Matt Schaub

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.

Matt Schaub On NFLPA Executive Director Aspirations

With NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith set to transition away from his position as early as March 2023, the union’s search for his replacement is underway. The most prominent name to emerge as his potential successor is Matt Schaub

The longtime Falcons and Texans quarterback is in his second year of retirement, and has been public about his intention of leading the player’s union. He expounded on his candidacy and top priorities in the event he lands the job in an interview with Pro Football Network.

“After playing for 17 years and being a part of the union for 19 years and seeing the impact the union has on players’ lives, both while in the game and once they retire, the physical toll, the mental toll, the emotional toll and how the financial side of the game impacts everyone from the top of the rosters to the bottom,” he said, “it has opened my eyes to want to advocate and help and lead the union to a place that all players need to be in, especially physically as they move beyond the game.”

To no surprise given those remarks, the 41-year-old doubled down on long-term health care as his chief concern, naming lifelong coverage as a target. He also referenced the compensation levels for end-of-the-roster players, along with the split of league revenues between the league and players (central issues in the last round of CBA negotiations) as focal points in upcoming agreements.

In addition to Schaub, other contenders for the position could include NFLPA president J.C. Tretter and senior director of player affairs Don Davis. They, too, have a background as NFL players, something which Smith does not. In Tretter’s case, his status in the union was widely seen as a key factor in his release from the Browns this offseason, and the lack of free agent interest which led to his retirement. Davis, meanwhile, spent more than a decade in the league and has played a leading role in a number of union events under his current title.

NFLPA Beginning Search For DeMaurice Smith Successor

The NFLPA has had stability at the top for over a decade, but it will have a new leader in the relatively near future. Executive director DeMaurice Smith is currently in his final term, and the union is beginning the search process for his successor. 

Smith, 58, was re-elected last October. The vote which extended his stay came in the wake of the latest CBA negotiations, which saw a notable split amongst the players. Smith received the minimum 22 votes required to retain his position, but his final term is expected to be brief.

The NFLPA’s executive director since 2009, Smith will be replaced by no later than 2025, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. He adds, however, that Smith’s transition to a consulting role will more likely take place along a quicker timeline than that. The union’s search for his successor has just begun, with a vote being possible to take place as early as March 2023.

To date, only one candidate has emerged: former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Schaub. The 41-year-old’s playing career ended after the 2020 season, the final year of his second stint with the Falcons. Schaub – who also spent seven seasons as the Texans’ starter – has been a vocal critic of the two most recent CBAs, and their impact on players.

“It is unprecedented what we’ve done the last two CBAs, with the tenure of the deals, which is almost triple the average career length of most players,” he said recently, via Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic (subscription required). “These past two, it’s been too long based on what has shifted hands and shifted across the table.”

The most recent CBA was marked by a widespread increase in player compensation, particularly at the low end of the pay grade, in exchange for the regular season being expended to 17 games. New TV deals in particular have, on the other hand, led to major spikes in franchise values, as demonstrated most recently by the record-shattering sale of the Broncos this summer.

To find a successor, NFLPA president J.C. Tretter, along with the 10 other members of the union’s executive committee and three most senior player representatives will compile a list of two to four candidates. A general vote amongst all player reps will determine Smith’s replacement. With the current CBA set to run through March 2031, though, there does not need to be much urgency in the search process.

Falcons QB Matt Schaub To Retire

Assuming the Falcons bring back Matt Ryan next year, they’ll need to find a new clipboard holder for him. Veteran quarterback Matt Schaub is retiring following the 2020 season, Atlanta owner Arthur Blank revealed during his end of season media availability Monday.

It’s a relatively quiet end to a very interesting rollercoaster of a career. A Virginia product, Schaub began his career as a third-round pick of the Falcons all the way back in 2004. Taken in the same class as Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers, he only started two games during his three seasons in Atlanta due to the presence of Michael Vick. He showed flashes in limited action though, and it was enough for the Texans to trade two second-round picks for him before the 2007 season.

