William Gay

Commanders Add David Blough, William Gay To Coaching Staff

The Commanders unveiled their first coaching staff under new head coach Dan Quinn on Thursday. Many of the additions have already been reported, but a pair of ex-players have found a spot on the staff.

[RELATED: Commanders Add Lance Newmark As AGM, Reassign Mayhew, Hurney]

David Blough has elected to hang up his cleats to take on the role of assistant QBs coach. Blough entered the league as a UDFA with the Browns, but he was dealt to the Lions in 2019. He spent much of his playing career in Detroit, making seven of his starts and nine of his appearances with the team from 2019-21.

The Purdue alum found himself in Arizona for the 2022 campaign, and he made a pair of starts that year. Blough was among the Cardinals’ final roster cuts last summer, however, which led him back to the Lions. He resided on the team’s taxi squad, and made it clear he was eyeing a transition to coaching at some point. He will work alongside returnee Tavita Pritchard in overseeing the Commanders’ signal-callers, a group which could very well include a rookie added with the second overall pick in April’s draft.

Blough will make his first foray into coaching in 2024, and William Gay will likewise take on a full-time NFL sideline position for the first time in his career. The latter, a Steelers cornerback for 10 years with a one-year Cardinals stint in between, saw his final regular season and playoff action in 2017. He took a deal with the Giants in 2018, but he failed to make New York’s roster. The following year, Gay served as a Steelers coaching intern.

The former Super Bowl winner worked as a defensive backs coach at Missouri State in 2020, and he will take on the title of assistant DBs coach with the Commanders. Gay, 39, will pair with Tommy Donatell and Jason Simmons (defensive backs coach and pass-game coordinator, respectively) as the Commanders aim to improve on their league-worst finish against the pass in 2023.

Brian Johnson, added after his tenure as OC of the Eagles, will take on the post of assistant head coach. As Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post notes, though, Johnson will not have a direct play-calling role with respect to the team’s offense. He will instead take on a more general role with a potential future head coaching opportunity in mind.

Among the updates is the title for ex-Chargers and Raiders defensive coordinator John Pagano. He will work as a senior defensive assistant rather than serving as a position coach. Sarah Hogan, meanwhile, will leave the Falcons to work as coaching chief of staff during Quinn’s first season at the helm. He, new OC Kliff Kingsbury and DC Joe Whitt Jr. will be tasked with overseeing improvement from last year’s 4-13 campaign.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Dallas Cowboys



Practice squad:

New York Giants



Practice squad:

Philadelphia Eagles



Practice squad:

Washington Redskins

Practice squad:

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys

Although Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz wasn’t placed on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp, Philadelphia’s plan for its signal-caller — who tore his ACL in December — isn’t exactly clear, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer details. Wentz participated in last Sunday’s workout in a limited fashion, and then wasn’t involved in on-field activities for the remainder of the week. Although both Wentz and the Eagles have maintained the third-year pro hasn’t suffered any setbacks, Philadelphia will need to balance its attempts to get Wentz ready with the requirement of preparing backup Nick Foles in the event Wentz isn’t ready for Week 1.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Cornerback Josh Norman‘s future with the Redskins hinges on a number of factors, as John Keim of ESPN.com explains in his latest mailbag. Washington had added depth to its defensive backfield recently, and if Quinton Dunbar or 2017 third-rounder Fabian Moreau proves capable of starting this season, the Redskins could move on from Norman, who inked a five-year, $75MM deal in 2016. Financials, then, play another role in Norman’s fate in the nation’s capital. After counting for a massive $20MM on the Redskins’ salary cap in 2017, Norman’s charge will decrease to roughly $17MM this year and $14,5MM in 2019. Washington would save $8.5MM by cutting Norman before June of 2019, and $11.5MM by designating him a post-June 1 release.
  • Tavon Austin has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Cowboys since he was acquired via trade during the draft, but there’s one area of his game that hasn’t yet been utilized. “All the things you see me doing out here is pretty much what I’ll be doing,” Austin said, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I ain’t touched the backfield yet, but hopefully, eventually if they need me back there, I’ll be back there too.” Dallas picked up Austin, a disappointing former first-round pick, from Los Angeles in exchange for a sixth-round pick, and he’s now expected to be the club’s primary punt returner.
  • The Giants are experimenting by using longtime cornerback William Gay at safety, writes Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. Gay, who spent most of his time at corner over an 11-year career mostly spent in Pittsburgh, would give New York another option alongside Landon Collins and Darian Thompson. Gay, 33, saw a bit of action as a linebacker/safety with the Steelers, and also has experience in the slot, so a move to safety shouldn’t be all too challenging.

