Tevin Coleman

Eagles Pursued Tevin Coleman

Eagles top personnel executive Howie Roseman‘s track record with respect to expenditures for, and evaluation of, running backs is not a strong one, which we discussed a bit last week. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in reviewing that track record again, said that the Eagles did go after a running back in the first wave of free agency this year, but for some reason they fell short in their pursuit.

McLane reports that Philadelphia had targeted former Falcons running back Tevin Coleman, whom running backs coach Duce Staley said was the best back on the market (even though the market also included Le’Veon Bell and Mark Ingram). Coleman, though, ultimately signed a modest two-year pact with the 49ers, and McLane is unsure as to why Roseman was unable to close the deal. Coleman may have preferred to reunite with Kyle Shanahan, the former Falcons OC who is now San Francisco’s head coach, but Roseman had the money and the playing time opportunity to entice Coleman.

Now, Philadelphia still needs to upgrade the position, which is probably the weakest on the roster. McLane suggests that the club could look to trade for the Bears’ Jordan Howard or the Browns’ Duke Johnson, though he questions how willing Roseman would be to give up even a late-round draft pick for backs that are available for a reason (plus, while the team does not necessarily need a lead runner in the traditional sense, Johnson is an imperfect fit given that he is better as a receiver than as a running back).

Similarly, McLane does not believe the remaining backs on the free agent market — currently headed by T.J. Yeldon and Isaiah Crowell — are legitimate targets for Roseman. He thinks the Eagles, who have two picks in the second round and two in the fourth, could use one of those selections on an RB, especially given that this year’s draft class of running backs offers plenty of talent in the middle rounds. But given Roseman’s past, even that is far from a sure thing.

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49ers Sign Tevin Coleman

The 49ers have signed running back Tevin Coleman to a two-year, $10MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

San Francisco was surprisingly in the running back market even after inking Jerick McKinnon to a four-year, $30MM contract last offseason. McKinnon, of course, missed the entire 2018 season after tearing his ACL, and it wouldn’t result in a significant financial hit for the 49ers to part ways with him. SF reportedly also pursued Le’Veon Bell before he signed with the Jets.

For Coleman, a $5MM annual value is the disappointing result of a disappointing campaign. Coleman witnessed the Falcons give starting running back Devonta Freeman an $8.25MM annual average on a 2017 extension, all but ensuring Coleman wouldn’t be back in Atlanta when his contract expired. When Freeman went down in 2018, Coleman wasn’t able to capitalize with his expanded work load on the ground. While he managed 4.8 yards per carry, Coleman was also among the least efficient backs in the league, per Football Outsiders‘ metrics.

Where Coleman does excel is in the passing game. He’s posted at least 25 receptions in each of the past three seasons, while FO ranked him as a top-20 back in terms of receiving efficiency. Matt Breida, who took over as the 49ers’ starting back once McKinnon went down, isn’t much of a pass-catcher, so Coleman would complement him well. But if Coleman is taking over as San Francisco’s receiving back, McKinnon might not have a role (or a job).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Rumors: Coleman, Panthers, Olsen

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff gave an indication on the future status of running back Tevin Coleman, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes.

“Tevin’s going to do well, wherever he is,” he said.

The stumble of words just goes to confirm what many have expected: That Coleman will not be back with the Falcons in 2019. Projected as the No. 2 free agent running back behind Le’Veon Bell, the Indiana product is due for a big payday. That wasn’t likely to come from the Falcons, who already have the league’s third-highest-paid running back on the roster in Devonta Freeman.

The Falcons also have a capable backup ready to take Coleman’s role in Ito Smith, who gained 315 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. While it won’t be with the Falcons, Coleman is sure to command a primary back role with another team after showcasing a dual-threat skill set in his time in Atlanta.

Here’s more from around the NFC South:

  • If the Panthers are to bring in a new quarterback in 2019, head coach Ron Rivera said it is more likely to come through the draft rather than free agency, Panthers team writer Bill Voth tweets. That would take them out of the hunt for a proven veteran backup to Cam Newton, who dealt with injuries throughout the 2018 season.
  • Sticking with the Panthers, tight end Greg Olsen has met with ESPN about opportunities but that does not include the Monday Night Football post that was vacated yesterday when Jason Witten returned to the Cowboys, The Athletic’s Joseph Person writes. Those talks could eventually come, but the Panthers fully expect the veteran tight end to return to the field in 2019.
  • The Falcons view Ty Sambrailo as the team’s starting right tackle over Ryan Schraeder, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter writes. Sambrailo moved past Schraeder on the depth chart last season and started the final game at right guard. He will stay at right tackle because it’s easier to find guards and Sambrailo’s ability to pass protect, head coach Dan Quinn said.
  • The Saints have hired Declan Doyle to be an offensive assistant coach, Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune writes. Doyle previously worked as an offensive student assistant at the University of Iowa.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Coleman, Bucs

Here’s a look at the NFC South:

  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff says that he has no interest in trading running back Tevin Coleman this offseason (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). Previously, Dimitroff indicated that he could see a scenario of extending Coleman even though the team has already paid Devonta Freeman. Last year, Coleman totaled 628 rushing yards and four touchdowns plus 27 catches for 299 yards. For what it’s worth, that’s 122 less receiving yards than he had in 2016 and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average was down from 4.4 over the previous two seasons.
  • Pending Buccaneers free agent T.J. Ward is a player to watch in free agency, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Ward started only five of his 12 games for the Bucs last year and graded out as the No. 58 ranked safety in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. That’s a big dropoff from his three straight Pro Bowls from 2013-2015 and his January arrest doesn’t help matters either. Still, in a shallow safety pool, Rapoport expects Ward to draw interest. Whether that comes to fruition or not, it’s not expected that Ward will be back with the Bucs.
  • The Falcons know that they’ll have some tough choices to make as they create room for quarterback Matt Ryan‘s next deal. “We all know that as we start nearing the signing of quarterbacks in this league, and especially quarterbacks of Matt Ryan’s status, you have to be very creative,” Dimitroff said on 680 The Fan (via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “There are going to be some difficult moves for us to make probably early next week and into next week.” Ledbetter notes that left guard Andy Levitre ($7MM in savings) and defensive end Brooks Reed ($3.6MM in savings) are both cap casualty candidates. Other cap casualty candidates include quarterback Matt Schaub ($3.25MM), defensive tackle Derrick Shelby ($3.2MM), wide receiver Mohamed Sanu ($3.1MM,) and tight end Levine Toilolo ($2.5MM).

GM: Falcons Could Extend RB Tevin Coleman

Prior to the season, the Falcons signed running back Devonta Freeman to a lucrative contract extension. Pretty soon, the front office will have to think about extending fellow running back Tevin Coleman, which could prove to be a tricky situation. However, as general manager Thomas Dimitroff told ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, it wouldn’t be unrealistic for the team to pay big money to both running backs.

Tevin Coleman (Vertical)“I believe you could realistically do it,” Dimitroff said. “I think, again, it comes back to an earlier question when you’re talking about looking at all the different spots on the roster and what you can do to create the space.

“And again, we do a really good job here, I think, about being creative. Luckily, we have an owner [Arthur Blank] that’s allowing us to spend the money, and he doesn’t want to leave a whole bunch on the table, so everyone should be happy about that. I know Q [Dan Quinn] and I definitely are. It makes it a lot more manageable when you’re putting it all together.”

Coleman, who has served mostly as a backup since he entered the NFL in 2015, will make a modest $791K next season. However, he’ll be a free agent following the campaign, and McClure notes that Coleman could be seeking both a large payday and a starting gig. The Falcons could realistically trade the former third-rounder, but executives told McClure that the deep running back draft class might dissuade teams from pulling off a trade. The 24-year-old had another solid campaign in 2017, compiling 628 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also hauled in 27 catches for 299 yards.

While the Falcons will have to eventually figure out their running back situation, it sounds like the front office has another priority heading into the offseason. Dimitroff said that the team is focused on signed quarterback Matt Ryan to an extension, which could vicariously create even more wiggle room.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Notes: Coleman, Ryan, Bryant

Over the summer, the Falcons locked up Devonta Freeman with a five-year extension worth more than $41MM. That’s a big chunk of change to dedicate to the running back position, but GM Thomas Dimitroff seems to think that there will be enough room to also keep Tevin Coleman in the fold after his contract expires next year (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com).

Coleman, a third-round pick in the 2015 draft, is slated to carry a cap number of just $978K in his final year under contract. The Falcons love having him as a complement to Freeman, but with a career average of 4.3 yards per carry, Coleman figures to attract starter money on the open market in 2019. If the Falcons are intent on keeping the tandem together, their best bet might be to extend Coleman in the coming weeks, before RBs like Isaiah Crowell, Carlos Hyde, Dion Lewis ink new contracts.

Here’s more from Atlanta:

  • No surprise here, but Dimitroff says a contract extension for Matt Ryan will be a top focus for the team as they look to create flexibility going forward (Twitter link via McClure). As it stands, the quarterback is signed through 2018 and is slated to carry a cap charge in excess of $21MM. Of course, re-upping the MVP of the 2016 season won’t be cheap. Ryan turned in another strong season in 2017, tying with Drew Brees as the second-best quarterback in the league, per Pro Football Focus, placing him behind only Tom Brady. He also eclipsed 4,000 passing yards for the seventh consecutive season, though his 4,095 total was his lowest since 2010.
  • Dimitroff says the team will talk to kicker Matt Bryant soon about a contract extension (Twitter link via McClure). Bryant will turn 43 in May, but it sounds like the kicker is intent on continuing his career. In 2017, Bryant connected on 34 of 39 field goal attempts (87.2%) and made all 35 of his extra point tries. Bryant was money from long distance, nailing 8 of 9 kicks from 50+ yards.
  • The Falcons have decided to stick with Steve Sarkisian as their offensive coordinator.

Tevin Coleman Ruled Out For Week 15

The Falcons will again have the services of only one of their two-headed running back contingent. This time, Tevin Coleman will miss a game due to a concussion.

Coleman’s head injury will keep him out of a critical contest against the Buccaneers on Monday night, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Devonta Freeman missed two games because of a concussion late in the season but returned last week to help Atlanta’s cause. In the concussion protocol, Coleman did not practice this week. He’s totaled 838 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns this season.

Terron Ward served as Coleman’s backup during Freeman’s hiatus and will step back into that role behind Freeman this time in Tampa.

The Falcons are 8-5 and currently hold the No. 6 spot in the NFC, but several teams are relevant members of the “In the Hunt” group, making each of Atlanta’s final three games pivotal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Rule Out Freeman For Week 12

The Falcons will be without star running back Devonta Freeman when the team hosts Tampa Bay on Sunday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (Twitter link). Freeman could not recover in time from a concussion he sustained in Week 10 vs. Dallas. Devonta Freeman (vertical)

Freeman, who had only missed one game in his first three seasons, will be sidelined for the second consecutive week. Out for most of the week going through the concussion protocol, Freeman was limited at practice on Thursday and Friday before being ruled out.

The team will look to Tevin Coleman to shoulder the load vs. Tampa Bay. In each of his last two games as the team’s workhorse, Coleman has received at least 20 carries and scored a touchdown in victories over the Cowboys and Seahawks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Eagles, Bucs, Cowboys, Injuries

There’s a lot of talk about receivers the Eagles could acquire, but which players could they look to trade themselves? Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com runs down some candidates, including linebacker Mychal Kendricks. The Eagles are somewhat thin at linebacker, but it seems defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz isn’t that high on Kendricks and other teams would probably use him more than Philly has. Other suggested trade candidates include interior offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, wide receiver Nelson Agholor, defensive end Connor Barwin, and running back Ryan Mathews.

  • Will the Buccaneers acquire a veteran wide receiver between now and the trade deadline? Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders notes that there is a need there after Louis Murphy‘s latest setback and looks at a handful of candidates around the league. Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery is a game-changing talent, but he’s in his contract year and the Bucs would have to juggle re-signing him while trying to extend Mike Evans this offseason. For that reason, someone like 49ers receiver Torrey Smith might make more sense for Tampa Bay.
  • The Cowboys had interest in Chase Daniel as a backup quarterback during the offseason, Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram tweets. However, that was before the Eagles made Daniel the league’s highest-paid reserve QB.
  • Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link) has injury updates on a number of key players. Colts receiver Donte Moncrief will play, but Falcons running back Tevin Coleman won’t. Neither will Redskins rusher Matt Jones, whose teammate, tight end Jordan Reed, is questionable.
  • Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis admitted that he’s “breaking down,” but he’s not thinking retirement.

South Rumors: Payton, Coleman, Blackmon, Colts

Sean Payton decided again to squash any potential move to another team next season, per ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett.

It’s come up every, I’m going to say, two to three years. And I guess … listen, it comes with the territory,” the Saints coach told media. “This is where I call home. I just finished building a home here. I’m close enough to my son back in Dallas where I’m pretty much back there once a week or he’s over here; my daughter is off in college now. So, I see myself coaching this team long past this season.”

Payton made similar comments in October after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Dolphins, and possibly other teams, would make a play for his services after this season. The 10th-year coach has two years remaining on his contract, so such a move would require compensation.

Drew Brees‘ coach for each of his Saints campaigns, Payton also anticipates the 15th-year quarterback to stay in New Orleans next season, when he’ll be 37 and occupy an untenable $30MM salary cap number.

I understand (the question). It’s the business we’re in. And yet he’s playing at a very high level,” Payton told media. “His mechanics, his arm strength has been outstanding. Two weeks ago in Tampa Bay, he made a throw down the sideline and into the wind in Cover 2 that was unbelievable. So, yes, to answer your question, I do (expect him back).”

Here is some more news emerging from the Southern divisions.

  • Tevin Coleman slipped in the shower at the Falcons‘ facility and entered the concussion protocol as a result, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. The rookie runner who began the season as Atlanta’s starter has 392 yards on 87 carries this season.
  • The Jaguars recouped an undisclosed amount of Justin Blackmon‘s bonus money despite the embattled receiver going on his second full-season absence from the league, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports. Previous reports indicated the Jaguars were keeping the former top-10 pick on their roster to recoup as much as $4MM of Blackmon’s signing bonus, instead of cutting him and not reacquiring any money. O’Halloran estimates, with Blackmon accruing another DUI this month, the receiver’s suspension has no end in sight and the Jags could conceivably keep him on their roster for years, with it not costing any cap space to do so.
  • After T.Y. Hilton criticized the Colts‘ game plan for a lack of deep shots, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski indicated the team’s tenuous situation has limited the number of downfield strikes he’s willing to attempt, according to an Associated Press report. This isn’t the first time in-house criticism of play-calling’s surfaced, with since-deposed OC Pep Hamilton receiving his share previously this season.
  • Including Chuck Pagano only being offered a one-year extension and Ryan Grigson‘s failure to upgrade the Colts’ offensive line, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer examines the main components that led to the Colts’ tumble this season.