Tagged in: GM

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft tight end, but GM says that won’t affect potential Rob Gronkowski return

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did select a tight end to start the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday — taking Washington’s Cade Otton with the 106th overall pick — general manager Jason Licht stated that would not affect the status of Rob Gronkowski, who remains undecided about playing in 2022.

“I’m still giving him that time,” Licht said Friday night prior to the Buccaneers’ selection.

“We still talk. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that; the more the merrier for him. So that doesn’t show our hand on or foretell what’s going to happen in the future.”

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Speaking from his “Gronk Beach” party at the NFL draft in Las Vegas, Gronkowski told TMZ that he was still undecided on his future but that the Buccaneers are the only team he would contemplate playing for next season.

“It’s just the Bucs,” Gronkowski said. “Love that organization, man. Love the guys there. It’s family over there.”

Gronkowski is still living in Tampa, Florida, and has worked out at the Buccaneers’ facility this offseason two days per week to stay in shape.

Otton, who had 695 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 39 matches for the Huskies, helps offset not only the potential loss of Gronkowski but also the loss of former first-round draft pick O.J. Howard, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

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Kansas City Chiefs not in ‘rebuilding mode’ despite losing key players, GM says

The Kansas City Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill and opted not to re-sign Tyrann Mathieu. They have some seemingly obvious holes on their roster just a few days before the 2022 NFL draft.

General manager Brett Veach still resisted the idea the Chiefs are in any kind of rebuilding effort.

“When you have Pat Mahomes, we’ll be wired to go after it every year,” Veach said. “Even though you may make moves and you may trade really good players, it doesn’t mean [there won’t] be another counterpunch and that we [won’t] try to be aggressive in another way. You just have to be smart and flexible in what you do. What’s needed to do that is draft resources and cap space.

“Just because you trade away a great player doesn’t mean we’re in a rebuilding mode by any means. It just means we’re going to find a new set of resources and we’re going to try to be aggressive.”

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The Chiefs after losing Hill, Mathieu and starting cornerback Charvarius Ward look to need help at wide receiver and in the secondary. They also need edge rushers to improve a pass rush that was 29th in the league last season in sacks.

The Chiefs did sign wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and safety Justin Reid. But after losing Hill and two of last season’s other top receivers, and being without Mathieu, Ward and one of last season’s top defensive backs in terms of playing time in Daniel Sorensen, the Chiefs could still use help.

They have a league-high 12 draft picks, counting two in each of the first four rounds.

As for replacing Hill, Veach stated, “On one end, it’s very hard to replicate a talent like Tyreek Hill. But I also think there’s a mindset or idea forgetting how good a coach Andy Reid is. He’s won with all types of quarterback and all different types of offensive schemes.

“Our staff is very dynamic and, look, we had Tyreek Hill and we were able to implement a lot of RPO stuff and a lot of vertical attack stuff, but it doesn’t mean when you have a talent like Pat Mahomes and a Hall of Fame coach like Andy that you can’t rewire and retweak your offense and how you do things. There are multiple ways we scored points over the years.

“Would you like to find someone like Tyreek? Yeah, but I think every team would. If you don’t, there are many ways to win games. Our offense is I think extremely flexible, a lot more flexible than what people think. For us and what we do, we’re going to go out there and collect good players.

They might not be 4.2 guys but if they’re good football players, we’re going to put them into position to make plays and win a lot of games.”

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Derek Carr agrees to 3-year, $121.5 million extension with Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a multiyear contract extension Wednesday.

The Raiders did not disclose terms of the deal, but a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Carr agreed to a three-year, $121.5 million extension that contains a no-trade clause and runs through the 2025 season.

Carr also mentioned Wednesday that he will be with the Raiders for “four more” years and stated he would have understood had the new regime of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels wanted “somebody new” at quarterback.

“But the fact that they keep believing in me and watching the tape and saying, ‘Wow, we want you to be here for some more years or some more time,’ that means more to me, way more to me than any of the other stuff it has to do with,” Carr said. “It was very clear to me how they felt about me from day one.”

Carr, 31, is arranged to make $19.87 million in base salary in 2022. He signed a five-year, $125 million extension in 2017 that was, at the time, the richest contract in NFL history.

His new money average per year of $40.5 million (for the extension only) ranks fifth among NFL quarterbacks.