Giants Expected To Sign William Gay

The Giants are on the verge of adding more help to their cornerback corps, a group that endured constant tumult last season.

William Gay is visiting the Giants on Thursday, and it looks like the sides have agreed on terms in advance of it, with former Gay teammate Bryant McFadden, now at CBS Sports, reporting (on Twitter) only a pending physical stands in the way of the longtime Steelers corner joining the Giants. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv also reports this deal is expected to happen.

Big Blue stands to return Janoris Jenkins and as of now is moving forward with Eli Apple in the fold. The Giants, though, cut Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last month. Each of these players was suspended for a game last season.

Gay is entering his age-33 season. He played 10 years in Pittsburgh and started 102 games. He’s played 11 NFL seasons, with a 2012 layover in Arizona sandwiched between lengthy Pittsburgh runs. The Steelers released their longest-tenured defender last month. He had lost his starting spot but remained incredibly durable. Since arriving in western Pennsylvania in 2007, Gay had never missed a game.

Vacchiano notes the Giants had hoped to keep the player who replaced Gay in Pittsburgh, Ross Cockrell, but he signed with the Panthers. The New York-based reporter expects Gay to step in and become the Giants’ third corner.

Another of Gay’s former teammates, Deshea Townsend, is now the Giants’ assistant defensive backs coach. Townsend described Apple as having “God-given ability most people don’t have,” and both he and new DC James Bettcher are willing to work with the 2016 first-rounder. The team appears set to bring in some veteran leadership as well.

Steelers To Release CB Will Gay

The Steelers plan to release cornerback Will Gay on Wednesday, a source tells ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). Gay has also confirmed the news via his own Instagram account.

By releasing Gay, the Steelers will save $1.75MM in cap space. The 33-year-old has never missed a game during his eleven years in the league, but the Steelers are opting to spend that money elsewhere rather than retaining the durable veteran. Gay was set to enter the final year of a three-year, $7.5MM deal.

The Steelers don’t have too many key contributors due to become free agents this offseason. But they still need to figure out if they’re going to extend running back Le’Veon Bell, who they placed their franchise tag on for the second straight season. The Steelers return Joe Haden and Artie Burns as their starting cornerbacks, with Keion Adams, Brian Allen, Cameron Sutton and Antonio Crawford on the roster as well.

Gay,33, is set to enter a cornerback free-agent class led by the likes of Trumaine Johnson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamara, Brent Grimes and Johnathan Joseph, among others. Richard Sherman became the first cornerback to agree to terms this offseason, agreeing to a three-year, $27.15MM deal with the 49ers, with $7MM guaranteed.

Gay was picked in the fifth round by the Steelers back in 2007. Outside of a year with the Cardinals in 2012, he’s spent his entire career in Pittsburgh, including their Super Bowl title run in 2008.

Extra Points: Agholor, Eagles, Steelers, Robinette

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Eagles signed free agent wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason, putting former first-rounder Nelson Agholor‘s spot on the depth chart in doubt. However, the 24-year-old made it clear that he embraces the competition. “I think I was worried about taking such a large leap in a day. It’s all about getting better consistently each day, even if it’s just a little bit,” Agholor told ESPN.com’s Tim McManus. “Some of the best players in this league, they didn’t just become really great the first day they’re there. It took a process and continuous progression every day, so that’s my focus right now.” In 28 career games, Agholor has collected 59 receptions for 648 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Earlier this offseason, the Eagles signed safety Rodney McLeod to a five-year, $37MM deal ($17MM guaranteed). The team has apparently slightly altered the contract to open up some cap space, as Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com tweets that the team saved $2.4MM by converting $3.225M of his salary into a bonus.
  • There have been whispers that the Steelers could convert William Gay to safety or even release the veteran. However, as Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times notes, the 32-year-old is seemingly still the team’s slot cornerback ahead of Senquez Golson and Cameron Sutton. Gay has spent 10 seasons with the Steelers, and last year was the first time since 2010 that he started less than 10 games.
  • We learned yesterday that The Air Force Academy had barred wideout Jalen Robinette from graduating, putting both his Air Force and NFL future in doubt. Following the announcement, the player’s agency released a statement to Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post: “Jalen Robinette is currently awaiting a determination on a non-criminal disciplinary proceeding. Jalen continues to look forward to serving the country that he loves and remains committed and loyal to the United States Air Force.” Robinette finished his collegiate career as the team’s all-time leader in receiving yards.

Sunday Roundup: Lynch, Fitzpatrick, Leary

Whether Marshawn Lynch opts to continue his football career in 2016 and whether he will play for the Seahawks if he does suit up this season are two very different questions, as Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com writes. Lynch, 30, may well be having second thoughts about his decision to retire, but while Kapadia would not be surprised if Lynch chooses to return to the league, the ESPN scribe would be stunned if the Seahawks are the team to welcome him back.

Although Seattle controls Lynch’s rights through 2017, he is due $9MM in 2016, is coming off an injury-plagued season, and is at the point in his career when most running backs begin to wear down anyway. Plus, the club’s running game looked perfectly capable without Beast Mode in 2015. Theoretically, the team could trade him or negotiate a pay cut, but it is more likely that the Seahawks would simply release Lynch if he ultimately decides he is not done playing.

Now let’s take a look at some more notes from around the league:

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com and Brian Costello of The New York Post echo the common sense point that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk made several days ago: we now know that the Jets have offered Ryan Fitzpatrick a three-year deal that includes $12MM in the first year, but until we know what the second and third years of the offer look like, we cannot say which side is being overly obstinate. Cimini “gets the sense” that it is a three-year, $24MM contract, which would mean that if Fitzpatrick plays well this season and retains his starting job, he would be significantly underpaid in 2017. Similarly, Costello believes that it is not a three-year, $36MM deal unless Fitzpatrick hits incentives, some of which are surely unrealistic.
  • Cowboys left guard Ronald Leary has made it abundantly clear that he wants to be traded, but as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Leary lost almost all of his leverage when he chose to sign his restricted free agent tender last month. Now that he has signed the $2.55MM tender, Leary can be fined if he misses mandatory minicamp or training camp, so Dallas will be perfectly content to either wait for a good return from another club seeking an interior lineman, or for Leary to give in and report to the team.
  • Former Baylor wideout Jay Lee, overshadowed by teammate Corey Coleman–the Browns’ first-round selection in this year’s draft–in the Baylor offense, had a productive collegiate career in his own right, and he turned down offers from five other clubs to join the Lions as a UDFA, as Justin Rogers of MLive.com writes. Lee said, “[Detroit] is a better fit for me. I had a relationship with the coaches. I got to do a private workout with them, got to come up here and visit and I just felt at home.”
  • Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com looks at five of the Lions‘ biggest roster competitions this summer. The competition at defensive tackle, the club’s deepest unit, could be particularly fierce.
  • Instead of hitting the open market this offseason, Steelers guard Ramon Foster and cornerback William Gay turned down the chance at a bigger payday elsewhere to remain in Pittsburgh, as Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Gay, who signed a two-year, $3.2MM contract with the Cardinals in 2012 after spending the first five years of his career with the Steelers, never saw the second year of that deal after Arizona’s coaching staff told him he no longer fit in their plans, and he had no interest in seeing the dark side of free agency again. Foster, meanwhile, said, “[Pittsburgh] is where it’s at. We’re chasing that ring. The chance for the Super Bowl ring is more important than those extra [millions].”
  • Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta has looked good in the team’s offseason workouts, Don Markus of The Baltimore Sun writes. Pitta, looking to make his way back from a second major hip fracture, is not showing any lingering effects of his injuries, although training camp will present an entirely different test. Pitta could face an uphill battle to make the roster, as the team recently signed veteran free agent Ben Watson and also has intriguing young talents in Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams on the tight end depth chart.
  • In an Insider-only piece, Field Yates of ESPN.com lists the biggest roster decisions that each of the league’s 32 clubs will have to make over the coming months.

