Jerod Mayo

Mayo Taking Leadership Role On Pats Staff

Entering his first year as an assistant coach with the Patriots, former linebacker Jerod Mayo is emerging as a leader in the team’s rebuilt defensive staff, ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes

Mayo, who spent all eight of his seasons in New England, was brought in to coach inside linebackers for the 2019 campaign after spending the last three seasons away from the game. The former star linebacker has quickly made his presence felt.

“He was obviously a tremendous player, but he’s a tremendous leader as well. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a player lead a team like the way Mayo led us [when he played in 2008-15]. He did things where he could bring players along and help raise their level of play. As an older guy now, you can only imagine what he could do for that locker room based on his leadership,” safety Duron Harmon said.

It’s been a tumultuous few months for the Patriots defense, as the team said goodbye to defensive coordinator Brian Flores and a handful of assistants after the team won Super Bowl LII. Then came the arrival and quick departure of Greg Schiano, who was tasked to take over for Flores, who took the head coaching gig in Miami. Since then, the team has settled on head coach Bill Belichick serving as defensive coordinator, with Belichick also, at this moment, expected to call plays.

A first-year assistant coach isn’t likely to take those reins, but the Patriots always manage to find and develop coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Players already noticing Mayo’s emergence is a good sign the two-time Pro Bowl selection could be the next hot name to come out of Foxborough.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bill Belichick Expected To Call Patriots’ Defensive Plays?

Nearly two months after Greg Schiano backtracked on his commitment to become the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, the job remains unfilled. Should it stay vacant, the Pats would have a fairly reliable contingency plan.

With Bill Belichick towering over his defensive staff in terms of NFL experience, the current expectation is he will call defensive plays for the Patriots this season, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes.

Ceding that responsibility to Matt Patricia and Brian Flores for the past several years, Belichick obviously played a key role in the Pats’ defense. Belichick would often determine when Patricia or Flores would call blitzes, Volin adds. The eight-time Super Bowl champion, counting his two as Giants DC, is coming off perhaps the Super Bowl’s defensive masterpiece — the Rams’ three-point night — and his teams have fielded a top-10 scoring defense 15 times in his 19-year New England tenure.

However, Belichick in a dual role is not the Pats’ official plan just yet. They will use the OTAs and minicamp period to determine their strategy here, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). Flores’ exit leaves the Patriots light on experience among their defensive staff, with former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema — previously viewed as a DC option — bringing the most seasoning. And most of that came in college.

After a year of consulting with the team, Bielema is slated to coach New England’s defensive line. Jerod Mayo, whom Garafolo adds is viewed as a possible future defensive coordinator, will split linebackers coaching duties with DeMarcus Covington — with Mayo working with the inside ‘backers and Covington assigned to help the outside players. Mike Pellegrino will oversee the cornerbacks, the team announced. Mayo, Covington and Pellegrino will be first-year position coaches.

Barring an outside hire, or the Patriots handing the reins to Bielema, Belichick would seem the logical choice to play the lead role on defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Pats, Mayo, Kraft, Bills, Fins

Longtime Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo will return to the club as linebackers coach, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. Mayo, 33, retired at the conclusion of the 2015 campaign, and expressed no interest in coaching at the time. Viewed as a cerebral player with a strong work ethic, Mayo appeared in 93 games for New England after being selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft. He’ll be replacing Brian Flores, who was not only the Patriots’ LBs coach but de facto defensive coordinator before taking the Dolphins’ head coaching position this offseason.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane denied that Buffalo was ever close to acquiring wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Steelers, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. “We had productive talks with [GM] Kevin Colbert, with Pittsburgh, but one of the things I made clear with Kevin early on is we would have to be comfortable with where the compensation is going to have to be with AB’s representatives, and that was never something that we were even close on,” Beane said. Brown, of course, was subsequently traded to the Raiders for third- and fifth-round picks, and received a new contract with additional guarantees.
  • The NFL’s personal conduct policy will apply to Patriots owner Robert Kraft just as it applies to players, commissioner Roger Goodell told Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Goodell stopped short of declaring Kraft will be suspended, indicating a need for all the facts of Kraft’s solicitation case to come out. Kraft has rejected a plea deal from Florida prosecutors, and earlier this week pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanors.
  • Although the Dolphins haven’t publicly declared how they’ll use former first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2019, sources tell Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Dolphins prefer to deploy Fitzpatrick as a safety. Fitzpatrick, the 11th overall selection in last year’s draft, can play both cornerback and safety, but Miami already has two safeties — Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald in place. If Fitzpatrick is deployed more in the back end, McDonald could conceivably see action as a sub-package linebacker.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Bills, Pats

