Howard Katz calls in to take a look at the 2013 schedule. When does the schedule making process begin each year? Is there any lingering frustration towards the Orioles for not allowing the Ravens to open the season at home? How is the schedule made?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Breaking down the 2013 schedule
It doesn’t look like it took too long for the Broncos to put action behind those words. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports that the team is “negotiating in earnest” with the player who scored the first touchdown of their Super Bowl victory.
Klis adds that talks about a deal have not progressed to a point that Jackson would re-sign before hitting the open market. Jackson said on PFT Live this week that he’d like to return to Denver, but that “it’s a business” when it comes to where he’ll eventually wind up.
Seeing what the business might offer a productive starting defensive end could keep that progress from getting made and the Broncos won’t be able to improve their chances of keeping Jackson with a franchise tag should they use it on linebacker Von Miller.
Per Klis, contract talks haven’t started with quarterback Brock Osweiler yet but that some could happen at this month’s combine.
A Sunday replay of Super Bowl XXXII on NFL Network included post-game podium interviews by Greg Gumbel, then of NBC. And when Gumbel turned to the Denver head coach, Mike Shanahan said this: “I thank [owner] Pat Bowlen for giving the opportunity to compete, [he] gave us all the financial resources to get this thing done.”
Indeed, Shanahan had plenty of financial resources to win the Super Bowl. He actually had more than the rules allowed.
It’s another pre-social media football scandal that not only has become forgotten but also never received the attention it would have experienced if it happened today. Through two separate punishments, the Broncos lost a total of $1.918 million and two-third round draft picks for a series of salary-cap violations in the 1990s.
The first punishment, a $968,000 fine and the forfeiture of a third-round pick, came in December 2001, due to $29 million in deferred payments to quarterback John Elway and running back Terrell Davis. The second punishment, a $950,00 fine and another lost third-round pick, for cap violations that occurred between 1996 and 1998. The Broncos won the Super Bowl at the end of the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
The Broncos claimed at the time that no competitive advantage was gained from the violations; the league did not directly address that topic in announcing the settlement of a proceeding brought by the NFL’s Management Council against the Broncos.
Al Davis, the late owner of the Raiders, repeatedly argued that Bowlen should be suspended for the violations. After that epic 2008 overhead-projector press conference held in conjunction with the firing of former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, Davis said that the Broncos should have asterisks applied to their championships “because they were caught cheating.”
The good news for the Broncos is that a generation has passed since those infractions. The better news is that no asterisk can be applied to the latest Lombardi Trophy that the team has secured.
The Seahawks have had quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on their roster four of the last five seasons, but it looks like his return for another year as Russell Wilson’s backup will be up in the air for a while.
Jackson is set to become a free agent next month and Jessamyn McIntyre of ESPN 710 in Seattle reports that Jackson is not expected to re-sign with the team before the market opens. That’s not too big a surprise as Jackson didn’t wind up re-signing with Seattle for the 2015 season until June.
Per the report, Jackson took less money — $1.5 million — from the Seahawks than other teams were offering last year and expects interest in his services again this offseason.
Jackson’s experience in the scheme means he wouldn’t miss much if there’s another delayed return to the team. Any delay would also give the Seahawks the chance to explore other possibilities behind Wilson. Phillip Sims, who was signed to a future contract last month, is the only other quarterback on the roster and they could look for more options even if Jackson comes back again.
Jackson played in four games, completing 4-of-6 passes for 37 yards. He last started a game in 2011 when he made 14 starts for the Seahawks.
The one thing I root for when it comes to the NFL is a great story. And while the prospect of Magic Johnson pulling a rabbit from his hat by luring Peyton Manning to L.A. would generate plenty of interest, there’s another quarterback who’s migration to California would be nearly as compelling.
Four years ago, the Rams picked up three first-round picks and a second-round pick in exchange for the privilege of drafting quarterback Robert Griffin III. And the Rams repeatedly reminded Washington of the move, from selecting the players obtained through the trade as captains for a game against Griffin’s team to using the picks as a draft-room rallying cry.
“It made too much sense for us to go ahead and recognize the guys that probably wouldn’t be here had it not been for the trade,” Fisher said in December 2014, explaining his coin-toss emissaries following a game against Washington. “We want to do that before the game. It was a memory that will last them for a lifetime. It was a good idea. I’ve sent other people out for different reasons as well.”
