Bruce Allen

Draft Rumors: Bush, Redskins, Rams

Let’s round up the latest draft rumors in advance of tonight’s main event:

  • We heard several days ago that the Falcons were interested in trading into the Top 10, and that they had their sights set on defensive linemen like Christian Wilkins and offensive linemen. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network confirms that Atlanta is indeed interested in moving up, but his sources say the club’s target is actually linebacker Devin Bush (Twitter link). Per Pelissero, the Falcons would need to leapfrog the Broncos, who hold the No. 10 overall pick, to assure themselves of landing Bush.
  • Despite all of the rumors suggesting that the Redskins are interested in making a big trade up into the Top 5, Pro Football Talk says that all of the calls that team president Bruce Allen are making are just an example of Allen being Allen and that Washington doesn’t really have a desire to make a move (Twitter link).
  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that the Rams, who hold the No. 31 overall pick in tonight’s draft, have received a number of calls from teams wanting to trade into the back end of the first round. First-rounders, of course, can be kept under club control for five years instead of four.
  • As Pelissero notes in a separate tweet, the teams that have shown the most interest in trading down from their current first-round slots are the Jets (No.3), Lions (No. 8), Dolphins (No. 13), Seahawks (Nos. 21 & 29), and Rams (No. 31).
  • If Kyler Murray should start to fall down the draft board, he may end up having a better financial future in baseball. As Albert Breer of SI.com notes, MLB’s Oakland A’s have offered him a $14MM “sweetener” on top of the $4.6MM bonus he was already due after the club drafted him last year, for a total of $18.66MM. That number would land between the 10th and 11th overall picks in tonight’s NFL draft, so if Murray ends up falling that far, teams are concerned that he would return to the diamond. But Breer still thinks that Murray will be the No. 1 overall pick tonight.
  • Breer calls Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons the most interesting prospect in the draft. He is one of the top defensive players in his class, but the troubling video showing him striking a woman in high school, along with his ACL tear, have completely removed him from some teams’ draft boards. But there is still a good chance that he will be selected in the first round tonight.
  • The Panthers and Vikings are both very serious about addressing their needs along the offensive line with early draft picks, as Breer notes in a separate piece. Both clubs used a high number of top-30 visits on O-linemen.
  • LSU cornerback Andraez “Greedy” Williams is perhaps the most talented corner in the draft, but as Breer notes, he comes with plenty of red flags concerning his toughness, work ethic, and personality. He did not make a single pre-draft visit, and despite his upside, he could slip out of the first round.

Latest On Redskins’ First Round Plans

There has been plenty of chatter suggesting that the Redskins want to trade up from their No. 15 overall pick in order to better position themselves to (presumably) nab one of this year’s top collegiate passers. Earlier today, we heard yet again that Washington is contemplating a move into the Top 5, and while there was no definitive report as to the club’s hypothetical trade partner, the Jets — who hold the No. 3 overall pick — are allegedly determined to trade down.

Adding more fuel to that fire are several tweets suggesting that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is perhaps even more involved than usual in his club’s first-round selection. Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan hears from a team source that Snyder has “taken over the first round of the draft,” and the last time that happened, Washington surrendered a king’s ransom of draft picks to acquire the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 draft, which it used on Robert Griffin III (Twitter link).

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network has a similar report, and he indicates that Snyder “absolutely” has influence on the Redskins’ draft, while team president Bruce Allen also has an important role. On the other hand, senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams has limited input on the team’s picks, and head coach Jay Gruden has even less (Twitter link).

That in and of itself doesn’t mean much, but when put in the context of the RGIII trade, it could serve as a harbinger of things to come tomorrow night (plus, Garafolo’s report obviously doesn’t offer an optimistic view on Gruden’s long-term future with the club, which is an interesting sidenote). However, Mike Jones of USA Today tweets that the Redskins do not feel they can part with their early picks, and if they want to jump all the way up to No. 3, they will have to essentially empty their cupboard of early picks. Jones does note, though, that it’s lying season, so the Redskins’ reported reluctance to part with prime draft capital could be a smokescreen.

