Drew Wilkins

Patriots Notes: Bourne, Front Office, Brown

Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tore his ACL at the end of October, an injury that had especially poor timing considering his impending free agent. However, the wideout has made it clear that he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery, and he’s eyeing a return to New England in 2024.

Speaking to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the receiver said he’s expecting to be ready for the start of next season. Bourne also discussed his upcoming unrestricted free agency, with the veteran stating his desire to stick with the Patriots.

“I want to come back [to New England],” Bourne said. “That is a goal of mine. I love being a Patriot — it’s a great environment for a person like me. Being a Patriot helped me grow into the player I am today. I’m thankful for the organization, but you never know. I’ve been in free agency before and I didn’t know what would happen. And I don’t know now.”

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the 49ers, Bourne inked a three-year deal worth up to $22.5MM with the Patriots. The wideout had an up-and-down three years in New England. He finished 2021 with career highs in receptions (55), receiving yards (800), and touchdowns (five). He found himself in the doghouse in 2022, but he rebounded in 2023, averaging a career-high 50.8 yards per game prior to his injury.

The wideout now has to navigate both his injury recovery and his impending free agency. Bourne told Reiss that he has a physical therapist living with him, and his current focus is on strengthening his quadriceps and legs in support of his knee.

“I was in the best shape of my life and the knee slowed me down a lot,” Bourne said. “It’s annoying to have someone always on me and bugging me, but I know what I need to get back to where I was when I got hurt. I’m embracing it now.”

More notes out of New England…

  • While it’s uncertain if the Patriots will make a move at general manager, Eliot Wolf is expected to control the 53-man roster for the time being. Reiss has provided a bit more insight, noting Wolf’s ascension is a sign the Patriots are focusing on more of a “Packer-based structure” to their front office. Wolf, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, spent more than a decade with Green Bay, and Reiss believes the Patriots are pivoting to a system that values the personnel department’s input vs. the head coach’s final say (a tactic that was impossible with Bill Belichick at the helm). Reiss notes that Wolf was also heavily involved with the head coaching process, and he subsequently worked with Jerod Mayo to fill out the coaching staff.
  • Speaking of the front office, the Patriots have added a familiar face to their operation. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston, the Patriots have hired executive Bobby Brown for a front office role. Brown previously served as the Patriots associate director of football administration, but he left for the Texans this past season to work alongside his brother, Andrew Brown.
  • The Patriots continue to add to their coaching staff. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the team has hired Drew Wilkins as their outside linebackers coach. Wilkins spent more than a decade on the Ravens coaching staff, where he worked alongside current Patriots star linebacker Matthew Judon. Wilkins spent the past two seasons as the Giants OLBs coach, but he was let go following New York’s overhaul of the defensive coaching staff.
  • Former Patriots WR Troy Brown has spent the past three seasons as New England’s receivers coach, but with his contract having expired and a new coaching staff in place, his future with the organization is in doubt. Reiss writes that Brown could be one of the few holdovers to stick around in 2024. Alex Van Pelt is now in place as the Patriots offensive coordinator, so there’s a chance the new hire decides to pursue his own WRs coach.

Michigan To Hire Don Martindale For DC Job

FEBRUARY 9: Michigan is indeed set to hire Martindale for the DC post, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. He will take over a Wolverines defense which has helped Macdonald and Minter land NFL gigs as he looks to rebuild his pro coordinator stock following an unceremonious Giants departure.

FEBRUARY 7: Don Martindale interviewed for multiple defensive coordinator jobs during this year’s hiring period, but the final two teams in need at this position — the Cowboys and Seahawks — do not have the recent Giants coordinator on their respective radars.

As a result, Martindale looks to be considering coaching in college. After seeing DC Jesse Minter follow Jim Harbaugh to Los Angeles, Michigan is eyeing Martindale — per 247Sports.com’s Matt Zenitz — to run its defense. Martindale’s right-hand man with the Giants, Drew Wilkins, is also drawing consideration in the college ranks, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets, adding that Martindale is a serious candidate for the Michigan job.

