With the new year comes a flurry of off-season coaching moves. Seven coaches have already lost their jobs, and Mike Florio believes this is only the beginning. Now that Andy Reid is out in Philadelphia, Florio discusses his new suitors and where Reid might fit best. Florio also breaks down what makes a NFL head coaching gig desirable, and the latest drama coming out of New York.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Coaching carousel continues to spin
The Patriots worked out nine players Friday, per a league source, including defensive end Lawrence Okoye.
Cut by the 49ers earlier this week, Okoye is a former Olympic discus thrower and rugby player from England. He spent the previous two seasons on the 49ers practice squad while trying to transition to American football.
At 6’6, 304, he’s the kind of project Patriots coach Bill Belichick has taken on before.
The Patriots also worked out running backs Joe Don Duncan and Joey Iosefa, wide receivers Nathan Palmer and Marquez Clark, defensive linemen Derrick Lott and Jimmy Staten, quarterback Jeff Tuel and defensive back Justin Coleman.
Coleman signed with the Patriots after his workout. He’s an undrafted rookie who was cut by the Vikings earlier in the week.
Tuel started two games for the Bills in 2013. The Patriots released quarterback Ryan Lindley Friday, a day after a federal judge overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension in time for Brady to start next Thursday’s season opener.
The Bills parted ways with Matt Simms on Friday, leaving them with three quarterbacks on the roster with Saturday’s deadline to set a 53-man roster fast approaching.
We know the plan is for Tyrod Taylor to start Week One, which makes him highly unlikely to wind up on the waiver wire. How EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel fit is less clear and coach Rex Ryan cited “strategic purposes” as the reason he wasn’t willing to discuss the team’s plans for them on Friday.
Cassel was a bit more forthcoming.
“I don’t know if they want to go into depth about what the conversation was about, who’s going to be No. 2 or No. 3,” Cassel said, via ESPN.com. “But every indication was made that we’re probably gonna keep three quarterbacks, and that’s all I can go off of right now.”
Indications don’t mean anything until the moves are submitted to the league, obviously, and the team could decide to move forward with just two quarterbacks or bring in a different player to hold the No. 3 job if someone they like shakes loose from another team. For now, though, Cassel thinks he’ll be spending the next few months in Buffalo along with Manuel and Taylor.
It’s not every year that a team cuts a quarterback that started a playoff game the previous year, but, then, it’s not every year that events conspire to allow a quarterback like Ryan Lindley to start a playoff game.
Lindley was forced into action with the Cardinals late last season and led the offense in their playoff loss to the Panthers before hitting the ranks of the unemployed this offseason. The Patriots signed him last month and he started Thursday’s preseason finale, but there wasn’t much need for him on the 53-man roster now that the team is assured of having Tom Brady in the lineup next week.
Lindley will be joined by running back Tony Creecy, wide receiver Zach D’Orazio, wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, guard Ryan Groy, tackle Caylin Hauptmann, tackle Chris Martin, linebacker James Morris, defensive tackle A.J. Pataiali’i and defensive tackle Casey Walker on the list of former Patriots.
The Patriots signed cornerback Justin Coleman, who was dropped by the Vikings last weekend. The moves leave them with 66 players and 13 moves to go before Saturday’s deadline to set a 53-man roster.
Brandon Bostick, the tight end best known for not recovering the onside kick in last year’s NFC Championship Game that allowed the Seahawks to complete an improbable comeback, worked out for the Jets Friday.
Bostick, 26, was released earlier this week by the Vikings. He caught nine passes over the last two seasons with the Packers.
Wynn caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Manziel in the second preseason game but was waived earlier this week, mostly because the Browns already have a bunch of smaller wide receivers. Bonner was a sixth-round pick of the Texans in 2013 and was also let go earlier this week.
The Jaguars are down to 57 players after saying farewell to 18 members of their roster, including four players drafted by General Manager Dave Caldwell in the seventh round in last three years.
