Dan Marino

East Notes: Eagles, Sproles, Dolphins, Redskins

The Eagles will have plenty of roster decisions to make heading into the 2019 season. Two of the names at the top of the list include veteran running Darren Sproles and oft-injured linebacker Jordan Hicks, Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com writes.

After originally declaring this as his final season, Sproles has looked like a vintage version of himself, leading many to wonder if he would come back for his 15th NFL season. One person who would love to have the pass-catching back return is Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition” for 2019, Pederson said. “He’s a great leader. he works hard, he’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”

He didn’t offer the same ringing endorsement for Hicks. Despite being a noted playmaker who ranks third on the team in tackles in 2018, the Texas Longhorns product has missed 21 games in his first four seasons, including four this season.

“I’ll worry about the roster in the spring when I get to the spring,” Pederson said. “Jordan’s been a big part of our success here and he helped us win the game last week and he’ll help us win another on Sunday.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Sticking with the Eagles, thanks once again to Nick Foles, the team is currently in the fight for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Should they make it, there will undoubtedly be a contingent of fans hoping Philly will bring back the veteran in 2019. However, that is unlikely to happen, writes Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Brandt. With Foles on the books for $20MM next year, it is much more likely the Eagles do not exercise his option and make him a free agent. If he goes on another magical run in January, however, every option has to be on the table.
  • Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is not expected back with the team in 2019, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. The move would end his four-year run with the team. Head coach Adam Gase is expected to be retained. Salguero also has heard a few of the names as possible replacements include Dan Marino and Dawn Aponte.
  • Following the release of D.J. Swearinger, one of the Redskins’ top needs this season has quickly become safety, Ben Standig of NBC Sports writes. Coupled with the potential departure of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Redskins would be down both of their safeties heading into 2019. Should they address the issue in the draft, the team could target Alabama’s Deionte Thompson or Virginia’s Juan Thornhill, two of the top-ranked prospects at free and strong safety, respectively.

East Notes: Dolphins, Marino, Bills, Incognito

The Bills have indicated that they’ll prioritize re-signing Richie Incognito in the coming weeks, and that interest in a new deal is mutual, according to the veteran guard (link via Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com):

“My goal is to come back and play in Buffalo,” Incognito said during an appearance on The John Murphy Show. “I love it there. I love my teammates and I love playing for coach Rex and Greg Roman. I really think that my personality and my hard work approach and physical nature really resembles the spirit of Buffalo. A blue collar town and a bunch of hard working people up there, and they just want to win. That’s my number one goal is just to win and restore the glory of Buffalo.”

Here are a few more items from out of the NFL’s East divisions:

  • Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino was a part of the Dolphins‘ contingent at the Senior Bowl and he’s becoming more and more involved in the team’s personnel decisions, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Originally, Marino was more involved in the PR side of things than the front office. Ultimately, he wants to work his way into more of an executive role and the current higher-ups say they’re delighted with him.
  • At a press conference today, Steelers president and co-owner Art Rooney II revealed that the Eagles have received permission to interview Steelers executive Brandon Hunt for their director of player personnel job (Twitter link via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). According to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter links), Hunt has already met with Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie, and will meet with Tom Donahoe on Friday — Donahoe, a former Steelers GM, is having a major impact on Philadelphia’s search for a top personnel exec, tweets Mosher.
  • Eagles left tackle Jason Peters turned 34 this month, and his cap hit will rise to nearly $10MM in 2016, but new head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t want Peters to go anywhere, as Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com writes. “I think J.P.’s got several good years left in him,” Pederson said. “I think that he does the right things in the offseason to get himself ready to go for another year.”
  • Former Bengals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, now the defensive coordinator in Miami, admitted today that he felt responsible for Adam Jones‘ penalty against the Steelers in the Wild Card game, referring to Pacman as his “guy.” As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter links) observes, Joseph’s new role means Jones might be on the Dolphins‘ radar in free agency this winter.

Latest On Dolphins’ Front Office

Former general manager Dennis Hickey, whom the Dolphins parted with Saturday, had his role diminished in 2015 to that of a scouting director, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (Twitter link). With Hickey gone, there are sure to be more changes forthcoming to Miami’s front office, Jeff Darlington of NFL.com reports.

Those changes could involve executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte, though she has a fan in owner Stephen Ross. However, her specialties (namely the CBA and salary cap) might soon fall under the purview of executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, who is in position to become the franchise’s football czar. Despite that, Ross won’t let her go easily, Darlington writes.

Regardless of what happens with Aponte, the organization wants its all-time best player, Dan Marino, to take on a larger role. For his part, Marino – currently a special consultant to president and CEO Tom Garfinkel – is reluctant because of the commitment that would come with a higher ranking within the franchise. Nevertheless, the Dolphins do highly value the opinions of both Marino and vice chairman of the board Matt Higgins.

