Nick Saban

Nick Saban Not Interested In Giants’ Job

Former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians caused a stir today by hinting Alabama head coach Nick Saban — fresh off a National Championship — could be interested in the Giants’ head coaching vacancy. However, those rumors can be quickly stamped out, as Saban does not have any interest in coming to New York, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (Twitter link). Nick Saban (Vertical)

“It would not surprise me,” Arians said, when asked by FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd if Saban would take the Giants’ position (Twitter link) . “And there’s a job he covets. It just happens to be open. But he’s got a dynasty right now, another dynamite recruiting class. Why he would do it, I don’t know, but it wouldn’t shock me if he did.”

Saban, of course, has spent time in the NFL both as a head coach and defensive coordinator, and memorably posted a 15-17 record with the Dolphins from 2006-07 before abruptly leaving to head back to the college game. Since then, he’s been remarkably successful, managing five titles with the Crimson Tide while sending a bevy of first-round picks to the pros.

Thus far, the Giants have interviewed six candidates in their bid to replace Ben McAdoo. Here’s where things stand:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Manning, Eagles

Two years ago, Louis Riddick spoke to the New York Post about the Giants‘ coaching search that resulted in the promotion of Ben McAdoo. Riddick indicated that if he were in charge of the search, he would make a strong play for Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

I tell you this, if I was a GM, I was a team president, I was an owner, I would definitely make the call,’’ Riddick said (via Paul Schwartz of the NY Post). “I would try. Because I’m not one of those people who believe he was a failure in the NFL. I would be making that call, and I would be saying what would it take to come get you to come talk to me and how much money will it take? “I would have my plane gassed up and down in Tuscaloosa going ‘Will you talk to me?’

Saban is one of the most successful coaches in college football history, but his time in the NFL with the Dolphins did not go as planned. For what it’s worth, Riddick believes that he would do a lot better if he was given another chance. Now that Riddick is up for the Giants’ GM job, one can’t help but wonder if he could bring Saban to New York.

Riddick was also highly complementary of Patriots offensive Josh McDaniels in that conversation. Some anticipate that Riddick would bring McDaniels on board if hired by the G-Men.

He’s a guy, based on my research and knowing him a little bit, I think he’s gonna be fantastic,’’ Riddick said. “I think he’s gonna blow it out of the water and be dynamite in his second shot.’’

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • With roughly eight head coaching positions expected to be available, the chances are high that one of the Eagles‘ assistants gets plucked, Tim McManus of ESPN.com writes. In particular, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz are expected to garner a lot of interest. Schwartz may have to shed the “retread” label, but DeFilippo has been largely responsible for the development of quarterback Carson Wentz and at the age of 39, he is viewed as a coach on the rise in the mold of Sean McVay. When all is said and done, the Eagles are likely to have to fill at least one vacancy on the staff.
  • When speaking as a TV analyst recently, Riddick said that the Giants should consider taking a quarterback with their top pick, regardless of whether or not they keep Eli Manning. “Drafting a young player has to be on the ticket anyway, just by virtue of the fact that you know [Manning] is closer to the end than the beginning,” Riddick said (via Schwartz). “There’s a lot of different moving parts here. But I think everybody will win in the end. I think Eli will get what he wants, and I think the Giants will just move on into the future.”
  • A new deal for Cowboys guard Zack Martin will not come cheap.
  • Is Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther destined to join the Redskins?

NFC Notes: Giants, Bradham, Gholston

The Giants coaching questions are now back in full force after the team lost to Washington on Thanksgiving night. There was some reprieve from the consistent rumors after Giants head coach Ben McAdoo beat the Chiefs two weeks ago, but now there is speculation about where the front office may turn if they chose to replace McAdoo at the end of this season.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY speculated a number potential candidates to replace McAdoo if the team were to move on from the second-year head coach. Vacchiano had a number of former head coaches on his list, which included Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith. He also included big college names that seem a little more like long shots in Stanford head coach David Shaw and Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Up and coming coordinators Teryl Austin and Frank Reich rounded out his list.

New York is a pretty big draw that could get a few more well known coaches to at least consider the position. Plus, the team will have a top pick, solid defense and a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. to build around. More coaching rumors will be popping up as the seasons moves along, but it’s interesting to see what names may be on the radar, even though there’s been no indication that the front office will assuredly to fire McAdoo.

