Pro Football RumorsPro Football Rumors NFL Rumors: Trades, Free Agency, Draft Mon, 27 Jan 2020 02:37:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 49ers Notes: Shanahan, Lynch, Garoppolo Mon, 27 Jan 2020 02:35:58 +0000 The trade that sent Jimmy Garoppolo from New England to San Francisco has turned out to be one of the most important swaps in recent NFL history, with Tom Brady‘s former backup set to start in Super Bowl LIV. Despite other suitors believed to be in the mix for Garoppolo in 2017, Bill Belichick alerted Kyle Shanahan he was willing to part with the former second-round pick for a second-rounder. The 49ers quickly accepted but did so after initially being willing to offer the Patriots more for the then-fourth-year passer, Seth Wickersham of reports. But Belichick, despite previous refusals to trade Garoppolo, was not posturing when he indicated he would take a Round 2 pick for his contract-year quarterback.

It ended up costing the 49ers only the No. 43 overall selection in 2018 to land their starting quarterback. While this process was murkier on the Patriots’ end, it helped the 49ers construct a rebuild that has them in their seventh Super Bowl.

A week away from the 49ers’ Super Bowl matchup with the Chiefs, here is the latest out of San Francisco:

  • Going back to when this rebuild began, Shanahan did not mince words about the state of the 49ers during his interview for their top coaching job. Early in the then-Falcons OC’s 2017 interview, he told team CEO Jed York the roster left over from the Trent Baalke era at that time was “horrible,” Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. This led to a gradual rebuild that did not get far off the ground before this season, with the 49ers going 10-22. But York was on board with the process, viewing 2019 as the first real season on which the Shanahan-John Lynch regime could be judged, Maiocco adds. York gave the HC-GM duo six-year contracts because of the team going through three coaches in three years from 2014-16.
  • Lynch’s hire came about because he cold-called Shanahan with an offer to pair with him in San Francisco, Wickersham adds. A recommendation from Mike Shanahan, who coached Lynch in Denver, helped seal the deal for his son. Lynch had spoken at length with Kyle Shanahan on the phone in preparation for games he would call as a broadcaster, per Wickersham, and hoped for a chance to return to football. Shanahan did not have much familiarity with the other finalists for the 49ers’ GM job — Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Cardinals VP of player personnel Terry McDonough — and the decision to hire a GM out of the broadcast booth has helped the 49ers return to the Super Bowl.
  • Despite dealing with a dislocated shoulder that induced pain preventing him from walking off the field last weekend, Tevin Coleman has received good news about his status for Super Bowl LIV.
NFC Notes: Armstead, Floyd, Cowboys Mon, 27 Jan 2020 01:23:38 +0000 Terron Armstead missed only one game because of a high ankle sprain he suffered in November, but the Pro Bowl Saints tackle is also dealing with a wrist injury that may require offseason surgery. Armstead underwent a CT scan recently, and although it showed no broken bones or ligament damage, the seven-year veteran acknowledged an offseason procedure is not off the table.

As far as ligament damage, tendon damage, it’s more of a, ‘If it’s still feeling like this or you can’t pick up anything in two weeks, we got to go further,'” Armstead said, via’s Amie Just.

Although Armstead made the trip to Orlando for the Pro Bowl, he did not play in Sunday’s game. The Saints have their left tackle under contract for two more seasons.

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • If the Bears do not release Leonard Floyd, he will be on their books for $13.2MM — once his fifth-year option vests. With Khalil Mack‘s cap number spiking to $26.6MM — from an $11.9MM figure in 2019 — that would mean the Bears would have approximately a fifth of their salary cap tied to two players. But Ryan Pace‘s indications thus far have been Floyd will be a Bear next season, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes. If, in fact, the Bears do retain Floyd, it would seemingly behoove them to extend the 2016 first-rounder or restructure Mack’s deal to lower one of the pass rushers’ cap numbers. Floyd recorded just three sacks this season and has not eclipsed 4.5 since his 2016 rookie year.
  • Mike McCarthy hired a longtime coworker to join him in Dallas. The Cowboys are bringing in ex-Packers staffer Rob Davis to be an assistant head coach, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. A longtime NFL long snapper, Davis worked in the private sector over the past two years but served as the Packers’ director of player development from 2006-17.
  • Signs are pointing to the Packers letting linebacker Blake Martinez walk in free agency.
Matt Judon To Be Tag-And-Trade Candidate Sun, 26 Jan 2020 23:40:02 +0000 After locking up Marcus Peters, the Ravens have Matt Judon looming as their top in-house priority. But a team that has frequently let edge rushers walk after big contract years is not a lock to retain him.

