Falcons Rumors

Coaching Rumors: Cowboys, Cards, Falcons

The Cowboys are expected to name Doug Nussmeier as tight ends coach, sources tell ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). Nussmeier has a lengthy resume, including stints as the offensive coordinator for Florida, Michigan, and Alabama. The former NFL backup quarterback also served as the Rams’ quarterbacks coach under Scott Linehan, the Cowboys’ current OC.

More from the coaching ranks:

  • The Cardinals announced that they have promoted assistant receivers coach Kevin Garver to WR coach and inside linebackers coach Larry Foote to LB coach. The retention of Garver should be a plus for Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM tweets. The veteran is deliberating whether to play in 2018 or retire and the presence of Garver could push him towards continuing his career.
  • The Falcons announced three additions to their coaching staff: running backs coach Bernie Parmalee, offensive assistant Chad Walker, and assistant special teams coach Mayur Chaudhari. Parmalee served as the Raiders’ running backs coach from 2015-17. While the running game wasn’t always great in Oakland during that time, the Raiders did average 120.1 yards on the ground in 2016, the sixth-most in the league. Parmalee is best known for his days as an NFL running back for the Dolphins and Jets.
  • The Panthers hired former University of Michigan offensive graduate assistant coach Drew Terrell as an offensive quality control coach, per a team announcement. Terrell first made a name for himself as a wide receiver/punt returner at Stanford where he earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 as a returner three times.

Bills Hire Terry Robiskie As WRs Coach

The Bills have hired former Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie as wide receivers coach, the club announced today.Terry Robiskie (Vertical)

Robiskie, 63, produced middling results as Tennessee’s offensive play-caller during the past two seasons, and it’s believed former Titans head coach Mike Mularkey‘s refusal to fire Robiskie led to Mularkey’s own dismissal. While Robiskie may have a lackluster track record as an offensive coordinator, he does offer years of experience as a wide receivers coach. He’s led wideouts in Washington, Cleveland, Miami, and Atlanta over the past 30 years, and experienced great success with the Falcons, with whom he coached stars such as Roddy White and Julio Jones.

In Buffalo, Robiskie won’t quite be working with another White/Jones combination, as the Bills currently possess one of the least inspiring wide receiver depth charts in the league. 2017 trade acquisition Kelvin Benjamin and 2017 second-round pick Zay Jones are the club’s top two pass-catchers, while Buffalo has five wideouts — including Jordan Matthews and Deonte Thompson — headed for free agency.

Before signing on with the Bills, Robiskie also discussed a reunion with the Falcons, with whom he would have become a running backs coach, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2018 NFL Draft Order

With the Super Bowl in the books, we now know the draft order for the entire first round of the 2018 draft. Here’s the rundown:

1. Cleveland Browns (0-16)

2. New York Giants (3-13)

3. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)

4. Cleveland Browns (via the 4-12 Houston Texans)

5. Denver Broncos (5-11)

6. New York Jets (5-11)

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

8. Chicago Bears (5-11)

T-9. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

T-9. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) (Note: The Raiders and 49ers have identical records and the same strength of schedule. The tie will be broken by a coin flip with the winner getting pick No. 9 and the other club receiving the No. 10 pick.)

11. Miami Dolphins (6-10)

12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)

13. Washington Redskins (7-9)

14. Green Bay Packers (7-9)

15. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

16. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

17. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

18. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)

19. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)

20. Detroit Lions (9-7)

21. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

22. Buffalo Bills (via the 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs)

23. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

24. Carolina Panthers (11-5)

25. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

26. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

30. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

31. New England Patriots (13-3)

32. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman Avoids Surgery

Despite playing through a MCL and PCL ailment towards the end of the season, it sounds like Devonta Freeman avoided a serious injury. Appearing on PFT Live, the Falcons running back told Mike Florio that he won’t need surgery this offseason.

Devonta Freeman (vertical)“I’m getting better,” Freeman said. “I just went to go get a second opinion. Thank God I didn’t have to get surgery. So now I just have to rehab and get it back stronger and be ready for next season.”

As Florio writes, the first opinion also indicated that Freeman wouldn’t require surgery. Instead, the running back will rehab throughout the season, and Florio suggests that avoiding an operation will “accelerates his timeline.”

When asked if he’d be available for the beginning of offseason programs, Freeman indicated that he’d take his time returning to the field.

“Possibly,” Freeman said. “But I’m going to take my time and let it heal so I won’t have to deal with little knicks and knacks throughout the season, because that’s the most important time for me. So I’m going to take my time and let it heal, get stronger. I need to be free when I’m out there.”

The former fourth-round pick had another productive season in 2017. The 25-year-old finished the campaign with 865 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 196 carries. He also added another 36 receptions for 317 yards and one score. If Freeman’s recovery doesn’t go as planned, the Falcons could easily slot running back Tevin Coleman into the starting lineup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Open To Long-Term Deal With Ricardo Allen

Free safety Ricardo Allen is a restricted free agent this offseason, but the Falcons may look to lock him up with a multi-year contract. When asked about whether Allen could receive a long-term deal rather than play out the year under the one-year restricted free-agent tender, GM Thomas Dimitroff seemed open to the possibility. Ricardo Allen (vertical)

Yes, I believe we can create space for Rico and a number of other players,” Dimitroff said (via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). “That said, we are always striving for creativity. And decisions made on certain free agents, whether they be restricted or unrestricted, oftentimes are contingent on the creativity they enable or not.”

