Extra Points: Edelman, AAF, XFL

We haven’t heard a whole lot about the defunct Alliance of American Football since the league suspended operations back in April. However, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, former league owner Tom Dundon has filed “as an unsecured creditor” for the AAF and is claiming he was convinced to buy the league via “misrepresentations.” Dundon is seeking the entirety of the $70MM he invested in the company.

The league initial secured financing from Reggie Fowler, who is currently under indictment for bank fraud. That’s when Dundon, who owns the Carolina Hurricanes, entered into the equation, as he helped make up for Fowler’s failed commitment by purchasing the league. At the time, the perception inside the league office is that Dundon simply purchased a majority stake in the company to obtain the technology behind its gambling app.

However, a lawyer told Kaplan that Dundon may have two new objectives. For starters, he was looking to “remove himself from any litigation from creditors.” Second, by opting for the “misrepresentation” charge, the league’s executive/board insurance policies could come into play, which would then “open a new pool of money.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the football world…

  • Dundon will have a difficult time convincing the courts that he’s not responsible for the AAF’s $48MM in liabilities, reports Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders. Specially, when Dundon “assumed all of the operational costs,” this meant he was responsible for making payroll. Furthermore, his public declarations that he would continue to invest money (around $250MM) into the league indicates that he was both prepared and capable to pay for any debts. Finally, considering Dundon’s standing as the Hurricanes owner, he has millions of dollars coming in each year that could be used to pay off creditors.
  • Former NFL safety Rahim Moore auditioned for the XFL last week, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. The 2011 second-rounder bounced around the NFL during his professional career, and he started 41 games for the Broncos between 2012 and 2014. The 29-year-old recently participated in the AAF, and he understands that an opportunity in the XFL would also come with its fair share of risks. “It’s still football, you know?” Moore said. “There’s a risk in everything you do. But if you love something, man, just go do it.”
  • Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is currently on a promotional tour for an upcoming documentary, and the Patriots wide receiver discussed what he went through during his four-game suspension to start last season. “It was a low time,” Edelman said (via Florio). “You’re already battling mentally if you can do it like you did it. And then all of a sudden you have this, you’re dealing with this, and then you’re dealing with everyone outside of your life and what people are saying and dealing with and you can’t really get too involved into because you’re ultimately trying to get yourself back to playing football. It’s not like you’re 100 percent going out here and dealing with all these things, and you’re fine. You still have a task at hand, and that was one of the biggest parts of my journey back — one of the toughest times where I really had to compartmentalize with how to deal with my injury, my suspension, with being a balanced family member and getting back from my injury. And that was a very tough time. . . . It was honestly — it was probably the toughest time of my life at that point.”

NFC Notes: Rodgers, Cardinals, Panthers

After playing behind Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley is looking forward to providing teammate Kyler Murray with some essential wisdom. However, the 26-year-old made it clear that he’s not just going to hand the starting gig to the first-overall pick.

“The knowledge that I have, I’m able to pass it along to [Murray], especially through this journey of his because the NFL isn’t a sprint. It’s a long distance marathon,” Hundley said (via Jelani Scott of NFL.com). “For me, my goal has always been to start, no matter what position it’s in. I don’t play to be second. So I think that’s my number one goal, to get that starting job, and at the same time, it’s a competition for a reason.”

Hundley’s only extended stint as a starter came in 2017, when he started nine of his 11 appearances for the Packers. That season, Hundley completed 60.8-percent of his passes for 1,836 yards, nine touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He also added another 270 rushing yards and two scores on 36 carries.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • With Aaron Rodgers apparently tuning out Mike McCarthy‘s play calls, many pundits wondered how the Packers quarterback would handle a brand-new head coach. Well, Albert Breer of SI.com says the franchise quarterback is working with Matt LaFleur on a compromise. LaFleur’s system is intended to take decision-making off the quarterback’s list of responsibilities, all while allowing the offense to run quickly and more efficiently. The team is planning on using the “double call” method that was made popular by Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, although they’ll also provide Rodgers with the freedom to adjust from there. As Breer writes, the ideal scenario is “giving Rodgers the option, but not the obligation, to make changes on the fly.”
  • Breer writes that the Panthers had an under-the-radar front office hiring this week when they added Taylor Rajack as their new director of analytics. The 27-year-old previously served on the Eagles’ analytics staff, and Philly has quickly established themselves as one of the NFL leaders in advanced stats. Breer notes that Panthers coach Ron Rivera has previously embraced the use of analytics, while new owner David Tepper made it a priority in his front office.
  • 49ers kicker Robbie Gould isn’t backing off his trade demand, and he provided some insight on the situation earlier today.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Jets, McSorley