  • The Giants have dealt with a number of injuries this season. The team has likely lost two more players for the season in cornerback Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) and linebacker Curtis Grant (knee), reports Dan Duggan of NJ Advanced Media. New York has placed seven defenders on IR so far this season, so losing two more depth pieces doesn’t bode well for how competitive the Giants can be in the final six weeks of the regular season.
  • The Eagles are the best team in the NFL right now, and are in the process of deciding which of their building blocks to lock up for the long haul. The team already agreed to a contract extension with Timmy Jernigan earlier in the month and now may be turning their attention to linebacker Nigel Bradham, opines Jeff McLane of The Inquirer. A former fourth round pick back in 2012, the 28-year-old leads the team in tackles with 56 and ranks as the 33rd best linebacker in football, according to Pro Football Focus. The Eagles have 13 players heading for unrestricted free agency after the season, so they’ll definitely have to make some tough decisions regarding who they want to build around and who they’re willing to let go.
  • The Buccaneers will likely welcome back William Gholston this Sunday after the defensive end missed the team’s previous two games with a neck injury, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. While the absence seems short when compared to some other more serious injuries, Gholston is thankful that the ailment wasn’t more severe. “The neck is a little worrisome, because you have to think about everything else, think about family and all that,” Gholston said. “They definitely took all of the correct steps. … I’m not glad it happened, but I’m glad they took the right steps for me to get back.” Tampa Bay will try to extend their win streak to three games when travel to Atlanta for a Sunday afternoon matchup.

Nick Saban Signs Extension With Alabama

Maybe this will keep Nick Saban‘s name out of NFL consideration for a little while. Saban has agreed to a long-term contract extension with Alabama that could keep him in place through the 2024 season. Nick Saban (Vertical)

As part of the deal, Saban gets a $4MM signing bonus plus an additional $4MM spread out between the 2020, 2021, and 2022 seasons. The second bonus is likely meted out over those seasons to incentivize Saban to stay. Of course, college coaches break contracts all the time and it’s unlikely that Saban would agree to anything ironclad.

Terry and I are pleased and happy to agree to the contract extension The University of Alabama has offered us, ensuring our time here in Tuscaloosa will continue for many more years,” Saban said. “This has become our home and we are looking forward to finishing our career at Alabama. I want to thank President Bell, Greg Byrne, our athletic administration, football staff and the entire University community for all of their support, which has been instrumental in the success of our organization. We are extremely proud of the young men who have represented the Crimson Tide on the football field, and more importantly, what they have been able to accomplish in their lives off the field because of their involvement in our program.”

Saban’s last go-round in the NFL was not so successful, but he has consistently been linked to NFL jobs in every offseason for the last few years. It remains to be seen whether Saban has the itch to try the NFL again and whether this new contract would be a barrier to him going pro.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching/FO Notes: Manning, Redskins, Jaguars, Broncos

Despite Jim Irsay’s dream of a superstar decision-making duo featuring Peyton Manning and Jon Gruden failing to come to fruition, the Colts‘ owner is still trying to land Manning in a key front office role, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports (on Twitter). During an appearance on Fox NFL Sunday, Glazer described Irsay as making a “strong push” to bring Manning back to the Colts.

However, the 40-year-old recently retired quarterback may not be ready to do that at this time. Previously loosely connected to a pursuit of a front office career, Manning coming back to the Colts is unlikely at this time, Bob Kravitz of WTHR tweets. The Colts did release Manning in 2012, but the future Hall of Fame passer did return for a special Colts-centric retirement ceremony last year.

Nevertheless, the owner’s faith in the Ryan Grigson/Chuck Pagano tandem may be wavering, despite each being tentatively expected to keep their jobs. Although, Irsay has yet to come out publicly and confirm that.

Here’s the latest from the NFL’s post-regular-season hiring period.

  • Today’s revelations have Irsay going after splashy candidates for jobs that aren’t yet open, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports the owner has yet to reach out to Nick Saban about the HC job. The Colts have been connected to Saban via rumors for a while now, but nothing substantial has come out of it.
  • The Redskins are “very likely” to promote quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh to their OC position to take Sean McVay‘s place, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. This arrangement would entail Jay Gruden calling plays, La Canfora notes. Cavanaugh has previously served as OC for two different franchises, doing so for the Bears and Ravens, but hasn’t functioned in that capacity since 2004. The 60-year-old longtime assistant has been with Washington since 2015.
  • Tom Coughlin has thus far either shown faith in the existing Jaguars assistants or brought in former Giants coaches in his first week in Jacksonville. The newly hired executive went in the latter direction on Saturday, hiring former Giants DC Perry Fewell to coach the Jags’ defensive backs, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports (on Twitter). This will mark Fewell’s second stay in this role. His first NFL coaching gig came as the Jags’ secondary coach under Coughlin from 1998-2002. The 54-year-old coach served as the Redskins’ DBs boss during the past two seasons. Fewell was Coughlin’s DC from 2010-14, serving as the coach whose Super Bowl champion 2011 team unveiled its famous NASCAR package. But Fewell will serve under retained DC Todd Wash and work a sixth stint as a secondary coach.
  • Manning’s second NFL team continued to piece together its Vance Joseph-led coaching staff. The Broncos are retaining strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson, Mike Klis of 9News reports (via Twitter). Richesson will enter his sixth year in this position.

