Giants Rumors

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/26/23

Today’s reserve/futures deals:

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Coaching Rumors: Payton, Flores, Evero

By far the biggest name on this year’s coaching carousel, Sean Payton looks to have seen his momentum stall a bit. While Payton is interviewing with the Cardinals today, his candidacy has not produced a second interview anywhere yet. The Panthers met with Payton this week but just hired Frank Reich. While the Texans remain on the radar for the longtime Saints HC, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com does not get the sense much momentum is present for such a partnership. The Broncos have been connected to other names recently as well, but that path may be dwindling as well. There might not be a place for Payton — as odd as that sounds, given his track record — on this year’s market, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com offers (video link)

Trade compensation being required to land the Super Bowl XLIV-winning HC, with the price varying from a first-rounder and other early picks to two first-rounders, has affected teams’ plans here. Payton, 59, has also been mentioned as waffling on this year’s lot of jobs. Returning to FOX for another year and surveying the 2024 market, when two jobs he has long been connected to (Chargers, Cowboys), could be available might be what comes out of this run of interviews. Payton remains in this year’s mix, but buzz has died down.

Here is the latest from the coaching landscape:

  • Regarding the Cardinals‘ search, Brian Flores remains firmly in the mix. GM candidates received the impression Arizona is high on the three-year Miami HC-turned-Pittsburgh linebackers coach, Fowler notes. Previously mentioned as a frontrunner — due partially to the Cards hiring ex-Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort as GM — Flores may have a right-hand man on defense lined up. Some around the league expect the ex-Dolphins HC to bring Gerald Alexander, Miami’s defensive backs coach for the past three years, with him to Arizona, per Fowler. With the Dolphins looking for a new DC, Alexander may be on the move anyway. While ESPN colleague Dan Graziano points to Vance Joseph and Aaron Glenn remaining strong candidates, Flores has generated the most buzz to this point. Flores has also interviewed for the Falcons and Vikings’ DC posts.
  • Raheem Morris booked a second HC interview with the Colts and also met with the Broncos and Texans. Should the Rams‘ DC land a second HC opportunity, Albert Breer of SI.com notes Ejiro Evero is the team’s top candidate to replace him. The Denver DC is no lock to be available. He is under contract with the Broncos, who blocked a Falcons DC interview, and has gone through second HC interviews with the Colts and Texans. Denver could pass on retaining Evero by hiring a defensive-minded coach, of course. Evero came to Denver from Los Angeles; he spent five years on Sean McVay‘s staff.
  • The Browns considered bringing in Vic Fangio for a DC interview, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes, but they stood down and ended up hiring Jim Schwartz. Cleveland having run a 4-3 defense in recent years may have been a reason for passing on a Fangio meeting, Cabot offers. Fangio has remained quite popular still, having interviewed for three DC jobs — the Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers — already.
  • The Bills are making a change to their defensive staff. They fired safeties coach Jim Salgado, Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN.com tweets. Salgado had been on McDermott’s staff throughout the head coach’s six-season tenure.
  • Giants DC Don Martindale is attached to a three-year contract, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Giants thought enough of the veteran coordinator, whom the Ravens did not bring back last year, they gave him the three-year deal as opposed to the more common two-year pact. Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey also received extensive interest from other teams, with Duggan adding the Chargers joined the Panthers in offering him their ST coordinator jobs. McGaughey, who has been with the Giants since 2018, turned down a Bears interview and opted to stay and work for Brian Daboll.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Giants Prioritizing Daniel Jones Over Saquon Barkley?

The Giants’ situation with two of this year’s top free agents may be evolving. After the team held Saquon Barkley negotiations during its bye week and did not discuss a deal with Daniel Jones, the two offensive pillars may have flipped in priority.

Second-year GM Joe Schoen was more declarative regarding a desire to retain Jones than Barkley, citing positional value. Despite Barkley’s two Pro Bowls, retaining Jones looks to be Big Blue’s top task.