For what it’s worth, Paulsen says that Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie categorically denied the notion that Snyder has taken control of the team’s first-round pick, but it’s his job to quash these kinds of rumors, regardless of their veracity. And regardless of Snyder’s influence on the draft, the Redskins have firmly established themselves as one of the most intriguing teams to keep an eye over the next 24 hours or so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen Expected To Remain With Redskins

Several weeks ago, we learned that Redskins assistant coaches were beginning to worry about their futures, as they were uncertain as to head coach Jay Gruden‘s status with the club. But it appears that Gruden will get one more shot. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes that Gruden looks to be on “safe footing,” especially given that his team was performing well in 2018 before being decimated by injury for the second year in a row.

Another reason to believe that Gruden’s job is safe has to do with team president Bruce Allen. Washington fired four marketing executives this week, which was a decision that Allen would at least have been involved in. It is unlikely that team owner Dan Snyder would have allowed Allen to make such a move if Allen’s job was in jeopardy, and if Allen is safe, the expectation is that Gruden is safe as well.

John Keim of ESPN.com agrees, and he says that when it comes to Snyder, there are usually some rumblings that a head coach or executive will be fired. Keim indicates there have been no such rumblings to date, and while Gruden will meet with Snyder at some point soon, it seems that Gruden and Allen will be returning in 2019 (Twitter links).

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky is a different story. Manusky is in his second year as the Redskins’ DC, and if he were fired, his replacement would be the fourth DC during Gruden’s tenure. Rapoport suggests that Manusky, who has been a source of player frustration, is definitely on the hot seat, and Keim tweets that Manusky is the obvious target if the team wants to make a high level coaching change. But Keim also wonders if Manusky, whose locker room support was a major factor in his promotion to DC in 2017, and whom some players still love, is really the problem.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Redskins, Reuben Foster

Redskins decision-makers were split over whether to claim Reuben Foster off waivers from the 49ers this week, according to Les Carpenter and Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post. The biggest proponent of the move was team president Bruce Allen, who “masterminded” the idea. 

Foster was arrested at the Niners’ team hotel on Saturday night, marking the second time this year that he has been accused of getting physical with girlfriend Elissa Ennis. Ennis recanted the first allegation, but she is cooperating with authorities this time around and her attorney says she will “participate in the [legal] process.”

The 2017 first-round pick is undeniably talented, but the Redskins’ decision to add him to the roster has been widely criticized. That may explain why Allen chose to have Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams quoted in the team’s press release rather than himself.

The Redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben,” Williams said in the statement. “If true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone.”

Shortly after claiming Foster, the Redskins announced that the linebacker will not play until his legal situation is resolved. They won’t have the opportunity to do that anyway – the NFL placed Foster on the commissioner’s exempt list, meaning that he cannot play or practice for the Redskins until the league office gives its blessing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Rumors: Peterson, Galette, Cap

Neither Daniel Snyder nor Redskins president Bruce Allen knew about the team’s decision to bring Adrian Peterson in for a workout. Instead, VP of player personnel Doug Williams and football operations president Eric Shaffer moved forward with the audition that quickly led to Peterson signing and then reclaiming an NFL starting gig.

(Shaffer) looked and me and said, ‘Well, what do you think, what do we got to lose?’” Williams said during a radio interview with the Team 980’s Doc Walker (via the Washington Post). “I’m a little hesitant to pull the plug, and then before I went out to practice I looked at Eric and said, ‘Hey Eric, what the heck? Let’s do it.’

The thing about that, I came to practice, I was so hyped about it that I forgot to tell Bruce that we was bringing him in. I’m sitting there that evening and Bruce came in my office and he just stood there looking at me. I’m thinking, ‘What’d I do?’ Well, Dan had called him and let him know he didn’t know. And Bruce let me know that he didn’t know because Dan didn’t know. I said, ‘Well look, that’s on me.’ I took it. Sometimes you have to have big shoulders, you take it and you move on.”

Williams arranged the workout for Monday, at a time when the Redskins were searching for available backs, and Peterson signed for the veteran minimum later that day. Peterson is thriving with Washington, his fourth NFL team; his 236 yards are fourth among players who’ve played just three games. He scored twice and rushed for a season-high 120 yards (6.3 per carry) in the Redskins’ 31-17 Week 3 win over the Packers.

