Wes Welker

NFC Coaching Notes: Rams, Hankerson, Lions, Commanders, Packers, Giants

University of Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen has received heaps of interest around the football world, turning down several college jobs and an NFL job to stay in Lexington. But it sounds as if Coen may soon receive an offer he can’t refuse.

In one year at the helm of the offense, Coen took the Wildcats from 115th in yards per game to 50th. He also improved the scoring offense from 107th in the country to 35th, quickly making him one of the hottest names in college coaching.

It just about looked like Kentucky was going to be able to hold on to their game changer, but, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, they are bracing for the possibility of Coen leaving to return to the Rams in Los Angeles. Prior to his year in Kentucky, Coen spent three years on Sean McVay‘s offensive staff, and a chance to rejoin McVay may be too good to pass up.

Here are a couple more coaching notes from the NFC starting with the promotion of a former Hurricane:

  • With wide receivers coach Wes Welker heading to Miami, the 49ers have offered the position to offensive quality control coach Leonard Hankerson, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. After a five-year career as an NFL wide receiver out of the University of Miami, Hankerson coached wide receivers at UMass and Stephen F. Austin before joining the staff in San Francisco last year.
  • The Lions have parted ways with inside linebacker coach Mark DeLeone this week, according to Justin Rogers of The Detroit News. The son of offensive line coach legend George DeLeone, Mark was hired by Detroit last year after time with the Jets, Chiefs, and Bears. They have two internal candidates who could potentially fill the role: defensive quality control coach Stephen Thomas, who coached inside linebackers in his time at Princeton, and director of football research David Corrao who coached linebackers for the Dolphins during his time in Miami from 2008-2015.
  • With longtime assistant coach Pete Hoener retiring, the Commanders are hiring veteran coach Juan Castillo to handle tight ends, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Castillo is rejoining Ron Rivera, who coached with him for the five seasons Rivera was in Philadelphia from 1999-2003. Castillo has also spent time with the Ravens, Bills, and Bears in various roles on the offensive staff.
  • With their outside linebacker coach Mike Smith leaving to pursue other opportunities, the Packers have hired Jason Rebrovich as his replacement. The 20-year NFL coaching veteran has had stints with the Bills and Jaguars coaching players like Josh Allen, Calais Campbell, and Yannick Ngakoue. In addition, the Packers also announced the return of former offensive coordinator Tom Clements to replace Luke Getsy as quarterbacks coach, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. Clements coached for the Packers’ offense for 11 years before retiring after two years with the Cardinals.
  • The Giants have hired Angela Baker as a minority coaching fellow and offensive quality control coach, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Baker is the second female to be added to Brian Daboll‘s staff after Laura Young followed Daboll from Buffalo, where she worked as player services coordinator, for the position of director of coaching operations. The Giants are quickly trying to become a more progressive staff. In 2020, Hannah Burnett was hired as the team’s first full-time female scout.

Dolphins To Interview Curtis Johnson For OC Job, Add Wes Welker To Staff

After hiring Jon Embree as assistant head coach/tight ends coach earlier today, the Dolphins are now eyeing offensive coordinator candidates. According to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the team is interviewing Curtis Johnson for their OC job.

[RELATED: Dolphins To Hire Jon Embree As Assistant Head Coach]

Johnson has had two long stints with the Saints, most recently as a senior offensive assistant (and wide receivers coach in 2021). The 60-year-old also had a stint as the Bears WRs coach, and he was head coach at Tulane between 2012 and 2015. Johnson coached at Miami (FL) between 1996 and 2005, so this would be a bit of a homecoming for the veteran coach.

Meanwhile, Armando Salguero reports (via Twitter) that the Dolphins have hired Wes Welker as their wide receivers coach. Welker appeared in 46 games for the Dolphins before turning into a Pro Bowler with the Patriots. Since his playing career ended, Welker has switched to coaching. He served on the Texans coaching staff in 2017 and 2018, and he’s been the 49ers wide receivers coach since 2019.

