- Former Dolphins OL coach Chris Foerster has checked into a rehab facility in Miami, per Schefter. Foerster’s decision comes less than a week after his resignation from his post with the Dolphins following publication of a video that shows him snorting a white, powdery substance off a desk in the Dolphins’ training facility. Should another NFL club try to hire him in the future — and he had been in demand in the past — he would be subject to league discipline.
- Despite some outside outcries for the Dolphins to bench Jay Cutler, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald doesn’t get the feeling Dolphins players are ready to see the recently acquired veteran demoted just yet. In attempting 26 passes against the Titans, Cutler completed just 12 for 92 yards. The Dolphins plan to stick with Cutler throughout the season, although that plan could certainly be revised down the road if this offense regresses further.
- While Jarvis Landry won’t face any legal ramifications after battery charges against him were dropped last month, the Dolphins wide receiver will still meet with NFL regarding the allegations on October 24, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Both Landry and his girlfriend have refuted the accusations, but the league has often punished players even when no official charges are filed, and the NFL reportedly has video of the incident in question. From an on-field perspective, Landry is a pending free agent who has engaged in no substantive extension talks with Miami.
- Given that the Dolphins rank 31st in offensive DVOA and 32nd in points scored, Miami could potentially “refit” its offense in 2018, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Not much can be done about the club’s lackluster efforts in-season, as benching players could create locker room dysfunction. But changes could come next year, and the most obvious would be Ryan Tannehill returning to replace quarterback Jay Cutler. Allowing Landry to walk in free agency and reinforcing the offensive line could also be on the Dolphins’ itinerary.
The Dolphins have hired Dave DeGuglielmo as a senior offensive assistant, the club announced today. Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com first linked DeGuglielmo to Miami earlier this week. DeGuglielmo will replace Chris Foerster, who resigned on Monday after a video was posted showing Foerster snorting a white substance.
Although DeGuglielmo will land in South Beach, it doesn’t appear that he’ll be formally taking over as the club’s offensive line coach. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald indicated on Tuesday that that could be the case, and assistant offensive line coach Chris Kuper will presumably take on a more prominent role in leading the Dolphins’ front five.
DeGuglielmo, 49, offers vast experience as an offensive line coach at both the collegiate and NFL level. He’s worked for Miami before, as he was the club’s line coach from 2009-11. Most recently, DeGuglielmo served as the Patriots’ offensive line coach from 2014-15 and as an assistant with the Chargers in 2016.
While Foerster clearly didn’t resign because of the Dolphins’ on-field performance, Miami’s offensive line has been nothing special this season. The unit is below average in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders, while none of the Dolphins’ linemen rank inside the top-20 at their respective positions, according to Pro Football Focus.
DeGuglielmo earned a job in Miami, but Dave Magazu — who worked under Dolphins head coach Adam Gase in both Denver and Chicago — was reportedly in consideration for a gig, as well.
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The Patriots‘ decision to deactivate Rob Gronkowski for Thursday night’s game could cost him major money at the end of the season, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss points out. Gronkowski has played in 70.5% of the team’s snaps this season, which puts him on pace for the lowest possible incentives tier of $6.75MM. He can still reach the first ($10.75MM) and second tiers ($8.75MM) based on receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, or All-Pro selection, but those markers will also be hard to reach without a certain volume of snaps.
Here’s more from around the AFC:
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered what is thought to be an AC joint sprain in his left, non-throwing shoulder, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He says he’ll play on Sunday against the Jets.
- The Dolphins are expected to bring back assistant Dave DeGuglielmo to take over as the team’s new offensive line coach, Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).
- Despite some recent optimism, it’s premature to say that Chargers first-round pick Mike Williams will be ready to make his NFL debut next week, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
- Cody Latimer, one of the Broncos‘ top special teamers, underwent a blood injection procedure in his right knee and could be out for the next game or so, Mike Klis of 9 News writes. Latimer has excelled as a kick returner so far this year with an average of 28.4 per attempt. He’s also a gunner on punt and kickoff coverage.