No matter what, Allen is in line for a significant pay bump. Last year, he earned just $615K as an exclusive-rights free agent. Meanwhile, he proved to be an excellent value as he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 31 ranked safety in the NFL (tied with Eric Reid, Tashaun Gipson, and Tre Boston).

The Falcons seem likely to at least place a second-round tender on Allen, which figures to come in at just under $3MM this year. RFAs have until April 20 to sign an offer sheet from a rival club and teams have until June 15 to withdraw the tender. Even if Allen signs a tender, it will not preclude the team from inking him to an extension.

As McClure notes, right tackle Ryan Schraeder signed a $2.553MM second-round tender in March 2016 only to agree to a five-year, $31.5MM extension with the Falcons that November. Allen could take that route, but he may also want to borrow a page from Andrew Norwell‘s playbook. The Panthers guard played under the $2.746MM RFA tender in 2017 and now figures to become one of the highest-paid players at his position as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2018 NFL Draft Order

With the conference championship games in the books, we now know the draft order for 30 of the first round’s 32 picks. Here’s the rundown:

1. Cleveland Browns (0-16)

2. New York Giants (3-13)

3. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)

4. Cleveland Browns (via the 4-12 Houston Texans)

5. Denver Broncos (5-11)

6. New York Jets (5-11)

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

8. Chicago Bears (5-11)

T-9. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

T-9. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) (Note: The Raiders and 49ers have identical records and the same strength of schedule. The tie will be broken by a coin flip with the winner getting pick No. 9 and the other club receiving the No. 10 pick.)

11. Miami Dolphins (6-10)

12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)

13. Washington Redskins (7-9)

14. Green Bay Packers (7-9)

15. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

16. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

17. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

18. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)

19. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)

20. Detroit Lions (9-7)

21. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

22. Buffalo Bills (via the 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs)

23. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

24. Carolina Panthers (11-5)

25. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

26. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

30. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

31. (New England Patriots (13-3) or Philadelphia Eagles (13-3))

32. (New England Patriots (13-3) or Philadelphia Eagles (13-3))

Falcons Could Have Interest In Kris Richard

  • If former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard doesn’t land another DC job, it “wouldn’t be a surprise” to see him land with the Falcons, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com opines. The connection makes sense, as Richard preceded Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn as Seattle’s defensive play-caller, and also played alongside current Falcons DC Marquand Manuel. Richard likely wouldn’t become defensive coordinator in Atlanta, so he could hypothetically wait to see if he garners interest around the league before taking a lesser position with the Falcons.

Falcons Hire Greg Knapp As QBs Coach

The Falcons were set to add Darrell Bevell and Ken Dorsey to their quarterbacks coach interview list, but they might not have gotten around to it by the time they arrived at their decision. Greg Knapp will replace Bush Hamdan as Atlanta’s QBs coach, Alex Marvez of Sporting News reports. The 54-year-old Knapp did not coach in the NFL last season and spent the previous four years coaching the Broncos’ quarterbacks.

Knapp will return to Atlanta in a different capacity; he was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator from 2004-06. Running the most successful of the Michael Vick offenses, Knapp also was OC with the 49ers, Raiders (two stints) and Seahawks. The one-season stay in Seattle (2009) overlapped with Dan Quinn, who was the Seahawks’ defensive line coach from 2009-10. Knapp’s Broncos work may look a bit better now considering how far their quarterback play fell this season, and the Falcons are hoping he can help return Matt Ryan to top-tier status after a down year.

GM: Falcons Could Extend RB Tevin Coleman

Prior to the season, the Falcons signed running back Devonta Freeman to a lucrative contract extension. Pretty soon, the front office will have to think about extending fellow running back Tevin Coleman, which could prove to be a tricky situation. However, as general manager Thomas Dimitroff told ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, it wouldn’t be unrealistic for the team to pay big money to both running backs.

Tevin Coleman (Vertical)“I believe you could realistically do it,” Dimitroff said. “I think, again, it comes back to an earlier question when you’re talking about looking at all the different spots on the roster and what you can do to create the space.

“And again, we do a really good job here, I think, about being creative. Luckily, we have an owner [Arthur Blank] that’s allowing us to spend the money, and he doesn’t want to leave a whole bunch on the table, so everyone should be happy about that. I know Q [Dan Quinn] and I definitely are. It makes it a lot more manageable when you’re putting it all together.”

Coleman, who has served mostly as a backup since he entered the NFL in 2015, will make a modest $791K next season. However, he’ll be a free agent following the campaign, and McClure notes that Coleman could be seeking both a large payday and a starting gig. The Falcons could realistically trade the former third-rounder, but executives told McClure that the deep running back draft class might dissuade teams from pulling off a trade. The 24-year-old had another solid campaign in 2017, compiling 628 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also hauled in 27 catches for 299 yards.

While the Falcons will have to eventually figure out their running back situation, it sounds like the front office has another priority heading into the offseason. Dimitroff said that the team is focused on signed quarterback Matt Ryan to an extension, which could vicariously create even more wiggle room.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.