One coach who won’t be sticking around Miami is Gerald Alexander. According to Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network (on Twitter), the Dolphins have fired the defensive backs coach. Wolfe described this as a “shocking move” considering how Alexander is viewed in NFL circles. The former second-round pick switched to coaching following his playing career, and he had been with the Dolphins since 2020.

49ers To Hire Wes Welker

Wes Welker‘s interview with the 49ers will lead to the former All-Pro wide receiver relocating.

The Texans employed Welker the past two seasons, but he will leave for the 49ers and become their wide receivers coach, Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). John McClain of the Houston Chronicle initially reported Welker was Bay Area-bound.

The 37-year-old slot receiver-turned-coach met with both the 49ers and Packers last month about jobs, likely meeting with Green Bay regarding its since-filled wide receivers coach position. San Francisco has a wideouts coach, in Mike LaFleur, but he also serves as the team’s run game coordinator. Kyle Shanahan appears to want LaFleur, whom other teams sought to interview this offseason, to focus on that role and bring Welker aboard to oversee the receiving corps.

This will mark a promotion for Welker, who served as an offensive assistant in Houston. The Texans blocked him from interviewing for the Broncos’ wideouts coach job in 2018 but did not intercede when other teams eyed the decorated talent this year.

Prior to helping out with DeAndre Hopkins and the development of Keke Coutee, Welker was a two-time first-team All-Pro receiver. He made five Pro Bowls as a member of the Patriots and was part of the 2013 Broncos outfit that owns the NFL’s scoring record.

49ers, Packers Interview Wes Welker

Wes Welker spent the past two seasons working as a Texans offensive assistant, but other teams are interested in the former All-Pro wide receiver.

Both the 49ers and Packers met with Welker, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

It is unclear if Welker’s contract is up, because the Texans recently blocked the young assistant from an interview. Last year, the Texans didn’t allow Welker to interview for the Broncos’ wide receivers coach position. But Welker met with the 49ers and Packers this year, indicating he could be on the move soon.

The 49ers employ a wide receivers coach, Mike LaFleur, but the Matt LaFleur-led Packers do not. The Packers were interested in Shawn Jefferson for that role, but he since accepted a job with the Jets.

Welker, 37, played 12 NFL seasons before retiring as a member of the St. Louis Rams after the 2015 campaign. He spent 2018 assisting Texans wideouts coach John Perry, working with the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, former teammate Demaryius Thomas and rookie Keke Coutee.

AFC Notes: Browns, Shazier, Welker

Per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan — widely regarded as one of the league’s top talent evaluators — has joined the Browns as a personnel consultant to assist the team in this year’s draft (although Mike Jones of USA Today tweets that McCloughan is still running his private pre-draft scouting service and is not exclusively assisting any one team). McCloughan and new Browns GM John Dorsey are close, and both men worked together in Green Bay under then-Packers GM Ron Wolf. Washington fired McCloughan in March 2017, and McCloughan subsequently filed a grievance against the Redskins, the outcome of which is still pending.

Cleveland has 12 picks in the 2018 draft, including Nos. 1 and 4 overall, so McCloughan’s talents will certainly be put to good use (assuming he has, in fact, joined the Browns’ staff). McCloughan has previously said Oklahoma signal-caller Baker Mayfield is his favorite QB in this year’s class, though team sources indicate that there is no clear favorite if Cleveland decides to use the top pick on a quarterback.

McCloughan participated in meetings with the Browns’ full scouting department yesterday, so it certainly sounds as if he is working for Cleveland alone at this point.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • Steelers LB Ryan Shazier has regained movement in his legs and is engaging in a regular walking routine, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. One source familiar with Shazier’s recovery said that Shazier is making “incredible progress.”
  • The Broncos requested permission to interview Texans offensive/special teams assistant Wes Welker for its WRs coach position, per Mike Klis of 9News (via Twitter). Had Denver hired Welker in that capacity, it would have represented a promotion for him, but Houston denied the request. The Broncos hired Zach Azzanni as WRs coach instead.
  • It seems fairly clear that the Raiders violated the Rooney Rule when they agreed to hire Jon Gruden as their next coach before interviewing any minority candidates, but commissioner Roger Goodell insisted during his state of the league address last week that Oakland was in compliance with the Rule. However, the way in which Goodell delivered that affirmation has raised plenty of eyebrows (as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports discusses in detail), and if the Raiders were found to be in compliance with the Rule, it seems unlikely any team will be found to have violated it in the future.