He went on to spend the next six and a half seasons as Houston’s quarterback, and had some real success there. He made the Pro Bowl twice in 2009 and 2012, and led the NFL in passing in 2009 with 4,770 yards. He suffered a handful of injuries with the Texans and his play fell off a cliff in the 2013 season, after which he was traded to the Raiders. He lost that starting job to a rookie Derek Carr.

Despite an accomplished run with the Texans, he would start just three games the rest of his career after leaving Houston. Two of those came with the Ravens in 2015 in place of an injured Joe Flacco. In 2016 he reunited with the Falcons, and spent the past five years backing up Ryan.

The last start of his career came last season in spot duty, when he threw for 460 yards in a loss to the Seahawks. He didn’t attempt a pass this season, and will now hang up his cleats at the age of 39. The only other quarterback on Atlanta’s roster is 2018 UDFA Kurt Benkert, and they’ll likely add one in the draft at the very least. All of us here at PFR wish Schaub nothing but the best in retirement.

Falcons To Pick Up Matt Schaub’s Option

The Falcons are expected to exercise Matt Schaub’s $2MM option for 2020, a source tells’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). This doesn’t completely guarantee his place on the roster in September, but it’s an indication that they intend to keep the veteran as Matt Ryan‘s backup.

[RELATED: Falcons Move On From Vic Beasley]

Schaub, 39 in June, was thrust into action last year when Ryan suffered his ankle injury. In his first start since the 2015 season, Schaub completed 75% of his passes and threw for 460 yards. Still, the Falcons fell short, losing 27-20 to the Seahawks.

Schaub came back to where it all started in 2016 and signed a two year, $3.78MM extension to stay with the Falcons in 2019. He spent seven years as the Texans starter and collected two Pro Bowl nominations in some of his healthier seasons. Since 2014, he’s served as a backup for the Raiders, Ravens, and Falcons.

The veteran is now slated to come back for another year with a reasonable cap hit of $2.375MM. Meanwhile, the offseason could see the departure of mainstays like running back Devonta Freeman. Unfortunately for them, they’re tight against the cap as they look to overhaul their defense. A new deal for tight end Austin Hooper is on the to-do list, but it might not be feasible to give him a multi-year deal at the top of the market.

Matt Ryan To Miss Falcons’ Week 8 Game

The ankle injury Matt Ryan suffered last week will keep him out against the Seahawks, the Falcons announced. Veteran Matt Schaub will start in Ryan’s place, with the recently promoted Danny Etling working as the Falcons’ No. 2 quarterback.

This will mark Ryan’s first absence in 10 years. The Falcons quarterback worked through a limited practice Friday, but the 1-6 team will keep him out of its Week 8 matchup. Schaub has not started a game since the 2015 season, when he saw action as a Raven following Joe Flacco‘s season-ending injury.

Ryan’s injury is the latest chapter in a nightmare Falcons season. Despite the team possessing a veteran-laden roster and moving to reach top-market extensions with Julio Jones, Deion Jones and Grady Jarrett, the Falcons are off to their worst start in 12 years. Atlanta dealt one of Ryan’s wideouts, Mohamed Sanu, this week. Another loss could prompt more deals for the struggling team in advance of Tuesday’s deadline.

Ryan’s 15 touchdown passes are tied for the league lead. He’s added 2,170 passing yards — 7.6 per attempt. Schaub, the longtime Texans starter, has served as Ryan’s backup since 2016. The 38-year-old passer has attempted just 16 passes as a Falcon, with Ryan being one of the league’s most reliable starters. Schaub has two Pro Bowls to his credit, but the most recent honor came in 2012.

Falcons Sign QB Matt Schaub To Two-Year Extension

Matt Schaub will be sticking in Atlanta for a few more seasons. The Falcons announced that they have signed the veteran quarterback to a two-year extension. Schaub’s deal is worth $3.78MM in total and contains $750K in guaranteed money, tweets Field Yates of, adding Atlanta will hold a team option for the 2020 season.

“Matt has a great understanding of our scheme and brings valuable experience to the position,” said head coach Dan Quinn.

The 37-year-old had spent the past three seasons with the Falcons, serving as the top backup to Matt Ryan. Predictably, Schaub hasn’t had too many opportunities to see the field; in his three seasons with the team, he’s made 10 pass attempts in seven games. Still, his familiarity with the Falcons’ offense is an asset, and he’s fine insurance should Ryan miss any time.