Running back Storm Johnson was a seventh-round pick last year and ran for 86 yards on 29 carries as a rookie, but the arrival of T.J. Yeldon and Bernard Pierce this offseason likely pushed him off the roster. Cornerback Jeremy Harris, a 2013 seventh-rounder, was also axed.
Wide receiver Neal Sterling and tight end Ben Koyack have both been waived after arriving in the final round of the draft this year. Both could be candidates for the practice squad if they don’t catch on somewhere else in the roster shuffling that will go on this weekend.
Jacksonville rounded out this wave of cuts by parting ways with defensive tackle Richard Ash, defensive end Camaron Beard, defensive end Cap Capi, wide receiver Kasey Closs, guard Will Corbin, tight end Connor Hamlett, defensive end Ike Igbinosun, wide receiver Erik Lora, guard Chris Reed, cornerback Rashaad Reynolds, linebacker Todd Thomas, cornerback Peyton Thompson and wide receiver Tony Washington.
After throwing a pair of interceptions in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Buccaneers, quarterback Josh Freeman vowed to “exhaust every option” available to him before giving up on his hopes of resuming his NFL career.
That didn’t sound like a man who was confident in his chances of making the Dolphins’ 53-man roster and it looks like he’ll have to find his next chance somewhere other than Miami. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reports that the Dolphins have released the former Buccaneers first-round pick.
It’s the second time that the Dolphins have released Freeman since initially signing him in April, but they came into the cut to 53 players with three quarterbacks already on the roster and it’s hard to imagine that they would let Freeman go free at this point if they had their hearts set on having him on the team in 2015.
Freeman, who last played in a regular season game with the Vikings in 2013, was 23-of-48 for 332 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions with the Dolphins in the preseason. Those aren’t numbers that would seem to make anyone else’s heart set on having him on their roster, but one can never predict how often the quarterback carousel will spin in a given season.
The dictionary (do they even make dictionaries anymore?) defines credibility as “the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real, or honest.”
Based on that definition, and on the topic of discipline imposed for violations of the Personal Conduct Policy or for conduct detrimental to the game, the National Football League currently has no credibility.
Harsh? Possibly. True? Absolutely.
Moving forward, who will believe the league office or accept as true, real, or honest anything the NFL has to say regarding investigations conducted or discipline imposed under policies that give Commissioner Roger Goodell final say? I sure won’t. And no one else should, either, not without reading all documents with a skeptical eye, asking tough questions, doing independent research, and contemplating whether someone possibly is embellishing, exaggerating, or fabricating facts.
The NFL has earned the inherent lack of trust since 2012, from: (1) imposing cap penalties on Dallas and Washington for contracts executed in the uncapped year that were approved when filed to (2) trumping up “bounty” charges against the Saints based on players getting a modest amount of cash for the application of clean, legal hits that they already had an incentive to apply to (3) ignoring the fact that other teams had been using “bounties” for years (including teams coached by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the mastermind of the bounty scandal) to (4) hiring an outside lawyer to provide the patina of legitimacy to an investigation which found in part that Anthony Hargrove shouted “Bobby, give me my money!” when closer inspection of the audio and video is conclusive at best to (5) a second suspension of Ray Rice that clearly violated his rights under the CBA to (6) the manipulation of league policies to keep Adrian Peterson off the field for the 2014 stretch run against the Vikings because someone apparently had decided in September that Peterson wouldn’t be playing again this year to (7) the sudden abandonment of a 95-year history of not paying any attention to the air pressure in footballs in the apparent hopes of catching the Patriots cheating to (8) the complete lack of any understanding that the air pressure in footballs decreases on cold days to (9) the leak of grossly false air-pressure information to a pair of prominent journalists in order to create a national presumption of cheating to (10) the failure to correct that blatantly false information to (11) the hiring of a lawyer for an “independent” investigation that clearly wasn’t independent to (12) the review of the “independent” investigator’s report by the league’s general counsel to (13) the refusal to make the league’s general counsel answer questions about his role to (14) suspending Tom Brady for “general awareness” of an equipment violation, in violation of the CBA and the “law of the shop” to (15) expressing righteous indignation over Brady “destroying” his phone in the hopes of swaying public opinion against him to (16) attempting to suspend Brady for obstructing an investigation even though no player had ever been suspended for obstructing an investigation, the findings and conclusions of the league office as currently constructed on matters of discipline cannot be accepted at face value.
