Kellen Winslow

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, 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, 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.

The Spring League Announces Camp Roster

Since we learned last year that there’d be a spring football league in 2017, several former NFL stars have committed to the endeavor. Today, The Spring League announced (via Twitter) their full training camp roster.

Ahmad BradshawAs was previously reported, defensive end Greg Hardy, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., and running back Ben Tate were among the major names to have committed to the league. Former cornerback Brandon Browner was reportedly involved, but he was curiously omitted from the training camp roster. Former Giants and Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw is seemingly the biggest addition to the roster since the last update.

The Spring League is composed of four teams, with the rosters comprised of veteran free agents. Ultimately, six games will be played between April 5 through April 26. Players who are currently on NFL rosters are not eligible to participate.

The full training camp roster can be found below:


Running backs


  • Adam Cox
  • Jonathan Amosa

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Extra Points: Pats, Browns, Saints, Mixon

There have been conflicting reports over the past couple months on whether the Patriots will consider trading backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. The latest update, via Ian Rapoport of, indicates the Pats “do not want to deal” Garoppolo, even though he could hit free agency next year. No team has shown more interest in Garoppolo this offseason than the Browns, but they’ve seemingly given up hope on acquiring him, per Rapoport, who adds that the Pats regard the 25-year-old as a franchise-caliber passer. New England already has an all-world option under center in Tom Brady, of course, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is set to play his age-40 season in 2017.

One of Garoppolo’s New England teammates, cornerback Malcolm Butler, has also been a prominent part of trade rumors this offseason. While the Patriots’ intention is to keep Butler, according to owner Robert Kraft, Larry Holder of anticipates that they’ll ultimately deal him to the Saints (video via New Orleans has chased Butler, a restricted free agent, and has reportedly had productive long-term contract discussions with him. The Saints aren’t willing to give up the No. 11 overall pick for Butler, but they could dangle the 32nd selection, which they acquired from the Pats in the Brandin Cooks trade.

More from around the sport:

  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon will rack up 15 visits with teams prior to the beginning of the draft on April 27, his agent, Peter Schaffer, told Michael Gehlken of Pro Football Talk. “(This many visits) is clearly not efficient and (consumes) a lot of time,” said Schaffer. “But at the same time, it’s important to have it. It’s a blessing for any player to get considered for the draft. Along with that blessing comes hard work.” Many of the clubs Mixon has met with are willing to forgive him for his checkered past, which jibes with a report that he could go as high as the second round. “Everyone who has brought him in has remarked how remorseful he is about what he did when he was 18 … and that he’s deserving of a second chance,” Schaffer revealed.
  • Former NFLers Greg Hardy, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kellen Winslow, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Ben Tate and Ricky Stanzi have reported to West Virginia to partake in the Spring League, relays Mike Florio of PFT. The league, which isn’t affiliated with the NFL, will play a six-game season from April 15-26. Its participants won’t receive pay – only lodging and meals during the season – writes Florio. Some pro scouts will be on hand, though, giving the players an opportunity to stand out and earn either a first NFL shot or, in the cases of the aforementioned six, a repeat chance(s).
  • The expectation is that the Ravens will eventually release cornerback Kyle Arrington, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Ravens would first like Arrington to pass a physical, notes Zrebiec. Arrington suffered a concussion during the preseason last summer and landed on injured reserve at the end of August. Cutting the 30-year-old would save Baltimore $2.1MM, against just under $667K in dead money.

Kellen Winslow, Ben Tate Join Spring League

The Spring League kicks off in April and it will feature some notable names looking to resurrect their football careers. Defensive end Greg Hardy, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., cornerback Brandon Browner, and running back Ben Tate are among the players who have been confirmed as participants, according to a press release. Greg Hardy (vertical)

Winslow has not played in an NFL game since the 2013 season and we haven’t heard much from him since he worked out for the Packers last August. Tate, a former second-round pick, showed lots of promise in Houston but could not capitalize on a starting opportunity with the Browns in 2014. Hardy and Browner first committed to the league in early March.

The Spring League consists of four teams comprised of veteran free agents. The league will conduct practices and play six games from April 5 through April 26. Players who are currently on NFL rosters will not be eligible to participate.

The league has secured five quarterbacks thus far, including Chiefs 2011 fifth-round pick Ricky Stanzi and NFL practice squad journeyman McLeod Bethel-Thompson. At wide receiver, there’s former Ram Brandon Gibson, Jets 2014 fourth-round pick Jalen Saunders, and one-time Bills WR2 David Nelson. Former Jets defensive back Ellis Lankster and Texans 2013 third-round defensive tackle Sam Montgomery will also be suiting up for The Spring League next month.

The full list of players can be found below. In addition to those listed here, Pro Football Rumors has learned that another 30 players are expected to join prior to the start of training camp.