[RELATED: Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

Martindale, 60, has not coached at the college level since being Western Kentucky’s DC in the early 2000s. The Broncos, Ravens and Giants subsequently employed Martindale as their DC since 2010. After a successful stint in Baltimore, Martindale did not prove a fit in New York. After helping Brian Daboll to a Coach of the Year campaign in 2022, Martindale feuded with the New York HC in Year 2. This came to a head when Daboll’s firing of Wilkins — a longtime Ravens assistant who followed Martindale to New York — set off the fiery DC, leading to a shouting match and Martindale resigning his post.

The Ravens hired Mike Macdonald to replace Martindale following the latter’s one-year run as the Wolverines’ DC (2021). This would make Martindale a logical fit, though his dispute with Daboll would certainly require an investigation by the team/school that hires him. Martindale and Wilkins worked as the Giants’ top assistants on defense, effectively running things on that side of the ball — sometimes without Daboll and GM Joe Schoen‘s say-so. Wilkins has worked with Martindale since 2012, when the latter arrived in Baltimore.

The Jaguars and Packers interviewed Martindale for their respective DC jobs, but each team went in a different direction. Jacksonville hired ex-Atlanta DC Ryan Nielsen, while Green Bay brought Boston College HC Jeff Hafley back to the pros. Considering the unstable college landscape, it is interesting Martindale is being connected to moving back to an NCAA gig after 20 years in the NFL.

Michigan is also considering Chiefs D-line coach Joe Cullen for its DC post, Zenitz adds. Unlike Martindale, Cullen is in consideration for one of the remaining NFL vacancies; the Seahawks have shown interest.

Giants Fire ST Coordinator Thomas McGaughey; OC Mike Kafka, DC Don Martindale Likely To Be Retained

2:14pm: Further changes to the Giants’ staff are coming. Offensive line coach Drew Wilkins and his brother, defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins have been let go, Charlotte Carroll of The Athletic reports. Both staffers have a history with Martindale given their shared time in Baltimore, and the latter has publicly praised both on several occasions. For that reason, speculation continues to point to a Martindale departure even though Daboll suggested otherwise this morning.

10:30am: Changes have been made to the Giants’ coaching staff, but a degree of stability is set to remain in place. Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson have been fired, head coach Brian Daboll announced on Monday.

All three coordinator have been mentioned as potentially being on the hot seat, so McGaughey’s dismissal comes as little surprise. The 50-year-old’s NFL coaching career dates back to 2001, and he had a stint as an assistant with the Giants from 2007-10. He returned to New York after as the team’s coordinator in 2018 (following stints in that same role with the Jets, 49ers and Panthers), enjoying relative success early on.

In recent years, however, the Giants’ third phase performances have taken a turn for the worse. In 2023, New York finished 21st in terms of special teams DVOA, marking a continuation of the team’s underwhelming showings. Now, for the first time since Pat Shurmur‘s tenure as head coach, the Giants will need to find a replacement special teams coordinator.

Johnson followed Daboll to the Giants in 2022 after their shared time with the Bills. The O-line was a sore spot throughout the campaign, though, and New York allowed a league-leading 85 sacks. That figure is in part a result of the slew of injuries the Giants dealt with up front, but also a lack of development from certain young members of the unit. That includes right tackle Evan Neal, who struggled before missing the latter portion of the season due to an ankle injury which will require surgery.

Notably, though, Daboll added that he expects both offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and defensive coordinator Don Martindale to be retained for 2024. Both staffers were reported to be on the chopping block in November, something which came as little surprise given the team’s regression from its impressive playoff run in 2022. New York faced issues in the passing game both before and after Daniel Jones‘ ACL tear, leading to a 30th place finish in scoring (15.6 points per game).

The team’s defense did not fare much better under Martindale this season, and tensions between he and Daboll became a major talking point during the season. A November report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer pointed to a parting of ways being likely given the Daboll-Martindale rift, something the Giants attempted to publicly downplay. Martindale himself has also stated an intention to remain with the Giants, and it now appears that will be the case.

