NFL News from 1/29 – 1/30/2018
Three anonymous GMs say they would not trade for CB Aqib Talib (per ESPN’s Jeff Legwold)
Aqib Talib was reportedly added to the trade block on Sunday, and in response, three anonymous GMs said they would not trade for the veteran corner. The general sense around the league seems to be that the Broncos will eventually be forced to release Talib to clear cap space, which would allow him to reach unrestricted free agency and sign with the highest bidder. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see where he plays next season.
Titans hire Dean Pees to be their Defensive Coordinator (per ESPN.com)
Dean Pees has experience coaching the Ravens and Patriots, winning a Super Bowl as an assistant for each team. He spent the last six seasons coaching the perennially solid Ravens defense before announcing his (extremely brief) retirement. Prior to his time with the Ravens, he was the Patriots linebackers coach, coaching the unit that new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was the leader of. The Titans should remain in the 3-4 next season and already have a few key pieces to build around.
Eagles RB Darren Sproles wants to continue his playing career next year (per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport)
Though he didn’t make anything official, the 34-year-old running back told Ian Rapoport, “I want to go out on my own terms.” Sproles tore his ACL early in the season and will have had 10 months to recover come training camp. There is no guarantee he will even be the same runner coming off the ACL injury at this advanced age, but if he does get back to full health, he shouldn’t have trouble finding suitors if the Eagles choose not to retain him.
Titans hire Matt LaFleur to be their Offensive Coordinator (per ESPN.com)
Less than 12 hours after naming their Defensive Coordinator, the Titans have found the man who will be given the keys to this offense. This is an extremely exciting hire for Marcus Mariota and the offense as a whole. Matt LaFleur has been a quick riser in the coaching ranks over the past few seasons, most recently working with Sean McVay in resurrecting a dormant Rams offense. LaFleur also has experience working with Jay Gruden and Kyle Shanahan. He was one of the first head coaching candidates the Titans interviewed after parting ways Mike Mularkey, and he will be given his first opportunity to call plays under Mike Vrabel. Shout out to Sean McVay and the Rams – they could’ve blocked the Titans from making this technically lateral move for LaFleur, but McVay wants to see his understudy take the next step in his coaching career. I am very intrigued to see what he will do.
Impending free agent QB Kirk Cousins suggests he would take less money to play for a contender (per ProFootballTalk)
“Is money a part of it? Sure. Is it the only thing? No. It is about winning, and that’s what I want more than anything, so I’m going to be willing to make sacrifices or do what has to be done to make sure I’m in the best possible position to win, and that’s what the focus is going to be.”
This was Kirk Cousins’ quote on ProFootballTalk Live earlier. Though I don’t want to read too much into quotes from live talk shows, it shows Cousins may not be looking to break the bank relatively speaking, and would settle for a little less than top dollar to play for a contender. It would definitely improve his chances of playing for a contender if a little bit of the extra money he could be making went towards filling other holes that may be on the roster of the team he ends up playing for. The Redskins have tagged Cousins the last two offseasons, which is part of the reason they haven’t been big spenders recently. It is unlikely they would tag him a third offseason, as this time it would cost an astronomical $34 million, effectively crippling them in free agency. This could potentially be good news for the Jaguars.
Jaguars are “planning to keep” Blake Bortles on his 5th-year team option (per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport)
This is according to Ian Rapoport, and may have something to do with Blake Bortles’ wrist surgery that he underwent recently. If Bortles doesn’t pass a physical on March 16th, the $19 million he’s owed in the 5th and final year of his rookie contract becomes fully guaranteed. If he does somehow pass his physical at that time, the Jaguars can completely rid themselves of that contract. While he held up decently as PFF’s 20th-ranked QB throughout the season and did lead a playoff run that came one close loss short of the Super Bowl, $19 million is still too much money to pay a quarterback as erratic and raw as Bortles showed he still is. Perhaps they could bring him back at a reduced rate, but if his current contract remains unaltered it definitely would rule Jacksonville out of the Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes.