Mike McDaniel

Deadline Notes: Dolphins, Saints, Rams

The Dolphins are one of the most explosive teams in the NFL and sit tied atop the AFC with a 6-2 record. While Miami has clearly established themselves as a contender, the team remained quiet through the deadline. In fact, head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that the Dolphins really didn’t have any trades in the works leading up to the deadline.

This is mostly because of the team’s IR situation, and the Dolphins will soon see a number of talented players return from injury. As McDaniel explained to reporters, those additions should give the Dolphins the boost that they would have been seeking via trade.

“Yeah, we actually have several of the best trades that exist in the works. Ok? You’re talking about getting players with no compensation, or no assets given, from injury. So, I mean, we’re in a great spot,” McDaniels said (via Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com).

“I think [GM] Chris [Grier] is always, and will always enter into, you know, whatever conversations that are sought out to him and, you know, that’s that’s a part of his job. He doesn’t labor my mind with, ‘Hey, you know, like NFL gossip, like, hey, I talked to this guy and this guy,’ you know, he, he, he brings it to my attention when we need to discuss it when it, when it’s to a serious platform.

“And he didn’t discuss anything. And that speaks to where we’re at with our football team. We’ve been playing some good football, and then we have some players that are very good players that are returning.”

Safety Jevon Holland (concussion), cornerback Xavien Howard (groin), and center Connor Williams (groin) are among the injured players who could return to the field as soon as this week.

More notes following the trade deadline:

  • Following a quiet deadline day, Saints GM Mickey Loomis admitted that he discussed acquiring players for draft assets but never actively shopped any of the players on his roster. “We talked to a couple of teams about a couple of things, more in the acquisition area as opposed to trading somebody,”  Loomis said (h/t John Hendrix). “We didn’t really talk about trading anyone from our team. We did talk to a couple teams about an acquisition, but I wouldn’t say it ever got really serious.” The Saints currently sit with a 4-4 record and are tied with the Falcons atop the NFC South.
  • The Rams have a 3-5 record and are facing some uncertainty at QB, leading some pundits to wonder if they’d be sellers at the deadline. While the team received calls on some veterans, the Rams never shopped any of their star players. According to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, the Rams didn’t consider moving Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, or Aaron Donald despite the front office potentially having eyes on the 2024 campaign.
  • Similarly, the Cowboys didn’t initiate any trade talks with teams, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The reporter notes that the front office did receive some calls on their defensive depth, but the Cowboys were content sticking with their current squad.
  • Some details on trades that were actually made: the conditional seventh-round pick that the Cardinals sent to the Vikings alongside QB Joshua Dobbs was a selection that originated with the Falcons, per Howard Balzer. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Brady Henderson notes that the Giants are paying most of the remaining $10MM on Leonard Williams‘ contract, with the Seahawks owing their new player only $647K.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

After the 2022 offseason produced 10 new head coaches, this one brought a step back in terms of turnover. Five teams changed HCs, though each conducted thorough searches — four of them lasting until at least January 31.

The Colts and Cardinals hired their HCs after Super Bowl LVII, plucking the Eagles’ offensive and defensive coordinators (Shane Steichen, Jonathan Gannon). The Cardinals were hit with a tampering penalty regarding their Gannon search. Conducting their second HC search in two years, the Broncos saw multiple candidates drop out of the running. But Denver’s new ownership group convinced Sean Payton to step out of the FOX studio and back onto the sidelines after just one season away. The Panthers made this year’s first hire (Frank Reich), while the Texans — running their third HC search in three years — finalized an agreement with DeMeco Ryans minutes after the Payton news broke.

Only one of last year’s top 10 longest-tenured HCs lost his job. A turbulent Colts year led to Reich being fired barely a year after he signed an extension. During a rather eventful stretch, Jim Irsay said he reluctantly extended Reich in 2021. The Colts passed on giving interim HC Jeff Saturday the full-time position, despite Irsay previously indicating he hoped the former center would transition to that role. Reich landed on his feet, and after losing Andrew Luck to a shocking retirement just before his second Colts season, the well-regarded play-caller now has another No. 1 pick (Bryce Young) to mentor.

After considering a Rams exit, Sean McVay recommitted to the team and is overseeing a reshaped roster. Andy Reid also sidestepped retirement rumors, staying on with the Chiefs after his second Super Bowl win. This will be Reid’s 25th season as an NFL head coach.

