Mike Brown

Bengals, Lewis To Wait On Future

The Bengals and head coach Marvin Lewis are expected to take time on deciding the long-tenured coach’s future with the team, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jim Owczarski writes. Marvin Lewis (Vertical)

Owczarski heard from multiple sources that Lewis met with team owner Mike Brown on Monday and the two did not come to a resolution. The pair may wait until Tuesday to come to a decision.

The Bengals surely want a speedy decision with the NFL’s coaching carousel already turning just hours after the season has ended. The Lions, Raiders, Colts, Giants and Bears have already fired their coaches and have begun lining up candidates to fill those roles.

Lewis, however, has coached the Bengals since 2003 and the team is sure to respect the coach’s wishes. Following the team’s 31-27 win over Baltimore, Lewis said his future with the team is “complicated” and he doesn’t know if he will return to the team. Earlier in December, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the team and Lewis were expected to part ways at season’s end when Lewis’ contract expired.

Rumors have already begun to swirl about members of the Bengals’ coaching staff, with the team’s defensive coordinator Paul Guenther being linked to Oakland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Browns, Jackson, Broncos WR’s

The Browns are in serious danger of joining the 2008 Lions as the only teams to go 0-16 in a single season. Cleveland will take on the Bears and Steelers before the dust is settled, but will be moving forward with a new head football man in John Dorsey.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com answers a variety of questions in a video addressing many different questions swirling around the franchise. One question she touches on is how quickly of an impact Dorsey will have on the field? While Cabot did say that it will take some time to turn around the franchise, one thing Dorsey will emphasize is finding that franchise quarterback that the team has been craving for a long time. Cabot states that just like with the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo, if the Browns can find their guy this offseason, there could be a dramatic shift in the long-term outlook of the organization.

The Browns will likely hold the first overall pick so they could be faced with a choice regarding Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen should both draft eligible QB’s turn pro this offseason.

Here are more stories coming from the AFC:

  • While the Browns do have a new decision maker in Dorsey, head coach Hue Jackson remains a bit in-flux. While the team’s owner has expressed his desire to keep the veteran coach, there could be an added twist in this story because of the division rival Bengals, states Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Pluto opines that should Jackson replace the embattled Marvin Lewis, that would allow Dorsey to put his own coach in place, leaving his relationship with owner Jimmy Haslam in-tact. Bengals owner Mike Brown seems to like guys he’s worked with in the past, so Jackson seems like a reasonable possibility, even given his 1-29 record in Cleveland.
  • The Broncos are very much playing out the string of this season with a number of different QB’s given injuries and poor play. However, the wide receiver position has taken a hit over the past week, according to Mike Klis of 9news.com. Klis notes that Denver could only have four wideouts active against the Redskins in Week 16. Demaryius Thomas, Bennie Fowler, Jordan Taylor and Isaiah McKenzie are the only healthy receivers available and could lead the team to serious depth problems should one of them go down this weekend. Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer are both listed as questionable and really have no reason to be pushed given that the Broncos are not in the playoff race. Expect the team to rely on the running game in order to keep their receiving corps healthy on Sunday.
  • Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper has not been 100% since he suffered a concussion and an ankle injury vs. the Broncos a few weeks ago. The third-year wideout has been inconsistent while on the field this season, but said after practice on Friday that he “felt all right” and is “still working through” the injuries, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal (Twitter link). He remains questionable to play for Monday night’s game against the Eagles. Gehlken also passed along that four Raiders missed practice today, including: CB David Amerson (foot), C Rodney Hudson (ankle/illness), DL Treyvon Hester (ankle) and TE Clive Walford (concussion/neck) (Twitter link).

Latest On Botched A.J. McCarron Trade

It has already been widely reported that the Browns botched a trade for Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron, but information is still coming out about exactly what made the deal fall through. In a piece from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, she explains some of the background behind the negotiations. Kabot states that the main problem behind the failed trade, apart from being sent to the league past the deadline, was that the documents of each team failed to match. Cabot reports that the conditions of the trade were not explained equally on both sides, which meant that the deal would have fallen through even if the deal was made within the desired time frame.

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Kabot’s article dives deeper into the failed trade, stating that Bengals owner Mike Brown was the “driving force” behind McCarron being shipped to a division rival. However, this wasn’t a sign of distaste for the backup signal caller, rather Kabot explains that Brown actually wanted to put McCarron in a situation where he could play. While Kabot clarifies that not all of the Bengals front office was on board with the move, she relays from a source inside the league that, “no one in the Bengals’ organization was standing in the way of getting it done.”

Kabot’s article also touches on the logistics of the trade, with it having been called dead and then alive once again within the hour of the trade deadline. She also explains that sources in the NFL believe the Bengals did the right think in submitting their own paperwork after they had received the Browns materials too late.

However, through all the chaos McCarron remains a Bengal and addressed the media through the team’s website about how he’s handling the situation.

“I’m not angry. I’m not upset. It feels good to be wanted,” McCarron said. “Today I’m going to thank Mr. Brown personally. I admire that he was going to give me an opportunity to go start and play somewhere. I really appreciate that of him. He’s been an unbelievable owner in my experience here.”

