November 23rd, 2018 at 5:54pm CST by Zachary Links
Texans owner Bob McNair died on Friday at the age of 81, the team announced.
McNair purchased an NFL expansion franchise in 1999, giving Houston its first team since the Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997. It was a landmark event for H-Town and for professional sports as a whole. McNair paid $700MM for the team, which dwarfed the $140MM price paid for the Jaguars and Panthers expansion franchises just six years earlier.
McNair was an entrepreneur who struggled to find his footing after college. After several failed businesses, he founded Cogen Technologies in 1984, a company that later blossomed into the most profitable energy cogeneration outfits in the world.
McNair battled multiple types of cancer in recent years, but his health situation took a turn for the worst in 2018. We here at PFR extend our condolences to his wife Janice and the rest of his family.
He adds head coach Dan Quinn will address the situation on Tuesday and did not respond to questions about the reports that Jones wants an update to his contract. Though he is absent, the two sides appear amenable and are likely to work things out in due time.
Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap says that the word “update” could mean the Falcons moving money forward in Jones’ contract to make the team’s key player happy. On a team in win-now mode, the move could be seen as avoiding potential chemistry issues in the locker room. A recent example of this, according to Fitzgerald, is a similar situation with Antonio Brown and the Steelers.
“The Steelers twice moved money forward in Brown’s contract to prevent a player from being unhappy. In 2015 the Steelers moved $2 million from 2016 up to 2015 and in 2016 they moved $4 million from 2017 into 2016. Overall the team fronted him $4 million and then extended him in 2017.”
Regardless of what the course of action Atlanta chooses to pursue, it is unlikely to hinder it from fielding one of the top three receivers in the league in 2018.
Here’s more from around the NFC:
The Panthers sale to David Tepper is expected to go through without “any surprises,” Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told ESPN’s David Newton. Tepper needs 24 votes — 23 with the absence of former Panthers GM Jerry Richardson — on Tuesday when the 31 NFL owners convene. Richardson is unlikely to attend, but nothing has been set in stone.
Linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, the Rams‘ fifth-round pick, underwent surgery on his foot and is expected to return sometime during training camp, head coach Sean McVay told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry (Twitter link). Okoronkwo starred at Oklahoma in 2017, earning Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Big 12 after logging 17.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
Among the most divisive issues facing the NFL today are national anthem protests. That division is also felt among the owners themselves, who are currently in Orlando for the annual owner’s meetings.
Outspoken on the subject for more than a year, Texans owner Bob McNair issued another statement on the issue on Sunday, saying, according to The Washington Post’s Mark Maske (Twitter link):
“We’re going to deal with it in such a way, I think, that people will understand that we want everybody to respect our country, respect our flag. And our playing fields, that’s not the place for political statements.”
Jets CEO Christopher Johnson, however, falls on the other side of the argument, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert (Twitter link).
“I can’t speak to how other people run their teams, but I just think that trying to forcibly get the players to shut up is a fantastically bad idea.”
Despite McNair’s seeming assuredness, the owners do not appear to be near to a solution. The issue is sure to permeate throughout the meetings.
Here’s more from around the AFC:
Sticking with the Jets, wide receiver Robby Anderson had his court date moved from Monday to Aug. 6, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The new date will now take place while the Jets are at training camp. The charges, stemming from a January incident, include three felonies: second-degree felony harm to a public servant or family, third-degree felony fleeing/eluding police while lights/siren active and third-degree felony speeding. After being arrested, Anderson threatened to sexually assault the wife of the arresting officer, according to reports. Anderson was allegedly clocked at 105 mph in 45-mph zone speeding away from police while running multiple red lights.
Broncos general manager and executive vice president of football operations John Elway said the team doesn’t know who it plans to take with the No. 5 pick in 2018 NFL Draft, 9 News’ Mike Klis writes. “You know we’re wide open, to be dead honest with you,’’ Elway said. “Who knows how it’s all going to fall. The Jets have already moved (from the No. 6 pick up to No. 3) and there’s going to be other teams that may be moving around, too, so we’re going to go through and have those discussions. I will tell ya, it’s funny how people think they know who you’re drafting because I don’t know who we’re drafting, yet. We’re going to do our homework and eventually get there.’’
