John Harbaugh

Extra Points: Ravens, Harbaugh, Titans

We heard yesterday that the Ravens were close to extending John Harbaugh after all. After a lot of buzz that Harbaugh might not be looking to sign an extension and instead play out his contract and test the open market, it looks like Harbaugh will indeed commit to Baltimore longterm. Extension talks were “accelerated during Ravens high-level annual organizational retreat Thursday and Friday with owner Steve Bisciotti”, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN (Twitter link). Mortensen notes that discussions took place during the retreat about a potential trade of Joe Flacco and how best to develop Lamar Jackson. It should be a busy offseason in Baltimore, and it’ll be interesting to see if they can get something of value for Flacco on the trade market.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There’s only a couple of weeks until the offseason really gets underway, and we should start seeing a ton of free agency talk soon. With that in mind, ESPN NFL Nation reporters took a look at every team’s biggest upcoming free agency decision. The whole piece is worth a read, with a lot of insightful analysis about some of the biggest names to keep an eye on this March. DeMarcus Lawrence, Clay Matthews, and Anthony Barr are some of the situations that get discussed.
  • The Titans’ defense looked really solid at times this season, but could use some extra pass-rushers, according to Jim Wyatt of the team’s official site. Wyatt feels “certain” that the Titans will add outside linebacker help this offseason. Wyatt notes that with Brian Orakpo retiring and Derrick Morgan not a lock to be brought back next year, Mike Vrabel’s unit will need some reinforcements at outside linebacker.
  • In case you missed it, the Eagles are refusing to disclose details about Carson Wentz‘s injury.

Ravens, John Harbaugh Close On Extension

John Harbaugh‘s shift from lame-duck status back to long-term security with the Ravens is nearing completion. The Ravens and their longtime coach have an agreement in principle on an extension, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

One year remains on Harbaugh’s current deal. This new agreement is not yet finalized, with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweeting key issues remain unresolved. While an extension is expected to be completed, JLC notes it is not done. Although, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com describes the road left to go as procedural (Twitter link).

Talks Harbaugh was set to be fired preceded trade rumors surrounding Baltimore’s 11-season leader, but the Ravens turning their season around and winning their first AFC North title since 2012 helped Harbaugh re-establish himself. The parties began extension talks earlier this month. He will be in charge of the full Joe Flacco-to-Lamar Jackson transition.

The Broncos, Buccaneers and Dolphins were loosely linked to Harbaugh as trade suitors. Each either hired coaches or have identified a future HC. Harbaugh may well have been the top candidate on this year’s market had the Ravens allowed it. Baltimore’s transition from Ozzie Newsome, who hired Harbaugh in 2008, to Eric DeCosta will not feature a major sideline shakeup. The new GM evidently saw enough from the franchise’s winningest coach to begin his tenure tethered to him.

Harbaugh, 56, is 114-77 and ranks fifth in wins among active coaches. Three straight Ravens playoff absences — and a 40-40 record from 2013-17 — moved him close to the chopping block, but the switch to Jackson (and Baltimore’s defense returning to elite status) transformed a 4-5 team to a 10-6 division champion. This marked the Ravens’ seventh playoff appearance under Harbaugh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens, John Harbaugh Working On Extension

Maybe John Harbaugh is staying put after all. The Ravens are making progress on extension talks with their head coach, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Nothing is done yet, but both sides are encouraged by where things stand at the moment. 

[RELATED: PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Despite a group of quality free agent coaches and available coordinators, multiple teams have considered the possibility of trading for Harbaugh. The Buccaneers and Dolphins are seriously mulling the idea of forfeiting draft compensation for the one-time Super Bowl winning coach, but they’ll have to concentrate on their other targets instead if Harbaugh re-ups in Baltimore.

