After telling the Eagles he will return to his job at Oregon, Chip Kelly shocked the NFL by accepting the job in Philadelphia. When did negotiations pick back up with the former Ducks coach and why did he have a change of heart?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Why did Kelly change his mind?
The Buffalo Bills elected not to place the franchise tag on safety Jairus Byrd this season in hopes it could smooth discussions surrounding a long-term contract for Byrd to remain in Western New York.
It shouldn’t hurt that Byrd apparently wants to stick around with the Bills either.
Williams joined Alex Marvez and Phil Savage on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday to discuss his own extension with the Bills and Byrd’s impending free agency. Williams said that Byrd wants to remain in Buffalo.
“I know that they’re still negotiating. I don’t want to speak on their situation because I have no say, nor do I know the full story on it, but I know Jairus does want to come back and wants to be a part of something special. Jairus and I have a great friendship. We communicate non-stop,” Williams said.
“Actually, I had the chance to talk to him last night and I wish him the best regardless of if he stays or doesn’t. We’re always going to have a great relationship with each other and always going to keep in touch. We have a great chemistry together on the field. They know that we’re probably one of the best duos of safeties in the league and I’m pretty sure they want to keep him.”
Byrd has been named an All-Pro three times in five seasons with the Bills including each of the last two seasons. If both sides get their wish, Byrd will have the chance to add more All-Pro selections to his resume in Buffalo.
The Houston Texans were considered to be a potential Super Bowl threat in the AFC last season up until Matt Schaub’s bubble burst.
Schaub fell apart as the team’s starting quarterback and lost his job to Case Keenum as the Texans plummeted to the worst record in the league. It’s made finding a new signal caller the top priority for the Texans this offseason.
With the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Texans will have their choice of any quarterback in the 2014 draft class and the team is doing their due diligence to breakdown the group.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Center Florida’s Blake Bortles and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel are all being “seriously considered” for the top pick in the draft.
While none of the three quarterbacks are thought to be the most talented player in the draft – that distinction is commonly thought to fall to South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or Auburn tackle Greg Robinson – it is the most glaring need for the Texans at the game’s most pivotal position.
With a Pro Bowl defensive end in J.J. Watt and a Pro Bowl left tackle in Duane Brown already on their roster, it appears likely that quarterback will be the direction the Texans will go with their top selection in May.
It’s a given that quarterback Mark Sanchez won’t return to the Jets with a $9 million base salary and a $2 million roster bonus due later this month. But until he’s cut, there’s a chance he could stay, with a revised deal.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s still too early to know how it will play out. Whatever the Jets offer Sanchez on a reduced contract could be more than what another team would pay.
The Jets haven’t committed to Geno Smith as the starting quarterback in 2014, but it would be awkward for G.M. John Idzik if the guy Idzik tried to displace returns to the team after a year spent on injured reserve and knocks Smith to the bench. For coach Rex Ryan, in contrast, it could be just what he needs.
Ryan is coaching for his job once again in 2014. If Smith can’t do lead the team to victory, then Ryan needs someone else to get it done.
The final outcome hinges largely on whether the teams potentially interested in Sanchez find other quarterbacks elsewhere, in the early days of free agency. By the time March 25 approaches, much more will be known about the available options — and much more will be known about whether and to what extent the Jets’ best offer compares to what another team would pay.
Yes, it’s tampering for another team to let Sanchez or his agents know what another team would pay. That won’t stop it from happening.
The Jets have the space to carry Sanchez’s $13 million cap number. Based on the way his latest contract was written, they also have some time.
Bennett is set to become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday and is PFT’s top-rated defensive player on the free agent market.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Bennett will not re-sign with Seattle before he becomes a free agent as he wants to test the market.
Bennett entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Seahawks in 2009. He was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played his first four seasons primary with the Buccaneers before returning to Seattle last season. Bennett had hoped to cash in after posting nine sacks with the Buccaneers in 2012. Instead, a deflated market for defensive ends led Bennett to accept a one-year, $5 million deal with the Seahawks.
Bennett led the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks in the regular season and added 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the playoffs.
At 28 years old and with consecutive productive seasons behind him, Bennett wants a long-term deal as it may be his only chance to truly cash in during his career.
Bennett says talks have been positive so far with the Seahawks. However, with one chance to earn a big pay-day, Bennett wants to make sure he’s getting paid top dollar for his services.
Darren Rovell of ESPN.com reports that Manziel has inked a deal with Nike. Although the terms weren’t disclosed, Rovell reports that the multi-year contract will carry a higher value than any shoe/apparel deal signed by any of this year’s class of rookies.
Nike won a competition that included Adidas, Under Armour, and New Balance. Manziel’s connection to LeBron James via business manager Maverick Carter likely had a major role in making the connection happen, given James’ ties to Nike.
