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Footballguys #254 - 12/31 - Happy New Year - News And Notes From Around The League

Volume 20, #254 -- Monday Night, December 31st, 2018

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Howdy Folks,

Happy New Year!

2018 is a wrap and we're on to 2019. Can't wait.

We've got some News and Notes for you so let's get to it.

J


1. PIT - WR Antonio Brown benched for Week 17

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown missed the season finale because he chose to sit out practice last week following a heated dispute with a teammate, according to sources.

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Brown's benching reportedly had nothing to do with his knee injury. The dispute occurred mid-week during a routine walk-through at practice. Brown threw a football at the aforementioned teammate (reportedly Ben Roethlisberger) and chose not to practice for the remainder of the week.

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2. LAR - RB Todd Gurley good for postseason

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) is expected to be fine for the divisional round of the playoffs, according to head coach Sean McVay. McVay said the star running back is feeling good and that the Rams are encouraged by what they've heard from the medical staff. Los Angeles will be safe with how they handle Gurley heading into the playoffs, however.

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The Rams sealed a bye week by earning the no.2 seed in the NFC. They've been starting C.J. Anderson over the last two weeks with great results. Anderson goes back to the bench as Gurley will now have rested for three weeks. Gurley has been dealing with inflammation in his left knee.

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3. LAC - TE Hunter Henry to take first-team reps

Source: Chargers.com

Updating a previous report, Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry (knee) will practice with the first-team offense this week, according to Anthony Lynn.

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Henry is back in action this week for the Chargers after missing all of the regular season. He won't be in line for a full snap count in the Wild Card Round, but Henry's return is a boost for the Chargers offense.

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4. JAX - RB Leonard Fournette loses guarantee

Source: The Florida Times-Union - Hays Carlyon

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was stripped of the guaranteed money in his contract due to his suspension, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

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Things have turned for Fournette and the Jaguars. A top-5 pick in the 2017 NFL draft, Fournette has now drawn the ire of EVP Tom Coughlin. "I am disappointed in the behavior today from T.J. Yeldon and Leonard Fournette. They were disrespectful, selfish and their behavior was unbecoming that of a professional football player," Coughlin said.

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5. MIA - QB Ryan Tannehill unlikely to return

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is expected to be released or traded this offseason.

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The Dolphins have a new regime taking over in 2018 with the front office restructured and head coach Adam Gase fired. Tannehill has two years left on his contract and a cap number in 2019 of $26.6 million. There is $13.4 million in dead money remaining on his deal, but it just might be time for the team to move on from the 2012 first-round pick who has failed to produce at the expected level.

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6. MIA - WR DeVante Parker not expected back

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker is expected to be released this offseason. The team would save $9.4 million salary cap space if they cut Parker.

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Parker had his fifth-year option picked up by the Dolphins but it's only guaranteed for injury. They can back out of that decision and let Parker hit the open market. A first-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Parker had only 24 catches for 309 yards and one touchdown in 2018.

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7. WAS - Washington signs six players

Source: ESPN.com - John Keim

The Washington Redskins signed WR Carlos Henderson, T Roubbens Joseph, WR ArDarius Stewart, RB Elijah Wellman, DT JoJo Wicker and C Casey Dunn to Reserve/Futures contracts Monday, Dec. 31.

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Henderson was a third-round pick of the Broncos in the 2017 NFL draft. He is strong after the catch and has the speed to be dangerous with the rock in his hands. However, off field issues and a lack of discipline caused the Broncos to quickly move on from him. Stewart was also a third-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He lasted one year for the Jets before getting bounced, then he got a shot with the Raiders. Stewart, like Henderson, is all about run-after-the-catch ability. We'll monitor both former draft picks but only in super deep dynasty formats.

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8. BUF - RB LeSean McCoy staying put

Source: ESPN.com - Mike Rodak

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy will return to the Bills for the final year of his contract in 2019, according to general manager Brandon Beane.

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McCoy is not the same player he used to be, as evidenced by his career low 3.2 yards per carry average in 2018. When healthy, McCoy might still have something left in the tank. He's on the books for just over a $9 million cap hit with about $2.6 million remaining in dead money.

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9. CIN - Cincy signs five to future contracts

Source: Bengals.com

Cincinnati Bengals TE Moritz Bohringer, S Demetrious Cox, C Brad Lundblade, TE Andrew Vollert and WR Kermit Whitfield were signed to Reserve/Future deals Monday, Dec. 31.

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In super deep dynasty leagues we'll keep an eye on these guys. Böhringer, the most interesting prospect here, is a German-born player who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He was the first European player to be selected in the NFL Draft without playing any college football. Size and athleticism are hallmarks of his game, but Bohringer needs to work on the nuances of the position after transitioning from wide receiver to tight end.

