Even with coaches like Andy Reid, Norv Turner, and Pat Shurmur omitted from the list, Mike Florio’s hot seat is crowded with names. Is it playoffs-or-bust for Jason Garrett in Dallas? Are the Bears a surprise team due for a coaching change? Was Arizona’s 58-0 loss to Seattle the final nail in the coffin for Ken Whisenhunt?
PFT Live: The hot seat get crowded
Last month, the NFLPA gave Jay-Z a pass regarding his involvement in CAA’s recruitment of Giants receiver Victor Cruz, attributing any influence Jay-Z may have exercised to his longstanding friendship with Cruz (which likely didn’t date back to his days as an unknown wideout at UMass).
This month, Jay-Z has put the PA in a slightly more complex pickle.
The entertainment mogul’s 100th problem arises from a change made by the union in 2012 to the rules regarding “runners.” Essentially, the NFLPA has banned them, allowing only certified NFLPA agents to be recruit potential clients. Since Jay-Z isn’t a certified NFLPA agent, he can’t be involved in recruiting a player to sign with an agent for the purposes of handling the player’s NFL contract.
Despite the existence of a business relationship between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and CAA, CAA wasn’t one of the agencies in the running to represent Jets quarterback Geno Smith. Instead, Roc Nation hired Kim Miale, a largely (if not completely) unknown NFLPA-certified agent, whom Smith has now hired to represent him.
She represents no active NFL players. Except for Geno Smith.
So which person did Smith really choose? Miale, or Jay-Z? Smith said that Jay-Z played “not that big of a role” in the decision, but Smith based the decision on “being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move.”
So who’s the “they”? Miale, or Jay-Z?In past posts, we’ve chalked up much of the complaining about Jay-Z from other agents to run-of-the-mill professional jealously. But that was before Jay-Z embarked on a strategy that seems to brazenly violate the applicable rules. Under this precedent, any actor, musician, or other celebrity can, in lieu of demonstrating the credentials to become an NFLPA-certified agent, launch a firm, hire an unknown agent, and represent players without technically “representing” them.
As one agent said in response to today’s developments, “Maybe I need to hire P. Diddy in order to get clients.”
The wiser move for Jay-Z would have been to steer Smith to another firm (like Priority Sports) for his contract, and to sign Smith for off-field endorsements. While some agents may have scoffed at the idea of letting Jay-Z essentially run the show, eventually some agent who actually has had, you know, active NFL clients would have accepted the assignment.
It’s unknown whether the NFLPA will challenge the situation. While it will be easier for Jay-Z to tiptoe around the potential recruitment issue if the players are hiring Roc Nation for off-field opportunities and CAA for their contracts, it becomes much harder to pass the smell test when the actual agent is a warm body with a license to negotiate clients, and the clients believe that they’re actually hiring Jay-Z.
When everyone else believes it, too, it becomes even more of a dilemma for the union.
The Bengals are deep enough on the defensive line they could draft a player who might need time to develop. They found that guy in Estonian discus thrower Margus Hunt, who took up football in 2009.
He’s now officially a professional football player, as according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals signed their second-round pick today.
Hunt’s an interesting prospect, with long arms and a unique ability to block kicks (17 in college, which is a record). And because he’s surrounded by talent up front, he has time to learn more football.
The Ravens lost one player who was set to be in the mix to help them replace Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis at inside linebacker when Rolando McClain retired and now they’ll have to go without another prospective replacement for the next few weeks.
Coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that linebacker Arthur Brown, a second-round pick out of Kansas State last month, had sports hernia surgery a couple of weeks ago. There’s generally a four-to-six week recovery period following operations of that type, which likely means that we’ve seen the last of Brown on the field until the Super Bowl champs open up training camp.
Brown, the 2012 Big 12 defensive player of the year, is still a likely bet to be in the starting lineup once the season gets underway. Jameel McClain, who is still recovering from a spinal cord contusion suffered last season, is pencilled into one starting spot while Brown’s competition — Albert McClellan, Josh Byrnes and Bryan Hall — offers less upside for the defense than Brown.
McClain and Brown aren’t the only Ravens defenders limited or sidelined by injuries at this point in the offseason. Linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and cornerback Lardarius Webb highlight the list of players with varying levels of concern over injuries carried over from 2012 which should mean plenty of reps in OTAs and minicamp for players further down the depth chart.
In one of his many comments about the role he wants quarterback Tony Romo to play for the Cowboys, owner Jerry Jones invoked the name of another NFL quarterback.
