Jon Gruden

NFC Coaching Notes: Martindale, Macdonald, Gruden, Saints, Canales, Bucs, Bears, Eagles

The Packers went off the board with their defensive coordinator hire, bringing in Boston College HC Jeff Hafley. Matt LaFleur has looked to the college ranks during each of his DC searches, wanting to hire then-Wisconsin staffer Jim Leonhard in 2021. Hafley’s hire comes after the Packers squeezed in another interview with a seasoned NFL coordinator. Don Martindale met with the Pack about the gig, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets.

Martindale resigned his two-year post as Giants DC after a turbulent second season with Brian Daboll; he has since interviewed with the Jaguars for a job that went to Ryan Nielsen. Martindale has been accused of going rogue at points in New York, with the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz adding another footnote here. Ahead of the Giants’ Christmas game against the Eagles, Martindale is believed to have requested the equipment staff change linebacker Tomon Fox‘s number from 49 to 94 due to the DC’s plans of having him bumped up from the practice squad. That change was made without Daboll or GM Joe Schoen‘s approval.

As the Giants’ DC search continues, here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • The SaintsJon Gruden connection persists. Although Gruden is not on the radar — at least, as far as we know — for the Saints’ OC job, a GM informed the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora the former Raiders and Buccaneers HC should be expected to have a bigger role with New Orleans in 2024. Gruden worked as a consultant last summer and met with Saints officials recently. The GM suggested the possibility Gruden could eventually replace Dennis Allen, which would be quite the development considering the circumstances surrounding Gruden’s Las Vegas exit. For now, Gruden, who is still suing the NFL, remains without an NFL job.
  • Unsurprisingly, Mike Macdonald confirmed he will start his Seahawks tenure as the team’s defensive play-caller. Though, the new Seattle HC said (via SI.com’s Albert Breer) he is open to that changing at some point. Michigan’s 2021 DC, Macdonald called plays for the Ravens over the past two years and became one of this year’s most popular HC candidates as a result. Although Pete Carroll carried a defensive background, he did not serve as the Seahawks’ defensive play-caller.
  • The Buccaneers have lost much of their offensive staff to Carolina, seeing one-and-done OC Dave Canales take three staffers (receivers coach Brad Idzik, run-game coordinator Harold Goodwin, O-line coach Joe Gilbert). Tom Moore, however, will be staying in Tampa, per Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager. Moore, 85, has been with the Bucs since Bruce Arians‘ 2019 arrival. The former Colts OC, who is now 85, has served as a consultant for the NFC South team. This will be Moore’s 47th NFL season.
  • Baker Mayfield finished last in QBR in 2022, seeing his Panthers stay responsible for that dismal result. Canales helping the inconsistent QB recover from what happened in Carolina represents a key reason for his HC hire, ESPN.com’s David Newton notes. A Canales selling point hinged on the Bucs’ downfield passing, with Newton adding Tampa Bay went from 24th in that area (6.9 air yards per attempt) in Tom Brady‘s final season to third in 2023 (8.4).
  • The Eagles have permitted quarterbacks coach Alex Tanney to explore opportunities elsewhere, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. During the period between Brian Johnson‘s exit and the Kellen Moore OC hire, Tanney asked the team for the opportunity. The Eagles are moving on, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. Tanney received interest from the Colts last year, and McLane points to Indianapolis under ex-Eagles OC Shane Steichen as a potential landing spot.
  • The Bears have hired three more assistants. Chad Morton is signing on as running backs coach, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser, while ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin adds Chris Beatty is coming in as wide receivers coach. Most recently with the Chargers, Beatty coached D.J. Moore at Maryland. A former NFL return man, Morton is following OC Shane Waldron from Seattle. Morton was the Seahawks’ RBs coach from 2017-23. Chicago also hired Jason Houghtaling as assistant O-line coach, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero adds; Houghtaling was Tennessee’s O-line coach in 2023.

