Month: August 2022

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/31/22

Today’s reserve/futures deals from around the NFL:

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jim Harbaugh To Meet With Vikings, Patrick Graham Gets Second Interview

We’re starting to get even more clarity on the Vikings head coaching search. According to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (on Twitter), Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will get a second interview with Minnesota. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter), Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will visit Minnesota for an in-person interview on Wednesday.

Serving as New York’s defensive play-caller during Joe Judge‘s tenure, Graham improved the unit considerably in 2020. The Giants ranked ninth in scoring defense, after their 2019 unit ranked 30th. But the team regressed this season, falling back to 23rd. DVOA slotted Graham’s second Giants defense 18th, however.

Harbaugh had a chat with the Vikings on Saturday, and there have been reports that the Vikings wanted an in-person interview with the current Michigan coach. They’ll ultimately get their wish, and Harbaugh will take another major step in returning to the NFL. Harbaugh, 58, spent four seasons with the 49ers before leaving for Ann Arbor after the 2014 season. He has been connected to various teams in the past, but this year represents the closest link to the former NFC champion coach returning to the NFL.

Meanwhile, Pelissero notes (on Twitter) that 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has declined a second interview with the Vikings, with Ryans looking to “further his development in San Francisco.” That leaves four candidates for the job: Graham, Harbaugh, and Rams coordinators Kevin O’Connell and Raheem Morris.

Raheem Morris Gets Second Vikings Interview

Raheem Morris is a finalist for the Vikings head coaching gig. According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin (via Twitter), the Vikings conducted a second interview with the Rams defensive coordinator. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter), that second interview took place this evening.

[RELATED: Vikings To Conduct Second Interviews With DeMeco Ryans, Kevin O’Connell]

Morris, 45, has an NFL coaching background dating back to 2002. He has spent time primarily as a defensive backs coach, serving in that role in Tampa Bay (on two different occasions, including the Super Bowl XXXVII-winning squad) and Washington. However, he also took over as the Bucs’ head coach after the firing of Jon Gruden in January of 2009. He had an encouraging year in 2010, posting a 10-6 record, but the one preceding and following that campaign saw the team put up a combined record of 7-25.

After a three year stint in Washington, Morris got his next prominent coaching positions in Atlanta. He served as an assistant head coach and pass game coordinator from his arrival in 2015 to 2019. Then, in 2020, he became the team’s DC until taking over as interim HC following Dan Quinn’s firing. This past offseason, Morris was hired by the Rams to take over for now-Chargers HC Brandon Staley as the team’s defensive coordinator.

49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell also got second interviews for the Vikings gig.

Saints To Interview ST Coordinator Darren Rizzi For HC Vacancy

The Saints could be eyeing some continuity as they look for a replacement for Sean Payton. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter), the Saints will interview special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi for their head coaching vacancy.

Following a long collegiate coaching career, Rizzi got his first NFL gig when he was hired as the Dolphins ST coordinator in 2010. He ended up spending nine seasons with Miami, eventually earning a promotion to associate head coach. After interviewing for the Dolphins head coaching vacancy in 2019, he ended up moving on to New Orleans. He’s spent the past three seasons with the Saints.

This isn’t the first member of Payton’s former staff to interview for the gig. We recently learned the defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will also be considered for the job.

Rizzi and Allen join a growing list of candidates that also includes:

Jaguars To Conduct Second Interview With Doug Pederson

Doug Pederson is getting a second look in Jacksonville. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter), Pederson will have his second interview with the Jaguars tomorrow.

[RELATED: Latest On Jaguars’ Head Coaching Search]

After being fired by the Eagles last year, Pederson was out of the NFL in 2021. The 54-year-old had spent five seasons in Philly, including a 2017 campaign where the Eagles won 13 regular season games en route to a Super Bowl championship. However, the Eagles averaged only seven wins per season during his other four campaigns, and he was canned following a 4-11-1 season in 2020.

After a year off, Pederson is turning into a popular name on the coaching circuit. The coach was connected to the previous vacancy with the Bears, and he’s since been listed as a candidate for the Saints job.

We heard earlier today that the Jaguars wouldn’t be able to interview Kevin O’Connell, who was emerging as a favorite, until after the Super Bowl. This news comes after the initial report of the team hiring Byron Leftwich as HC and Adrian Wilson as a replacement for Trent Baalke as general manager was refuted.

Kevin O’Connell Gets Second Texans Interview

Kevin O’Connell‘s focus over the next two weeks will be on the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Rams offensive coordinator carved out some time for an interview today. According to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com, O’Connell had his second interview with the Texans on Monday.