Now that Griffin’s time in Washington is coming to an end (unless they want to pay him more than $16 million fully guaranteed for 2016), the prospect looms of the Rams completing the grift by signing Griffin.
Some will say Griffin is now irrelevant, especially after a season spent in bubble wrap, following a preseason game in which the Lions nearly burst him. But Washington coach Jay Gruden decided that Kirk Cousins fits the offense better than Griffin, and once that decision was made there was no reason to risk owing Griffin that $16 million salary for 2016, since last year it was guaranteed only for injury.
The Rams would need to put Griffin through the paces of a full-blown workout before signing him, to ensure he still can move and cut and throw. But it’s a low bar to surpass the skill sets of Nick Foles and Case Keenum, and if no one else is offering Griffin starter money, it could be easy to get Griffin.
Yes, the Cowboys may come calling for Griffin, offering him a chance to serve as Tony Romo’s understudy and to be groomed as his successor. But the financial package would reflect that status. So if Griffin wants to maximize his earnings and play now, why not be interested in playing in L.A.?
The mere fact that it would be the perfect bow on one of the worst trades since the Herschel Walker debacle makes it worth trying.
While watching the replay of Super Bowl XLIII late last night on NFL Network, Florio Jr. saw a shot of Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt on the sideline and asked, “Whatever happened to him?”
It took some time to explain it. When Kurt Warner retired after the 2009 season, the Cardinals struggled at quarterback in 2010, went all in for Kevin Kolb in 2011, and nothing worked. After 2012, the Cardinals fired Whisenhunt, who matched Jim Hanifan as the longest-tenured coach in franchise history.
A year in San Diego as offensive coordinator got Whisenhunt another head-coaching job, in Tennessee. But then Whisenhunt got not nearly enough time with a potential franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota before being dumped, again.
Whisenhunt is now back in San Diego, as offensive coordinator. And while he’s been reunited with a true franchise quarterback, Whisenhunt knows that success requires more than a competent passing game. Whisenhunt recently told his new-old team’s official website that the top priority for 2016 will be developing a strong running game.
“[T]he one thing that stands out is we need to run the football better than we did last year,” Whisenhunt said. “There is no blame associated there, as there are always factors that are involved. But that is probably the biggest thing we have to do, because then your play action builds off of that, your time of possession increases where you can control the ball and you are in better third-down situations. All of those things tie in together. Now, it’s hard to say you can improve on all of those things significantly in the offseason because there are no pads, but I think you can lay the groundwork for what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. That will carry over into training camp. . . . You can do so many things when you are blessed with a quarterback like Philip Rivers. We’ve got to be able to do things that will complement him, and a good running game is one of those that we have to get better at.”
Whisenhunt is counting on 2015 first-rounder Melvin Gordon to develop into a solid option. Whisenhunt said he’s not panicking about Gordon’s fumbling issues, pointing to Tiki Barber as a guy who overcame those struggles.
“The important thing for us is what does [Gordon] do well from a run game perspective?” Whisenhunt said. “Is it a power/counter scheme, or is it a zone scheme? What are his strengths, and how do they fit with us? How can we put him in those situations? I think it is important he gets reps, and comfortable with the courses he is taking. Last year, he didn’t get a chance to be exposed to that, so it will be easier for him with us having him for the whole offseason. He is also a good receiver, and catches the ball well out of the backfield. I’m excited about what he is going to be, and I am looking forward to that.”
Chargers fans have been looking forward to it for nearly a year, and if Whisenhunt can unlock it he could lay the foundation for a third shot at coaching a team of his own.
In the aftermath of a Super Bowl win, backup-turned-starter-turned-backup Brock Osweiler said he wants to stay in Denver. The really question isn’t whether the Broncos want to keep him, but how badly.
On Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Vic Lombardi of Altitude Sports Network said that the Broncos: (1) don’t want to keep Peyton Manning; and (2) do want to keep Osweiler.
It’s easy to want to keep Osweiler. It’s potentially hard to keep him if/when someone else wants him even more. And with quarterback the only job in all of football where supply doesn’t meet demand, multiple teams could be willing to break the bank on Brock Osweiler.
Although enough wasn’t seen from him in 2015 to permit a conclusion that he will become a short-list franchise quarterback, Osweiler passed the eyeball test, with multiple strong performances including the engineering of a win over the Patriots in prime time despite trailing 21-7 in the fourth quarter. Subsequent great-first-half-bad-second-half struggles could be attributed to subpar coaching adjustments during intermission.