The Ravens are preparing to use their franchise tag on Judon and will be ready to take trade inquiries on the Pro Bowl outside linebacker, Adam Schefter of reports. While the Ravens want to retain Judon, Schefter notes they are likely prepared to listen to offers. This would make sense on multiple fronts yet strip the already edge-rush-needy Ravens of their top sack artist.

The Ravens have let several pass rushers walk in free agency in recent years. Paul Kruger, Pernell McPhee and Za’Darius Smith defected in free agency after standout contract years. Terrell Suggs, Baltimore’s edge anchor for so many seasons, left last year after his most recent Ravens contract expired. Baltimore recouped subsequent compensatory rewards.

The tag-and-trade market for edge rushers also heated up last year. More tagged edges ended up playing for other teams this season than the teams that applied the tag. Dee Ford, Frank Clark and Jadeveon Clowney were dealt, with the Seahawks collecting by far the top trade haul (Chiefs first- and second-round picks). Judon would naturally generate interest. However, he is on the older end for a player with four years’ experience — set to turn 28 before next season — and will command a contract that perhaps pushes toward $20MM annually.

Clark (zero Pro Bowls as a Seahawk) and DeMarcus Lawrence (two with the Cowboys) became the second- and third-highest-paid edge defenders last year. The Lions gave Trey Flowers (no Pro Bowls) an $18MM-per-year pact with higher guarantees than either, while the Packers gave Smith (no Pro Bowls as a Raven) $16.5MM. With the cap set to approach $200MM, Judon’s price will not be cheap. The 2019 Pro Bowler is coming off a career-high 9.5 sacks and a Ravens-record 33 quarterback hits (since the stat became tracked in 2006). Judon also proved more consistent than Smith in Baltimore, combining for 15 sacks between the 2017-18 seasons.

The Ravens are projected to hold more than $28MM in cap space. A Judon tag — if he’s tagged as a linebacker — would cost nearly $16MM. John Harbaugh acknowledged recently it might be difficult to keep Judon, and the Ravens also have Michael Pierce, Patrick Onwuasor and Jimmy Smith set for free agency.

Judon is among a lengthy list of impact pass rushers set for free agency. Clowney, Shaquil Barrett, Arik Armstead, Yannick Ngakoue, Bud Dupree, Dante Fowler and Jason Pierre-Paul headline this group. While the Buccaneers are planning to keep Barrett, it will be interesting to see how this market shapes up in the weeks between now and free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On C.J. Mosley Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:05:32 +0000 The Jets only had stud linebacker C.J. Mosley in the lineup for two games in his first season with the team, but Mosley said he’s on track to start his second year on better footing and hopes to rebound from a frustrating 2019 campaign.

Mosley suffered a groin injury in an impressive season opener against the Bills, where he tallied six tackles and an interception for a touchdown before leaving the game late in the third quarter. He then returned for Week Seven in an ugly 33-0 loss to the Patriots, and then went right back onto the injury shelf shortly thereafter. While contemplating surgery, Mosley was hoping to return to the field before the end of the regular season. But instead of risking further injury, Mosley ultimately chose to undergo surgery and was placed on injured reserve in December. 

“It was pretty difficult, especially when I hit that target point where I thought I was going to be ready to play,” Mosley said.

Mosley told Jeanne Coakley of SNY that he’s “feeling well” and has started jogging “a little bit” six weeks after having the surgery. He also said that he’s on pace to be an active participant in the team’s offseason training program and hopes to be playing “spring football”.

Along with his recovery, the former Raven has also started a new vegan diet. “Anything to give me the edge to get myself on the field and stay on the field as long as I can,” Mosley said.

