Join us next week from Phoenix

Super Bowl LVII - Previews
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It’s Super Bowl time again.

That means we’re taking the show on the road. PFT Live will originate from Phoenix every day next week.

But there’s a slight shift in our schedule. The show will be live from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET on Peacock and SiriusXM 85. The following day, the show will run in its normal spot of 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET. (We’re not sure when it will be televised by Sky Sports NFL. Then again, we rarely are.)

We’ll have plenty of awesome in-person guests. (No spoilers.) You’ll see all the best clips in videos attached to PFT posts throughout the week.

The whole PFT crew will be in town for the week — Josh Alper, Myles Simmons, MDS, and Charean Williams. Simms will be there the full week. (Whether he shows up for work on Friday remains to be seen.)

It all culminates in the full PFT crew attending Super Bowl LVII and posting content from the stadium, followed by a very early Monday morning edition of PFT Live from Phoenix, before heading home and keeping it all going, day in and day about until we do it all again.

No days off. Until we take a day or two (or more) off.

Raiders, Derek Carr keep moving toward a divorce

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The Raiders wish to trade quarterback Derek Carr. As Billy Bob Thornton said in Bad Santa, “Wish in one had, shit in the other one, see which one fills up first.”

Apparently in response to criticism of their handling of Carr trade talks, which included a suggestion that the Raiders should approach a potential trade of Carr the same way the Texans handled a trade of Deshaun Watson, the Raiders mobilized Adam Schefter of ESPN to create the impression that the Raiders are doing just that.

As noted by Vic Tafur, who covers the Raiders for TheAthletic.com: “Nothing has changed. This is just word scramble. Carr’s agent can’t talk to teams until they agree on compensation, which they likely wouldn’t until they talk about the contract.” Significantly, Carr himself “liked” Tafur’s tweet.

If the Raiders are doing what Schefter suggests they’re doing, they’re obviously being unreasonable in their expectations, because the current list of teams with which Carr is authorized to speak stands at . . . none.

So the Raiders need to soften their demand. It’s that simple.

And here’s where things are very different between Carr’s case and Watson’s — Carr has $40.4 million in future salary that becomes fully guaranteed on February 15. The Raiders can avoid that obligation only if they work out a trade with another team, and if that other team doesn’t do to coach Josh McDaniels before the start of the new league year in March what McDaniels did to the Colts five years ago (i.e., exercise their absolute right to refuse to follow through with a verbal agreement),

Unless the Raiders give Carr permission to talk to other teams about a potential trade soon, he will (or at least should) refuse to ever waive his no-trade clause, forcing the Raiders to choose between cutting him before February 15 or owing him $40.4 million. Given that owner Mark Davis isn’t among the richest owners in the league, that’s an obligation he likely has little interest in assuming.

Thus, for now, we’re assuming Carr will be released by February 15. There’s simply no reason for him to accept any other outcome.

Report: Vikings request permission to interview Ejiro Evero for defensive coordinator

Las Vegas Raiders vs the Denver Broncos
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The Vikings requested permission to interview Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero for the same job, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

New Broncos coach Sean Payton has spoken to Evero about retaining him in his current job.

Evero also has drawn interest from all five teams with a head coaching vacancy and remains a candidate with the Cardinals and Colts. The Falcons had interest in him for defensive coordinator before hiring Ryan Nielsen.

Evero spent last season with the Broncos after winning a Super Bowl ring with the Rams during the 2021 season as their secondary coach and passing game coordinator. He was in camp with the Raiders as a player in 2004 and also has worked for the Buccaneers, 49ers and Packers.

The Vikings also have interviewed Seahawks associate head coach for defense Sean Desai, Vikings assistant head coach Mike Pettine and Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores. They had interest in Nielsen before Atlanta hired him.

Report: Jeff Stoutland agrees to extension with Eagles

NFL: JAN 29 NFC Championship - 49ers at Eagles
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The Eagles offensive line has been a strength for the Eagles this season and the coach for the unit is reportedly on his way to a new deal.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that offensive line coach and run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland has agreed to terms on an extension with the Eagles. There’s no word on those terms.

Fowler reports that some teams have shown interest in Stoutland as an offensive coordinator, but the new deal will keep him in Philadelphia.

Stoutland has been the offensive line coach in Philadelphia since 2013 and he added the run game coordinator title in 2018. He worked in the college ranks before joining the Eagles and worked at Alabama, Miami, Michigan State, and Syracuse before moving to the professional level.

 

Raiders announce Scott Turner as their pass game coordinator

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Word on Friday was that former Commanders offensive coordinator Scott Turner would be joining the Raiders staff and the team made it official a little later in the day.

Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels announced that Turner, who was fired by Washington after the end of the regular season, will be the team’s pass game coordinator.