We previously heard that the Ravens were envisioning a role for rookie Trace McSorley that was similar to Taysom Hill‘s role on the Saints. However, the sixth-rounder is already experimenting with a position that isn’t played by Hill. Talking with “The Lounge” podcast on the Ravens’ website, McSorley said that he took reps as a punt returner during OTAs.

“It’s something that’s a new challenge for me, something that I hadn’t really had never done,” McSorley said (via NFL.com’s Logan Reardon). “So it’s just something interesting to be able to come in and learn and try and prove myself in a different way that I can be able to get on the field and make an impact.

“It’s been interesting. It’s had its ups and downs, obviously the first couple times doing it, but it’s going well. I’m looking forward to be able to come out and do anything that I can, especially in the special teams aspect for the team. I want to prove myself there.”

While the former Penn State quarterback is unlikely to supplant Lamar Jackson under center, he’ll have an opportunity to contribute elsewhere. McSorley already displayed this versatility during his collegiate career, as he rushed for 1,697 yards and 30 touchdowns through three seasons.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Could a pair of Jets third-rounders already be on the hot seat? Albert Breer of SI.com writes that “it’s worth keeping an eye” on Florida defensive end Jachai Polite (No. 68) and USC offensive tackle Chuma Edoga (N0. 92). Considering their “character and makeup,” Breer opines that neither players are Joe Douglas– or Adam Gase-types. Of course, Breer also notes that the duo have “a boatload of talent,” which makes their future even more intriguing.
  • While the Raiders have done a whole lot to revamp their roster this offseason, the team still has some major holes. As Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, the team’s defensive line is accompanied by a long list of question marks. Part of the unit’s success will naturally depend on first-rounder Clelin Ferrell, who is expected to play a three-down role for the Raiders. Bair also points to former Giants and Cardinals defensive end Josh Mauro as someone who could play a relatively important role on the front-seven.
  • We learned earlier today that Bengals first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.

Chiefs OC Talks HC Interviews, Role In KC, Future

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was a popular name in the head coach circuit this past offseason. The 49-year-old ultimately had interviews with four organizations: the Jets, Buccaneers, Bengals, and Dolphins. Ultimately, Bieniemy didn’t get that head-coaching offer, but he remains confident about his standing in the NFL.

Of course, his inability to secure a head-coaching job says more about the other candidates than Bieniemy, as the coordinator’s resume speaks for itself. The former second-round player has essentially been coaching since his nine-year playing career came to an end, and he’s been on the Chiefs staff since 2013. After working with the likes of Jamaal Charles, Spencer Ware, and Kareem Hunt during his stint as running backs coach, Bieniemy was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018. During his first year on the job, the coach played a major role in the Chiefs establishing themselves as the top offense in the league.

Appearing at the NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit, Bieniemy talked to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure about his head coach interviews, his role on the Chiefs’ coaching staff, and his preparation for future job interviews. The entire article is worth a read, but we’ve compiled some of the notable soundbites below.

On the sentiment that he wasn’t hired as a head coach because of his lack of play-calling experience:

“Here’s my response about the playcalling: coach (Andy) Reid has always done it his way, and that’s how historically he’s done it because he’s Coach Reid. He has a beautiful mind, and we all work hand-in-hand together. And he gives me the green light to do a number of things. I have input. I do scripts. I get the install. There are a number of things that I do.”

On his interaction with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid:

“Do I talk to the quarterback? Yes. (Reid) is reciting what he wants me to particularly tell Pat to call. So if people want to make a big deal about that, so be it. The experience that I’ve gotten, understanding how an offensive system works, the organization, how to prepare it, how to get guys going and moving in one direction for one cause, that’s what this is about.”

