Kevin Warren

NFC North Notes: Lions, Megatron, Vikings

Calvin Johnson was famously required to pay back a seven-figure portion of his $16MM signing bonus after retiring from the NFL in 2016, and he says his strained relationship with the Lions won’t improve unless he’s returned that money. “They already know what they got to do,” Johnson told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “The only way they’re going to get me back is they put that money back in my pocket. Nah, you don’t do that. I don’t care what they say. They can put it back, then they can have me back. That’s the bottom line.” As recently as 2017, NFL teams were reportedly interested in luring Megatron out of retirement, but he’s said he has no interest in returning to the league.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • While Johnson may not be mending fences with the Lions any time soon, the show must go on in Detroit, and Tim Twentyman of has passed along a few interesting nuggets from the second week of organized team activities. While it’s certainly early, Tom Savage reportedly looks like the favorite for the Lions’ backup quarterback job, per Twentyman. Savage has been taking most of the club’s second-team snaps, and he boasts far more experience than his competition (Connor Cook). Meanwhile, second-round linebacker Jahlani Tavai was viewed as something of an over-draft, but he’s already seeing some time with Detroit’s first-team defense.
  • Although Laquon Treadwell has struggled mightily during his first three seasons in a Vikings uniform, now is not the time to release the former first-round wide receiver, argues Courtney Cronin of Treadwell, 24 later this month, posted the best season of his career in 2018, but that only entailed 35 receptions and 302 yards as he played behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Minnesota would incur $2.5MM in dead money by cutting Treadwell, but the club would open up roughly $654K in cap space by doing so. As Cronin indicates, the Vikings could be hoping Treadwell flashes during the preseason and increases his trade value.
  • Vikings chief operating office Kevin Warren was today officially named as the new commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, as Adam Schefter of indicated Monday (Twitter link). Warren will become the first African-American commissioner of a Power Five conference. As Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement, Warren plans to assist Minnesota in a transition phase over the next three months.

Front Office Notes: Eagles, Raiders, Bills

We’ve passed along a couple rounds of coaching-related rumors already today, but with teams looking ahead to the 2015 season, some front-office shakeups could occur as well. Let’s check in on the latest updates on front offices around the NFL…

  • In a surprising move, the Eagles announced today that they’ve mutually agreed to parted ways with vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble (Twitter link). Reporting on the move before it was officially confirmed by the team, Chris Mortensen of (Twitter link) called it a firing, predicting that the Eagles may refer to it as parting ways, but “it is what it is.” Gamble was identified by Adam Caplan of a couple weeks ago as one of the league’s top candidates to land a GM job this offseason.
  • Reacting to Gamble’s departure, Eagles writers like Geoff Mosher of (Twitter link) and Sheil Kapadia of suggest that it sounds like a win for GM Howie Roseman, who has the backing of owner Jeffrey Lurie. As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote earlier this week, head coach Chip Kelly was a fan of Gamble, calling him a “heck of a football guy” while referring to Roseman as more of a cap manager.
  • According to Jason La Canfora of (via Twitter), Mike Holmgren, Kevin Warren of the Vikings, and Russ Brandon of the Bills are drawing some interest from the Raiders as a potential team president. Following up on that report, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News tweets that Brandon may have headed to Oakland if Terry Pegula and Kim Pegula hadn’t taken over as the owners in Buffalo, but he’s staying with the organization now.
  • With a midnight opt-out deadline looming for Bills head coach Doug Marrone, La Canfora tweets that he continues to hear about friction between Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that Marrone is still expected to remain in Buffalo, so it will be interesting to see if Whaley returns for the 2015 season as well.
  • Earlier this afternoon, we learned that Vikings assistant GM George Paton turned down opportunities to interview for the Bears‘ and Jets‘ general manager openings, and will stick with Minnesota.