Last offseason, the four-time Pro Bowler signed a massive five-year, $85MM contract with the Jets that has $55MM in guaranteed money. Next year, Mosley’s cap number spikes from $13MM to $17.5MM, and practically speaking, the aggressive cash flow of the deal will not allow the Jets to escape the deal until sometime after the 2021 season, when they can release Mosley to save $15.5MM against $3MM in dead money. Without Mosley anchoring the defense for most of the year, the Jets were 26th in yards-allowed-per-game and 16th in points-allowed-per-game in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ first year with the team.

Latest On NFL’s CBA Talks Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:56:30 +0000 According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, sources familiar with the NFL CBA talks tell them that the NFL Players Association leaders have scheduled an important meeting Thursday morning in South Florida with the board of player representatives to discuss the status of collective bargaining talks and get the board’s input on how to proceed.

It’s a major step in the right direction after months of formal and informal bargaining sessions between the union and the NFL, which continues to push for the option to expand the regular season to 17 games as part of the next TV deals as a condition for increasing players’ share of revenue and other issues. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire at the conclusion of the 2020 regular season, and both sides want to avoid any sort of work stoppage.

The chances for striking a deal hinge in large part on how players respond to the idea of 17 games. Recently, some players have voiced their displeasure with the idea of playing 17 games, including 49ers receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who played 17 regular-season games this year because of his midseason trade from the Broncos. As previously reported, if the 17-game schedule was not included in these CBA discussions, then a deal most likely would have been struck already.

Under the NFLPA’s constitution, the 11-man executive committee, led by president Eric Winston, is responsible for negotiating a new CBA and making a recommendation to the board with the best offer. Sources tell Rapoport and Pelissero that the executive committee has not yet made any such recommendation, and one source said it’s possible the board could bring a proposal on a new collective bargaining agreement to all players after the meeting; another source called that a “dream scenario” that is unlikely.

The central issue throughout negotiations has been the revenue split, and players are expected to receive an uptick from the 47% of total revenue they are guaranteed under the current CBA, which was approved in 2011. The union has long hoped to achieve that increase without adding games, but the league has pushed all along for a lever that would allow them to add games as part of the next TV deal.

In a January 16 memo to players, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith wrote: “The negotiations thus far have proceeded with the NFL conditioning proposed increases in economics and other improvements on a potential 17 game model, with reduced preseason games and potentially an expanded playoff schedule.”

Smith’s memo confirmed the sides have reached tentative agreements on numerous issues, including increased guaranteed revenue to players, increased minimum salaries, reduction of contact during training camp, decreases in fines for on-field conduct and significant modifications to the drug policy. But the sides remain apart on other issues, including maximum revenue split, minimum cash spend requirements, the continuation (and ultimately increase of) the NFLPA Legacy fund that increased pensions for pre-1993 players, removing the escrow requirement/funding rule as a barrier to guaranteed contracts, rules on first-round picks and restricted free agents, and an NFL-proposed liability waiver.

AFC Notes: Ravens, Brady, Mosley Sun, 26 Jan 2020 17:59:28 +0000 We heard at the end of December that the Ravens are prepared to slap pass rusher Matt Judon with the franchise tag if they cannot work out a long-term deal with him, but recent comments from head coach John Harbaugh suggested Judon could be suiting up elsewhere in 2020. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Baltimore may be disinclined to use the tag, as it would take up a big chunk of their cap and could alienate the emotional and outspoken Judon.

On the other hand, Judon is the only proven pass rusher on the team, and there’s no guarantee the Ravens can win a bidding war for one of this year’s top FAs or land a player at the bottom of the first round of the draft who can make an immediate impact, so GM Eric DeCosta will have to carefully weigh a number of factors.

