Month: January 2022

Texans Giving Josh McCown Second HC Interview

On the Texans’ HC radar for a second straight offseason, Josh McCown is now the team’s first known finalist for the position. The longtime quarterback is in Houston going through a second interview, according to Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

While Brian Flores emerged as the early favorite for this job, McCown has gained considerable momentum. The former Texans reserve quarterback is now all in on moving into the coaching ranks. He has yet to hold a full-time NFL coaching role.

The Texans met with McCown last week about their HC job, and the Jaguars soon spoke with the near-20-year veteran QB as well. This would be an outside-the-box hire, given McCown’s experience, but it remains firmly in play for the rebuilding franchise.

Cowboys Sign Dan Quinn To Multi-Year Extension

Dan Quinn is staying put. On Friday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan that he’s signed his defensive coordinator to an extension that will keep him in place “for years to come,” (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic). 

[RELATED: Cowboys To Keep HC Mike McCarthy]

Quinn was up for head coaching jobs with the Bears, Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins, and Giants. It’s not clear if he received any offers, though Jones personally believes that he did (Twitter link). It’s likely that Quinn will be contacted in future cycles and one has to imagine that he’ll be willing to listen. But, for now, he’ll remain as the Cowboys’ DC.

Jones also “believes” that offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will return to Cowboys in 2022 (Twitter link via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News), though he has another interview coming up with the Dolphins. Both coordinators, in theory, could be internal HC candidates at some point down the line, especially given the rumors surrounding Mike McCarthy‘s status.

The Cowboys will stick with McCarthy for another year, though Jones didn’t exactly rush to give his vote of confidence. “There was never an issue with Mike being the head coach,” JJ said during the interview.

WFT Signs David Mayo To Extension

The Washington Football Team has signed David Mayo to a one-year extension, per a club announcement. The linebacker was on course for free agency in March, but he’s now under contract through the 2022 season. Mayo will receive the veteran’s minimum (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero) with a full signing bonus of $152K, up from the $138K limit of last year.

In March of 2020, the Giants gave Mayo a three-year re-up, but he didn’t make it very far into that pact. Mayo enjoyed a breakout 2019 season where he started 13 games and graded out well, but he fell out of favor with the new coaching staff led by then-head coach Joe Judge, and only started two games in 2020.

Mayo, who entered the league as a fifth-round pick of the Panthers in 2015, now seems to have found a home in D.C. He even leapfrogged first-round pick Jamin Davis as the MIKE linebacker towards the end of this year, though that may say more about the youngster than the seventh-year pro.

All in all, Mayo made four starts in 2021, appeared in 16 of 17 games, and finished out with 28 stops, one fumble recovery, and two tackles for loss.

Saints Plan To Interview Brian Flores

The Saints are expected to interview Brian Flores for their head coaching vacancy (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). At least, that’s the plan — Flores is also in the running for the Giants’ HC job, and they’re expected to make a decision sometime this weekend.

[RELATED: Saints’ Sean Payton Not Planning To Coach In ’22]

The Giants are reportedly down to two candidates in Flores and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The Saints, meanwhile, are scrambling to find their next HC after Sean Payton‘s shocking decision to step down.

In years past, the Saints’ job would have held tremendous appeal for coaching candidates. This time around, they’re dealing with a salary cap nightmare, so one has to imagine that Flores would prefer the Giants job if that offer comes through first. The same goes for Byron Leftwich — the Bucs’ offensive coordinator may leap at the Jaguars job, if/when that offer comes through.

In addition to Flores and Leftwich, the Saints are also expected to chat with their own defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.

Steelers Sign John Simon To Reserve/Futures Contract

The Steelers have added a veteran to their offseason roster. The team announced that they’ve inked linebaker John Simon to a reserve/futures contract.

Simon was a fourth-round pick by the Ravens back in 2013, and he’s had stints with six different organizations throughout his career. This included 2019 and 2020 campaigns with the Patriots where he started 30 games, 114 tackles, and eight sacks.

Simon joined the Titans way back in July, replacing fellow pass rusher Tuzar Skipper on the offseason roster. He ended up getting into two games with Tennessee before earning his walking papers. He later caught on with the Steelers practice squad, earning a promotion for one game.

In total, the 31-year-old has 283 tackles and 21 sacks in 100 games (52 starts). There’s a good chance the veteran will stick around through at least training camp.

Ravens Hire Mike Macdonald As Defensive Coordinator

Mike Macdonald is landing back in Baltimore after all. The Ravens announced that they’ve hired Macdonald as their new defensive coordinator.

We heard earlier this week that Macdonald was the favorite for the gig, but the team still went ahead and interviewed Joe Cullen and Mike Caldwell for the job. Ultimately, it sounds like the Ravens got their guy, and the 34-year-old will now return to Baltimore.

