Tom Dundon

Extra Points: Grant, Ravens, 49ers, AAF

Receiver Ryan Grant was involved in one of the more bizarre situations of last offseason. The former Redskins receiver looked like he was about to cash in big time, and signed a four-year, $29MM contract with $14.5MM guaranteed with the Ravens. But soon after, the Ravens slapped him with a failed physical designation and voided the contract, making him a free agent again. He ended up settling for a one-year, $5MM deal with the Colts. Now he’s on to a new team, signing a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Raiders earlier this week. In a recent interview with Sirius XM, Grant dished on what happened with Baltimore and finally explained all the details.

Grant said the Ravens just got cold feet and that the injury that made him fail the physical wasn’t anything serious, just a “mild ankle sprain,” as he put it. Even though he lost out on a significant amount of money, Grant isn’t bitter about it and said he’s genuinely happy to be in Oakland. “I feel like, had I signed with the Ravens, they probably would have, you know, did some other shady stuff to get me traded or released or something like this. So I’m thankful that they did what they did,” Grant explained. “I’m happy where I am now. Super excited to be a part of the Raiders organization. It’s the spirit and the culture of the team. And it just feels like I’ve been drafted all over again. I’m just so ecstatic,” he continued.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • With Jimmy Garoppolo set to return from his ACL tear next season, the 49ers suddenly have a surplus at quarterback. Both C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens are on the roster, and both have at the very least looked like above average backups during their time on the field. Beathard is a 2017 third round pick from Iowa who has started games in both of his first two seasons, and Mullens is a 2017 UDFA from Southern Miss who impressed when he was suddenly thrust into the starting role last season. Both are on cheap rookie deals, and there’s been a lot of speculation San Francisco could look to trade one of them. However, Matt Maioccio of NBC Sports thinks the 49ers will end up keeping all three signal-callers next season. Maioccio also writes it’s “difficult to believe that either has significant trade value around the NFL,” which is a fair point. Both Beathard and Garoppolo have suffered numerous injuries during their brief careers, so it makes sense why they’d want the depth.
  • Tom Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and the lead investor in the AAF, made the call to shutdown the upstart league largely because they were unable to negotiate an agreement with the NFLPA. Dundon wanted practice squad and other bottom of the roster players to be allowed to play in the AAF, but a deal couldn’t be struck in time. Dundon has sought to cast blame for the league’s demise on the NFLPA, but Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com argues the union doesn’t deserve any of the blame. Florio casts Dundon’s case as a “flawed argument,” and breaks down why practice squad players wouldn’t have suddenly saved the league. Dundon essentially came in out of nowhere and tried to strong-arm the union, so it’s hard to disagree with Florio here.

Extra Points: AAF, Dundon, Lock, Broncos

The AAF decided to cease operations almost a week ago now, and we still don’t have much clarity on exactly why. All we know right now is that Tom Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes who became the controlling owner of the AAF with his massive investment after the first couple weeks of the season, made the decision on his own. Dundon reportedly made the call to shut things down over the objections of co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. At the time, we heard that many within the league suspected Dundon had just bought a majority stake in the league in order to obtain the technology behind the AAF’s gambling app.

That isn’t the case, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Dundon “doesn’t own that technology, and his investment in the AAF doesn’t give him the ability to abscond with it,” Florio writes. While the gambling app theory appears to be a bust, it’s still a mystery as to why Dundon would invest tens of millions of dollars into the league, and then unilaterally decide to shut it all down just weeks later. One source attempted to explain to Florio that Dundon made the investment just to “kick the tires.” “Once he realized how expensive it was to own and operate a sports league, he initially tried to cut costs. But that resulted in a cutting of functionality,” he added. If that’s true that raises a whole new round of questions, as it’s hard to understand how Dundon couldn’t have realized how expensive it is to operate a league before actually making the investment. Dundon presumably had access to all of the league’s financial information prior to pulling the trigger.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Speaking of the AAF, the league finally broke its silence yesterday. In a statement posted to Twitter, the league apologized for the abruptness of the decision. It read in part: “We understand the difficulty that this decision has caused for many people and for that we are very sorry. This is not the way we wanted it to end, but we are also committed to working on solutions for all outstanding issues to the best of our ability. Due to ongoing legal processes, we are unable to comment further or share details about the decision. We are grateful to our players, who delivered quality football and may now exercise their NFL-out clauses in our contract. We encourage them to continue pursuing their dreams and wish them the best.” The league has caught a lot of flak in recent days for how they handled the closure. Many players were left more or less stranded and forced to pay their own way home, and some were left with charges from hotel rooms and other expenses.
  • Drew Lock could be headed to the AFC West soon. He’s been heavily linked to John Elway and the Broncos with the tenth pick, and Lock will meet with Denver today, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). According to Pelissero, Lock will then head to Los Angeles and meet with the Chargers tomorrow. The Chargers sniffed around the top quarterbacks in last year’s class and are doing the same thing with this class, even though Philip Rivers just had his best season in years. If you believe the current reporting, the Chargers would likely have to trade up in the draft if they wanted to get Luck. Denver is slated to roll with Joe Flacco in 2019, but the Broncos are widely expected to draft a young quarterback who can be the future.
  • In case you missed it the other pro football spring league, the XFL, could be looking to target high profile college players for their upstart league, as they aren’t bound by the NFL’s draft eligibility rules.

Extra Points: AAF, XFL, Murray

Last week the new league Alliance of American Football, the AAF, received a cash infusion of $250MM from investor Tom Dundon. Dundon, who owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, reportedly bailed the league out of some financial trouble, and effectively assumed control of the AAF. But according to a new report, Dundon may not be as tied to the league long-term as it intially seemed, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

Apparently Dundon has yet to transfer over all $250MM, and the money will instead be procured over a period of time. Dundon apparently has the ability to pull the plug on the deal and stop funding the league if he determines the investment is no longer with it. None of this means that the league is in any immediate danger or that Dundon has had any sort of change of heart, but it adds another interesting wrinkle to the ordeal. The league has been very tightlipped about the circumstances surrounding Dundon’s investment, and concrete information has been hard to come by.

Here’s more from the football universe:

  • Speaking of alternative pro football leagues, the XFL named its latest head coach, and it was a notable NFL name. Pep Hamilton will be the coach of the league’s Washington franchise, according to Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports. Hamilton was the offensive coordinator of the Colts from 2013-15, and spent the past couple of years as an assistant on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan. He was also an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach with the Browns in 2016.
  • Kyler Murray spoke to the media today, and elaborated a bit on his decision to play football instead of baseball, per Jake Trotter of ESPN.com. Murray said that while it was hard letting the Oakland A’s know he would be going with the NFL, it was something he’d “known for a while.” He reiterated his commitment to playing quarterback at the next level, and said while the A’s “can hold out all the hope they want to”, he definitely wasn’t going to be changing his mind. It’s unclear exactly where Murray will be drafted, but most current projections have him going sometime in the top half of the first round.
  • In case you missed it, wide receivers Tyrell Williams and Adam Humphries could be in for big paydays when they hit the open market next month.