Adrian Wilson

Extra Points: Coaches, GMs, Schedule, OTAs

After the NFL expanded the Rooney Rule this offseason, it has a “ready list” of minority candidates for head coaching jobs, offensive and defensive coordinator positions and GM candidates, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Beyond some of the big names — Eric Bieniemy, Marvin Lewis, Todd Bowles, Leslie Frazier among them — coaches like Clemson OC Tony Elliott, Penn State HC James Franklin and Michigan State HC Mel Tucker appear on the HC portion of the list. On the GM side, some first-time candidates include Bills pro scouting director Malik Boyd, Raiders pro scouting director Dwayne Joseph, Ravens exec Vincent Newsome and Chargers player personnel director JoJo Wooden. Former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson — now the franchise’s pro scouting director — also appears on the GM portion of the list. The Rooney Rule now mandates teams interview two minority HC candidates and expanded the rule to include coordinator positions. Franchises must also open their senior-level executive jobs to minority and female candidates.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Normal NFL offseasons feature several weeks’ worth of OTAs preceding a June minicamp, but the NFLPA would like a schedule that looks closer to this year’s virtual offseason. Union executive director DeMaurice Smith said “there is absolutely no reason” for the NFL to return to full-scale OTAs, per Sports Business Daily’s Ben Fischer (subscription required). Having seen no decline in performance after this atypical offseason, union president J.C. Tretter agrees with Smith. This would be a stretch for coaching staffs, which have steadily seen their time with players cut back. The past two CBA agreements have significantly limited offseason and padded training camp workouts, and 2020’s COVID-19-altered offseason created steeper acclimation challenges for young players.
  • The NFL has agreed to a formula for its 17th regular-season game, making it increasingly likely this season will be the last one of the 16-game era. In what will be the first shift to the league’s scheduling setup since 2002, the 17-game schedule will feature a fifth interconference game. The schedule will pit an AFC division winner against an NFC division winner, and on down the line within each division, but the extra interconference game will not feature two teams who played the previous year, Albert Breer of notes. In the event the NFL moves to the 17-game season in 2021, the Chiefs and Buccaneers could not play again next season; the earliest such a regular-season rematch would occur would be 2022.
  • Roger Goodell may well be on board with shortening the preseason slate from four games to two. The commissioner “seemed in favor” of halving the preseason schedule at last week’s owners meetings, according to’s Seth Wickersham, but some high-profile owners are not. Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, John Mara and Art Rooney II dismissed the idea of going from three preseason games — the new number as of the 2020 CBA — to two, according to ESPN. No vote occurred on the matter, though Goodell discussing the idea publicly points to it remaining an issue going forward.

West Notes: A. Davis, Chargers, Cardinals

In his MMQB column this week, Peter King noted that one source believes the 49ers “want to trade” veteran offensive tackle Anthony Davis, who remains on the reserve/retired list for now. Davis took to Twitter to let his followers know that GM Trent Baalke sent him a text message calling King’s tidbit “false reporting.”

What to make of King’s report and Baalke’s response (via Davis)? For what it’s worth, King presented the info as something that one high-ranking team executive believed, rather than something King himself was formally reporting. Still, it’s unlikely that the team exec simply invented the notion that Davis might be on the trade block. It’s possible that Baalke and the Niners have sent out feelers without explicitly shopping their offensive tackle, attempting to get a sense of their options.

As we wait for further developments on the Davis situation, let’s round up some more items from out of the NFL’s West divisions…

  • The Chargers, who hold the third overall pick in this month’s draft, hosted Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil for a visit today, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). Tunsil is considered by many experts the top prospect in this year’s draft class, so he may not be on the board at No. 3, but San Diego is doing its homework just in case.
  • Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who is in Pittsburgh today, is scheduled to visit the Chargers next, per Jeremy Fowler of (via Twitter).
  • After playing for the Cardinals for 12 seasons, longtime safety Adrian Wilson is now a part of the team in another capacity. According to a press release, Wilson has joined Arizona’s personnel department as a full-time scout.

Adrian Wilson Retires As Cardinal

MONDAY, 3:13pm: Wilson has signed a one-day contract with the Cardinals to retire as a member of the team, tweets Darren Urban of Per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via Twitter), Wilson will be part of Arizona’s staff, as a coach and personnel man.

SUNDAY, 6:56pm: The Cardinals have announced that they will hold a special press conference tomorrow at 1:00pm local time, writes Josh Weinfuss of (via Twitter). In attendance at the conference will be team president Michael Bidwill, general manager Steve Keim, and former safety Adrian Wilson.

The purpose of the press conference has not been announced, but it is expected that Wilson will announce his retirement from the NFL, writes Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter).

Wilson is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro selection, all as a member of the Cardinals. The third-round pick out of North Carolina State spent 11 years with the team after being drafted in 2001.