On support from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which “oversees compliance with the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview minority candidates”:

“John Wooten and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, I thought they did a hell of a job; they gave me an opportunity. Obviously, Coach Reid has given me an opportunity. And I think my interviewing process went about as good as it could go.

On how this offseason prepared him for future head-coaching interviews:

“…[I]t gave me the experience moving forward knowing that, ‘You know what, this is my first go-around. Second go-around, if I’m blessed and fortunate to be placed in that situation, I’ll be that much better.’ But as far as a head-coaching position is concerned, right now we’re focused on the season. Obviously, we want to go out and do some things that’s going to help us to continue to have success. Then if somebody wants to give me a chance, I’ll be willing, ready, and waiting for that opportunity.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers K Robbie Gould Discusses Trade Demand

There doesn’t seem to be a definitive end in sight to the Robbie Gould-49ers standoff. The most recent development came earlier this month, as we learned the veteran kicker would skip the team’s mandatory minicamp as he continues to push for a trade. The 36-year-old recently clarified his trade demand to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“It’s a complicated situation,” Gould said. “The way I’ve kind of approached it is, I want to spend time with my family. And I let my agent handle it, and if anything comes up that I have to make a decision or be in the know, he’ll call me and let me know. But right now there’s nothing to really know, and I’m just enjoying being home and being in Chicago.

“I’m at a point in my career where my family is what’s going to dictate the decisions that I make.”

To review: Gould signed a two-year, $4MM contract with San Francisco back in 2017, and he proceeded to connect on 72 of his 75 field goal attempts (96-percent) and 55 of his 59 extra point attempts (93.2-percent) in 32 games. With the veteran facing free agency, the 49ers slapped him with the franchise tag back in February, meaning Gould would be in line to earn about $5MM in 2019. However, we learned soon after that Gould wanted out of San Francisco, a request that the 49ers have denied.

The 49ers are still focused on signing Gould to a multiyear extension, and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t sound all that concerned when discussing the possibility of the kicker holding out until Week 1. Therefore, it could be another couple of months until there’s any type of resolution.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marvin Lewis Doesn’t Expect To Coach Again

We previously heard that Marvin Lewis may be looking to return to the NFL, but the former Bengals head coach’s tone changed a bit during a conversation with Zach Gelb on CBS Sports Radio. When asked if he’ll ever coach in the NFL again, Lewis responded “I don’t think so. I’m fine.” (via Yahoo’s Shalise Manza Young).

We learned in May that Lewis would serve as an advisor for Herman Edwards‘ Arizona State program. Some NFL sources believed he was keeping his toe in coaching with an eye on getting back into the NFL in 2020. Lewis’ recent comments would seem to contradict that report, but it’s also understandable for him to take a bit of a break following his 16-year run with Cincy.

In other words, it wouldn’t be shocking if Lewis doesn’t return to the NFL by 2020, although a future hiring shouldn’t be taken lightly. As our own Zach Links pointed out, it remains to be seen whether Lewis would garner head-coaching consideration in a league that seemingly values youth. However, given Lewis’ reputation as a defensive-minded coach, he should at least garner some interest as a defensive coordinator.

Lewis, 61 in September, went 131-122-3 with the Bengals, giving him the most wins in franchise history. While Lewis inherited one of the worst teams in the NFL and turned them into a winner, his legacy is marred by the Bengals 0-7 playoff record during his tenure. The former head coach was asked to reflect on his lack of playoff success during his interview with Gelb.

“The other team ended up with more points,” Lewis said. “You become an NFL coach for one thing, and that’s to win the championship – and we were unable to do that. That’s the unfortunate part.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley’s Buyout Set At $4.6MM

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley hasn’t completely ruled out an eventual jump to the NFL, and if he ever decides to go pro, his contract won’t be prohibitive. Riley’s pricey new contract with the university calls for a $4.6MM buyout price, according to Eric Bailey of Tulsa World

The $4.6MM figure isn’t exactly chump change, but it’s probably not enough to dissuade an interested team from hiring the energetic coach, who turns 36 in September. Many teams were said to have interest in Riley before he inked his five-year, $32.5MM extension with OU and it’s not hard to see him being at the top of the heap in future offseasons. For reference, $4.6MM is less than the average NFL head coach earns on an annual basis.

