Richard Sherman

NFC Notes: Hawks, Falcons, Pack, Saints

The Seahawks had been in danger of losing a second-round pick for failing to disclose cornerback Richard Sherman‘s “significant” MCL injury during the season, but the NFL decided Monday to let them off with a warning, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. The league concluded that the Seahawks merely misinterpreted its rules, per Garafolo. The news that Seattle is escaping punishment isn’t particularly surprising, as one of Garafolo’s NFL.com colleagues, Ian Rapoport, reported earlier this month that Seattle wasn’t going to face serious discipline for its violation.

More from Seattle and a few other NFL cities:

  • The Falcons have hired Bush Hamdan as their quarterbacks coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). The younger brother of former NFL quarterback Gibran Hamdan, Bush Hamdan spent the previous two seasons as the University of Washington’s wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator. He’s taking over in Atlanta for Matt LaFleur, now the Rams’ offensive coordinator. In doing so, Hamdan will reunite with head coach Dan Quinn, notes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), as the two worked together at the University of Florida in 2012.
  • The Packers have a decision to make on pending free agent defensive back Micah Hyde, who could seek $4MM-plus per year on his next contract, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Hyde, who’s coming off an 11-start, three-interception season, has been with the Packers since they selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. If Hyde moves on, Green Bay could turn to Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans, Demovsky suggests. Elsewhere in the secondary, the team will either extend safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or exercise his fifth-year option for 2018, as Demovsky opines that the Pro Bowler could be general manager Ted Thompson‘s best first-round pick since he chose Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Clinton-Dix made a strong case for that honor as a third-year pro in 2016, when he played every defensive snap for the Packers and picked off five passes.
  • Newly signed Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh‘s single-year contract is worth $1.1MM and includes no guaranteed money, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Walsh stands to earn an $800K salary and could make another $300K in bonuses. The Seahawks are likely to bring in another kicker to compete against Walsh for the job this summer. Odds are that won’t be soon-to-be free agent Steven Hauschka, observes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, considering the five-year Seahawk will likely be out of their price range.
  • Continuing a Seahawks-heavy set of notes, defensive end Cliff Avril tweeted that he underwent successful surgery Tuesday. Avril didn’t specify which type of surgery he underwent, though Condotta points out that the physician who performed the procedure – Dr. William C. Meyers – specializes in core and sports hernia operations. Regardless, Avril should be fine for 2017 and will attempt to build on his first Pro Bowl season – an 11.5-sack, five-forced fumble campaign.
  • Fullback John Kuhn‘s one-year pact with the Saints is a minimum salary benefit deal worth $1.08MM, tweets Nick Underhill of The Advocate. Kuhn will earn a $1MM salary and count $695K against New Orleans’ cap in 2017.

Seahawks Will Not Be Heavily Penalized For Richard Sherman Incident

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Seahawks will not be heavily penalized, if they are penalized at all, for failing to disclose via injury report that cornerback Richard Sherman played the 2016 season with a significant MCL injury.

Richard Sherman

[RELATED: Luke Willson Turned Down Contract Offer]

After Seattle’s season came to an end in the divisional round of the playoffs, head coach Pete Carroll revealed that his star corner had battled the injury all season. But while Sherman appeared on the “did not participate in practice” report in 11 separate weeks, his absence was explained as “not injury-related” in 10 such weeks. The other week was officially chalked up to an ankle injury.

As such, the team was clearly in violation of league policy, and it might have lost a second-round pick as a result. Carroll might also have received a fine. Last September, of course, the league fined Carroll $200K and heavily punished the Seahawks – they received a $400K fine to go along with a loss of a a fifth-round pick and a week of OTAs – after they violated its rules regarding contact practices in the offseason.

But according to Rapoport (via Twitter), Sherman’s injury materials were provided to the league, even if the team was lax in reporting the injury to its opposition. As such, Rapoport believes the violation is not viewed as an egregious one, and the team may escape punishment entirely. The league’s inquiry into the matter is wrapping up, and an official decision will presumably be announced soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Wolf, Seahawks, Vikings, Rams

Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf has accepted a new contract in Green Bay and withdrawn from the 49ers’ search for a general manager, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today. He’s the second candidate this week to bow out of San Francisco’s hunt for a GM, joining Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner. One of Wolf’s colleagues in Green Bay, director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, and Vikings assistant GM George Paton are continuing to vie for the 49er job and will conduct second interviews with the team next week.