Here’s the latest out of the nation’s capital:

  • Unless the Redskins see a member of their edge-rushing contingent suffer a setback, don’t look for them to bring back Junior Galette. Redskins brass is comfortable with its quartet of Ryan Kerrigan, Pernell McPhee, Preston Smith and Ryan AndersonRich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington notes. Galette’s expressed regret he turned down a Washington offer, for what the veteran pass rusher says was for two years and $10MM, this offseason. The Redskins informed him during free agency they were moving in a different direction. A Rams visit also did not produce a deal. After two season-nullifying injuries, Galette played in 16 Washington games last season and recorded three sacks. Of the aforementioned incumbents, only Anderson has a sack this season.
  • Washington would like this season to be a redshirt campaign for third-round pick Geron Christian. Jay Gruden said this week (per Tandler) he would like the rookie offensive linemen to learn this season. Christian has not been active on a game day yet, and the Redskins’ offensive line hasn’t encountered the injury trouble it did in 2017.
  • Although Washington has not made Caleb Brantley part of any of its 46-man Sunday rosters, the team views the young defensive lineman as a rotational piece down the line, Tandler adds. The Browns waived Brantley after one season. He played in 12 games as a rookie, starting one, and registered two sacks and a fumble recovery. Washington’s receiving strong play from its defensive line thus far, making opportunities for the second-year newcomer scarce.
  • One of the ways Washington can increase its cap space next year (projected total of $25MM) would be by cutting Josh Norman. While that line of thinking surfaced over the summer, Tandler writes it may behoove the team to keep its top corner in the fold for another season. A Norman release would save Washington $8.5MM but also stick the franchise with $6MM in dead money. Washington ranks second in total defense thus far and moved on from Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason. Norman’s working with Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau now.

Extra Points: Cards, Texans, Colts, Redskins

While the NFL world this week learned Cardinals second-round rookie Christian Kirk was arrested for disorderly conduct and property damage in February, prosecutors may not have a strong case against the former Texas A&M wideout. The main witness cited by police was lying on a bench and not watching while a van window was allegedly broken by Kirk and his friends, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That same witness claims he saw Kirk and a friend throwing rocks at other cars, but no damage was reported on any other vehicle. The case against Kirk is still pending, but Arizona knew about the arrest before making him the 47th overall pick in the draft. It’s unlikely Kirk ever faces any legal ramifications from the incident, while the league has avoided suspending players involved in pre-NFL off-field trouble.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Tyrann Mathieu was famously versatile during five seasons with the Cardinals, but the Texans — Mathieu’s new football home — have a more fixed set of objectives for the Honey Badger, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. “We talked about that when we were speaking to him during the process,” said Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. “We told him that we really do value – as you know – we value versatility, but we also understand that a guy needs to have basically one home. He needs to understand and master that one home, which is safety for Tyrann. Then, in different packages that are played less of the time, maybe he does something else.” Mathieu inked a one-year, $7MM deal with Houston earlier this year, and that figure has surprisingly stood as the highest annual value for any non-franchised free agent safety contract this offseason.
  • Free agent quarterback Cody Keith is working out for the Colts on Wednesday, and previously auditioned for the Chargers and Rams, per Rapoport (Twitter link). A former four-star recruit, Keith was limited by injuries during his collegiate career at East Carolina, and was only attempted just 11 passes before moving to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Since that time, Keith has spent time in the Canadian Football League and in the Spring League, working on Johnny Manziel‘s team in the latter venture.
  • The Redskins announced that they’ve hired Brian Lafemina as their new president of business operations and chief operating officer. While the hiring doesn’t involve football operations on its face, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk speculates that Lafemina’s addition could be a precursor the Washington parting ways with much-maligned team president Bruce Allen. However, the Redskins’ press release states Allen will continue in his current role, while John Keim of ESPN.com hears Twitter link) Lafemina will focus mainly on stadium development.
  • Speaking of business operations, new Panthers owner David Tepper may look to hire former Browns president and CFO Mike Keenan, tweets Rapoport. Keenan, who was team president in Cleveland from 2008-10, has recently worked in consulting, per Rapoport, and working with clubs in multiple sports. While Tepper may make changes on the business end once he takes over in Carolina, he’s not expected to revamp the Panthers’ football staff.

