Jeff Zgonina

West Notes: Fitz, Wilson, Henry

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald did not announce that he would return for the 2018 season until mid-February of 2018, and it appears that we could have a similar wait in 2019. Fitz told ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier this week that he would take some time to collect his thoughts after a difficult 3-13 season, but that the team’s recent hiring of new head coach Kliff Kingsbury would not sway him one way or another. If Fitz does decide to play, he would technically be eligible for free agency, but it is impossible to imagine him playing for a team other than Arizona.

Now for more from the league’s west divisions:

  • This probably doesn’t mean much, especially in light of last week’s reports on the matter, but Kingsbury has said that he would consider drafting Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the Cardinals‘ No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, per ESPN’s Sam Ponder (via Twitter).
  • The Seahawks are set to begin contract negotiations with quarterback Russell Wilson, and in a piece that is well-worth a full read, Joel Corry of CBS Sports says that Wilson’s new deal will pay him at least $35MM per year.
  • After being activated on Monday, Chargers TE Hunter Henry is expected to play in the team’s divisional round showdown in Foxborough this afternoon, per Albert Breer of SI.com.
  • We heard yesterday that Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell will be a top target of new Broncos coach Vic Fangio, and Mike Klis of 9News tweets that Donatell is currently deciding between staying in Chicago or following Fangio to Denver.
  • Former Buccaneers defensive line coach Brentson Buckner will join the Raiders in the same capacity, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina will not be returning to the team, per Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (via Twitter).

Extra Points: Broncos, Jags, 49ers, Falcons

The Broncos have been connected to quarterback Tony Romo, whom they could pursue in free agency if the Cowboys cut him, but head coach Vance Joseph insisted Tuesday that Denver’s 2017 starter is already on its roster. On whether he’s committed to Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, Joseph said (via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com): “Absolutely, I am. They’re both smart guys. Obviously different skill sets, but I’m committed to both of those kids. They’re good football players and we’ve got to build around those guys.” Joseph’s offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, echoed his boss, saying he’s “happy with the guys we have.”

After the Broncos hired Joseph and McCoy last month, Mike Klis of 9News reported that the club would rather start Lynch than Siemian next season. As a first-round rookie last year, Lynch sat behind Siemian – who fared OK in his first season as a No. 1 – but did see action in three games and pick up two starts.

More from around the NFL:

  • Browns linebacker Jamie Collins and cornerback Joe Haden; Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and punter Marquette King; and Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David each saw portions of their contracts become fully guaranteed Wednesday. The details can be found here, via CBS Sports’ Joel Corry.
  • Of Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas‘ $7MM salary in 2017, $3MM will become fully guaranteed Friday, per Corry, but Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union disputes that. Thomas isn’t due to receive the $3MM until March 9, the first day of the league year, a source told O’Halloran (Twitter link).
  • The Kyle Shanahan-led 49ers will hire longtime NFL defensive lineman Jeff Zgonina as their D-line coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. Zgonina, who played in the league from 1993-2005, spent last season assisting along the Giants’ defensive line.
  • Shanahan could bring former Falcons colleague Eric Sutulovich with him to the 49ers, tweets ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Sutulovich, who’s the Falcons’ assistant special teams coach, will likely interview to become the 49ers’ ST coordinator, relays Caplan.
  • One assistant the Falcons won’t lose is Keith Carter, whom they promoted to running backs coach Wednesday. Carter worked as Atlanta’s assistant offensive line coach over the previous two seasons. The club is also likely to hire Bryant Young to replace the fired Bryan Cox as its defensive line coach, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Young, a four-time Pro Bowl D-lineman who accumulated 89.5 sacks as a careerlong 49er from 1994-2007, played under Falcons head coach Dan Quinn in San Francisco (2001-04) and coached alongside him at Florida (2011-12).

Giants, Ben McAdoo Finalize Coaching Staff

New Giants head coach Ben McAdoo has officially finalized the team’s new coaching staff, which features 20 assistants, the club announced today in a press release. There are no real surprises on the staff, which features 12 coaches from Tom Coughlin‘s staff, though McAdoo stressed that “this is a new staff.”Ben McAdoo

“Nobody was retained, there were no holdovers; everyone was hired,” McAdoo said. “When I sat down with everybody on the staff, that was one thing I wanted to make clear. No one was retained, no one was a holdover. Everyone was hired here as part of a new staff.”

Although one could make the case that assistants like defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn are technically holdovers from last year’s staff, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News suggests (via Twitter) that McAdoo probably means those coaches – and others – had to re-interview for their positions.

One of the 12 assistants who will return to the Giants this year is Mike Sullivan, who received a promotion from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, as previously reported. Sullivan, of course, steps in for McAdoo, who was elevated from OC to head coach after Coughlin resigned.

Quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti and offensive line coach Mike Solari are among the new additions to McAdoo’s staff whose hirings were previously reported. Adam Henry (WRs coach), Patrick Graham (DL coach), Jeff Zgonina (assistant DL coach), Bill McGovern (LBs coach), Dwayne Stukes (assistant special teams coach), and Aaron Wellman (strength and conditioning) round out the group of new coaches.

For the full list, be sure to check out the Giants’ press release.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Mathieu, Lions, Panthers

A January report indicated that getting an extension done with Tyrann Mathieu will be a top priority for the Cardinals this offseason, and GM Steve Keim confirmed as much during an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7FM on Thursday (link via Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com).

It’s hard to say that that we’ll be able to get something done for sure, but we certainly have that goal in mind and there’s no doubt that this organization wants Tyrann Mathieu to be a fixture here for years, Keim said.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Lions are set to hire Broncos offensive assistant Brian Callahan as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (via Twitter). With Jim Bob Cooter having been promoted from QBs coach to offensive coordinator in the fall, Detroit needed someone to fill his old role.
  • The Panthers are making some changes to their special teams staff, with Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer tweeting that the club has parted ways with assistant ST coach Russ Purnell, and Marvez tweeting that Curtis Fuller will return to a defensive role rather than helping out with special teams in 2016. According to Person and Marvez (Twitter links), Buccaneers ST coach Kevin O’Dea, 49ers ST coach Thomas McGaughey, and former Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn are getting interviews for spots on Carolina’s special teams staff.
  • Marvez also reports (via Twitter) that the Giants are hiring Jeff Zgonina as their assistant defensive line coach, which should complete Ben McAdoo‘s staff.
  • The Panthers were one game away from a championship this past season, but GM Dave Gettleman vows he’ll remain patient this winter when it comes to making roster decisions, and won’t force any moves in an effort to get the team over the top. Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review has the details and the quotes from Gettleman.
  • Despite one report suggesting he hopes to land a $5MM annual salary, it would be an upset if tight end Zach Miller leaves the Bears this offseason, says Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. Dickerson doesn’t predict a potential price tag for Miller, but suggests he’d be next in line for a larger role if the team trades or cuts Martellus Bennett.