After a sharp decline in performance during the 2012 season, the team allowed Wilson to leave in free agency. He joined the Patriots, but injured his Achilles tendon prior to the beginning of the regular season, placing him on injured reserve. During the 2014 offseason, Wilson signed with the Bears, although he never played in a regular season game with the team.

As an impressive career comes to a close, coaching might be in Wilson’s future plans. Rapoport mentions that the press conference tomorrow could serve the dual purpose of announcing Wilson’s as well as introducing him as part of the team’s coaching staff.

Bears Cut Adrian Wilson, Eight Others

Sunday, 12:28pm: The Bears have also waived OL Joe Long, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Chicago needs to make six more cuts before 3pm central time on Tuesday.

Saturday, 9:02pm: The Bears have cut ties with veteran safety Adrian Wilson, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Biggs also reports that the team has let go of defensive tackle Nate Collins (Twitter link), offensive lineman Dylan Gandy (Twitter link) and a group of young players:

The Bears signed the 34-year-old Wilson in June with the hope that he’d add a veteran presence to the secondary. The safety missed the entire 2013 season with a foot injury, and Biggs writes that he didn’t move around well enough in camp to justify a role. According to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), Wilson’s last productive season came in 2011 when he made the Pro Bowl with the Cardinals.

Collins, a former undrafted free agent, was beginning to establish himself last season after starting a pair of games. The 26-year-old went down with an ACL injury, and while he’s done an admirable job recovering, Biggs indicates that the team preferred to move forward with draft picks Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton. 

Gandy, a ten-year veteran, had spent the previous five seasons with the Lions, where he served exclusively as a backup. Before that he played for the Raiders, Broncos, and Colts, where he won a Super Bowl in 2007. The 32-year-old has played primarily guard and center throughout his career, and has appeared in at least 15 games since 2009.

NFC North Notes: Wilson, Lyerla, Lions

Bears second-year receiver Marquess Wilson will be sidelined indefinitely after he suffered a fractured clavicle on Monday. A second-year pro, Wilson had the inside track on the Bears’ No. 3 receiver job prior to going down. Josh Bellamy was listed behind Wilson on the Bears’ unofficial preseason depth chart, but the team is expected to sign another receiver in Wilson’s absence.

Here’s a few more NFC North news and notes:

  • There’s a legitimate chance 34-year-old safety Adrian Wilson doesn’t make the Bears if he’s not a starter, says Chicago Sun-Times writer Adam Jahns, who lists five Bears with something to prove.
  • Packers rookie tight end Colt Lyerla suffered a knee injury which will keep him out for ‘weeks,’ according to head coach Mike McCarthy (Twitter link). Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tyler Dunne spoke with Lyerla’s agent, who said surgery doesn’t look necessary (Twitter link). While the injury throws cold water on one of the more interesting story lines in Packers camp, it could be a blessing in disguise if the team is able to stash the talented undrafted free agent on IR.
  • Adding Jonathan Baldwin to the mix is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Lions, opines ESPN’s Michael Rothstein: “The Lions are always on the search for tall wide receivers, hoping the work ethic and professionalism Calvin Johnson provides can potentially rub off on one of them.”
  • The Lions drafted Nate Freese with the thinking he would take over the team’s kicking duties, but he has not impressed, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. Meanwhile, Italian-born Giorgio Tavecchio is pushing hard for the job, and Justin Rogers of says Freese’s status as a draft pick will not preclude the team does not guarantee anything.
  • “The Vikings are being built the right way, a model that could lead to sustained success if — and this should be written in bold capital letters because it looms over everything else — rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can develop into their franchise quarterback,” writes Chip Scroggins in the Star Tribune. Scroggins adds the team has 17 “core players,” excluding rookies.

Bears Sign Adrian Wilson, Jeron Mastrud

9:45pm: Wilson’s deal is for $955K and is not guaranteed, tweets Adam Caplan of

3:19pm: The Bears have added a pair of free agents to their roster, announcing today (via Twitter) that they’ve signed veteran safety Adrian Wilson and tight end Jeron Mastrud to contracts. Terms of the agreements aren’t yet known.

Wilson, 34 was set to play for the Patriots in 2013 after spending 12 years in Arizona, but was sidelined with a foot injury in the preseason and missed the entire ’13 campaign. The Pats released Wilson back in April, and Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reported at the time that the longtime Cardinal would be healthy for the 2014 season and wanted to continue his playing career. While the idea of a player in his mid-30s coming off a major injury may not inspire a ton of confidence, Wilson isn’t far removed from his most recent Pro Bowl season (2011), so it’s reasonable to think the former third-round pick could contribute if he’s healthy.

As for Mastrud, the tight end played for the Raiders in 2013 after spending his first three NFL seasons in Miami. While Mastrud only has seven career receptions on his NFL resumé, six of which came last season, he logged significant time as a blocker, playing 554 snaps on offense in ’13, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Mastrud’s positive grade as a pass-blocker buoyed him to a rank of 34th among 64 qualified NFL tight ends.

