Chargers Rumors

Chris Harris Confirms Chargers Role

  • Chris Harris confirmed he will play a familiar role with the Chargers. The ex-Broncos standout will play both outside and in the slot, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (on Twitter). While Harris played mostly on the outside in 2019, he earned All-Decade acclaim by playing both roles during his previous Broncos seasons. With Casey Hayward and Desmond King in the fold, the Bolts figure to have considerable versatility in their Derwin James-led secondary this season.

Latest On Chargers' Potential QB Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic will make rookies’ transitions more difficult, and quarterbacks will face a tough learning curve. As a result, Tyrod Taylor is expected to open the season as the Chargers‘ starting quarterback, Daniel Popper of The Athletic writes (subscription required). That arrangement may continue for a while. No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert will likely sit at least eight games, Popper predicts, noting that the Bolts are preaching patience with their first Round 1 quarterback pick in 16 years. Anthony Lynn said in early April that Taylor was the Bolts’ starter “for now.” Taylor is undoubtedly a bridge quarterback again, but this bridge may be longer than the one the Browns used to get to Baker Mayfield two years ago.

  • Defensive lineman Damion Square and the Chargers have expressed mutual interest about another contract, Popper notes. The Bolts originally picked up Square in 2014 and re-signed him in 2017 and ’19. The former UDFA would provide a veteran presence on a defensive line housing Pro Bowlers Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Linval Joseph up front but little experience behind them. Square, now 31, has seen time at defensive tackle and D-end with the Bolts. He started 11 games for the 2018 Chargers, registering three sacks that season.

NFL To Vote On Major Rule Changes

The NFL figures to look mighty different in 2020. On Tuesday, owners will vote on the following rule proposals, per a press release from the league office: 

  • From the Eagles: An alternative to the onside kick, that would allow the trailing team a chance to keep the ball after scoring by going for it on a 4th-and-15 play from the kicking team’s 25-yard line. As Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) notes, this is similar to the rule used by the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.
  • From the Eagles: A permanent expansion of automatic replay to including “scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful/ unsuccessful try attempt.”
  • From the Dolphins: Give the defense the option to have the clock to start on the referee’s signal, if the defense declines an offensive penalty late in the first or second half.
  • From the Ravens and Chargers: The addition of a “booth umpire” as well as the addition of a “Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee” to assist officials.
  • Increased “defenseless player protection” for a kick or punt returner who is “in possession of the ball but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.” (from the Competition Committee)
  • Cutting down on game clock manipulation by disallowing “multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.” (from the Competition Committee)

The Eagles’ proposed amendment to the league’s onside kick is the boldest of the bunch, and support is growing among owners, Pelissero hears (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the Ravens/Chargers idea for a “sky judge” also has momentum (Twitter link). Either way, Pelissero gets the sense that some version of that concept will be tested in the preseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Re-Sign OL Ryan Groy

The Chargers announced that they’ve re-signed offensive lineman Ryan Groy, who appeared in nine games for the club in 2019.

Groy, 29, has served mostly as a backup during his six-year NFL career, but that could prove to be a critical role on Los Angeles’ roster in 2020. Chargers center Maurkice Pouncey missed most of the 2019 campaign with a neck injury, and while he was recently medically cleared, there’s always a chance Groy could be asked to fill in at the pivot. New right guard Trai Turner, meanwhile, has missed three games in each of the past three years, so there could be ample opportunity for Groy to play.

An undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin in 2014, Groy has appeared in 65 games and made 17 starts throughout his NFL tenure. After spending his rookie campaign with the Bears, Groy played for the Bills for four years before joining the Chargers last October.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Chargers HC: We Took “A Look” At Cam Newton

The Chargers have been mentioned as one of the likeliest landing spots for quarterback Cam Newton ever since the Panthers released the former MVP. Even after Los Angeles added Justin Herbert in this year’s draft, Newton was still considered a possibility given that he — if healthy — would represent an upgrade over presumptive starting signal-caller Tyrod Taylor.

And the Chargers themselves did give the matter some thought. In a recent interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio (story via Jordan Dajani of CBS Sports), Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn conceded that the Bolts considered signing Newton.

“Absolutely, Cam is a tremendous quarterback,” Lynn said. “He’s been MVP of this league, he’s led his team to the Super Bowl and he’s healthy now from what I hear. Cam is going to be on somebody’s roster and he’s going to help somebody win a few games, but yeah, we did take a look at that, sure.”