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10. NFL - Daniel Jones declares for draft

Source: The Herald-Sun - Steve Wiseman

Duke QB Daniel Jones announced Monday, Dec. 31, that he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

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Jones is a dual-threat quarterback who could work his way into the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. He's big, measuring in at 6'5" 220 pounds and has the tools to be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. Jones has a bit of Carson Wentz to his game, featuring intelligence and toughness in addition to mobility and a strong arm. Consistency is an issue for him and one he'll need to overcome at the pro level.

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11. TEN - No surgery plans for QB Marcus Mariota

Source: TitanInsider.com - Terry McCormick

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota (neck) is not expected to need surgery to address the nerve issues that have plagued him recently.

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Nerve issues can be tricky to deal with and we know the Titans are going to be cautious with their franchise quarterback. We'll know more about Mariota's availability for offseason workouts later in the spring but there doesn't seem to be any need for him to miss those given no surgery is needed.

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12. NO - WR Cameron Meredith expects to be ready for 2019

Source: The Times-Picayune - Josh Katzenstein

New Orleans Saints WR Cameron Meredith (knee) believes he will be ready to take part in all offseason work in 2019.

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Meredith signed a two-year deal with the Saints last year but saw his season cut short by another knee problem. He played in six games this year, catching nine passes for 114 yards and one touchdown. Meredith has a $6.8 million cap hit next year with $2.75 million in dead money. He's no lock for the final roster in 2019.

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13. TB - QB Jameis Winston to return in 2019

Source: The Athletic - Greg Auman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston is expected to remain the team's starting quarterback in 2019, general manager Jason Licht told reporters during his season-ending presser Monday, Dec. 31.

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Winston has one more year on his deal, playing on the fifth-year option in 2019 with a cap number of $20.9 million. He's now going to be playing under his third head coach (Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter) with the Bucs now undergoing what could be an extensive search for a new head coach.

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14. PHI - QB Nick Foles to start playoff opener

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Josh Alper

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles (ribs) has been named the starting quarterback for the team's NFC Wild-Card Game against the Chicago Bears.

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Foles is dealing with bruised ribs, something he can play with but should come along with a certain amount of pain. The Eagles travel to play against the Bears in the Wild Card Round on Sunday.

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15. ATL - Atlanta cleans house at coordinator

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special teams coach Keith Armstrong were fired Monday, Dec. 31, according to a source.

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No surprise here. Sarkisian's offense was never a fit for the talent of the Atlanta offense. Reports indicate the team could turn to former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak to be their offensive coordinator. That would be a fine move if possible as Kubiak comes from the Shanahan system, and QB Matt Ryan (and the entire offense) looked great under Kyle Shanahan a couple of years ago.

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16. MIA - Miami shakes up front office

Source: ESPN.com - Cameron Wolfe

Miami Dolphins executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum has been reassigned to another undisclosed position within the organization.

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Reports around the team create speculation about a power struggle in Miami that now sees Tannenbaum reassigned and head coach Adam Gase fired. General manager Chris Grier has been promoted to oversee football operations.

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17. MIN - No changes in Minnesota

Source: NFL Network - Tom Pelissero

Updating an earlier report, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman will remain in their positions after owners Zygi and Mark Wilf sat in on the final team meeting.

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The Vikings fell short of the postseason in 2018, even though they paid QB Kirk Cousins the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history. Some felt Zimmer may be on the chopping block because the team fell short this season after playing in the NFC Championship last season. Zimmer is under contract through 2019, so we should see the team get him a short-term extension in the near future.

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18. NYJ - Eric Bieniemy requested for Jets interview

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was requested for an interview for the New York Jets' head coaching vacancy.

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Bieniemy is going to be one of the hotter head coaching prospects out there. Running the high-powered Chiefs offense is going to be something coveted by teams in the league in need of a head coach. The Jets are looking for someone to get the most out of QB Sam Darnold and Bieniemy might be that guy.

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19. NO - TE Josh Hill signs extension

Source: ESPN.com - Field Yates

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill signed a three-year, $8.85 million extension through the 2021 season Monday, Dec. 31.

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Hill was set to be a free agent in 2019 but the Saints clearly wanted him around. He's not much of a pass-catcher (Hill catches about 15 passes per year) and should continue as a role player for the Saints.

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20. CLE - Matt Eberflus sought for CLE interview

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has been sought for an interview by the Cleveland Browns for their head coaching vacancy.