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“Derek Carr has been the leader of this franchise for a long time and we are thrilled to continue that relationship moving forward,” McDaniels said in a statement released by the team.

“He has been a great example of someone who always puts the team first and we appreciate his desire to keep doing that while leading on and off the field. It is clear how much Derek cares about this organization, his teammates and winning. I look forward to the opportunity to work with him this season and beyond.”

Carr reiterated Wednesday that he only wanted to be a Raider and was “crazy enough” and willing to play out the final year of his deal in 2022.

“I told my agent, ‘I’m either going to be a Raider, or I’m going to be playing golf. I don’t want to play anywhere else,'” he said. “That’s how much this place means to me.

Carr is coming off a season with a career-best 4,804 passing yards and had 23 touchdowns, a career-worst 14 interceptions and 40 sacks, the second-highest total of his eight-year career.

The Raiders went 10-7 and played in the postseason for the second time since 2002 despite a turbulent season marked by the resignation of coach Jon Gruden, the arrest of receiver Henry Ruggs III and the release of cornerback Damon Arnette.

Las Vegas lost in the wild-card round at the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals 26-19 as Carr threw a fourth-and-goal interception in front of the goal line with 12 seconds left.

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Los Angeles Lakers fire Frank Vogel after disappointing 33-49 season

The Los Angeles Lakers fired Frank Vogel on Monday, choosing their title-winning head coach to take the fall for one of the most disappointing campaigns in NBA history.

Vogel was under contract through next season, but almost nothing has gone right over the past two seasons for the rosters assembled by vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and coached by Vogel, who went 127-98 in his three seasons running the club.

Pelinka declined to elaborate Monday on why he and owner Jeanie Buss felt Vogel needed to be fired.

“Today is not going to be a day of finger-pointing and unwinding all the specific reasons,” Pelinka said. “We just felt organizationally, at the highest level, it was time for a new voice. … That’s not to say anything against the incredible accomplishments that Frank Vogel has had. He was a great coach here, and he’s going to go on to be a great coach somewhere else.”

Pelinka doesn’t plan to replace Vogel right away, and he said he hasn’t even assembled a list of potential candidates. The GM said it “would be great” to have a coach in place before the draft in June, but that the Lakers’ search will be “thorough and methodical.”

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The Lakers have not dismissed any of Vogel’s coaching staff at this time, league sources told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

The Lakers concluded the 2021-22 season with a 33-49 record, failing to qualify for the play-in tournament.

“This was a disappointing Lakers season at every level,” Pelinka said. “In the face of disappointment, our fans expect more, and that’s in every facet. It starts in the front office led by me, and our ability to construct the right roster. It starts with the coaches holding players accountable and making sure there’s on-court execution.”

Continuity was a constant challenge for Vogel and the Lakers this season, as they had to contend with injuries to stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and a roster construction with challenges that included limited shooting and athleticism.

James spoke to the media Monday morning before Vogel’s fate was revealed by the Lakers’ front office.

“I respect Frank as a coach, as a man,” James said. “Our partnership that we’ve had over the few years here has been nothing but candid, and great conversations. This is a guy that gives everything to the game and prepared us every single night. … I don’t know what’s going to happen with Frank being here, but I’ve got nothing but respect for him.”

Los Angeles was the only team to not have a single five-man lineup play 100 minutes together, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Despite entering the season with high expectations, the Lakers were only able to have James, Davis and Russell Westbrook on the floor together for 21 games. They went 11-10 in those contests.

The Lakers finished the season in the bottom 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, ranking 21st in defensive rating after finishing first in 2020-21 and third in 2019-20.

L.A. lost 18 of 24 matches following the All-Star break, with only the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers finishing with worse records during that span.

Vogel was hired in May 2019 to assemble a cohesive team around James and Davis, who was officially acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans two months later. Vogel’s plans worked right away: His first team weathered the NBA’s COVID-19 shutdown and then won the Lakers’ 17th NBA championship in the Orlando bubble.

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Buffalo Bills to match Chicago Bears’ offer sheet to guard Ryan Bates, GM Brandon Beane says

The Buffalo Bills will match the offer sheet offensive guard Ryan Bates signed with the Chicago Bears last week, general manager Brandon Beane stated Monday at the NFL’s annual owners meetings.

The Bills had until Tuesday to match the offer sheet Bates signed with the Bears.

