Les Snead

NFC West Notes: Rams, McVay, Seahawks

The Rams recently extended both head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead through the 2023 season, and Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports club owner Stan Kroenke was the “driving force” behind the dual deals. McVay was set to enter the upcoming campaign as one of the lowest-paid head coaches in the NFL, and — given the youthful coach’s success — Kroenke wanted to reward him. Additionally, Kroenke wanted McVay and Snead’s contract to align and run through the same season, per Breer. It’s unclear exactly how far into the future Snead had previously been under contract, but it was for fewer than the three years McVay had remaining.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Bobby Wagner became the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL under the terms of his new extension, and we now have some more details on the Seahawks star’s pact. Wagner’s three-year, $54MM deal will allow him to collect $24.5MM in 2019 instead of the $11.5MM he was due this year on his previous deal, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Additionally, Wagner will secure rolling injury guarantees of $10.75MM in 2020 and $5MM in 2021 that change to full guarantees on the fifth day of that season’s waiver period. Former agent and current CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry broke down the deal, which Wagner negotiated himself.
  • The Seahawks will work out running backs Chris Warren and Brian Wallace this week, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As Henderson notes, Warren’s father made three Pro Bowls as a Seattle running back from 1990-97. The younger Warren posted an excellent 2018 preseason but missed the entire regular season after suffering a knee injury. He was waived by the Raiders this week after struggling with conditioning issues.
  • In case you missed it, the Rams gave wideout Robert Woods a raise for the 2019 season. In a rare NFL occurrence, Los Angeles handed Woods an extra $1MM in base salary and a new $2MM roster bonus with no strings attached.

Rams Extend Sean McVay, Les Snead

The Rams’ power structure will stay in tact for years to come. On Friday, the Rams announced extensions for head coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead through the 2023 season. 

I’m very thankful to be a Ram for many years to come, working with great ownership, people, coaches, and players,” McVay told NFL.com. “It’s exciting to get camp going and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves up and get to work.”

McVay, 33, has brought youthful energy to the franchise and a high-powered offensive game plan. In his first year, the Rams went 11-5 after finishing out with a 4-12 mark. Then, last year, they took another huge step forward with a Super Bowl appearance. This year, McVay will look to build off of that momentum as the Rams figure to be one of the strongest teams in the league.

Snead, meanwhile, will continue in the role that he assumed in 2012, way back when the Rams were in St. Louis. His next big task will be to hammer out an extension with quarterback Jared Goff, who is slated for free agency after the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Extensions For Rams’ Jared Goff, Sean McVay

We heard earlier this month that the Rams are eyeing a 2020 extension for quarterback Jared Goff, who is entering his fourth year in the league. Goff has thrived under the tutelage of head coach Sean McVay, who recently threw his full support behind his signal-caller, and it seems like only a matter of time before Goff lands a nine-figure contract.

So, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk asks, why wait? Goff, a two-time Pro Bowler who led his team to the Super Bowl last season, is not going to get any less expensive, especially since his draft mate, Carson Wentz, just signed a four-year, $128MM pact despite suffering significant injuries in each of the past two seasons. Florio observes that Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are other young QBs eligible for a second contract that have not yet gotten one, but neither player has accomplished as much as Goff (plus, both of them are making over $20MM this year under their fifth-year options). Like Goff and Wentz, Dak Prescott was a 2016 draft choice, but at least he and the Cowboys are talking.

As Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times writes, GM Les Snead and Goff’s representation have been in touch, but they have only had preliminary discussions about a possible timeline for future talks. In other words, the two sides are talking about when they’re going to talk. Snead said, “Nothing heavy. No heavy lifting.”

Rams officials have indicated they could get a deal done with Goff prior to the 2019 campaign, but considering where the parties are in contract talks, the 2020 timeframe seems more plausible at this point. Like McVay, though, Snead said he is fully committed to Goff.

McVay himself could get an extension soon, and a report back in January suggested that could happen this offseason, but it sounds like those talks have not commenced. When asked whether the club was pursuing an extension for McVay, COO Kevin Demoff indicated he was focused on extending certain key players first.