On the subject of the team’s coaching search, Breer tweets that Miami would be willing to let its next coach bring a personnel man with him. That goes hand in hand with Darlington’s notion that Tannenbaum would be open to decreasing some of his own power over the roster if it means hiring the right GM. If the Dolphins stay in house to hire their next GM, it’s likely to be director of college scouting Chris Grier. That would benefit Tannenbaum, who does not diligently scout players. Whether Grier or someone else becomes the GM, the Dolphins are cognizant that they need to put greater emphasis on scouting.

Of course, it remains to be seen whom the Dolphins will choose as their next GM and head coach. Two things are certain: Interim coach Dan Campbell won’t get promoted to the full-time role, per Darlington, and the team will enter its respective searches with Tannenbaum fully in control, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Latest On Joe Philbin, Dolphins

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports notes in his latest column that as of a few weeks ago, Dolphins owners Stephen Ross “wasn’t itching to make a coaching change,” and had spoken highly of Joe Philbin. However, since then, the Dolphins barely squeaked out a win against the Jets and then lost two key games against AFC contenders, all but eliminating their playoff chances. If Miami wins its final two games, Philbin could survive to coach the club in 2015, but if the team loses one or both, “all bets are off,” writes Marvez.

Although Marvez suggests there’s still some hope for Philbin in Miami, beat writer Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald paints a much bleaker picture, writing that the head coach’s “days are numbered,” and adding that it’s hard to imagine Philbin getting a pat on the back for winning two meaningless games to finish the season. For his part, Philbin says he’s focused on those two games, rather than his future, though he acknowledged that both he and Ross were disappointed after the team’s showing in New England yesterday (Twitter links via James Walker of ESPN.com).

As Philbin’s future in Miami hangs in the balance, it’s also worth keeping an eye on which members of the organization will have a say in the head coach’s fate, writes Salguero. According to the Miami Herald scribe, Dan Marino – a special advisor to Ross – and Mike Tannenbaum – a front office consultant – were both seen talking to the team’s owner after this weekend’s loss to the Patriots.

Pointing out that Tannenbaum still acts as an agent and has several potential head coaching candidates on his roster of clients, including Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Salguero writes that Tannenbaum and Marino will “obviously have say” in what happens with the head coaching situation. As such, general manager Dennis Hickey finds himself in an interesting situation — Hickey was hired in January of this year, meaning he inherited Philbin, and it’s not clear how much input he’d have in the hiring of a new head coach. Typically, a team’s GM plays a significant role in that process, but with so many voices seemingly involved in the Dolphins’ decision-making, there’s no guarantee of that for Hickey.

Dan Marino Joins Dolphins As Special Advisor

Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, who starred with the Dolphins from 1983-1999, has been hired by Miami as a special advisor, the team announced in a press release. Marino, 52, was a fixture on CBS’ The NFL Today for the past decade, but left the show in February.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role. I have always considered myself a Dolphin for life and I look forward to supporting the organization anyway I can,” said Marino. “[Owner] Stephen Ross is a passionate guy who is committed to building a first-class, winning organization. I’m excited about the future of the team and where the organization is headed.”

In 2004, Marino accepted the title of Senior Vice President of Football Operation with the Dolphins. The position, created specially for Marino, entitled him to final say on all football decisions — however, he resigned just three weeks after taking the job. This time around, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Marino won’t have any “formal involvement” in football operations, instead working on community- and business-related projects. General manager Dennis Hickey, hired in in January, will presumably retain control of football matters.

“Dan is and will always be an important part of the Miami Dolphins and we are excited to get him involved in a more formal way,” said Ross. “Dan is unquestionably one of the greatest players in NFL history and his enthusiasm and passion for the Dolphins is inspiring to everyone here.”

East Notes: Bryant, Finley, Dolphins, Eagles

In examining what a possible extension for Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant could look like, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap focuses on the top-of-the-market players who signed big deals before the age of 30 — it’s a list that includes Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Percy Harvin, Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, and Vincent Jackson. Bryant’s two goals in this negotiation, Fitzgerald writes, should be to establish that he is above those bottom four names and to convince Dallas to pay him like the top two.

Here’s more from around the league’s two East divisions:

  • There are “a good half-dozen teams in quiet pursuit” of free agent tight end Jermichael Finley, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. Freeman predicts that Finley will ultimately sign with the Patriots, the club the former Packer visited last Friday after being medically cleared by his doctor.
  • Although Dan Marino and the Dolphins have talked about a possible position within the organization for the Hall of Fame quarterback, the two sides have been unable to figure out a role for him so far, says Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. According to Salguero, the club would love to have Marino aboard for PR and marketing purposes, while Marino would like a role with some actual power (all Twitter links).
  • The Eagles have made a number of changes to their scouting and personnel departments, the team announced today. Notably, Rick Mueller has been promoted to director of pro player personnel.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Gilbert, Florence, Marino

Browns rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert is excited to return kicks for the Browns, writes Tom Reed of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “There is nothing like taking one to the house,” Gilbert said. “I tell a couple of my teammates, ‘It’s like your Mama’s cooking, it’s finger lickin good.” Gilbert, the No. 8 overall pick in the draft, set a Big-12 record with six career kickoff returns for touchdowns. More from the AFC..

