Scot McCloughan

AFC North Notes: Browns, Perriman, Bell

Former Redskins and 49ers GM Scot McCloughan is not working for the Browns this offseason, GM John Dorsey told reporters (via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal). McCloughan hooked on with the Browns as a consultant last year and championed Baker Mayfield as the top selection in the buildup to the draft. The exec has consulted with multiple teams as a freelancer in recent years, so he may continue on that front in advance of the 2019 draft.

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • Dorsey has spoken with wide receiver Breshad Perriman multiple times at the combine (via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer). There’s mutual interest between the Browns and the speedster, though he could garner sizable offers amidst a weak free agent class for the position. The former first-round pick caught only 16 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns in his ten games with the Browns, but he made some big plays.
  • The Steelers opted against using the transition tag on Le’Veon Bell because the league informed them that it would cost $14.54MM, not the sub-$10MM figure they were hoping for (via PFT). Had the league given the Steelers the news they were hoping for, they could have tagged Bell and worked to trade him in exchange for draft capital.
  • Ravens free agent tight end Nick Boyle has almost 20 teams interested in his services, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Boyle doesn’t quite light up a stat sheet, but he has blossomed into one of the league’s best blocking tight ends. The high level of interest in Boyle jibes with what Pauline has heard about this year’s draft – this year’s best TEs are likely to be overdrafted.

Extra Points: Packers, Martin, Draft, Raiders

Bashaud Breeland‘s workout parade concluded in Green Bay, but his Packers contract is nearly its expiration. The veteran cornerback would re-enter the market in a better position, doing so a year after a golf cart-related injury harpooned his value. But Breeland, who said many teams would not medically clear him after his foot injury, would be interested if the Packers approached him about staying before he hit the market. Although, he said the Packers have not discussed an extension with him yet.

If I have the opportunity, I would,” Breeland said, via Ryan Wood of Packersnews.com, of a possible extension or offseason Packers re-signing. “At this point in time, the Green Bay Packers have first dibs because I’m here. They can make it happen at any moment.”

The Packers are not known as extravagant spenders but are keen on locking up their own talent. Breeland has only played in four Packers games, but on Sunday, the former Redskins starter recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a score. Both Tramon Williams and Davon House‘s contacts expire at season’s end as well, but the Packers still have recent high draft picks Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson and Kevin King locked up long-term. Next year’s cornerback market may include the likes of Darqueze Dennard, Ronald Darby, Bradley Roby and Bryce Callahan while also housing veterans Morris Claiborne, Kareem Jackson and Brent Grimes.

Here is the latest from around the league as Week 14 winds down.

  • Zack Martin re-aggravated his MCL sprain during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys‘ overtime win over the Eagles on Sunday, and Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes the All-Pro guard will likely be limited in practice this week. Martin has never missed a start in his five-year career, but MCL sprains are often multi-week injuries. The possibility Martin misses multiple games in order to right himself for an expected playoff game is on the table, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. If Martin does sit against the Colts, Connor Williams would start at right guard, per Archer.
  • So far, the prevailing word surrounding possible top-five pick Justin Herbert is another year in Eugene, Ore. But longtime evaluator Gil Brandt, now with NFL.com, tweets he would make substantial bet that the Oregon quarterback declares for the 2019 draft and becomes a top-five selection. Teams like the Giants, Jaguars and Buccaneers would likely be interested if Herbert left early.
  • Texas Tech wide receiver Antoine Wesley will depart school early. Responsible for 1,410 yards this season — third-most in Red Raiders history behind Michael Crabtree and Keke Coutee — Wesley announced Monday (on Twitter) he will leave Lubbock and head to the NFL.
  • Scot McCloughan could be a name to watch in the Raiders‘ GM or de facto GM search, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The former Redskins and 49ers GM interviewed with the Raiders for a position under Reggie McKenzie after the 2014 season, but Tafur notes McCloughan wanted personnel control. He then took Washington’s GM job before an ugly divorce. Jon Gruden and McCloughan’s tenures in Green Bay briefly overlapped in the mid-1990s, and Tafur notes McCloughan got along well with Jay Gruden in Washington.
  • The Broncos worked out 15 players on Monday. Defensive linemen Winston Craig, Jon Cunningham, Marcus Hardison and Christian Lacouture took part in the group audition, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Defensive backs Jude Adjei-Barimah, Sojourn Shelton and Henre’ Toliver joined linebacker Greer Martini in working out in Denver, per Klis.