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross created a bit of a stir on Monday when he said, per Jeff Ostrowski of the Palm Beach Post, “After three years, if we haven’t made the playoffs, we’re looking for a new coach. That’s just the way it is. The fans want it.” However, Ross associates tell Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald that the owner was referring to general NFL trends, not specifically addressing Adam Gase’s situation in Miami.

Here’s more out of the AFC East:

  • The Bills could use their franchise tag on left tackle Cordy Glenn at some point during the next two weeks, but if they do, it will essentially cancel out the cap space they’d save by releasing Mario Williams, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com details. Buffalo could make that swap work, but the team would need to make additional moves to clear cap room for other offseason business.
  • The Patriots re-hired Dante Scarnecchia as offensive line coach, a source confirmed to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Scarnecchia retired after the 2013 season but he has remained around the Pats, particularly to help with evaluating offensive line prospects in the draft. Scarnecchia had retired after 32 seasons in the NFL, 30 of which came in New England.
  • Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo does not currently have plans to coach, Albert Breer of NFL.com tweets. Instead, Mayo will focus on some business interests. On Tuesday, Mayo announced his retirement from the NFL.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Patriots LB Jerod Mayo Announces Retirement

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has announced his retirement via Instagram. The post is titled, “Retiring a Patriot.”Jerod Mayo (vertical)

[RELATED: 2016 Proven Performance Escalators] 

After a lot of thought, Chantel and I take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude for what we consider a life changing event…that of becoming a New England Patriot for the past eight years,” Mayo wrote. “We are extremely grateful to “Thundercat,” Jonathan, the Kraft family, Coach Belichick, the Pats organization, and the most amazing fans in contributing to these pages of our lives. As my family and I prepare for the future, be sure that the Pats memories will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

Mayo, who has been with the Patriots since he was selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft, saw his role reduced this season. After starting all but two of his 87 regular season games in the first seven years of his NFL career, Mayo started only eight of 16 games in 2015, appearing in just over 400 defensive snaps. His 47 tackles represented a new career low. In January, Mayo was placed on season-ending IR.

The linebacker, 30 next week, saw injuries derail his last few seasons. He appeared in just 12 of 32 regular-season contests in 2013 and 2014 before staying healthy for most of this year. With Mayo retiring, the Patriots will save $7MM while carrying $4.4MM in dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/22/16

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Steelers signed cornerback Ross Cockrell to a one-year extension, Teresa Varley of Steelers.com reports. An exclusive-rights free agent, Cockrell will return to the Steelers for a second season after signing in Pittsburgh in 2015. The 24-year-old corner started in seven Steelers games this season after the 2014 fourth-round pick was a non-factor with the Bills as a rookie. Cockrell snared two interceptions and deflected 11 passes this season.
  • The Patriots promoted linebacker Kevin Snyder to their active roster, Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal tweets. The 23-year-old UDFA hasn’t played in an NFL game yet. Jerod Mayo landed on IR earlier this week, and Snyder’s promotion fills that roster spot. New England also listed 16 players — including linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny and Darius Fleming — as questionable for its AFC championship matchup in Denver this week.

Patriots Place Jerod Mayo On Injured Reserve

After leaving Saturday’s game against the Chiefs with a shoulder injury, linebacker Jerod Mayo won’t return to action for the Patriots this season. According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter), New England is placing the veteran defender on injured reserve.Jerod Mayo

Mayo, who has been with the Patriots since he was selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft, saw his role reduced this season. After starting all but two of his 87 regular season games in the first seven years of his NFL career, Mayo started only eight of 16 games in 2015, appearing in just over 400 defensive snaps. His 47 tackles represented a new career low.