Here is how the 32 HC jobs look for the 2023 season:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2027
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019: signed extension in July 2022
  11. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  12. Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders): January 1, 2020
  13. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  14. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  15. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  16. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  17. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  18. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  19. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  20. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  21. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  22. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  23. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  24. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  25. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  26. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  27. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022
  28. Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers): January 26, 2023
  29. Sean Payton (Denver Broncos): January 31, 2023
  30. DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans): January 31, 2023
  31. Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts): February 14, 2023
  32. Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals): February 14, 2023

Dolphins Undecided On Tua Tagovailoa’s Fifth-Year Option

After making a number of sizeable moves last offseason, the Dolphins are unlikely to be active with respect to outside additions in 2023. The team does face a crucial internal decision with respect to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, however, and nothing has been committed to at this point.

As a first-round pick in 2020, Miami must decide on picking up Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option this year. The deadline for doing so is May 1, but the team may wait until very near that point to to pick up or decline it. When speaking about the subject publicly, head coach Mike McDaniel indicated that the Dolphins would be well-served to consider every option, though he did add that “both parties want him to play at a high level for a very long time for the Miami Dolphins” (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe).

Picking up Tagovailoa’s option would carry a cost of $23.17MM for the 2024 campaign. That figure would represent a bargain for starting-caliber QB play, especially considering the step forward the 25-year-old took under McDaniel this past season. Tagovailoa set career-highs across several categories in 2022, and led the league in passer rating and yards per attempt. Keeping him in place for at least the next two years would seem like a simple decision based on his production alone.

The Dolphins must keep in mind, of course, Tagovailoa’s injury history, something which complicates the situation. The Alabama product suffered at least two (potentially three) concussions in the 2022 season, which kept him sidelined for team’s postseason push and wild-card round loss to the Bills. He had a lengthy stay in the league’s concussion protocol after the Dolphins had been eliminated, something which has left some to seriously doubt his long-term playing future. Tagovailoa has since publicly praised the team’s decision to force him to sit out as a precaution, and is planning on taking new steps to better protect himself in the future.

Given his availability concerns, Miami would be wise to at least explore possible alternatives, and Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports that the team is doing just that (video link). One of several options being weighed, she states, includes “potentially moving in a different direction” than Tagovailoa, something which would mark a highly underwhelming development given the recent draft capital invested in him.

Miami added veteran Teddy Bridgewater as a backup last offseason, but he dealt with multiple injuries of his own over the course of the year. Seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson was called into action for two regular season games and the postseason contest, but a long-term starting option would need to be found in the absence of Tagovailoa next season. The Dolphins’ 2023 draft capital – hindered by last year’s tampering scandal – would not be sufficient to land one the class’ top passers as a developmental QB, which could point to Tagovailoa’s option being the safest option in the near-term to build off of 2022’s success.

Latest On Vic Fangio

The Dolphins appeared to make a significant addition to their coaching staff yesterday, coming to terms on a deal with Vic Fangio to make him their new defensive coordinator. Contrary to what some have since reported, though, the move does not appear to be official at this point.

When speaking to Fangio himself, both 9News’ Mike Klis and Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle were told that a deal is not, in fact, in place yet (Twitter links). In the latter’s case, Fangio stated that “nothing has been decided on my end,” a reference to his commitment to head to Miami. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that his Dolphins contract is three years in length (with a team option for a fourth year) and will make him the league’s highest-paid coordinator.

Fangio, 64, was always likely to be a hot commodity on the DC market when he made it clear he would return to coaching in 2023. The former Broncos head coach had previously stated his intention of taking on a coordinator position, rather than another HC opportunity. Over the course of his decorated career, he established himself as a one of the game’s top defensive minds in terms of scheme and play-calling, as well as one with connections all over the league.

The Panthers were tapped as a likely destination for Fangio in the wake of their Frank Reich hiring. It was reported early today, to no surprise, that Carolina was willing to meet his financial demands, though even in the uncertainty regarding his future they are no longer expected to pursue him. That could make another notable DC vacancy one to keep an eye on in this situation.

