We all thought DE Jason Babin would land with a contender after the Eagles cut him, so why did the Jaguars take a chance on him? Erik Kuselias and Mike Florio explain.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Why did the Jags claim Babin?
In-season firings of head coaches don’t happen all that often in the NFL, although you might not know that from looking at the Chargers coaching staff.
Head Coach Anthony Lynn got bumped up to interim head coach in Buffalo last year after Rex Ryan was fired while offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley both lost head coaching jobs in recent years before a season was over. Given those experiences and the coordinators’ resumes, some might wonder if Lynn has set up his staff with people ready to replace him should things take a wrong turn in Los Angeles.
Lynn said Wednesday that he’s had people ask him about that, but that he’s not bothered because “those guys have my back” and believes the value they add will keep him from finding himself in such a situation.
“Something is going to cross my desk that I haven’t been exposed to, and they’re going to help me with it, and that’s going to help the organization,” Lynn said, via the San Diego Union-Tribune. “That’s all I care about.”
Lynn’s just been hired, so it makes sense that the possibility of getting fired is reserved for the recesses of the mind. NFL job security can get tenuous quickly, although Lynn should continue to enjoy it if Whisenhunt and Bradley provide the assistance that Lynn believes they’ll bring to the table.
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston probably meant no harm. But the words that came out of his mouth during a school appearance Wednesday were the kind he probably should have given more consideration to, and his response made that clear.
Via Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times, Winston was talking to a group of third- through fifth-graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, when a group of boys became less than focused on him. So to get their attention, he asked the boys to stand up.
“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” Winston said. “But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now a lot of boys aren’t supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I’m saying? One day y’all are going to have a very deep voice like this. One day, you’ll have a very, very deep voice.
“But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong. I want y’all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to. Scream it!”
The message that kids can achieve anything they want if they work for it is valid and valuable. The message that girls are supposed to be quiet while boys are expected to take the lead took away from that immediately — especially in the context that it was coming from a player who faced sexual assault allegations while at Florida State.
“One of the girls turned around and looked at me and said, ‘I’m strong too,'” said Bonnie Volland, a speech language pathologist at Melrose.
Volland also said that Winston’s speech was well-intentioned and uplifting.
“We’ve been working so hard with our students giving them hopes and dreams and helping them raise their expectations,” she said. “In the beginning, it was so good because he was talking about, ‘You can do it!’ and really giving our students a positive message.”
To his credit, Winston seemed to realize the mistake, and when asked for comment later, said he was trying to keep the attention of the group.
“I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn’t seem to be paying attention, and I didn’t want to single him out so I asked all the boys to stand up,” Winston said. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”
It’s easy to suggest it as overblown, or the product of a climate some consider too politically correct. And Winston’s 23.
But telling any group of girls they’re expected to behave differently and have different expectations is something that should have been outdated generations ago, and Winston’s gaffe ought to remind everyone to think about the words they choose, and the messages they’re sending, even if they’re inadvertent.
Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein has played pretty well when he’s been given a chance.
But on a team with three first-round picks at the position, and in a league when playing nickel defense is more prevalent with every passing year, there aren’t but so many chances.
So it’s probably not a surprise that Klein is looking for another address when free agency begins on March 9.
Via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, Klein said during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he’d probably be looking for a few team.
The 2013 fifth-rounder started the final six games for the Panthers last year when Kuechly was out with a concussion, and played well. But the Panthers also have some guy named Thomas Davis who has been to a few Pro Bowls and are trying to figure out how to work 2015 first-round linebacker Shaq Thompson in more, so there are limited snaps for a fourth linebacker.
Klein’s a starting-caliber player and good against the run, and should have plenty of opportunities for the playing time he’s looking for, just not in Charlotte.
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta made it back to the field in 2016 after playing just seven games in the previous three seasons because of hip injuries and showed that the time off didn’t make him a less popular target for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Pitta led all tight ends with 86 catches during the 2016 season, although he wasn’t able to do that much with those catches. Pitta averaged 8.5 yards per catch and just over six yards per target, which limited the impact that all of those catches had on the team’s fortunes.
That explains why Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that the Ravens “may balk” at the $5.5 million that Pitta is set to make during the 2017 season. Pitta took a pay cut of $4 million last year and earned $3 million back in incentives, although it is unclear if he will be open to adjusting his deal again. Cutting Pitta would create $4.4 million in dead money and $3.3 million in room under the cap.
Pitta’s future is one of several decisions the Ravens will have to make at tight end this offseason. They hope to have Benjamin Watson back from a torn Achilles to go with Pitta, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, Darren Waller and Crockett Gillmore. Keeping all six feels like too much, but all have missed time due to injuries or suspensions that complicate the team’s choices.
Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton was spotted with a cast on his left arm recently, which spurred questions on Twitter about what was bothering him.
Shelton revealed he had his wrist “cleaned up” since the end of the regular season and that he’ll be fine in time for next season. A Browns spokesman told Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal the same thing and Shelton’s agent said his client will be working out next week.