Redskins’ Bruce Allen Won’t Join Raiders

There’s a belief in league circles that Redskins president Bruce Allen hopes to eventually return to the Raiders, Mike Florio of PFT reports. However, Allen tells SiriusXM (audio link) that he’s not leaving for Oakland. 

Well, first of all, I do like the Silver and Black, and I think Mark Davis, [GM] Reggie [McKenzie] and Jon [Gruden] are going to do great. And I’m so excited for them to go to Vegas,” Allen said. “But I’m not going there. And I’m not going to play shortstop for the Nationals either tonight…I have a job to do, and we’re really looking forward to this season, and what we’re going to be doing off the field here, and future stadiums in Washington.”

Allen worked with Gruden while with the Raiders and Buccaneers, so the rumblings are only logical. If the Redskins struggle badly this year and Allen finds himself out of a job, it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on.

Last year, the Redskins finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for a second straight year. This year, they’ll try to right the ship with Alex Smith replacing Kirk Cousins under center.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Jerry Jones, Landry, Bruce Allen

Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Star-Telegram writes that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will testify before commissioner Roger Goodell and other owners at an appeal hearing tomorrow in Palm Beach, Florida. Jones is appealing the commissioner’s decision to assess him more than $2MM in legal fees stemming from the federal court case with Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Jones’ opposition to Goodell’s contract extension.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes, the fact that Jones is testifying before Goodell means that Goodell has not exercised his right to designate the appeal to someone else, even though not doing so creates obvious conflict of interest concerns. In Florio’s estimation, Jones has strong arguments against fee-shifting for his threat to sue the league with respect to Goodell’s extension, as he never actually followed through with the threat. His arguments against fee-shifting with respect to the Elliott matter is a different story, as the Cowboys clearly provided substantial assistance to Elliott in his battle with the league.

Florio says Goodell has final and binding power to resolve the amount of legal fees to be paid, but the resolution granting him that power does not expressly grant him the authority to also answer the threshold question of whether club behavior triggered a repayment obligation. Goodell presumably will take the position that he has final say in that regard, too.

As the Goodell v. Jones saga drags on, let’s take a look at several more notes from the NFC:

  • Although the Bears have interest in Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune does not believe the team should trade for him. Biggs says Landry does not give Chicago the dynamic, speedy playmaker that it needs, and given that, it would cost too much in both dollars and draft capital to land him.
  • Although most mock drafts have the Lions selecting a RB or DE with their first-round draft pick, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com says the team could target an OLB like Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds to boost its pass rush. Rothstein says the Lions could indeed target a RB with its first draft choice, but it’s a deep class for RBs, and the better value might be found on Day 2.
  • John Keim of ESPN.com says it is unclear whether Redskins team president Bruce Allen is on the hot seat, though Keim believes he should be. Nonetheless, Keim thinks it would take a really bad season, and not just a mediocre one, for Allen to be shown the door.
  • Mike Jurecki of 98.7FM says the Cardinals would like to retain linebacker Josh Bynes as a depth option, but he believes the team will target a linebacker at some point in the draft and/or look to the UDFA market to grab an LB (Twitter link).
  • Earlier today, we took a look at potential QB plans for the Vikings and Giants.

East Rumors: Patriots, Cousins, Giants, Foles

Will Rob Gronkowski retire this offseason? The tight end hinted at the possibility following the Patriots‘ Super Bowl loss, but head coach Bill Belichick isn’t panicking.

At the end of every season, every person goes through somewhat of a process at the end of the season and then the following season,” Belichick said (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com). “I think everyone that is involved in a NFL season, you get pretty drained especially after a season like this. [You] go through the end of the year process. The following year is the following year. It’s the same for everybody. I certainly can’t speak for anybody else.

You’d have to ask any individual for every situation, but I would say five minutes after the game, or the day after the game is not really the time to make those decisions.

Gronkowski maxed out his incentive-laden 2017 contract by returning to first-team All-Pro status, the fourth time he’s done so in his eight-year career. Only Tony Gonzalez (six) earned more first-team All-Pro distinctions. Gronk will turn 29 in May and still has two seasons remaining on his extension signed back in 2012. He’s set to earn $8MM in base salary in 2018 and take up $10.91MM of the Patriots’ cap.

Here’s more from the AFC champions and the latest from the NFC East.