“We’ve kind of pondered that and worked through it. And obviously we’re tight on the cap, but we are going to bring Ryan back,” Beane said.

The deal is for four years, per a source, and the first two years are fully guaranteed.

“I just found that out. It stinks. But that’s part of the RFA process,” Bears general manager Ryan Poles said. “So we’ll adjust and we’ll keep adding players. It’s out of your control. It’s just part of the deal where you put your best foot forward and we did. We came strong, and that’s given back to their team and it’s up to them whether they want to match it. It is what it is. We’ll adjust like everything else.”

Bates, 25, had free-agent visits with the Bears, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots last week, after the Bills offered an original-round tender of $2.4 million. With the Bills, Bates will compete for the starting right guard spot. Rodger Saffold III was signed in free agency and is expected to start at left guard.

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The team also re-signed offensive lineman Ike Boettger to a one-year deal Monday.

Boettger started 10 matches at left guard for the Bills last year before tearing an Achilles versus New England in Week 16. Bates came in for Boettger when he went down with the injury.

“It’s really important for us to be strong up front, both lines, Ryan’s a versatile player,” Beane said. “He can actually play all five spots, but most importantly, he’s been a center, guard he’s filled in, and we thought when he had his opportunity this year, he did a heck of a job starting the last four regular-season [games] and then the two postseason games. It didn’t seem too big for him. You want to keep as many of those key pieces, he knows our system. He obviously knows Josh. RFAs are close to UFAs, but it was a deal that we felt we could match, and we plan to do that.”

The 6-foot-4, 302-pound Bates spent the past three seasons primarily as a backup for the Bills after he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019.

Because of injuries along the offensive line, Bates started the final three games of the regular season and two postseason contests, most of which came at left guard, and played 223 total snaps between left and right guard last season. He also has experience at center.

While injuries led to him taking the field, Bates maintained the starting job for the end of the season and the playoff run because of his performance alongside left tackle Dion Dawkins.

For the season, Bates had a 93% pass block win rate at guard, which hovers around league average, and a 59% run block win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Bills’ offensive line as a unit improved with Bates on the field. Quarterback Josh Allen was not sacked once over the final three games of the season and was sacked twice in the postseason.

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Aaron Judge to receive extension offer from New York Yankees, ‘pencils down’ by Opening Day, GM Brian Cashman says

New York Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge will soon get a proposal for a long-term contract extension, general manager Brian Cashman stated Saturday.

“Between now and opening day we’ll make an offer and he’ll obviously receive an offer and all the conversions will have taken place and will either resolve into a multiyear deal or it won’t,” Cashman said.

“We’re committed. We’ll make an offer and hear what he has to say in response and then it will be pencils down before opening day,” he said.

The Yankees open on April 7 at home versus the Boston Red Sox.

Judge said Saturday he was “pretty sure” he doesn’t want to negotiate a new contract during the regular season. The outfielder, who turns 30 next month, is eligible to become a free agent after the World Series.

“We haven’t decided yet, but for right now that’s what we’ve got,” Judge said. “I want to be here. Get a chance to play here for quite a few more years, that would be great. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m not too worried.”

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The Yankees and Judge so far have failed to reach a deal for 2022, which could result in the two sides heading into arbitration during the season. He asked for a raise from $10,175,000 to $21 million, and the Yankees offered $17 million.

“Our position has always been, we wind up only in a hearing if we’re dragged there,” Cashman said. “We only go when forced to go. We’re not afraid of going. Our history shows that we stay out of that arena unless we’re compelled to get there. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

Judge, who hit .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBI in 148 games last season, hopes an agreement can be reached to avoid arbitration.

“Go back and forth until we, maybe, can settle on something before the court date and if not, we’ll see each other in court,” Judge said.

Judge said the contract talk isn’t a distraction. “Not really, I’m a baseball player,” he said.

“I’m going to come out and do my usual on the field. I’ve got people that are going to worry about the other stuff for me and put me in the right position and give me the right answers. If I take care of what I’ve got to do on the field, everything is going to workout.”

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Tennessee Titans extend contracts for head coach Mike Vrabel, GM Jon Robinson

The Titans announced Tuesday that they have extended the contracts of general manager Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel.

“I am proud to say that Jon and Mike will be leading our football team for years to come,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement.

