Packers Rumors

Extra Points: Packers, Martin, Draft, Raiders

Bashaud Breeland‘s workout parade concluded in Green Bay, but his Packers contract is nearly its expiration. The veteran cornerback would re-enter the market in a better position, doing so a year after a golf cart-related injury harpooned his value. But Breeland, who said many teams would not medically clear him after his foot injury, would be interested if the Packers approached him about staying before he hit the market. Although, he said the Packers have not discussed an extension with him yet.

If I have the opportunity, I would,” Breeland said, via Ryan Wood of Packersnews.com, of a possible extension or offseason Packers re-signing. “At this point in time, the Green Bay Packers have first dibs because I’m here. They can make it happen at any moment.”

The Packers are not known as extravagant spenders but are keen on locking up their own talent. Breeland has only played in four Packers games, but on Sunday, the former Redskins starter recovered a fumble and returned an interception 96 yards for a score. Both Tramon Williams and Davon House‘s contacts expire at season’s end as well, but the Packers still have recent high draft picks Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson and Kevin King locked up long-term. Next year’s cornerback market may include the likes of Darqueze Dennard, Ronald Darby, Bradley Roby and Bryce Callahan while also housing veterans Morris Claiborne, Kareem Jackson and Brent Grimes.

Here is the latest from around the league as Week 14 winds down.

  • Zack Martin re-aggravated his MCL sprain during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys‘ overtime win over the Eagles on Sunday, and Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes the All-Pro guard will likely be limited in practice this week. Martin has never missed a start in his five-year career, but MCL sprains are often multi-week injuries. The possibility Martin misses multiple games in order to right himself for an expected playoff game is on the table, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. If Martin does sit against the Colts, Connor Williams would start at right guard, per Archer.
  • So far, the prevailing word surrounding possible top-five pick Justin Herbert is another year in Eugene, Ore. But longtime evaluator Gil Brandt, now with NFL.com, tweets he would make substantial bet that the Oregon quarterback declares for the 2019 draft and becomes a top-five selection. Teams like the Giants, Jaguars and Buccaneers would likely be interested if Herbert left early.
  • Texas Tech wide receiver Antoine Wesley will depart school early. Responsible for 1,410 yards this season — third-most in Red Raiders history behind Michael Crabtree and Keke Coutee — Wesley announced Monday (on Twitter) he will leave Lubbock and head to the NFL.
  • Scot McCloughan could be a name to watch in the Raiders‘ GM or de facto GM search, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The former Redskins and 49ers GM interviewed with the Raiders for a position under Reggie McKenzie after the 2014 season, but Tafur notes McCloughan wanted personnel control. He then took Washington’s GM job before an ugly divorce. Jon Gruden and McCloughan’s tenures in Green Bay briefly overlapped in the mid-1990s, and Tafur notes McCloughan got along well with Jay Gruden in Washington.
  • The Broncos worked out 15 players on Monday. Defensive linemen Winston Craig, Jon Cunningham, Marcus Hardison and Christian Lacouture took part in the group audition, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Defensive backs Jude Adjei-Barimah, Sojourn Shelton and Henre’ Toliver joined linebacker Greer Martini in working out in Denver, per Klis.

Packers Notes: Workout, Pettine

  •  The Packers’ head coaching job is wide open and their defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has head coaching experience, but Pettine isn’t interested in the job, according to Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. While Pettine said “despite the struggles we’ve had this year, this is probably the most fun I’ve had coaching in a long time”, he made clear he isn’t interested in being a head coach for the Packers or any other team anytime soon. Pettine’s two-year stint as coach of the Browns from 2014-15 went pretty disastrously, so it’s not that surprising he’s not dying to get back into it.
  • Speaking of the Packers, the team worked out long snapper Zach Triner, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN (Twitter link). The Packers ultimately elected not to sign him Demovsky reports, and stick with current snapper Hunter Bradley. Triner, an Assumption College alum, competed for the gig with Bradley in training camp.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/18

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

New York Jets

Latest On Ex-Packers HC Mike McCarthy

Although reports earlier this week indicated former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy intends to coach in 2019, that may not be the case. McCarthy is still deciding whether to take head coaching interviews or instead remain in the Green Bay area for another year, a source tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

McCarthy didn’t say he won’t coach next season, but did indicate he plans to “lay low and try to finish this professional chapter on the high road.” He has five children, four of whom are still school-aged, so leaving Green Bay may not be an easy decision. Over 13 seasons with the Packers, McCarthy posted a 125-77-2 record during the regular season and a 10-8 mark (including a Super Bowl victory) in the playoffs.

Now that’s no longer tied to Green Bay, McCarthy can freely speak to other teams about their vacancies. In addition, he can reach out to contacts around the league in an effort to formulate a potential staff. Both of those factors could give him an edge over other head coaching candidates who are still employed.

A clearer picture of where McCarthy could end up in 2019 won’t fully develop until more head coaching openings are created, but there is already conjecture on his destination. The Jets have been mentioned as possible suitor if Todd Bowles is fired, while the Browns also make sense as a landing spot given the presence of former Packers executives — John DorseyEliot WolfAlonzo Highsmith — in Cleveland’s front office.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mike McCarthy Wants To Coach In 2019

Former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy‘s “early preference” is to continue coaching in 2019, according to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette (Twitter link).

