NFL Notes: Aldon Smith, 49ers, Dolphins, Falcons, Saints

Aldon Smith

  • Jason Cole of B/R mentions that NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league is looking into Raiders DE Aldon Smith‘s recent domestic violence matter and that any league investigation could hold up Smith’s plans for reinstatement from suspension.
  • Smith is eligible to apply for reinstatement in March and said he expects to be back next season. However, it will be interesting to see if this issue halts his return.


  • Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports that the 49ers have hired former Giants assistant DL coach Jeff Zgonina as their new DL coach.
  • Adam Caplan reports that the 49ers have hired Richard Hightower as their new special teams coach.
  • Caplan mentions that the 49ers also interviewed Eric Sutulovich for their special teams coaching job.


  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports there is already an “understanding” within the Dolphins’ staff that they will target defensive players in the 2017 NFL Draft.
  • Salguero, citing a source that is familiar with the team’s thinking, said Dolphins HC Adam Gase told people within the organization that the draft will be used primarily for the team’s defensive needs and will only select an offensive player if someone who is “highly prized” unexpectedly falls to them during the early rounds.
  • One source said the defensive end position will be “the team’s highest priority,” while Salguero names defensive end and all the linebacker spots as “obvious” needs for Miami.


  • The Falcons are hiring former University of Washington WRs coach/passing game coordinator Bush Hamdan as their new QBs coach, per Alex Marvez.
  • According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN, there is “mutual interest” between the Falcons and RFA WR Taylor Gabriel regarding a contract extension.
  • Gabriel expressed his interest in returning to Atlanta, saying he would like to stay with the team for as long as possible: “Of course, I want to be a Falcon forever. Just the camaraderie and the group, from [coach] Dan Quinn to the owner [Arthur Blank]. And everyone has bought into what we have here. Yes, I want to be a Falcon forever.
  • For what it’s worth, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said last week that he is interested in re-signing Gabriel: “It’s going to be positive for him. Yes, we want him back as well.”


  • Nick Underhill reports that Saints FB John Kuhn’s one-year extension is worth a base salary of $1 million and includes an $80,000 bonus. He will cost $695,000 against the 2017 salary cap.

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