Mutual Interest Between Saints, Jon Gruden

The Saints are not expected to fire Dennis Allen, but another former Raiders head coach may be in the team’s plans. After spending time as a Saints consultant last year, Jon Gruden is on the radar for a full-time role.

If Gruden does not end up landing a head coaching job during this year’s cycle, NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan reports the former Raiders and Buccaneers HC is interested in joining the Saints as an assistant. The Saints share that interest and recently met with the free agent coach.

Gruden, whose lawsuit against the NFL is ongoing, met with Saints officials and attended a team meeting before the team’s Week 17 game in Tampa, Duncan notes. Gruden, who lives in Tampa, had dinner with Saints brass, including GM Mickey Loomis, that weekend. Gruden, 60, attended Saints minicamp in a consulting role and spent time at training camp as an unpaid observer.

In Jon, we have a resource here that is football through and through,” Allen said in May. “And he’s had an opportunity to work with Derek Carr. “So what better [way to use that] resource than to just get some thoughts and ideas on how he worked with Derek and what he thought worked well with Derek?

A Gruden-Saints partnership would be a major development, considering he sued the NFL — over the events that led to problematic emails leaking and the Raiders subsequently forcing him to resign — more than two years ago. That lawsuit has not exactly made Gruden a popular figure with Roger Goodell and league higher-ups, but Brian Flores has remained an active coach despite filing a discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and multiple teams. A hearing in Gruden’s case is on tap Wednesday in the Nevada Supreme Court. He does not intend to settle the suit.

Should the Saints bring Gruden aboard, Duncan adds it would unlikely be as a replacement for offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael. The Saints’ play-caller and NFL’s longest-tenured OC (at 15 years) is not a lock to return, but Gruden would be expected to join the staff in a senior assistant-type role. Allen returned to New Orleans in that fashion in 2015, though the ex-Raiders HC replaced DC Rob Ryan in 2016.

A rumor last month connected Gruden to what would be a stunning return to the Raiders, with such a reunion representing a potential path for his lawsuit to go away. The Raiders have not been connected to their two-time HC since and have begun sending out interview requests. Unsurprisingly, Gruden has not received any known requests from teams. It still appears another HC opportunity will be unlikely for the former Super Bowl-winning leader. Given Gruden’s age, his teams’ performance since the Bucs’ Super Bowl XXXVII victory and the nature of his latest Raiders departure, an assistant-level role represents a much more logical gateway back to the NFL.

Derek Carr made strides in Gruden’s offense, and the Saints had initially spoken to their quarterback’s four-year Oakland-Las Vegas HC about concepts that work best for the passer. Carr finished in the top 11 in QBR from 2019-20. Carr finished 14th under Josh McDaniels, who deemed him a poor fit (before being shown the door months later), and placed 17th in the metric during an injury-plagued Saints debut. Gruden has not worked as an assistant since his time as the Eagles’ OC in the mid-1990s.

Raiders Notes: Gruden, Brady, O’Connell

The Raiders are one of two teams (the Panthers being the other) which are guaranteed to be involved in a full-scale coaching search this offseason. With Josh McDaniels having been let go midway through his second season at the helm, a number of candidates will no doubt receive consideration in the coming weeks.

One of those could be a familiar face. Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Jon Gruden could be brought back in a move which would have signficant legal ramifications. Gruden resigned in the wake of leaded emails emerging in 2021, prompting him to file a lawsuit against the NFL. That action is aimed at uncovering the identity of the person responsible for the leaks, and Gruden intends to continue with the suit.

As Bonsignore notes, however, the NFL may be on board with “avoid[ing] a potential public-relations nightmare by simply letting Gruden be re-hired” by the Raiders. The 60-year-old was in the midst of Year 4 of his second tenure with the organization when he resigned. He has not been on the coaching radar since, fueling the argument made in his lawsuit. Dropping the suit in exchange for being brought back would mark an unexpected end to this situation, though Bonsignore adds it is unknown if owner Mark Davis would be interested in such a move.