Significant improvement on both sides of the ball will be needed by New York if the team is to avoid a repeat of this season’s shortcomings. Plenty of significant decisions loom, including one on the future of running back Saquon Barkley. Jones’ contract has also not quelled doubts about his Giants tenure beyond the 2024 campaign. While ownership is on board with general manager Joe Schoen‘s rebuilding efforts, Daboll appears to likewise be satisfied a largely intact coaching staff will be able to rebound in 2024.

NFC Coaching Notes: Giants, Seahawks, Bears

Brian Daboll is naturally making some changes to the Giants coaching staff. Per Aaron Wilson on Twitter (detailed in four tweets), the Giants have hired Drew Wilkins as linebackers coach, Christian Jones as an offensive assistant, Laura Young as director of coaching operations, Bobby Johnson as offensive line coach, Shea Tierney as quarterbacks coach, DeAndre Smith as running backs coach, Mike Groh as wide receivers coach, Andy Bischoff as tight ends coach, Tony Sparano Jr. as assistant offensive line coach, and Andre Patterson as defensive line coach.

Daboll also retained a handful of holdovers from Joe Judge’s staff. That grouping includes Jerome Henderson (defensive backs coach), Mike Treier (assistant defensive backs coach), Anthony Blevins (special teams assistant), and Nick Williams (special teams quality control coach).

Finally, the Giants shifted Ryan Hollern to college scouting coordinator and named Mark Loecher as assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Some more coaching notes out of the NFC…

  • The Seahawks will promote Andy Dickerson to their offensive line coach, per ESPN’s Brady Henderson (via Twitter). Offensive coordinator Shane Waldron recruited Dickerson from the Rams last offseason, with Dickerson earning the role of run-game coordinator. Now, he’ll earn the (apparent) promotion to OL coach. The Seahawks fired former offensive line coach Mike Solari last week, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). This was the 67-year-old’s second stint with the organization, and he had served as the team’s OL coach since 2018.
  • The Bears announced last week that they hired Carlos Polk as their assistant special teams coach. The 44-year-old coach has served in the same role with a handful of teams, including the Chargers, Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Jaguars. He spent the 2021 campaign in Jacksonville.
  • The Cardinals have hired Matt Burke as their defensive line coach, reports Pelissero (on Twitter). The 45-year-old was the Dolphins defensive coordinator between 2017 and 2018, and he most recently worked for the Jets as a “game management coach.” Burke has also had coaching stints with the Eagles, Bengals, Lions, and Titans.
  • The Vikings have hired Brian Angelichio as their pass game coordinator/tight ends coach, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter). Angelichio spent the past two years as the Panthers tight ends coach, so he’s getting a slight promotion in Minnesota. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Vikings are hiring Jerrod Johnson as an offensive assistant. Johnson is expected to work with the QBs. The coach was a two-time participant in the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, and he spent last season as the Colts quality control coach.
  • Matt Rhule has made some changes to his staff. The Panthers announced that they’ve hired Joe Dailey as wide receivers coach. Dailey has spent the past two seasons as Boston College’s offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, Robert Kugler was hired as assistant offensive line coach while defensive analyst Kevin Gilbride Jr. was promoted to TE coach (replacing Angelichio).

AFC Coaching Notes: Colts, Bills, Jaguars, Ravens

Since Frank Reich was able to land defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to replace Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus, Bradley has begun the process of putting his staff together. Today Bradley added longtime defensive backs coach Ron Milus to coach his secondary, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Milus first started coaching defensive backs at his alma mater, the University of Washington, about eight years after playing cornerback there. He held the college position for seven years before getting an NFL coaching opportunity in 2000. Since then, Milus hasn’t spent a season out of work with stints in Denver, Arizona, New York (Giants), St. Louis, Carolina, San Diego, and Las Vegas. His longest stint was with the Chargers, spending eight years in southern California and transitioning with the team to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that Milus was retained when Bradley joined the Chargers’ staff. He followed Bradley to Las Vegas and will join him once more in Indianapolis.