Regardless, for teams who need a quarterback and who aren’t picking in the top 10, Osweiler becomes a potential option. Especially since, coupled with a now-expected Manning retirement, bogarting Brock from the Broncos would leave them with no one at quarterback.
It likely won’t take $20 million per year to get Osweiler. At most, it ultimately will take an offer significantly greater than what the Broncos are willing to pay him. If the Broncos, for example, are budgeting $9 million per year for Osweiler, a $13 million per year offer from another team would definitely get his attention. (Those are just spitball numbers with no inside information. At all. Really. I mean it. I wasn’t winking as I typed it. Seriously.)
So who would pursue him? The Browns are perpetually desperate to find a franchise quarterback. Three other teams could be hoping to replicate the Denver great-defense-good-enough-offense formula: the Jets, Rams, and Texans.
Of those, the Texans are the most intriguing. Surely, owner Bob McNair (who hopes to break the Super Bowl hosting curse) is smoldering over the fact that former head coach Gary Kubiak and former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips won a Super Bowl in their first year with the Broncos, featuring a veteran quarterback the Texans didn’t want in 2012. Even if adding Osweiler to a potent defense anchored by J.J. Watt doesn’t push the Texans to the Super Bowl, it would help prevent Kubiak and Phillips winning a second Lombardi in the house Bob built.
“But Osweiler doesn’t really fit Bill O’Brien’s system!” some will say, with or without the exclamation point. McNair wouldn’t be bothered by that; good coaches adjust their systems to match the talents of their players. Kubiak, who couldn’t get it done in Houston, got it done in Denver with Osweiler. So McNair may conclude O’Brien should be able to do the same thing.
At this point, no one knows how it will play out. Within the next two weeks, the pieces will begin falling together in Indianapolis, when all teams and agents convene for a direct look at incoming players and widespread tampering regarding veterans due to hit the market in early March. Then, on March 7, Osweiler and the Broncos can officially find out what the price will be to keep Brock around.
We suggested last week that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers must be recovering well from arthroscopic surgery on his knee because he was scheduled to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this weekend.
Rodgers confirmed as much after completing a round with PGA Tour pro Jerry Kelly when he said his knee is feeling well less than a month after having the procedure.
“It was just good to be out there walking normally,” Rodgers said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “It feels great. It’s nice to not have any clunking around or anything, so it was good.”
Rodgers said the surgery was done to clean up an old injury and that there wasn’t a specific “moment” that he hurt it before the Packers season came to an end with a 26-20 overtime loss to the Cardinals in the playoffs. Rodgers had knee surgery while in college, but hasn’t had issues in that area as a pro and appears to be on track for a normal offseason of work despite last month’s scope.
A look back at Jim Schwartz’s departure from the Bills.
Ten suggested offseason steps to a better Dolphins team.
Georgia LB Leonard Floyd is a popular mock draft choice for the Jets.
What the Ravens shouldn’t take from the Broncos as they build for next season.
An update on the future home of Browns training camps.
The Steelers offensive line dealt with adversity well in 2015.
Are the Colts a possible fit for Matt Forte?
Sean Salisbury played with Jack Del Rio at USC and thinks Del Rio did a great job in his first year as Raiders coach.
Former Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson will be up for the Hall of Fame next year.
There’s plenty of work to do on defense for the Giants.
The Redskins have adopted variable ticket pricing.
Bill Polian thinks the Lions will be rewarded for sticking with coach Jim Caldwell.
The Packers may be able to bolster their defense in the first round.
Vikings rookies have done well under General Manager Rick Spielman.
Former Falcons T Mike Kenn is headed to the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.
A few areas the Panthers need to address this offseason.
The Buccaneers should be able to find some defensive line help in the draft.
Could the Rams use a franchise tag to make sure one of their free agent cornerbacks doesn’t leave?
Former 49ers C Randy Cross thinks the rebuild for his old team will be an extended one.
Base salaries for several Seahawks become guaranteed on Sunday.
The 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will almost certainly feature at least a couple of players who were voted down this year, as next year’s list of first-time eligible players likely has just a few Hall of Famers.
LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Hines Ward, Brian Dawkins and Donovan McNabb are the best players who are eligible for the first time in 2017.
The league MVP in 2006, Tomlinson probably has the best chance in that group. Taylor was the defensive player of the year in 2006 and also has a solid chance. Dawkins was a nine-time Pro Bowler but will probably have to wait a few years before he’s inducted. McNabb was a good player but was never a first-team All-Pro or a Super Bowl winner, and it’s hard for a quarterback to get into the Hall of Fame without either of those honors.