Both Demoff and Snead declined to comment on Snead’s contract situation, but if things continue on their current trajectory, the Snead-McVay-Goff trifecta could be in LA for the long haul.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Butler, Shead, Rams, Chiefs

It’s been a wild ride for the Seahawks defense the past week. After the team traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles and released Richard Sherman, it also decided to release cornerback DeShawn Shead.

This was noteworthy because the Seahawks told the player it would release him to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent despite the NFL saying his contract should toll for 2018.

Earlier today, Shead signed with the Lions but reportedly wanted a return to the Seahawks, the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta tweets. After Seattle honored its statement to make the cornerback a free agent, Shead wanted to give Seattle every chance to keep him, but the organization ultimately wouldn’t match the offer he received from the Lions.

Seattle now enters free agency without three of its top veterans and could be seeing the end of the Earl Thomas era, who has threatened to hold out if he doesn’t receive a new deal. The Seahawks could deal him this offseason and are reportedly looking for a first-round pick in return.

Needless to say, the Seahawks once-stingy defensive unit will look plenty different in 2018.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Rams general manager Les Snead said on Wednesday the team traded linebacker Alec Ogletree to accommodate the ensuing move for cornerback Aqib Talib, Alden Gonzalez tweets. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips prefers cornerbacks to linebackers in his scheme, and a big move had to be made to bring in the former Broncos corner, who will count $11 MM toward the cap.
  • Snead also said he sees ways the Rams can address run defense and the pass rush in free agency, Gonzalez tweets. Though he is weighing what will be available to fill those holes with rookies, he doesn’t want to just wait until the draft to fill obvious needs. The team received some insurance for its pass rush on Wednesday when it re-signed veteran linebacker Connor Barwin.
  • New Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler said he was worried his Super Bowl benching would hurt his value on the open market, USA Today’s Lindsay Jones tweets. Butler notoriously didn’t see the field against the Eagles in February when the Patriots allowed Nick Foles to shred their secondary. The 2015 Pro Bowl selection reached a deal with the Titans on Wednesday worth up to $61 MM over five years, with $30 MM of that being guaranteed.
  • Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said cornerback Marcus Peters‘ trade to the Rams had nothing to do with national anthem protests, Pro Football Talk passes along“This was a football decision. … This wasn’t just one game, wasn’t a month, this was three years of body of work, and we look for consistency. We felt that this was in the best interest of the team,” Veach said. 
  • Veach also touched on the Chiefs move for Sammy Watkins, saying the team pounced on the receiver in the first minute of free agency, the NFL Network’s James Palmer tweets. Veach said that if Watkins received a call before theirs, the other team would’ve had to call in 30 seconds before they did. The team was motivated to move on Watkins to add him to Tyreek Hill, giving strong-armed quarterback Patrick Mahomes a pair of dynamic, stretch-the-field receivers.

Rams Notes: Donald, Watkins, Johnson

The Rams’ offseason plans hinge greatly on getting an extension done with All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. However, team general manager Les Snead will not specify if he is the “first or last domino to fall,” ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez writes.

“What I do know is he is an important domino,” Snead said. It is likely Donald will become the highest-paid defender at some point this offseason, and the signing will dictate much of what the Rams can do with the rest of their salary cap.

Gonzalez also notes that a deal might have to wait until after Oakland resigns Khalil Mack for talks to begin to get serious. One of the frontrunners for 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Donald is set to make $6.89MM in 2018, which is half of what Mack, who was taken eight spots higher than him in the 2014 NFL Draft, is expected to make.

Whenever Donald does ink a deal, there is no doubt he will be worth the pay raise. In his four seasons, the Pitt product has earned four Pro Bowl selections and has been named First Team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons. In 2017, Donald tied his career high with 11 sacks and furthered his reputation as the game’s top interior pass rusher.

Here is more from the Rams:

  • Gonzalez writes that using a franchise or transition tag on Sammy Watkins makes sense. Acquired by the Rams prior to the start of the 2017 campaign, Watkins provided a decent season eight touchdown grabs but only saw 67 targets. Another year in the high-powered offense will allow the fourth-year wideout to reach his potential after developing a better rapport with quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams traded a 2018 second-round pick and E.J. Gaines to the Bills for Watkins, and it would make sense they would want to see their investment for a full year in their system.
  • Snead can definitely see a scenario in which Trumaine Johnson returns to the team in 2018, Gonzalez reports. With Kayvon Webster out with an Achilles injury, it would make sense for the Rams to explore all options with the sixth-year cornerback. Gonzalez notes they would have to pay him like a top cornerback.
  • If Donald gets an extension, Watkins and Lamarcus Joyner are tagged, and Johnson is resigned, Gonzales thinks the team would look at parting with Robert Quinn or Mark Barron to make ends meet.

West Rumors: Lynch, Kap, Rams, Bolts

John Lynch has vouched for Colin Kaepernick‘s desire to play football throughout this offseason, but the new 49ers GM doesn’t think all of his peers believe him. Lynch said it would be in Kaepernick’s best interests to communicate these desires to remain in the league publicly.

I would tell you with my conversations with Colin, he is fully committed to wanting to be in this league,” Lynch said during an interview with San Francisco radio station KNBR (via Pro Football Talk). “I gave that opinion to Colin myself: ‘I think you are having a little bit of an image crisis in terms of, not so much what you did last year, but people are wondering: Is this most important to you?’ At a position where the guys who succeed at the position are the guys who live it, breathe it, the CEOs at that position. And I think there is a perception that football is not at the top of the list.”

Kaepernick remains a UFA despite several less accomplished quarterbacks landing backup jobs. While he visited the Seahawks and has maintained a public profile on social media, he hasn’t spoken out about his football career this offseason. Late last month, a 49ers employee questioned Kaepernick’s commitment to football, saying he only wants to return to stay relevant.

Here’s more from the Western divisions, first shifting to the 49ers’ Los Angeles-based rival.

  • During Day 2 of the draft, the Rams traded down from No. 37 to 44 and picked up an extra third-round pick from the Bills. Sixth-year GM Les Snead said during Amazon’s “All or Nothing: A Season with the Los Angeles Rams” that he doesn’t get too attached to second-round talents because he’s confident offers will be there to trade out of the spot and stockpile more selections. “You don’t want to pick early second [round] often,” Snead told new HC Sean McVay (via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com). “But when you’re picking early second, never fall in love with a player. You’ll always get an extra third[-round pick].” The Rams selected safety John Johnson with that third-round pick.
  • McVay’s presence and the addition of multiple wideouts this offseason will help Jared Goff, with Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com noting that McVay’s newer-age offense will benefit last year’s No. 1 overall pick more than the Rams’ previous “antiquated” attack. The Rams ranked last in total offense by more than 40 yards last season, at 262.7 per game. The team added Robert Woods in free agency and used third- and fourth-round picks, respectively, on Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds.
  • The Chargers signed a 10-year lease at their new facility in Costa Mesa, Calif., Jack Wang of the Orange County Register reports. The team is committed to lodge there for at least five years, per Wang, who adds that the Bolts have until the end of this month to depart their facility at Chargers Park in their previous city. Costa Mesa is currently serving as the Bolts’ temporary home, but the team hasn’t ruled out staying there on a longer-term basis. Wang reports the Chargers are still looking to secure permanent headquarters elsewhere in the region.

Rams GM Les Snead Discusses McVay, Goff, Offseason

It’s already been a busy offseason for the Rams, as the front office made a number of coaching moves that should bring some excitement to Los Angeles. The organization didn’t only make Sean McVay the youngest head coach in modern NFL history, but they also added Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator.

Les SneadOf course, general manager Les Snead‘s job isn’t done. There are plenty of question marks when it comes to next year’s roster, and the executive will start solidifying his squad in the coming weeks.

In anticipation of the offseason, Snead sat down with Gary Klein of The Los Angeles Times. The executive discussed his new head coach, his plan for the offseason, and former number-one pick Jared Goff. The whole interview is worth reading, but we grabbed some notable quotes below…

On how it’s been working with Sean McVay:

“Exciting, because you see the young head coach but you also see him bring this unbelievable energy and passion to the job with that thought of how he wants to put together his staff and the puzzle there and what he’s trying to accomplish. … You’re working together to problem-solve, come up with solutions, come up with decisions and try to come up with what’s best for the Rams…. You can feel the chemistry developing based on just rolling up your sleeves and going to work and making your first decisions together.”