Scot McCloughan Loses Grievance

An NFL arbitrator has ruled for the Redskins in a grievance dispute between the team and former general manager Scot McCloughan, as Liz Clarke and Mark Maske of The Washington Post write. McCloughan was seeking to collect on approximately $2.8MM, the amount left on his four-year deal at the time of his firing in 2017. There is no avenue of appeal under the NFL’s system, so it appears that the case is closed. 

[RELATED: Redskins RB Byron Marshall Designated For Return]

The Redskins enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 19 years on McCloughan’s watch, though the Redskins asserted that he was fired “for cause.” After he was let go, the Redskins’ team-owned radio station speculated that he was fired for alcohol abuse. An anonymous team official later told a local paper that McCloughan was canned because he came into the office drunk.

McCloughan, who is well-regarded by many in the league, now runs a private scouting service from his home in Colorado. The Browns enlisted his help in the 2018 draft and it’s likely that other teams have also leaned on his advice.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Scot McCloughan No Longer With Browns

This offseason, new Browns GM John Dorsey brought Scot McCloughan on board as a consultant. But, after a front office shakeup, the former Redskins GM is no longer exclusive to the team, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes. 

McCloughan, who helped steer the Browns towards selecting quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, has returned to consulting for multiple teams through his private company. Despite a messy divorce with the Redskins, it would not be surprising to see McCloughan back in the GM conversation for another team down the line.

While several long-time Browns scouts have been pushed out, Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry remains safe thanks to his relationship with team owners, Cabot hears. However, something will have to give as the Browns have three player personnel VPs in Berry, Alonzo Highsmith, and Ken Kovash.

The new-look Browns still have work to do as they sort out their front office, including talks on a new deal with running back Duke Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Rumors: Mayfield, Haley, Ward

While the Baker Mayfield/Browns noise didn’t intensify until draft week, the newly assembled front office viewed the Oklahoma product well independently before arriving in Cleveland. John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf and consultant Scot McCloughan all had Mayfield atop the quarterback class, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes, with Alonzo Highsmith subsequently joining them. Using the Packers’ grading system the Browns do now, Dorsey, Wolf and McCloughan — who has long praised the 2017 Heisman Trophy recipient — each put Mayfield atop their respective lists prior to coming to Cleveland. While a report emerged earlier this week indicating Sam Darnold may well have been more teams’ top-rated QB in this class, Cabot reports four teams — three AFC squads and one in the NFC — had Mayfield as this class’ No. 1 quarterback. Two other teams, per Cabot, provided strong indications he was their top QB choice.

Here’s the latest from Cleveland, including more about the Browns’ signal-caller situation.

  • While the Browns are certainly higher on Mayfield than they were on DeShone Kizer or Cody Kessler, the memories of neither rookie winning a game are still fresh with Hue Jackson. And he reiterated this weekend he’s not going to deviate from Tyrod Taylor atop the QB depth chart. “I’m not going to back off of this,” Jackson said, via Cabot. “We can keep writing this narrative, Tyrod Taylor’s the starting quarterback of this football team, and that won’t change. … Tyrod has demonstrated every day what it’s like to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. I want some of that to rub off on (Mayfield) so he can see firsthand what it means to play quarterback in the National Football League. Baker doesn’t know.”
  • The Browns had close to the same grade on Mayfield and Saquon Barkley, Pat McManamon of ESPN.com notes. While this could mean the Browns placed a slightly higher grade on the Penn State-produced running back, Dorsey felt the need at quarterback and the fact he could land a promising running back prospect in the second round (Nick Chubb went to Cleveland at No. 35) tipped the scales for Mayfield. Cleveland was long connected to a quarterback at No. 1, and Barkley was not believed to be a serious consideration.
  • Todd Haley‘s arrival in northeast Ohio will mean full autonomy of the Browns’ offense, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes. Both Jackson and Mayfield will spend time this summer learning Haley’s playbook. Jackson will be taking a CEO-style approach this year instead of calling plays, as he has the past two seasons. But it still sounds like some of the third-year HC’s concepts will be included in Haley’s offense.
  • The Browns had Denzel Ward and Bradley Chubb ranked equally on their board, and need won out, Dorsey said during a radio interview on 92.3 The Fan (via Cabot). Ward’s ability to play press coverage well made him DC Gregg Williams‘ preference, too.

North Notes: Vikings, Browns, McCarron

Now that’s been declared an unrestricted free agent, Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron says he’s “open to everything,” according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s just awesome just to be free now and to hopefully get that opportunity and be able to compete somewhere,” said McCarron. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted. I’m just super excited.” McCarron, who won a grievance against the Bengals, will now join a free agent signal-caller class that includes Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, and Sam Bradford, among others. In what sounds like speculation, the Browns (who nearly traded for McCarron last year) and the Vikings are two team to “keep an eye on” as McCarron hits the open market, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Steelers rank as a bottom-three NFL club in terms of 2018 cap space, and they’ll likely clear more room by releasing defensive backs Mike Mitchell and J.J. Wilcox over the coming weeks, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Pittsburgh can clear $5MM by cutting the 30-year-old Mitchell, and Dulac says it’s “become apparent” to the Steelers coaching staff that Mitchell can’t run as well as he used to. Wilcox, meanwhile, was a preseason trade acquisition who ended up playing only 14% of the Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps a year ago. If the Steelers do end up altering their defensive backfield, former second-round pick Sean Davis will likely transition from strong to free safety.
  • While Mitchell and Wilcox could be forced off the Steelers‘ roster, offensive tackle Chris Hubbard is likely to leave of his own accord, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Hubbard, 26, had only started four games during the first three years of his career, but was inserted into Pittsburgh’s lineup for 10 games in 2017. During that time, Hubbard offered league-average production, grading as the No. 40 tackle among 81 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Per Fowler, Hubbard is going to “get paid elsewhere, and the Steelers know it.”
  • Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman is expected to retire or be released, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Freeman, 31, inked a three-year, $12MM contract with Chicago prior to the 2016 season, but injuries and two performance-enhancing drug suspensions have limited him to just 13 games over the past two years. Without Freeman, the Bears will likely field Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkowski at inside linebacker.
  • Updating a previous report, former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan is indeed still running his scouting service and has not been hired full-time by the Browns, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. McCloughan is providing consulting work for multiple NFL clubs.

Latest On Browns, Baker Mayfield

Shortly after Super Bowl LII’s conclusion, the Browns continued planning their exhaustive research process about the 2018 quarterback class. Baker Mayfield looks to feature prominently in this pre-draft routine.

The Browns contacted the Heisman Trophy winner and set up a pre-draft visit, Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com reports, adding this doubles as Mayfield’s first invite.

Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, however, notes nothing is finalized about a Mayfield summit yet. But it’s expected. Cabot reports the Browns will bring in all of the top quarterback prospects for visits before the draft. They’ve been connected to four passers in what promises to be a unique offseason.

Part of the complexity now comes from Scot McCloughan, whom the Browns are using as a consultant during the process. A scouting guru, the former Redskins GM could be working toward a full-time role with the Browns, Cabot notes. And he hasn’t made his Mayfield feelings much of a secret.

McCloughan has praised Mayfield during multiple radio interviews, and by the time he made pro-Mayfield comments on Jan. 18, Cabot reports he was already moving toward his consulting role with the Browns. During the interview, McCloughan said he would take Mayfield over Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.

He is a competitive guy. He wears it on his sleeve from the standpoint of emotions,” McCloughan said (via Denver-based 104.3 The Fan). “He plays with strength throughout his body, and the fact that he’s just a football player — it’s impressive. It’s a really good class this year coming out in the draft for quarterbacks. But I know this, if I was going to play one game tomorrow, he’d be my guy — hands down.”

Considering the influence he’ll have in the coming months, these comments are certainly illuminating. Cabot reports McCloughan was talking up Mayfield to John Dorsey at the Senior Bowl last month.

As a Seahawks exec, McCloughan helped make the decision to use a third-round pick on 6-foot Russell Wilson. Considering the troubles the Browns have experienced at quarterback since rebooting their franchise, and the current pick they hold, this decision qualifies as a much higher-profile call.

Both Dorsey and Hue Jackson prefer taller quarterbacks, per Cabot, who previously wrote she doesn’t expect Mayfield to be the top Browns choice. Few mock drafts have him going to Cleveland. Klemko ranks the Browns as Mayfield’s most likely landing spot and adds his experience and football aptitude could sway Dorsey, who said Patrick Mahomes‘ ability to process some of Andy Reid‘s playbook during the parties’ pre-draft summit helped influence the Chiefs’ decision to trade up for the raw Texas Tech passer.

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.

East Rumors: Jets, McCown, Giants, Redskins

Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will be a restricted free agent next spring, and though he missed the entire 2017 season with a neck injury, the Jets will likely still offer him a RFA tender, tweets Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. The 25-year-old Enunwa broke out for 58 receptions, 857 yards, and four touchdowns a season ago, so New York is apparently comfortable tendering him despite his recent injury history. Given those health questions, however, Enunwa will likely receive only an original round tender, which should be worth roughly $2MM next year. If he is re-signed, Enunwa will add another dimension to a Jets receiving corps that also includes Robby Anderson and rookies Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Jets have been open about their willingness to re-sign quarterback Josh McCown, but the veteran signal-caller hasn’t officially decided if he’ll return for another NFL season, according to Bob Glauber of Newsday. McCown, 38, has four children who don’t live in the New York area, meaning family concerns will play a role in McCown’s future. Given that he’s arguably posting the best season of his career, McCown is expected to start the Jets’ remaining games even though the club has several younger options on the roster. For what it’s worth, New York offensive coordinator John Morton has been vocal his desire to continue working with McCown, writes Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News.
  • Rookie quarterback Davis Webb‘s status with the Giants is now uncertain following the firing of general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo, especially given that Webb was considered “McAdoo’s guy,” tweets Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. McAdoo reportedly “pushed for [Webb] in every round” of the 2017 draft, and New York ultimately selected Webb in the third round. The Giants turned to veteran backup Geno Smith in Week 13, but will apparently start Eli Manning for the remainder of the season, leaving open the question of whether Webb is in the club’s long-term plans.
  • Former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan‘s arbitration hearing against the team will begin next week, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who adds owner Daniel Snyder, team president Bruce Allen, and head coach Jay Gruden could be required to testify. Washington will reportedly attempt to use McCloughan’s history of alcohol abuse as a fireable offense, while McCloughan will argue that he rarely drank while employed with the Redskins.

NFC Notes: Keenum, Garoppolo, Beathard, Hyde, McCloughan

Case Keenum and the Vikings are now 7-2 after beating a tough Redskins squad today on the road. The third-string quarterback has been of the bigger surprise of stories of the season, especially with his play of late. Apart from leading his team to victory in their last five contests, the 29 year-old signal caller has thrown for 8 touchdowns during that stretch and collected his second 300 yard game of the season during today’s win.

Keenum’s inspiring play of late has kept him ahead of the now healthy Teddy Bridgewater on the depth chart and has Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports saying that the quarterback deserves to be re-signed by the team this season’s end. In a column published tonight, the veteran NFL analyst suggests that Keenum should be the priority of the Vikings three upcoming free agent QB’s (Keenum, Bridgewater and Sam Bradford) because of the other two quarterback’s history of injury issues.

La Canfora notes that Keenum brings a sense of mobility to the position that the team won’t have in the other signal callers and just seems to be getting better as he continues to get playing time. It’s a story that you couldn’t imagine seeing at the start of the offseason, but makes sense now considering the circumstances that have unfolded in Minnesota. There’s a ton of talent that could become available this offseason, but Keenum has made his case to the Vikings for why he should get some serious consideration as a legitimate starting option moving forward.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo almost made his San Francisco debut into today’s win over the Giants after starting quarterback C.J. Beathard injured his thumb. However, the rookie signal caller toughed out the injury and was able to finish off the victory. While the 49ers are now no longer winless, the team does intend to start their newly acquired QB in Week 12, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. But, head coach Kyle Shanahan offered a different view of the situation in his postgame press conference. “No, that never was the plan,” the first year head coach told the media. “As I told you guys, I’m taking it week by week so I don’t have to really pause on everything. I’m looking forward to seeing our guys tomorrow so we can review this and coach up. Take a team photo and try to get away from each other for a while. We’ll continue to work with Jimmy over the bye week here and there. We’ll have a bonus practice next Monday to get everyone loose and we’ll see where it goes from there. It’s not just about C.J. or just about Jimmy, there’s a lot of things that go into it,” (via Schefter). It remains to seen what will unfold regarding the 49ers QB depth chart after the team’s bye in Week 11, but there’s no doubt that Garoppolo is getting more comfortable in the offense and was ready to go if Beathard wasn’t able to continue playing.
  • In other 49ers news, running back Carlos Hyde went on the record before today’s win to address his upcoming free agency. At least for now the lead back doesn’t want to discuss a deal with his current team, according to Cam Inman of The Mercury News“I spoke to my agent about it, but I told him I don’t want to talk about contract extensions or anything like that right now,” Hyde said Thursday. “I want to focus on getting our first win, finishing the season off. I told him if we get to that point, then we can talk about it.” Now even though San Francisco is in the win column, it would be a lot to expect a change in heart from the 26 year-old. Hyde could be in line for a solid contract from his current franchise or potentially another RB needy team. The fourth-year back has hasn’t broke the 100 yard marker in any game this season, but has managed to put up decent numbers in an offense without a reliable passing game. He’s just one of many running backs available on the current list of 2018 Free Agents.
  • In off the field news, former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan is set to have his grievance hearing on December 18, according to Pro Football Talk. McCloughan has filed the lawsuit because he wants to be paid the remainder of the balance left on his contract. Washington argues that they should not pay their former G.M. because he was fired for alcohol abuse.