So how can that change? Taking final say from the Commissioner in all matters of player discipline would be a good start. But even for teams, coaches, and other non-players who aren’t protected by a union, the Commissioner should no longer have final say. Earlier this year, the Missouri Supreme Court found that the Commissioner can never be objective when handling an arbitration involving a former employee of one of the NFL’s 32 teams and one of the 32 teams that employs the Commissioner.
The Missouri Supreme Court is right. And the fans, media, and players finally have figured it out. No matter how or why it got to this point, the best interests of the NFL aren’t served by the Commissioner having final say, because the NFL has abused final say enough times in recent years to make any exercise of final say subject to skepticism, criticism, and derision.
The NFL likes to say that final say is exercised to protect the integrity of and public confidence in the sport of professional football. Over the last three years, however, has any one thing done more damage to the integrity of and public confidence in the sport of professional football than the way the league office has exercised this power?
On a day when Tim Tebow appears to have sewn up a job in Philadelphia, all the news about iconic quarterbacks is not so happy.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Falcons have released veteran quarterback Rex Grossman.
The Falcons signed him just over a week ago, so he clearly didn’t have a chance to establish himself there. That leaves just Sean Renfree behind starter Matt Ryan, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that they’re also cutting T.J. Yates.
Grossman hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2011 in Washington. He did appear in last night’s preseason finale, going 4-of-9 passing for 41 yards.
Sometimes life just isn’t fair.
Like 31 other teams, the Browns are busy trimming their roster and exploring options to bolster it through the weekend as teams explore trades and rosters are trimmed to 53.
The work won’t end across the league after the initial round of waiver claims and practice squad additions this weekend, but it will end for Browns general manager Ray Farmer for 30 days, starting at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 7.
That’s when Farmer begins serving a 30-day suspension for breaking the NFL’s rules on gameday communication last year. It’s hard to call what Farmer did a “scandal” — and it’s even worse to call it TextGate — but Farmer admitted to sending texts to the sideline during games last season. He later cooperated with the NFL by turning over his phone during the investigation, unlike some other guy who’s been in the news lately.
Friday, Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters on a conference call that the team would release a statement on Saturday announcing who will serve as acting general manager during Farmer’s absence. The acting GM will likely be either Bill Kuharich, who came to the team when Farmer was hired and carries the title of executive chief of staff, or Morocco Brown, the team’s vice president of player personnel.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that the Cardinals are sending a conditional draft pick to Philadelphia to acquire Barkley. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles get a seventh-round pick from the Cardinals if Barkley is on the Cardinals roster for six games.
A fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2013, Barkley has played sparingly in Philadelphia. With Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez firmly ahead of Barkley on the quarterback depth chart and Tebow out-playing Barkley in the preseason as well, it appeared that Barkley was on the verge of getting cut.
But the Cardinals, whose season fell apart last year after injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, have decided that it’s worth giving a late-round pick up to acquire a third-string quarterback with some potential. And the Eagles get something out of a player who was going to give them nothing.
The Titans continued to whittle away at the roster Friday, making nine more moves to get their roster to 65.
The biggest name among this round of cuts was probably veteran linebacker Andy Studebaker, who was just signed two weeks ago. He has now been cut by 75 percent of the AFC South after previous stints with the Jaguars and Colts. He’s also been with the Chiefs and Eagles.
