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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

AP source: Vikings' Paton withdraws from Browns GM job hunt

Fri Jan 24 4:31pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announces the 2019 professional athlete of the year during the 2020 Greater Cleveland Sports Awards in Cleveland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Stefanski could be reuniting with an old friend in Cleveland. The team is interviewing Vikings assistant general manager George Paton for the second time to be their new GM, a person familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press on Wednesday. (Joshua Gunter/Cleveland.com via AP)


This undated photo provided by the Minnesota Vikings shows George Paton. New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski could be reuniting with an old friend in Cleveland. The team is interviewing Vikings assistant general manager George Paton for the second time to be their new GM, a person familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Minnesota Vikings via AP)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton withdrew his candidacy Friday for Cleveland's general manager vacancy, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the search process. Paton had a second interview Wednesday for the position with the Browns, the latest opportunity the well-respected lieutenant has turned down to stay with the Vikings.

Paton has been in Minnesota's front office for the past 13 seasons, with general manager Rick Spielman running the football operations. New Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski had been an assistant for the Vikings during Paton's entire time with the team, an established relationship that put Paton on the short list with Cleveland.

The Browns have had as tumultuous of an environment within their organization as any in the NFL over the past two decades, though, and Paton has ultimately passed on several general manager openings around the league over time that he didn't feel comfortable with.

The Browns have met with two other known candidates: Philadelphia vice president of football operations Andrew Berry and New England college scouting director Monti Ossenfort. Berry worked in Cleveland's front office from 2016-18 and was well-liked by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who have prioritized a strong alignment between coach and GM a priority to avoid some of the dysfunction that has undermined the franchise's growth.

The Browns went 6-10 in 2019 after a busy offseason that made them a trendy pick to return to the playoffs, but head coach Freddie Kitchens was fired after his only full season on the job and general manager John Dorsey left after declining an offer to take a lesser role in the organization.

The Vikings went 10-6 and reached the second round of the playoffs this season. Paton came to Minnesota after previous stops in Chicago and Miami.

Player Notes
Drew Brees Jan 24 3:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who will be a free agent in March, plans to return to the Saints if he comes back for a 20th season in the NFL. "I have never been in the situation where I was mulling over the thought of [returning]," Brees said. "To me, each one of these contracts, I don't know how many it's been with the Saints, I've played with them 14 years, it's not a matter of if it gets done, it's when. At this stage of my career, it's not a given that I'm coming back every year, but when that time comes, I'll always be a Saint." Despite diminished arm strength, Brees was one of the best quarterbacks when he returned from his thumb injury last season. He may no longer have sky-high QB1 upside for fantasy owners, but Brees will at least be a midrange QB1 target next season if he returns to New Orleans, which is what is expected.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Jan 24 1:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was pulled over and cited during a traffic stop in Rocky River, Ohio on Tuesday. Police pulled Hunt over for going 77 MPH in a 60 MPH zone and found small amounts of marijuana in three different locations in the car. The car was registered in Hunt's mother's name and he told officers that the drugs belonged to his brother. While the running back did not receive a drug charge during the stop, he could still be subject to discipline from the NFL. Hunt is a restricted free agent this offseason and has a chance to land elsewhere as a team's starting running back. This incident is only likely to be an issue in fantasy if the NFL decides to get involved.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jan 24 1:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (knee) was back at practice on Friday. The Chiefs played it safe with Kelce and gave him some rest on Thursday, but he should be ready to rock in the Super Bowl against the 49ers on Feb. 2. He had a quiet game in the AFC Championship against the Titans but exploded for three touchdowns in the Divisional Round. Kelce was the top fantasy tight end in 2019 and could put up big numbers in the passing game against San Francisco in the Super Bowl if this game turns into a shootout.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Jan 24 1:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said it's his understanding that tight end Jimmy Graham wants to play in 2020. Graham is under contract for one more year for $8 million, which is the final year of his three-year contract. The 33-year-old has clearly lost a step at this point in his career, catching just 38 passes (60 targets) for 447 yards and three touchdowns in 2019 with the Packers. He's no longer the focal point in the passing game, and he's more of a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2 in fantasy circles.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Jan 24 12:00pm ET

Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown was granted bail by a Broward County judge on Friday morning at $110,000 for a felony burglary with battery charge. Brown will be monitored by GPS and be required to release his passport and guns, go through drug and alcohol testing and get a mental-health evaluation. He's facing charges of felony burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief stemming from an alleged assault of a moving-truck driver earlier this week. This isn't Brown's first run-in with the law, and all of his off-field issues virtually assure that no NFL team will take a chance on him moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Jerry Hughes Jan 24 12:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (wrist) had surgery to fix torn ligaments in his wrist. Hughes revealed the injury after the playoff loss to the Texans in the wild-card round, and the league launched an investigation as to whether the Bills had violated the injury reporting policy since Hughes never appeared on the team's injury report with a wrist injury. Despite his wrist injury, Hughes didn't miss a game in 2019 and hasn't missed a single game since 2012. He recorded 23 total tackles (14 solo), 4.5 sacks and one fumble recovery for Buffalo's stout defense last season. Hughes should be recovered in time for training camp this summer.