Raiders owner Mark Davis said with the hiring of new head coach Jon Gruden, he plans to be done with the football side of the organization, NBC Sports’ Scott Bair tweets. “It was a six-year process to get Jon to be the head coach,” Davis said. “This year, he finally came on board. That allows me to see a long-term process working out on the football side. … I play devil’s advocate on certain things, but those guys make the decisions.”
The Titans are after Ndamukong Suh and that could lead to a shakeup on the defensive line, as veteran NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky notes (on Twitter). The nose tackle is set to carry a $5MM base salary in 2018 and $2.5MM of that sum becomes fully guaranteed on Sunday. Williams would not only be redundant in the event of Suh signing – he’d also be taking of cap space that may need to be allocated for the former Dolphin.
Free agent offensive tackle Matt Tobin met with the Patriots on Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
The Broncos are working on re-signing free agent offensive lineman Billy Turner, sources tell Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter).
There’s new developments regarding the Texans quest to find a new general manager. The team’s owner, Bob McNair, told reporters today that the person they eventually hire will have control of personnel over current head coach Bill O’Brien, relays John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). However, McClain does note that O’Brien, along with team president Jamey Rootes, will be with McNair and Cal McNair as the four-man the team conducting the search.
“The GM is going to have full authority over personnel, and he’ll report to Cal and me,” said the Texans owner. “That’s our message to potential GMs, We know what we want. We’ll pick somebody that Cal and I like, coach O’Brien likes and Jamey likes. We pretty much agree on what we’re looking for.” (via McClain on Twitter)
While the job should be sought after by many people across the league, McNair also stated that he doesn’t want the general manager to reshape front office, although he did say that he could allow for some potential new hires given who they ultimately agree to bring into the organization.
“He may have 1 or 2 key people he’s worked with, and he might want to bring them in,” said McNair. “That’s reasonable. It’s also reasonable to ask that person to work with the people we have this year and Cal what he thinks. We’re not going to have somebody come in and clean house.” (via McClain)
This is an interesting process for the Texans ownership group because executive vice president Rick Smith‘s situation is really up-in-the-air given that he will be home with his wife who is battling cancer. McNair does seem intent on waiting a year to feel out what Smith’s situation may look like in 2019.
“We don’t know what Rick might do,” said the owner. “That’s something we’ll discuss a year from now. The only concern is to take care of his family, and we’re not going beyond that.” (via McClain)
There’s already been some GM candidates speculated, including: Nick Caserio (Patriots), Brian Gaine (Bills) and Brian Gutekunst (Packers). Although, there should be more names that will arise in the next week or two. It’s expected to be a quick process and we now know that the new hire will have primary control on the roster entering the 2018 season.
Following Houston’s 22-13 loss vs. the Colts, Texans general manager and executive vice president Rick Smith announced he was taking an extended leave of absence to care for his wife, Tiffany, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Sarah Barshop reported.
In a statement, Smith said, “I am eternally grateful to the McNair family for their unwavering support during this trying time. This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make as I love this organization and every member of this team both on and off the field. I remain committed to our quest to bring a championship to the city of Houston, yet my family needs me now and they are my priority.”
Smith has served as Houston’s general manager since 2006, when owner Bob McNair hired him as the youngest GM in the league at the age of 36. During his tenure with the team, Smith has constructed a team that claimed four AFC South division titles in a six-year span (2011-16). In his second season on the job, Smith helped the Texans to their first non-losing season in franchise history. He has only finished below .500 four times in 12 seasons.
November 3rd, 2017 at 12:07pm CST by Zachary Links
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Texans owner Bob McNair, amongst others, will be deposed and asked to turn over all cell phone records and emails in relation to the Colin Kaepernick collusion case against the NFL, a league source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Facebook link). Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and owner 49ers Jed York are also among those on the deposition list, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) hears.
Other owners, team officials, and league officials may also be deposed, but those are the individuals confirmed for now.
Here’s more on Kaepernick:
Colin Kaepernick’s attorney believes that the quarterback will sign with an NFL team soon. “I think within the next 10 days somebody will sign him,” Mark Geragos told Adam Carolla earlier this week (transcript via BleacherReport.com). “I think somebody’s gonna sign him. I think the NFL has to come to their senses, and realize every day that goes by just proves the collusion case even more.” Geragos may have confidence, but there’s no reason to expect a Kaepernick signing anytime soon. A potential spot opened up this week when Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending ACL tear, but Houston opted to sign Matt McGloin and T.J. Yates. For now, Tom Savage is the starter in Houston and there are no known plans for the team to audition Kaepernick.