We heard earlier this month that Houston had requested permission to speak with O’Connell, but as Wilson notes, the Texans never publicly confirmed the first interview. That first interview presumably took place over the past few weeks.

O’Connell, who spent the 2019 season as Washington’s OC before joining the Rams in that capacity in 2020, oversaw an offense that finished in the top-10 in terms of both points per game and yards per game in 2021. A member of the popular Sean McVay coaching tree, O’Connell was a finalist for the Broncos’ HC job that ultimately went to Nathaniel Hackett, and the Jaguars also want to sit down with O’Connell.

The current list of candidates for the Texans HC vacancy includes:

Ravens’ Tee Martin, Raiders’ Edgar Bennett To Interview For Bills’ OC Position

With Brian Daboll off to the Giants as their newest head coach, the Bills continue to search for a new offensive coordinator. The second name on the list of candidates is Tee Martin, the Ravens’ wide receivers coach, who is set to meet with Buffalo for the vacancy (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec). Not long after that came out, ESPN’s Dan Graziano tweeted that Edgar Bennett, who holds the same title with the Raiders, will also interview for the role. 

[Related: Ken Dorsey To Be Considered For Bills, Giants OC Jobs]

The Martin announcement was made by Ravens HC John Harbaugh when he addressed the media on Monday. Martin, 43, has only been an NFL coach for this past season. He has a decorated college resume, though, highlighted by work as the wide receivers coach at Kentucky, USC and Tennessee dating back to 2010. Those stints have also included the roles of passing game coordinator, OC and assistant head coach along the way. The 2021 season, while disappointing overall for the Ravens, offered cause for optimism at the receiver position with Marquise Brown recording his first 1,000-yard season and Rashod Bateman demonstrating, once he was healthy, why he was worthy of a first round pick.

Bennett has been an NFL coach since 2005, the year he started working in Green Bay. That lasted until 2017, and included a three-year stint as the team’s OC. Part of a major overhaul on the offensive staff in 2018, the 52-year-old was let go in January of 2018. For the past four years, he has been the WRs coach with the Raiders; the 2021 campaign saw Las Vegas rank sixth in the league in passing yards.

These announcements come after it was reported that Ken Dorsey, the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the Bills, would likely be promoted to OC with Daboll gone. The only alternative, it is believed, would be if Daboll convinced Dorsey to follow him to New York. With Buffalo looking at two external candidates, the team will have options if that does in fact happen.

Texans Conducting Second Interview With Brian Flores

Another finalist has emerged in the Texans’ head coaching search. Brian Flores is conducting a second interview today, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

[Related: Texans Giving Josh McCown Second Interview]

Like many second interviews this year, this one will be in person, as opposed to being conducted virtually. Overall, though, Pelissero notes that “the sides have spoken multiple times”. The 40-year-old has ties to general manager Nick Caserio dating back to their time together in New England. That Patriots-Caserio connection has, of course, led to both Flores and Pats linebackers coach Jerod Mayo being listed as favorites once they were announced as candidates.

Instead, the two others that have already received second interviews are former quarterback Josh McCown and Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Houston is currently the only team to have had interest in McCown so far, while Gannon has also met with the Broncos and Vikings.

The biggest domino in Houston, regardless of the new head coach, is quarterback Deshaun Watson. Many feel that Flores’ hiring would be the only way the maligned signal caller could remain with the Texans, given their desire to work together. While Houston still intends to trade Watson, Flores’ presence as a finalist for the HC job certainly raises the possibility of things taking another turn.

Doug Pederson Added As A Candidate For Saints’ HC Job

The list of names being linked to the league’s newest head coaching vacancy continues to grow. The Saints have already completed an interview with Doug Pederson, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). 

[Related: Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Rapoport notes that the interview took place on Sunday, making Pederson the fifth candidate whose name has been attached to New Orleans. The 54-year-old has already been listed as a candidate for the jobs in Chicago, Denver, Minnesota and Jacksonville. While the level of interest on each side has differed in all four of those cases – the first two on that list have already hired their new coaches, and Pederson doesn’t appear to be a finalist for the other two openings – the buzz he is generating is certainly notable.

After being fired by the Eagles last year, Pederson was out of the NFL in 2021. There is certainly an interest around the league for the Super Bowl LII champion, though, including from the Saints, who are in catch-up mode relative to the other HC-needy teams.

In a related tweet, Rapoport details the schedule for the other Saints’ interviewees this week. The plan is, apparently, to meet with each of Brian FloresAaron Glenn and Dennis Allen in that order. The only exclusion from that list is Byron Leftwich, whom the team has put in an interview request for.

Here’s an updated look at the Saints’ coaching search: