Lionel Vital

East Notes: Fitz, Wilkerson, Cousins, Cowboys

The Jets’ Todd Bowles indicated Tuesday that there’s no deadline to sign free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the head coach backtracked on that today, reports Rich Cimini of “If it’s Week 4 in training camp and he’s not here, you know who your starter is going to be Week 1,” Bowles said, implying that Geno Smith would be the Jets’ No. 1 signal-caller in such an extreme scenario. “You have time until you don’t have time,” continued Bowles, who added that the Jets will consider signing a veteran to compete for a backup role with rookie Christian Hackenberg and second-year man Bryce Petty if Gang Green doesn’t re-up Fitzpatrick.

More from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is content to play this season under the $19.95MM franchise tag if he and the club don’t reach a long-term agreement by the July 15 deadline, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. One reason the 27-year-old is fine with operating under the tag is because he knows his price will continue rising if the Redskins franchise him again next offseason, relays Florio. Indeed, it would cost Washington $23.94MM to tag Cousins in 2017 and $34.47MM to do the same in 2018.
  • Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson – who skipped OTAs and is sitting out minicamp (and could hold out of training camp) – will not settle for less than the $103MM extension the Eagles gave Fletcher Cox on his next deal, writes Brian Costello of the New York Post. Although Wilkerson has a star-level track record, the Jets don’t regard the two-time second-team All-Pro highly enough to pay him Cox-type of money and already have a pair of other stud D-linemen in Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. Thus, Wilkerson is likely to eventually sign his $15.7MM franchise tag, play 2016 under that and then bolt in free agency, per Costello.
  • The Cowboys have named Lionel Vital their director of college scouting, tweets Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. Dallas hired Vital as a senior personnel executive in March, but the team has now clarified his role. Vital was previously the personnel director for the Falcons, who parted ways with him in January.
  • After a mini-holdout, standout Dolphins safety Reshad Jones reported to minicamp earlier today.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Brooks, J. Reed, Suggs

After parting ways with the Falcons in January, Lionel Vital – Atlanta’s former director of player personnel – is joining the Cowboys‘ front office. As first reported by Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link), Dallas is hiring Vital as a senior personnel executive. He’ll report to Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, a source tells David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NFL:

  • All indications are that Ahmad Brooks‘ spot on the 49ers‘ roster remains safe for at least another season, writes Matt Maiocco of The Niners don’t have an in-house replacement lined up at Brooks’ position, and his $8MM cap hit isn’t exorbitant now that San Francisco is carrying a league-high $58MM+ in cap room, per
  • Washington tight end Jordan Reed has completed his agent change, signing with Joel Segal for representation, per Mike Jones and Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Reed is extension-eligible, and based on the deals recently signed by Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, he appears to be in good position to cash in.
  • Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was charged with two misdemeanors related to a car accident earlier this month, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). TMZ first reported the news. Depending on how the case plays out, Suggs could eventually face NFL discipline.
  • The NFL formally announced the performance-based pay bonuses for 2015 this week, and Broncos center Matt Paradis received the most additional pay (nearly $392K). The PBP bonuses are primarily distributed to players whose playing time was significant and whose salaries were not. The figures don’t affect teams’ salary caps.

Browns Interview Xanders, Vital For Top Personnel Job

WEDNESDAY, 8:09am: In addition to speaking to Xanders, the Browns also interviewed former Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital for their top personnel job, sources tell Cabot. Vital was let go by Atlanta earlier this month after spending three years with the team.

TUESDAY, 7:44pm: The Browns have interviewed Lions senior personnel executive Brian Xanders for their top available personnel position, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of Xanders was one of two men to interview for the job on Tuesday, though the identity of the other candidate to interview today is not yet known. Brian Xanders (vertical)

Besides the former Broncos GM, the Browns have also talked with former Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey and former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and they have also been linked to ex-Eagles executive Rick Mueller. Whoever the Browns’ next big hire is will not carry the title of GM. Their next “Executive Vice President of Player Personnel” will have input when it comes to the roster, but Browns executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown will have final say.

Xanders, 44, comes with tons of experience having just completed his third season with the Lions and 22nd in the NFL. There’s no exact timetable for a hire, but the team is optimistic about making a decision shortly.

We’re still on track to hopefully wrap things up in the next week or two,” said Brown. “We feel good about it. We’ve talked to some really talented people around the league despite not being able to interview everyone we were originally slated to. I feel like we’ll find a really talented personnel executive to come in and lead that function for us.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons, Personnel Director Lionel Vital Part Ways

7:42pm: The Falcons offered Vital a different position, but he declined it, deciding instead to move on, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I just felt, we felt that it would just be fairer for the new guy, who is going to be doing that duty, to deal with fresh people,” Vital said, per Ledbetter. “I don’t want to be staring at him and I don’t want him staring at me. I think it works out for both parties. The Falcons have been good to me. That’s how I want to leave it.”

6:07pm: The Falcons and director of player personnel Lionel Vital have parted ways, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Atlanta is only a year removed from increasing the workload of Vital, whom the team awarded additional pro scouting responsibilities and a role in college scouting last January. However, after a third straight non-playoff season, the Falcons and Vital are going in separate directions.

[RELATED: Falcons To Retain GM Thomas Dimitroff]

Vital, who has racked up 25 years of experience working for various organizations, has strong ties to newly hired Titans general manager Jon Robinson, reports ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky (Twitter link). That could make the 52-year-old a fit to join Robinson in Tennessee.