Texans Add Wes Welker To Coaching Staff

The Texans are adding longtime NFL wide receiver Wes Welker to their coaching staff, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). Welker, who attended last week’s Senior Bowl with the Texans’ coaches, will work as an offensive/special teams assistant, the team announced.

Wes Welker (Vertical)

The 35-year-old Welker isn’t far removed from his playing career, having taken the field eight times with the Rams in 2015, and hadn’t retired from the sport as of last July. It now appears Welker’s wideout days are over, though, after he suffered several concussions in recent years.

Welker was a dominant weapon in his heyday as a member of the Patriots, with whom he racked up 100-plus receptions and over 1,100 yards in five of six seasons from 2007-12. The 2004 undrafted free agent from Texas Tech, also a former Dolphin and Bronco, currently ranks 21st all-time in catches (903) and 47th in receiving yards (9,924).

Along with Welker, Bobby King is joining Bill O’Brien‘s staff as Houston’s linebackers coach. This will be the second stint in Houston for King, who was most recently with the Chargers.

Staff Notes: Cowboys, McClay, Saints, Welker

Several teams extended general manager interview requests to Cowboys executive Will McClay this offseason, but as he did last year, McClay resisted those overtures, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. In 2016, McClay — whose official title is senior director of college and pro personnel — turned down an invite from the Lions, who ultimately hired Bob Quinn as GM. McClay wields a strong amount of influence in Dallas, but hasn’t ruled out leaving the club for another vacancy at some point down the line, per Archer.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • The Saints were interested in hiring former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as their linebackers coach if he didn’t secure a defensive coordinator job this year, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Bradley, one of the more respected defensive minds in the league, drew a wide swath of DC interest, as the Redskins, 49ers, and Chargers — who ultimately hired him — all interviewed him for their coordinator position. New Orleans, meanwhile, continues to interview candidates for its LBs coach vacancy.
  • Former NFL receiver Wes Welker is attending the Senior Bowl with the Texans‘ coaching staff, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link), who adds that Welker is considering joining the coaching ranks. Welker, 35, last played in 2015 for the Rams. Last summer, Welker attended Dolphins’ practice sessions in a semi-coaching role, working with the club’s wideouts.
  • Longtime Pete Carroll confidant Rocky Seto is leaving the Seahawks in order to pursue a career in the ministry, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes. Seto, Seattle’s assistant head coach/defense, has coached alongside Carroll dating back to the early 2000s at USC.
  • Ex-Jets defensive backs coach Joe Danna is joining the Jaguars as the club’s assistant secondary coach, per Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Danna spent the past two seasons in New York.

Free Agency Notes: Beatty, Welker, Kuhn, 2017

The latest on a few NFL veterans who are currently without contracts and a look ahead to the 2017 class of free agents:

  • Eugene Monroe’s retirement is a significant blow to teams that need offensive tackles, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who regards Will Beatty as the best one remaining on the market. Beatty, 31, has 63 starts on his resume, but he missed 2015 with a torn pectoral muscle and the Giants then released him in February.
  • In an interview with SiriusXM (Twitter link) on Friday, receiver Wes Welker reiterated that he has not retired. After catching 13 passes for 102 yards in eight games with the Rams in 2015, the 35-year-old has gone back and forth on the state of his career several times this offseason.
  • Fullback John Kuhn told SiriusXM on Friday that he continues to work out and wait for someone to call him with an offer, and he hopes the Packers are that team (Twitter link). Kuhn spent 2007-15 in Green Bay, made four Pro Bowls – including earning a Hawaii trip the past two years – and totaled 30 touchdowns between the regular season and playoffs. The 33-year-old appeared in 26.6 percent of the Packers’ offensive snaps and 34.7 percent of their special teams plays in 2015.
  • In a class that could also feature the likes of Drew Brees, Tyrann Mathieu, Jamie Collins, Le’Veon Bell, Eric Berry and Alshon Jeffery, among other household names, the best prospective 2017 free agent is Panthers defensive lineman Kawann Short, opines John Clayton of ESPN.com (Insider required). Short has expressed dissatisfaction this offseason with his current deal, one that will pay him just over $1MM in base salary in 2016, but Clayton expects the 315-pounder to land a $100MM-plus payday next year – if the Panthers don’t franchise tag him, that is. The three-year veteran led the Panthers in sacks (11), forced three fumbles and ranked a stellar eighth among 123 qualifying interior defenders at Pro Football Focus (subscription required) last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Wes Welker Interested In Playing In 2016