We’d like Daniel to be here. He said it [Sunday]; there is a business side to it. But we feel like Daniel played well this season,” Schoen said, via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to. … We would like to have Daniel Jones back.

We’re happy Daniel is going to be here. Hopefully we can get something done with his representatives. That would be the goal, to build a team around him where he could lead us to win a Super Bowl. It takes two. Both sides are going to have that conversation,” Schoen said. “We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. There are tools at our disposal.

Jones, 25, enhanced his value considerably this season by piloting the Giants to their first playoff win in 11 years. A Jones agreement will make a bit of transactions history. No quarterback whose team passed on his fifth-year option — which the Giants did in May 2022 — has re-signed with that franchise. It is certainly looking like Jones will be back, and Schoen’s comments point to the four-year quarterback starter being the potential tag candidate over the former Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Schoen mentioning the tools at the team’s disposal comes nearly three months after he floated the franchise tag as a weapon to retain Barkley. The running back tag is expected to come in at around $10MM, while the nonexclusive quarterback tag is projected to check in at approximately $32MM. Tagging Jones, who fared well in the Giants’ wild-card win before struggling against the Eagles, would take a significant bite into the Giants’ free agency dollars.

The Giants are projected to hold just less than $55MM in cap space — third-most in the league. A Barkley tag, conversely, would allow for increased flexibility without venturing to restructures. Barkley’s bounce-back season notwithstanding, the Giants could be prepared to let him test free agency. The team also has Dexter Lawrence on track to land a deal likely north of $20MM per year, which likely factors into their Barkley plans as well.

Listen, Saquon’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’s a good football player,” Schoen said. “Again, the positional value, we’ll get into how we want to build this team and allocate our resources. That is what it comes down to. Again, he’s a good football player. He was durable for this year. He played well and, again, he’s a guy we would like to have back.”

Barkley, 25, said Sunday he was not pushing to reset the running back market. Doing so would not be an entirely unreasonable ask, given Barkley’s value to the Giants and Christian McCaffrey‘s $16MM-per-year deal having been signed nearly three years ago. But Barkley turned down a deal in the $12MM-AAV range in November. Schoen confirmed a midseason report indicating the sides were not close on terms, and Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano notes (via Twitter) Barkley’s ask is in the McCaffrey range.

With the tag still low for backs, Vacchiano adds the team is unlikely to move much higher than the $12MM range — effectively the running back second tier — ahead of free agency (Twitter link). This could create a fascinating market bid for Barkley, who would be one of the most talented backs to ever reach free agency. The five-year starter totaled 1,650 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games, recovering from the injuries that plagued him from 2019-21. Barkley mentioned his injury past when assessing his value, and while he wants to stay, he would be a coveted player come March.

However, this year’s running back market will be crowded. A glut of backs including most of the following contingent — Kareem Hunt, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, Devin Singletary Damien Harris — stands to be available. The Raiders and Cowboys have been mentioned as candidates to tag their top backs — Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard — so it would be interesting to see these two valued via the tag and Barkley be allowed to talk with other teams. The Raiders and Cowboys, however, do not have their starting quarterback on an expiring contract. Jones’ solid season looks to have changed the Giants’ plans.

Tagging the quarterback and attempting to re-sign the running back is the opposite of how the Titans played their similar situation in 2020, when they cuffed Derrick Henry and re-signed Ryan Tannehill shortly before the market opened. The Giants are expected to talk with Jones until the new league year begins, per Raanan, who categorizes the quarterback as the team’s top priority. Teams have until March 7 to use their franchise tags.

Texans Schedule Second HC Interviews With Mike Kafka, Ejiro Evero

Houston’s third consecutive offseason spent searching for a new head coach is heading into its next phase. The Texans are set to conduct a second interview with Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, per ESPN’s Field Yates (Twitter link).