Nick Saban Expressed Interest In Giants Head Coaching Gig?

Take this one for what it’s worth. Actor Tom Arnold (yup, that’s not a typo) recently told ESPN’s Paul Finebaum that Alabama coach Nick Saban expressed interest in the Giants head coach opening this past offseason. According to Arnold, the team had already finalized a deal with eventual head coach Ben McAdoo when Saban threw his name into the ring.

Nick Saban (Vertical)“They got his deal done with [Ben McAdoo] and they are ready to sign him, and they get a call from Bob Ehrman [an intermediary] who says Nick Saban wants the job,” Arnold said (via Hannah Withiam of the New York Post). “So they had to stop. This is a Saturday night. They said, ‘You have until Sunday morning at 8 a.m. to say a definite yes. Tell us what he needs for money.’ ‘Well, he needs $10 million to start with and this is the deal. He has to get it approved by his wife right.’ Well, he has to get it approved by his wife right this second because we have a coach on the string here. But if he wants to do it, it has to be right this second. So he had until Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and it didn’t work out. But it was close.”

We wouldn’t consider Arnold a legitimate source for NFL rumors, although the comedian is good friends with Giants owner Steve Tisch. When asked if there was any legitimacy to the reports, a team spokesman responded “no.” Of course, at this point, you wouldn’t necessarily expect the organization to acknowledge that they nearly backed out of their deal with McAdoo in order to sign the Alabama coach. James Kratch of NJ Advance Media questions Arnold’s timeline (via Twitter), although he acknowledges that “the details seem rather legit.”

Saban, 64, didn’t have much success during his first stint in the NFL, leading the Dolphins to a 15-17 record in two seasons with the team. Since that time, Saban has led Alabama to four National Championships, and he also earned the AP National Coach of the Year award in 2008. As Withiam writes, Saban’s “extraordinary success at the college level has earned him respect from professional organizations.” Therefore, it’s not farfetched that the team would have at least considered hiring the coach.

McAdoo has done an admirable job during his first season as head coach of the Giants, leading the team to a 4-3 record. The former Giants offensive coordinator replaced long-time Giants coach Tom Coughlin this past offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coach Rumors: Hue, Giants, Saban, Campbell

Hue Jackson, who has received legit interest from the 49ers and Browns, will fly to New York this week and will meet with the Giants no later than Thursday morning, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Giants, who will talk to Jackson once the owners meetings in Houston conclude, are “serious” about the Bengals offensive coordinator, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

Here are a few more Tuesday morning coaching updates:

  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if Nick Saban will be any more open to an NFL return after adding another NCAA championship win to his résumé on Monday night. For what it’s worth, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the Buccaneers are considering almost every head coaching possibility, including Saban.
  • Former Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell is free to seek other job opportunities, and has received inquiries from the Vikings, Cowboys, and Chargers, league sources tell Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. A Monday report indicated that Campbell is likely to move on from the Dolphins.
  • For now, the Eagles aren’t planning any more head coaching interviews, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who tweets that the club will regroup and assess its options after this week’s owners meetings. La Canfora and ESPN’s Bill Williamson (Twitter link) both identify Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson as a strong candidate for the job.
  • The Colts are interviewing former Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke today, after having spoken to Bills DBs coach Donnie Henderson on Monday, per Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter links). While Henderson may not end up in Indianapolis, he won’t return to the Bills, a source tells Marvez.

Coach Rumors: Rams, Eagles, Titans, Tomsula

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, but there may be changes coming to his coaching staff in the coming weeks, writes Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. A year ago, St. Louis was one of the last teams to make a change at offensive coordinator, and it doesn’t sound like Fisher is in a hurry to finalize changes this year either.

“We’ll start the evaluation process,” Fisher said. “Go back and we’ll discuss our restricted free agents, our unrestricted free agents and prioritize things from a coaching perspective. Then, we’ll get the ball rolling as far as the self-scouting and things like that. Separately from them, I’ll be dealing with when and if there’s going to be and potential staff changes.”