“I have seen the team improve on a yearly basis under their direction, and I know their singular goal is to deliver a championship for our fans. Together they have developed a culture within our organization that has been essential to our success. Their values align with mine and what I want the Titans to be. They demand excellence from themselves and others, work well together, are always striving to improve and they care deeply for our players and staff.”

Vrabel joined the Titans in 2018 and matched Jack Pardee’s franchise record for wins (43) over the first four seasons with the team. Vrabel’s .614 career winning percentage (43-27, including playoffs) ranks the highest in franchise history.

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He led the team to the AFC Championship Game in 2019 and back-to-back AFC South titles over the past two campaigns. Vrabel earned Coach of the Year honors by the Pro Football Writers of America this past season after guiding the Titans to a 12-5 record and the top seed in the AFC.

Robinson joined the Titans in 2016 and helped lead them to a winning record in all six of his seasons in charge.

In that time, Robinson has become the second-winningest general manager in franchise history with 62 wins, trailing only Floyd Reese (111 wins).

During Robinson’s tenure with the Titans, the team has added nine Pro Bowl players to the roster through the draft (S Kevin Byard, RB Derrick Henry, WR A.J. Brown, DT Jeffery Simmons, OLB Harold Landry), free agency (G Rodger Saffold, ST Brynden Trawick) and trades (RB DeMarco Murray, QB Ryan Tannehill).

Additionally, the team added two coaches to its staff on Tuesday: Tim Kelly as passing game coordinator and Bobby King as inside linebackers coach.

Kelly joins the Titans after spending the past eight seasons with the Houston Texans, the last three of which were as the offensive coordinator. Before becoming the offensive coordinator, Kelly spent two seasons (2017-18) coaching the tight ends for the Texans.

King brings 12 years of NFL coaching experience to the Titans, counting eight seasons (2017-21, 2011-13) with the Texans. King coached the Texans’ defensive line this season after coaching the inside linebackers the previous four seasons.

The team also revealed that Jim Haslett (inside linebackers), Matt Edwards (assistant special teams), Kenechi Udeze (defensive line assistant) and Mondray Gee (strength and conditioning assistant) will not be returning to the coaching staff.

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Las Vegas Raiders expected to hire New England Patriots’ Josh McDaniels as coach; name Dave Ziegler as GM

The Las Vegas Raiders have hired former New England Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler as general manager on Sunday and are expected to hire Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their new head coach in a package deal.

The Raiders and McDaniels are still finishing a contract.

The 44-year-old Ziegler, the Patriots’ director of player personnel, replaces Mike Mayock, who was fired earlier this month. He interviewed with the Raiders earlier in January.

McDaniels, who was the head coach of the Denver Broncos for two seasons (2009-10), interviewed for the Raiders’ head-coaching job Saturday.

Jon Gruden resigned as the Raiders’ head coach on Oct. 11 following reports that emails he wrote before he was hired by the Raiders in 2018 included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language.

Rich Bisaccia was promoted to interim coach and led the Raiders to a wild-card berth, only the Raiders’ second playoff appearance in the past 19 seasons.

Bisaccia was saluted on social media Sunday by both quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Maxx Crosby. Carr tweeted that Bisaccia was a “phenomenal coach and even better leader,” while Crosby tweeted that he “can’t tell you how much this man has impacted not only myself but everyone in this building.”

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McDaniels, 45, was 11-17 in his two seasons with the Broncos. He was fired after Week 13 in 2010 after the Broncos started 3-9. McDaniels started his Broncos tenure 6-0 before going 5-17 over his final 22 matches.

He accepted the Indianapolis Colts’ head-coaching job in 2018 but then decided not to take it. The Colts had announced the hire, but McDaniels never came to town and the Colts said they were “surprised and disappointed” by the decision. Frank Reich was later hired to fill that vacancy.

McDaniels had been the longest-tenured offensive coordinator with the same team in the NFL.

He’d held the position in New England since 2012.

Of his 21 NFL seasons, 18 have come in New England, which includes his initial stint from 2001 to 2008. McDaniels also served as the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2011.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick recently paid McDaniels a notable compliment, comparing him to longtime friend and current University of Alabama coach Nick Saban in terms of his understanding of the responsibilities of every player on the field.

McDaniels played a key role in the development of rookie quarterback Mac Jones in 2021.

