With Andy Reid off the board, who are the best candidates left to fill vacant head coaching positions? Will Chip Kelly leave Oregon for the NFL? Will Lovie Smith be the next spurned coach to find a new home?
ProFootballTalk: Who are the top coaching candidates left?
It sure looks like a lot of NFL contract negotiators are heading to the beach this weekend, given the dizzying pace of rookie signings.
Carradine’s coming off a torn ACL last November at Florida State, but they think he could be cleared to return by training camp.
Considering he ran a 4.75-second 40 at his pro day at 265 pounds, there is evidence to back up that belief.
The 49ers have shown a tendency to draft guys a year away (or more) from when they’re needed, but Carradine’s skills, along with age and some departures on the 49ers defensive line could push him forward.
A fifth-round pick from Georgia, the 6-foot, 216-pound Commings has gotten a look at safety early in his NFL career, a position where the Chiefs have Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis as starters. He can also line up at cornerback, the position he primarily played at Georgia.
Commings, 23, notched 51 tackles and intercepted three passes in 2012, his senior at Georgia. He started 35 games in his final three seasons for the Bulldogs. Commings was timed at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
While discussing Mathieu’s agreement, we mentioned dueling post-draft reports that the Cardinals wanted to sign Mathieu to a contract that included no guaranteed money and that Mathieu was unwilling to sign such a contract. The Cardinals didn’t announce the terms of the deal, but Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports that Mathieu wound up coming out ahead on that front.
Per Breer, Mathieu got the full slotted signing bonus for the 69th overall pick. That’s $662,500, but Mathieu won’t see it all up front. He will be paid $265,000 right now with the remainder of the bonus coming in the next three years with annual payments of $132,500 that must be paid unless Mathieu is cut because of drugs. The total value of the deal is $3.052 million.
Breer’s colleague Ian Rapoport also reports that Mathieu agreed to regular drug testing with the Cardinals, although the details of that agreement are not part of the contract. Mathieu’s agent Pat Lawlor told Rapoport that “both sides understood the issues we were dealing with all along” while working on the contract and the resulting deal is one that satisfies both the Cardinals’ desire for protection against a relapse from Mathieu and Mathieu’s desire to be paid what the 69th overall pick of the draft is supposed to be paid.
There was a wide range of opinions about quarterback Matt Barkley heading into the draft, but the side that argued he was too flawed a quarterback to go in the first couple of rounds won out in the end.
That left Barkley to go to the Eagles in the fourth round and we’ll find out his thoughts about how things turned out when he joins Carolyn Manno for a conversation on Thursday’s edition of PFT on NBCSN. Manno will also talk to Barkley about his first impressions of playing for Eagles coach Chip Kelly and how he sees the quarterback derby playing out in Philly this year.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News will also be on hand to talk about the Giants with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks‘ absence from OTAs likely to be a prime topic of conversation. Mike Florio and Tom Curran will also be on hand to talk about the biggest news of the day and the burning questions that AFC East teams will need to answer heading into the season.
It all gets started at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Well, at least now he’ll be able to cover the medical bills.
Assuming he’s well at the start of training camp, which is reasonable with the timeline of the procedure, Brown figures to start inside, where the Ravens lost a guy named Ray Lewis as well as free agent Dannell Ellerbe.
Brown’s a little undersized, but he was solid value for the Ravens in the second round, and could make an early impact for them once he gets back on the field.
The team announced Thursday that they have reached agreement on a four-year deal with Mathieu. Shortly after Mathieu was drafted, Peter King of SI.com reported that the Cardinals would be offering Mathieu a contract without guaranteed money, something Mathieu’s agent unsurprisingly said was not acceptable to his client. There’s no word yet on the financial details, but it would be surprising if Mathieu backed off that demand with the deal getting done in May.
Mathieu will be starting his Cardinals career as a safety instead of at the cornerback spot he played while at LSU before he was dismissed from the team following failed drug tests. He’s also expected to put that playmaking ability on display in the return game, although the Cardinals also have Patrick Peterson to bring back punts.
With Mathieu under contract, the Cardinals now have three draft picks left to sign. That group includes first-round guard Jonathan Cooper.
