Ed Dodds

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets

Having ended their veteran quarterback search with a Ryan Fitzpatrick agreement, after pursuing Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor, the Dolphins continue to embark on a rebuilding track. In fact, the word “tanking” came up during one of the team’s head coach interviews, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Chris Grier, as could be expected, denied the team will use 2019 to tank.

Often one of the most active teams during free agency, the Dolphins this year have parted ways with starters Ryan Tannehill, Josh Sitton, Ted Larsen, Andre Branch and Danny Amendola. They let Ja’Wuan James and Cameron Wake walk. This leads Salguero to the notion the Dolphins are indeed tanking with the prospect of being in best position to land a high 2020 draft pick and have cap space when that league year begins. As of now, early projections have the Dolphins at $107MM in 2020 cap space — second in the league behind the Cowboys. And with Dallas set to extend several young talents, Miami looks poised to lead that pack. Fitzpatrick has made at least eight starts in a season nine times; his teams finished with a winning record in one of those seasons. Sunday’s move lends further credence the Dolphins are targeting the 2020 quarterback class.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Rob Gronkowski has not given the Patriots his decision on if he will continue his career in 2019, but if the future Hall of Famer wants an extension, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes this cannot happen until August 30 — a year after his previous contract adjustment, per an NFL rule. Long dissatisfied with a contract he agreed to in 2012, Gronkowski would be entering the final year of that deal if he returned for 2019. The Patriots could approach Gronk about a pay cut, however, at any point this offseason, per Volin. Gronkowski is due a $10MM salary and to count $11.86MM on the Patriots’ cap. The latest word on Gronk’s status is a return for a 10th season is more likely than a retirement.
  • Conversely, a Tom Brady extension can happen at any point this offseason. Since the Patriots did not adjust their quarterback’s cap number via the unmet incentives last year, Volin notes they can extend his contract before the 12-month mark from when the team included those incentives. Brady’s deal appears likely to be adjusted, with the 41-year-old passer’s contract-year cap figure sitting at $27MM.
  • Dialogue about the trade that moved the Jets up to last year’s No. 3 overall pick began at the 2018 Senior Bowl, with Jets VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger approaching Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds that January about a possible trade, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Christopher Johnson emphasized the Jets focus on quarterback scouting in 2017, primarily Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. The Jets targeted No. 3 overall because their sources indicated to them the Giants were zeroing in on Saquon Barkley, Cimini adds. Gang Green put its plan B into action a year ago today after Kirk Cousins spurned them.
  • The Dolphins are interested in acquiring a fullback, which marks a change from recent years. Specifically, they are exploring the addition of Michael Burton, per Salguero. Burton was Pro Football Focus’ No. 2-rated fullback last season but only played 49 snaps, not enough to qualify for full-time status. Only five fullbacks did meet those standards, illustrating this position’s scarcity on most teams. If not Burton, a four-year veteran who has played in Detroit and Chicago, Miami may target another UFA blocking back.
  • Prior to LaAdrian Waddle signing with the Bills, the Patriots conveyed interest in bringing him back, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The Pats kept an open dialogue with their swing tackle but were not willing to match the Bills’ offer, Reiss adds.

Colts Promote Ed Dodds To Assistant General Manager

Colts GM Chris Ballard‘s staff is rounding into form. The organization announced a number of changes to their football operations staff earlier today, including the promotion of Ed Dodds to assistant general manager.

Dodds has spent 16 years in the NFL, including a decade with the Seahawks, where he served as the team’s senior personnel executive. In this role, Dodds was responsible for scouting both college and professional players. The team earned five division titles and a Super Bowl title during his tenure. He was hired last season as Indy’s vice president of player personnel, and he’s also spent time with the Raiders organization.

The Colts front office has seen plenty of turnover this offseason. The team had fired former general manager Ryan Grigson back in January, and they quickly replaced him with Ballard, who previously served as the Chiefs’ director of football operations.