McDaniels had consistently said in recent years that his goal was to become a head coach again, but he was also selective in what opportunities enticed him. A key factor was being able to work with a personnel chief with whom he knows well, and Ziegler fits the bill.

Ziegler landed his first personnel job in the NFL under McDaniels with the Broncos in 2010. The two both attended John Carroll University in Ohio and were teammates on the Blue Streaks’ football squad.

Ziegler spent three campaigns in Denver before following McDaniels to New England in 2013. He ascended from assistant director of pro personnel to director of pro personnel, then was assistant director of player personnel before assuming director of player personnel duties in 2021.

Belichick, who was named the Pro Football Writers of America’s Executive of the Year in 2021, noted multiple times over the course of the season that Ziegler was leading the personnel staff. Scouting consultant Eliot Wolf, who interviewed for multiple GM openings this offseason, was often at Ziegler’s side during games and is a candidate to fill his void.

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Chicago Bears fire coach Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace after 6-11 season

The Chicago Bears fired coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace on Monday after the team concluded with a 6-11 record this season.

Nagy was named NFL Coach of the Year after his first season in 2018, when he led the Bears to a 12-4 record and they reached the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

He earned praise that season for his offensive wrinkles and humble disposition, but the Bears couldn’t sustain that success over the ensuing three seasons.

They finished 8-8 in 2019 and then again in 2020, when the league’s expanded playoff field put them into the wild-card round. Nagy was never able to duplicate his first season, in part because the quarterback he inherited — Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2017 draft — never made the necessary improvement.

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Trubisky departed via free agency last spring, after the Bears traded up to draft quarterback Justin Fields.

The Bears were 2-8 in Fields’ 10 starts, and he finished the season ranked last in the league in Total QBR (26.0). In four seasons, the Bears were 34-31 under Nagy in the regular season and 0-2 in the playoffs.

Monday’s news has been brewing since the end of November, when a local report emerged that Nagy would be fired after the Bears’ Thanksgiving Day game at the Detroit Lions. Nagy stated at the time that he was unaware of his impending firing, but no member of the Bears’ front office or ownership immediately stepped forward to publicly deny the report.

A day later, owner George McCaskey told players during a team meeting that Nagy would not be fired after the match. The Bears beat the Lions 16-14, but it was their only victory amid a 1-8 streak that ran from Week 6 through Week 15.

In a statement issued Monday evening, Nagy said that “it was an honor to serve” as the Bears’ head coach and he thanked the team’s ownership, Pace and his players, coaches and support staff.

Pace also issued a statement Monday evening and also thanked the team’s ownership, Nagy, the team’s players, the football operations staff and the Bears fans.

With the help of former NFL executive Bill Polian leading their search committee, the Bears will cast a wide net for a new GM and head coach. McCaskey indicated that it’s possible the team could even hire a coach before the GM.

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Sacramento Kings fire Luke Walton, name Alvin Gentry interim coach

The Sacramento Kings promoted associate head coach Alvin Gentry to interim head coach after firing coach Luke Walton on Sunday, the team revealed.

“After a thorough evaluation of the season thus far, I decided to make a change to the head coach position,” Kings general manager Monte McNair said in a statement.

“I want to thank Luke for his efforts and contributions to our team.” The Kings have lost seven of eight matches and dropped to 6-11 on season — leaving them 12th in the Western Conference.

Several recent losses came versus struggling teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Gentry will be taking over his sixth NBA team. He will get a pay raise and already was under contract for the 2022-2023 season on his assistant coaching contract, sources said. The Kings are discussing possible benchmarks of success for Gentry the rest of the season that could serve as possible parameters on keeping the job on a longer-term basis than the rest of this year, sources said.

Still, this is an interim coaching job and the struggling Kings could be opening another coaching search process in the offseason.

Walton was 68-93 in two-plus seasons as Kings coach.

The Kings have been one of the league’s worst defensive teams under Walton, ranking 26th in defensive efficiency this season and last in 2020-21.

This season, Sacramento also ranks 26th in defensive rebounding percentage, 29th in paint points per game allowed and last in second-chance points per game allowed, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Sacramento has the longest active playoff drought in the NBA (since 2006). In those 15 years, they have had 10 head coaches; Walton’s interim replacement will be the 11th since Rick Adelman led the Kings to their last playoff berth.

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