Here are some other notes out of Sin City:

  • Tom Brady‘s bid to become a minority Raiders owner has still not been approved. The agreement which would see the seven-time Super Bowl winner take on a stake in the franchise (which could also include having a say in the hiring process for the replacements of McDaniels and ex-GM Dave Ziegler) was not discussed during yesterday’s owners meeting, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post. However, there remains optimism that ratification will be attained in the future as Brady prepares for a transition to the broadcast booth.
  • The Raiders lost to the Vikings in Week 14 despite only allowing three points. The team’s lackluster offensive showing led to questions about Vegas’ quarterback situation, but no changes under center are expected. Rookie Aidan O’Connell is expected to get the start in tonight’s game against the Chargers, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Veterans Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer are on the roster, but both face very uncertain futures compared to O’Connell. The latter has been in place as the starter since McDaniels was let go, so it comes as little surprise Vegas will elect to keep him atop the depth chart.
  • While O’Connell will likely be in place for tonight’s battle of the backups, the Raiders may not have their top rushing option available. Josh Jacobs has not practiced during this short week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports his status is very much in doubt (video link). If last year’s rushing champion is at risk of worsening the quad injury he suffered on Sunday, he will not suit up, Rapoport adds. Jacobs was one of three franchise tag recipients at the RB position this offseason, and no long-term deal was worked out. He has remained a key member of the team’s offense in 2023, logging double-digit carries all but once in 13 games. Jacobs has seen his yards per carry mark drop compared to last season (from 4.9 to 3.5) but he leads the team in rushing by 742 yards, meaning his absence would deal a major blow to the Raiders’ attempt at an offensive rebound.

Dan Snyder Indemnification Issue Poses Threat To Commanders Sale

Last week, all parties appeared to be in the clear regarding the sale of the Commanders being approved without issue. That may still ultimately be the case, but a new development could threaten the sale being ratified as scheduled.

Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post report that issues related to negotiations between outgoing owner Dan Snyder‘s legal representation and the NFL could “complicate the approval and closing” of the sale. Specifically, the matter of indemnification represents a possible roadblock late in the sales process, though it is unknown at this point whether it will be sufficient to delay the owners’ ratification vote.

The issues are believed to be at least partially related to Snyder’s alleged involvement in the events which led to Jon Gruden‘s resignation and subsequent lawsuit. A report from yesterday on the matter provided further details on the Raiders’ handling of their then-head coach, and the accusation that Snyder leaked the emails which resulted in Gruden’s departure during an investigation into the Commanders. Gruden has vowed to continue his ongoing lawsuit against the NFL, so it would come as little surprise if Snyder were to use the coming days to acquire further legal protection related to the suit.

Snyder is not thought to be seeking indemnification for himself or the Commanders regarding the ongoing investigation into himself and the franchise. However, his willingness to provide legal protection to the league’s other owners and, perhaps most importantly, commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL attorney Jeff Pash with respect to the ongoing Gruden situation is in question. The Post reports that Snyder is not prepared to sign an affidavit stating he did not leak the emails which cost Gruden his job, something he previously was willing to do. The team’s position denies that, noting that he has already testified he is not responsible for the leaks.

Another factor which could complicate matters is Snyder’s sister Michele, a part-owner of the Commanders. She is reportedly unwilling to indemnify the league and other owners as they pertain to the Gruden case, something which is likely to be one of the terms of the franchise’s sale agreement. All Commanders owners must fully agree to all provisions of the agreement, which is set to see Josh Harris purchase the team for $6.05 billion.

One of the Post’s sources describes this latest development as “signficant,” though some time does still remain to resolve the complications before the ratification vote, which is scheduled for July 20. It will be worth watching if this emerges as a last-minute hurdle to be cleared, or a wider issue threatening what has long been expected to be a unanimous approval of the sale.

Jon Gruden Does Not Intend To Settle Suit; Latest On Dan Snyder’s Role In Scandal

Jon Gruden has resurfaced on the NFL radar, seeing the Saints bring him in as a consultant earlier this offseason. Gruden spent time working with Derek Carr, with the Saints wanting to install some of Gruden’s concepts in their Carr-led offense. Carson Wentz is also receiving Gruden pointers while training as a free agent this offseason.

