Wed Jan 16 4:35pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
In this Sept. 23, 2018, file photo, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo looks at his play sheet during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, in Minneapolis. The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired former Minnesota offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to the same position. The Jaguars also filled five other staff positions. DeFilippo replaces Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired in late November and landed in Green Bay. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired former Minnesota offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to the same position.
Coach Doug Marrone announced the addition Wednesday along with five other assistant coaches. DeFilippo replaces Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired in late November and landed in Green Bay.
The Vikings parted way with the 40-year-old DeFilippo in mid-December, reportedly for failing to commit to the run ground game. DeFilippo spent less than a year in Minnesota. The Vikings hired him after two seasons in Philadelphia, where he was praised for his work as quarterbacks coach with Nick Foles and Carson Wentz. DeFilippo had one previous NFL stint as an offensive coordinator, in Cleveland in 2015.
''High energy on field, a tough football coach, going to hold people accountable,'' Marrone said.
DeFilippo will be tasked with helping improve an offense that ranked 27th in yards and 31st in points in 2018. He also could play a role in developing the team's next quarterback.
The Jaguars have failed repeatedly to find a long-term solution at the all-important position, coming up short with Byron Leftwich, David Garrard, Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles. The Jags are expected to move on from Bortles before March, draft a quarterback and sign a veteran to potentially start until the rookie is ready.
Marrone said DeFilippo's relationship with Foles had nothing to do with the hiring. Still, adding DeFilippo surely will raise questions about Foles ending up in Jacksonville.
The Eagles must decide by mid-February if they want to exercise a $20 million option to keep Foles in 2019. Foles could decline it and pay back $2 million to become a free agent. Philadelphia also could place a franchise tag on Foles and try to trade the former Super Bowl MVP.
Marrone also interviewed former Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, former Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Todd Monken and former Arizona offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to become the team's sixth offensive coordinator in the last nine years.
Jacksonville also hired Terry Robiskie as running backs coach, Tim Walton as cornerbacks coach and George Warhop as offensive line coach, and promoted assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich to defensive line coach and assistant secondary coach Joe Danna to safeties coach.
Marrone fired running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley, secondary coach Perry Fewell, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and defensive line coach Marion Hobby a day after the regular season ended.
Of all the new hires, Robiskie might be the most interesting.
The 64-year-old Robiskie was born and raised in New Orleans and attended LSU, giving him a background similar to starting running back Leonard Fournette.
The Jaguars have struggled to get through to Fournette, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft who has been suspended, fined and benched. He has been repeatedly late for meetings and was admittedly out of shape last season.
Following his one-week suspension in November, the Jaguars voided the remaining guarantees in Fournette's four-year rookie contract worth $27.1 million. It could cost him up to $7.1 million.
Marrone, general manager Dave Caldwell and top executive Tom Coughlin would prefer to see Fournette become a better pro, and Robiskie could be instrumental in helping him get on track.
''I don't know if Leonard even knew (Robiskie) played in New Orleans,'' Marrone said. ''That's something that'll be with the two of them.''
Marrone said he and Fournette had a long meeting last week that hopefully will get them on the same page.
''We just talked (about) where we're going, where we want to go, what we want to do and set out a plan,'' Marrone said. ''I feel good about it.''
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison switched agents in the offseason and has already approached the team about signing a new deal, according to a source. The 30-year-old still has two years remaining on his current deal. He'll make $6.75 million in base salary in 2019 and $9 million in 2020 and has workout bonuses of $250,000 for both seasons. Detroit gave up a fifth-round pick for Harrison last year. He stopped the run 30 times in 10 games for the Lions and also added 3.5 sacks and ranked as the third best defensive tackle in the league. Harrison is an excellent run stopper, but that doesn't translate all that well to IDP value.
Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman looks to be much leaner than he was in his first two NFL seasons and looked quick and explosive during an impromptu workout on Sunday. Foreman rushed the ball seven times for negative-one yard in his only game in 2018 that was mainly spent rehabbing an Achilles rupture. He adopted a demanding exercise program and a healthier diet this offseason. The 22-year-old is determined to put 2018 behind him and contribute for Houston this season. He rushed for 327 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in 2017 and could surpass Lamar Miller as the lead back in 2019 if he's fully healthy. Foreman could be an excellent sleeper target in point-per-reception leagues if he proves his health throughout the offseason.
The New York Jets re-signed tight end Neal Sterling and outside linebacker Brandon Copeland to undisclosed deals on Monday Sterling has been with the Jets the last two seasons but has primarily been a backup on offense while also playing special teams. He had six catches for 47 yards in five games last year but had his season cut short by a concussion in November. Unless an injury occurs, Sterling won't be fantasy relevant in 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht believes wide receiver Chris Godwin can play inside in the slot much like Larry Fitzgerald did for head coach Bruce Arians in their time together in Arizona. "I'm not saying he's Larry Fitzgerald by any means yet, but play the role like Larry did in Arizona. That made (Humphries) a little easier to swallow," Licht said. With Adam Humphries going to Tennessee and DeSean Jackson being traded to Philadelphia, Godwin has a clear path to more targets in Arians' new offense. Godwin will be a popular breakout candidate after catching 59 passes for 842 yards and seven touchdowns in his second season in 2018.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to sign free-agent quarterback Blaine Gabbert as Jameis Winston's backup. Gabbert played under head coach Bruce Arians and quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich in Arizona in 2017. The 29-year-old played in eight games for the Titans last year and had 624 yards passing, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He's a veteran backup option, having played in the NFL for eight seasons and four different teams.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said that running back Jerick McKinnon fits into the team's plans for the 2019 season. McKinnon missed all of his first year in San Francisco after getting injured in the preseason. Now he'll have to fight for touches with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, which will make it very tough for him to carve out fantasy value. McKinnon was a popular breakout candidate going into last year's drafts, but he ended up being an early-round bust.
Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for free-agent running back Jay Ajayi (knee), expects his client to be ready for the start of the season. Ajayi's visit with the Indianapolis Colts last week went well, but he's also still in discussions to return to the Philadelphia Eagles. Ajayi might not even be ready for all of training camp, so his health will determine whether a team takes a chance on him for 2019. The 25-year-old has game-breaking ability in the backfield, but he has never played in a full season and will probably be a fantasy afterthought in 2019, depending on where he lands.
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said that the team "wants to sign" quarterback Carson Wentz to a contract extension. Wentz is undeniably a franchise QB at just 26 years old, but he's ended the last two seasons injured and played in a career-low 11 games in 2018. He's entering the final year of his rookie deal but also has a 2020 team option. With plenty of playmakers around him still, Wentz still has plenty of QB1 upside left, but the question is if fantasy owners feels he's worth the risk due to injuries.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed at the NFL owners meetings that quarterback Marcus Mariota remains the starter, even after the club acquired Ryan Tannehill from the Dolphins. Vrabel also said he expects Mariota to be ready when the team starts their offseason program on April 15 after battling through injuries in 2018. Mariota started 13 games last season and finished with a disappointing 2,528 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. On a run-first team without great options in the passing game, Mariota will continue to be a mediocre QB2.
Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for tight end Rob Gronkowski, said he wouldn't be surprised if his client came out of retirement to play for the New England Patriots again. "If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and lets just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said Rob, I need you. I wouldnt be shocked if he came back to play a few games," Rosenhaus said. Gronk seems to be comfortable in his decision to move on from football after winning his third Super Bowl ring last season. The debate now begins as to whether the 29-year-old was the greatest to play his position after accumulating 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons.
The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent cornerback E.J. Gaines to a one-year, $3.6 million deal on Monday, according to a league source. The 27-year-old returns to Buffalo after a one-year stint in Cleveland in which he played in just six games. Gaines has yet to play a full season in his four NFL seasons. He had 59 total tackles, three forced fumbles and one interception in 11 games for the Bills back in 2017. Gaines is expected to compete for a starting spot opposite Tre'Davious White.
Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey said the team has a plan for running back Kareem Hunt up until his suspension begins for the 2019 season. Hunt was suspended eight games by the NFL for two violations of the personal-conduct policy. The running back won't appeal the suspension and Dorsey said he is "most proud" of the effort Hunt is taking to grow into the best version of himself. Hunt will obviously have his upside capped with Cleveland in 2019 because of his suspension for half the season and the fact that he'll be sharing the backfield with Nick Chubb when he makes his season debut.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden confirmed that Derek Carr will be the team's starting quarterback in 2019. While the Raiders believe in Carr, they will still send personnel to meet with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and Ohio State signal-caller Dwayne Haskins. The Raiders own the fourth overall pick in the first round of this year's draft, one of three first-round picks for Oakland. Carr, 28 on March 28, threw for a career-high 4,049 yards in 2018 with a 68.9 percent completion percentage, but he had just a career-low 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over a full season. Gaining receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will help, but he's also losing safety blanket Jared Cook at tight end. Draft Carr as a QB2 with upside.
Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after 10 years. Maclin was drafted in the first round in 2009 and spent six seasons with the Eagles alongside DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. He is the 10th leading receiver in Philly franchise history after compiling 343 catches, 4,771 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns. Maclin spent the last three years struggling with the Chiefs and Ravens.
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday, March 24.
Fantasy Spin: The Patriots have lost Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen this offseason, so they probably will be looking for a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft. None of the other tight ends on the Patriots roster have a lot of fantasy value.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Sunday that he is retiring. The 29-year-old Gronk finished on a high note in the postseason and goes out on top with another Super Bowl ring, but he struggled to gain separation from defenders in the regular season and finished with 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season in 13 games. Gronkowski had four 1,000-yard receiving seasons and amassed a whopping 79 regular season scores in his nine-year career. He'll go down as one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history. With Gronk no longer around, Stephen Anderson will be the top tight end on the depth chart, although he won't be much of a fantasy consideration. Losing Gronk as a safety blanket will surely affect quarterback Tom Brady negatively moving forward.
Free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Ravens) announced his retirement Sunday, March 24.
Free-agent DE Michael Johnson (Bengals) is not expected to re-sign with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason.
The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent safety George Iloka to an undisclosed one-year deal on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The seven-year safety played the first six seasons of his career with the Bengals but disappointed with only 16 tackles in 16 games (three starts) for the Vikings in 2018. It's looking like Iloka will have a starting role with his new team in Dallas.
Denver Broncos CB Bryce Callahan (foot) is unlikely to participate in the team's draft-week minicamp as he recovers from a foot injury, head coach Vic Fangio said Sunday, March 24.