The last time Schaub started at least half of his team’s games was back in 2013 with the Texans. The veteran started eight games that season, completing 61.2-percent of his passes for 2,310 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Schaub had earned a pair of Pro Bowl births throughout his career, and he led the NFL in passing yards back in 2009.

Presumably, the two-year extension will also be plenty affordable; when Schaub signed a two-year extension with the Falcons in 2017, it was worth $9MM. The veteran was set to hit free agency this summer.

Extra Points: Gronkowski, Patriots, Peterson, Schaub, Wright

Rob Gronkowski is arguably the greatest tight end of all time, and as the regular season winds down, we could be seeing the end of Gronk in a Patriots uniform, opines Tom Curran of NBC Sports. Curran breaks down all the drama between Gronkowski and the New England front office regime over the past couple of years, and thinks that the fact that Gronkowski has been severely underpaid for years played the main role in the thawing of the relationship.

Both sides are unhappy with one another, and the Patriots already tried trading Gronkowski this offseason. Given that they already deemed him non-essential before the season began it won’t be at all surprising if they want to move on at the end of the year, and it’s highly possible Gronkowski will want to move on as well, as Curran writes he’s grown tired of the ‘Patriot Way.’ Curran thinks the writing is on the wall that things are coming to an end, and Gronk is having a very disappointing season by his lofty standards. His body has been breaking down, and he hasn’t been his usual game-breaking self most times this season. If it is indeed the end, it’ll be an end of an era in Foxborough.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • On the subject of the Patriots, the team brought in CFL players defensive back Tevaughn Campbell and receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert for workouts, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN (Twitter link). Since CFL players aren’t eligible to be signed until after the season, these workouts are likely for consideration for reserve/futures contracts to be handed out in 2019.
  • While he’s already rewritten the rule book about what a running back can do at his age, Adrian Peterson isn’t done yet. The 33-year-old future Hall of Famer wants to continue playing, and wants to be back with the Redskins next year,per Josh Alper of Signed at the last minute when Derrius Guice went down with a torn ACL, Peterson has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2018 NFL season, rushing for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s slowed down a bit as the season has gone on, but Washington could bring him back as a veteran mentor and change of pace option behind Guice.
  • Speaking of veterans who want to keep playing, quarterback Matt Schaub hopes to be back with Falcons next year, according to Matt Winkeljohn of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Schaub is aware his NFL career might be coming to an end, as most teams are trending toward having younger players as their backups. But the 37-year-old signal caller, once one of the league’s better starting quarterbacks, hopes to be back in the place where he’s taken on a coach-like role behind Matt Ryan. If he does end up hanging up his cleats, Schaub said he wants to stay “around sports in some form or fashion whether it’s trying to do broadcasting or with an organization somehow.”
  • While the Panthers were officially eliminated from playoff contention in Week 16, at least one player did get some good news. Receiver Jarius Wright got a $200K bonus for hitting his catch incentives, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). So far this season the 2012 fourth round pick out of Arkansas has 41 catches for 427 yards and a touchdown. He should be back in Carolina next year at his $2.5MM salary.

Falcons Re-Sign QB Matt Schaub

The Falcons and quarterback Matt Schaub reached agreement on a two-year, $9MM deal, sources tell Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Schaub will continue serve as the backup to starter Matt RyanMatt Schaub (vertical)

Schaub, 36 in June, spent last season with Atlanta and wound up appearing in five games. There was some speculation that he could have signed on with the Niners to be a transitional starting quarterback, but that option went away moments ago when SF signed Brian Hoyer.

Schaub now appears poised to end his career back where it all began. He entered the league as a third round pick of Atlanta in 2004 and spent three years as a backup. In 2007, he moved on to Houston where he had mixed results as a starter. He turned in a solid effort in 2012 and earned a 12-4 record as a starter. In the following year, however, he stumbled badly, leading to his exit. After stints with the Raiders and Ravens, Schaub hooked on with Atlanta prior to the 2016 campaign.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT


  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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