On his expectation for quarterback Jared Goff, last year’s first-overall pick:

“What he went through is only going to be positive in the future. It goes back to experience. … He knows what it’s like now. … What you got back is a very poised player — and adversity doesn’t rattle him. … Looking forward to seeing him grow because he’s felt and seen Sean come in and implement his offense, and Sean is really big on the quarterback. Jared’s chomping at the bit.”

On the team’s team-building strategy heading into the draft and free agency:

“I don’t know if I want to tell you exactly because it might tip hands, but I think philosophically I can tell you it’s probably, duh, right? We’ve got to figure out how to improve the offense and how that looks and what position groups you start attacking first. We want to move the ball, we want to get first downs and we want to score points. That’s going to be addressed at all angles.”

On how the team is going to approach their wideout depth (Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are set to hit free agency):

“It’s interesting with the receiving group because we already know a good bit about what Sean would like in his receivers. They’ve been described many times like a basketball team. And what that means is you probably don’t field five point guards, five shooting guards. …. With our pending UFAs I think it’s very safe to say we’ve got to sit down with the offensive group and see what they bring to the table and do they exactly fit us with the guys that are already on the team.”

On the status of cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was slapped with the franchise tag last offseason:

“That will be a big decision. Wade, like a lot of [defensive coordinators], likes good players on the outside. Trumaine fits that category…. Trumaine is a larger guy with good ball skills and all things like that. Is it a square in a square, a triangle in a triangle or more a rectangle in a square? … That’s probably one of the top priorities when Wade walks in the door because, obviously, the magnitude of what his contract will look like and the magnitude of what another franchise tag looks like and everything in between.”

Rams To Retain GM Les Snead

As the Rams now pin their hopes to the youngest head coach in NFL history, they are not planning a change at GM. Les Snead will stay on for a sixth season, Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News reports (on Twitter).

While this isn’t exactly surprising at this juncture of the offseason, the team will give Snead a longer leash than Jeff Fisher. His future will now undoubtedly be tied to the success of Sean McVay and Jared Goff. While the investments in Fisher and Nick Foles did not end up working out during his tenure, it’s highly unlikely the 45-year-old personnel man will be around to pick another coach if the 30-year-old McVay isn’t ready.

After Fisher’s firing in December, Rams president Kevin Demoff didn’t give Snead — whom the franchise also signed to an extension last year — a glowing endorsement. “We’ll analyze [the front office],” Demoff said in December. The recent examination revealed Snead to be safe for now.

Snead and Fisher revived the Rams back to respectability after the organization went through one of the worst stretches in franchise history in the years prior, finishing with fewer than three wins in four of the previous five seasons. But the Snead-era Rams are now 31-48-1 and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Snead, 49ers, Norman, Giants

Les Snead‘s job status continues to generate disparate stances, but the latest points to the Rams GM being ousted. Snead is expected to follow Jeff Fisher out the door, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who notes the five years without a winning record — and Los Angeles boasting the league’s worst offense — will make it difficult to generate enthusiasm from a fanbase the franchise is attempting to grow now that it’s back in California.

Earlier this month, a report emerged that Snead was expected to survive, with another indicating the GM was not long for employment in L.A. With the Rams having lost to the 49ers and dropping to 4-11 — in line for their worst record since 2011, the final year of the pre-Snead/Fisher regime — it’s obvious the more fan-friendly move would be to start fresh.

Here’s more from around the league on Christmas Day.