Let’s round up a few other AFC items, starting with several more nuggets out of Baltimore:

  • The Ravens and veteran CB Jimmy Smith have mutual interest in a reunion, per Zrebiec. However, if Baltimore brings back Smith, it’s unlikely that CB/S Brandon Carr also returns. Meanwhile, the Ravens will almost certainly cut safety Tony Jefferson.
  • Regardless of what they do with Judon, the Ravens will have to add three or four starting-caliber players to their front seven, so Zrebiec expects the team to focus on those areas heavily in the draft, and he fully expects DeCosta to draft a WR or two.
  • Add Jay Glazer of The Athletic to the list of pundits who believe a Tom BradyRaiders partnership makes sense. Like others, Glazer thinks the Chargers are an obvious non-Patriots landing spot, but given the international presence that the Las Vegas outfit is expected to have, both Brady and the team would stand to benefit from a Sin City marriage.
  • In a recent interview with Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Raiders GM Mike Mayock said he believes the move to Las Vegas will help the club attract top free agents, even those not named Brady. The fact that Nevada does not have a state income tax will obviously be appealing, as will the sleek new stadium and the general excitement surrounding the franchise. Mayock also noted that he will look to add wide receiver help this offseason.
  • Jets LB C.J. Mosley had to undergo groin/abdominal surgery about six weeks ago, but he expects to be ready for the team’s offseason program this spring, per Rich Cimini of One of last year’s biggest free agent fish, Mosley played in just two games for Gang Green, and he has started a vegan diet in the hopes of giving himself an edge.
Russell Wilson On Seahawks’ Free Agency Sun, 26 Jan 2020 16:23:38 +0000 The Seahawks’ 2019 campaign ended in the divisional round of the playoffs, but they were neck-and-neck with the NFC champion 49ers for the entire season before slipping to a wildcard spot in Week 17. They have a talented roster, a star quarterback, and more financial flexibility than they’ve had in years, and Russell Wilson wants them to take advantage of that flexibility.

“I think we need a couple more (players),” Wilson told ESPN earlier this week (h/t Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). “I think we need a couple more. (Defensive end) Jadeveon (Clowney) is a big-time guy that we would love to get back on our football team. He was so good in the locker room. He brought so many just havoc plays to the field. Hopefully, we can get a few other players there on the defense.”

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll had previously expressed his desire to bring Clowney back, and the club surely wants to re-sign Jarran Reed. But Carroll also said he wants to keep the O-line intact, while Wilson may privately disagree. The Seahawks graded out 30th in pass blocking and 14th in run blocking, according to Pro Football Focus, and the PFF grades for their pending FA O-linemen were all below average.

In addition to his comments regarding defensive reinforcements, Wilson talked about the offensive side of the ball. “Then also on offense, we have a great offense, but I think we can always add more pieces,” Wilson said. “Free agency is very, very key to getting those superstars on your team and try to get great players that can fill the space.”

As far as outside free agents that could represent upgrades to the offensive line, Packers RT Bryan Bulaga and Saints G Andrus Peat could be available. Unfortunately, Seattle may continue to struggle upgrading the tight end position, as Austin Hooper looks like the only top-tier TE that could hit the open market, unless someone can pry Hunter Henry away from the Chargers.

In any event, Wilson’s willingness to speak openly about his team’s free agency plans is a bit of a rarity for him, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, and it underscores the urgency that the six-time Pro Bowler is feeling as he prepares for his ninth season in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Drew Brees Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:00:21 +0000 If Drew Brees decides to play in 2020, it will only be for the Saints. However, it’s still unclear whether he will be returning for his age-41 season.

The New Orleans legend will wait about a month before making that decision, as Amie Just of writes.

“I’m really waiting until football is totally done,” Brees said on Saturday. “Obviously being [at the Pro Bowl], I’m just very much focused on my family and this opportunity to be be around the guys, playing the game. Then, I’ll kind of lay low for a little bit, get away and then assess. I kind of have a process in mind. And I’ll give it a month or so.”

The Saints will obviously give their future Hall-of-Famer all the time he wants, but as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, the process could be somewhat complicated by the presence of Taysom Hill, a restricted free agent. The Saints love what Hill brings to the field and do not want another club poaching him by giving him an offer that New Orleans cannot match because of its financial commitment to Brees. Of course, that assumes that another team views the 29-year-old Hill as a starting-caliber QB, which is not a given; Hill has thrown just 13 passes in his professional career.