Right now, it sounds as though Harbaugh and the Ravens will spend a 12th year together. Through eleven seasons, Harbaugh owns a 104-72 record (.591) as the Ravens’ head coach with seven playoff appearances.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Harbaugh: “Joe’s Going To Have A Market”

It sounds like Joe Flacco‘s tenure with Baltimore may be coming to an end, but head coach John Harbaugh is still a big fan of his long-time quarterback. Following today’s season-ending loss to the Chargers, Harbaugh said the veteran quarterback should have plenty of suitors during the offseason.

“Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league. Joe can still play — I think we saw that the first half of the season,” Harbaugh said (via Cindy Boren of the Washington Post). “Joe’s going to have a market. There’s going to be a lot of teams that are going to want Joe because they understand that. I’ll be in Joe’s corner wherever he’s at. He’s special. Joe Flacco is a great talent; he’s an even better person. He’s the best QB in the history of the Ravens without question…He’s going to do just fine.”

Harbaugh all but said that Flacco won’t be in Baltimore next season, although this isn’t much of a surprise. It was clear that the veteran’s tenure with the organization was coming to an end when they decided to stick with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson following Flacco’s return from a hip injury.

A report from mid-December indicated that the organization would ultimately either cut or trade the 33-year-old. This offseason marks the first time the Ravens can cut ties with Flacco and save money against the salary cap, although reports have indicated that the front office could help move the veteran to a franchise of his choice.

Flacco was still more-than-serviceable in his nine games this season. The veteran signal-caller completed 61.2-percent of his passes for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Jackson struggled during today’s loss, and Harbaugh admitted that they considered inserting Flacco into the lineup. Ultimately, the veteran didn’t see the field for what will likely be his final game with the franchise.

If this is indeed the end of Flacco’s tenure in Baltimore, the veteran will finish his stint sitting in first for the majority of the team’s all-time passing stats. The 2008 first-round pick even ranks 15th in franchise history in rushing yards, which only accentuates his all-time value to the franchise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Interested In John Harbaugh?

The Buccaneers are the second NFL team — along with the previously-reported Dolphins — which has mulled a trade for Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

Harbaugh, whose contract expires after the 2019 campaign, hasn’t conduced any substantive extension discussions with Baltimore, but reports have indicated he’s still likely to return as the Ravens’ coach next season. However, La Canfora reports many around the NFL feel clubs are “slow-playing” their head coaching searches with the hope that Harbaugh will somehow become available.

The Ravens also need to determine how their new front office and coaching hierarchy will be structured, per La Canfora. Harbaugh has long reported to general manager Ozzie Newsome, but it’s unclear if that setup will continue once new GM Eric DeCosta formally takes over. Therefore, other teams could potentially lure Harbaugh with the idea that he’d report directly to a franchise owner, rather than a personnel executive.

Tampa Bay, for its part, has thus far interviewed four coaches for its vacancy: former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard, and Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards. Arians is currently viewed as the favorite for the position, but the potential availability of Harbaugh could shake up the Buccaneers’ search.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Harbaugh Likely To Remain With Ravens In 2019

The Ravens’ announcement that they would retain head coach John Harbaugh in 2019 has not done much to quiet speculation concerning Harbaugh’s future in Baltimore. Indeed, we recently heard that the Dolphins are mulling a trade offer for Harbaugh, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that two teams are considering such an offer (presumably, the Dolphins are one of them). The fact that Harbaugh and the Ravens have not engaged in substantive extension talks, coupled with the fact that Harbaugh’s current contract only keeps him under club control through 2019, has kept the rumor mill churning.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Baltimore brass did speak with Harbaugh’s agent last Monday, but no real progress was made. Nonetheless, the Ravens want Harbaugh to return in 2019, and Harbaugh — despite speculation to the contrary — is perfectly content to head into next year without an extension.

Harbaugh wants to return to the Ravens and has no intention of forcing his way out. Plus, Rapoport says that Harbaugh does not really want to be traded, because he does not want the team that would acquire him to be weakened by having to send draft compensation to Baltimore. So as of right now, it sounds as though Harbaugh and the Ravens will spend a 12th year together.