Ward will be one of the most interesting arguments in the Hall of Fame selection committee meeting room next year. His stats aren’t as good as some receivers who have been voted down, like Terrell Owens and Isaac Bruce, but Ward was one of the best blocking receivers in the league, and Ward has a Super Bowl MVP award to his credit. We’ll see next year whether the selection committee values some of those other criteria over stats.
On Saturday, NFL Network published a list of potential Hall of Famers comprised of Tomlinson, Taylor, Ward, Dawkins, McNabb and Chad Johnson. I tweeted that Johnson has no chance of getting into the Hall of Fame: We’ve already seen the Hall of Fame selection committee vote down receivers with much better resumes than Johnson. When Ochocinco saw my tweet, he pointed out that he already inducted himself. Ochocinco belongs in the Hall of Fame of guys who don’t take themselves too seriously.
It’s the first time Daniels won a Super Bowl ring and comes at the end of a year that saw him deal with trouble in both of his knees. Those troubles and the overall accumulation of 10 seasons in the NFL are enough to make Daniels consider the possibility that he’s reached the end of the line, although he hopes that there’s more football left to play.
“Of course, of course. That’s definitely an option,” Daniels said, via Lindsay Jones of USA Today. “But I’m a man of my word, I signed a three-year deal, so I’d like to keep playing. I feel good enough as long as I can get some work done on my 33-year-old knees.”
Daniels had 46 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season and added two more touchdowns in the AFC title game victory over the Patriots. He’s set to make $3.5 million in 2016.
Since the end of the regular season, he Browns have made major changes to the front office and coaching staff and those changes have led to a shift in thinking about left tackle Joe Thomas.
Thomas was nearly traded to the Broncos before the trading deadline, but remained in Cleveland and the new administration says there are no plans to deal Thomas this offseason. Thomas knows the right offer could change that thought, but plans to be in Cleveland and knows that he’d like to continue playing with center Alex Mack and right tackle Mitchell Schwarts.
Mack can opt out of his deal and Schwartz is set for unrestricted free agency, leading Thomas to say that losing them would mean a step back for Cleveland as a team.
“I understand from a business standpoint they need to move on if they get a better offer somewhere else. I certainly would understand it, but I definitely hope that they’re back,” Thomas said, via Cleveland.com. “I don’t know what the Browns’ perspective is on it. I feel like we have a lot of salary cap space to spend on it. … We have the best right tackle and the best center in the NFL and I’d certainly like to keep those guys. You’re not going to make your team better by getting a worse player at those positions.”
The flip side of that is that the Browns haven’t gotten any better by having the trio on their offensive line, so they might opt to try something different in roster construction as they have in putting together their new personnel department. Whatever their intentions, Mack and Schwartz should have plenty of other interest should they hit the open market next month.
Although the Browns have given up on Johnny Manziel, there are still plenty of people willing to give him a helping hand. If he’ll take it.
The latest is Earl Campbell, who like Manziel is from Texas and a Heisman Trophy winner, and who thinks maybe Manziel would listen to his perspective.
“We gotta get him some help,” Campbell told ESPN. “I know everybody says that, but if you’ve never been there, how can you listen to someone? I think some former Heisman winners like myself, some Hall of Famers that have done it all, he should sit down and listen to what we have to say because we’ve been through it all.”
Campbell says Manziel’s problems are serious, but he’s still young enough to turn his life around.
“I’m like everybody else that lives in Texas,” Campbell said. “I’m disappointed, I’m upset a little bit. But I think at some point, you have to say everybody was that age at one time and we have to get back to what’s important. . . . I would tell him that I used to be 23 years old. At one point I had Texas in the palm of my hand as far as an athlete. At a very young age, my mother said it’s not so important what you do now, it’s what you do over your lifetime. Johnny’s gonna be just like me eventually. He’s going to sit down and have a chance to sit down and talk to people. Is he going to be remembered for [his problems] or is he going to be remembered for a guy that did like Von Miller. Got up off the carpet and did something about it.”
Campbell’s offer is kind, but Manziel’s problem hasn’t been a lack of people offering to help. Manziel’s problem has been a lack of interest in getting help. All the offers in the world won’t matter if Manziel won’t listen.
As Foster, who’ll turn 30 in August, heads toward the final years of his NFL career, his feelings on football are hardening.
