is scheduled to earn a $10MM base salary in 2019, the final year of his contract.
Official hires made in Miami…The Dolphins formally announced their hiring of former Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores as head coach, bringing to South Beach the man who helped craft New England’s Super Bowl game plan. He’s bringing in ex-Patriots coach Chad O’Shea as offensive coordinator, while former Packers linebackers coach Patrick Graham is his DC. Longtime NFL coach Jim Caldwell will come aboard as assistant head coach/QBs coach, while former Packers DC Dom Capers is reportedly in contention to join the staff, as well.
…and in Cincinnati. Zac Taylor is officially the Bengals’ new head coach after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant for the Rams. While Taylor has made some notable hires on the offensive side of the ball, including former Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan as offensive coordinator, he’s had trouble landing a defensive play-caller. Experienced options such as Capers, Jack Del Rio, and Dennis Allen have rebuffed overtures, and the only coach with an interview lined up to this point is Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant. Cincinnati is casting a wide net, however, and is seeking to arrange meetings with several collegiate DCs.
Eagles, Nick Foles begin free agent process. Nothing is official yet, but the Eagles have reportedly made the decision to exercise Foles’ $20MM option for 2019. Foles, in turn, has reportedly decided to opt out of that contract by paying Philadelphia $2MM. The Eagles, though, plan to franchise tag Foles with the intention of trading him elsewhere. Although some reports have indicated Philadelphia could be violating the collective bargaining agreement by tagging Foles without the purpose of negotiating in good faith, that rule is unlikely to be enforced.
Falcons began making cuts. Atlanta has historically been gracious to its cut candidates, releasing veteran players well in advance of the free agent period in order to give them the best opportunity to land elsewhere. This year has been no different, as Atlanta parted ways with kicker Matt Bryant, cornerback Robert Alford, and edge defender Brooks Reed during the first week of February. Alford and Reed have already landed new deals (both with the Cardinals), while Bryant should find a new home in short order.
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