But the veteran NFL coach is unlikely to land another top job in the league given the way his most recent HC stint ended. More details surrounding Gruden’s Raiders exit have come to light, via ESPN.com’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham, who report the team was initially aiming to retain the embattled coach before the second batch of problematic emails dropped on October 11, 2021.

Communication between Gruden, an ESPN employee when he wrote these seminal emails, and then-Washington president Bruce Allen included crude remarks about Roger Goodell, gay NFL players, female referees and Washington cheerleaders. The first email — made public Oct. 8, 2021 as a result of the NFL’s Dan Snyder investigation — included Gruden using a racist trope to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. In between that email becoming public and the wave of New York Times-uncovered emails three days later, Mark Davis planned to stick with Gruden. Before the second wave of emails emerged, Davis discussed Gruden’s status with current and former Raiders, per Wickersham and Van Natta, who report some wanted the embattled HC gone while others did not.

In between the Wall Street Journal report and the New York Times follow-up that ended up sealing Gruden’s fate, Davis and then-Raiders president Dan Ventrelle spoke with Roger Goodell and lead NFL counsel Jeff Pash. The two NFL bigwigs applied pressure on Davis to act, according to ESPN, with Goodell indicating more emails were coming. While Gruden coached the Raiders’ Week 5 game — a loss to the Bears — he submitted a forced resignation the next day. A month later, Gruden sued Goodell and the NFL.

Thus far on Gruden’s legal journey, he has enjoyed success. Gruden does not intend to settle this suit, according to ESPN, for any amount and aims to “burn the house down” to expose the league for an alleged conspiracy to remove him as Raiders HC. After Davis was nudged to remove Gruden as HC, the Raiders owner blasted the league and Snyder in a conversation with the recently dismissed coach.

The Gruden matter coming out of the NFL’s Snyder investigation helped induce the House Oversight Committee to launch its investigation into the Washington owner. The Congressional probe included Lisa Friel, the NFL’s special counsel for investigations, indicating the leak came from the Commanders and not the league. Denials from every accused party — except for Smith, whom ESPN asserts bragged about leaking the email that included Gruden’s racist trope to describe him — have followed. Gruden has long believed Goodell was responsible for the leak.

Snyder is accused here of leaking the emails to curry favor with the commissioner and to deflect from his scandals. The longtime Washington owner, however, is believed to have attended each of his team’s games during his suspension. Snyder’s July 2021 de facto ban was supposed to last “several months,” but he believed the punishment was to last only a month. With Snyder already receiving what most perceived as a light penalty (the $10MM fine, the short ban and the Beth Wilkinson investigation not producing a report), some owners believe he would not have been effectively forced to sell his franchise had he complied with the terms of the 2021 suspension.

Months later, an ESPN report that contended Snyder had gathered dirt on Goodell and a number of owners accelerated the push for a sale. Snyder and Philadelphia 76ers/New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris have agreed on a sale, and a ratification vote is scheduled for July 20. Snyder, who remains the subject of a second NFL investigation, has owned the NFC East franchise since 1999.

Latest On Jon Gruden’s Saints Meeting

Embroiled in litigation against the NFL and Roger Goodell stemming from his October 2021 forced resignation, Jon Gruden has hovered well off the league’s coaching radar since his Raiders departure. The Super Bowl-winning HC’s recent Saints visit brought him back onto the grid.

The Saints met with Gruden over a four-day period last week, seeking his input regarding Derek Carr‘s strengths and weaknesses. Gruden coached Carr for three-plus seasons, and while that tenure ended badly, the two-time Raiders HC helped the passer rebound from a down mid-career stretch.

In Jon, we have a resource here that is football through and through,” Saints HC Dennis Allen said, via SI.com’s Albert Breer. “And he’s had an opportunity to work with Derek Carr. “So what better [way to use that] resource than to just get some thoughts and ideas on how he worked with Derek and what he thought worked well with Derek?