The 35-year-old met virtually with the Texans this past Sunday, one day after New York’s surprisingly successful campaign came to an end. Now, he is set to interview in person with Houston’s front office. Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 notes that the sit-down is scheduled to take place in Houston on Wednesday.

Kafka has enjoyed a quick rise up the ranks of NFL assistants receiving serious consideration for head coaching jobs. He was already a popular name in league circles last offseason when he left Kansas City (where he worked closely alongside Patrick Mahomes as the team’s quarterbacks coach) to join Brian Daboll‘s new staff in the Big Apple.

That represented not only his first OC opportunity at both the college and NFL level, but, to the surprise of many, his first time handling play-calling duties. Daboll’s time as Buffalo’s OC led to the expectation that he would carry on in a similar capacity with the Giants, but his decision to delegate to Kafka proved to be a successful one. New York put up middle-of-the-road numbers in terms of scoring and yardage totals, but ranked fourth in the regular season with an average of 148 rushing yards per game. The postseason saw New York continue that success against the Vikings, though their loss to the Eagles was certainly a different story.

Kafka is still a logical candidate for a second interview, as is Ejiro Evero. The Broncos defensive coordinator will also meet with the Texans’ brass tomorrow, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. The 42-year-old is, like Kafka, relatively inexperienced in terms of serving as a coordinator, with 2022 being his first DC gig, but his success has made him a hot commodity during this year’s cycle.

Evero has met with all five teams currently in need of a new head coach, illustrating the way he is viewed around the league. He led the Broncos’ defense to solid rankings in terms of yards allowed in particular, a testament not only to the unit’s talent and his coaching ability, but also his success in maintaining consistency in the wake of Denver’s offensive struggles. Evero has previously worked with the Rams, Packers, 49ers and Buccaneers at the NFL level, all-but exclusively seeing time on the defensive side of the ball.

After seeing David Culley and Lovie Smith each receive their walking papers after one-year stints, Texans owner Cal McNair recently indicated that he would take a more hands-on approach to the 2023 search. Adding either Kafka or Evero would provide the team with a much younger option on the sidelines, and presumably set the franchise up for long-term stability.

With the team’s set of second round interviews beginning to take shape, here is the latest on Houston’s HC search:

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/23/23

Today’s reserve/futures deals, mostly featuring teams recently eliminated from the postseason:

Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Injured Reserve Return Tracker

After two years of giving teams free rein on injured reserve transactions, the NFL reinstated limitations this offseason. Teams can now activate up to eight players from injured reserve. That has reintroduced some strategy into how franchises are proceeding with their activations.

Players who were carried over to 53-man rosters after cutdown day must reside on their respective injured list for at least four weeks. Once a team designates a player for return, meaning the player returns to practice, the activation clock starts. Teams have 21 days from those return-to-practice points to activate that player. If no activation commences in that window, the player reverts to season-ending IR.

Here is how the eight remaining teams’ IR situations stack up for the championship round:

Cincinnati Bengals

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 4

Kansas City Chiefs

Designated for return:

Activations remaining: 5

Philadelphia Eagles

Designated for return:

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 1

San Francisco 49ers

Activations remaining: 0

S Julian Love Eyeing New Giants Deal

With their offseason now underway, the Giants have a number of important decisions to make on a roster which made a surprising run to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. While the team’s offensive catalysts have understandably drawn plenty of attention on that front, a few key defenders are due for new contracts as well.

One of them is safety Julian Love, who became a full-time starter this season, the final one of his rookie contract. The former fourth-rounder remained an important special-teamer, but also logged a 95% snap share on defense, representing a major jump in playing time compared to previous campaigns. He responded by registering a team-leading 124 tackles, along with two interceptions and five pass breakups.

Those totals no doubt boosted his free agent stock considerably, but Love, 24, is hoping to remain in New York in 2023 and beyond. His comments on the subject of a new deal, however, also reflected his understanding of his importance to the team’s success and his desire to turn his 2022 production into a considerable raise.