“I watch zero football. I swear,” Foster recently told actor Michael Rapaport in a podcast, via the Houston Chronicle. “Of course, I used to be a super fan growing up. Once you see the business side, you see it differently. I’m pondering entering the last couple, 3-4 years of my career and I’m thinking about what life will be like after football and I’m looking at the game differently. I look at it more like, ‘I hope these guys come out healthy because they’ve got families.’ It’s not just entertainment to me any more. I see the men and the humans behind it. It’s a vantage point that not a lot of people get to see. I still do enjoy the game. I love it, but it’s just hard for me to watch it from a fan perspective.”
Foster also pointed out the double standard that applies to owners and players, with no one batting an eye when a team rips up a contract but players being accused of selfishness and greed when they have outperformed their contracts.
“He’s doing what is best for him and his family,” Foster said of the player who asks for more. “It’s a business move. People don’t think about that. They don’t look at you as a human anymore once you make a certain amount of money.”
Foster likewise expressed concerns about Thursday night games, but his feelings are far from universal. It seems that for every player who publicly questions short-week games, many others have no issue with it — especially when considering the light work week before the game and the mini-bye on the back end.
“I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining,” Foster said. “I’m not complaining, I love what I do. I’m very . . . I don’t want to say privileged because that’s disrespectful to the work I’ve put in and everybody else put in, but I’m just very grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL.”
Given the position he plays and his history of injuries, the opportunity in Houston could soon be evaporating. The question then becomes whether and for how much compensation other teams will provide him another opportunity.
Johnny Lattner, who was one of the greatest players in college football history but saw his NFL career cut short by an injury suffered in the Air Force, has died at the age of 83.
Notre Dame, where Lattner won the 1953 Heisman Trophy, confirmed Lattner’s death. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Lattner had been suffering from lung cancer.
Lattner was born and raised in Chicago and played halfback, defensive back, punter and kick returner for legendary coach Frank Leahy at Notre Dame. Lattner won the Maxwell Award as the best player in college football in both 1952 and 1953; he and Tim Tebow are the only players to win more than one Maxwell in the 80-year history of that award. Lattner also won the Heisman Trophy in 1953, when he led Notre Dame to a 9-0-1 record.
The Steelers chose Lattner in the first round of the 1954 NFL draft, and as a rookie he finished eighth in the league in all-purpose yards and was chosen as a Pro Bowl kick returner. But in 1955 he left the NFL for the Air Force, and while playing in a football game in the service he suffered a knee injury serious enough that he was never able to play football again.
In his later life, Lattner had a successful business career and was known for his generosity and particularly for lending out his Heisman Trophy for charity events and fundraisers for Fenwick High School, where he was a football and basketball star in the 1940s and where many of his eight children and 25 grandchildren also played football.
NFL executive V.P. Eric Grubman became the in-house point man for the league’s return to Los Angeles. He emerged, as chronicled in a lengthy item from Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta, Jr. of ESPN the Magazine, as a perceived supporter of the Stan Kroenke’s desire to move the Rams to L.A.
Grubman apparently also surfaced within the league’s rumor mill, as noted in the ESPN article, as a candidate to land a cushy gig with the Rams after they return to L.A. The ESPN article calls the rumors “persistent,” creating a belief by some that Grubman was an “agent for Inglewood.”
Via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Grubman takes umbrage at the notion he’ll land with the Rams.
“It couldn’t be further from the truth,” Grubman said two days before the Super Bowl, via Thomas. “I was personally insulted by that. I don’t like that implication or insinuation. It could not be further from the truth.”
The overall dynamics remain unusual. The ESPN article reports that Grubman at one point submitted a bid in the blind auction that resulted in Kroenke securing the land on which the new Rams stadium will be built. Which placed Grubman (or whoever he was representing in that stage of the process) at odds with Kroenke.
Now that Grubman has helped Kroenke leave for L.A., perhaps Grubman can help someone else return to St. Louis.
“I think it’s all about what St. Louis wants,” Grubman told Thomas. “If St. Louis wants to be an NFL city, they’ve got a hell of a chance of being one. If they don’t, or they’re ambivalent about it, then it’s a lot tougher.”
Ultimately, it comes down to how deep the politicians are willing to dig in the public coffers. Or, as in the case of Kroenke and the Rams, whether an owner is hell bent on moving his team to St. Louis, even if he has to pay for the stadium himself.