A wide receiver who finished his collegiate career at Oklahoma, Brown (6-3, 209) hauled in 73 passes for 879 yards and five touchdowns in 2012 for the Sooners. He played his first three college seasons for Penn State.
After the selection of Brown, Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann said the receiver’s size and blocking ability were assets.
“(He’s) a guy that is primed for the strong side,” Mann said, according to the club. “He is a big guy who can lock up on the safeties and dig them out when it’s colder up here and we have to run it. He’s a guy we can put in and help with our running game.”
The Panthers signed their entire draft class in about a day and a half.
The agent for fifth-round linebacker A.J. Klein just tweeted that his client had signed his rookie deal. The Panthers came back moments later with confirmation of that, along with word they had signed sixth-rounder Kenjon Barner.
Klein won’t have an immediate role on defense, but he’s a versatile linebacker who could find a spot down the line, when the Panthers start culling out bad contracts. The same could be true for Barner, though restructuring deals for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart pushes that off for another year or so.
As the recently retired Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher looks back on his career, there’s one missed tackle in particular he wishes he could have back.
Urlacher said on the Dan Patrick Show that it still sticks in his craw that when the Patriots beat the Bears in 2006, Tom Brady ran right past him for an 11-yard gain to pick up a crucial first down on third-and-9.
“Brady always kicked my butt. I don’t think I ever beat Tom, we as a Bears team, ever beat Tom Brady when he was the starting quarterback. He always played well against us and he juked me out of my shoes in 2006,” Urlacher said. “Man, he got me.”
Urlacher’s memory is correct: Brady’s Patriots played Urlacher’s Bears three times, and the Patriots went 3-0. And on that run in 2006, Brady met Urlacher in the open field, and instead of sliding, gave just a little bit of a head fake and ran right past him, leaving Urlacher grabbing for air.
“That was pretty cool,” Brady said after that game. “I can tell my kids one day that I beat Brian Urlacher.”
That’s a play both of them will remember long after retiring.
Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon chose to rest his injured foot last season instead of having surgery, a decision that got him back on the field for the final stretch but one that didn’t keep him from having an operation this offseason.
The operation wasn’t on his foot, however. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Thursday that Garçon had “chest” surgery after an injury suffered in the team’s playoff loss to the Seahawks. He wasn’t more specific than that, although Rich Campbell of the Washington Times reports that it was actually an operation to repair an injury to his labrum.
More significant for the Redskins is the fact that Shanahan is upbeat about Garçon’s recovery. He’s not doing team drills right now, but did catch passes from Robert Griffin III during Thursday’s workout and should be recovered in time to do everything at camp.
“I think Pierre, his rehab has been unbelievable,” Shanahan said, via Campbell’s colleague Stephen Whyno. “Anytime you get operated on like he did and you’re able to come back as quickly as he has, I was watching him this morning in the weight room and he was lifting weights that he shouldn’t be able to lift. And he feels very comfortable, and it’s been a slow process. But he’s in excellent shape, so I’ll be surprised if he’s not full-speed, ready to go once we go to training camp.”
Garçon had 44 catches for 633 yards in 10 games last season, numbers that the Redskins surely expect to rise if he can stay healthy in 2013. While you never want to see one of your players have surgery, it doesn’t sound like this operation is going to be a major stumbling block for Garçon come the start of the season.
One of the most important jobs in New Orleans is protecting quarterback Drew Brees’ blind side.
And at the moment, the first option is just watching, as has been too often the case.
Saints coach Sean Payton said only that the injury happened in the weight room, but didn’t specify any further.
Brown would have likely had the first shot to replace Jermon Bushrod, who signed with the Bears this offseason.
Brown finished last year on injured reserve with a knee injury, and has battled back and hip problems in his career.
If he’s not there, the Saints have several options.
None of those are ideal options, as Brown was kind of a fill-in, Smith’s more of a right tackle who hasn’t lived up to his draft status and Armstead’s a raw third-rounder from Arkansas-Little Rock.
Nagging injuries helped keep Browns running back Trent Richardson from performing at the level expected when the Browns took him with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft.