If Brees does decide to hang up the cleats, the Saints could look to Hill as a replacement, or they may choose to re-sign Teddy Bridgewater, who played well in Brees’ injury-related absence in 2019. There are also an unusually high number of potentially intriguing free agent and trade options this year, so the sooner Brees makes up his mind, the happier New Orleans will be.

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Extra Points: Patriots, Texans, Caserio, Panthers, Holcomb, Broncos, Chubb, Steelers, Dupree Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:39:40 +0000 The Patriots have a big offseason ahead of them. Obviously there’s still the Tom Brady situation to work out, but there are some important behind the scenes decisions that need to be made as well. The front office is in a bit of limbo, as two prominent execs in Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort are both on expiring contracts that run out in May. The Texans originally tried to hire Caserio as their GM last year, which resulted in tampering charges. There’s now a good chance that both Caserio and Ossenfort move on from the Pats before the 2020 season, per Albert Breer of

Even though we just heard recently that the Texans weren’t going to hire a GM and would continue with Bill O’Brien running the show, Breer writes that the “Texans would find a way to hire him as GM” if Caserio wanted to work in Houston. If Caserio and Ossenfort both leave, Breer writes that the Patriots would likely promote Dave Ziegler. It was rumored that Josh McDaniels might’ve wanted to take Ziegler with him had he landed the head coaching job in Cleveland.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Al Holcomb is back in Carolina. The Panthers have hired Holcomb to be their run game coordinator, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Holcomb was linebackers coach under Ron Rivera in Carolina for five years from 2013-17, so this is a homecoming for him. He spent last year as the Browns’ run game coordinator, and found himself in need of a new job after Freddie Kitchens got bounced from Cleveland. He had previously served as defensive coordinator with the Cardinals under Steve Wilks in 2018. He was a grad assistant at Temple back in the day, which could explain his connection to new Panthers coach Matt Rhule, who was previously the head coach at Temple.
  • Broncos pass-rusher Bradley Chubb showed a lot of promise as a rookie, racking up 12 sacks in 2018. Unfortunately his sophomore campaign was cut short, as he tore an ACL in Denver’s fourth game. On the bright side his recovery seems to be going well, and GM John Elway recently said that he should be ready for OTAs in a few months, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. Chubb was the fifth overall pick out of N.C. State two years ago.
  • The Steelers are likely to place the franchise tag on impending free agent outside linebacker Bud Dupree, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While Pittsburgh very much wants to retain him for 2020, Dulac writes that the team is unlikely to pursue a longterm extension with Dupree because the “money is being earmarked for a big contract” for fellow outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the near future. Dupree was drafted in the first round back in 2015, and his career got off to a rocky start. He’s since become more reliable though, starting at least 15 games in each of the past three years. He had his best year as a pro this past season, when he started all 16 games and racked up 11.5 sacks. Amusingly, Steelers president Art Rooney II said the Le’Veon Bell debacle isn’t going to impact how they use the tag moving forward. “I don’t think that affects the way we think about franchise tags or anything at this point,” Rooney said. “We had one, I’ll call it unusual experience, and I think it was that — an unusual experience.
Dolphins Notes: Wilson, Jones, Kilgore Sun, 26 Jan 2020 02:31:55 +0000 Albert Wilson started his Dolphins career off with a bang in 2018, but a serious hip injury quickly derailed his momentum. He wasn’t the same player this past year, and ended up racking up only 351 yards and one touchdown in 13 games. Wilson has one more year left on his deal at $9.5MM, but it’s entirely non-guaranteed. The blazing fast slot receiver has shown a lot of flashes, but that’s a hefty price tag for any slot receiver. To that end, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that Miami is “likely to discuss a restructuring in the weeks ahead.”