AFC Contract Details: Osemele, Irvin, M. Jackson

Here are the latest updates on many recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the AFC:

AFC West:

  • Kelechi Osemele, G/T (Raiders): Five years, $58.5MM. $25.4MM fully guaranteed. Max value of $60MM via Pro Bowl incentives. Guaranteed base salaries of $6.7MM in 2016 and 2017. $6MM roster bonuses in 2016 and 2017 (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today and Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post).
  • Bruce Irvin, OLB (Raiders): Four years, $37MM. $14.5MM fully guaranteed. $19MM total guarantee. $6MM roster bonus in 2016, $2.25MM roster bonus in 2017 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Joe Barksdale, T (Chargers): Four years, $22MM. $10.5MM fully guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus. Fully guaranteed $3.5MM salary in 2016. $3MM of $4.5MM salary in 2017 fully guaranteed (Twitter links via Wilson).

AFC South:

  • Malik Jackson, DL (Jaguars): Six years, $85.5MM. $31.5MM fully guaranteed. $42MM total guarantee. $10.5MM of $13.5MM base salary for 2018 becomes fully guaranteed in March 2018 (Twitter links via Pelissero).
  • Dwayne Allen, TE (Colts): Four years, $29.4MM. $4MM signing bonus. $16MM total guarantee (including injury guarantee). $5.5MM roster bonus in 2016. $2MM roster bonus on fifth day of 2017 league year (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Ben Jones, C/G (Titans): Four years, $17.5MM. $3.5MM signing bonus. $7.5MM guaranteed. $2.5MM of $3.5MM salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed. $500K roster bonus due in March 2016 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Chris Clark, T (Texans): Two years, $6MM. $1MM signing bonus. $750K roster bonus due on March 16 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Adam Vinatieri, K (Colts): Two years, $6MM. $1MM of $3.25MM salary for 2016 is guaranteed. Can earn $500K in field-goal percentage incentives each year (Twitter link via Wilson).

AFC North:

  • Shareece Wright, CB (Ravens): Three years, $13MM. $4MM signing bonus. Up to $1MM annually in playing-time incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • William Gay, CB (Steelers): Three years, $7.5MM. $1.9MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ben Watson, TE (Ravens): Two years, $7MM. $2MM signing bonus. $3MM fully guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due April 1, 2016. $1MM escalator for 2017 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tank Carder, LB (Browns): Two years, $2.5MM. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

AFC East:

  • Mario Williams, DE (Dolphins): Two years, $17MM. $4MM signing bonus. Fully guaranteed $4.485MM salary for 2016. $3.5MM of $8.45MM salary for 2017 guaranteed for injury; becomes fully guaranteed on fifth day of 2017 league year. Deal includes incentives for sacks, playing time, Pro Bowls (all Twitter links via Wilson).
  • LaAdrian Waddle, T (Patriots): Two years, $2.35MM. $250K signing bonus. $200K annually in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter links via Wilson and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

Steelers Re-Sign William Gay

12:33pm: Gay’s new deal is a three-year pact, tweets Kabloy.

11:35am: The Steelers have re-signed veteran cornerback William Gay to a new contract, agent Jerrold Colton confirms to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The deal, first announced by Gay on his Instagram account, will keep him from reaching the open market on Wednesday.William Gay

[RELATED: Offseason Outlook: Pittsburgh Steelers]

Gay, a fifth-round pick in 2007, has been with the Steelers for all but one season since being drafted by the team, appearing in 128 regular-season contests and another 11 postseason games for the franchise. In 2015, head coach Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator Keith Butler continued to lean heavily on the 31-year-old, who played a team-high 1,065 defensive snaps.