Lynn previously indicated that he was interested in Newton, but this marks the first time that he explicitly said so. When asked why the Chargers passed on the three-time Pro Bowler, Lynn reiterated his feelings towards his current QBs.

“I feel really good about the quarterback room that I have,” he said. “With Tyrod Taylor, Easton Stick — those are guys that a lot of people don’t talk about, but [Stick] was a Division I AA — he won like three national championships. He’s a hell of a leader, hell of a professional and I think he has a bright future in this league one day.”

When factoring Herbert into the mix, it certainly seems as if Newton is no longer a candidate for the Chargers, barring injury. The same can be said for the Patriots, another club viewed as a potential suitor. So Newton, who has said that he is willing to be patient, will need to wait for an injury to, or an extremely disappointing performance from, a current starting quarterback if he wants a QB1 role in 2020. However, he may be warming to the idea of a backup role, which would give him a chance to re-establish himself and perhaps become the best free agent QB available in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers’ Mike Pouncey Medically Cleared

Chargers center Mike Pouncey, who missed most of the 2019 season with a neck injury, has been medically cleared, as Pouncey himself told reporters this morning (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). In April, GM Tom Telesco provided a positive status report (Twitter link via Fernando Ramirez of NBC Sports), and Pouncey has now taken the last step in his recovery.

[RELATED: Chargers Interested In Jason Peters?] 

Pouncey, a four-time Pro Bowler, suffered the neck injury in an early October game and was forced to undergo surgery. It was just one of several injuries for the Bolts in 2019, but this one was serious enough to have lifelong ramifications. Fortunately, Pouncey appears to have dodged a major bullet.

Pouncey spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Dolphins before his release in 2018. The Chargers gladly picked him up off the pile and he turned in a Pro Bowl performance for his new team. Then, before the start of last season, he inked a one-year, $9MM deal to extend his stay through 2020.

When Pouncey went down last year, the Chargers moved Dan Feeney from left guard to the middle to replace Pouncey, and plugged Forrest Lamp into Feeney’s spot. They also used 2018 fifth-round pick Scott Quessenberry to help fill the void. Of course, they will be much better off with the 30-year-old (31 in July) on the field.

The Bolts did not select an interior offensive lineman in this year’s draft, which is perhaps indicative of their faith in Pouncey’s successful return.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jason Peters’ Market

Connected to a possible return to the Eagles for what would be a 12th season in Philadelphia, Jason Peters remains a free agent. And he either is attempting to convince teams he can be an option for longer than one season or he believes he will legitimately play into his 40s.

The decorated left tackle has said that he feels great and views playing past 40 as realistic, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (video link). While the Eagles and Peters appear to be in a holding pattern for now, Garafolo adds other teams have engaged in discussions with the 38-year-old blocker.

Teams like the Broncos and Chargers make sense for a stopgap left tackle. Neither drafted one, and the Bolts now have a new quarterback investment — in No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert — and a glaring vacancy at left tackle after trading Russell Okung to the Panthers for Trai Turner. The Broncos, Bolts, Browns and Jets could be suitors, per James Palmer of NFL.com, but nothing concrete has emerged on Peters beyond a potential Eagles return. The Browns and Jets drafted tackles in Round 1, and each is expected to start in Week 1.

Denver did not pick up Garett Bolles‘ fifth-year option but was also not in the mix for Trent Williams, Palmer adds. As of now, the Broncos’ plan is for Bolles and swing man Elijah Wilkinson — who started at right tackle for most of 2019 due to Ja’Wuan James‘ injury issues — to battle for the left tackle spot. The Broncos carry just more than $17MM in cap space; the Chargers hold $22MM-plus. Both teams were active in March, adding several new starters, and the Broncos loaded up on offensive playmakers in the draft. Each AFC West squad, though, has a big question at left tackle.

As for Peters’ plans of playing past 40, that would certainly be a rare occurrence for his position. Hall of Fame right tackle Jackie Slater and Ray Brown, who primarily played guard in his 20-year career, are the only tackles in NFL history to suit up for age-40 seasons. Andrew Whitworth, however, just re-signed a multiyear deal with the Rams. He will turn 39 later this year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/5/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

  • Waived: WR Reggie White

New York Jets