Indianapolis Colts

Patriots' Josh McDaniels returns to Indianapolis for first time since bolting on Colts

usatsi_11599606_133468180_lowres.jpg
File photo

Patriots' Josh McDaniels returns to Indianapolis for first time since bolting on Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Josh McDaniels is back in town as part of the Patriots contingent here for the NFL Scouting Combine. 

He was not a part of New England's team of coaches and scouts here a year ago. That may have been the plan all along back then. The Patriots have had coaches stay back from the combine in the past when they make a deep run that includes a Super Bowl appearance. 

But the fact that McDaniels was not present a year ago, not long after he opted not to become head coach of the Colts, made headlines. Fans in Indy were not happy with him. It made sense to them that he not show up. 

He strolled through the Indiana Convention Center all smiles on Friday morning, though, a full year and a Super Bowl championship behind him since last year's combine. The Patriots often use their coaches in a scouting capacity at this time of year, and McDaniels is no different. He could, of course, be particularly critical to the team's operation as they assess the class of quarterbacks.

Passers will work out on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday at 10 a.m. They'll also conduct media interviews on Friday, and they'll interview with teams on a formal and informal basis during their stay. 

There are a handful of passers who look intriguing from a Patriots perspective, including potential mid-round options Ryan Finley from NC State and Boise State's Brett Rypien. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Trading Antonio Brown to Colts could shake things up for Patriots, rest of AFC

Trading Antonio Brown to Colts could shake things up for Patriots, rest of AFC

After meeting with Steelers brass on Tuesday, it's a matter of "if" not "when" with Antonio Brown. 

Pittsburgh's star receiver, one of the league's best players of the last decade, is going to be traded. That much seems inevitable. But if the Steelers are reluctant to trade Brown within the division or -- as has been reported -- to the Patriots, then where might he end up? 

And where should Patriots fans want Brown to end up if they can't watch him in red, white and blue next season? 

If the Steelers are going to deal away their No. 1 wideout, there are some serious salary and salary-cap implications to consider. Brown is scheduled to count $22.1 million against the cap in 2019, and if the Steelers trade him before June 1 -- one would think the market for a trade would be impacted by what transpires in free agency and then the draft in early May -- they would carry over $21 million in dead money on their cap next season. If they trade him after the draft, after June 1, Brown's dead money would be a shade over $7 million. 

MORE PHIL PERRY

OK so let's get into the candidates for Brown's services. Teams like the Niners, Lions and Seahawks have needs at receiver and the cap space to make the move.

Then there are the Jets, the team that Patriots fans may first gravitate toward when asked to fill in the blank: "I'd be OK with Brown going anywhere but . . . " 

And that makes sense. Why would any self-professed Patriots fan be amenable to the Jets adding one of the best weapons in the league? Brown will be 31 next season, but he's a four-time First Team All-Pro and he's racked up six straight 100-catch, 1,200-yard seasons. Unpredictable as he's been off the field of late, he's been the definition of a sure thing at the position over the last half-dozen years. 

But even with Brown in the mix in New York, and even with oodles of cap space, there's no guarantee the Jets become a real threat to the Patriots in the division after that kind of acquisition. Sam Darnold could make "the leap" as a second-year quarterback, but he'd still have very little else in the way of weaponry around Brown, and new coach Adam Gase would have to come up with a way to make it all work. Plenty of uncertainty there. 

MORE PATRIOTS

That's why Patriots fans might want to hope that Brown doesn't land in Indianapolis. The Colts won a playoff game last season with a young roster that is built around Andrew Luck and poised to improve. Not only should players like Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard continue to trend upward after impressive rookie seasons, but general manager Chris Ballard will have more cap space to play with than any other franchise this offseason ($118 million). 

If the Steelers are wary of contributing to a conference contender, then they wouldn't want to send Brown to Indianapolis. But if the Colts are still in the mix, Brown would make T.Y. Hilton a top-tier No. 2 target, and he'd potentially open up more room for tight ends Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle to work the middle of the field. 

Our buddy Albert Breer from Sports Illustrated said many times last season that the Colts had "dynasty potential" because of their young talent, their legitimate franchise quarterback, and their cap situation. Trading for Brown could very well accelerate the process.

Would it make Indianapolis the favorite to come out of the AFC next season? If not, it would almost certainly help them narrow the gap between themselves and the 2018 champs.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Josh McDaniels says he 'wasn't proud' of how he handled Colts situation

Josh McDaniels says he 'wasn't proud' of how he handled Colts situation

Josh McDaniels spurning the Colts likely will follow the Patriots offensive coordinator for the rest of his career, and he knows it.

Monday night during Super Bowl LIII Opening Night, McDaniels reflected on his controversial change of heart regarding the Colts head coaching position.

“It’s a lot that goes into it,” McDaniels said. “I think at the end of the day you have to make the best decision for yourself and your family. I’ve said this a number of times: The timing of all that stuff was not. . . . I wasn’t proud of any of that stuff.

“Really happy for their success in Indianapolis this year and a significant amount of respect for those guys and excited they had a good year, the year that they had, and a very, very bright future.”

The Colts, as McDaniels eludes to, enjoyed a successful season under head coach Frank Reich. Indianapolis went 10-6 in the regular season before falling to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

Along with the fallout from the Colts situation, McDaniels addressed the head coaching rumors that swirled earlier this season.

“I can’t control. . . .” McDaniels said. “I can only control what I do. It’s been a year. I think everybody has moved forward from that, and the decisions that are made are made, and there are a lot of things that go into those. I have a lot of things that are important in my life. If I have the chance to do that, I would love to, but I’m also supremely fortunate and really privileged to work for our organization and continue to try to do my best here at this place and compete on Sunday and do what I can do to help our team win.”

McDaniels was linked to both the Packers and Browns job openings, but the two teams instead decided on Matt LaFleur and Freddie Kitchens respectively.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.