Gruden visited Saints OTA sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, per Breer, doing so after having dinner with GM Mickey Loomis on Tuesday night in New Orleans. While Gruden supplied the Saints’ staff with a number of ideas on how best to use Carr, Breer adds Allen made a point to inform 15th-year Saints OC Pete Carmichael the team would not be running the Gruden offense. Even as it will still be Carmichael calling plays for a second straight season, some of Gruden’s concepts will be added to the mix via various tweaks.

Gruden spent a season working with Sean Payton in Philadelphia; the Eagles employed Payton as QBs coach under then-OC Gruden in 1997. Although considerable time has passed since that point, that link added an element of familiarity for Gruden regarding the offense Carmichael is running in New Orleans.

Payton ran the show on offense for the Saints throughout his 15-year run on the sidelines, though Carmichael served as their play-caller during the now-Broncos HC’s 2012 Bountygate suspension. Carmichael received another chance to call plays last season, after Payton stepped down from his post. The Saints improved from 28th to 19th in total offense from 2021-22 but scored fewer points compared to Payton’s final year, falling from 19th to 22nd in that area. The team then handed Carr a four-year, $150MM contract (featuring a $100MM practical guarantee) to stop the post-Drew Brees QB carousel.

After Carr’s third-place MVP finish in 2016, his QBR dropped to 20th (2017) and then 27th (2018). The ’18 result came in Gruden’s first year, a season in which the Raiders traded Amari Cooper. Despite the Raiders’ Antonio Brown trade failing to produce any regular-season snaps in 2019, Carr began his bounce-back effort in Gruden’s offense. He ranked 10th in QBR in 2019, 11th in 2020 and 14th during the 2021 season that ended with OC Greg Olson calling the shots. Carr did not prove a fit in Josh McDaniels‘ offense, and the Raiders released him after nine seasons.

Gruden’s lawsuit against the league is ongoing, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds the Saints did not receive negative feedback for their meeting. The Saints had even planned to bring in Gruden earlier, per Breer, but schedules did not align. Gruden, 59, has expressed a desire to coach again. A fourth HC opportunity seems highly unlikely, but the Saints appear serious about using some of Gruden’s concepts this season.

NFL Staff Notes: McDonough, NFLPA, Chiefs, Packers, Gruden, Philbin

It’s been nearly two months since former Cardinals executive Terry McDonough first filed an arbitration claim against team owner Michael Bidwill accusing Bidwill of cheating and gross misconduct. The claim specifically levied accusations of breach of contract, retaliation after engaging in protected activity, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and civil conspiracy. The Cardinals’ public relations consultant, Jim McCarthy, released a statement in return containing several personal attacks on McDonough.

The original complaint stemmed from a situation in which McDonough claims Bidwill had devised a plan for McDonough and then-head coach Steve Wilks to communicate with then-suspended general manager Steve Keim through burner phones. McDonough asserts that after voicing his concerns about the plan, he was written up for insubordination and, eventually, demoted.

McDonough has reportedly added more accusations in an amended arbitration complaint this week, accusing Bidwill and the Cardinals of defamation and invasion of privacy in response to McCarthy’s statement, according to ESPN’s Tisha Thompson. He called the statement “untrue and reprehensible,” and his wife, Lynette, called the statement “the most bizarre and dishonest thing that I have ever heard.” The new complaint also states that McDonough will prepare to pursue a civil complaint against McCarthy and his group, CounterPoint Strategies, for “grossly defamatory statements.”

The NFL recently selected Jeffrey Mishkin to arbitrate the employment dispute, according to another report from Thompson. Mishkin is the former chief legal officer for the NBA, leading the Association’s in-house legal department for seven years. He will determine the schedule of events, which are expected to last for several months.