Jones said that he wants Romo to spend “Peyton Manning-type time on the job” watching film and breaking down game plans to get better results in the 2013 season. Word of that request has made its way back to Manning and the Broncos quarterback told Lindsay Jones of USA Today that he’s “flattered” to be held up as the gold standard for quarterback preparation. That said, Manning doesn’t feel like he does anything more than what’s required for him to put forth the best performance every week.
“I don’t think that I do any more than any quarterback should. I get asked, ‘How much film do you watch?’ I’ve never logged hours. I’ve always watched enough to get myself ready to play,” Manning said. “The cerebral part of the game has always been something where I had to get my edge. I really study the opponent, study myself, study my own players, my own routes.”
It’s impossible to quantify how much of Manning’s success over the years is due to film study as opposed to his own natural ability, but there’s little doubt that he’s maximized the return on both things with both the Colts and the Broncos. Romo may have done the same thing, but that probably doesn’t matter much when the guy signing your checks wants to see you doing more.
The Jaguars had two seventh-round picks last month and used them both on cornerbacks,
McCray led the Southern Conference in interceptions in each of the last two seasons at Appalachian State and earned second-team All-America honors in the Football Championship Subdivision last season. Whether those ballhawking skills will translate into significant playing time on defense as a rookie is something to be determined during camp, but it’s pretty clear that the Jags want to overhaul their secondary.
The team signed Marcus Trufant and Alan Ball before drafting two safeties and cornerback Dwayne Gratz to go with the two seventh-round corners, leaving plenty of spots on their depth chart up for grabs between now and the start of the regular season.
The 49ers suffered a major blow during OTAs, as wide receiver Michael Crabtree suffered what could be a season-ending injury.
According to Mike Garafolo of USA Today, Crabtree tore his Achilles during a workout Tuesday, and will need surgery to repair the injury.
The 25-year-old Crabtree emerged as a threat last year, with 85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns, and an impressive postseason.
Without him, the 49ers offense doesn’t look nearly as potent.
The Giants were pretty sure that wide receiver Victor Cruz wasn’t going to join the team at Wednesday’s organized team activity, but they expected Hakeem Nicks to be there even though he wasn’t slated to go 100 percent as protection against the knee injuries that limited him last season.
Nicks was a no-show, though, and that left Giants coach Tom Coughlin both unaware of the reason for Nicks’ absence and unhappy about it.
“I don’t know,” Coughlin said when asked where Nicks was on Wednesday. “He should be here.”
Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News spoke to Nicks at a charity event in Manhattan on Tuesday night, where Nicks said his knee felt “as good as it has in a while” and talked about stepping into a leadership role for the team this season. How those two things fit into his absence on Wednesday are unclear.
The workouts are voluntary so the team can’t take any punitive measures against Nicks, who is entering the final year of his contract at the same time that the Giants are trying to strike a long-term deal with Cruz.
The Jets rookie quarterback said Tuesday he hired the firm headed by rap mogul Jay-Z. Agent Kim Miale, who represents two inactive players who have never played an NFL game, will handle his contract negotiations.
Smith said the presence of Jay-Z played “not that big of a role,” in his decision, and he’ll have to pardon us since exactly no one in the world believes that.
“I think it’s just his agency,” Smith said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “When you talk about being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move. My mother and my family were comfortable with it. I’m comfortable with it. . . .
“I’m just going to move on from there. It’s not going to be a big deal and just remain humble and keep focusing on football.”
It would seem that he might have gone with one of the agents who has actually negotiated an NFL contract if that was his goal, but that didn’t happen.
Smith insisted, as he’s had to since being ripped throughout the pre- and post-draft process, that his image was “not that important to me honestly.”
“The only thing that’s important to be is the image that is perceived around this locker room, the guy that I am to my teammates, to my coaches and the work that I put in on the football field,” Smith said. “I’m all about football. I’m all about getting better and that’s the one thing that I’m focused on: Better myself daily and prepare myself to be there when the time comes. . . .
“I don’t worry about the outside world’s perception. I’m comfortable with who I am, strong in my faith. I know that this isn’t because of an image thing or trying to market myself. It’s just being comfortable with the guys who’s going to represent me. That’s ultimately why I made that decision.”
The move is going to cause howling within the agent community, considering the appearance that Jay Z is effectively his own runner. Then again, the agent community howls a lot anyway.
Quinton Patton, the 49ers draft pick who got so excited when he was drafted that he bought his own plane ticket and showed up in San Francisco before he was allowed to under league rules, is officially under contract.
The 49ers have announced that Patton, one of their two fourth-round picks, has signed his four-year rookie contract.
In two seasons at Louisiana Tech, Patton started all 25 games at wide receiver and was first-team All-WAC in both seasons. He caught 183 passes for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns in his two college seasons.
