There was some trade speculation around former Falcons QB Matt Ryan but it didn’t seem serious until all of a sudden Atlanta was in the thick of things with Deshaun Watson. Ryan was among those who were caught off guard by the change in the wind.
- Ryan said he started looking around at what his other options might be. When the Watson trade fell through, he decided to ask for a trade anyway: “It became clear when Deshaun did not come, it was on me to let them know that I wanted to seek other options. I told Arthur Blank that and he was great about it. The first one I wanted to explore was Indianapolis. I think the mindset really changed after the meeting that I had with Chris Ballard and Frank Reich.”
- That meeting sold Ryan all the way on joining the Colts: “I thought that Chris and his belief for how to build the football team, the type of players he wants, type of guys he wants in the locker room, what they’re about, his accountability for himself … Really appreciated that from him. And then Frank, talking about football, it was really energizing. I was upstairs in my house, in my office, and went downstairs to talk with my wife after. She was like, ‘Man you feel different, you look different.’”
- Ryan will turn 37 this year, so the questions about how much longer he wants to play naturally come up a lot: “The most important thing is the passion, the energy, the want-to. I still have all of it. I’m not sure [I’ll have it for] four years, five years, six years. You know? Certainly doesn’t feel like one year, no. Absolutely not.”
- Ryan’s reworked contract with the Colts includes a $12 million signing bonus, base salaries of $12.7 million and $19.2 million, plus a $10 million roster bonus in 2023. His salaries are guaranteed while his roster bonus is guaranteed for injury. (Joel Erickson)
- Reich was asked about the tight end position with Jack Doyle retiring: “It’s going to be impossible to replace Jack. We’re going to have to adapt.” (Erickson)
- Reich mentioned one of the reasons they have been quiet at receiver in free agency is that he’s high on some of their internal candidates such as Mike Strachan, Dezmon Patmon, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin and Keke Coutee: “We’re not a desperate team that’s gonna say, ‘Let’s go grab a guy that’s a name just to grab somebody.’” (Zak Keefer)
- Reich stressed the importance of upgrading the team’s passing attack: “A great run game isn’t gonna be enough. We need more.” (Keefer)
- Reich added he expects RB Nyheim Hines to have a much bigger role with Ryan at quarterback.
- According to PFN’s Mike Kaye, the Jaguars have a top 30 visit scheduled with Louisiana S Percy Butler.
- New Jaguars HC HC Doug Pederson told reporters that he expects Travis Etienne ready to go early in the offseason (OTAs/minicamp). As for Etienne’s role, Pederson said “we’ll see” with a smile. (Cameron Wolfe)
- Pederson added that James Robinson probably won’t be ready until training camp, but he believes Robinson can be a three-down running back.
- Pederson was asked what he liked about new TE Evan Engram: “Athleticism, route running, tough guy… “He’s a willing participant to block.” (Zack Rosenblatt)
- According to Pederson, the decision to bring LT Cam Robinson back has nothing to do with the draft. John Reid believes this likely means Alabama OT Evan Neal is still under “serious consideration” for the No. 1 overall pick.
- Pederson confirmed that they pushed to re-sign WR DJ Chark before he agreed to a one-year deal with the Lions: ”DJ one of the guys that we wanted back. But I’m really happy he gets a chance to go and compete and really help the Lions win.” (John Reid)
- Texans GM Nick Caserio on if Tytus Howard would start at tackle or guard this year: “We’ll have to look at that. Last year, it was about getting the five best people on the field and we felt that Tytus playing left guard was the best thing for us.” (Aaron Wilson)
- Caserio is unsure if the team will use their fifth-year option on Howard at this point in time: “Ultimately, when we have to make that decision as it pertains to the fifth-year option we’ll make the decision that makes the most sense.” (Wilson)
- As for WR Brandin Cooks, Caserio said the team plans to have discussions with his representatives about an extension: “We’re going to have a lot of those discussions probably over the course of the spring with different players, but Brandin has been a great player in this league for a long time. He’s an important part of our program.” (Wilson)
- New Texans HC Lovie Smith on QB Davis Mills‘ performance in 2021: “He’s smart. He can throw the ball. He’s a better athlete than he’s been given credit for. We’re excited about going forward with him.” (Wilson)
- Smith pointed to Jonathan Greenard as he player who could make an impact for his defense next season: “He did some good things, just not fully healthy the entire year. Just think about a full offseason of health for him. He could do some things.” (Sarah Barshop)
One of the first moves the Titans made when the negotiating window opened in free agency was to sign former Seahawks reserve OL Jamarco Jones to a contract. Titans HC Mike Vrabel revealed he’s had his eyes on Jones for a long time and is hoping he can win a starting job on their line.
“I have known Jamarco since he was 16 years old in Chicago, and would go into De La Salle High School on the south side of Chicago and watch him play basketball and practice in the morning,” Vrabel said via Jim Wyatt of the team website. “I had a great relationship with his mom, Urica. He ended up choosing Ohio State, and I left to go to Houston shortly thereafter. This is a player we feel his best football is in front of him. We’ve been able to evaluate him against some very good opponents. This year he played left guard against the Saints, and we’re hoping he can start there and compete at left guard. But he has versatility as well, and has played all across the line.”