- Former NFL safety Taylor Mays has signed with the CFL’s Roughriders, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The former second-round pick was most recently with the Bengals.
Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster has resigned following the publication of a video that shows him snorting a white substance, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
“I am resigning from my position with the Miami Dolphins and accept full responsibility for my actions,” said Foerster in a statement. “I want to apologize to the organization and my sole focus is on getting the help that I need with the support of my family and medical professionals.”
The video can be viewed here, but please be warned that it does contain probable drug use and offensive language. Foerster is speaking to the camera and indicates that he will snort the substance on the table before heading to a meeting. A source tells Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that the video appeared to have been recorded in the Dolphins’ offices.
Foerster, 55, has been an NFL coach since the 1993 season, coaching offensive lines and tight ends during that time. He was also the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator in 2004 under head coach Jim Bates. Foerster has worked for seven organizations during his NFL tenure, and had been in his current position since 2016.
As the Dolphins search to replace Foerster, assistant offensive line coach Chris Kuper would seemingly be a candidate to be promoted, as Salguero notes. Kuper, who played under Miami head coach Adam Gase when both were with the Broncos, has worked with the Dolphins since 2016. Dave Magazu, who worked as an OL coach with Gase in both Denver and Chicago, is being considered for the position, per Salguero.
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Jay Cutler has not exactly settled into a groove as the Dolphins’ starter after re-emerging from a brief retirement, and he delivered another unimpressive performance in Week 5.
Cutler finished with just 92 yards passing despite attempting 26 passes. Although the Dolphins beat the Marcus Mariota-less Titans, Cutler has not played well for most of this season. But the team is not planning a quarterback switch this season.
Not only do the Dolphins plan to stick with Cutler next week, they don’t intend to bench him for the rest of the season, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. Multiple sources inside the organization informed Salguero the job is Cutler’s, despite his string of ineffective performances.
Adam Gase said (via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald) Cutler’s “way down on the list” of the Dolphins’ offensive problems, adding the offense would be better if “guys would do their job, catch the ball, block the right guys, give the quarterback a chance to do something.” The Dolphins dropped five passes on Sunday, with four of those coming in a seven-play span.
Gase was asked about a possible benching of Ryan Tannehill last season and steadfastly shot that down, so the team both publicly and privately expressing Cutler support isn’t surprising even if the offense is not where it was during Gase’s first season at the controls.
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Even if that’s not the case, it’s still possible to get a sense of how free agents are playing and whether they’re living up to their contacts through four games. With that in mind, we examined the best free agent signing on each AFC club before asking you to vote on the top overall AFC addition.
One note: we only looked at newcomers, so free agents that re-signed with their original clubs (Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams or Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, for example) aren’t included. On to the list!
- Austin Howard, T: No NFL team has been hit harder by injuries in 2017 than the Ravens, and the club’s offensive line hasn’t been immune to health questions. Alex Lewis and Nico Siragusa — both counted on as starters at various points — are done for the season, while All World guard Marshal Yanda is also lost for the year after fracturing his leg in Week 2. Enter Howard, whom Baltimore signed after he was released by the Raiders. The 30-year-old has stepped in at right tackle, playing every offensive snap for the Ravens. While Baltimore’s offensive line still isn’t great (14th in adjusted sack rate, 19th in adjusted line yards), it’s not the disaster that it could have been, and that’s partially thanks to Howard.
- Jordan Poyer, S: Poyer had never been a full-time starter when the Bills inked him to a four-year, $13MM deal this offseason, but he’s been excellent through four games with Buffalo. Although he signed for roughly half of fellow free agent addition Micah Hyde‘s contract, Poyer actually tops Hyde in Pro Football Focus‘ safety rankings (No. 8 vs. No. 32). His performance is all the more impressive given that his 2016 campaign ended with a lacerated kidney. Poyer has racked up 15 tackles, two sacks, one interception, and five passes defensed in Sean McDermott‘s defense.
