David Merritt

East Notes: Patriots, Giants, Jets, Cowboys

Rob Gronkowski will miss out on more than $270K in salary and bonuses as a result of his one-week suspension, but the Patriots tight end could see his finances affected even further due to the ban, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com explains. Under the terms of a restructured contract signed earlier this year, Gronkowski can earn three separate tiers of incentives, all of which are tied to playtime and performance. The top tier — which includes a 90% playtime requirement as one stipulation — could now be nearly impossible to reach, as Gronkowski has played on 83.4% of New England’s offensive snaps thus far (and will obviously see that percentage decrease as a result of next week’s absence).

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo will remain “heavily involved” in the Giants‘ defensive scheme, but secondary coach David Merrit will also see an increased workload, Spagnuolo told reporters, including James Kratch of NJ.com (Twitter link). Spagnuolo, of course, is still New York’s defensive coordinator in addition to interim head coach following the firing of Ben McAdoo, but with gameday responsibilities now on the table, Spagnuolo will almost certainly require assistance. Merritt, for his part, is the Giants’ longest-tenured assistant, as he’s been with the club for 14 years.
  • Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson has continued to have trouble with tardiness, and his one-quarter suspension on Sunday was indeed a result of missed meetings, reports Darryl Slater of NJ.com. Wilkerson, who signed a five-year, $86MM deal last summer, but he’s offered only middling production this season. In 12 games, Wilkerson has managed 2.5 sacks and graded as the NFL’s No. 55 interior defender among 117 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. New York can create $11MM in cap space by releasing Wilkerson this offseason, and a team source said Wilkerson will be “gone,” per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
  • It’s no secret that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was against the NFL extending commissioner Roger Goodell, but now that a deal is officially signed, Jones doesn’t have many avenues to pursue, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. If Jones attempts to rip up the contract, Goodell would likely be entitled to a hefty buyout. But Jones could still pursue a legal strategy, especially if he believes the league’s owners were supposed to discuss Goodell’s contract before it became official, per Florio.

Coach Rumors: Giants, Tabor, M. Smith, Haslett

Ben McAdoo didn’t announce any decisions on his coaching staff during his introductory press conference this morning, but the new Giants head coach alluded to players improving in their second season in a defensive scheme, suggesting Steve Spagnuolo will be back.

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that Spagnuolo will, in fact, return as the Giants’ defensive coordinator. A source tell Marvez (Twitter link) that the Giants will also keep secondary coach David Merritt on McAdoo’s staff.

As for McAdoo, Giants owner John Mara said today that the club had initially scheduled a second interview for him on Thursday of this week. However, when the Giants got wind of the Eagles’ strong interest in McAdoo, they pushed that second interview up a day to Wednesday, and ultimately promoted him to head coach (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News).

Here are a few more coaching-related updates from around the NFL:

  • Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor has been retained by new head coach Hue Jackson, the team announced today in a press release. Tabor has been in his current role since 2011, working under Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine, and now Jackson.
  • The Browns are also expected to add Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson to their staff as a running game coordinator, if Minnesota approves the move, writes Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Former Falcons head coach Mike Smith is a “hot name” as a defensive coordinator and has several options, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). We’ll see if Smith, who interviewed for a pair of head coaching jobs, has interest in returning in 2016 as an assistant.
  • Jim Haslett will be named the Bengals‘ new linebackers coach, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com (via Twitter). Haslett, who served as a consultant for Penn State in 2015, was replaced by Joe Barry as Washington’s defensive coordinator a year ago.
  • Saints offensive line coach Bret Ingalls, offensive assistant Kyle DeVan, and secondary coach Wesley McGriff are leaving the team, with the latter two landing college jobs, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune tweets that Dan Roushar will likely move from tight ends coach to offensive line coach to accommodate new addition Dan Campbell.

Coach Updates: Spags, Quinn, LeBeau, Tucker

The Giants will interview Ravens assistant (and former employee) Steve Spagnuolo for their defensive coordinator position this week, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Facebook link). Spagnuolo, 55, was New York’s DC from 2007-08. Per Schefter, the club also spoke with its own defensive backs coach, David Merritt, about the job. Here’s more news on the coaching front…

  • After parting ways with John Fox earlier today, the Broncos want to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, tweets Schefter. Quinn is viewed as the favorite for the Jets head coaching position, and has also been linked to the vacancies in Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco.
  • We heard earlier today that the Jets wanted to bring in Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for a second interview, and now Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets that the meeting will take place on Wednesday, the same day Bowles will speak with the Falcons for a second time. The Atlanta interview will happen first, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • Cowboys offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Callahan is a popular man, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). He’s drawing interest elsewhere, which could lead to a promotion of Scott Linehan. Bills head coach Rex Ryan is among those with interest, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
  • LSU has been in contact with Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker about their opening at the same position, according to Ross Dellenger and Scott Rabalais of The Advocate. Tucker, who was rumored to be on the hot seat in Chicago, remains under contract with the team.
  • While ex-Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has discussed joining the Cardinals coaching staff (Twitter link via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), it will not be as DC, tweets Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910, who adds that LeBeau could be brought aboard in something of an advising capacity.
  • Meanwhile, the Steelers have not met with any outside candidates to replace LeBeau, meaning it’s increasingly likely that linebackers coach Keith Butler will be promoted to DC, writes Scott Brown of ESPN.com. Butler has been in his current role since 2003.
  • The Giants met with Washington secondary coach Raheem Morris on Friday about their open DC position, but will go in another direction, according to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 (Twitter link). Per Russini, Morris will now interview for Washington’s defensive coordinator job.

Zach Links contributed to this post.