The Colts’ other notable personnel changes include:

  • Brian Decker promoted to director of player development
  • Jon Shaw promoted to assistant director of pro scouting
  • Mike Lacy promoted to player personnel scout

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Add Front Office Staff Members

New Colts general manager Chris Ballard is initiating a revamp of the club’s front office by hiring former Jets senior director of college scouting Rex Hogan, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Hogan and former Seahawks senior personnel executive Ed Dodds — who is also expected to be hired soon — will be named co-vice presidents of player personnel, per Breer. Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday (Twitter link) reported earlier today that Indianapolis would likely add Hogan and Dodds.Chris Ballard (Vertical)

Indianapolis had been expected to make several changes to its personnel department, and those alterations began last week when the club parted ways with scouting director T.J. McCreight and several other members of that department. Given his title in New York, Hogan would seem to be a natural fit to take over McCreight’s duties, and he offers familiarity with Ballard, as well, as the pair previously worked together in Chicago.

Dodds, meanwhile, has been linked to the Colts since March, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported at the time that Ballard was interested in bringing Dodds to Indianapolis. He’d been expected to land a promotion over his current role in Seattle, and he could help fill the void left by former vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III, who was let go earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Colts have also hired Brian Decker, a former Green Beret, as player personnel strategist, tweets Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com. As Wickersham detailed in a fascinating piece last summer, Decker previously worked for the Browns’ front office, creating character assessments under former Cleveland decision-makers Joe Banner, Michael Lombardi, and Ray Farmer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Make Personnel Changes

The Colts made a change by ousting GM Ryan Grigson and bringing in Chris Ballard, but with Jim Irsay waiting until a few weeks had transpired in the offseason to fire Grigson and begin a search, the team did not make a sweeping staff overhaul immediately following Ballard’s arrival. After the draft, though, the franchise has more changes planned.

T.J. McCreight will not see a sixth season running the Colts’ scouting department, with ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reporting (via Twitter) the Colts are moving on from their director of college scouting. Schefter adds that others within the department won’t be back under Ballard, who already has some new scouting staffers in mind, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder (on Twitter).

Holder adds that the changes to the franchise’s personnel department will be widespread (Twitter link), but considering Ballard’s late-January hire, letting the scouts continue through the draft isn’t exactly surprising. McCreight spent five seasons working under Grigson after arriving from the Cardinals, with whom he served as the director of pro personnel.

One new staffer the Colts are interested in: Seahawks senior personnel executive Ed Dodds. Both Holder and CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora report (Twitter links) that Dodds is a Ballard target. Dodds has been on the Colts’ radar for more than a month. Ballard decided to make this scouting pivot now rather than have scouts working in a largely lame-duck capacity going forward.

Front Office Rumors: Bills, 49ers, Colts

Earlier today, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com brought us news on the Redskins’ GM search. Further down in his column, he presented more front office news from around the NFL. Here’s a look at the highlights:

  • New Bills coach Sean McDermott could convince ownership to import front office guys with whom he has a relationship. JLC floats the name of Panthers director of player personnel Don Gregory and notes that there are “already rumblings that the marriage of McDermott and Bills GM Doug Whaley” will not last.
  • The 49ers are also looking to add to the front office. This makes sense given that new GM John Lynch is a front office neophyte.
  • New Colts GM Chris Ballard may want to shake up the scouting core, but league sources tell JLC that he may have to wait a year since the evaluators that are already there have more time to go on their contracts. Still, Ballard badly wants to poach Seahawks executive Ed Dodds. If Indy can land him, he’ll probably get a promotion over his current title. Jets director of college scouting Rex Hogan is also a Ballard target, but JLC hears that he still has a good amount of time left on his contract and might be harder to pry away.
  • Bears exec Morocco Brown, who has history with Ballard, could be a possible candidate for the Colts and 49ers. JLC notes that Brown had a solid relationship with new SF coach Kyle Shanahan in D.C.