Silver notes the “huge amount” of respect shared between 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Fangio. The latter served as San Francisco’s DC from 2011-14, and it was reported in the fall that a return to the Bay Area could be in the cards. The 49ers have enjoyed elite play on the defensive side of the ball under current coordinator DeMeco Ryans, but he has been one of the top HC candidates this offseason and is widely expected to soon become the Texans’ new bench boss. His departure could open the door for Fangio to replace him, should the Miami agreement fall through.

On that point, Pelissero’s colleague Cameron Wolfe tweets that Fangio had been a target of Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel before he even began his tenure with the team this past season. That underscores the desire the Dolphins have long had to bring him onboard, though it remains to be seen if they have officially done so this offseason.

Dolphins DC Josh Boyer On Hot Seat?

The Dolphins have dropped five straight and find themselves out of the postseason picture, a major disappointment for an organization that was looking to take a step forward this season. Heads will surely roll if Miami fails to qualify for the playoffs, and a source told Armando Salguero of Outkick.com that defensive coordinator Josh Boyer could be a casualty.

Boyer’s job status could somewhat be connected to that of Mike McDaniel, with Salguero noting that if the head coach survives the offseason, then there’s no guarantee Boyer sticks in his position. Boyer was a holdover from Brian Flores’ staff, so it wouldn’t be surprising if McDaniel looks to shake things up with his own defensive coordinator. Even then, if McDaniel is canned following the season, there’s little chance Boyer would manage to stick around with a third head coach.

Boyer joined the NFL coaching ranks with the Patriots, where he worked his way up from defensive assistant to cornerbacks coach. He joined Flores in Miami in 2019 and earned the title of defensive pass game coordinator, and he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2020. After ranking top-1o in points allowed during his first season at the helm, the Dolphins dropped to 16th in 2021 and 27th this season. The defense has been especially bad during the team’s current streak; after allowing around 23 points per game during their 8-3 start, opponents have averaged more than 30 points per game during the active five-game losing streak.

The defensive coordinator’s fate will be one of many decisions for Dolphins executives to make in anticipation of the offseason. Salguero explored the job security of McDaniel in particular, with the writer wondering if the coach has done enough to prevent the organization from pursuing someone like Sean Payton. The Dolphins will also have to make a decision on Tua Tagovailoa, with Salguero noting that owner Stephen Ross would be interested in Aaron Rodgers if the veteran QB was willing to play in Miami.

NFL Does Not Suspect Violation In Connection With Dolphins Practice Being Filmed

Hurricane Ian prompted the Buccaneers to move practices to Miami this week, and the Dolphins accommodated the other south Florida team by leaving for Cincinnati early. The 3-0 squad appears to have run into a bit of an issue after holding a practice away from home.

The Dolphins became suspicious of someone filming their Wednesday practice in Cincinnati, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes NFL Security is investigating this matter (Twitter link). The NFL does not suspect a competitive violation occurred, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets.

Nevertheless, Mike McDaniel apparently tried to outwit potential spies. Noticing enough onlookers watching practice — which was held at Nippert Stadium, the Cincinnati Bearcats’ home field — McDaniel put a 12th player on offense during his team’s walkthrough, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

This certainly adds a fun twist to a potential scandal, though this has not reached the scandal stage yet. Nippert Stadium also sits in the middle of Cincinnati’s campus and has vantage points for onlookers, The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. tweets. The stadium’s placement and the Dolphins’ inclusion of a 12th man on various plays makes would seemingly make for a less productive walkthrough.

Ohio served as the location of a filming controversy not too long ago. Patriots staffers, during an effort to capture footage for a video piece for the team’s website, filmed B-roll of the Bengals sideline during a 2019 game in Cleveland. A Bengals staffer alerted the NFL, which docked the Pats a 2021 third-round pick and fined the team $1.1MM. It does not sound like similar penalties will be forthcoming in connection with the Dolphins’ suspicions, but this could be an interesting footnote ahead of Thursday night’s AFC showdown.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

The NFL experienced a busy offseason on the coaching front. A whopping 10 teams changed coaches during the 2022 offseason, with the Buccaneers’ late-March switch pushing the number into double digits.

Fourteen of the league’s 32 head coaches were hired in the past two offseasons, illustrating the increased pressure the NFL’s sideline leaders face in today’s game. Two of the coaches replaced this year left on their own. Sean Payton vacated his spot in second on the longest-tenured HCs list by stepping down from his 16-year Saints post in February, while Bruce Arians has repeatedly insisted his Bucs exit was about giving his defensive coordinator a chance with a strong roster and not a Tom Brady post-retirement power play.

