Jordan Gross

NFC Notes: Harbaugh, Peterson, Packers

Asked about Alex Boone‘s holdout and Vernon Davis‘ near-holdout, as well as his own contract situation, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh took the opportunity to set the record straight regarding rumors about his deal with the Niners, in a conversation with Jason Cole of Bleacher Report.

“I signed my 10th contract in the National Football League in 2011, so I understand contracts,” Harbaugh said. “I understand how contracts work, and what they are there for. I also know that I work at the pleasure of the San Francisco 49ers organization and at the pleasure of the York Family. And I am paid extremely well – which I am most grateful for – and I am very proud to be part of this organization. For the record, I have never asked to be the highest-paid coach in football. I have never asked to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach. I have never asked for more power. Nor has anybody asked for those things on my behalf, which anybody in this organization can attest to, and all the focus will be on the 2014 season and achieving our goals of the team.”

Harbaugh’s comments seem to be directly reference an early-June report which suggested that contract talks between the Niners and their head coach had reached an impasse. While further discussions may still be on hold, it doesn’t sound as if Harbaugh is unhappy with his situation, which figures to be addressed after the 2014 season.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Cardinals GM Steve Keim and cornerback Patrick Peterson both appear committed to working out a long-term extension sooner rather than later, with Keim indicating the team has had “great talks” with agent Joel Segal, and Peterson saying the two sides are in “pretty heated negotiations.” Still, as Tom Pelissero of USA Today writes, no template has been set yet for how to account for the 2015 options for 2011 first-rounders when negotiating their second contracts.
  • After speaking to “key people” within the Packers‘ organization, Ian Rapoport of came away more convinced than ever that general manager Ted Thompson has no plans to retire anytime soon.
  • Peter King of takes a look at Jordan Gross’ somewhat surprising decision to retire after the 2013 season, and how the longtime Panthers tackle is transitioning into his post-playing career.
  • The Vikings are bringing in prominent criminal attorney Ted Wells, who headed the report on the Dolphins’ bullying scandal, to work on settlement talks for the Chris Kluwe investigation, a source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Jordan Gross To Retire

After taking a few weeks to mull his future, longtime Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross has decided to retire, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Person reports that Gross will make an official announcement tomorrow, and the club has confirmed the Wednesday press conference.

Gross, 33, spent his entire 11-year career with the Panthers, starting all 167 games he played for the team since being drafted eighth overall in 2003. The Utah alum consistently graded as one of the league’s best tackles according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics, and earned three Pro Bowl berths, including one in 2013.

Gross had initially planned to play through 2014, but when the Panthers restructured his contract, it was set up to void this offseason, meaning the veteran was faced with a decision on whether or not to continue his career. Had he decided to keep playing, Gross almost certainly would’ve returned to Carolina.

As I noted yesterday in our look at the free agent market for offensive tackles, Panthers right tackle Byron Bell is also a free agent this offseason, albeit a restricted one. With Gross headed for retirement and Bell’s future not certain, tackle figures to be a primary area of focus for the team in the draft and perhaps in free agency.

Panthers Rumors: Gross, Hardy, Draft

With the combine now underway in Indianapolis, we’ve covered a significant number of the NFL’s 32 teams in at least one of our Thursday posts, but we’ve yet to mention the Panthers at all today. Let’s remedy that, and check out what GM Dave Gettleman had to say about the team’s offseason during his media availability….

  • Offensive tackle Jordan Gross has had two lengthy conversations with Gettleman since the season ended, but remains undecided on whether or not he’ll continue his playing career, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Gettleman, who will speak to Gross again when he returns from an Idaho ski trip within the next few days, said that the veteran lineman has “earned the right” to take his time to make a decision on his future, though if he decides to return to Carolina, there will be salary cap ramifications for the team to consider.
  • Within the same piece, Person writes that the future of longtime Panthers receiver Steve Smith is “part of the evaluation process,” according to Gettleman. The GM hasn’t had any conversations with Smith about the possibility of retirement.
  • Asked about free-agent-to-be Greg Hardy, Gettleman pointed to the Panthers’ cap constraints and suggested that the team will be very careful about committing big money to its standout defensive end, either on a long-term deal or via the franchise tag. Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer has the GM’s quotes.
  • Person got the impression from listening to Gettleman that the Panthers will be more inclined to sign one-year contracts than multiyear deals going forward (Twitter link).
  • Gettleman warned against tying the Panthers to a specific player or position in mock drafts, telling reporters, including Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link), that the club will take the best player available in May.

Panthers Tops In “Dead Money”

Thanks in large part to last season’s trade of Jon Beason, the Panthers have $17.8MM in “dead money,” more than any team in the league, according to’s Kevin Seifert (full chart here). “Dead money” is defined as cap space consumed by players no longer on the roster, whether they retired, were released or traded. The numbers will fluctuate as rosters continue to evolve, but listed below are the five teams with at least $10MM worth of “dead money” at present time, including the players accounting for most of the sunk costs:

At the other end of the spectrum, six teams have less than $1MM in “dead money”: Jets, Rams, Buccaneers, Colts, Seahawks and Bengals.