The veteran cornerback has shown a knack for making big plays, racking up five return touchdowns in the last three years, and while his best years may be behind him, Gay can still be a reliable contributor in the secondary. Pro Football Focus viewed his 2015 performance as solid, albeit unspectacular, ranking him 46th out of 111 qualified cornerbacks.

Gay’s previous contract was worth $4.5MM over three years, and while terms of his new pact aren’t yet known, I’d expect him to be in line for a raise, given the relative consistency he has shown since signing his last deal.

While the Steelers aren’t expected to be all that active in free agency this week, the team has been busy when it comes to re-signing its own free agents. Pittsburgh has also reached agreements with safety Robert Golden and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Steelers, Jaguars

The Dolphins will watch the playoffs from their couches for the seventh straight season largely because they’ve cycled through various underwhelming choices at head coach and quarterback during that span. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald offers a solution for each spot: Sean Payton and Drew Brees.

Both Payton and Brees are still under contract in New Orleans beyond this season (Payton for two years, Brees for one), but there are rumblings that Payton will search for another job during the offseason. Thus, he could end up in Miami – which isn’t expected to promote interim head coach Dan Campbell. Should Payton attempt to take a position elsewhere, the Saints will expect compensation for him. If the Dolphins ends up as Payton’s next team, Salguero believes they should be willing to package as much as a first-round pick in 2016, a first-rounder in ’17, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill to ensure that the Saints put Brees in the deal with Payton.

Salguero’s proposal would make sense for the Saints, who are in cap jail and nowhere near contention. They’d get Tannehill – who has shown potential, is nine years younger than Brees (37 in January), and under team control through 2020 – and a couple of valuable draft choices to aid in a rebuild. The Dolphins would be surrendering a boatload in hopes of ending their playoff drought, but Salguero thinks owner Stephen Ross would be a proponent of such a move because Ross has tried something similar in the past. As Salguero details, Ross attempted to hire then-Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2011 and wanted Harbaugh to convince his QB, Andrew Luck, to enter the draft. It didn’t work then, but Salguero sees his idea as a win-win for both Ross’ Dolphins and the Saints.

In the event Salguero’s suggestion becomes a reality, it would mean Brees finally ends up in a Dolphins uniform – something that nearly happened almost a decade ago. Instead the team traded for Daunte Culpepper, whose time in Miami was a failure. On the other hand, Brees became a Super Bowl winner and a Hall of Fame lock in New Orleans.

More from the AFC:

  • The 8-5 Steelers are currently on the outside of the AFC playoff picture, but they might end up as the conference’s scariest team if they get into the postseason, Bob McManaman of the AZCentral.com opines. The Steelers are getting hot at the right time, having averaged 35 points per game and nearly 500 yards per contest over their last five, and this year’s AFC powers have looked vulnerable of late. New England has come back to earth somewhat thanks to injury issues, while Cincinnati may have lost star quarterback Andy Dalton for the season and Denver doesn’t appear to have a solution under center. All of that could open the door for the Steelers to ultimately make their first Super Bowl appearance since 2010-11.
  • The concussion protocol the NFL established in 2013 is garnering positive reviews from the Steelers, who say it protects them from themselves, Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “If you leave it up to us, there’s never nothing wrong with us,” cornerback William Gay stated, implying that he and his fellow players will always look for an excuse to stay in a game. With the concussion protocol in place, though, that can’t happen anymore. Said fullback Will Johnson, “I have trust in their concussion protocol and that they are going to make sure that I am completely safe before they let me go out and participate. I’ve always felt comfortable. I know it is a hot topic of conversation right now, but I have never had a problem.”
  • Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley‘s decision in 2013 to retain receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, a holdover from the prior staff, is paying off, according to Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com. Sullivan deserves at least some credit for helping turn a pair of second-year wideouts – Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns – into big-time threats, especially given that neither was a first-round pick. Robinson was a second-rounder, and Hurns somehow went undrafted. The two have combined for 127 catches, 1,900-plus yards and 20 touchdowns this season. “On Sundays, he’s like the voice in my head,” Robinson said of Sullivan.