At a time when Manziel’s football abilities at the NFL level are unknown, Nike is betting on Manziel performing well enough to become a star. Then again, he already is.
Former Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles continues to be a candidate to be taken at the highest reaches of the draft.
Perhaps in the highest possible spot.
Bortles recently told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt of SiriusXM NFL Radio that Bortles will be visiting with the Texans and Jaguars in the days following his March 19 Pro Day workout. Other visits will be scheduled.
Bortles also continues to talk about his decision to throw at the Scouting Combine — and the decision of other quarterbacks not to throw.
“I don’t really understand why guys don’t throw,” Bortles said. “Every single quarterback that throws is kind of faced with a little adversity. Nobody knows those receivers. The guys are going to run at different speeds. They’re going to come out of cuts at different angles. They’re going to break routes off early and all that kind of stuff. But everybody has to deal with it. It’s a level playing field from a quarterback perspective. So I don’t really understand why guys don’t throw.”
It doesn’t really matter whether quarterback throw or don’t throw at the Scouting Combine, except to those with an interest in seeing the Underwear Olympics be as compelling as possible. The media, for example, will continue to clamor for it (well, most of the media), setting up a goofy sense of competition where no real competition exists.
And it will continue to be an issue every year, with some quarterbacks throwing and some quarterbacks not throwing and the decision having an impact on the draft only in the highly unlikely event that a quarterback who chooses to throw injures himself while doing so.
Coincidentally — or not — Vick is now emerging as a potential option for Minnesota. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Vikings could become very interested in Vick if Matt Cassel chooses to sign elsewhere.
Cassel, who signed a two-year deal in 2013, has opted out of the second season. On Thursday, coach Mike Zimmer said that he wants Cassel to stay, if Cassel wants to stay. He’d been due to earn $3.7 million in 2014.
Vick doesn’t necessarily fit with offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s system, but that may not matter. Peterson publicly has made his preference known. Privately, he could be lobbying even more strongly. The Vikings have committed to Peterson as the current and future face of the franchise; will they give him what he apparently wants?
While it’s a dangerous precedent for players to be stepping onto the turf of General Managers (and for teams to let them), the Vikings have struggled to develop a passing game that complements Peterson’s historic skills. If they sign Vick, at least Peterson can’t blame the front office if it doesn’t work out.
As veteran kick returner Devin Hester gets ready to hit the open market for the first time in his career, he’ll have some competition.
Per a league source, the Broncos have opted not to apply a restricted free agency tender to Trindon Holliday. It means that he’ll become a free agent on March 11.
Holliday, listed at five feet, five inches tall, returned 28 kickoffs in 2013, generating an average of 27.7 yards per attempt in 2013, including a 105-yard touchdown return. He also returned 32 punts, with an average of 8.5 yards and an 81-yard score.
He has four total regular-season return touchdowns in his career. Holliday racked up two in the same postseason game in January 2013, with a 90-yard punt return and a 104-yard kickoff return against the Ravens.
Holliday had the distinction of being undefeated in the 2012 regular season. He played for the 5-0 Texans. Houston then waived him, and the Broncos were 11-0 with Holliday on the roster.
The minimum tender for a restricted free agent is $1.323 million, guaranteeing a right to match any offer received by the player but no compensation if the offer sheet isn’t matched. The Broncos could still try to re-sign Holliday at a lower amount.
During much of Lions coach Jim Caldwell’s time with the Colts, quarterback Peyton Manning had Reggie Wayne to go along with Marvin Harrison. It’s no surprise, then, that Caldwell is looking at the possibility of complementing Calvin Johnson with a new Reggie Wayne.
As noted by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Caldwell and G.M. Martin Mayhew attended Watkins’ Pro Day workout on Thursday at Clemson. While all teams were represented, the presence of both coach and General Manager suggest that the Lions — who know a thing or two about drafting receivers in round one — have real interest in Watkins.
With the Lions holding the 10th overall pick in the draft, their interest level may not matter; Watkins could be long gone by the time the Lions pick.
Watkins caught 101 passes as a junior, gaining 1,464 yards. He opted not to run the 40-yard dash on Thursday, resting on the 4.43-second performance at the Scouting Combine.
Next, the process of visiting teams commences for Watkins. “I’m getting ready to travel the world,” Watkins said.
The NFL world is waiting, probably not so patiently. While many first-round wideouts fail to make an impact, Watkins is viewed as the best prospect since A.J. Green and Julio Jones exploded onto the scene as top-10 selections three years ago.
In the middle of the 2010 season, Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones fired head coach Wade Phillips and replaced him with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Phillips would like to make the case that Jones made the wrong decision.
Phillips took to Twitter on Thursday and pointed out that he and Garrett have each coached the Cowboys for three and a half seasons, and that the Cowboys’ record under Phillips was better than under Garrett. “Phillips: 34-22; Garrett: 29-27,” Phillips added.
Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) March 06, 2014
The Cowboys started that 2010 season 1-7 under Phillips, and after Jones turned to Garrett they went 5-3 the rest of the way. So it looked early on like the right choice. But since then, Garrett has gone 8-8, 8-8 and 8-8 in his three full seasons. Phillips, on the other hand, went 13-3, 9-7 and 11-5 in his three full seasons as the Cowboys’ head coach.
So Phillips has a good case that he was a better coach in Dallas than Garrett. Why he suddenly decided to make that case today is unclear.
UPDATE 7:45 p.m. ET: Moments after we published this, Phillips tweeted, “My surprise was that Jason and I had coached the same number of games. Not the record – time passes quickly -I wish Jason & Cowboys well.”
James, 30, was added to the Chiefs’ roster on Dec. 31, and he appeared in the club’s wild card round loss at Indianapolis. James, who had stints with Atlanta and Baltimore before joining Kansas City, has appeared in 19 regular season games in his NFL career.
The 26-year-old Jones appeared in two games for the Chiefs in 2013, finishing the season on the reserve/non-football illness list. The Chiefs signed Jones to their practice squad on Oct. 30, eight days after the Colts waived him.
Jones played in 10 regular season games for the Colts from 2012-2013, starting three and catching three passes for 42 yards.
With the league’s legal tampering period beginning Saturday, the clock is ticking for teams to retain their own before others start butting in.
Pitoitua signed with the Titans last March as a free agent, after spending a year with the Chiefs.
He’s a solid player against the run, and gives them some flexibility up front as the Titans transition to a hybrid defense under new coordinator Ray Horton.
And after bouncing around (the Titans were his third team in as many years), knowing where he’ll be must have been enough of a relief to forego the open market.
It’s time to add a line to Aaron Hernandez‘ rap sheet.
According to multiple reports, the former Patriots tight end will be charged with simple assault for a jailhouse altercation with an inmate last week. The two men reportedly encountered each other at a time when Hernandez should have been encountering no one, and Hernandez proceeded to allegedly pummel the other inmate while the other inmate was restrained by handcuffs
Hernandez is being held without bail for the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez also remains under investigation for the 2012 shooting deaths of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado. The families of all three victims have sued Hernandez for wrongful death.
Hernandez likewise has been sued by a man who claims Hernandez shot him in February 2013, and Hernandez undoubtedly will face a lawsuit from the inmate he allegedly beat up. The inmate will likely sue the jail for negligence in giving Hernandez the opportunity to beat up the inmate.
Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel opted out of the second year of his two-year contract, making him a free agent on March 11. At a time when many presume he’ll leave, the team’s new coach wants Cassel to return. But only if Cassel wants to return.
“I would love to have Matt Cassel back if Matt Cassel wants to be back,” Zimmer said Thursday, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I don’t know if that will happen or won’t happen. But we’re going to find a quarterback somewhere. . . . If Matt wants to come back, I’m sure that we’ll get it worked out.”
Zimmer realizes that, before Cassel can pick the Vikings, Cassel will look at what’s avaiable.
“I think everyone wants to explore,” Zimmer said. “He’s got a bunch of pretty girls looking at him right now, and he wants to explore and see what’s best for him.”
If Cassel’s objective is to play, the prettiest girl could be the one he’s currently dating. After getting burned by using the 12th overall pick on Christian Ponder in 2011, the Vikings may be inclined to not use the eighth overall pick this season on a quarterback. Maybe with Cassel, who had a direct role in each of the team’s five wins last season, the Vikings could let Norv Turner work his magic with Cassel while perhaps taking a swing at a mid-round prospect who could become a Russell Wilson for Zimmer and company.
Ultimately, a team’s plans for Cassel will be revealed by the financial investment they’re willing to make.
The Browns put a transition tag on center Alex Mack on Monday, which allows them to match any offer to Mack within seven days and would guarantee Mack a salary of $10.039 million for 2014 if Mack decides to sign it.
Mack isn’t going to be doing that anytime soon, though. He said he had “a cool meeting” with the new staff and that there was something to be said for having “a clean slate,” but that the transition tag did nothing to dissuade him of the desire to see what other teams might offer him to jump ship.
“We’ll see what happens. It’s tough to know. I don’t know how teams feel about me. I still have an opportunity to meet with coaches and experience free agency. That’s the goal,” Mack said, via USA Today. “I like Cleveland; I know it. I like these new coaches. But there are other opportunities out there. You only get to play this game so long. Let’s see what else is out there.”
Mack added that “it’s not a bad thing” if he winds up back in Cleveland one way or another, but he seems to be hoping that free agency brings him a long-term deal wherever he winds up playing. It won’t be too much longer before we know whether he gets one.