  • Take this with a grain of salt, but Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters that he will not address whether he’s going to join the Colts as their new head coach or stay in New England as their offensive coordinator (Twitter link via Doug Kyed of NESN). A report emerged during Super Bowl LII that McDaniels was considering backing out of his unofficial Indianapolis agreement.
  • Redskins president Bruce Allen has been speaking to rival executives about possibly tagging Kirk Cousins, but they don’t see the logic in doing that, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. The feeling around the league, La Canfora says, is that consideration of the tag feels overly personal. As PFR’s Rory Parks explained over the weekend, tagging and trading Cousins could wind up backfiring hard on the team.
  • The Giants are planning to hire two more assistants for Pat Shurmur‘s first staff. Deshea Townsend and Ben Wilkerson will be joining the staff as assistant defensive backs coach and assistant offensive line coach, respectively, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports. A 13-year NFL veteran corner, Townsend served as the Titans’ DBs coach during Mike Mularkey‘s two-year run. Wilkerson spent the past three seasons on John Fox‘s Bears staff.
  • Carson Wentz‘s severe knee injuries would make the Eagles “fools” to trade Nick Foles now, especially considering what Jimmy Garoppolo fetched in a trade in October, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes. Signed to just a two-year, $11MM deal, Foles could serve as an elite insurance policy while Wentz recovers. While the Super Bowl champions’ franchise quarterback is hopeful to return in time for the start of the 2018 season, the December setback could leave him on the shelf going into training camp.
  • Conversely, the Eagles’ lack of a second- or third-round pick in next year’s draft could make acquiring a second-rounder more important than keeping Foles while Wentz recovers, Les Bowen of Philly.com writes. Foles’ previous shortcomings as a starter should give teams pause, but his 72 percent playoff completion rate this year was third in NFL history — behind only Joe Montana (1989) and Troy Aikman (1993) — for a player with at least 75 throws. And his stock will probably never be higher. The 29-year-old passer would be an interesting name on an already complex QB market.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

NFC Notes: Cousins, Foster, Scandrick, Cards

The Redskins are using the franchise tag arrangement with Kirk Cousins once again, and some more information about how the franchise planned its negotiations this past summer has emerged. Washington submitted the offer Bruce Allen referenced — a five-year proposal worth just less than $110MM, with $53MM fully guaranteed at signing — in May, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. But Rapoport adds the team did not do anything to sweeten its offer in the months that followed, leading to the stalemate dragging past July 17.

This lack of a notably different second offer came in spite of Allen meeting with Cousins’ agent in Chicago and the Redskins president meeting with Cousins and his father in a four-plus-hour summit Rapoport describes as friendly. Allen, per Rapoport, said he would make another proposal between then and the July 17 deadline. But it did not arrive, and the same offer ended up being a take-it-or-leave-it submission.

Washington cannot renegotiate with Cousins until after the season, when the price for a tag will skyrocket — up to approximately $34MM — and put the Redskins to a higher-stakes decision.

Here’s the latest from the NFC as the conference’s Week 1 slate winds down.

  • Orlando Scandrick broke his hand during the Cowboys‘ Sunday-night win over the Giants, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). However, the veteran slot cornerback underwent surgery on Monday and is adamant on playing in Week 2. Scandrick’s goal might have been a bit optimistic, though. The surgery was a success, per ESPN.com’s Todd Archer, but the Cowboys don’t sound like they’re counting on him next week. Week 3 looms as a target, Archer notes. Scandrick missed four games last season and struggled with foot trouble. He’s back in his primary role, though, and is a key cog on a Cowboys defense that lost multiple cornerback regulars in free agency.
  • While an official timetable for Reuben Foster‘s high-ankle sprain isn’t yet known, Kyle Shanahan is expecting the first-round pick to miss at least a month. The rookie 49ers coach said Monday, via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter), the four-to-six-week range would be the typical hiatus length. The 49ers are down to their third option at outside linebacker after Malcolm Smith tore a pectoral muscle and was lost for the season in training camp.
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters on Monday morning that left tackle D.J. Humphries will miss a week or two with a sprained MCL. John Wetzel is expected to start in his absence. Humphries debuted on the left side on Sunday after he and Jared Veldheer switched positions in the offseason.

Zach Links contributed to this report.