Here are a few other rumors concerning staff positions in the NFL:

  • Earlier this month, Mike Florio of NBC Sports reported that the league’s Players Association was moving closer to selecting a new executive director. The final candidates are not yet known, but we’re not completely in the dark. Previously this year, The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan identified candidates Matt Schaub, the former quarterback, Kellen Winslow Sr., the former tight end, Teri Patterson Smith, the NFLPA chief operating officer, Don Davis, the NFLPA senior director of player affairs, George Atallah, the NFLPA assistant director of external affairs, and Dominique Foxworth, the former NFLPA president. A couple weeks ago, Jim Trotter, also of The Athletic, reported that no internal candidates made the cut, eliminating Smith, Davis, and Atallah. Foxworth is also expected to no longer be in consideration. Former wide receiver and former member of Congress Anthony Gonzalez has been mentioned but not confirmed as a candidate. The NFLPA is proceeding with the process with the utmost confidentiality and plan to bring it to a close sooner rather than later.
  • After previously participating in the Chiefs‘ Norma Hunt Training Camp Fellowship Program last year, Madison Aponte was hired on as a player personnel assistant. According to Neil Stratton of SucceedinFootball.com, while Aponte’s title hasn’t changed, she will continue acting as the team’s college scouting coordinator, a role she’s held since the start of the 2022 season.
  • Stratton reports another addition, this time by the Packers. According to Stratton, Green Bay has hired Joey Laine in the role of salary cap analyst. Laine was a longtime presence in the Saints’ building after working with the team for more than ten years. He eventually left, following Ryan Pace to Chicago and working as the Bears’ director of football administration for eight seasons.
  • Finally, two former NFL head coaches have taken minor roles with new teams this season. According to Jeff Duncan of nola.com, the Saints have brought in former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to assist in the integration of new quarterback Derek Carr in the Saints’ offense. Carr played his best statistical seasons under Gruden during their time together and Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael welcomed Gruden’s assistance with open arms. The second former head coach is former Dolphins’ skipper Joe Philbin who, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN, has been hired as an offensive analyst at Ohio State.

Mark Davis Drove Raiders’ Derek Carr Call?

The Raiders’ Derek Carr decision has become this week’s top NFL storyline, and it sets up an interesting trade market for a player who has been loosely involved in trade rumors for years. It may not have been Josh McDaniels‘ decision to move in this direction. At least, not right now.

McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler met Monday and Tuesday nights discussing their quarterback plan, and while a benching was mentioned as a possibility, Vic Tafur of The Athletic views it as likely McDaniels and Ziegler were planning to keep Carr as the team’s starter to close out the season. Mark Davis looks to have played a role in the decision that led to Jarrett Stidham being announced the starter and Carr leaving the team for the time being, Tafur adds (subscription required).

[RELATED: Where Will Carr Play Next Season?]

Carr has played for four six Raiders HCs, counting interims Tony Sparano and Rich Bisaccia, over his nine-year career. The GM that drafted Carr, Reggie McKenzie, extended him at $25MM per year during the 2017 offseason. While the Jon Gruden period brought steady trade rumors, the Raiders hung onto their starter. Carr became the longest-tenured starting QB in Raiders history and now owns the team’s all-time passing records — by a substantial margin.

McDaniels and Ziegler extended him this year, albeit with the much-discussed February escape hatch, but interviews with the ex-Patriots duo and other GMs this offseason curiously did not feature the Raider interviewers discussing Carr in a positive light. Coaching and GM candidates were surprised to hear Raiders officials’ Carr assessments during the job interviews, according to Tafur, who adds Davis has been lukewarm on the starter for a long time. Davis and former Raiders VP of player personnel Ken Herock led the coach-GM search this year, and the owner ended up letting McDaniels and Ziegler make the call on Carr.

The new Raiders power brokers settled on the half-measure extension — a three-year, $121.4MM deal that includes the out three days after Super Bowl LVII — and it looks like the parties will aim to capitalize on the narrow trade window. They will explore doing so despite Davante Adams seeking a trade to Las Vegas to reunite with Carr. If Carr goes, it will be interesting to see how Adams’ Vegas future unfolds.