Veteran receiver Wes Welker didn’t make much of a contribution with the Rams last season, appearing in eight games and hauling in 13 passes for 102 yards after signing with the club in early November. But Welker, 35, has previously said that he enjoyed his time with the Rams, and today he told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he hasn’t ruled out playing in 2016.Wes Welker (Vertical)

[RELATED: Best available NFL free agents: offense]

“I think there’s like a small percentage out there,” said Welker. “For the right situation, the right team, I would still go out there. But I think it all depends. If I got a good job offer to do something else, then I’d probably go that route. But I did the whole deal last season where the first eight weeks, I’m just kind of sitting on the couch, feeding my kids and changing diapers and stuff. And I was like, ‘All right, I just need to get out of the house. I need something to do.'”

Welker has vacillated on the state of his career several times this offseason. He stated in January that he anticipated continuing to play, but walked that back a bit later in the year. “There are some days I wake up I’m like, ‘OK I’m done,’ and other days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Maybe one more year,’” the five-time Pro Bowler said in May. Welker worked as a pseudo-coach with the Dolphins during a June minicamp, but head coach Adam Gase made it clear Miami wouldn’t be signing the former Patriots/Broncos receiver.

Health concerns — including a number of concussions — have caused clubs to shy away from signing Welker in the past, and it’s fair to wonder if those same issues will keep teams wary in the coming months. Of course, Welker may have diffused those worries by spending a half-season with the Rams without suffering a major injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Welker, Jordan, Fitzpatrick

Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph says he has given no thought to what position Dion Jordan would play if he is reinstated, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald tweets. Jordan, a defensive end, could theoretically be moved to linebacker since the team seems pretty set at DE. A position change could also give him a much needed shot in the arm: the former No. 3 overall pick has totaled just three sacks in 26 career games.

Here’s more out of the AFC East:

  • Wide receiver Wes Welker turned up at Dolphins OTAs and appeared to be working with the team’s wide receivers. However, head coach Adam Gase said that the team will not be signing the veteran wide receiver as a player (link via CBSSports.com’s David Dwork). Welker, a five-time Pro Bowler, recently indicated that he is unsure about whether to continue playing. It’s also not clear if Welker has any clubs interested in his services as a player.
  • Joel Corry of CBSSports.com weighed in on the Jets‘ ongoing battle with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Corry says that the Jets may come to regret their heavy-handed approach with Fitzpatrick since he is represented by Jimmy Sexton, who handles some of the biggest names in the sport. At the same time, he says that a one-year, $12MM deal is not realistic. To break the impasse, Corry suggests a deal that pays $12MM in year one, but $9MM in each the next two years instead of $6MM. The deal could also include incentives that could boost its max to about $45MM.
  • There’s tons of talk about Malcolm Butler right now, but Dont’a Hightower is the most important player for the Patriots to keep long term, Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com writes. Hannable notes that since Hightower entered the league in 2012, the Patriots have a regular season record of 42-12 in games Hightower appears in, but just 6-4 in games he doesn’t play. Also, the Pats allowed 3.65 yards per carry when Hightower was on the field last year but they surrendered 4.5 yards per carry when he wasn’t. Hightower is slated to hit the open market for the first time following this season. Hannable suggests that Danny Trevathan‘s four-year, $24.5MM deal ($6.1MM/year) with the Bears could be a good comp.