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Eberflus has done a fantastic job turning around the Colts defense. He's seen as a rising star in the coaching ranks based on what he's done in 2018 and his coaching background which comes from the Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin coaching tree.

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21. ARI - Steve Wilks fired

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Updating an earlier report, Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks has been fired.

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It only took one season to determine Wilks wasn't their guy. Wilks didn't get much of anything from either side of the ball in Arizona, and the team wants to see more progress from QB Josh Rosen. A one-year defensive coordinator with the Panthers, Wilks should get a job in the near future as an assistant somewhere.

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22. DEN - DEN wants Mike Munchak interview

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has been requested for an interview for the Denver Broncos' head coaching vacancy.

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The Broncos took a chance on a first-time head coach last time with Vance Joseph. They might want to go with a more experienced coach this time around. Munchak went 22-26 in three seasons with the Titans from 2011-13.

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23. PHI - QB Nick Foles should be fine

Source: NFL Network - Mike Garafolo

Updating previous reports, Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles (ribs) is expected to be ready to play in the Wild Card round after X-rays reveal bruised ribs and no fractures.

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Bruised ribs are going to be painful to deal with, but Foles should be able to play. The Eagles travel to play the Bears in the Wild Card Round on Sunday.

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24. CIN - Marvin Lewis fired

Source: NFL Network - Tom Pelissero

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis informed his staff Monday, Dec. 31, that he is out as head coach.

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Lewis made it 16 seasons with the Bengals even though Lewis had an 0-7 record in the playoffs. The Bengals finish with a 6-10 record this year and have a roster with limited talent. Lewis has been leaning towards retirement as a head coach but we think he could find his way into a front office role somewhere in the league.

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25. MIA - Adam Gase fired

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase was fired Monday, Dec. 31, according to a source.

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It's a somewhat surprising move for the Dolphins. There was a power struggle in the front office that is now reshuffled and Gase is now looking for a job. A majority of teams with coaching vacancies have already reached out to Gase. He should land on his feet in the near future.

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26. DEN - Brian Flores sought for DEN interview

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores has been requested for an interview by the Denver Broncos for their head coaching vacancy.

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Flores has a few teams interested in interviewing him. He called plays for the first time in 2018 and the Patriots defense finished 7th in points allowed. We'll see if he can impress and get a job on the fast track to a head coaching gig.

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27. DEN - Vance Joseph fired

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph was fired Monday, Dec. 31.

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The Broncos have now had back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1972...all under the watch of Joseph. The players played hard for Joseph but he was saddled with Case Keenum as his quarterback and little depth. The Broncos are now looking for their fourth head coach since 2011 (John Fox, Gary Kubiak, Vance Joseph) and may go to a more experienced coach. Joseph was a first-time head coach and went 5-11 and 6-10 in two seasons.

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28. CLE - Two Browns coaches to interview

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Cleveland Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams and offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens will interview for the head coaching vacancy Tuesday, Jan. 1.

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Williams and Kitchens helped turn the Browns season around after Hue Jackson was fired. Neither seem to be serious candidates as the Browns may have their pick of coaches available. The Browns will be a hot landing spot because of the talent on the roster, most importantly led by QB Baker Mayfield.

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29. MIN - Mike Zimmer staying put

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he's not retiring or resigning this offseason, according to sources.

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The Vikings fell short of the postseason in 2018, even though they paid QB Kirk Cousins the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history. Some felt Zimmer may be on the chopping block because the team fell short this season after playing in the NFC Championship last season. Zimmer is under contract through 2019, so we should see the team get him a short-term extension in the near future.

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30. OAK - Mike Mayock hired as Raiders' GM

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was hired as Oakland Raiders general manager Monday, Dec. 31, according to sources.

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Mayock goes from the TV booth to the front office of the Raiders...much like Jon Gruden did as their head coach. He doesn't have any experience in a front office but Mayock does a great job of breaking down the NFL draft and evaluating talent for NFL Network. This is going to be quite interesting to see how things shake out for the Raiders with five first-round draft picks over the next two seasons.

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31. GB - Josh McDaniels sought for GB interview

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been requested for an interview by the Green Bay Packers for their head coaching vacancy.

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McDaniels was supposed to be the coach of the Colts last year but that fell apart. Many think he's going to be the coach of the future for the Patriots but every year teams come calling for McDaniels. Green Bay is trying to find the best fit for Aaron Rodgers.

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32. CLE - Mike McCarthy headed to Browns?

Source: The Arizona Republic - Bob McManaman

Former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is in line to be the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns, according to sources.

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The Browns are reportedly going to have a wide coaching search but that's not the case if McCarthy gets it from the get go. We'll see if a large search is done or if they've made their mind up already.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J