The Titans also released fullback Zach Boren, cornerback Ri’Shard Anderson, center Gabe Ikard, defensive back Khalid Wooten, defensive back Jemea Thomas, defensive lineman Isaako Aaitui, wide receiver Josh Stewart and linebacker Kaelin Burnett.
The Titans took care of another spot by trading guard Andy Levitre to the Falcons, meaning they have to make 12 more moves tomorrow.
The team announced Dockett’s release on Friday afternoon along with five other moves that leave the roster at 69 players. They’ll need to pare that number to 53 by Saturday afternoon.
Guard Joe Looney was released, which leaves the team without any players from their 2012 draft class. He was a fourth-round pick of the 49ers and started four of the 19 games he played for the team over the last three years.
Safety Craig Dahl and linebacker Philip Wheeler are gone as well. Dahl restructured his contract for the second straight year and played in every game for the team over the last two seasons, but that wasn’t enough for him to hold onto a roster spot. Wheeler signed with the 49ers after being released by the Dolphins in March after playing just two years of a five-year, $26 million deal.
The 49ers also released wide receiver Isaac Blakeney and offensive lineman Patrick Miller.
After the latest legal embarrassment for the NFL, the NFL may finally be considering a real strategy for avoiding future embarrassments.
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, owners plan to discuss Commissioner Roger Goodell’s role in the disciplinary process.
“There will certainly be discussion about that,” an owner told Maske, on the condition of anonymity. The owner added that he’s “not sure where it will lead.”
The news comes at a time when multiple owners have indicated a belief that the time has come to change the disciplinary process, with Patriots president Jonathan Kraft first broaching the subject, 49ers CEO Jed York suggesting agreement via social media, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank chiming in Thursday night.
The impediment becomes the collective bargaining process. With the NFL insisting on retaining Goodell’s power regarding suspensions under the Personal Conduct Policy and suspensions for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game during the last Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, the league necessarily gave something up to secure that right. The league will now be inclined to ask the NFL Players Association for something in return for exporting the disciplinary function to a neutral arbitrator, even if the NFL benefits from dumping that authority.
For the league, the chorus of voices and the emergence of reports will make it hard to maintain a poker face. And so the NFL may have to simply just give up its power without getting a concession from the NFLPA.
Given the league’s recent streak of stubbornness, that seems unlikely. The best move would be for the NFLPA to dangle one or two (or more) rights that currently belong to the players that maybe the union doesn’t really want in order to provide the league with a way to save a little face.
Regardless of how it happens, it can happen at any time; the two sides don’t have to wait for the current labor deal to expire. That’s one of the many strong points NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler made during a Friday appearance on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio.
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is progressing well enough in his rehab to start throwing footballs soon.
He’s not quite there yet, as he’s apparently in a different aisle of the sporting goods store.
“He gets looked at every day. He’s on schedule,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He started throwing. I didn’t say he threw a football.”
So perhaps something light, like a ping pong ball. Or maybe a shuttlecock. But Pettine later said that Manziel would start throwing a football as part of his recovery from elbow soreness soon, if not by the end of today.
Manziel has insisted the problem is just tendinitis, and nothing to be alarmed about. But in just over a week, the Browns are going to need someone to back up Josh McCown when they play the Jets, which could make for some job security for Thad Lewis going into cuts.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy is confident that his injured hamstring will be well enough for him to play in the team’s season opener and he took a step toward realizing that goal on Friday.
McCoy took part in individual drills during Friday’s practice, which is a good sign for his of being well enough to play against the Colts in Week One. Assuming his hamstring responds well to the return to the field, McCoy should move on to team drills at some point next week.
Coach Rex Ryan said that he’s cautiously optimistic about McCoy being ready to go for the opener.
“I’m hoping that he’ll be available to us,” Ryan said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.
The Bills also got running back Karlos Williams back at practice Friday. Like McCoy, Williams, who is recovering after being hospitalized last month with an undisclosed illness, only did individual drills. If McCoy cant go, Williams would join Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon as options in the backfield a week from Sunday.