John Benton

Extra Points: Cardinals, Patriots, Jags, 49ers

An offseason union between quarterback Jay Cutler and the Cardinals wouldn’t be “shocking,” opines Peter King of, who adds that a multi-year deal with incentives would make some sense for both sides. At first glance, Cutler signing — and presumably becoming a backup to Carson Palmer — appears unlikely, but as King notes, Arizona head coach Bruce Arians isn’t afraid to take chances on certain veteran players. Still, King is probably speculating rather than reporting, and Cutler is likely to target a starting job after (almost assuredly) being released by the Bears.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Although one recent report indicated agent Don Yee would lead the hunt for a Jimmy Garoppolo trade partner, Yee is planning to let the Patriots and Bill Belichick handle such negotiations, as Tony Grossi of writes. “I don’t really have any information at this moment of time about that,” Yee said. “Everybody’s getting ready for the combine as well as preparing for free agency. I don’t know anything at all about what the Patriots plan to do, nor would I even presume to have any suggestion as to what they should do.” Garoppolo is expected to be the top target for a number of clubs this offseason, including the Browns, Bears, and 49ers.
  • Pending free agent safety Jonathan Cyprien admitted he’s “kind of excited, kind of nervous” about reaching the open market, adding that he hopes to remain with the Jaguars in 2017, per SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Cyprien, a 2013 second-round pick, has started 60 games during his Jacksonville career, and last year graded as the league’s No. 7 safety, according to Pro Football Focus. As of December, the Jags appeared likely to let Cyprien hit free agency, and for what it’s worth, PFF’s Sam Monson today identified Cyprien as a player likely to get overpaid next month.
  • After just over a month as Denver’s assistant offensive line coach, John Benton is leaving to become the 49ers’ O-line coach, reports the Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). Prior to his comically brief stint with the Broncos, Benton worked with front fives in St. Louis, Houston, Miami and Jacksonville from 2003-16. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan was with Benton on the Texans’ offensive staff from 2006-09.
  • While the Broncos are losing one coach, they’re also adding another, as the club is hiring former Northern Colorado defensive backs coach Charles Gordon as a defensive quality control assistant, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Gordon, who had a short NFL career with Vikings from 2006-09, had been UNC’s staff for the past three years.

Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

West Notes: Broncos, 49ers, Raiders, Vegas

The Broncos could express interest in left tackle Branden Albert and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, each of whom played for the Dolphins in 2016, per Mike Klis of 9NEWS (Twitter links). Mitchell was released on Thursday and could be a fit with Denver thanks to his relationship with Broncos head coach Vance Joseph and defensive line coach Bill Kollar. Albert was also thought to have been released, but Miami is now close to trading the 32-year-old to Jacksonville. It’s unclear if Denver would still be interested in Albert if forced to sacrifice draft compensation.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • In addition to confirming several previously-reported hires, the 49ers announced another wave of coaching staff additions tonight. The list of new coaches includes Jeff Hafley (defensive backs), Johnny Holland (linebackers), Jason Tarver (senior defensive assistant) and Bobby Slowik (defensive quality control). Tarver, a former coordinator at the NFL level, is a holdover but is shifting away from LBs coach in order for San Francisco to add Holland, a former Cleveland coach.
  • The Broncos have granted the 49ers permission to interview John Benton for their vacant offensive line position, as Klis reports in a separate piece. Denver hired Benton as its assistant offensive line coach last month, but obviously he hasn’t actually worked with any Broncos players as of yet. Benton has worked with new San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan in the past, as the pair was employed by Houston from 2006-09.
  • Although previous reports have indicated the Raiders‘ plan to relocate to Las Vegas is “dead,” Oakland executive Mark Badain recently told the NFL the club has financial backing from two banks willing to loan the Raiders money for their move, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. The Raiders last month lost the support of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who was planning to put $650MM towards a Vegas stadium, but reportedly still had “high hopes” of moving to Nevada.

Coaching Notes: Bradley, Kelly, Bears, Titans

The Chargers and new head coach Anthony Lynn want Gus Bradley to be their defensive coordinator, reports Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter). It was reported last week that the new Los Angeles franchise was looking at Bradley for the gig, and that interest made more sense following reports that former defensive coordinator John Pagano wouldn’t be returning.