So there’s a familiar feeling to word that Richardson could miss OTAs and the team’s June minicamp with a muscle pull in his lower leg. The injury isn’t though to be particularly serious, but the team’s concerned enough about the injury that coach Rob Chudzinski said Richardson might not be back on the field until training camp.
“It’s precautionary, we’re holding [Richardson] out,” Chudzinski said, via CBS Cleveland. “We’ve got minicamp in a week and a half, he may miss that. I’m not sure we’ll just play it day by day.”
It’s only May, so a cautious approach doesn’t mean all that much in the long term. Given Richardson’s issues last season, however, there’s going to be some concern about Richardson’s ability to consistently be on the field until he proves that he can consistently be on the field. If there’s an upside to his absence, it is that the Browns will have ample opportunity to see who they like from a group of backups that includes Montario Hardesty, Dion Lewis, Brandon Jackson, Chris Ogbonnaya and Miguel Maysonet.
Tight end Jordan Cameron is also being held out with a groin injury and Chudzinski indicated the timeline for his return is similar to the one they’re operating on for Richardson.
The Falcons start OTAs next week and they’ll be doing it without two of their starting linebackers.
Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon are both recovering from surgeries that will keep them on the sidelines when organized team activities get underway. Neither player is expected to be out for very long and, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, they will “definitely” be on the field during the team’s mandatory minicamp in June.
Nicholas had sports hernia surgery, an operation that normally requires six-to-eight weeks of rehab before a player can get back onto the field. Nicholas led the team with 97 tackles last season and is slated for another year starting on the strong-side of the defense.
Weatherspoon, who had 95 tackles in 2012 despite missing three games with an ankle injury, had arthroscopic knee surgery. Weatherspoon also had three sacks and one interception while starting all 13 games that he played for Atlanta.
With Akeem Dent entering his second season as the team’s middle linebacker, the Falcons are set at linebacker heading into the season. They are short on experienced depth, however, so any reps missed by Nicholas and Weatherspoon will be put to good use over the next couple of weeks.
In many NFL cities, a new quarterback rolling into town in May and declaring himself a realistic option for a starting job would draw a polite nod, maybe a pat on the head.
In Cleveland, Brian Hoyer may be onto something.
The newest Browns passer said Thursday he was confident, and that “No doubt I have the capability to be a starting quarterback.”
Hoyer started a game for the Cardinals on short notice last year, but hasn’t done much else other than stand behind Tom Brady for three years.
He also said the Browns haven’t told him about what his role might be.
“Nothing,” he said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I mean for me, I’m just coming out here. I’m so far behind these guys. I’m learning from Brandon and Jason and coach [Norv] Turner. Obviously there’s a great coaching staff here, so I’ve been asking them a lot of questions and just trying to catch up. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to compete for a spot on this team.
“Wherever that goes, we’ll see. But I’m just trying to take it day by day right now, improve myself, and hopefully every day the plays get a little bit easier, the calls get a little bit easier and things like that.”
Everyone’s taking a wait-and-see approach to Hoyer’s role, because unlike in other places, there’s a realistic chance it could be greater.
Brett Favre spent most of his career as the most beloved man in Green Bay, but the last time he was there, he was getting booed off the field after his Vikings had lost to an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers team. There was plenty of bad blood then, but Rodgers says now is the time for Favre to come back to Green Bay and be honored for his career with the Packers.
In fact, Rodgers said on the Jim Rome Show that it’s past time.
“I’m excited about it. I really am,” Rodgers said of honoring Favre. “It’s been too long. Our country and the state of Wisconsin, these people are a people of second and third and fourth chances, and I think it’s time to let the healing process begin for those who are still upset about what went down.”
Rodgers said he has no reason to feel any ill will toward Favre, and he hopes the Packers retire Favre’s number before Favre is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I’m very secure with the things I’ve been able to accomplish with the team and individually here in Green Bay, and excited about the chance to see him again and get his number retired here before he goes into Canton,” Rodgers said.
The ceremony to retire Favre’s number will be a great moment at Lambeau Field. And a very different moment than the last time he was there.