Meanwhile, Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator, Don Martindale, has generated some head coaching buzz for the work he has done with the Ravens’ defense this year, though we have not heard of any interview requests for him. Per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Martindale does want to be a head coach at some point, but he is also happy to remain in Baltimore as Harbaugh’s DC as long as Harbaugh wants him to.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Ravens, Cowboys, Rams, Bills, Falcons

We’ve been hearing mixed things about John Harbaugh for a while now. The Ravens announced they hope to keep the coach longterm with an extension, but rumors have continued to swirl that Harbaugh isn’t willing to commit to Baltimore and that he may want to explore his options elsewhere. Numerous teams have been reported to be interested in trading for the coach, including the Broncos and Dolphins.

We have a new update on Harbaugh today, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports the Ravens have “yet to have any dialogue” with Harbaugh about a new contract. La Canfora writes that the “situation is being watched closely” by other front offices, and that several teams still have hopes of trading for him after the year. If the Ravens have a quick playoff exit, it could increase the chances that the two sides part ways this offseason. It’ll be one of the biggest stories to monitor the next few weeks, and we should know a lot more after the team’s game against the Chargers tomorrow.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Cowboys have a bunch of young players they’ll need to pay soon, and Ezekiel Elliott would like to be first in line. The third year running back has one more year left on his deal after this season plus his 2020 fifth-year team option, but he’d like to be extended this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). While Rapsheet notes that it “makes sense given his workload”, it’s unclear at what price the team values him. We heard back in November that the team might not be in any rush to extend Elliott, so it will be very interesting to see what the team does here.
  • By gaining more than 1,200 rushing yards, Todd Gurley got a $1MM bonus this season, Rapoport tweets. It brings the total value of Gurley’s extension with the Rams to four years and $58.5MM. Gurley got off to a red hot start to the year and was on pace to break the single season touchdowns record for a while, and while he cooled off a little bit during the second half of the season, he still had another dominant year. He’s been dealing with some knee soreness recently, but should be a full go for the Rams’ playoff run.
  • We also got details on Matt Barkley‘s recent extension with the Bills, that Mike Rodak of ESPN tweeted out. Barkley’s two year deal will pay him $1.25MM in 2019 and $1.5MM in 2020. Interestingly, Rodak notes that the team gave Barkley a $600K signing bonus. Getting that large of an amount of guaranteed money would suggest he has a significant leg up on Derek Anderson in the race to be Josh Allen‘s backup next year. Buffalo signed Anderson to a one year deal earlier this week. The deal also includes active roster and playing time bonuses for Barkley, who showed very well in his one spot start this season.
  • Locking defensive tackle Grady Jarrett up longterm is a priority for the Falcons this offseason, according to GM Thomas Dimitroff, per Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com. “We would like to have Grady back for many years to come”, Dimitroff said. Jarrett was one of the few bright spots on a Falcons defense that regressed mightily this season, and he received elite grades from Pro Football Focus. Jarrett, a fifth round pick in 2015, is set to be a free agent this offseason and should be in for a huge payday.

Dolphins Mulling John Harbaugh Trade

The Dolphins are mulling a trade for Ravens coach John Harbaugh, a league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. However, the source adds that the Dolphins will only call the Ravens if they know in advance that the asking price will not be too high. 

Some in league circles believe the Ravens will ask for two first-round picks, Florio hears. Others think the asking price will be lower, though a trade would still presumably still require a forfeiture of draft capital.

Florio speculates that the Dolphins’ move to reassign Mike Tannenbaum and install Chris Grier as the top football operations guy may have been done to attract Harbaugh to Miami. At minimum, it’s a structure that could hold appeal for the 56-year-old coach since Grier has a reputation for putting ego aside and acting in the best interests of the team.

