Bears To Interview Saints DC Dennis Allen

Let’s add another name to the list of Bears head coaching candidates. Per Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football (on Twitter), Chicago will interview Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen for the vacancy. The interview is expected to be next week.

Allen was the head coach of the Raiders for two-plus seasons from 2012 to 2014. He collected an 8-24 record during his first two seasons at the helm, and an 0-4 start to the 2014 campaign led to his firing.

Obviously that record doesn’t inspire much confidence, but he’s done a great job rehabilitating his reputation in New Orleans since landing on Sean Payton’s staff in 2015. The Saints often had one of the worst defenses in the league before Allen’s arrival, and he stabilized the unit and turned them into an elite group the past few years. Allen also filled in as HC when Payton was forced to miss a game earlier this season.

The list of Bears HC candidates also includes:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Interview Josh McCown For HC Vacancy

An interesting name has emerged in the Texans’ hunt for a new head coach. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), Houston completed an interview with Josh McCown for their head coaching vacancy.

McCown did not see any action with the Texans last season and has not started a game since filling in for Sam Darnold in 2018. However, he did play the bulk of the 2019 Eagles’ wild-card loss to the Seahawks, after Carson Wentz exited. A 2002 draftee, McCown has been with a dozen teams — the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Dolphins, Panthers, 49ers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns, Jets, Eagles and Texans — in his near-two-decade NFL run. He remained unsigned for the entire 2021 campaign.

Recently, McCown has been mentioned as a potential coaching candidate, but it was expected that he’d pay his dues on the sideline before being considered for HC gigs. He was mentioned as a candidate for the Texans job last offseason.

In addition to McCown, the Texans head coaching search includes:

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NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/20/22

Here are Thursday’s reserve/futures deals:

Atlanta Falcons

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

  • T Jordan Murray

Kansas City Chiefs

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. With the Texans firing David Culley, there are now eight full-time vacancies available this year.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-20-21 (5:50pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Jets, Braxton Berrios Have Discussed Deal

Although the Jets’ struggles continued this season, they put a kick returner on the All-Pro team for the second time in four years. Braxton Berrios followed Andre Roberts‘ offering, and after the team opted not to keep Roberts in 2019, a path for Berrios to stay has formed.

An unrestricted free agent in March, Berrios can only negotiate with the Jets until the legal tampering period begins. The sides have discussed a deal for Berrios to stay, the young receiver/return man said during an appearance on Pardon My Take (via SNY). “We’ve talked,” Berrios said, though he is not committed to working out a deal with the Jets.

I don’t look at it as, like, ‘Oh, I want to go to this division or this conference,'” Berrios said. “That’s not where my head’s at, at least. … It’s two sides [in negotiations]. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens.”

Berrios, 26, did praise the current Jets coaching staff, Robert Saleh in particular, and has carved out a key role during Joe Douglas‘ GM regime. The former Patriots UDFA addition will have an interesting market, with the cap set to spike near $210MM after 2021’s pandemic-induced reduction.

The ex-Miami Hurricane scored five touchdowns, in three varieties, in his third Jets season and finished as the NFL’s leader in yards per kick return (30.4). His 102-yard score in the Jets’ Week 16 win over the Jaguars increased that figure significantly. For a Jets squad that played without Corey Davis and Elijah Moore for extended periods, Berrios stepped in as a receiver as well. He finished with 46 catches for 431 yards and two TDs — one coming during the team’s near-upset over the Buccaneers in Week 17 — while adding two rushing scores. Berrios did not play in New York’s finale due to a quadriceps injury.

New York has Davis and Moore locked up long-term, but a deal with Berrios makes sense. Given Denzel Mims‘ lack of development, the team figures to still have a receiver need even if it does re-up Berrios. Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole (896 receiving yards between them) are also set for free agency.

Packers Activate Randall Cobb From IR

Randall Cobb is back on the Packers’ active roster. Green Bay used the full three-week ramp-up period to prepare its slot receiver for the playoffs, and Cobb is officially off IR.

The 11th-year veteran suffered a core muscle injury suffered while catching a touchdown pass against the Rams in November. The injury required surgery, but Cobb made a quicker-than-expected return to practice. After coming back to practice Dec. 30, Cobb is on track to play against the 49ers on Saturday.

While Cobb has played many playoff games as a Packer, has not suited up for a postseason contest since the 2016 NFC championship game. The Packers let Cobb walk in free agency after the 2018 season, and after one-year stints with the Cowboys and Texans, he returned to Green Bay via late-summer trade at Aaron Rodgers‘ request.