Here are a few other coaching notes from around the AFC starting with another bit from the Hoosier State:

  • In addition to Milus, Mike Chappell of Fox59 reports that Indianapolis is also in the process of hiring linebackers coach Richard Smith, who worked with Bradley and Milus in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Smith has coached in the NFL since he debuted for the Houston Oilers in 1988 coaching special teams and tight ends. He found his niche as a linebackers coach in 1997 for the 49ers and has had three short stints as a defensive coordinator in Miami, Houston, and Atlanta.
  • ESPN’s Yates also tweeted out a report that the Bills have added former QB Kyle Shurmur on staff in a defensive quality control position. After four years at Vanderbilt, Shurmur signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs, spending time on their practice squad as well as on the Bengals’ and Washington’s practice squads. He was released by Washington a little over a month ago and that appears to mark the end of his playing career. He seems to be following in the footsteps of his father, Pat Shurmur, and joining the coaching track.
  • A castaway from the Matt Nagy Bears’ staff, outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey will not be without work for long as Curtis Crabtree of NBC Sports reports that Shuey is joining Doug Pederson‘s staff in Jacksonville in the same role. Shuey and Pederson had two separate tenures together in Philadelphia.
  • Pederson also made a crucial move of retaining running backs coach Bernie Parmalee. Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tells us that keeping Parmalee was a priority for Pederson, especially due to his strong relationship with star running back James Robinson.
  • Baltimore has hired Rob Leonard as outside linebackers coach, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley (Twitter). Leonard will replace Drew Wilkins who left to join Brian Daboll‘s staff in New York. Leonard spent the past three seasons in the same position with the Dolphins. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic adds that former Michigan analyst Ryan Osborn will follow Mike Macdonald to the Ravens for a quality control position. Osborn is credited with having a role in the development of Wolverines’ EDGE players like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

Giants Notes: Cap, Martinez, Shepard, Staff

The Giants doled out a few big-ticket contracts in free agency during Dave Gettleman‘s final years as GM, handing out deals to James BradberryBlake Martinez, Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson. Those contracts are among those that have pushed the Giants over the projected 2022 salary cap. The Giants are more than $11MM over the cap, and GM Joe Schoen told NBC Sports’ Peter King last month he wants to clear about $40MM in cap space before the start of the new league year.

It’s a concern, and it’s real. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made,” Schoen said recently, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.

Some cap-casualty candidates include Martinez, Sterling Shepard and Kyle Rudolph. Despite Martinez delivering his usual high-end tackle production in 2020, the veteran linebacker suffered an ACL tear in September. Martinez might need to take a pay cut to stay, Vacchiano offers, though the 28-year-old linebacker is only attached to an $8.4MM salary. Cutting Martinez would save the Giants more than $8MM, while an expected Rudolph ouster will add $5MM to that total. As a post-June 1 cut, Shepard’s release saves nearly $9MM. Shepard is the Giants’ longest-tenured player, arriving as a second-round 2016 pick, but has battled injuries for much of his career. Bradberry serves as Big Blue’s No. 1 cornerback, though Vacchiano adds he should not be considered a lock to be part of next year’s team. A post-June 1 designation makes a Bradberry release worth $13MM. Of course, the Giants would run into a major cornerback need in the event they cut Bradberry. The ex-Panther’s three-year, $45MM deal expires after next season.

Here is the latest from the rebuilding team:

  • Schoen will not retain one of Gettlemen’s top front office lieutenants. Co-director of player personnel Mark Koncz is not coming back, per the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy (on Twitter). Koncz followed Gettleman to New York in 2017, doing so after spending nearly 25 years with the Panthers. Koncz worked with Carolina before the franchise’s 1995 debut and stayed on through a few GMs, finishing up his tenure as the Panthers’ director of pro scouting from 2000-2017.
  • More new staffers are bound for New York. The expected hire of ex-Ravens outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins indeed took place, with the Giants also hiring ex-Bills assistant John Egorugwu to coach their inside ‘backers. Egorugwu, 35, was on Sean McDermott‘s staff for four years before spending the 2021 season at Vanderbilt. The first name mentioned as a staff candidate once Don Martindale took over as Giants DC, Wilkins, 34, worked with the Ravens for 10 years and spent the past two as their outside linebackers coach.
  • The Giants are also adding to Brian Daboll‘s staff from the college ranks, hiring DeAndre Smith as their new running backs coach. Smith comes from Texas Tech and has never coached in the NFL before, spending more than 20 seasons at the college level. This move comes after the Giants offered the job to ex-Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough, per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman (on Twitter). Notre Dame just hired McCullough, who spent the 2021 season at Indiana after coaching the Chiefs’ running backs for the previous three years, for new HC Marcus Freeman’s staff.