NFC South Notes: Hardy, Panthers, Bucs’s David Newton deems it likely that defensive end Greg Hardy will return to the Panthers, estimating the likelihood of a reunion at 67%. While a long-term contract would seem to be the in the best interests of both the team and the player, the franchise tag (at around $12MM) might be the most plausible option at this point. We noted yesterday that Hardy may not be re-signed due to financial constraints.

Meanwhile, other news abounds in the NFC South:

  • Within the same article, Newton notes that safety Charles Godfrey might be saved from being a cap casualty due to simple finances. Cutting Godfrey would leave the Panthers with $5MM in dead money, and, obviously, without Godfrey. A contract restructure could be the more likely result.
  • Newton writes that corners Josh Norman and Josh Thomas, each of whom were frequently inactive, could be released.
  • Offensive tackle Jordan Gross is expected back with the team, although the Panthers could draft a future replacement in the early rounds of the draft.
  • Back on the Hardy front, Pat Yasinkas of does not believe the Buccaneers are a realistic landing spot for the defensive end. While they have cap space, it may not be enough to sign a star like Hardy, so the draft might be a better route for adding pass rushers.
  • The Saints will likely attempt to add a veteran corner through free agency, and a young receiver through the draft, according to Mike Triplett of
  • Triplett also notes that while the Saints won’t add players with the specific intention of transforming to a more traditional 3-4-style defense, their most pressing need remains the front seven.

Extra Points: Incognito, Gross, Suggs, Pats

Executives and players who spoke to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report expressed confidence that Richie Incognito would continue to find NFL work going forward, but weren’t as certain about Jonathan Martin’s future. Lingering questions about Martin’s trustworthiness and mental health make him a bigger question mark around the league than Incognito, whose off-field question marks are at least more familiar for NFL teams.

“He’s not a good guy, but we’re not a league of good guys,” one GM said of Incognito. “There are some bad guys in football, but it’s football, not the Salvation Army. He can play, if the commissioner allows it, he’ll get another job.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Several contracts around the league voided today, adding more players to the 2014 free agent list, as expected. In a series of tweets, Joel Corry and Brian McIntryre listed a few of the notable players whose deals voided, including Brian Orakpo, Brandon Meriweather, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, B.J. Raji, and Corey Webster.
  • Another player whose deal was set to void today was Panthers offensive lineman Jordan Gross, who remains undecided on whether or not he’ll continue his career, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. As Corry notes (via Twitter), voiding Gross’ contract would result in $5.6MM of dead money on Carolina’s cap, so the team probably would’ve liked to push that deadline into March, if possible. It’s not clear yet whether the club managed to do anything like that though.
  • The latest piece from Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report is chock full of interesting tidbits, including word that the Ravens still believe Terrell Suggs is a valuable asset, meaning the team is more likely to try to restructure his deal than to release him. Pompei also notes that many NFL team execs are happy this year’s draft was pushed back, since they’ll need that extra time to evaluate the record number of underclassmen among 2014’s class.
  • While Michael Bennett, Anthony Spencer, and Jason Worilds are among the intriguing pass-rushing options in this year’s free agent class, Orakpo and Greg Hardy make up the top tier, writes Jason Fitzgerald of
  • A day after looking at the Seahawks’ future, Joel Corry of The National Football Post turns his attention to what’s next for the Broncos.
  • Mike Reiss of provides a brief snapshot of every position on the Patriots’ offense, assessing whether or not the team will address each spot in free agency or the draft.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Gross, Freeman, Vick

The Eagles could do worse than to follow the Seahawks’ model for building a successful franchise, writes Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider work exceptionally well together, with Carroll getting final say over personnel decisions. It’s a little different in Philly, however, as its not totally clear if it’s coach Chip Kelly or GM Howie Roseman who gets to make the last determination on roster matters.

  • Panthers tackle Jordan Gross says that coach Ron Rivera “wants [him] back for sure” in 2014, writes’s David Newton. Gross plans to retire if he doesn’t return to the only team he’s been with since entering the NFL in 2003.
  • The Players’ Association is close to revealing the results of its investigation into the Buccaneers‘ alleged leaking of Josh Freeman‘s medical records, DeMaurice Smith told reporters, including Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post (via Twitter). The club’s apparent sandbagging of Freeman made for a tumultuous season in Tampa Bay that ended with the firing of former coach Greg Schiano.
  • Even if the Eagles make a contract offer to Michael Vick before March 11, he still plans on hitting the open market. “I want to see what’s out there for me. It’s only right,” Vick said today at radio row, according to McLane. “This is the first time and probably the only time I’ll ever have to do it in my career. So I just want to take advantage of it. I’m excited about it. It’s new and it’s kind of refreshing”. Any way you slice it, a return to the Eagles doesn’t seem likely for Vick.