The Raiders taking the opportunity to make the $40.4MM bonus — Carr’s full 2023 base salary and $7.5MM of his 2024 base pay — another team’s responsibility would cost them barely $5MM in dead money. That is quite the low sum associated with dealing a quality starter less than a year after the extension ink dried, but Carr agreed to the terms and landed a no-trade clause. That will protect the three-time Pro Bowler, who should have options once trade talks commence.

Davis was in place as the team’s owner when McKenzie drafted Carr 36th overall in 2014, and after several post-Rich Gannon misfires by the organization, Carr offered stability — albeit without giving his team a top-tier option under center — and durability. He has only missed two career regular-season games, but it looks like the owner is ready to move on. Carr’s inability to lead a game-tying drive against the Bengals in the wild-card round last season gnawed at Davis, per Tafur, despite the quarterback piloting four straight wins to help Bisaccia become the rare interim coach to lead his team to the playoffs. Bisaccia received consideration for the full-time gig, but Davis passed, leading the longtime special teams coach to Green Bay.

Carr remains a Raider partially because Gruden backed out of the Tom Brady pursuit two years ago, leading to some colorful Brady language re: Carr. Gruden viewed Brady as too old at that point, Tafur adds. Brady was preparing for his age-43 season at that point, and although the Raiders joined other teams in being connected to the legendary signal-caller, he ended up deciding between the Buccaneers and the Chargers. It is not certain the Raiders would have beaten out the Bucs for Brady’s services, but with McDaniels now running the show, look for Brady — ahead of an age-46 season he is not a lock to pursue — to be connected to the Raiders again.

House Oversight Committee Concludes Investigation Into Dan Snyder, Commanders

The House Oversight Committee’s 14-month investigation into Dan Snyder and his franchise has led to multiple other ongoing probes, which have produced the loudest noise about a potential Commanders sale. The Oversight Committee’s investigation is now complete, with a final report surfacing Thursday.

The report accuses Snyder of permitting and participating in a longtime toxic workplace culture and obstructing the Committee’s investigation. In addition to dodging a Committee subpoena this summer, the Commanders owner is accused of making an effort to intimidate and dissuade witnesses from testifying. Snyder, 57, also offered hush money to several former Washington employees during Beth Wilkinson’s NFL investigation last year, according to the Committee.

Thursday’s report also links Snyder and the Commanders to playing the lead role in the fall 2021 email leak that led to Jon Gruden‘s Raiders resignation. Former Washington team president Bruce Allen said Lisa Friel, the league’s special counsel for investigations, indicated the email leak came from Snyder’s franchise and not the NFL, according to the report. Dan Snyder’s wife, Tanya, who had taken over the franchise’s day-to-day operations after Wilkinson’s investigation last summer, said at the October 2021 owners’ meetings neither she nor her husband was behind the leaked emails, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala, Mark Maske and Liz Clarke. Gruden has since sued the NFL, which had previously denied being behind the leak. Thursday’s report marked a key development on that front, among others.

Allen also informed the Committee that Snyder had spoken about hiring private investigators to gather intel on Roger Goodell. Reports of Snyder obtaining damaging information on Goodell and other owners started a firestorm at this latest set of owners’ meetings, which featured Jim Irsay championing an unprecedented ouster of an NFL owner and saying 24 votes to remove Snyder might be there. Shortly after Irsay’s comments, the longtime Washington owner denied hiring firms to gather dirt on other owners.

The Committee accused the NFL of assisting Snyder’s franchise in covering up Wilkinson’s report. The league is believed to have initially called for a written report to be released but later reversed course. Last year’s NFL investigation brought a $10MM Snyder fine and a de facto suspension, but Snyder is believed to no longer be under any restrictions regarding his role with the Commanders. No summary of Wilkinson’s findings led to the Oversight Committee probe and another NFL investigation. Mary Jo White’s inquiry is set to come with a report of the findings.