However, Bradley isn’t in a rush to sign a deal. The former Jaguars coach is waiting to see whether the 49ers will hire Seahawks offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable as their head coach. The duo coached together in Seattle from 2011 through 2012, and we can assume that Bradley would be interested in joining Cable’s 49ers staff. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports (via Twitter) that Bradley is a “top choice” for Cable’s hypothetical staff.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Chip Kelly headed into his interview with the Jaguars believing he’d get offered the offensive coordinator position, reports Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). In fact, the former Eagles and 49ers head coach already has some “assistant hires” ready to go. Rapoport notes that there’s a good chance Kelly gets the gig.
  • The Bears have hired Jeremiah Washburn to be their offensive line coach, reports Marvez (via Twitter). Washburn spent last season as the Dolphins assistant offensive line coach, and he also spent time coaching with the Lions and Ravens.
  • The Titans have added a pair of coaches to their staff. Jim Wyatt of reports that the team has added former Temple passing game coordinator Frisman Jackson as their new wide receivers coach. The team has also hired Craig Aukerman to be an assistant special teams coach. Aukerman served as the Chargers special teams coordinator last season.
  • The Browns hired Blake Williams as their linebackers coach and Jerod Kruse as an assistant defensive backs coach, reports Nate Ulrich of (via Twitter). Williams, the son of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, spent last season working under his dad in Los Angeles.
  • The Broncos have added John Benton to their coaching staff as an assistant offensive line coach, reports Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post. Benton has coached in the NFL for 13 years, and he spent last season working for the Jaguars.

Jaguars Notes: Kiffin, Draft, Hurns, Beachum

The Jaguars made a big-name addition to their coaching staff today, formally announcing that veteran NFL coach Monte Kiffin would be joining the team as a defensive assistant. Kiffin, formerly the defensive coordinator in Dallas, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and Minnesota, served in 2014 and 2015 as an assistant head coach for the Cowboys. In 2016, he’ll work with a unit that will be adding Malik Jackson, Prince Amukamara, and 2015 first-rounder Dante Fowler Jr., among others.

Here’s more on the Jaguars:

  • In addition to hiring Kiffin, the Jaguars also announced a couple more coaching changes, adding John Benton as assistant offensive line coach and John Donovan as offensive quality control coach.
  • GM Dave Caldwell is open to the idea of moving down in the draft, suggesting to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union that he’d be willing to go from No. 5 overall to “somewhere in the early teens.” Caldwell’s comments suggest that the Jags probably feel the top of the draft is fairly deep, and that the team will keep an eye out for opportunities to add another early pick.
  • Caldwell acknowledged that the Jaguars may look into a contract extension for wide receiver Allen Hurns this offseason now that he’s eligible for a new deal. “I think we’ll wait until after the draft to see where we’re at,” Caldwell said, per O’Halloran. “And if we did anything, it would be before the season.” I’d be surprised if Jacksonville gets anything done with Hurns this year, since he won’t be eligible for unrestricted free agency until 2018.
  • Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle provides several details on the Kelvin Beachum contract (all Twitter links). The deal is worth $5MM in year one, with a $2.5MM salary and up to $1MM in per-game roster bonuses. $1.5MM of that $5MM comes in the form of a guaranteed roster bonus. After the 2016 season, the Jaguars will have until 22 days prior to the start of the 2017 league year to decide whether or not to exercise Beachum’s $5MM option bonus for 2017-2020, when his salaries would range from $7.5MM to $10MM.

Coach Rumors: Giants, L. Smith, Bucs, Dolphins

Asked today on The Michael Kay Show if the Giants will consider Lovie Smith for their head coaching opening, team co-owner John Mara said he’s “certainly aware” the former Buccaneers head coach is available. According to Mara, he’ll talk to his fellow decision-makers about Smith, but he isn’t sure yet whether the club will try to bring him in (Twitter links via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News).

For now, New York is targeting highly-regarded assistants, having interviewed their own coordinators, as well as Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

Here are a few more coaching-related updates from around the NFL:

  • Jason La Canfora of tweets that he would be “very surprised” if former Falcons head coach Mike Smith doesn’t emerge as a strong candidate for the Buccaneers‘ vacancy. Smith interviewed with the Dolphins this week and has been mentioned as possible candidate for the Titans as well.
  • According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), the Dolphins would’ve been one of the teams – along with the Eagles – that had interest in John Harbaugh if he became available, but Harbaugh isn’t going anywhere. The Dolphins continued their head coaching search today by interviewing Dan Campbell and, per a team release, Doug Marrone.
  • The Jaguars will interview Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel for their defensive coordinator job, according to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). ESPN’s Vaughn McClure tweets that the meeting will take place on Tuesday.
  • As first reported by Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter links), linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald was fired by the Colts today. Indianapolis hired a new defensive coordinator this week, bringing in former Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino, so it looks like he has already started making changes to the unit.
  • Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, the Colts are interviewing John Benton (Dolphins), Pat Flaherty (Giants), and Chris Foerster (49ers) for their offensive line coach position, tweets Marvez.

Extra Points: Benton, Dolphins, Amendola

The Dolphins have promoted John Benton to offensive line coach and named Jack Bicknell Jr. the team’s assistant offensive line coach, the team announced today.

Benton was originally hired by the Dolphins on January 29. He replaces Jim Turner, who was fired earlier this month for his involvement in the Richie IncognitoJonathan Martin bullying scandal.

Bicknell spent the 2013 season as the Steelers‘ offensive line coach. Before that, he had NFL stops with the Chiefs and Giants, and 24 seasons coaching at the collegiate level.

Here are some more bits and pieces from a relatively slow Saturday night…