Shelton has started 31-of-32 games since the Browns drafted him in the first round in 2015. His second season was an improvement on his rookie campaign as he recorded 59 tackles and 1.5 sacks in Hue Jackson’s first year in Cleveland.
Jackson’s second year will see a new defensive scheme introduced by new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The move will include a shift to a 4-3, which will require a shift in Shelton’s role, but it doesn’t sound like his wrist should cost him much time on the field while it is being installed.
The Dolphins signed a pretty good class of free agents yesterday.
QB Patrick Mahomes would love to play for the Browns.
The Steelers hope to provide a home-ice advantage for the Penguins this weekend.
The Titans could use some S depth and versatility.
Fixing the Broncos OL could be a complicated job.
A look at the Chiefs top needs in free agency.
New Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is fired up about his new gig.
Giants G.M. Jerry Reese needs to build on last year’s splash signings in free agency.
The Eagles could justify a less splashy approach at WR.
Taking a look at Washington’s free agency needs on offense.
Will the Jay Cutler Era push the Bears in a different direction in their next QB search?
Free agency could provide a significant lift to the Lions OL problems.
The Falcons will get a boost to a need area when some guys get healthy.
The Panthers cleared over $4 million in cap space this week.
The Saints could use free agency to shore up their CB position.
Looking at the Cardinals’ draft options.
The Rams are offering a ridiculous prize to a practically unwinnable contest.
49ers executive Paraag Marathe said his job was to stay in his lane and assist the new coach and General Manager.
Our own Curtis Crabtree was the star of the Seahawks media combine, showing good hands.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network explained on (shocker) NFL Network that Cutler is “still considering” whether he wants to play, not play, walk away, etc.
For Cutler, the retirement option is a useful tool to scare away a team that may be inclined to trade for him, but that he may not be inclined to play for. It’s also a way to save face, in the event no one trades for him, the Bears cut him, and no one offers him the starting job without having to compete with a rookie and/or slappy.
That’s the difference between Cutler and guys like Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger. For them, the play/no play option has a viable location if the decision is to play. For Cutler, retirement may be the only way to avoid washing out of the bottom of the league by spending a year getting banged around on a bad team — or to escape the indignity of a quarterback-needy league collectively deciding it no longer wants him.
The Titans had a banquet downtown for their season-ticket holders and gave out some awards, but one will be remembered far beyond the usual collection of honors for football players.
Former Titans linebacker Tim Shaw, who has remained around the team following his diagnosis with ALS, walked to the stage with center Ben Jones when it was time to open the envelope and present Most Inspirational Titan.
“There must be some problem with this,” Shaw said, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN. com. “It says Tim Shaw. . . .
“To be called inspirational is actually the most humbling thing that’s ever happened to me,” Shaw continued. “To me, it’s inspirational when you face something that is not cool, something that scares you, something that can potentially bring you down, and you go right at it. To me that’s inspirational.
“So if that’s what I am doing, you can call me inspirational.”
Shaw, who played for the Titans from 2010-12, was diagnosed with the degenerative disease in 2014. He has been a fixture around the team since, offering motivational speeches and a presence for a team that made great improvements last year.
“You had a large part in what happened in 2016 for this Titans football team,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey told Shaw. “He came in training camp and had such an impactful message to this football team that he changed a lot of lives.”
Shaw’s approach to his fight has been something any team would want to embrace, and part of the reason they made him a “Titan for life” last summer, putting him on the roster for a day during training camp so he could retire with the team.
Former Jaguars and Lions cornerback Fernando Bryant has been fired from his job as a high school coach over a seemingly innocuous photograph his wife posted on social media.
Strong Rock Christian School initially hired Bryant as a teacher and its head football coach, but then sent him a letter three weeks later telling him that he would not get the job.
“This letter will confirm that Strong Rock Christian School has made a decision not to move forward with your employment in the position of head coach of the football team and physical education teacher. As we discussed, after we made the offer to you, some within our parent community raised concerns regarding your family’s public presence on social media and the internet and questioned whether the postings and information were consistent with our Christian values. We’re sorry that our relationship had to end before it started. We wish you the best,” the letter stated, via Atlanta TV station 11 Alive.
Bryant says he’s baffled by the decision. The school did not tell him specifically what was posted on social media to get him fired, but he was led to believe it was a picture of himself and his wife holding a bottle of alcohol. Bryant said the school never told him employees weren’t allowed to drink alcohol.
“I’m a Christian, but that’s the one thing that gives Christianity a bad name, when we start passing judgment on one another,” Bryant said.
Bryant was the Jaguars’ first-round pick in the 1999 NFL draft. He played five seasons in Jacksonville and four in Detroit.
A study commissioned by the NFL on last year’s game between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders played in Mexico City has determined the event generated $45 million.
In a story by the Associated Press on the study – produced by Ernst and Young – the activity around the game generated $43 million in tourist spending, of which $32 million was incremental to the Mexico City economy.
The 27-20 victory by the Raiders was attended by 76,473 at Estadio Azteca. It was the first NFL game to be played in Mexico since the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals played in the same stadium in 2005.