- Andre Smith, T: Cincinnati originally forged a reunion with Smith with the intent of shifting him to guard, but he’s instead rotated at both left and right tackle behind starters Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher. A collegiate blindside protector, Smith hadn’t played left tackle in the NFL until now, but he’s been surprisingly efficient. While he’s only played about half the snaps of Ogbuehi and Fisher, that could change if those former early-round draft picks don’t step up their game going forward.
- Jason McCourty, CB: Although the Browns dropped a combined $50MM guaranteed on Kevin Zeitler, Kenny Britt, and J.C. Tretter, it’s McCourty — whom Cleveland landed on two-year, $6MM deal — that’s performed the best through four contests. Though he had struggled in recent seasons, the now 30-year-old McCourty has returned to his 2010-13 level of play, as he’s graded as the No. 6 cornerback in the league, per PFF. There’s probably some regression coming, but McCourty has been worth every penny.
- Ronald Leary, G: In sharp contrast to fellow free agent offensive line signing Menelik Watson (who allowed an astounding six sacks through the first two weeks of the season), Leary has stabilized the right guard position in Denver. The Broncos rank third in the league in rushing (both in yards and yards per carry) and eighth in rushing DVOA, and that’s due in no small part to Leary’s presence. Leary is all the more important given that Denver is currently splitting left guard snaps between Allen Barbre and Max Garcia.
- Marcus Gilchrist, S: The Texans didn’t bring in many free agents this offseason, and offensive tackle Breno Giacomini is the only other addition besides Gilchrist who’s seen significant playing time in 2017. Gilchrist, 28, has always been a solid defensive back, and he’s playing well in Houston’s secondary after a patellar tendon injury shortened his 2016 campaign. He’s only been on the field for 99 defensive snaps so far this season, but his playing time figures to increase as the year progresses.
- Jabaal Sheard, DE: Do you think the Patriots, who have struggled to generate any sort of pass rush, would like to have Sheard back? Although he’s managed only one sack, Sheard has created a ton of pressure, and ranks as the No. 17 edge rusher in the NFL, per PFF. But he’s been even better against the run (No. 3, according to PFF), and he’s been one of the few bright spots on a poor Indianapolis defense. Signed through 2019 at $8.5MM annually, Sheard has been a bargain for the Colts.
- Calais Campbell, DE: As they have in past offseasons, the Jaguars ponied up for marquee free agents earlier this year, signing defensive backs A.J. Bouye and Barry Church in addition to Campbell. Through a quarter of the season, Campbell has lived up to his four-year, $60MM contract, as he’s already put up 5.5 sacks and 11.5 pressures, and has played like one of the league’s best pass-rushers. Jacksonville leads the league in adjusted sack rate, and Campbell’s presence has surely assisted second-year pro Yannick Ngakoue‘s in his four-sack campaign.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Bennie Logan, DT: The only undefeated team in the NFL, the Chiefs are 4-0 without the help of many external additions. Logan inked a one-year, $8MM pact with Kansas City that was almost fully guaranteed after rejecting a “sizable” extension offer from the Eagles during the 2016 campaign. Logan, 27, has played 155 defensive through four games and served as a run-stuffer, but it’s too early to say whether he made a mistake in turning down a new deal from Philadelphia.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Russell Okung, T: Okung’s four-year contract — which made him the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman — looked like an overpay from the minute it was signed, but there’s no arguing that Okung has played well since leaving the division rival Broncos for the Chargers. Los Angeles’ offensive line still isn’t good, but that’s not the fault of Okung. The Chargers average 6.03 yards when running around the left end (per Football Outsiders), a figure that ranks fifth in the league.
- N/A: Jay Cutler has been indifferent, timid, and inaccurate. Lawrence Timmons went AWOL and was suspended. Ted Larsen is sidelined through midseason at the earliest. Miami swung and missed in free agency.
New England Patriots
- Mike Gillislee, RB: The Patriots surprisingly signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65MM deal this spring, but the former Bill has looked lost in coverage through four games in New England. Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy has been serviceable but not a difference-maker, leaving Gillislee as the Pats’ best free agent addition thus far. To be clear, Gillislee hasn’t been all that effective (especially after leading the league in yards per carry a season ago), but he’s managed to fall into the end zone four times. Not bad for a two-year, $6.4MM contract.