It sounds like Wilson is going to have to accept a pay-cut if he wants to stay in Miami for 2020. Wilson did start to make a case for himself down the stretch, gaining at least 59 yards in each of their last three games. Unfortunately, he hadn’t topped 33 yards in any game before that. Wilson signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent back in 2014, and slowly started to breakout in Kansas City. He’s never produced huge numbers, but the Dolphins placed a huge bet on his potential.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Speaking of players who might have to take pay-cuts, Jackson writes that Reshad Jones “returning under his current contract is inconceivable.” Jones is due $11.5MM in 2020, but only $2MM of that is guaranteed. Jackson writes that as of right now their plan is to start Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe at safety, but that Jones returning on a “restructured deal isn’t entirely out of the question.” Jones made the Pro Bowl in 2017, but his relationship with the franchise quickly deteriorated and for a while it looked like a divorce was inevitable. He had a falling out with Adam Gase but was apparently able to patch things over with new head coach Brian Flores, and Jones said back in September that he wanted to stay with the Dolphins for the long haul.
  • Another Dolphins starter on the chopping block is center Daniel Kilgore. Kilgore is due a non-guaranteed $3.1MM, and Miami can cut him right before the start of the season with no cap penalty. Jackson expects the team to look for an upgrade at center this offseason, and he points out that GM Chris Grier was recently non-committal about his status. Jackson indicates that the ‘Phins will be completely revamping their O-line this offseason, which isn’t surprising considering the beatings that Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen were taking last year.
  • In case you missed it, the Dolphins are prepared to move up in the draft.
Eagles Hire Former Falcons DC Marquand Manuel Sun, 26 Jan 2020 00:24:28 +0000 The Eagles have a new secondary coach. Philly is hiring Marquand Manuel for that role, according to Jeremy Fowler of (Twitter link).

It’s a relatively high profile position coach hiring, as Manuel previously served as Atlanta’s defensive coordinator. After the Falcons’ defense tanked, Dan Quinn fired him following the 2018 season. He spent this past year out of football, and is now resurfacing on Doug Pederson’s staff. Manuel spent eight seasons in the league as a safety before becoming an assistant under Quinn in Seattle and eventually following him to Atlanta.

Philadelphia has seen a good amount of turnover on their coaching staff this offseason, and they’re still searching for a new offensive coordinator. Manuel will be taking over a position group that has been in turmoil the past couple of seasons. The Eagles’ secondary has been plagued by injuries the last two years, and the back-half of their defense has often struggled as a result. Just a few days ago, we heard that they were planning on targeting cornerbacks in free agency, and it sounds like they could overhaul the unit.

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Will Fuller Undergoes Surgery Sat, 25 Jan 2020 21:45:34 +0000 A key component in the Texans’ offense, Will Fuller again struggled to stay healthy this season. Houston’s No. 2 wide receiver missed five regular-season games and the team’s first-round playoff contest.

Fuller took a big step toward a full recovery recently, undergoing sports hernia surgery to repair the groin issues he dealt with this season, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

The Texans’ top deep threat aggravated the injury in the divisional-round loss to the Chiefs. Fuller has yet to play a full season, coming closest in a 14-game rookie campaign. This will mark another offseason of rehab for the former first-round pick. He spent the 2019 offseason rehabbing an ACL tear he sustained in 2018. Fuller dealt with hamstring and groin injuries this season, with the latter malady shelving him for Houston’s wild-card game.

The Notre Dame alum is going into his fifth-year option season. He’s on the Texans’ books for $10.16MM. The 2020 campaign will be critical for the former first-round pick. He will need to show he can stay healthy in order to command a lucrative extension or a long-term free agent deal as a 2021 free agent.