More from the NFC:

  • The Seahawks could lose a second-round pick for not disclosing cornerback Richard Sherman‘s knee injury during the season, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN. Seattle is cooperating with the NFL’s investigation, though the team doesn’t believe it deserves major punishment because Sherman didn’t miss any time on account of the ailment. Head coach Pete Carroll, who revealed Monday that Sherman had a “significant” MCL issue, could also face a fine. Last September, the league fined Carroll $200K and heavily punished the Seahawks – they received a $400K fine to go with a loss of a a fifth-round pick and a week of OTAs – after they violated its rules regarding contact practices in the offseason. As a result of this violation, the league could elevate the fifth-rounder to a second, per Mortensen. League policy clearly indicates the Seahawks were in the wrong for not listing Sherman on the injury report.
  • Pending free agent linebacker Chad Greenway is either going to re-sign with the Vikings or retire, the 34-year-old told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. “If playing in Minnesota for another year is an option — and pretty much all season, I’ve felt like this is going to be my last year — and now I’m just trying to make sure that decision is the one I want to make,” said Greenway. “I’ve lived every day like I wanted to, like it could be my last game in the NFL, and I enjoyed the season. Now I can take some time and think about it, and we’ll come to a decision real soon.” Greenway is the longest-tenured current Viking, having spent his entire career with the team since it selected him 17th overall in 2006. In 2016 – his 11th year – the remarkably durable Greenway logged his 10th season consisting of 16 appearances, though he recorded career lows in starts (nine) and tackles (41).
  • Redskins assistant defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant is likely to join ex-Washington offensive coordinator and now-Rams head coach Sean McVay‘s staff in Los Angeles, tweets Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. However, a deal isn’t done yet, notes Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post (Twitter link). The Redskins want to retain Pleasant, who just finished his fourth season with the club.

NFC Notes: Romo, Elliott, Seahawks, Graham

Quarterback Tony Romo could ask for his release this offseason, and the Cowboys should grant it, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. If that were to happen, Romo would be able to pick his next employer (perhaps Denver) and negotiate a good deal for himself, and that team wouldn’t weaken itself by giving up a draft pick(s) for the soon-to-be 37-year-old. On the other hand, Florio notes that the Cowboys have the right to seek compensation for Romo via trade, though he points out that the club could otherwise designate Dak Prescott‘s backup as a post-June 1 cut and save $14MM in cap space in 2017.

Speaking on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wasn’t willing to elaborate on what he’ll do with Romo in the coming months. “We’ve got a lot to think about here, but that’s in the future,” he said (via Todd Archer of ESPN.com). Jones did opine, though, that Romo has enough left in the tank to lead a team to a Super Bowl.

More from Dallas and another NFC city:

  • Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is unhappy with the pace of the NFL’s investigation into domestic abuse claims against him, he said after the team’s divisional-round loss to Green Bay on Sunday. “I do want closure,” Elliott told reporters, including Archer. “I would rather it not drag on this long. If there was something to find, which there’s not, they would’ve found it by now. The police did a very thorough investigation. I will tell you this — it just seems like they’re dragging their feet right now. Who knows, man? I’m just ready for it to end.” The league has been investigating Elliott since July, and it reportedly regarded him as “Public Enemy No. 1” as of November. That didn’t seem to affect Elliott on the field, as the rookie easily led the league in ground yards (1,631) and finished third in rushing touchdowns (15).
  • Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll revealed Monday that cornerback Richard Sherman played this season with a “significant” MCL injury. Sherman’s knee problem wasn’t disclosed during the year via the injury report, however, and now the NFL is “looking into” the situation, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While Seattle was clearly in violation of league policy, its unclear what type of punishment the franchise could face. Last September, of course, the league took a fifth-round pick and a week of OTAs away from the Seahawks for 2017 after they violated its rules regarding contact practices in the offseason.
  • The Seahawks would open up $10MM in spending room and incur no dead money by releasing tight end Jimmy Graham, but they’re likely to keep him for the last year of his contract, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. An extension is even a possibility after what Carroll called “a terrific year” for the longtime Saint. “We’re always looking at all of those,” Carroll stated Monday. “We know how that’s going, and those conversations come up when we can get to them. I’m glad you reminded us, but (general manager) John [Schneider] is on that.” Graham bounced back from a subpar 2015 campaign, one that ended early because of a torn patellar tendon, to finish second on the Seahawks in receptions (65), targets (95), yards (923) and touchdowns (six).