Mayo, who will turn 30 next month, has seen injuries derail his last few seasons — he appeared in just 12 of 32 regular-season contests in 2013 and 2014 before staying healthy for most of this year. His declining production and increasingly shaky health may ultimately lead to the end of his time with the Pats.

Heading into 2016, Mayo projects to have the Patriots’ second-highest cap number behind Tom Brady, and he almost certainly won’t be back at that price. The final two seasons of Mayo’s contract are option years, and the Pats figure to turn down that option this winter before the linebacker’s $4MM bonus is due in March. He’ll become a free agent unless the two sides can work out a new deal – with a reduced salary – for him to remain in New England.

It’s not clear yet who the Patriots will sign or promote to their active roster to replace Mayo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Mayo, Pats, Welker

While there’s virtually no way he’ll return to the Patriots on his current contract, linebacker Jerod Mayo‘s time in New England may not be over after this season, says Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. In his latest mailbag, Howe suggests that if Mayo can get healthy, it’s possible he and the Pats could work out a reworked contract to bring him back. In my look last week at the Patriots’ 2016 cap situation, I identified Mayo as the team’s most likely cap casualty.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • If you’re a fan of the Steelers, Cowboys, Chargers, Ravens, or Packers, and you feel like your team has had worse-than-usual injury luck this year, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com is inclined to agree. In his latest piece, Seifert identifies those five teams as the ones that have been hit hardest by injuries this season.
  • The Giants are scheduled to work out free agent linebacker Alex Singleton next Tuesday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Singleton, who was waived by the Seahawks prior to the regular season, has also auditioned for the Chiefs, Bengals, Browns, Jaguars, and Washington this year.
  • According to reports from Tom Pelissero of USA Today and Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links), Wes Welker‘s new one-year deal with the Rams includes a $200K signing bonus to go along with a base salary worth approximately $456K (prorated total of $970K). The veteran wideout can also earn up to $200K in per-game roster bonuses ($25K per game), plus another $100K via catch- and yard-based incentives.

East Notes: Mayo, Kendricks, Jets

A look at the AFC and NFC East..

  • Jerod Mayo‘s reworked three-year deal with the Patriots calls for $4.5MM guaranteed with a $3MM bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter). He has a $1.5MM guaranteed base salary in 2015 and a chance to earn $1.8MM through incentives. Mayo (link) has $11.4MM 2016 cap figure under the new pact with a $3.25MM base and a $4MM roster bonus (due first day of league year) in his option year.
  • Mychael Kendricks plans to be back in Philly with the Eagles in a few weeks, assuming he still plays there, Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News tweets.
  • The Jets have been more active than any other team, calling around about potentially trading up and down as they explore all options, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Jets worked out defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick today, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).

Jerod Mayo, Pats Agree To Reworked Deal

Longtime Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo will remain in New England after the two sides agreed to a reworked contract that reduces the veteran’s cap hit. Mike Gafarolo of Fox Sports first reported that Mayo and the Pats were finalizing a new deal, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeting that an agreement has been reached.

Mayo’s previous contract with the Pats called for a $6.25MM base salary in 2015, and cap numbers averaging about $10MM for the next three years, through 2017. According to Rapoport (Twitter links), the new pact is a one-year contract that includes $4.5MM in guaranteed money. That amount is equivalent to the injury guarantee New England would have owed the 29-year-old if the club had cut him before he was deemed healthy.

Mayo will have a chance to earn $6MM this year, while the Pats will hold a pair of option years on the deal. If New England elects to pick up those option years, the club would owe the linebacker a $4MM bonus before free agency.

After earning his second Pro Bowl berth following a 2012 campaign in which he racked up 147 tackles and forced four fumbles, Mayo battled injuries, playing just six regular season games in each of the last two years. After tearing a pectoral muscle in 2013, the former first-round pick suffered a torn patella tendon during an October game against the Bills in 2014, prematurely ending his season.