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart deferred to the NFLPA on the topic of having Kaepernick at the next meeting between players and owners (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). “We’d welcome his participation, but that’s an issue for the players to determine,” he said.
Texans owner Bob McNair has not given coaches the green light to audition Colin Kaepernick, despite a report from Howard Balzer of Sports On Earth (Twitter link) indicating otherwise. Balzer now indicates that his tweet was intended to be a joke. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has confirmed that McNair has not signed off on a Kaepernick workout.
The Texans have managed to stay afloat at 3-4 despite injuries to key defenders J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Asking them to keep their playoffs alive with Tom Savage under center, however, might be too much to ask. Kaepernick stands as the most polarizing figure in the football world today, so it stands to reason that the Texans may want to see what he can offer. But, for now, there are no plans to kick the tires on the former Niners signal caller.
Last week, McNair found himself in the middle of a major controversy when he likened the player-led anthem protests to “inmates running the prison.” He has since apologized for those remarks.
For now, the Texans will forge ahead with Savage as their starter against the Colts. The newly-signedMatt McGloin will be his backup.
The Players Coalition, a group of roughly 40 players that was formed this year to help with criminal justice reform in various communities, have requested a face-to-face meeting with Roger Goodell, Texans owner Bob McNair, and Colin Kaepernick, as ESPN’s Jim Trotter tweets. The Coalition has requested that the meeting take place tomorrow in Philadelphia.
The full request is available in Trotter’s tweet above and was seemingly triggered by a recent ESPN The Magazine story wherein McNair was quoted as saying, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” Although that is a common idiom, and although McNair clarified the comment by saying that he was referring to how the league has been making significant strategic decisions without adequate input from ownership, anything that could be construed as a social comment probably will be in today’s racially-charged NFL, and the Coalition certainly appeared to take it as such. The request stated that the “events” that have unfolded the last several days — it is unclear what events the request is referring to outside of McNair’s quote — demonstrate the “lack of seriousness that some league officials are approaching our discussions [sic].”
The Coalition goes on to say that it believes the only way towards progress is open dialogue, which is why it wants to meet with the Commissioner, McNair, and the player who is at the epicenter of the league’s social reform discussions. As ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweets, the Coalition believed it was important for Kaepernick to make his voice heard at the meeting.
However, Cam Inman of the Mercury News tweets that the NFL has no update as to whether the Coalition’s requested meeting would take place tomorrow. Per Anderson, the Coalition is not taking the league’s silence very well (Twitter link), but it seems likely that some response will be forthcoming. There is already a social activism-based meeting scheduled for players and owners this week, a meeting that Kaepernick has agreed to attend, so the league could feel that the Coalition’s request is largely redundant.
October 27th, 2017 at 10:00pm CST by Dallas Robinson
A number of Texans players — including wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back D’Onta Foreman — left practice today following franchise owner Bob McNair‘s comments in an ESPN The Magazine article, in which he compared national anthem protests to “inmates running the prison,” according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com. Some of the players who left practice ultimately returned, but the Houston coaching staff had to convince the team not to stage a full-scale walkout. Head coach Bill O’Brien — who says he is “100% behind” his players — later staged a 90-minute meeting in which players could engage in “candid conversation,” per Barshop. Left tackle Duane Brown called the comments “ignorant” and “embarrassing,” and said “the situation’s not over,” an indication further protests or other repercussions could be coming.
Colin Kaepernick will attend next week’s social activism-based meeting between NFL owners and players, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reports. Kaepernick didn’t participate in the last session of talks even though other players invited him, as the free agent quarterback didn’t want to be a distraction. Multiple players determined that Kaepernick’s presence this time around was important, which makes sense given that he’s the progenitor of the league’s national anthem protests.
The NFL’s trade deadline should either be pushed back or removed altogether, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. This year’s deadline comes on October 31, and enough teams are still in contention that player movement could be limited. The league recently moved the deadline from the Tuesday after Week 6 to the Tuesday after Week 8, and extending that cutoff could result in more deals getting done if clubs believe they’re not in the running for a postseason berth.