Extra Points: Wheaton, Wilson, Ravens

Although the Steelers were prepared to lose WR Emmanuel Sanders in free agency, they did not expect to lose Jerricho Cotchery as well, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gaztte. Although the team replaced Cotchery with the similarly-reliable Lance Moore, Pittsburgh is still looking to add a big-bodied receiver in the draft.

The Steelers, like many teams, would like to draft Texas A&M WR Mike Evans, but Evans’ strong combine performance might have put him out of reach for Pittsburgh, who hold the N0. 15 overall selection. So, even though they are still likely to take a receiver early in the draft–perhaps with that No. 15 pick–the development of second-year player Markus Wheaton will be critical to the Steelers’ offensive success.

Wheaton dazzled in training camp last year but was primarily a special teams contributor during the regular season, appearing in 11 games and catching 6 passes for 64 yards. He will have ample opportunity to show Steelers coaches what he can do this summer, but he will likely have at least one high-ceiling rookie nipping at his heels.

Some more notes from around the league:

  • Mike Wells of examines whether recently-released S Adrian Wilson could be a fit for the Colts. He writes that while GM Ryan Grigson will explore all options, the Colts already have two players in the secondary who could not stay healthy last season–LaRon Landry and Greg Toler–and do not need to add another. Free agent safety Kurt Coleman visited the team last week, and safeties Jimmie Ward and Terrence Brooks are possibilities in the second round of the draft.
  • Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, just as he did yesterday, takes a look at some more impacts of Chris Johnson‘s departure on the Titans, noting that the team is likely to take a running back-by-committee approach.
  • Although inside linebacker has not been discussed as a major position of need for the Ravens after the re-signing of Daryl Smith and the expected emergence of second-year man Arthur Brown, head coach John Harbaugh would like to add one or two inside linebackers to the roster, according to Ryan Mink of Harbaugh made no mention of Rolando McClain, whose rights the team still holds.

Patriots To Release Adrian Wilson

Not long after we published a post identifying the notable defenders still on the free agent market, another big name is about to become available. The Patriots have informed veteran safety Adrian Wilson that he’ll be released today, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via Twitter). Wilson himself broke the news a little earlier, tweeting: “Thank you to the Patriots organization for the opportunity. I look forward to the future.”

After spending 12 seasons with the Cardinals, Wilson was set to play for the Patriots in 2013, but tore his Achilles in the team’s preseason finale and missed the entire season. According to Garafolo, however, the 34-year-old will be healthy for the 2014 season and wants to continue his playing career. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link) believes a return to the Cards is unlikely for Wilson, but considering he isn’t far removed from his most recent Pro Bowl season (2011), the former third-round pick should receive some interest.

For New England, Wilson became expendable when the club decided to re-sign a former Patriot, adding Patrick Chung to the safety mix earlier this week. Wilson had a cap number of about $1.833MM, so cutting him will leave the team with about $667K in dead money on the books for 2014, creating about $1.667MM in cap savings.

Extra Points: Packers, Muamba, Polian

Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette thinks that the Packers will be forced to lean heavily on a cadre of young defensive lineman that will step into starting roles next season. Defensive linemen Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, and Jerel Worthy will likely replace departing free agents B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, and Johnny Jolly on the defensive front of the Packers’ base 3-4 defense. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac expects Jones and Worthy to mimic Daniels’ 2013 campaign with breakout performances next year.

A few more Monday night notes:

AFC Notes: Kraft, Talib, Wilson, Blackmon

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sat down with Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub (full interview here), addressing the team’s window to contend for a championship in relation to 36-year-old quarterback Tom Brady‘s twilight years. When asked if the closing window inspires the organization to be more aggressive in surrounding Brady with win-now players, Kraft brushed off the philosophy: “We have to try to sustain success by managing as wisely as we can. It’s not dependent on any one player. . .I think a better strategy is to try to be solid and be able to compete year in and year out.”

  • When asked about free agent-to-be Aqib Talib, Kraft laid the groundwork for the team’s typical hardball approach, saying, “He wasn’t on the field a lot of the time since he’s been with us.” However, in the next breath, Kraft expressed his belief that both parties would be interested in extending the relationship: “I think he’s happy here and would like to be here, and we’re happy with him and we’d like to have him here. Now it’s just about doing business.”
  • Patriots veteran safety Adrian Wilson, who spent the year on IR, spoke with “The Drive” with Jody, MJ and Bauer on Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix, saying he doesn’t know if he’ll be back in New England despite signing a three-year deal in 2013.
  • Jaguars owner Shad Khan “absolutely” wants suspended receiver Justin Blackmon back on the team when he is reinstated, according to Florida Times-Union beat writer Ryan O’Halloran (via Twitter).
  • In theory, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton should be entering his prime, but it’s not unreasonable to draft another quarterback, according to ESPN’s Cole Harvey.