Art Briles

Matt Rhule Eyeing Michigan Job

With next season looking more and more like a make-or-break year for Matt Rhule, the Panthers’ head coach may be making anticipatory moves to stay employed. Jason La Canfora, of CBS Sports, reported that Rhule, and potentially other head coaches in the NFL, may set their sights on the University of Michigan opening, should current head coach Jim Harbaugh be drawn to Las Vegas. 

Harbaugh is currently negotiating with Michigan after he led the Wolverines to their first College Football Playoff appearance and their first outright Big Ten Championship since 2003. He had signed an extension at the start of the season to secure him in Ann Arbor through 2025, but, with mounting interest from the Raiders, the negotiations are giving Michigan a chance to convince him to stay. The Raiders are searching for a new general manager as well as head coach, following the departures of Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden. Harbaugh isn’t the only target in Vegas, though. He’ll have to compete with interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who, despite a season of turmoil, led the Raiders to a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. Jerod Mayo and DeMeco Ryans have also been mentioned as candidates.

Rhule’s interest in heading back down to the college ranks of coaching have not quite been a secret. Sources have informed La Canfora that Rhule was watching the situations at Penn State and LSU closely, in case a beneficial opportunity presented itself.

Rhule got his first head coaching opportunity at Temple in Philadelphia, where he had spent years as an assistant under Al Golden. He took his first Power 5 opportunity as the head coach at Baylor, following the scandal that led to Art Briles‘s dismissal. He took the Bears from 1-11 in his first season to 11-3 in his third season and rode that success straight to the NFL.

There are still many situations that need to play out. Harbaugh would have to leave Michigan. Rhule would have to decide to put his name in the ring for the vacancy at Michigan. Michigan would have to determine that Rhule is the best candidate for the position. None of this is guaranteed, but, if it all plays out, look for Carolina to be added to our 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Breer On RGIII, Miller, Foles, Geno Smith

Some would say that RGIII is coming to Cleveland with baggage, but new Browns coach Hue Jackson wouldn’t agree. "<strong

I said this to all the players: Everybody’s slate is clean,” Jackson said, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB. “You always want to give guys the benefit of the doubt coming in, and I have not seen, heard or felt any negativity out of him. That’s the only Robert Griffin I know. He’s been an ideal teammate, a hard worker, he wants to please his coaches and he’s followed directions. That’s all I know.”

Griffin started out red hot with the Redskins before injuries and in-fighting led to his downfall. Eventually, the Redskins found their new franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins while Griffin was on the outside looking in. Because of the stop-and-start nature of the last few years, Jackson & Co. know that they have a lot of work to do when it comes to the Baylor product.

I’m not gonna say he’s raw, but he is still developing. And most young quarterbacks are still developing,” Jackson said. “I’d give coach (Mike) Shanahan and his son a lot of credit—he came into the league and they fashioned an offense for him that worked for him. And I’d give him credit too, coming out of the Baylor system, without the traditional footwork you play with, he produced right away. Those guys were able to mesh together a great season, but all that is in his past. It’s about mastering the quarterback position now. Mastery of how to play the position is the key to his success.”

Here’s more from Breer’s column:

  • Here’s an interesting twist to the Von Miller saga. As previously reported, if Miller opts to sit out the 2016 season, the Broncos will only be able to use the non-exclusive franchise tag on him and will not have the exclusive franchise tag at their disposal. Typically, a team that is able to pry a player away on the non-exclusive tag would have to forfeit two first-round picks to the former team. However, if Miller were to sit out, a union source tells Breer that the compensation price would drop from two first-round picks to a first and a third. I imagine that there are some teams that would at least consider forfeiting two first-round choices to land Miller, regarded as one of the best defensive talents in the game. If the price drops to a first- and third-round choice, I think that market opens up even more. Of course, any team that would sign Miller to an offer sheet would also be giving him a $100MM+ deal with significant guarantees.
  • The Rams have yet to trade Nick Foles because they believe that his trade value could increase a bit once training camp begins, Breer hears. At that point, rival teams will have injuries under center and other clubs may find that their backups aren’t coming along as planned.
  • While there is some feeling inside the Jets that they could get by with Geno Smith, many outside of the organization are skeptical. “I think they’ll struggle if [Geno is] the guy,” one rival defensive coach told Breer. “Too inconsistent, stares guys down, average at reading defenses, makes poor decisions. … Fitz is much smarter, more accurate, and a better leader.”
  • Former Baylor coach Art Briles has been linked to NFL jobs in the past but it seems unlikely that he would be in the mix for a job right now following the program’s recent scandal. However, there are factors beyond those events that could keep Briles from getting a chance in the pros. “The big-picture stuff, he’s good at,” said one AFC scout. “The detail is why his offense would fail in the NFL. His offense at Baylor is not detailed—we’re gonna play tempo, we’re gonna play fast, and we’ll get you with our speed and just out-athlete you because our guys don’t have to think and your guys do.
  • Like the RGIII jersey swap above? Follow Pro Football Rumors on Instagram for more great pics.

