Some assorted notes from around the NFL on this Saturday morning…
- Steelers defensive tackle Dan McCullers has only compiled 27 tackles and 1.5 sacks since being selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. As Chris Adamski of TribLive.com writes, the 24-year-old isn’t guaranteed a roster spot, and his coaches seemingly echoed that sentiment. “Dan McCullers, he’s got to grow up,” said defensive line coach John Mitchell. “It’s time to make a move right now. This is going to be his fourth year. And usually in this league, after about four years, you have got to make a move. Or, either, you move somewhere else.” An injury to starter Javon Hargrave opened up first-team reps, but McCullers was reportedly passed in favor of L.T. Walton.
- Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun believes there are several Ravens players who have to prove themselves this season if they want to stick around the NFL. The writer specifically points to a pair of fourth-year players, wideout Michael Campanaro and tight end Crockett Gillmore. Preston doesn’t believe the players need to become “superstars,” but they need to at least prove that they can contribute in some capacity.
- It has already been an offseason of changes for the Jets, who let go of veterans like Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and David Harris. Darryl Slater of NJ.com takes a look at seven current Jets who could be released or traded over the next 12 months, including cornerback Buster Skrine, defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, offensive guard James Carpenter, running backs Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, and defensive tackle Steve McLendon.
Ben Swanson of DenverBroncos.com caught up with Vance Joseph to learn more about the new Broncos‘ head coach, including his hobbies and favorite foods. Notably, when asked which of his former players would make the best NFL head coach, Joseph pointed to Lions (and former Texans) safety Glover Quin.
In the wake of quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s season-ending knee injury last December, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase reached out to the retired Peyton Manning about a possible comeback. “It started with Gase,” Peyton’s father, Archie Manning, told Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. “He said, ‘Hey 18, Tannehill went down.’ He said, ‘I think he’s going to miss some time. The first question I’m going to get at the press conference in the morning is if I’m going to try to bring you to Miami. What do you want me to tell them?” Peyton Manning was resoundingly successful under Gase when he was Denver’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2012-14, but neither a reunion with Gase nor joining a playoff-bound club late in the season could entice the future Hall of Famer to return. Continued Archie Manning: “The text message came back from Peyton, ‘You tell them I could probably come play, but there’s no way I can miss carpool the next two weeks.’ So, he was done.” With Peyton Manning unwilling to come out of retirement, the Dolphins turned to backup QB Matt Moore toward the end of the regular season and in the first round of the playoffs, in which Pittsburgh soundly defeated them.
A few more notes from around the NFL…
- At $25MM per year, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr‘s newly signed contract is a record deal in terms of average annual value, but it still doesn’t match up to Colts signal-caller Andrew Luck‘s pact, writes Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com. While Luck is collecting less per season (just over $23MM) on the six-year, $139.1MM extension he inked last summer, he outpaces Carr in terms of both three-year value ($75MM to $67.6MM) and four-year value ($96.125MM to $87.7MM). Those are better gauges than the overall value of a contract, suggests Barnwell, who argues that the last year of a quarterback’s deal is essentially irrelevant. By then, the QB will have either landed a raise, thereby eliminating what was left on the previous contract, or gotten cut.
- Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins isn’t going to sign a long-term deal worth less than $52MM over the first two years, contends JP Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com. That figure represents the combined totals of the $24MM franchise tag for 2017, which Cousins is slated to play under, and the $28MM transition tag for next year. Even that might not be enough for the Redskins to lock up Cousins by the July 17 deadline, observes Finlay, who’s not particularly optimistic that a deal will come together.
- Fourth-year Steelers defensive tackle Daniel McCullers is facing a make-or-break summer, notes Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The 352-pound McCullers is coming off his first 16-game season, but he only played 17.4 percent of defensive snaps, and the Steelers opted against giving him first-team reps in minicamp while starter Javon Hargrave dealt with an injury. When speaking with the team’s official website about McCullers’ status, Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell didn’t mince words, saying: “Dan McCullers, he’s got to grow up. It’s time to make a move right now. This is going to be his fourth year. And usually in this league, after about four years, you have got to make a move. Or, either, you move somewhere else.”
- As expected, the Eagles have re-signed receiver Arrelious Benn days after releasing him. Terms of the deal weren’t announced, but Benn’s contract was reworked in order to avoid the $1.1MM he was due this season, writes Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Benn, who missed last season because of a torn ACL, is not guaranteed a roster spot, however, as the Eagles added a pair of rookie receivers — second-rounder Jordan Matthews and fifth-rounder Josh Huff — to groom behind veterans Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
- The Steelers have inked sixth-round nose tackle Daniel McCullers (all 6-7, 350 pounds of him) and seventh-round tight end Rob Blanchflower, per Pro Football Talk. McCullers in particular has a realistic chance of carving a niche with the team, as the mammoth nose tackle with exceptionally long arms is an ideal, two-gapping anchor if he plays to his potential. He’s underachieved to this point, however, and was drafted lower than his ability dictates for a reason.
- Meanwhile, the Steelers will have to wait until June 2 to free up money to sign their top three draft picks, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter).
- The Buccaneers announced they’ve signed fifth-rounder Kevin Pamphile, an offensive tackle out of Purdue.
- The Ravens will sign ex-Jaguars fullback Shaun Chapas, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Chapas, 26, was a seventh-round pick of the Cowboys in 2011. He had a brief stint with the Lions in 2012 and spent time on Jacksonville’s practice squad and active roster last season.