“I think I had a huge impact on this team this year, not just with play but with who I am as a person,” Love said, via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. “I was the level-headed person this locker room needed at times… This year, having to hold down the fort – it felt like at times – and be the guy for us, I feel like I did a solid job.”

Indeed, Love was a rare constant for a Giants secondary which saw fellow safety Xavier McKinney and top corner Adoree’ Jackson each miss significant time due to injuries. His value will be tempered by the fact that he was only a full-time starter for one season, but he added that contract talks did take place during the bye week which left the two sides “in a better place.” In his season-ending press conference, general manager Joe Schoen indicated (via FOX Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano, on Twitter) his desire to get a deal done.

When going into further detail about his situation, Love reiterated his affinity for the only team he has played for in the NFL to date. He also acknowledged, however, the opportunity free agency will give him to secure a financial windfall.

“I love this place,” the Notre Dame alum said. “The staff has been the best. That’s the stuff you want to come back to, but football is not forever. I put my body on the line every game. When I say, ‘I have to do the best thing for me,’ it’s short-term thinking. You have to do the best to secure generational wealth for your family.”

Giants RB Saquon Barkley, QB Daniel Jones On Future In New York

Running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones have given the Giants’ front office a lot to think about in contract years. Jones was drafted in the first round a year after Barkley, but with New York declining his fifth-year option, Jones will join Barkley in free agency this offseason.

Barkley has been fairly straightforward about his intentions. “I wanted to show them the guy they drafted is still here,” he told reporters, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. “Everyone knows I would love to be a Giant for life, but I really can’t give 100 percent answers.”

Barkley certainly proved what he set out to show. This year, Barkley had his best season since he won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, earning his second career Pro Bowl bid. This was a much-needed big year for the 25-year-old from Penn State. He showed he could stay healthy for a full season after missing multiple games in each of the three years following his rookie campaign. In doing so, Barkley also proved his early-career production was no fluke. Just like in 2018, Barkley broke 1,300 rushing yards and reached double-digit touchdown numbers.

When Barkley was asked about what he’s looking for in a new contract, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan quoted him as saying, “I’m not really too concerned with resetting the [running back] market. I’m realistic.”

It’s reasonable for Barkley to take into account his injury history when considering how his new contract will rank all-time for the position. The silver lining of the situation is that, while his contract may not reach all-time heights, he should receive one of the richer contracts this offseason for a running back. Besides Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, Barkley had perhaps the most impressive contract year for any running back. Not only that, but an impressive field of free agent running backs should drive up the price for the top end prospects at the position like Barkley and Jacobs.

Jones, on the other hand, has not been nearly as forward with his intentions, until very recently. When asked to comment on reports that he and the Giants are close to an extension, Jones responded that he doesn’t “think there’s much truth” to the report, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the NY Post. Following a much-discussed non-answer from last night, Dunleavy further reported that Jones also clarified the situation saying that he loves the Giants and would prefer to stay in New York as long as the “business side” works out.

On the business side, Jones similarly gave New York a bit to think about. Like Barkley, Jones had his best season since his rookie campaign in 2019. Jones has always been pretty good at protecting the ball but went to another level this year when he led the NFL in interceptions per attempt.

Jones may not demand top-tier money as a free agent quarterback but leading the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 should help boost his value a bit. The biggest free agent quarterbacks this offseason are obviously going to be Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady, but after them, Jones will be competing for value with the likes of Geno Smith, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo, and others.

For what it’s worth, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano claims that there is little doubt that Jones and Barkley will return to New York next season. The only issue comes down to the details of how. Can both Jones and Barkley reach new deals with the team that drafted them? Will either of them get richer offers with other teams? Will the two be unable to reach new deals at all and find themselves playing under the franchise tag in 2023?

Both have made it known that there is a desire to stay with the Giants. Now, it will be up to general manager Joe Schoen and company in the front office to figure out how to keep them in blue.

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/22/23

Only one team signing futures deals today:

New York Giants