The 49ers have also announced that they claimed long snapper Kyle Nelson off waivers from the Chargers and waived punter Anthony Santella.
Demps, 27, played his first two NFL seasons (2008, 2009) under now-Chiefs coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Demps has played the last three seasons with Houston, and he comes off his most productive campaign, notching 35 tackles and defending five passes in 12 games for the Texans.
Demps figures to vie for a reserve role behind Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry at safety. Moreover, he can contribute on special teams. The Texans credited Demps with nine special teams tackles (six solo) in the 2012 regular season.
In other roster moves, the Chiefs signed undrafted free agent safety Malcolm Bronson and waived rookie cornerback Justin Glenn and first-year cornerback James Rogers.
Brian Urlacher has a surprising choice for the greatest play of his career.
Moments after he made his retirement official, Urlacher appeared on the Dan Patrick Show and was asked to name the play he’d like to be remembered for. Urlacher didn’t choose a play when he made a key tackle, or had a sack, or intercepted a pass or forced a fumble. He chose a play on which he threw a couple of blocks.
“The play didn’t even really involve me,” Urlacher said. “In 2005 we were playing San Fran at Soldier Field, it was like 40 mile an hour wind, they kicked a field goal from 50 yards and missed. Nathan Vasher caught it eight yards deep in the end zone and brought it out, and I blocked one guy in front of him, then I kept running beside him and blocked another guy, I think it was just an effort play. That was one of my favorite plays.”
The video confirms that Urlacher did show great hustle on the play: He threw his first block inside the Bears’ own 20-yard line, then turned upfield alongside Vasher and even ran past Vahser to throw a block and clear the path toward the end zone.
Urlacher said he knew it was time to shut down his career because his body was telling him to shut it down, and he also said that while he was disappointed that his departure from the Bears played out the way it did this offseason, he has no hard feelings.
“I still have a ton of respect for the Bears,” Urlacher said. “It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but I played 13 years for one of the best franchises in NFL history. I’m very proud of that.”
Urlacher deserves to be proud of the way he played the game.
The Dolphins spent the offseason insulating second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill with weapons.
And a first look in OTAs at a four-wide package had him thinking big things were possible.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins lined up with wide receivers Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller on the field together Tuesday, a potentially potent group.
So yes, that’s an upgrade.
“Yeah you know we’re still learning, but I’m excited about what I see from those guys,” Tannehill said. “They’re all getting a grasp on the offense and we’re starting to get a lot of reps with each other, so [we’re going to] continue to work that to get better.
Rainy conditions made it hard for the group to show their speed, and it’s still early in the installation process, so it’s hard to know how much of the package the Dolphins intend to use.
But unlike last year, they have multiple options in the passing game, which takes away that excuse if Tannehill doesn’t continue to improve.
We’ve seen the designs for the new Vikings stadium and we’ve heard about the new routes that the state is exploring to finance its construction, so we thought it would be a good time to talk to someone from the team about how things are progressing.
That’s just what will happen on Wednesday’s PFT Live. Mike Florio will talk to Vikings president Mark Wilf about how things are progressing with the team’s new digs. They’ll touch on self-cleaning rooves and cigarette taxes among other topics having to do with the construction of a stadium that the Wilfs spent a lot of time trying to get built in recent years.
Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area will also be on hand to talk about the Raiders signing Charles Woodson for a return engagement. Woodson made his call on Tuesday night, but we’ll see if Gutierrez has gleaned any information about how the team plans to use their 1998 first-round pick in his second stint with the team.
You can watch it all live at noon ET.
Urlacher sent out a tweet on Wednesday saying that it was an honor to play his entire career with the Bears and including a link to a longer statement announcing that he has decided to retire from professional football.
“After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire,” Urlacher wrote. “Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear. I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of yo everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.”
The decision might have been different had Urlacher found a more robust market for his services as a free agent this offseason, but there was barely any market to speak of for the eight-time Pro Bowler. So he’ll ride off into the sunset after a very successful career that is likely to land him a yellow blazer as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point down the line.
The Panthers doubled up on defensive tackles to open the draft, and now they’ve gotten half of them under contract.
The team just announced they had signed second-rounder Kawann Short, the 44th overall pick.
“We are very pleased to have Kawann under contract,” Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “We felt he was the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the draft, and we are excited about what he can bring to our defensive front.”
A penetrator to go with first-rounder Star Lotulelei, Short has a chance to get plenty of snaps even with the retention of free agent Dwan Edwards. A four-year starter at Purdue, Short had 19.5 sacks and blocked a school-record eight kicks.
And while it’s just on paper at the moment, the additions this offseason give them a chance to have a solid and deep defensive front, which they’ll need to help mask the deficiencies in the back.