Dan Connor

NFC Notes: Falcons, Cardinals, Packers

Falcons fifth-round linebacker Marquis Spruill will miss the 2014 season after tearing his ACL, the team told reporters, including Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The 23-year-old Syracuse product could have conceivably contributed to a thin Atlanta linebacking corps that already suffered the loss of veteran Sean Weatherspoon, but now the Falcons will presumably place Spruill on injured reserve and look to fill his roster spot with another LB. McClure thinks (Twitter links) that Nick Barnett and/or Kion Wilson, who last played for the Redskins and Steelers, respectively, could be options for Atlanta. More from the NFC:

  • Dan Connor, who worked out for the Falcons after Weatherspoon’s injury, might have intrigued Atlanta following the loss of Spruill, but as David Jones of the Patriot-News reports (h/t: McClure), Connor has taken an assistant coaching job at Division II West Chester University. Connor, 28, hasn’t officially retired, but after suffering a multitude of injuries throughout his career, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to find a new career path.
  • Veteran linebacker John Abraham, who signed a two-year, $4.6MM deal prior to last season, has the most team-friendly contract on the Cardinals, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. Larry Fitzgerald has the least tenable deal in Arizona, per Fitzgerald, as the receiver is in the midst of a seven-year, $113MM extension.
  • Cardinals second-year safety Tyrann Mathieu, who tore his ACL in December, tells Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com that he hopes to return to the field soon. “I expect to be at practice the next two to three weeks,” said the 22-year-old. “Hopefully we can stick to that timetable.”
  • Randall Cobb needs to stay healthy in order to receive an extension from the Packers, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Green Bay signed fellow receiver Jordy Nelson to a four-year, $39MM deal last month, and Cobb knows he has yet to show he is worth similar money. “I don’t believe I’ve done enough,” Cobb said. “I think my job is to come out here every day, do what I’m supposed to do, work hard and hopefully my time will come.”

NFC Rumors: Falcons, Connor, Williams, Cards

While many of the rumors swirling around the Falcons and a possible move up to the No. 1 pick have been linked to the team’s interest in Jadeveon Clowney, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com says the defensive end wouldn’t necessarily be the club’s target if Atlanta does trade up. According to La Canfora, the Falcons are “very, very high” on offensive tackle Greg Robinson, who is a candidate to be drafted second overall by the Rams, meaning Atlanta may be considering moving up for Robinson instead.

La Canfora adds that several GMs believe Clowney, Robinson, Khalil Mack, Jake Matthews, and Taylor Lewan could be the top five players selected, which would put the Falcons in a tough spot, since they seem intent on adding an impact offensive lineman or pass rusher.

While we wait to see what the Falcons decide, let’s check out a few more updates from across the NFC:

  • Longtime Carolina linebacker Dan Connor, who split time between the Giants and Panthers last season, recently worked out for the Falcons, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. Connor, an unrestricted free agent, would be competing for playing time in a reserve role if he signed with Atlanta.
  • Former Viking Kevin Williams, who has visited the Giants and Seahawks, is mulling the possibility of retiring if he doesn’t receive an offer he likes, as he tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “If it’s not worth the risk of going back out there, I can’t say I’ll do it,” Williams said. “I don’t see it at this point (taking a low-value deal), but you never know.”
  • Speaking to reporters today, including Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim didn’t rule out the possibility of trading up in the first round, but made it clear that a trade down was far more likely. The GM added that the Cards have already engaged with a number of prospects they expect to go undrafted to try to sell them on signing in Arizona after the draft.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com provides a year-by-year breakdown of Earl Thomas‘ new contract with the Seahawks, which features a cap hit of about $7.373MM in 2014. According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via Twitter), the 2015 and 2016 figures become fully guaranteed after the start of those respective league years.
  • Temple defensive tackle Levi Brown paid a pre-draft visit to the Giants last month, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.

NFC Links: Marshall, 49ers, Winston

A couple of notes from around the NFC…

  • Brandon Marshall is not worried about this future with the Bears, and he said as much on “The Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN Chicago 1000 (via ESPNChicago.com). “One way or another, they’re going to get the deal done,” Marshall said.
  • The 49ers have been seeking a veteran inside linebacker and Brandon Spikes was one of the players on their list, says ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson (via Twitter). The player ultimately proved to be too expensive and signed with the Bills.
  • In a separate article, Williamson gives a list of potential veteran linebackers that the 49ers could be interested in. Among them are Desmond Bishop, Dan Connor and Jonathan Vilma.
  • Offensive tackle Eric Winston still hopes to return to the Cardinals, according to a tweet from SiriusXM NFL Radio. The tweet quotes Winston: “I’ve maintained I hope I’m going back to (the Cardinals). I still think there’s a possibility for that, but have to keep looking.”
  • Prior to signing with the Saints, Ramon Humber considered signing with the Vikings and the Patriots, according to Ramon Antonio Vargas of the New Orleans Advocate.