Seahawks Notes: Shead, Sherman, Willson

Seahawks starting cornerback DeShawn Shead will undergo surgery to repair a torn ACL, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Injured during the Seahawks’ divisional-round loss to the Falcons, Shead is looking at a “standard recovery” of around eight months, per Rapoport.

However, Pete Carroll described Shead’s injury as “significant”, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (on Twitter), and one that will require “a really long time” to overcome. So while this could be Carroll just not wanting to put a timeline on it, his tone indicates Shead could miss some time next season. He did not express that kind of concern about Tyler Lockett‘s availability after his late-season broken leg, so another Richard Sherman counterpart could be required in the starting lineup come the 2017 season.

The 28-year-old Shead started a career-most 15 games for Seattle this season, intercepting one pass, deflecting 14 and making 80 tackles. He will be a restricted free agent. Seattle should not have to worry about placing a $2.8MM second-round tender on Shead now that he’s suffered this injury, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets.

Here’s more coming out of Seattle.

  • Speaking of Sherman, the cornerback played this season with a “significant” MCL injury, Carroll said (via Condotta, on Twitter). Carroll described the injury as weighing on Sherman mentally. The sixth-year cornerback was not listed on the injury report for a knee malady this season, Condotta notes (on Twitter). Sherman’s name appeared on the “Not Injury Related” section of missed-practice reports this season, but the Seahawks are admitting now he was injured, creating a minor controversy. Sherman appeared on the DNP report in 11 separate weeks, Michael Cohen of SeattlePI.com tweets, with 10 such weeks being listed as NIR and the other for an ankle ailment. The All-Pro talent is under contract with the Seahawks through 2018.
  • Luke Willson, though, is an impending UFA and said he hopes to stay with the Seahawks next season. Although, the tight end said he hasn’t talked with the team about a new deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. Willson’s fourth season as a Seahawk ended as his worst statistically. He played in just 11 games and caught only 15 passes for 129 yards for an offense that featured a re-emerging Jimmy Graham.
  • Carroll sounded like he believed the current cast of offensive linemen could improve as opposed to being set on seeking upgrades, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com tweets. After a season that featured Russell Wilson battling injuries and the offensive front struggling to secure a pocket for the franchise passer, Kapadia argues standing pat here would be a mistake. The Seahawks spent the least amount of money on their offensive line this season, and Pro Football Focus graded the NFC West champions’ unit as the worst in the league.

NFC Notes: Seahawks, Thurmond, Giants

Some assorted notes from around the NFC…

  • The 2016 base salaries for several Seahawks players will be guaranteed today, tweets Joel Corry of CBSSports.com. The list includes Richard Sherman ($12.569MM), Russell Wilson ($12.342MM), Cliff Avril ($6MM) and K.J. Wright ($5.25MM). $6MM of Earl Thomas‘ $8MM 2016 salary is also guaranteed today (via Corry).
  • The Eagles and free agent safety Walter Thurmond haven’t started discussions on an extension, tweets Geoff Mosher. The two sides are expected to start talking at the NFL Combine.
  • Jordan Raanan of NJ.com puts the Giants chance of retaining cornerback Prince Amukamara at “40 percent.” With the 26-year-old expected to fetch a contract of at least $10MM annually, Raanan isn’t convinced that the team is willing to spend at the position.
  • Raanan also believes the Giants should pursue Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon. The 25-year-old is younger than Mario Williams (who is expected to be released) and he’s more dependable than Jason Pierre-Paul.