Giants Hire Don Martindale As DC

For the second time today, a new defensive coordinator has been hired in a move that comes as no surprise. As many expected, the Giants have hired Don Martindale to replace Patrick Graham as the team’s DC (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN). 

[Related: Raiders Hire Patrick Graham As DC]

The 58-year-old, affectionately known by many as simply ‘Wink’, was linked to the position not long after Brian Daboll was hired as the new head coach. Once it became official that Graham was leaving to take the same position with the Raiders, Martindale had the inside track to come to New York. This isn’t the first time he was considered for a role on the Giants staff; Martindale interviewed for the HC spot two years ago, before the team ultimately chose Joe Judge.

Martindale had 18 seasons of college experience spread across five different programs before entering the NFL in 2004. He’s primarily worked as a linebackers coach, though he got his first opportunity as a DC in Denver in 2010. His longest stint, in Baltimore, began at the LBs coach position in 2012, but he took over as the team’s DC from 2018-2021. Over the first three of those four campaigns, the Ravens ranked first in the league in yards and points allowed per game, according to Schefter’s colleague Jamison Hensley (Twitter link).

2021 saw Baltimore ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball, which led to a steep statistical drop off for Martindale’s unit. Part of the issue, many feel, was his unwavering reliance on the aggressive, blitz-heavy style he has become known for. Still, his track record has this move being widely applauded.

The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reports (via Twitter) that former Ravens OLB coach Drew Wilkins is one of potentially multiple position coaches expected to follow Martindale to New York. Doing so may be a wise move for them, as the contract Martindale is signing is reportedly a three-year pact, according to SI’s Albert Breer (Twitter link). With his preferred target in place, Daboll will have a highly experienced defensive play-caller to lean on in his inaugural season as a head coach.


Ravens Notes: Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, Coaching Staff Changes

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta held an end-of-season press conference on Friday. In it, he provided updates on a number of key points in the team’s upcoming offseason, including the current status of contract negotiations with quarterback Lamar Jackson

DeCosta made it clear that he is personally handling talks with Jackson, and has been from the beginning of the negotiation process. He added that the two of them have spoken “five or six times over the past year” (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, DeCosta added “I’m proud of the relationship that we have” (Twitter link).

Jackson certainly didn’t have the season he or the Ravens were expecting. In 12 games, he recorded 2,882 passing yards and a near-even (16:13) touchdown-to-interception ratio. While he added another 767 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, he also had six fumbles. Between those numbers, and a season-ending ankle injury, 2021 was a far cry from Jackson’s 2019 MVP campaign. If anything, that could further complicate his contract talks, which were reportedly not proceeding as hoped earlier in the season. DeCosta stated: “We’re working at Lamar’s pace… We will operate based on his urgency” (Twitter link), suggesting the team is willing to let the 25-year-old play on his fifth year option.

Here are some other important notes from the presser, along with some updates to the team’s coaching staff:

  • DeCosta said he expects to pick up the fifth year option on wide receiver Marquise Brown (Twitter link via Hensley). A close friend of Jackson’s, Brown had his most productive season in 2021 (91 catches, 1,008 yards, six touchdowns), though he tailed off considerably late in the campaign.
  • The offensive line will be a priority in the offseason. As Zrebiec tweets, DeCosta stated a desire to strengthen the unit overall, though he is “optimistic” left tackle Ronnie Stanley will be able to return to full health after a second major ankle surgery.
  • Zreibec adds that the team is planning on getting younger along the defensive front. With that said, DeCosta has already been in communication with veteran Calais Campbell, who was thought to be contemplating retirement throughout the year.
  • Hensley tweets that cornerback Marcus Peters is expected to be back. He missed the entire season and his release would create $10MM in cap space, but the former All-Pro would provide a playmaking element to the secondary if healthy.
  • As for the coaching staff, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets that inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan will not return. Hensley adds that outside LBs coach Drew Wilkins has also been let go, to pursue new opportunities alongside former DC Don Martindale.
  • According to Zrebiec, former Raven Zach Orr is a candidate to replace Ryan. After his promising career was abruptly ended due to a rare neck ailment, he’s taken to coaching. He spent 2021 on the Jaguars’ staff.