Rob Boras took over as the Rams’ interim offensive coordinator late in the season, and is a candidate to keep the job, but Fisher remains undecided on that position. As we wait to see which direction the team goes, let’s check in on a few more coaching-related notes from around the NFL…

  • Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is on the Eagles‘ radar for a head coaching interview, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. Koetter has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Dolphins’ head coaching vacancy.
  • The Titans have yet to request permission to interview any of the “hot” head coaching candidates, sources tell Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com (Twitter link). Presumably, McCormick is referring to coordinators like Adam Gase, Teryl Austin, and Hue Jackson, among others. It seems that the club may be prioritizing its search for a general manager before seriously pursuing any head coaching candidates.
  • After having been fired by the 49ers, Jim Tomsula should have plenty of opportunities around the NFL as either a defensive line coach or defensive coordinator, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who tweets that calls are “already coming in” for Tomsula.
  • The Colts didn’t attempt to make a run at Alabama head coach Nick Saban before agreeing to an extension with Chuck Pagano, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio suggests that none of the current job openings are really an ideal fit for Saban, so rumors of his return to the NFL may be postponed for another year.
  • Asked during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio if any of this year’s head coaching openings appeal to him, former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher once again dismissed the idea of returning to the NFL (Twitter link). “I tell people all the time, I had the best job in football [and] I stepped down from it” Cowher said. “I’m very comfortable working at CBS right now.”

Cole’s Latest: Colts, Giants, Saban, Raiders

Let’s take a look at the latest from Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole (all video links):

  • The presence of Andrew Luck could lead several high-profile names to be interested in the Colts‘ potential head-coaching vacancy, per Cole, who reports that Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, and Sean Payton could all have varying levels of interest in the position. The key question, according to Cole, is how much roster/personnel control owner Jim Irsay is willing to hand over.
  • Luck makes the Colts job very attractive, but the most desirable landing spot on the market? The Giants, says Cole, due to ownership’s “hand-off” approach. Plus, the combination of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. is very enticing to candidates.
  • Despite interest from numerous teams, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is not expected to make the leap to the NFL. Saban, who does have NFL experience with the Dolphins, is quite comfortable in Tuscaloosa, and he doesn’t want to take any attention away from his team’s looming championship game against Clemson on January 11.
  • Sources tell Cole that billionaire Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle Corporation) has spoken with Raiders owner Mark Davis about buying a portion of the team. While nothing is close, the mere presence of Ellison could potentially attract other investors, per Cole, and ultimately help the club make the move to Los Angeles.

Coaching Updates: 1/3/16

After learning this morning that the 49ers are expected to fire Jim Tomsula and that Jim Caldwell is more likely than not to return to the Lions in 2016, let’s dive into a few more notes on the league’s head coaching carousel:

  • A “plugged-in source” tells Pro Football Talk that Chip Kelly could be headed to the Browns (Twitter link).
  • Before that somewhat mysterious tweet from PFT, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeted out a list of a few candidates the Browns are expected to interview in the coming days after they formally fire Mike Pettine. That list includes popular targets Adam Gase, Teryl Austin, and Doug Marrone. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the team is especially interested in Gase and has already laid the groundwork for an interview with the Bears’ offensive coordinator. It was something of a surprise that Gase did not land a head coaching job last year, but it looks like 2016 will find him in charge of his own club.
  • Rapoport also passes on some news on the Colts (via Conor Orr of NFL.com), reporting that if Indianapolis parts ways with Chuck Pagano, the team will make Sean Payton and Nick Saban say no before turning its search in another direction. Although the presence of franchise quarterback Andrew Luck could alter his thinking somewhat, Saban, as Rapoport tweets, has been approached by NFL clubs countless times in recent years and always says no.
  • Current Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson is “a name to watch” as the Eagles attempt to fill their new head coaching vacancy, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, who adds that the team would have to do some “fence-mending” to lure Sean McDermott, one of the hottest head coaching candidates, away from Carolina (Twitter links). ESPN.com news services confirms the team’s interest in Pederson, who spent four seasons as an offensive assistant under Andy Reid in Philadelphia, and adds that interim head coach Pat Shumur has not been ruled out.
  • The Titans will look at interim head coach Mike Mularkey as a legitimate candidate to become the team’s permanent head coach, as Rapoport writes in his Black Monday primer.
  • In the same piece, Rapoport writes that Mike McCoy has a much better chance to stay with the Chargers than originally anticipated. The NFL.com scribe reports that San Diego brass will step back and look at factors like the injuries the team has endured, the close losses it has suffered, and the omnipresent Los Angles dilemma before making a final decision. While McCoy could still be fired, it appears as though he will at least get a thorough evaluation before that happens.