Extra Points: McCoy, Pats, Sherman, 49ers

The latest from around the NFL as Sunday’s Week 2 action draws closer:

  • A hamstring injury has hampered Bills running back LeSean McCoy since August, and it showed in a 17-carry, 41-yard performance last week in the team’s 27-14 win over Indianapolis. There’s been some question this week as to whether McCoy will play Sunday against AFC East rival New England, but the three-time Pro Bowler is expected to go, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
  • On the other hand, Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley – who suffered a hip injury early in a Week 1 win versus Pittsburgh – won’t be available to help stop McCoy, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (via Twitter).
  • Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman‘s transition from the outside to the slot could clamp down Packers No. 1 wideout Randall Cobb this week, writes Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today. The Packers have avoided testing Seattle’s all-world corner in the past. If they do again, it could go a long way toward a bounce-back performance from the Seahawks, who are coming off a 34-31 loss in St. Louis.
  • Running back Carlos Hyde was so effective in the 49ers’ 20-3 defeat of Minnesota on Monday that coordinator Geep Chryst suggested it allowed him to keep other aspects of his offense under wraps, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. If Pittsburgh slows down Hyde this week, the onus will be on quarterback Colin Kaepernick to make more plays. Hyde ran over Minnesota for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 26 rushes, while Kaepernick threw for fewer yards (165) on the same amount of attempts (26). To his credit, Kaepernick also added 41 yards on just seven carries.
  • The Steelers are cognizant of Kaepernick’s ability to run, and they’re hoping to force the 27-year-old to beat them with his arm. “Obviously, the plan is not let (Kaepernick) get out in the open field,” said safety Michael Mitchell, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They have a scrambling quarterback and a downhill running back, but we always have to account for Kaepernick.” Added linebacker Ryan Shazier, “We have to make him throw the ball.”

Extra Points: Pats, Julio, Fluker, Cooper

The DeflateGate scandal reentered the news Thursday when Mark Baltz, the NFL’s head linesman from 1989-2013, voiced his suspicion regarding recently reinstated Patriots employee Jim McNally. In response, Jim Daopoulos – the league’s ex-supervisor of officials and one of Baltz’s former bosses – defended McNally.

“In all my years working with locker-room attendants, Jim McNally, without a doubt, is probably one of the most professional of all the locker-room attendants in the National Football League,” Daopoulos said, according to CSNNE.com. “And that can be attested by all the officials working in the National Football League.”

“I really don’t know what Mark’s agenda is right here,” Daopoulos added.

Other news from around the league:

  • Although Falcons star receiver Julio Jones has been limited this week with a hamstring injury, head coach Dan Quinn says there’s “zero” chance he’ll miss their game Sunday, per The Associated Press. Jones lit up the Eagles for nine catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns in Monday’s win. He’ll look to do something similar against the Giants this week.
  • Chargers guard D.J. Fluker was carted off the field with an ankle injury during the team’s Week 1 win over Detroit, and there was concern that he’d miss anywhere from four to six weeks. Instead, Fluker will only miss a couple weeks, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. In the meantime, Chris Hairston will take his spot as the starting right guard.
  • Raiders receiver Amari Cooper harbors no ill will toward Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who avoided a suspension after ripping Cooper’s helmet off his head and slamming his head against the ground in Cincy’s win last week. “I didn’t want him to get suspended,” Cooper said, per Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “He was just playing football and playing physical like you’re supposed to. I’m past all that now. I’m trying to focus on the Ravens.” (Twitter links: 1; 2).
  • Seahawks rookie defensive end Frank Clark is a situation player – for now, anyway – and using Richard Sherman in the slot enables the team to get its three best cornerbacks on the field, D-coordinator Kris Richard said (Twitter link via The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).
  • The Colts’ decision to waive/injured running back Vick Ballard prior to Week 1 remains a curious one, writes Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. They did it to open up a spot for inside linebacker Josh McNary, but they have a logjam of ILBs. On the other hand, they’re lacking at running back behind starter Frank Gore.