The Raiders will return to Mexico City next season and host the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Just like the NFL’s increasing schedule in London, if their games abroad continue to generate significant returns in profit the league will undoubtedly continue to expand its reach into new locales.
Patriot owner Robert Kraft testified in the first Aaron Hernandez trial. Patriots coach Bill Belichick could testify in the second Aaron Hernandez trial.
Via the Associated Press, Hernandez’s lawyers have added Belichick to the list of possible witnesses. The head coach joins offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as persons who may take the oath and answer questions.
The potential purpose of Belichick’s testimony isn’t known. Typically, lawyers pump up the list with an overly broad list of names in order to conceal the actual case strategy that would arise if the lawyers listed only the witnesses who actually will testify.
Putting it another way, it’s like listing 20 players as “questionable” so that the other team won’t know who’s actually injured.
Already convicted and serving life without parole for the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, Hernandez now stands trial for the July 2012 murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Jury selection has begun, and opening statements are scheduled for March 1.
Former North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky will participate in everything except the bench press at next week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Trubusky’s father told the News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio.
Though that’s subject to change, it’s noteworthy because some top prospects skip their group’s workout session and instead choose only to throw or fully work out on their own campuses.
Earlier this week, former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson said he plans to fully participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. Trubisky, Watson and DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame — all early entries in the 2017 NFL Draft — are generally considered the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft, while some would put Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech among the top group.
There doesn’t seem to be a consensus No. 1 quarterback at this point of the process, so the hand-shaking, medical-checking and interview portions of next week’s event figure to be just as important as what goes on in the formal throwing session, which ends the three days the quarterbacks will spend in Indianapolis.
Workout groups in Indianapolis are generally divided alphabetically and by position, so Trubisky and Watson will likely be throwing together in the second group during the on-field quarterback workout.
The 49ers announced Wednesday that longtime personnel executive Tom Gamble is leaving the team.
Gamble has spent 10 of his 29 NFL seasons with the 49ers. He returned to the team for the past two years after serving as vice president of player personnel with the Eagles in 2013-14.
“The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service,” new 49ers General Manager John Lynch said in the team’s release on Gamble’s departure. “He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.
“After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”
Gamble was director of pro personnel with the 49ers from 2005-10 and director of player personnel in 2011-12 before going to Philadelphia. He was the team’s assistant G.M. last season, putting him in position to help Lynch transition into his first front office job.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick can bail on the balance of his contract between March 2 and March 7. The 49ers can do so at any time. For now, both sides are still weighing their options. The process included a recent meeting between the player and his new coach and G.M., Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, respectively.
“We had a great discussion and Colin left excited, we left excited and I think as Kyle and I really believe, the evaluation is still very much fluid,” Lynch told KNBR, via Chris Biderman of USA Today.
“And we’ve only been on the job a couple weeks. I can tell you, we both really very much being around Colin and he seems like he’s in a real good place.”
Kaepernick is due to earn $14.5 million in 2017, and the 49ers surely won’t be paying him that kind of money for one more year. Given that Shanahan and Lynch are newcomers, Kaepernick is no different to them than any other free agent quarterback would be. Because he’s still under contract with the 49ers, however, the team has the ability to talk to him and to negotiate with him before he voids the contract and becomes a free agent.
There’s a chance that, in the end, both sides will decide that its in their mutual best interests to give it another try. The final decision will depend on the other options for the team and the other options for the player. Given that multiple other teams will not be inclined to alienate a large swath of the fan base by signing the player at the heart of the 2016 anthem protests, staying in San Francisco could be his best option.
In weighing his options, Kaepernick would benefit from some third-part advice. For now, though, he still doesn’t have an agent.
When the Patriots traded for tight end Martellus Bennett, they knew that: (1) he had one more year left on his contract; and (2) if he and/or the team had a big year, Bennett would try to parlay the experience into a contract potentially worth more than what the Patriots would be willing to pay. Indeed, the Patriots have a habit of trading for players in the final years of their contracts because if/when the players leave via free agency, the departure counts toward the team’s eventual haul of compensatory draft picks.
Of course, that reality isn’t keeping some fans from lobbying Bennett to take less to stay in New England. To that, Bennett had this to say: “Stop @’ing me about taking less money. You take less money [at] your job? All of you take a pay cut hahaha.”
Later, he said this: “All I’m saying is cut your own grass don’t be all in my garden f–king with my fruit while weeds are growing all over yours.”
Bennett is right. Football players have a limited number of years to play, and they have every right to try to get as much as they can while they can. Owners chase every dollar they can without criticism; players should do the same.
Actually, players have even more reason to pursue as much money as possible because they don’t own anything other than their own bodies. At a time when management and labor are roughly splitting the revenues, the players get half the revenue and the owners get all the revenue and all the equity.
So go for it, Marty and every other free agent. Get paid. Use your leverage. And don’t apologize to any of the people who aren’t putting their short-term and long-term health interests on the line to engage in a profession that too many trivialize by calling it a “game.”
It’s not a game. It’s a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that keeps growing and growing and the men who have careers that last for a blink of an eye in relation to the overall life of the business should do anything and everything to get what they can while they can.