  • The Titans had cornerback Drayton Florence in for a visit today, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network (via Twitter). Now that June 1st has come and gone, Florence is no longer tied to a compensatory draft pick. The 33-year-old played in 14 games for the Panthers last season.
  • It turns out that former Dolphins great Dan Marino won’t be suing the NFL after all. The Hall of Fame quarterback released a statement to Peter King of The MMQB and other reporters saying, in short, that he never intended to sue the league. People close to Marino feared that the lawsuit could hurt him as he talks with Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel about a potential job, tweets Ed Werder of ESPN.com. The NFL told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (via Twitter) that it has not and would not tell Miami or any other club not to hire a former player suing the league.
  • After signing a five-year deal worth $28MM last offseason, Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola wants to show his stuff in 2014, writes Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Amendola was the subject of of trade and cut rumors this offseason but was probably saved by his hefty contract. If the oft-injured receiver doesn’t deliver this season, he’s likely a goner in New England since there isn’t a ton of dead money on his deal beyond ’14.

AFC East Notes: Marino, Dareus, Patriots

Former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino has joined 14 former players in suing the NFL, reports Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times. In an 18-page complaint, the litigants claim that the league withheld ” information about football-related brain injuries and misled players,” allegations that the NFL has long denied. Marino, who retired in 1999, had been a broadcaster with CBS’ The NFL Today from 2002 until January 2014, leading Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post to wonder (via Twitter) if Marino would have been involved in the lawsuit had his relationship with CBS (and tangentially, the NFL) not been terminated.

More news from the AFC East:

  • Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, already facing felony charges in Alabama stemming from a May incident, was arrested last week and charged on seven counts regarding a car race, according to James Staas of the Buffalo News. Dareus, whose 2015 option was exercised in April, could face an NFL suspension. This latest episode could also dissuade the Bills from offering Dareus an extension; in February, Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley said a new deal was “on the radar,” but perhaps not a priority.
  • The Bills have several options regarding Dareus, writes ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak, which include releasing the Pro Bowler immediately (unlikely), releasing him following the 2014 season (his 2015 option is guaranteed for injury only) or allowing him to play out his contract.
  • ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss and Field Yates offer opinions on several complementary free agents who have been linked to the Patriots, opining that New England should sign linebacker James Anderson and tight end Dustin Keller, while passing on tight end Jermichael Finley (who visited the team last week) and running back Michael Bush.
  • New Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno appears to be out of shape at OTAs, and is playing behind Lamar Miller, writes James Walker of ESPN.com.
  • Walker, in a series of tweets, adds that free agent signee Louis Delmas is happy with the Dolphins’ roster: “I see a group of guys that want to win. We don’t have any 14- or 15-year vets on the team,” said Delmas. “This is a very young group that’s determined to get better each and every day. I plan on being a part of that.”

AFC Notes: Pats, Dolphins, Zuttah, Titans

DeSean Jackson‘s release was the latest reminder that trades are tricky to work out in the NFL, even when it’s simply a matter of trying to swap a player for a draft pick. Player-for-player deals are even more difficult to finalize, but Field Yates of ESPN.com (Insider-only link) has five suggestions for trades he thinks would benefit both sides, and four of them don’t include any picks. Among Yates’ suggestions: Ryan Mathews from the Chargers to the Titans for offensive tackle Michael Roos, and defensive lineman Jared Odrick from the Dolphins to the Patriots for offensive lineman Marcus Cannon.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • While it won’t have a real effect on teams’ cap situations for 2014, about $105MM in leaguewide deferred payments on bonus money are due today and tomorrow, tweets Brian McIntyre. As Yates writes in another ESPN.com piece, the Patriots are among the teams with a handful of payments owed, including $2.5MM each to offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer and cornerback Kyle Arrington.
  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says he plans to speak to Dan Marino about a possible job within the organization, though he’s not sure yet what sort of role it would be, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
  • When the Ravens acquired Jeremy Zuttah in a trade last week, the team also worked out a five-year extension with the veteran center. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun now has the details on Zuttah’s new contract, tweeting that it’s worth $18MM with $6.5MM guaranteed. That includes a $3.5MM signing bonus, a $1MM guaranteed 2014 base salary, and $2MM of his $3MM 2015 base salary in guaranteed money. Wilson adds in a second tweet that the deal also includes playing-time and Pro Bowl escalators, and provides the full breakdown of annual base salaries and cap figures in two final tweets.
  • The base salaries on Shaun Phillips‘ two-year deal with the Titans are $1.5MM (2014) and $2.55MM (2015), tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
  • The Titans are hosting several players for pre-draft visits today, says Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (all Twitter links). According to Wyatt, the players visiting the Titans include tight end A.C. Leonard, offensive linemen Kadeem Edwards and Demetrius Rhaney, and defensive back David Van Dyke of Tennessee State, as well as former Vanderbilt kicker Carey Spear, cornerback Andre Hal, and safety Kenny Ladler.
  • Nearly three weeks after the free agent period began, Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com resets the Browns’ roster, examining which positions still might be areas of need.