“The Raiders are excited to welcome Scott Turner to the team’s coaching staff as pass game coordinator,” McDaniels said. “Scott brings a wealth of knowledge from his experience around the league and is already familiar with both the Raiders and the Las Vegas community. We look forward to Scott’s contributions to the team.”

Turner spent the last three years as the offensive coordinator in Washington and has also worked for the Panthers, Vikings, Browns, and the University of Michigan.

Broncos announce Sean Payton’s hiring

Super Bowl XLIV
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Sean Payton signed his contract with the Broncos on Friday. Not long after reports of his signing came the Broncos’ announcement.

It’s official: Payton is the new head coach of the Broncos.

Broncos owner and CEO Greg Penner released a statement: “Sean Payton is an outstanding leader and Super Bowl champion with a brilliant offensive mind. He shares our commitment to winning championships for Broncos Country and we’re excited to welcome him as our new head coach.

“Sean knows how to build a championship culture with high expectations. He coaches with intensity and attention-to-detail while setting and maintaining high standards. Sean pours his heart and soul into winning with preparation, creativity and a genuine love of the game.

“It is rare in any sport to hire a head coach with Sean’s credentials and we appreciate the first-class manner in which the Saints approached this process. We also appreciated the opportunity to meet and learn from the other highly qualified, outstanding coaches we interviewed.

“Our goal was to identify a strong leader for the Denver Broncos who is focused on winning, and we found him in Coach Payton.”

In his 15 seasons as head coach of the Saints, Payton won nine playoff berths, seven NFC South division titles and Super Bowl XLIV (2009). No coach ever has won Super Bowls with different teams.

Chiefs list JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarius Toney, L’Jarius Sneed as questionable after bye week

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Chiefs coach Andy Reid already has said he does not anticipate receiver Mecole Hardman (pelvis) playing in Super Bowl LVII. The estimated status report following the bye week confirmed that.

The NFL required the Chiefs to list estimated designations following the bye week, and Hardman received a doubtful designation.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), wide receiver Kadarius Toney (ankle/hamstring) and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (concussion) also missed practice all week. They are considered questionable for Super Bowl LVII.

Linebacker Willie Gay Jr., whose shoulder injury limited him all week, also is considered questionable.

The team will issue another status report next Friday, with updated designations.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (ankle) was a full participant all week and is good to go for next Sunday.

Landon Dickerson, Lane Johnson, Robert Quinn among Eagles who missed Friday’s practice

NFL: JAN 21 NFC Divisional Playoffs - Giants at Eagles
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The same players who missed practice earlier this week missed the Eagles’ practice again Friday.

Left guard Landon Dickerson (elbow, resting player), right tackle Lane Johnson (groin, resting player), center Cam Jurgens (hip, resting player), cornerback Avonte Maddox (toe, resting player) and defensive end Robert Quinn (foot, resting player) did not practice.

Maddox stood on the sideline with a protective boot on his left foot. He missed three games with a toe injury before returning to play in the NFC Championship Game.

The Eagles rested eight players Friday, limiting their work.

Cornerback James Bradberry, receiver A.J. Brown, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, defensive end Brandon Graham, center Jason Kelce, offensive guard Isaac Seumalo, cornerback Darius Slay and defensive end Josh Sweat were limited.

The Eagles were required to submit estimated game designations and had no one listed on their status report.

Sean Payton signs five-year contract with Broncos

NFL: JAN 09 Saints at Falcons
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Sean Payton’s contract to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos is now done.

Payton has signed a five-year contract to coach the Broncos, according to multiple reports.

There was no reason to think Payton wouldn’t get the contract done, but nothing is done until it’s done, and now it actually is done.

Payton went 152-89 as head coach of the Saints from 2006 to 2021 and won Super Bowl XLIV. The Broncos, coming off a highly disappointing season, are hoping he can bring similar success to Denver.

Scott Turner is expected to join Raiders staff

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The Raiders are adding a veteran offensive assistant.

According to multiple reports, Scott Turner is headed to Las Vegas in a pass-game role.

Turner was Washington’s offensive coordinator for the past three seasons. He was fired after the conclusion of the regular season last month.

Turner was the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach under Ron Rivera from 2018-2019. He’s also previously spent time with the Vikings and Browns as an offensive assistant in the league.

Josh McDaniels is heading into his second season as Raiders head coach and offensive play-caller. Las Vegas also has Mick Lombardi as offensive coordinator and Bo Hardegree as quarterbacks coach.

The Raiders, however, don’t yet know who their quarterback is going to be for 2023. The club is currently attempting to find a trade partner longtime QB Derek Carr, but signs point to him being released before his $40.4 million guarantee kicks in on Feb. 15.