In addition to the fiasco that unfolded a few days ago, the backup quarterback is also dealing with a contract dispute regarding whether he should be a restricted free agent at season’s end. But, McCarron seems to have taken his current situation in stride.

“The biggest thing it does, I have been through a lot of mind games,” McCarron said. “I think it makes you mentally tougher. Stronger. Let’s you see all the crazy sides of this business in a short amount of time. Just in my year-long of experienced a lot guys who have been in the league 10 years haven’t experienced. Just by hearing your name and you are, you might be, but like I said, I am blessed to be in my situation and enjoying every minute of it.”

It remains to be seen what will unfold in the coming months for one of the league’s most intriguing number two signal callers. All we do know is that he’s been put in a unique situation and will remain in the same role he started the season, as the backup behind Andy Dalton.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mike Brown On Joe Mixon

The Bengals recently made Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon the No. 48 overall pick of the 2017 draft, a move that predictably sparked a great deal of conversation and controversy. Mixon’s assault of a female Oklahoma student several years ago caused a number of teams to remove him from their draft boards completely — a recent report indicated that only four clubs said they would consider drafting Mixon — and any team that did select him knew it would have to contend with significant public backlash.

Joe Mixon (vertical)

Cincinnati, no stranger to taking a chance on players with character concerns, decided to take the plunge in the second round of the draft. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard are on the Bengals’ roster, but neither back reached the 4.0 yards-per-carry mark last season, Hill will be a free agent next offseason, and Bernard is coming off a serious injury, having torn his ACL in November. So Mixon, who was perhaps the most talented back in this year’s class, made sense from an on-field need and value perspective.

Nonetheless, the off-field concerns needed to be addressed, and Bengals owner and president Mike Brown wrote a letter to the team’s fanbase in an attempt to do that. Here are the highlights (courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer):

On the incident itself:

“Joe’s regrettable deed was that he struck a young woman, another student, shortly after arriving on campus in Norman, Oklahoma, three years ago. Joe and this young woman recently met in person, came to terms with the incident, and they agreed to resolve their differences so they could move forward with their lives.”

On Mixon’s response to the incident:

“Since the incident three years ago, Joe was suspended by the football team, pleaded guilty in court, and accepted the consequences of his actions. He later went on to become a good citizen in Norman, a popular teammate, a player respected by his coaches, and one of the most talented players in college football.”

On why the team selected Mixon:

“[H]e is a rare football talent, and his conduct over the past three years leads us to believe he can help us win football games and also become a productive member of this community.”

On Mixon’s future with the club:

“In making our decision, we took a risk. In this case, the risk has an upside as well as a downside. We believe Joe has put this behind him and that he can turn into the player and community member that creates a plus for Cincinnati. We are going to do everything in our power to make this happen. Our hope is that time will prove that this opportunity is deserved, and perhaps – if given a chance – Joe can write a chapter in Cincinnati sports history that both he and Cincinnati can be proud of.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Organize Regular-Season Roster

The Panthers cut 22 players to officially reduce their roster to 53, reports Max Henson of Panthers.com.

In addition to placing rookie defensive end Arthur Miley on injured reserve and reaching an injury settlement with offensive lineman Brian Folkerts, the Panthers cut Jordan Todman. This leaves Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne as Jonathan Stewart‘s primary backups.

The remaining Carolina cuts are as follows:

  • Chas Alecxih, DT
  • Marcus Ball, S
  • Brenton Bersin, WR
  • Brian Blechen, LB
  • Mike Brown, WR
  • Carrington Byndom, CB
  • Damiere Byrd, WR
  • Rakim Cox, DE
  • David Foucault, T
  • Adarius Glanton, LB
  • T.J. Heath, CB
  • Ricky Henry, G
  • Marcus Lucas, TE
  • Jordan McCray, G
  • Terry Redden, DT
  • Scott Simonson, TE
  • Jason Trusnik, LB
  • Martin Wallace, T
  • Lou Young, CB

Panthers Cut Brenton Bersin, Three Others

Panthers wideout Brenton Bersin was among the Panthers cuts this morning, according to Joseph Person and Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer.

The former Wofford standout joined the organization last season as an undrafted free agent, and he ended up compiling 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in 15 games. The 25-year-old reportedly had a solid camp, but the recent acquisition of former Seahawks wideout Kevin Norwood made Bersin expendable.

Even after acquiring Norwood, the writers note that the Panthers plan on being aggressive on the waiver wire as they look to reinforce their receiving corps. The team’s depth chart was thrown into disarray following the season-ending injury to Kelvin Benjamin.

The Panthers also let go of three other players this morning:

Minor Moves: Carter, Brown, Green

Today’s minor moves..