  • Hutson Mason
  • Ricky Stanzi
  • McLeod Bethel-Thompson
  • Zach Kline
  • Jeremy Cannon

Running backs

Wide receivers

  • Jalen Saunders
  • David Nelson
  • Kenzel Doe
  • Brandon Gibson
  • Daje’ Johnson
  • Gavin Lutman
  • Tyler McDonald
  • J.D. Woods
  • Sed Cunningham
  • Lawrence Smith
  • Terrance Lewis
  • Rashon Ceaser
  • Kendrick Wiggins

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Packers To Work Out Kellen Winslow

Kellen Winslow has not played in an NFL game since the 2013 season but has remained focused on a comeback, albeit doing so mostly under the radar. But the Packers are set to gauge how far along Winslow is on this return journey by hosting him on a workout on Sunday, Ian Rapoport of reports (on Twitter).

This is the tight end’s first audition since he began talk of a comeback, Rapoport notes.

Although it is set for the same day as the Packers’ first preseason game, one set for Canton, Ohio — meaning the workout might not be for a top audience — Winslow receiving such an opportunity at 33 and nearly three full seasons removed from action is noteworthy.

He last contributed as a backup for the Jets in ’13 after a 2012 season with the Patriots that included just one game, but Winslow was one of the league’s better tight ends from 2006-11 with the Browns and Buccaneers. His well-documented injury issues notwithstanding, the former first-round pick in 2004 recorded five 700-plus-yard seasons in that span, including a Pro Bowl effort in Cleveland during the 2007 campaign. How much of this form is left, though, is obviously worth wondering, and Winslow would be competing for a depth spot with Green Bay.

The Packers have Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers as their top two tight ends, with Cook still out due to offseason foot surgery. Green Bay’s roster currently houses five tight ends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Notes: Winslow, Hali, Evans, Fitzpatrick

In January, former first-round pick Kellen Winslow tweeted that he was focused on an NFL comeback. The 32-year-old confirmed this sentiment when he appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio this week.

“My body feels good enough to come back and play at a high level, even better I think because I’m just a little wiser,” Winslow said (via Michael David Smith of “It was good to get away from the game just to work on me. I want to be a better player than I was before. I think I can.”

Winslow has caught 469 passes for 5,236 yards and 25 touchdowns during his ten-year career, but he hasn’t played an NFL game since 2013. Let’s check out some more notes regarding some of the league’s notable free agents…

  • The Chiefs didn’t ink impending free agent Tamba Hali prior to the March 4th deadline, meaning the outside linebacker’s contract was automatically voided. According to Terez A. Paylor of, the Chiefs will be charged $4MM against the cap, even if the 32-year-old ends up returning.
  • Jerrold Colton, the agent for former Saints guard Jahri Evans, told 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia (including Geoff Mosher) that his client “has [a] good chance” to sign a contract prior to the start of free agency.
  • Sam Bradford‘s new deal with the Eagles could have an impact on Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s future contract, writes ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Since the Jets presumably wouldn’t want to commit to the 33-year-old longterm, the writer wonders if the quarterback could secure a similar two-year deal.
  • ESPN’s James Walker mentions three potential destinations for free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon: the Jaguars, Giants, and Cowboys.

Extra Points: Hickey, Jaguars, Winslow, Flacco

Former Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey interviewed to be the Browns Vice President of Player Personnel, reports Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). Miami had parted ways with Hickey earlier this month.

Earlier today, we learned Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta were seeking a personnel executive for their front office, although they weren’t going to label the position “general manager.” Hickey would presumably be up for that role, as the 44-year-old has spent more than two decades in NFL front offices.

Cabot tweets that former Eagles Director of Pro Personnel Rick Mueller is also on the Browns’ radar for the same position, and former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is also reportedly a candidate for the job.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the league…

  • The Jaguars will be promoting Mark Ellenz to their director of college scouting, reports Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union (via Twitter). Ellenz will be replacing Kyle O’Brien, who became the Lions Director of Player Personnel last week.
  • After having caught 469 passes for 5,236 yards and 25 touchdowns, Kellen Winslow II hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2013. However, a recent tweet by the 32-year-old suggests that the tight end is looking to make a comeback. “I’m putting my life’s work into this comeback. #LoveDaGame #NFL,” Winslow tweeted. Furthermore, a representative for the player told that the former first-rounder is attempting a comeback (via Josh Alper of
  • Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is signed through 2018, and his cap number won’t dip below $24MM over the next few seasons. The veteran recognizes how this number could restrict his team’s ability to make moves, and he indicated that he may be willing to rework his contract. “We haven’t talked about it yet,” Flacco said on WBAL (via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun on Twitter). “I know it’s a huge number. I’m open to doing something. I want to be here for a while.”