That doesn’t necessarily mean McCarthy will be back on the sidelines next season, but some clubs have already reached out to express interest, per Wood. McCarthy’s firing was deemed nearly “unprecedented” given that he’s only the second Super Bowl winning coach to be let go in the middle of a season, but there’s an argument to made that McCarthy’s early termination could be beneficial to his future job prospects.

Now that’s no longer tied to Green Bay, McCarthy can freely speak to other teams about their vacancies. In addition, he can reach out to contacts around the league in an effort to formulate a potential staff. Both of those factors could give him an edge over other head coaching candidates who are still employed.

A clearer picture of where McCarthy could end up in 2019 won’t fully develop until more head coaching openings are created, but there is already conjecture on his destination. The Jets have been mentioned as possible suitor if Todd Bowles is fired, while the Browns also make sense as a landing spot given the presence of former Packers executives — John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf, Alonzo Highsmith — in Cleveland’s front office.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/4/18

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Packers Place CB Kevin King On IR

The Packers have placed cornerback Kevin King on IR, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Running back Tra Carson has also been ruled out for the remainder of the year. 

King, a second-year pro, has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury. Ultimately, the injury was too serious to overcome and, frankly, it wasn’t worth risking a more serious issue at this stage of the season. The Packers are 4-7-1 and, naturally, are more concerned with the former second-round pick’s long-term health.

Both of King’s pro seasons have ended prematurely. Last year, King appeared in nine games and made five starts before he was shut down in December.

King was the Packers’ first pick in the 2017 draft after Green Bay moved down from No. 29 in a swap for the No. 33 selection (King) and a fourth-round choice. There were other big names available, but the Packers were happy to expand their draft stockpile and land the Washington product after he posted a 4.43 second 40-yard-dash, a 39.5-inch vertical leap, and the best times of any cornerback in both the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Manning, Hughes, Arians

Following Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was seen on video yelling at official Roy Ellison. The player was restrained by a team employee before being led back to the locker room.

ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the veteran will not face a suspension for the incident, although ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams says Hughes could still be fined. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Ellison has been placed on administrative leave while the NFL continues to review the matter. Hughes accused the umpire of calling him a vulgar name, and Rapoport notes that Ellison was suspended back in 2013 following an incident with Trent Williams.

The 30-year-old Hughes is having another productive season with Buffalo, compiling 31 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles through 12 games.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Bruce Arians is apparently very focused on the Browns head coaching job. According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss (via Twitter), the 66-year-old has “probably very little” interest in the Packers gig. The two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year winner previously said he would only consider becoming a head coach again if he were hired by Cleveland, where he was an offensive coordinator between 2001 and 2003. After serving as the Cardinals head coach for five seasons, Arians retired at the end of the 2017 campaign.
  • During an appearance on WFAN660, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was non-committal when asked about Eli Manning‘s status heading into next season. “Those are offseason discussions,” he said (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). “I’m really pleased with how he’s played of late. … I can’t answer that. I’m fond of everything Eli brings to the table.” The 37-year-old Manning has been having a solid season, completing a career-high 67.9-percent of his passes for 3,263 yards, 15 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
  • The Vikings will audition Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell this week, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The 28-year-old has won a pair of Grey Cup MVPs and two CFL Most Outstanding Player awards during his seven seasons in the league. Mitchell also won the Walter Payton Award during his time at Eastern Washington. The Vikings are currently rostering Trevor Siemian and Kyle Sloter behind Kirk Cousins.
  • Former Seahawks and Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner was sentenced to eight years in prison after he pleaded no contest to attempted murder, reports TMZ Sports. The 34-year-old was accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, where he then “allegedly chased her, dragged her and then smothered her in a carpet.” Browner also pleaded no contest to two counts of child endangerment, while the remaining chargers (including robbery, burglary, and false imprisonment) were dropped.

Packers Fire Associate Head Coach Winston Moss

Joe Philbin has made his first move as interim head coach. The Packers announced that they’ve “parted ways” with associate head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports that it was Philbin’s decision to make the move.

“We thank Winston for his contributions to the Packers over the past 13 years,” said Philbin. “We hope for the best for Winston and his family moving forward.”

Following an 11-year playing career, Moss joined the Seahawks as a defensive quality control assistant back in 1998. He spent half-a-decade with the Saints before moving on to the Packers, where he had been coaching since 2006. Former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy promoted Moss to assistant head coach in 2007, and Moss was the only major defensive coach to keep his job following mass firings after the 2008 campaign.

Moss has played a major role in developing many of the Packers’ notable linebackers, including Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and A.J. Hawk. Moss also earned praise for transitioning Julius Peppers to a 3-4 outside linebacker. The 52-year-old coached Team Irvin during the 2016 Pro Bowl, and he interviewed for the Lions head coaching gig this past offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/4/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit. All links to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Redskins