NFL concussion data could lead to broader use of Guardian Caps

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Concussions were up in the regular season. Concussions were down in the preseason.

That points to an obvious potential change to practice rules for the regular season, especially given one of the reasons for the reduction in preseason concussions.

The Guardian Caps, which were mandatory at practice through the second game of the preseason, could be used more broadly. The league acknowledged that possibility during a Friday conference call.

Certain specific position groups (offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, and tight ends) were required to wear Guardian Caps during practice. Per the league, those groups saw a 52-percent reduction in concussions over the same time period from 2021.

Thus, don’t be surprised if Guardian Caps become a fixture at practices throughout the season.  Don’t be surprised if more position groups are required to wear them.

The biggest question is whether the league would ever require Guardian Caps to be used during games, especially in the preseason. Given the extent to which teams have become identified by the colors and logos on their helmets, it’s impossible to consider those logos being covered up by a clumpy, lumpy apparatus aimed at providing extra cushioning for those wearing the helmet and those struck by it.

The broader goal should be to create helmets that simulate the protection while still looking like helmets. Even though, frankly, few modern football helmets really look like football helmets anymore.

Ravens have spoken to Byron Leftwich about offensive coordinator job

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Add another name to the list of coaches who have spoken to the Ravens about their offensive coordinator job.

Jeff Zrebiec of TheAthletic.com reports that their head coach John Harbaugh has spoken with former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich about the position. Leftwich was fired by Tampa after their playoff loss to the Cowboys.

Leftwich was a head coaching candidate after the last couple of seasons, but the Buccaneers’ struggles throughout the 2022 season pushed him out the door after four seasons with the team.

The Ravens have started lining up second interviews for the job and it’s not clear if Leftwich remains in the running with the likes of Vikings tight ends coach/passing game coordinator Brian Angelichio, Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten, Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales, and University of Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

Eagles are five sacks in the Super Bowl from an NFL regular season/postseason record

NFL: JAN 29 NFC Championship - 49ers at Eagles
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The Eagles’ defense led the NFL with 70 sacks in the regular season, and they’ve added eight more sacks in the playoffs. And now they’re closing in on an all-time record.

If the Eagles can record five sacks in Super Bowl LVII, they’ll have a total of 83 combined in the regular season and the postseason, which would be the most in NFL history.

Currently the Eagles are in third place all-time, behind only the 1984 Bears, who had 82 sacks in the regular season and playoffs combined, and the 1985 Bears, who had 80. Those Bears had perhaps the greatest defense in NFL history, so the Eagles are in some elite company.

Sacking Patrick Mahomes five times won’t be easy: He’s only taken five sacks in a game once in his career, in 2018. But if there’s a defense that can do it, it’s this year’s Eagles.

DeMeco Ryans: Texans rookie defenders are players we can build around

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The Texans took defensive players with three of their first five picks in the 2022 draft and their new coach believes they can be the foundation for the team’s defense in the years to come.

DeMeco Ryans was asked about cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., safety Jalen Pitre, and linebacker Christian Harris during his introductory press conference on Thursday and he said that “being able to work with young guys and young guys who are talented” is what excites him the most about coaching. He made it clear he believes all three of those players qualify.

“Those are the type of players we can build around,” Ryans said, via the team’s website. “So that does excite me when you have the young talent that we have here.”

Ryans moved to the top of the list of head coaching candidates this offseason because of the defense he built with the 49ers. If he can do the same in Houston, his chances of giving the Texans a similar lift in the standings will look much better.

Raiders, Packers should duplicate the Deshaun Watson trade formula

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The Raiders want to trade quarterback Derek Carr. The Packers may be trying to trade quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In both cases, the player is being frozen out of the process, at least for now.

It’s a great strategy. If the goal is to not strike a deal for a trade.

The Raiders ultimately need to persuade Carr to waive his no-trade clause. The Packers ultimately need to persuade Rodgers to waive his de facto no-trade clause, since no one will be trading for Rodgers if he doesn’t want to go there.

So why wouldn’t both teams involve the players in the process? More specifically, why not give them full permission to talk to any and all interested teams?

Last year, the Texans played it perfectly with quarterback Deshaun Watson. They basically set a cover charge for negotiating with Watson’s agents, in the form of a commitment as to what the trade compensation would be prior to granting permission to engage in contract talks. Then, Watson’s agents brought four teams to the table, pushing the Browns aside at the perfect time to get them to swoop back in with a five-year, fully-guaranteed contract.

That’s what the Raiders and Packers should do now. Kick the door open for anyone who wants to make a trade offer, and then authorize those willing to meet their expectations the ability to make a pitch to the players.

Neither the Raiders nor Packers are dumb. But they’re apparently stubborn. And stubbornness causes smart people to do dumb things.