NFL News from 02/19 to 02/21/2018
Texans released LB Brian Cushing (via John McClain)
A lifelong Texan since he was drafted in the first round in 2009, Cushing had a solid career at Inside Linebacker for the Texans, making a Pro Bowl in the process. He’s missed some time due to a PED suspension recently and became expendable due to the emergence of Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole in both their second seasons. This release will save the Texans around $7.5 million against the cap.
Bucs released HB Doug Martin (via Rick Stroud)
This move was completely expected following a rough past two seasons for Martin, in which he was banged up, inconsistent, and was even suspended for the beginning of last season. After getting drafted in the first round in 2012, Martin has had an up and down career with the Bucs. He showed his full potential in a dominant 2015 season which saw him earn 1st team All-Pro Honors, but he has seemingly fallen off a cliff since then. Martin will certainly get another chance on a RB-needy team, but may need to wait for free agency and the Draft to play out first. This move saves $6.75 million against the cap for Tampa Bay.
Eagles promote Mike Groh to Offensive Coordinator and Duce Staley to Offensive Assistant/Assistant Head Coach (via PFT)
After announcing a week ago that they wouldn’t be promoting anyone to Offensive Coordinator, the Eagles seemed to have had a change of heart, as they interviewed both Groh and Staley for the job before eventually giving it Groh. Regardless of title, both coaches are sure to have a lot more on their plate to fill the voids of Frank Reich and John DeFillipo. This will be Mike Groh’s first job coordinating an NFL offense, and as for Duce Staley, although he was passed over for the job, he is widely respected around the league and was kept by the Eagles through multiple coaching changes because of his excellent work with the run game. He will undoubtedly get his chance to coordinate an offense in the future, even if it is not with Philadelphia.
Bears release LB Jerrell Freeman and decline LG Josh Sitton’s team option for 2018 (via FoxSports)
These moves will save Chicago over $10 million for next season. Freeman played solid during his two-year stint in Chicago, but was hit with a 4-game PED ban in 2016, and was suspended 10 more games last season for a repeat offense. Wherever he ends up next season, he will be suspended for the first two games. The release of Sitton comes at a bit more of a surprise, as he excelled last season, grading out as a Top 5 guard per PFF. He will arguably be the best interior lineman on the market and will not have any trouble finding a new home. He will become a free agent at the start of the new league year. The Bears are making a concerted effort to get younger.
Dolphins place franchise tag on WR Jarvis Landry (via CBSSports)
Tuesday was the first day teams were able to use the franchise tag, and the Dolphins did not waste any time. This one comes as a surprise, the general vibe around the Dolphins organization seemed to indicate that Landry and Miami were headed for split and a few million apart in contract talks. It is possible that they are closer to a deal than anyone expected, but even more likely is Miami is using this opportunity to see if they can find a trade partner and get good compensation for the talented receiver. The tag will pay Landry just north of $16 million next season unless he agrees to an extension before that time. This will be an interesting situation to monitor throughout the offseason.
Panthers officially re-hire Marty Hurney as GM (via ESPN)
Hurney has had a bizarre relationship with the Panthers organization throughout his career. He was originally named GM in 2002, and held that title for Carolina until getting fired in 2012 in favor of David Gettleman. Last offseason, the opposite happened, as Gettleman was fired, and he was replaced by Hurney, on an interim basis. Hurney was fully expected to get the job full-time after the season ended, but the Panthers had to delay that decision due to a legal battle between Hurney and his ex-wife. Now that that situation has been settled and Hurney’s name has been cleared, the Panthers were able to go ahead and make the decision they wanted to make. The Carolina Panthers are currently for sale and will soon have a new owner, so Hurney’s job security is as unknown as it gets.