The Broncos could possibly have interest in swinging a trade for Harbaugh as well, but for now, Harbaugh’s focus will be on the field. His Ravens will face the Chargers on Sunday in a Wild Card showdown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos’ HC Search

The Broncos’ John Harbaugh interest appears to have cooled. A potential trade for the Ravens HC is not on the Broncos’ radar, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Neither is a once-discussed reunion with Mike Shanahan, per Denver7’s Troy Renck (Twitter link). Former Denver OC Adam Gase is also out of the picture.

One more candidate John Elway is hoping to meet with emerged Monday afternoon, however, in Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Both the Bengals and Cardinals have already sought summits with the 35-year-old Taylor. Taylor already has a meeting scheduled with the Broncos, per SNY.tv’s Ralph Vacchiano (Twitter link). The Rams’ bye allows for teams to interview Taylor this week.

Denver already sought an audience with New England linebackers coach Brian Flores and has secured meetings with Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak and Bears DC Vic Fangio. Denver’s last such hire, Vance Joseph, obviously didn’t work out. But offensive coaches are in high demand.

Additionally, Gary Kubiak is expected to stay in Denver, 9News’ Mike Klis notes (via Twitter). Kubiak has spent the past two years in Denver’s front office but has been connected to a possible return to offensive coordinating; that could help explain the Broncos’ interest in defensive-minded leaders. Elway confirmed (via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com) a Kubiak return to an offensive staff position is being considered.

Elway told Joseph’s assistants they are still under contract with the Broncos, but given the turnover that usually comes with new HC hires, these aids will be allowed to pursue other jobs, per Klis (on Twitter).

Elway considered a move to bring back Shanahan last year, but Broncos president Joe Ellis played the lead role in scuttling that. The Broncos had been connected to Harbaugh for a bit, even after it became known the Ravens were not going to fire him. He and Kubiak worked together in Baltimore.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Rex Ryan, Gase, Dolphins, Harbaugh, Broncos

There will be a ton of coaching rumors in the coming days, and we’ve already seen our first post-season firing. We’ve got a whole new round of notes ready, including an interesting tidbit about a very high profile name. Former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan is reportedly telling potential assistant coach candidates that he expects to land an interview with the Dolphins, sources told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Ryan is an out of left field name who hasn’t been talked about much recently, but he’s apparently eager to get back into coaching. One important caveat here is that there’s no guarantee Adam Gase gets fired by the Dolphins, but Ryan is apparently expecting him to. Salguero notes that Ryan is also a candidate for the University of Miami’s open job, and that Ryan is telling associates he has a “solid chance” to land one of the two jobs, but that he’d prefer the Dolphins one. If Ryan somehow ends up coaching the Dolphins next year, it’ll be the third AFC East team he’s led.

Here’s more on the coaching carousel:

  • Speaking of Gase, there have been conflicting reports about his job security recently. For his part Gase denied thinking about it much after his team’s blowout loss to the Bills, saying “I mean I’m not even thinking about that right now because we just got drummed on the road”, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Wolfe also notes that Gase said he didn’t speak much with owner Stephen Ross, who was in the locker room after the game.
  • We heard earlier today that multiple teams were considering trying to trade for Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and now we have a better idea of which teams. The Dolphins and Broncos are two teams that have expressed interest in trading for Harbaugh, according to Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders (Twitter link). While he notes the Buccaneers haven’t yet been linked, he thinks they “could get into the mix” eventually. The Ravens won the AFC North today, but Harbaugh could still be available, especially if Baltimore goes one and done in the playoffs.
  • It’d already been reported that Ron Rivera was likely safe in Carolina, and now it’s official. New owner David Tepper has informed Rivera personally that he’ll be back coaching the team in 2019, a source told Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). It was a disappointing season for the Panthers after they completely collapsed after jumping out to a 6-2 record, but the explanation of injuries and Rivera’s track record with the team saved his job for at least another year.