We saw efforts that we have never seen before, at least I haven’t,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, the Committee chairwoman (via ESPN.com’s Tisha Thompson). “The NFL knew about it and they took no responsibility. [The NFL was] acting like they were doing something. Then they turn around and fix it so [Wilkinson] can’t talk.”

Accusing Snyder of instilling a “culture of fear,” the Committee concluded sexual harassment, bullying, “and other toxic conduct pervaded the Commanders workplace.” Included are a number of former employees’ accounts, with the Committee indicating this run of inappropriate conduct occurred for “more than two decades.” More than 100 former team employees spoke about various aspects of this culture to the Committee. Snyder has owned the team since 1999.

The previously reported shadow investigations Snyder was accused of conducting of former employees during the Wilkinson inquiry surface again here. Snyder sent private investigators to homes of former employees, including Allen. The report also includes accounts from former cheerleaders and a video staffer, the latter saying Washington execs commissioned him to produce a video for the owner featuring “sexually suggestive footage of [the team’s] cheerleaders.”

A statement from Commanders counsel John Brownlee and Stuart Nash (via Jhabvala, on Twitter) accuses the Committee of taking a “one-sided approach” and produced a conclusion that “does not advance public knowledge of the Washington Commanders workplace in any way.” The NFL’s latest investigation into Snyder and the Commanders, centered around workplace toxicity and financial improprieties, is ongoing. As are the other investigations the Oversight Committee’s probe launched. A number of prospective bidders for the Commanders have surfaced over the past several weeks.

Raiders’ Josh McDaniels Not On Hot Seat

Following their decision to reboot after a playoff berth, the Raiders are 2-6. While the other first-year AFC West coach has drawn rampant scrutiny and generated one-and-done rumors, Josh McDaniels is not believed to be in the boat in which Nathaniel Hackett resides.

McDaniels is not viewed as a hot-seat occupant, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (Twitter link) and Jonathan Jones. Famously fired during his second season in Denver 12 years ago, McDaniels has become somewhat of a polarizing presence — largely due to his decision to spurn the Colts in 2018 — since initially leaving the Patriots for the Broncos. His first Raiders stretch has not generated much success. McDaniels, 46, is now 13-23 as a head coach.

Jon Gruden‘s forced resignation led to interim HC Rich Bisaccia helming a resurgent 2021 Raiders team to the playoffs. While Mark Davis interviewed Bisaccia for the full-time job, they became the latest team to give the keys to ex-Bill Belichick lieutenants. McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler authorized several extensions this offseason. Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller each reupped with the team, which traded first- and second-round picks for Davante Adams, who received a then-record-setting extension. This Raiders edition entered the season as a top-heavy operation; this situation was viewed as a multiyear retooling project. But the early returns have generated speculation regarding McDaniels’ future.

Despite the Raiders blowing three 17-plus-point leads this season, a source informed Jones the Raiders are a better-managed coaching staff compared to the Gruden period. That said, the team has taken steps back defensively under McDaniels hire Patrick Graham, who was on the HC radar, and has been inconsistent offensively. The Raiders rank 28th in both total defense and points allowed; the franchise has not ranked in the top half in points allowed since 2002. Las Vegas’ defense did rank 14th in total defense and 17th in DVOA last season.

Only 13 coaches have been one-and-dones this century. Hackett walked into a situation with slightly higher expectations, due to the Russell Wilson trade. The 3-5 Broncos’ struggles, with the first-time HC at the center of them, have led to those one-and-done rumors. McDaniels is on a four-year contract, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). Cutting off his stay at one season would be a chunk of guaranteed money for Davis, not one of the league’s richer owners, to eat.

Las Vegas was connected to making buyer’s trades before last week’s deadline, but they have lost two games since that report emerged. The second part of McDaniels’ first season will move to evaluation, with the longtime Patriots OC’s offense on the complicated side. Judging how players progress in that scheme will be paramount to the Raiders’ future, if Davis is keen on giving the coach another chance. Most owners take this route. It should be expected McDaniels will be given the 2023 season to establish himself in Vegas, but the heat will be turned up — especially if his first season stays on this course.