New York Jets
- Morris Claiborne, CB: Similar to the Patriots and Jabaal Sheard, the Cowboys would probably like to have Claiborne back on their roster. While he’s not a shutdown cornerback, Claiborne offers competent play when healthy, and he’s played nearly every defensive snap for the Jets this year. Gang Green got Claiborne for only $5MM over one year, a discount largely due to Claiborne’s injury history. New York ranks 14th in passing defense DVOA.
- Jared Cook, TE: The Raiders needed to add another offensive weapon to supplement wideouts Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and there are signs that Cook can be that third option. And in a season in which Crabtree has already dealt with injury, and Cooper has seemingly forgotten how to catch, Cook could be play an even larger role going forward. He could be especially critical as a safety blanket for EJ Manuel, who is now filling in at quarterback for the injury Derek Carr.
- N/A: The only Steelers free agent addition that’s garnered any significant playing time is former Jaguars defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, and he’s been incredibly unproductive on 178 defensive snaps. Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, who received $425K guaranteed on a two-year pact, has barely played.
- Eric Decker, WR: None of the Titans’ free agent signings have been great successes so far, and safety Jonathan Cyprien might have been choice here had he been able to stay healthy. Logan Ryan, too, has been acceptable, but he hasn’t been able to lift Tennessee’s passing defense out of the doldrums. Decker has only posted 12 receptions for 104 yards in 2017, but he’s been a great run-blocking wideout, which is critical in the Titans’ run-first offense. Sure, Tennessee isn’t paying Decker $4MM to block, but he’s at least contributing.
So, what do you think? Which of the free agents has been the best signing through a quarter of the 2017 season? Vote below, and leave your thoughts in the comments section:
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Dolphins are not pleased with high-priced cornerback Byron Maxwell. Last week, the Dolphins deactivated him prior to their London game against the Saints. The assumption in the football world was that Maxwell was taken out of the lineup for substandard play. That is true, but the problem goes deeper than that. In addition to his struggles, Maxwell has refused to play the defenses called by coaches, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald hears.
After being bumped from the active roster, Maxwell aired his frustrations to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson without giving a full account of the reasons behind his benching. That incensed the coaching staff even more, Salguero hears, and one has to wonder whether the Dolphins could get frustrated enough to release Maxwell outright and eat the money still owed to him.
“ …In no way, shape, did I think my play [warranted] that,” Maxwell said recently. “It’s a coach’s decision. Sometimes you have to deal with it. I’m a team player. Suck it up. Obviously, you think you’re the best man to do the job. You can’t control it. Everyone is trying to support your family trying to do the job.”
Two weeks ago, Dolphins coaches called for Maxwell to play press-man for much of the game against the Jets. Instead, he played far off of the Jets’ receivers as Gang Green rolled to a 20-6 victory. Now, the 29-year-old has ceded his starting job to rookie Cordrea Tankersley. He’s also been leapfrogged on the depth chart by Alterraun Verner, even though coaches feel that Maxwell is the superior talent.
The Dolphins would probably like to cut ties with Maxwell at this point, but his contract makes that hard to do. Releasing him today would leave them on the hook for a significant portion of his $8.5MM cap number. The good news, however, is that Miami can cut him after the season instead of carrying his $10MM cap number in 2018.
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Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:
- QB Stephen Morris (link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com); TEs Evan Baylis and Henry Krieger-Coble; CBs Dante Blackmon (link); DB Bennett Jackson (link via Dan Duggan of NJ.com)
- RBs Josh Rounds and Kelvin Taylor; TEs Evan Baylis, Alex Ellis, Anthony Firkser, and Henry Krieger-Coble (link)
- RBs Kapri Bibbs and Troymaine Pope; LBs Josh Forrest and Michael Mauti; DBs Charlie Miller, Ed Reynolds, and Andrew Williamson (link)
Los Angeles Rams
- P Brock Miller (link)
New Orleans Saints
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers