Brendan Daly

Extra Points: Cowboys, Chiefs, Darkwa

Jerry Jones only helped add fuel to the fire today regarding Earl Thomas potentially joining the Cowboys. When asked if the organization would pursue some help at safety, the team’s owner made his answer pretty clear.

“Yes,” Jones told ESPN’s Todd Archer (Twitter link). “That’s about all I’ll say, but yes.”

Of course, it’s important to note that Jones never explicitly mentioned Thomas, but it’s pretty easy to assume that the organization will pursue the veteran defensive back. The mutual interest between the two sides has been covered extensively, although the NFL recently made it clear that the Cowboys didn’t tamper when it came to the 29-year-old.

Of course, Dallas ultimately may look to leverage Thomas’ interest in joining the Cowboys. The team is projected to have around $50MM in cap space, but a solid portion of that total will go towards a DeMarcus Lawrence franchise tag and other extensions. As a result, the team may not have a whole lot of money to give Thomas.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Chiefs have finalized their defensive coaching staff under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. As Brooke Pryor of KansasCity.com writes, the biggest addition was defensive line coach and run game coordinator Brendan Daly, who previously served in that role with the Patriots. The organization has also added linebackers coach Matt House, defensive backs coach Dave Merritt, defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Sam Madison, linebackers coach Britt Reid, defensive quality control coach Terry Bradden, and defensive assistant Alex Whittingham.
  • Steelers linebacker Jon Bostic may have appeared in all 16 games this season, but his role was reduced as the season went on. While the journeyman may be able to find a bigger role elsewhere, he’s still hoping to stay in Pittsburgh. “Obviously this is my first year here and whatnot; hopefully we can make this place a home,” Bostic told Chris Adamski of TribLive.com. “It’s been a fun year; definitely didn’t go the way we would have planned (missing the playoffs). But that’s football. You can’t plan everything out. But I do (feel like the Steelers’ organization can be home).” Bostic is set to earn $1.8MM next season, and the team would be left with only $700K in dead cap if they released the 27-year-old.
  • It sounds like we now have an explanation for why Orleans Darkwa never joined an NFL team last season. The veteran running back told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan that he tore the Achilles tendon in his right leg during an October audition with the Jaguars. The 26-year-old was coming off his most productive NFL season in 2017, rushing for 751 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 171 carries. The Giants had offered him a contract that would have kept him in New York, and he also received interest from the Redskins, Patriots, and Bills.

Extra Points: Patriots, Gostkowski, Redskins

The Patriots have had a ton of turnover on their staff, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, the past couple of years, and that got even more pronounced today. “Defensive line coach Brendan Daly is leaving for a spot on the Kansas City Chiefs’ staff”, a source told Jim McBride of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Daly, 43, had been with the team since the 2014 season. The team lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia last year, who left to become head coach of the Lions.

This year, they lost defensive play-caller Brian Flores, who left to become the head coach of the Dolphins. Flores took several Patriots assistants with him to Miami, and New England’s staff will look radically different. It’s a notable occurrence for an organization known for their stability, although Bill Belichick shouldn’t have any issue building a new quality staff. The team is reportedly hiring former Buccaneers head coach and Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to replace Flores.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of the Patriots, the champs will have some tough decisions to make this offseason. The team has a bunch of impending free agents, and likely won’t be able to keep them all. While the Patriots have a few players who could possibly be franchise tagged, kicker Stephen Gostkowski “makes the most sense”, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe. Volin writes that left tackle Trent Brown is another candidate, but that it’s “more likely the Patriots would let him walk and insert Isaiah Wynn into the lineup” in his place. Wynn was New England’s first round pick in the 2018 draft, but missed his entire rookie campaign after tearing his Achilles during the preseason.
  • We heard Thursday that the Redskins were interviewing Tim Rattay for their quarterbacks coach opening, and the team is indeed hiring him, they announced via Twitter. Rattay will be the replacement for former quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell, who earlier this month was promoted to offensive coordinator. He’s never coached in the NFL before, and has spent the previous six seasons as an assistant at Louisiana Tech. He did interview for the Raiders’ QBs coach position last offseason. As such, it’s possible Oakland head coach Jon Gruden put in a good word for Rattay with his brother, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, you can check out the latest update in the Antonio Brown domestic dispute case here.

East Notes: Brady, Flores, Cowboys

The knee injury that Patriots QB Tom Brady has been battling this season is an MCL sprain, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports that Brady sustained the injury when going out for a pass against Tennessee on November 11. However, Brady has no structural damage, and Rapoport says the 41-year-old will head into today’s playoff game as healthy as he has been since the start of the season. He will likely not require any offseason procedures.

Let’s round up a few more east-related rumors:

  • The Dolphins are simply waiting for the Patriots‘ season to end so that they can finalize a deal with New England de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores to become their next head coach, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. No one anticipates this turning into another Josh McDaniels situation, and Flores is fully expected to join Miami. Schefter also says that Miami is already planning its rebuild and is looking to the 2020 crop of rookie QBs, which is expected to include Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
  • Albert Breer of SI.com names Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly as a potential replacement for Flores on New England’s staff, while Mike Reiss of ESPN.com sees former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano — who was rumored to be a candidate for the Pats’ DC job last year following Matt Patricia‘s departure — as a logical choice. Rapoport (video link) agrees with Reiss.
  • Dolphins LB coach Frank Bush is expected to follow Adam Gase to the Jets, and while DL coach Kris Kocurek may do the same, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio says that four to five teams are interested in Kocurek’s services (all Twitter links).
  • Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, whom the Jets reportedly preferred to Gase, confirms that he did not join Gang Green because the team wanted to pick his staff for him. Per Jake Nisse of the New York Post, Rhule said, “[a]t the end of the day, I’m never going to be in an arranged marriage.” 
  • Longtime Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is technically under contract through 2019, but the club could save $7MM against the cap by cutting him, and given the emergence of quality younger options and Lee’s injury history, it is difficult to imagine that Dallas will bring him back under his current deal. Lee, of course, could retire, and Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News says that the 32-year-old will sit down with his family and make a decision on his football future, though Lee did not provide a timeline for that decision.
  • After the Cowboys‘ playoff loss to the Rams last night, which saw defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli‘s unit get thrashed, Marinelli was unwilling to address speculation that he could step into an advisory role while Kris Richard takes over as DC. Per Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, Marinelli said, “[w]hy do people keep asking me the same question? I can’t figure it out? Can somebody tell me why everybody asks me that?”