Fallout From Bobby Wagner Extension

Let’s take a look at how Bobby Wagner‘s new four-year, $43MM deal impacts his club and several other teams with linebackers anticipating a new contract.

Seahawks

  • ESPN’s Andrew Brandt tweets that the Seahawks structured Russell Wilson‘s extension to give them maximum salary cap room for this season, thereby allowing them to sign Wagner to a long-term contract. As such, the team will probably need Wilson to restructure his deal a couple years from now.
  • Wagner made some waves on Friday when he tweeted “Can’t keep everyone.” As former NFL agent Joel Corry tweets, that message may end up applying to Seattle left tackle Russell Okung, whose contract expires at the end of this year. Bruce Irvin, who is also eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of 2015, may also be playing his last year in a Seahawks uniform.
  • The Wagner extension has inevitably called attention to the contract situations of Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett, who are both unhappy with their current deals (Chancellor, of course, has decided to hold out of training camp). Corry tweets that, if the Seahawks address Chancellor’s contract, it would “create an issue” with Bennett. Chancellor does have three years left on his contract, so should the Seahawks rework his deal in any way, Corry tweets that Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas will both expect the same treatment in 2016.
  • Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times believes the Seahawks will likely want to keep guard J.R. Sweezy, who is playing in the last year of his contract, but it is too early to say how the team will approach impending free agent punter Jon Ryan (Twitter links).

Buccaneers

  • Rand Getlin of the NFL Network tweets that the Wagner deal was “always going to inform the Lavonte David deal,” a sentiment shared by several other prominent scribes. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, though, is not so sure. Fitzgerald points out (via Twitter) that David and Wagner play completely different positions and that David, as a non-pass rushing outside linebacker, is likely to land around $3MM less per season than Wagner.
  • In any event, Getlin tweets that David and the Bucs will continue to talk over the coming days, and both sides are reportedly motivated to strike a deal.
  • Corry tweets that Tampa Bay prefers contracts longer than four years when it comes to extending its best players, so that may be what the team is aiming for with David.

Lions

  • DeAndre Levy, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of this season, saw Wagner’s deal and hopes to remain with the Lions, but he said he will leave all contract talk to his agent (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press).

NFC Links: Romo, Davis, Seahawks

The NFL nixed next month’s inaugural National Fantasy Football Convention headed by Tony Romo due its proximity to casino property. The event was set for July 10-12 at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

Romo and other players who planned to participate could’ve been fined or suspended by doing so since it’s been a long-held league policy that players and personnel cannot hold events at casinos or participate in those connected to them. The sessions, however, were going to ensue at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which doesn’t have gambling on site.

Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and others were set to join Romo at this event. The contingent of players was reportedly due more than $1MM in appearance fees.

NFL has canceled our fantasy football convention this year in Vegas and that is disappointing. I’m sad for the fans and players,” Romo tweeted.

Here are some other late-afternoon notes from the NFC.

  • Jim Tomsula learned of Anthony Davis‘ plans via text message before Friday’s OTA practice, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News reports. Inman notes some 49ers players likely knew of Davis’ intentions, but when one overheard it from a staffer, he replied, “Are you serious?” Inman designates Trent Brown as the primary successor option on the right edge.
  • In light of Junior Galette‘s recent pectoral injury that has him seeking additional opinions before committing to a recovery course of action, the Saints may further limit their top pass-pursuer to pass-rushing situations only when and if he returns this season, Nick Underhill of TheAdvocate.com reports. Anthony Spencer will have more of a certain role now, and Cameron Jordan may have to rush mostly from the outside on passing downs instead of taking on guards from a defensive tackle slot as he did at points last season.
  • Of the Legion of Boom bastions that reportedly needed offseason surgery, only Earl Thomas underwent a procedure, while Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are now fully healthy despite avoiding operations, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Jeremy Lane, however, likely won’t be ready for the start of the season with knee and arm maladies. Will Blackmon as a result has the inside track on the Seahawks‘ nickel spot.
  • Down about 30 pounds to 320, Alvin Bailey will almost certainly be the Hawks’ new left guard, replacing the departed James Carpenter, notes Condotta in a series of observations from Seattle’s OTA sessions.