While Bill Belichick has been the league’s longest-tenured HC for many years, Payton’s exit moved Mike Tomlin up to No. 2. Mike Zimmer‘s firing after nine seasons moved Frank Reich into the top 10. Reich’s HC opportunity only came about because Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts in 2018, but Indianapolis’ backup plan has led the team to two playoff brackets and has signed an extension. Reich’s seat is hotter in 2022, however, after a January collapse. Linked to numerous HC jobs over the past several offseasons, McDaniels finally took another swing after his Broncos tenure ended quickly.

As 2022’s training camps approach, here are the NFL’s longest-tenured HCs:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2025
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018; extended through 2026
  11. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019; extended through 2027
  12. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  13. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  14. Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team): January 1, 2020
  15. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  16. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  17. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  18. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  19. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  20. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  21. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  22. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  23. Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos): January 27, 2022
  24. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  25. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  26. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  27. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  28. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  29. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  30. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  31. Lovie Smith (Houston Texans): February 7, 2022
  32. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022

Latest On Dolphins’ Mike Gesicki

One of the top storylines in Miami is how the team’s offense will grow under new head coach Mike McDaniel. Before the team takes the field for the first time with him in charge, though, the organization will have to decide if it wants to retain tight end Mike Gesickiand how much they are willing to pay to do so. As The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson writes, scheme fit with the new coach could play a big role in the decision. 

Before the 2021 season started, it was reported that the Dolphins weren’t looking into an extension with the former second round pick. At that point, he was coming off a career-best season, where he posted 53 catches for 703 yards and six touchdowns. That placed him amongst the most productive tight ends in the league, and set him up for another successful season.

2021 saw the Penn State product record 73 catches for 780 yards and two touchdowns in 17 games. The reception and yardage totals ranked fifth and eighth in the league, respectively. The season also cemented Gesicki’s status as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa‘s second favorite target, behind rookie Jaylen Waddle.

However, most of Gesicki’s production has come from lining up more as a wide receiver than a tight end, Jackson notes. Much of the reason for that is his sub-par blocking, both in the run and pass game, something that could be seen as a detriment for McDaniel, who is coming from a run-heavy scheme in San Francisco. The stylistic difference between Gesicki and George Kittle, whom McDaniel coached for years, could be problematic in terms of working the former into a new scheme in Miami.

More importantly, in the short term at least, Gesicki’s alignment could lead to problems in negotiations. He could attempt to be listed as a WR, rather than a TE for franchise tag purposes, something that would carry a difference of roughly $8MM. While Jackson notes that the odds of such a strategy working aren’t great, compromises are possible. If he were to sign on the TE tag, Gesicki would earn an estimated $10.8MM in 2022.

Ultimately, Jackson writes of Gesicki that “it wouldn’t be shocking if the Dolphins kept him”. Given his production, and the overall lack of weapons Miami currently has, tough, the uncertainty around his situation so close to free agency is certainly striking.

Dolphins To Hire Jon Embree As Assistant Head Coach

It appears the first addition to Mike McDaniel‘s staff in Miami will be a familiar face. Miami is hiring Jon Embree under the twin roles of assistant head coach and tight ends coach, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

[Related: Dolphins Hire Mike McDaniel As Head Coach]

Embree has been an NFL coach dating back to 2006. He is most well known for coaching tight ends, the role he served in Kansas City, Washington, Cleveland and Tampa Bay prior to joining San Francisco in 2017. There, he not only coached the unit featuring George Kittle, but also worked alongside McDaniel, who was hired by the Dolphins earlier this week. Embree also had the assistant head coach title he will be retaining in Miami.

The success Kittle has had under Embree’s tutelage has garnered the 56-year-old plenty of praise around the league. That translated to interest from the Broncos, who interviewed him to be their TEs coach prior to this hire.

It surprised many that Embree was even available to leave the Bay Area to begin with. His contact expired at the end of the season, and he declined to take a significant pay cut to remain with the 49ers. Instead, San Francisco hired ex-Chargers’ HC Anthony Lynn to serve as assistant head coach. As Branch notes, the 49ers have yet to hire a new TEs coach.

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints created nine full-time vacancies available this year.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-7-22 (1:45pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants