Todd Grantham

Todd Grantham Turns Down Bengals

Todd Grantham opted to stay at the University of Florida instead of pursuing the Bengals’ defensive coordinator job, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Grantham is intrigued by the possibility of returning to the NFL, but he’s apparently not interested in the Bengals job this year.

After Grantham oped to stick with Dan Mullen & Co., the Bengals are in familiar, yet uncomfortable territory. Over the last several weeks, the Bengals have been on the precipice of deals with several established DCs only to watch things fall apart. Jack Del Rio and Dom Capers both seemed close to signing at different points, but things went sideways in both pursuits. You can add Grantham to that list, leaving the Bengals to scan for a Plan D.

Before the club’s second meeting with Grantham on Wednesday, the Bengals also showed interest in Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant and other younger candidates.

Bengals Zeroing In On Todd Grantham

The Bengals have narrowed their defensive coordinator search to focus on University of Florida DC Todd Grantham, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Grantham returned to meet with the Bengals on Wednesday morning, but they still have their work cut out for them as they try to lure him away from UF, Rapoport reports. 

Grantham reportedly made $1.4MM last year with the Gators, so the Bengals will have to come with a competitive offer to lure him away from one of the nation’s top college programs. Still, the Bengals job clearly holds appeal for Grantham. With Cincinnati, Grantham can return to the NFL with a step up from his previous defensive line coach duties. He’ll also have a great degree of control over the defensive as new head coach Zac Taylor will be focused on the offense.

Over the last week or so, the Bengals have also looked into Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant, former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, Texas A&M DC Mike Elko, and Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn for the role. Prior to that, the Bengals seemed close on deals with established vets Dom Capers and Jack Del Rio.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals To Interview Todd Grantham

The Bengals are set to interview Todd Grantham for their defensive coordinator vacancy, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Grantham has been on the team’s radar in recent days after potential deals with Dom Capers and Jack Del Rio went sideways.

The Bengals also recently received permission to interview Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant, so their DC search is moving along. Former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, Texas A&M DC Mike Elko, and Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn are also said to be on the radar.

Grantham, 52, offers more experience than the Bengals’ other candidates. He served as the defensive coordinator of the Browns from 2005-07 before heading to the college ranks with stops at Louisville and UF. In the past, he’s also served as a defensive line coach for the Cowboys, Texans, and Colts.

Grantham reportedly made $1.4MM last year with the Gators, so the Bengals will have to come with a competitive offer if they want him on the sideline.

Bengals Cast Wide Net In DC Search

The Bengals are casting a wide net in their search for a defensive coordinator and other defensive staffers, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The club is expected to request (or has requested) interviews with former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, Texas A&M DC Mike Elko, Florida DC Todd Grantham, and Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn.

The Bengals made an offer to veteran coach Dom Capers this week, but he turned them down and is now believed to be Miami-bound. Capers, 68, would have given the Bengals a Rams replica of sorts as he would have supported 33-year-old head coach Zac Taylor. The Bengals also flirted with former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, an indication they would prefer a veteran counterweight to Taylor.

Outside of Grantham, however, the coaches they’re now considering are on the younger side of 50. That could indicate a change in philosophy for Cincinnati. Or, it could be a case of the old adage – beggars can’t be choosers.

As previously reported, the Bengals also requested an interview with Rams DB coach Aubrey Pleasant.

Todd Grantham To Remain At Louisville

Despite reportedly receiving an offer to join Jack Del Rio‘s coaching staff in Oakland, Todd Grantham has decided to remain at Louisville as the team’s defensive coordinator, according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier today that the Raiders had made a two-year offer to Grantham to become the club’s DC.

“My family loves it in Louisville, and I think we are establishing something special here with Bobby Petrino and our staff,” Grantham said by way of explanation, according to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports (Twitter link).

While a number of coaches – including Mike Smith, Wade Phillips, Mel Tucker, and others – have been linked to the defensive coordinator opening in Oakland, the job doesn’t appear to be generating much enthusiasm. Smith has been considered Del Rio’s top choice all along, but doesn’t seem interested in the position. Tucker has since accepted a job as Alabama’s secondary coach, and Phillips apparently prefers Denver over the Raiders, despite not being the Broncos’ No. 1 target.

Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. may be up next on the Raiders’ list of DC candidates. If that’s true, Oakland will likely have to wait until next week to make any announcements, since Norton is busy preparing for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Tafur adds (via Twitter) that money and play-calling control are factors in the apparent lukewarm interest in the Raiders’ DC job.

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs

Reports earlier in the week indicated that the Raiders had lined up an interview with Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham for their own DC position, and it appears the job is Grantham’s if he wants it. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Oakland has offered Grantham a two-year deal to become the team’s new defensive coordinator. While dipping into the NCAA ranks for a coordinator is a departure from the usual operating procedure for hiring a top assistant, the Raiders may have had trouble attracting top candidates for the opening if new head coach Jack Del Rio intends to handle some or all of the defensive play-calling on his own.

While we wait to see if Grantham ultimately lands a job with the Raiders, let’s check in on some other Wednesday items from around the AFC West….

  • Whether it’s Vance Joseph or Wade Phillips that eventually becomes their defensive coordinator – and it does appear it’ll be one of those two – the Broncos seem likely to transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, writes Mike Klis of the Denver Post. With a pair of very good edge rushers, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, already under contract, the Broncos shouldn’t have to overhaul their defense to make the change.
  • Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star examines seven free-agents-to-be who would make good fits for the Chiefs, leading off his list with wideout Randall Cobb. Paylor’s list is heavy on offensive linemen, including guards Mike Iupati, Orlando Franklin, and Clint Boling.
  • Former star running back LaDainian Tomlinson suggested during an appearance on 1090 AM in San Diego that the Chargers should pursue Adrian Peterson if he becomes available this winter, and Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com agrees with LT.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Colts, Forsett, Burfict

Reports last week indicated that the Raiders may ultimately look to the college ranks as their search for a defensive coordinator continues. While no specific names were mentioned at the time, Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington has one for us today, tweeting that Oakland is interested in Louisville DC Todd Grantham. According to Russini (via Twitter), the Raiders have lined up a meeting with Grantham, who is considered a favorite for the position.

As we enter the final week of the NFL season, let’s round up a few more notes from around the AFC….

  • The Colts and running backs coach David Walker have “mutually” agreed to part ways, the team announced today (Twitter link via Mike Wells of ESPN.com). Per Football Outsiders, Indianapolis placed just 17th in offensive DVOA this season, in large part due to the team’s rushing rank (27th).
  • “I want to have a home and stay there. That’s the plan,” running back Justin Forsett said about the possibility of re-signing with the Ravens. Forsett added that new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is expected to keep many of the same principles that Baltimore’s run game used in 2014 (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict underwent microfracture surgery on his knee, but the surgeon who performed the procedure is optimistic that Burfict could be back to full strength for training camp, says Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • With new head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman expected to install a power running game in Buffalo, the Bills should be careful not to overpay for free-agent-to-be C.J. Spiller, who may not be an ideal fit, writes James Walker of ESPN.com. Walker expects Spiller to land a deal in the range of the ones signed by backs like Ben Tate, Knowshon Moreno, and Darren McFadden a year ago — those players inked short-term deals for $3-4MM per season.
  • The Dolphins should do what they can to re-sign defensive tackle Jared Odrick, writes Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap in his preview of Miami’s offseason cap decisions. Fitzgerald views Odrick as a potential $5.5-$6.5MM per year player.