East Notes: Revis, Briles, Cowboys

The Patriots will have a big decision to make regarding the future of star cornerback Darrelle Revis this offseason, and Tom Curran and Mike Giardi of discuss in a video piece what that decision will entail. Although Revis has stated that he does not need to be the highest paid cornerback in the league to be happy, Curran and Giardi note that Revis is a shrewd businessman and that it will take a fair (read: highly-lucrative) offer to get a deal done.

Let’s take a look at a few more items from the league’s east divisions:

  • In the same piece, Curran and Giardi examine how the Patriots might negotiate with injured linebacker Jerod Mayo. They note that New England may approach Mayo with an incentive-laden offer based upon health, which was the team’s strategy when negotiating with Vince Wilfork.
  • Mike Reiss of writes that losing Aaron Dobson for the season serves as yet another reminder of how difficult it has been for the Patriots to draft and develop quality receiving talent under Bill Belichick (though Belichick has usually done more than enough to compensate for that deficiency in other ways).
  • In a piece that will probably surprise no one, ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes that Jets GM John Idzik has alienated members of his coaching staff and front office, further fueling the belief that the team’s administration will undergo a complete overhaul in the offseason.
  • Jason Cole of Bleacher Report notes (via Twitter) that if Washington fires first-year head coach Jay Gruden after the 2014 season (as PFR’s Rob DiRe discussed last night), the team should pursue current Baylor University head coach Art Briles, whose offense would mesh well with Robert Griffin III‘s skillset. Albert Breer of the NFL Network, however, tweets that it would be a “shocker” if Briles were to leave Texas.
  • Todd Archer of describes how the Cowboys might go about manipulating their salary cap in order to create enough room to retain Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, and Rolando McClain, but he notes that the player Dallas should really focus on is right tackle Doug Free.

Extra Points: Griffin, Glennon, DEA

Robert Griffin III has struggled since returning from injury this season, and Washington’s head coach Jay Gruden has the power to bench the former first-round pick, writes Conor Orr of In the past, Griffin had been protected by ownership, but patience could be running thin within the organization.

Here are some other notes from around the NFL:

  • Speaking of quarterbacks getting benched, Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times argues that the Buccaneers need to return Josh McCown to the sidelines. McCown is not playing well, and although Mike Glennon has failed to perform well either, the young quarterback at least deserves a chance to prove himself as the team’s starter.
  • The DEA has continued its investigation of NFL medical staffs this week, focusing on the alleged mishandling of prescription drugs, writes Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Although the investigation is ongoing, there will likely not be any more post-game searches.
  • San Antonio is a long shot to obtain the Raiders from Oakland, but they will still attempt to lure an NFL franchise to their city, writes Tom Orsborn of“I’ve seen stranger things happen when parties stay in the game. If staying in the game is a low-cost option, I wouldn’t walk away if I were San Antonio,” said Marc Ganis, a league consultant and president of SportsCorp. “Now, that doesn’t mean I’d pour lots of resources into it, or raise people’s hopes dramatically. But I certainly wouldn’t walk away, because you never know what happens in these things. These things can turn in odd ways.”
  • We have looked at top head coaching candidates a number of times so far this season, and will do so again as Adam Caplan of ESPN compiles a comprehensive list of assistant coaches who will be sought after for interviews this offseason (subscription required). At the top of his list are Patriots‘ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seahawks‘ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and Cardinals‘ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Caplan also highlights Baylor’s Art Briles, Stanford’s David Shaw, and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn as college coaches who could make the jump to the NFL.