  • The Vikings announced (on Twitter) that they have signed cornerback Jalil Carter to a reserve/future free agent contract. Carter played for the Toronto Argonauts from 2012-2014 and drew considerable NFL interest this offseason. Carter auditioned for the Chiefs, Giants, Broncos, and other clubs over the last couple of months.
  • The Panthers announced (on Twitter) that they have signed former Jaguars wide receiver Mike Brown to a futures deal. Brown had seven catches for 88 yards for the Jags in 2014 prior to being dropped from the 53-man roster and subsequently re-signed to the taxi squad.
  • The Bills announced that they have signed defensive back Jonte Green and guard Darryl Johnson to futures deals. Green, a sixth round pick of the Lions in 2012, played 24 games with seven starts over the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Lions and totaled 38 tackles, one sack, seven passes defensed and one interception. Johnson originally came into the NFL as a UDFA with the Chargers after last year’s draft.
  • The Steelers signed Mitchell Van Dyk to a future contract for 2015, according to Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). Van Dyk, a tackle, was a 2014 draft pick of the Rams.

Practice Squad Updates: Tuesday

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad signings and cuts from around the NFL:

  • The Giants signed former Chiefs guard Rishaw Johnson to their practice squad, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Johnson worked out for Big Blue last week.
  • After promoting multiple players from their practice squad to their active roster, the Giants added linebacker Paul Hazel to the taxi squad, per Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
  • Defensive back Lowell Rose has rejoined the Dolphins‘ practice squad, with the club placing wideout LaRon Byrd on the PS-IR list in a corresponding move, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Linebacker Marshall McFadden, who was released by the Rams over the weekend, has cleared waivers and signed back to the team’s practice squad, tweets Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • Wide receiver Eric Thomas has replaced fellow wideout Travis Harvey on the Bills‘ practice squad, according to a team release.

Earlier updates:

  • Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that former Eagles linebacker Jake Knott is set to sign with the Dolphins‘ practice squad. Miami, with a full 10-man unit, will have to make a corresponding move before the addition becomes official.
  • After losing Solomon Patton off their practice squad to the Buccaneers, the Cardinals have replaced him by signing wide receiver Ryan Spadola, tweets Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.
  • Cut by the Jaguars over the weekend, wide receiver Mike Brown cleared waivers and rejoined the team today, signing with Jacksonville’s practice squad, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter).
  • The Panthers promoted a pair of players to their active roster from the practice squad today, and began filling the newly-created openings by signing safety Kimario McFadden to the unit, the team announced (Twitter link).
  • Defensive end Jordan Stanton, who was cut from the Giants‘ practice squad back in September, re-signed with the unit today, per agent Landon Betsworth (via Twitter). The team has yet to announce the move that will create an opening for Stanton.

Minor Moves: Friday

We’ll round up Friday’s minor transactions from around the NFL, including practice squad signings and cuts, in this space, with the latest moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The Dolphins have claimed former Patriot defensive back Don Jones off waivers, reports Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Patriots had waived Jones on Thursday. The Dolphins waived Lowell Rose in order to make room for Jones, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (via Twitter).

Earlier Updates:

  • The Jaguars have swapped one wide receiver for another on their 53-man roster, waiving Mike Brown and promoting Tommy Streeter from the practice squad to take his spot, writes Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Brown, who had seven catches for 88 yards this season, had been a healthy scratch for each of the last six games.
  • After releasing him from their active roster on Wednesday, the Bills have re-signed defensive end Bryan Johnson to their practice squad, the club announced today in a press release. To accommodate the addition of Johnson, Buffalo has parted ways with practice squad cornerback Brandon Smith.
  • The Patriots have removed a pair of players from their practice squad, cutting long snapper Charley Hughlett and tight end Xavier Grimble, according to a team release. Regular Pats long snapper Danny Aiken suffered a concussion during last week’s game against the Lions, but Hughlett’s release bodes well for Aiken’s chances of playing this weekend.

AFC Notes: Pouncey, Bengals, McCourty

While Mike Pouncey‘s initial recovery timetable from hip surgery suggested he’d miss the first month of the season, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the veteran center may not return for a few more weeks after that. According to Salguero, Pouncey’s rehab could extend into late October, meaning he’d miss nearly half the regular season.

Meanwhile, extension talks between Pouncey and the Dolphins have been put on hold for now, says Salugero (via Twitter). Besides the fact that Pouncey, who turns 25 tomorrow, isn’t healthy, it’s still a little early to make serious progress on a new contract, considering the team has exercised its fifth-year option for 2015. So far, no 2011 first-rounders have signed extensions, since their teams still have most of the leverage.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • For years, Bengals owner Mike Brown has served as the team’s de facto general manager, but speaking to reporters – including Joe Danneman of Fox19 – Brown said yesterday that his daughter Katie Blackburn and head coach Marvin Lewis are now running the franchise (Twitter link). As Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer details, Brown still has the final say on personnel decisions, but typically follows the lead of Blackburn and Lewis.
  • A report in early June suggested extension talks between the Patriots and safety Devin McCourty had gotten underway, but according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (via Twitter), there have been no new talks since that initial dialogue. Regardless, McCourty isn’t phased by heading into the regular season on an expiring deal.
  • Focusing on how contract situations may affect players’ roster security, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe breaks down the Patriots who may be on the hot seat as roster cuts approach.
  • Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star consults cap expert Joel Corry to determine whether or not the Chiefs will be able to lock up both Jamaal Charles and Justin Houston to new long-term contracts. The answer: Yes, though the team will have to be careful about how it spreads out the money on the cap.