AFC North Notes: Browns, Steelers, Ravens

Should the Browns‘ newly assembled power structure consult the team’s franchise player about a plan for the No. 1 overall pick, Joe Thomas would not use it on a quarterback. Going into his 11th year, the perennial All-Pro left tackle would rather see his team use the selection to bolster the pass rush.

I think you need to get a pass-rusher,” Thomas said on the Dan Patrick Show today (via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com). “… You gotta be careful reaching for a quarterback at No. 1 because if they fail, they don’t help your team at all. Whereas if you pick a defensive lineman and maybe they don’t live up to the hype, you can still find a place to get him on the field and to have an impact. We need guys that can come in and start and that can contribute.”

Thomas, who has two years left on his Browns deal and will turn 33 during the 2017 season, said in the past the Browns need to identify a franchise quarterback. There isn’t a better spot to do that than the No. 1 pick. But this quarterback class — fronted by Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and Cleveland-area product Mitch Trubisky — has divided scouts. The Browns have been reportedly coveting Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett at No. 1 and considering a Watson pick at No. 12. But obviously, the versatile Clemson talent is no lock to be there when Cleveland’s second first-round window opens, given quarterback prospects’ rises as drafts near.

Here’s more from northeast Ohio and some other regions housing AFC North franchises.

  • Jamie Collinsfour-year, $50MM extension will pay $37.5MM in its first three years before containing no guaranteed money during the 2020 season, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets. Collins will also receive a $5MM signing bonus as part of the deal (per Howe, on Twitter) which includes $26.5MM guaranteed.
  • Negotiations between the Ravens and UFA nose tackle Brandon Williams have not yet begun but are expected to commence before he hits the market, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun notes. Even before Zach Orr‘s retirement, Williams was set to be the top priority, per Preston, for a Ravens team that’s lost numerous talents in free agency in recent years. It’s a big year for free agent defensive tackles, with Dontari Poe and Kawann Short residing as impending UFAs.
  • The Ravens tied up some loose ends on their coaching staff today, per the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zreibec (on Twitter). Chris Hewitt will take over new Bills DC Leslie Frazier‘s position as secondary coach, and Mike MacDonald will assist him, Zreibec tweets. Craig Ver Steeg, a nine-year Ravens offensive assistant, will coach quarterbacks, will slide over from skill-position assistance to helping QBs coach/OC Marty Mornhinweg with the signal-callers, Zreibec notes (on Twitter). Drew Wilkins will serve as the assistant defensive line coach. Each of these staffers’ assignment changes represents an internal promotion.
  • The Steelers could determine another year with Ladarius Green is too risky, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. Green will enter his sixth season after experiencing a disastrous fifth, playing in just six games. However, he averaged 50.7 yards per game and made several big plays when healthy. But concussion issues dogged Green to the point Mike Tomlin said a decision needs to be made about the tight end. “I don’t have an assessment, long-term, of where he is,” Tomlin said. “I think that’s one of the chief medical decisions and questions that we have to have moving forward, in terms of guys getting an assessment of their overall health and what it means for 2017.” A Green cut will cost the Steelers $3.56MM in dead money while saving the team barely $2MM. Green said earlier this week he does not intend to retire.
  • Antonio Brown‘s constant desire for targets has rubbed many teammates the wrong way, but his occasionally selfish ways aren’t viewed as detrimental to the team, Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette writes. Ben Roethlisberger has told the All-Pro wideout to “shut up” multiple times on the field, and since-retired tight end Heath Miller told Brown to “stop complaining about not getting the ball” at a 2015 practice. However, Dulac notes Brown not a problem in the locker room. This could be a key point as Brown’s payday looms.