“Mike is one of us – a Raven through and through,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “During his initial seven seasons with us, it was evident that his leadership, intelligence and passion would earn him the opportunity to be a defensive coordinator in the NFL.

“Mike has continuously proven himself, including when he led one of the country’s best defenses at Michigan last year. He is a proven play-caller who knows our system well. He also fully understands the standard of playing defense in Baltimore.”

Prior to joining Jim Harbaugh‘s Wolverines staff last year, Macdonald was viewed as Don Martindale’s heir apparent in Baltimore. He had previously worked with the Ravens from 2014-20, moving up from the intern level to linebackers coach by the end of his first stint with the team. Also spending time working with Baltimore’s defensive backs, Macdonald gained extensive experience with the team ahead of his move to the college ranks.

Michigan’s performance certainly helped the young assistant’s cause. Sparked by potential No. 1 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson‘s Heisman Trophy bid, the Wolverines ranked as a top-10 defense in 2021 — a year after ranking 95th in points allowed. Should Macdonald, 34, land the job, he would become the youngest DC in Ravens history.

A number of names were connected to the vacancy. In addition to Macdonald, Cullen, and Caldwell, we heard D-line coach Anthony Weaver and external options like Kris Richard and Joe Whitt Jr. tossed around as candidates.

Panthers To Hire Chris Tabor As ST Coordinator

The Panthers have found their new special teams coordinator. According to ESPN’s David Newton (via Twitter), the Panthers have hired Chris Tabor to be their new ST coordinator. Per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter), Tabor is inking a three-year deal.

The Panthers fired Chase Blackburn earlier this month, opening a spot on the coaching staff. The organization previously offered the job to current Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey, “but the two sides could not agree on a contract”. The team has since conducted two interviews with Tabor.

The 51-year-old has been the Bears ST coordinator over the past four years. During his stint in Chicago, the Bears have had four-straight return specialists make the Pro Bowl (Tarik Cohen, Cordarrelle Patterson twice, and Jakeem Grant). Tabor previously served as the Browns ST coordinator for seven years.

Tabor also got a shot at being a HC earlier this season when he filled in for Matt Nagy in Chicago. The Bears lost that late-October contest to the 49ers.

Jeff Fisher To Coach In USFL

The latest spring football experiment will involve a few former NFL coaches. The United States Football League’s second effort will feature former Titans and Rams HC Jeff Fisher as one of its coaches.

Fisher, 63, will coach the Michigan Panthers in the rebooting league, which is set to begin play April 16. Fisher has not coached since the Rams fired him late in the 2016 season.

Fisher was also linked to a job with the second XFL iteration but did not end up coaching in that 2020 winter/spring effort. The veteran sideline leader coached the Oilers and Titans for 17 seasons and lasted five years with the Rams, steering two franchises that ended up relocating. The Titans made the playoffs six times under Fisher, but the Rams did not rebound from their lengthy swoon during his time in St. Louis and Los Angeles. The former AFC champion HC is the NFL’s 12th-winningest coach, with 173 wins.

Former Chiefs HC Todd Haley, ex-Chargers HC Mike Riley and longtime NFL assistant Kirby Wilson will also be head coaches in this eight-team league. This USFL will play all its games at multiple sites in Birmingham, Ala.

Bears Targeting Eagles’ Ian Cunningham For Front Office Role, Kevin Patullo For OC

Despite the Bears tabbing a Chiefs executive for their general manager role and a Colts assistant to be their head coach, multiple Eagles staffers have emerged for top lieutenant roles.

Eagles passing-game coordinator Kevin Patullo has surfaced as a key target in the Bears’ offensive coordinator search, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. While other candidates will come up, Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan notes Patullo is indeed on the Bears’ radar (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Bears Hire Matt Eberflus As Head Coach]

Patullo has worked with Eberflus previously, being part of Frank Reich‘s staff from 2018-20. Patullo, 40, left to join Nick Sirianni‘s Eagles staff last year. He has yet to be a coordinator at any level but has been in the NFL since 2007, excepting a one-season stay at Texas A&M. The Bears going with a defensive-minded coach obviously elevates the profile for their next OC hire, with that person being positioned to call plays for a Justin Fields-led offense next season.

The Bears are also targeting Eagles director of player personnel Ian Cunningham to join Ryan Poles‘ front office in a high-ranking role, per Caplan and InsidetheBirds.com’s Geoff Mosher (on Twitter). A Ravens staffer for nine years, Cunningham joined Philly’s staff in 2017 and has climbed the ranks to become a top Howie Roseman lieutenant. Poles and Cunningham are close, according to Mosher. The Jets attempted to hire Cunningham in multiple offseasons, but he ended up staying with the Eagles. It will be interesting to see if Poles can lure him to Chicago.

Eberflus is also likely to bring Colts linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi to Chicago with him, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). A former Cowboys and Buccaneers assistant, Borgonzi has coached the Colts’ linebackers since 2018.