It’s also worth noting that Riley’s buyout will decrease with time. The $4.6MM figure represents 22.5% of Riley’s remaining guaranteed compensation, but that number dips by about $1MM every year leading up to the contract’s expiration after the 2023 season. And, in March of 2022, the buyout becomes non-existent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals’ Williams Likely To Miss Season

Bengals first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder, according to a team announcement. It seems likely that the No. 11 overall pick will be placed on injured reserve soon, but no move has been made just yet. 

We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won’t let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team,” said head coach Zac Taylor. “We’re confident in our offensive line personnel as we head into training camp, and we believe they can do their part in helping this team achieve its goals.”

Williams was slotted to start at left tackle with the team moving Cordy Glenn over to left guard. Without the rookie, the Bengals are likely to move Glenn back to LT and focus on finding an LG solution. That fill-in could be Christian Westerman, who took the bulk of the starter’s reps there during minicamp while Williams was out. There’s also veteran John Jerry, who just recently joined the team, to consider.

The Bengals are trying to put a positive spin on the situation, noting in their press release that the Patriots won the Super Bowl last year despite losing first-round pick Isaiah Wynn to a season-ending Achilles tear. The club also noted that center Billy Price, last year’s first-round pick, has put together a solid spring after missing much of his rookie campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Prescott, Cooper, Elliott

Scheduled to earn $2.025MM in 2019, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott stands as one of the best values in the entire NFL. But, without the fifth-year option at the Cowboys’ disposal, they’ll have to pay a hefty sum to lock down the former fourth-round pick.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com looked at Prescott’s case for a new deal and concluded that he could push to make more than Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who just re-upped on a new contract worth $32MM/year. In fact, he hears the Cowboys have been studying Wentz’s contract to see how it may impact negotiations with Prescott and he believes that it will serve as the main comp for talks.

It’s tricky to compare the two quarterbacks, but the tale of the tape does show some advantages in Prescott’s corner. Prescott has more career wins and division titles than Wentz, so it’s possible that the soon-to-be 26-year-old could wind up as the latest member of the $30MM/year club and the highest-paid QB in the NFC East.

Here’s more from Dallas:

Poll: Grading The Raiders’ Offseason

To say that this was an offseason of overhaul for the Raiders would be a drastic understatement. With the aid of new GM Mike Mayock, head coach Jon Gruden completely rebooted his team after a disappointing 4-12 finish last year. 

The renovations got underway in 2018 when the Raiders shipped out stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper for a combined haul of draft capital. The moves also gave the team financial flexibility this offseason, which was used to add wide receiver Antonio Brown, wide receiver Tyrell Williams, right tackle Trent Brown, and slot cornerback LaMarcus Joyner. Those four players alone account for more than $109MM in guaranteed money, signaling a clear desire to compete in 2019.

It’s hard to knock any of those additions – at least, when considering their expected value for the coming season. However, the Raiders’ draft was among the most polarizing in the NFL. After Gruden and Mayock sent their scouting department packing, they stunned every prognosticator by selecting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick. Then, at No. 24 overall, some felt that the Raiders reached again with their pick of Alabama running back Joshua Jacobs.

Other picks, such as Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram at No. 27 overall, were better received. Abram projects to be a Day 1 starter alongside Karl Joseph and, ultimately, figures to inherit his spotlight after the club turned down Joseph’s fifth-year option for the 2020 season.

Despite some clear upgrades, question marks remain for the Raiders. The club tried to upgrade its backfield with the quietly effective Isaiah Crowell, but he was quickly lost to a torn Achilles and replaced by the return of Doug Martin. There were also rumblings that they would add a new quarterback to play ahead of Derek Carr, but they elected to stick with the signal caller in hopes that he could return to his old form. It’s also fair to wonder about the status of the Raiders’ locker room – the mercurial Brown always has the potential to rock the boat and he’s now joined by longtime rival Vontaze Burfict and controversial lineman Richie Incognito.

On the whole, how would you grade the Raiders’ offseason? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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