Cobb, 31, proved a key weapon in certain spots for Rodgers this season. During a Week 8 win over the then-unbeaten Cardinals, a game that featured Green Bay’s top wideouts shelved on the reserve/COVID-19 list, he caught two touchdown passes. Cobb also caught two TD passes against the Steelers earlier this year. The Rams TD catch was his fifth, but it ended up costing him extensive time. Cobb ended the regular season with 28 receptions for 375 yards and five TDs, amassing these totals in 12 games.

The Pack are expected to have a host of injured players back when they return to action. David Bakhtiari played against the Lions in a meaningless Week 18 game, and fellow Pro Bowlers Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith have joined Cobb in ramping up for the playoffs. Center Josh Myers also played against the Lions, after a two-plus-month absence, and right tackle Billy Turner returned to practice last week. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, however, is not expected to play against San Francisco. A back injury has the veteran deep threat doubtful.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Sign CB Damon Arnette To Reserve/Futures Deal

The Chiefs are giving another former first-round cornerback a second chance. They are signing Damon Arnette to a reserve/futures contract, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

This does not impact Kansas City’s playoff roster, but it does give the Chiefs yet another corner recently drafted in the first round. The former Raiders Round 1 pick will head to Kansas City after a brief stint on Miami’s practice squad. The Raiders cut Arnette earlier this year after a video surfaced showing him threatening a person while brandishing a handgun.

The Chiefs acquired former Vikings first-round corner Mike Hughes via trade last year and also have former Giants first-round cover man Deandre Baker on their playoff roster. Kansas City signed Baker not long after an off-field incident led to his New York ouster. Hughes is due for unrestricted free agency after this season; Baker can be controlled next season via exclusive-rights free agent tender.

Andy Reid‘s team has not shied away from players with checkered pasts, and the six-time reigning AFC West champions have benefited considerably from the acquisitions of Tyreek Hill and Frank Clark. While Arnette entered the NFL with a higher profile than each, being chosen 19th overall in 2020, he was headed in the wrong direction with the Raiders.

The Raiders used Arnette as a seven-game starter in 2020 but relegated him to a part-time role this year. The Ohio State product played four games with this year’s Las Vegas squad but was cut shortly after the Raiders parted ways with their other 2020 first-rounder — Henry Ruggs. Arnette is also facing multiple lawsuits, one for a car accident that resulted in injuries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Give Jay Gruden Second OC Interview

Matt Rhule said he preferred his next offensive coordinator have NFL play-calling experience. One of the two coaches to receive second interviews for this position checks that box.

After meeting with Colts running backs coach Scottie Montgomery, the Panthers gave former Washington head coach Jay Gruden a second interview Thursday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Gruden was one of two former HCs to go through a first interview with Carolina, with Ben McAdoo being the other.

Although Montgomery served as East Carolina’s head coach for three seasons and Maryland’s OC for the next two, he has yet to call plays at the NFL level. Rhule’s past in the college ranks, however, makes Montgomery’s advancement here interesting. Gruden called plays for 10 seasons, doing so with the Bengals, Washington and Jaguars.

Gruden and Montgomery, after previously interviewing virtually, met in-person with Carolina brass, Steve Reed of the Associated Press notes. This is a crucial hire for Rhule, who is on the hot seat after two sub-.500 seasons on the job. A previous report suggested the embattled HC needed a “rock-star offensive coordinator” to save his job.

While it does appear Rhule will receive a third season, Gruden landing the OC job would give the Panthers a natural interim HC in the event Rhule cannot keep it through the 2022 season. Gruden, 54, agreeing to join Carolina’s staff would be interesting as well since he recently accepted an OC gig for a team with a head coach (Doug Marrone) on the hot seat. Gruden went one-and-done in Jacksonville in 2020 and did not coach this season.

The Panthers have also met with Colts wide receivers coach (and ex-Eagles OC) Mike Groh, Vikings OC Klint Kubiak, ex-Texans OC Tim Kelly and Packers quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy. None has been linked to a second interview yet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

Along with the head coaches being fired, a few NFL teams are looking for new general managers. The Bears, Giants and Vikings are in the market for new GMs, while the Steelers are soon to follow. Listed below are the GM candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status.

If and when other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-20-22 (2:33pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

NFL News & NFL Rumors