  • Neither Trent Baalke nor Chip Kelly is expected to survive Black Monday, per Volin, with a new 49ers GM expected to be able to select his own coach. Kelly’s team won its first game since Week 1 in beating the Rams in L.A., but the formerly sought-after coach steered the team to its worst losing streak in the franchise’s 70-year history. Baalke could land in Denver due to his solid relationship with Broncos GM John Elway, but the sixth-year decision-maker has overseen a 49ers freefall over the past two years after that run of three consecutive conference championship games.
  • Josh Norman considered overtures from the Bears this offseason but told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune) postgame the sides weren’t on the same page. “At one point they were in the running,” Norman said. “They weren’t talking what I was talking about, though. I evaluate the team as well but if you’re not in the same [area when it comes to pay], you’re disqualified.” Washington beat out several teams to sign Norman, who intercepted two passes on Sunday, for five years and $75MM.
  • Dirk Koetter did not address Doug Martin‘s future with the Buccaneers after the team’s loss to the Saints on Saturday, noting that his decision to make the running back a healthy scratch came from believing previous injury replacement Jacquizz Rodgers was a better option, per Bradley Handwerger of the Associated Press. Rodgers was a healthy inactive last week. Martin’s $7MM salary next season is fully guaranteed as part of his five-year, $35.75MM deal, but no guaranteed money is part of this deal after 2017.
  • The Giants clinched their first playoff berth in five years Saturday, but a view around the league is they’ve received a reputation of seeing leniency from the commissioner’s office. This comes after they were penalized a maximum of 12 draft slots for their walkie-talkie infraction. “My understanding is that folks inside the Giants organization, they generally win the jump balls,” Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said during a radio appearance (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com). “They have that working in their favor. The John Mara connection. Look, it’s a league where the commissioner formally answers to the owners, so the most influential owners are going to have the greatest influence on the commissioner. Teams realize [they] don’t have any juice with the commissioner and other teams do. The Giants do. It’s not a surprise.” When comparing this penalty to the league docking the Chiefs a third-round pick for committing a common violation regarding premature free agency dialogue with Jeremy Maclin, Florio categorized the Giants as getting off easy.

NFC Notes: Cards, Rams, Eagles, 49ers, Giants

There were no arguments from any of the Cardinals’ hierarchy regarding the decision to release wide receiver Michael Floyd on Wednesday, owner Michael Bidwill told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. “Yes, across the board,” Bidwill said on whether cutting Floyd on the heels of his second DUI arrest was a consensus choice. In summing up Floyd’s nearly five-year tenure with the Cardinals, Bidwill said, “He was a 2012 first-round draft choice for us, a person we thought would eventually take Larry Fitzgerald‘s position and be the No. 1 receiver for the future. Deeply disappointing that we moved on and he didn’t work out as a person we had a lot of faith in.”

More from the NFC:

  • Indications are that the Rams would like to retain general manager Les Snead, but that could depend on whom the team hires as its next head coach, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. Snead is helping chief operating officer Kevin Demoff in the Rams’ search for a successor to the fired Jeff Fisher, though Demoff didn’t give the GM a public vote of confidence Monday. “It would be a mistake right now to say we’re satisfied with where we’re at on a personnel side and to ensure that Les would be back,” declared Demoff. “I think Les would be the first person to stand up here and say the same thing.”
  • Eagles guard Brandon Brooks had a brief hospital stay in late November and has missed two of the team’s past three games because of a stomach illness. It turns out Brooks’ physical issues stem from anxiety, he announced Wednesday (via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “What I mean by anxiety condition is not nervousness or fear of the game,” Brooks explained. “I have an obsession with the game. It’s an unhealthy obsession right now. I’m working with team doctors to get everything straightened out and get the help I need.” Brooks is now taking medication and seeking professional help to curb his anxiety. Fortunately, the 27-year-old doesn’t expect the condition to affect his ability to continue in the NFL. “It’s nothing I’m ashamed of,” said Brooks. “I’ll get the help that I need, and life will go on. I’ll be fine. Career will be fine. I am concerned about it, obviously, but I’m not ‘woe is me’ at this point.”
  • The 49ers put in a waiver claim on running back Darius Jackson, a league source tells Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Unfortunately for the Niners, the Browns had top priority on the waiver wire and nabbed him instead.
  • The Giants worked out running backs Russell Hansbrough, Brandon Brown-Dukes and Julian Howsare on Wednesday, tweets ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Hansbrough ended up joining their practice squad.

Zach Links contributed to this post.