Deshaun Watson‘s regular-season QBR was more than 15 points higher with Fuller on the field than when he was sidelined. Despite the five-game absence, the 25-year-old wideout totaled a career-high 670 receiving yards. The Texans have Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills under contract going into next season. Fuller and Stills, however, are entering contract years. Thanks to the Stills trade and Fuller’s salary spike, the Texans’ receiver trio is set to comprise more than $31MM on the team’s 2020 payroll.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Manning, Manuel, Cowboys Sat, 25 Jan 2020 20:52:36 +0000 Eli Manning has not expressed interest in a coaching position, but the likely Hall of Fame quarterback has not closed the door on remaining with the Giants in another non-playing capacity. The recently retired passer said he would be interested in a role with the team going forward, Mike Garafolo of tweets. The Giants likely would not say no to such an arrangement, though it remains to be seen if Manning would consider a position immediately. If Peyton Manning‘s measured approach to post-retirement offers is any indication, it may be a while before his younger brother commits to returning to the league in a potential front office role. Manning will not land on the Giants’ reserve/retired list, as he was set to be a free agent in March. The 16-year Giant recently said he believed he could still play. So Eli might be patient before entering a post-playing role, in the event an unforeseen development opens up a starting job somewhere.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles interviewed former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel for a role on their staff, Jeremy Fowler of notes (on Twitter). They are eyeing the former safety-turned-coach as their secondary coach. Manuel, 40, did not coach this season but spent five years with the Falcons — four of which as either Atlanta’s secondary coach or DC. Dan Quinn fired him after the 2018 season.
  • After making several splashy additions to their staff, the Cowboys added a couple of lower-profile assistants. Mike McCarthy hired ex-Rams assistant special teams coach to the same position, Field Yates of tweets. A former NFLer, the 30-year-old Daniels spent the past two seasons on Sean McVay’s staff working under John Fassel. McCarthy hired Fassel to be his ST coordinator and has signed off on bringing the Rams’ special teams staff to Dallas. The Cowboys also hired ex-Redskins defensive quality control coach Cannon Matthews, per Yates. Matthews will remain in a defensive quality control role.
  • Although the Giants brought in ex-Cowboys coach Marc Colombo to head up their offensive line, they will keep one of Pat Shurmur‘s assistants on staff in this department. Ben Wilkerson will remain as the team’s assistant O-line coach, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. Wilkerson, 37, served in this role in each of Shurmur’s two seasons.
Eric Berry Plans To Return Next Season Sat, 25 Jan 2020 20:01:23 +0000 On every Chiefs 2010s roster except for the edition that has voyaged to the Super Bowl, Eric Berry does not plan to retire. The former All-Pro safety opted to sit out in 2019 but did not lack for interest, according to’s Mike Garafolo (video link).

Berry was on a few teams’ radars last summer but wanted to make sure he was sufficiently recovered from the injuries that led to his Chiefs release. Following what Garafolo categorizes as an “intentional sabbatical,” the former top-five draftee plans to play in 2020.

After the Chiefs released Berry in March, he visited the Cowboys and popped up on the Browns’ radar. We heard nothing from the potential All-Decade teamer during the season, however. Berry’s six-year, $78MM Chiefs extension — then a safety-record contract — in 2017 preceded a torn Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of the ’17 season and a nagging heel injury that cost him most of the ’18 campaign.

The Chiefs ate $14.95MM in dead money because of Berry’s release — $8MM of which will be attached to their 2020 payroll — but saw their safety corps improve after adding Tyrann Mathieu.

Berry, however, is only 31 and is seeking a 10th season. He has overcome plenty in his career. In addition to beating cancer, the University of Tennessee product battled back from a 2011 ACL tear and did return to action late last season despite the painful heel ailment.

The 2010 No. 5 overall pick is a three-time first-team All-Pro. His most recent such honor, in 2016, came after two return touchdowns and the NFL’s first “pick-two.” However, Berry has not displayed full health since September 2017, so getting back into a starting lineup is not a certainty.

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Latest On LB Blake Martinez, Packers Sat, 25 Jan 2020 18:45:55 +0000’s Blake Martinez is set to get paid on the open market, but that contract might not come from the Packers.’s Mike Garafolo reports that the linebacker may have played his final game with the organization.

There are a variety of reasons why Garafolo came to this conclusion. For starters, general manager Brian Gutekunst made it clear that they’ll “evaluate” the position, which would probably be an odd statement if the team was confident they’d retain their leading tackler. Further, Martinez was emotional following the Packers’ NFC Championship loss, and much of that could have been due to the fact that the 26-year-old had potentially played his final game with the organization.

Plus, Garafolo notes that the market for middle linebackers has exploded in recent years, with C.J. Mosley and Bobby Wagner earning lucrative, market-setting contracts. Martinez has been one of the most productive linebackers in the league over the past few years, so teams will surely be lining up for his services. Even if the Packers are focused on retaining the veteran, there’s a chance that a rival could throw him an extraordinary amount of money.

Martinez had another productive season in 2019, compiling a career-high 155 tackles to go along with three sacks, two passes defended, an interception, and one forced fumble. The linebacker has finished with at least 140 tackles the past three seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.