From RotoBaller

Jerry Hughes Jan 24 8:43am ET

Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes (wrist) had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his wrist this week.

From TheHuddle

Josh Rosen Jan 23 9:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins QB Josh Rosen hasn't been written off, according to general manager Chris Grier, and Grier said he saw improvement in Rosen during practice throughout the year.

From TheHuddle

Travis Kelce Jan 23 9:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Mid-week downgrades aren't good, but we still have another full week before the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, so Kelce should be just fine to play in the big game against the 49ers. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (illness) returned to a full practice after sitting out on Wednesday. Although Kelce had just three catches for 30 yards in the AFC Championship against Tennessee, he busted out for 10 grabs, 134 yards and three touchdowns in the Divisional Round against Houston. Kelce was the top-scoring fantasy tight end in 2019 and could easily have a big game in the Super Bowl against San Francisco.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Jan 23 8:03pm ET

Free-agent WR Antonio Brown (Patriots) is expected to turn himself in to police but hadn't done so as of the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 23, according to a public information officer for the Hollywood Police Department in Florida. 'I believe they've given him ample opportunity to turn himself in,'' Christian Lata told USA TODAY Sports. An arrest warrant was issued against Brown following an incident with a moving truck driver Tuesday, Jan. 21. 'I'm sure it's going to be within today or tomorrow, but I'm not sure exactly when,'' Lata said late Thursday afternoon. 'I would assume it would be sooner than later.''

Fantasy Spin: There's less and less reason to hold out hope of Brown finding his way onto an NFL roster and becoming fantasy relevant in 2020. Dynasty owners should be looking to move on.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 23 6:23pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 23.

Fantasy Spin: Coleman did some solo work as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder. Expect him to play in Super Bowl LIV Sunday, Feb. 2.

From TheHuddle

Morris Claiborne Jan 23 6:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones (calf) was a limited participant in practice Thursday, Jan. 23. CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and C Austin Reiter (wrist) practiced in full. DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (hand) was removed from the injury report. S Jordan Lucas (illness) didn't practice.

From TheHuddle

Dee Ford Jan 23 6:23pm ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Dante Pettis (illness) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 23. LB Kwon Alexander (pectoral), DL Dee Ford (quad, hamstring) and S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) were limited. LB Dre Greenlaw (ankle) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Travis Kelce Jan 23 6:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 23.

Fantasy Spin: Kelce and the Chiefs have a long way to go until Super Bowl LIV Sunday, Feb. 2. He should be fully expected to be on the field.

From TheHuddle

Demarcus Robinson Jan 23 6:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson (illness) returned to a full practice Thursday, Jan. 23.

Fantasy Spin: Robinson has scored just one touchdown since Week 3, and he hasn't recorded 100 or more receiving yards since Week 2. He's a risky flier without a guaranteed role in the offense.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 23 5:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) was seen running on a side field ahead of the team's practice Thursday, Jan. 23.

Fantasy Spin: It appears Coleman will be able to suit up for Super Bowl LIV after dislocating his shoulder in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. He'll continue splitting work with Raheem Mostert and, to a lesser degree, Matt Breida. Any or all of the three could have a big game, but it's Mostert with the hot hand following the NFC Championship.

From TheHuddle

Gareon Conley Jan 23 5:23pm ET

Houston Texans CB Gareon Conley (ankle) recently underwent a procedure to have a screw removed from his right ankle but is expected to be recovered in full for the beginning of the team's offseason workout program, according to a league source Thursday, Jan. 23.

From TheHuddle

Nevin Lawson Jan 23 5:03pm ET

Oakland Raiders CB Nevin Lawson signed a one-year contract extension Thursday, Jan. 23. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 23 4:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) is doing some running on a side field at the team's practice on Thursday. Despite sitting out of practice, Coleman appears very much in play to suit up for the Super Bowl against the Chiefs on Feb. 2. He suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers, but Coleman has an extra week to heal up and should be good to go for the big game. He will continue to serve as a change-of-pace back for Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers.

From RotoBaller

Younghoe Koo Jan 23 4:40pm ET

The Atlanta Falcons plan to tender a contract to impending exclusive-rights free-agent kicker Younghoe Koo. The 25-year-old place kicker solidified the team's kicking position in the final eight games of the season, making 23 of his 26 field-goal tries and 15 of his 16 extra points. Koo went 7-for-9 on kicks from 40-49 yards and hit his only attempt of 50-plus yards. While he should enter the 2020 season as the favorite to kick for Atlanta, the Falcons will also bring in some competition to push him. With an offense that can be explosive and put up points, Koo will have some fantasy appeal if he sticks around.

From RotoBaller