Pro Football Talk

Are NFL teams holding Colts fiasco against Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels?

Are NFL teams holding Colts fiasco against Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels?

As the regular season drew to a close, conventional wisdom held that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would be near the top of the list for teams seeking a new head coach. 

But with one-quarter of the league's jobs open, McDaniels has reportedly been contacted by just two teams -- the Packers and Bengals so far. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is also said to be "high" on McDaniels after having interviewed him twice in the past. 

By rule, McDaniels can interview this week with the Patriots on their bye. He cannot meet with teams after this week until the Patriots are eliminated or during the bye week prior to the Super Bowl if the Patriots make it that far. 

So what gives? Why the tepid outreach?

Pro Football Talk poobah Mike Florio joined me on Tuesday's Quick Slants to discuss the NFL coaching landscape and, if his perspective is a guide, maybe last season's "I'm in, I'm out . . . " routine with the Colts has cost McDaniels. 

"I’m astounded that a guy who left the Colts at the altar -- and I don’t have a problem when somebody sticks it to a billion-dollar organization because they stick it to people all the time -- but when you tell people that you’re taking the job and they uproot their lives under the assumption, under the promise that you are going to be there and then you pull the plug on that and you don’t show up? I don’t know how he’s gonna land a staff."


Florio was alluding to assistant coaches Matt Eberflus, Mike Phair and Dave DeGuglielmo, who were all committed to coach for the Colts under McDaniels. When McDaniels pulled out of the Indy job two days after the Super Bowl and a day before he was to be announced in Indy, the Colts decided they would honor all three contracts. DeGuglielmo (who was the Patriots' offensive line coach in 2014 and '15), Eberflus and Phair all stayed. 

Florio raises a legitimate point. Prospective head coaches can't just show up for an interview and shrug when asked who their offensive and defensive coordinators will be. They need to have done advance work to both find out who will be good lieutenants, both philosophically and in terms of personality. 

Those would-be assistants are putting faith in the candidate. McDaniels is going to have to quell concerns among prospective assistants that that won't happen again. 

Another reason for the slow response could be the presumption McDaniels is in line for the Patriots head coaching position and is going to bide his time at a hefty financial rate until Bill Belichick steps aside. The only issues there are that McDaniels has not been assured he's the next head coach of the Patriots and Belichick really isn't showing signs he's about to shove off. 

Of all the opportunities out there, the Bengals is by far the least appetizing. They are a notoriously cheap franchise that lags behind most of the league in facilities, scouting and player amenities. They also aren't talented. Green Bay has an aging, future Hall of Fame quarterback in place who's coming off a dysfunctional run with former head coach Mike McCarthy. Buyer beware is good advice for anyone considering that job. That also could be the advice right now on McDaniels. 

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Is Demaryius Thomas a possibility for the Patriots?

Is Demaryius Thomas a possibility for the Patriots?

Yes, the Patriots are light at wide receiver. Yes, it makes sense they'd be on the lookout for help, especially for the first four weeks when Julian Edelman is serving his four-game PED suspension.

Well, how would Demaryius Thomas strike you?

At least one person -- Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio -- thinks there's a chance the five-time Pro Bowl wideout winds up in Foxboro:

"Here's a name to keep an eye on," Florio told NBC Sports colleague Peter King today. "Now there may be nothing to this whatsoever, but I've detected just a weird sense coming out of Denver as it relates to Demaryius Thomas. He's a guy that was drafted by [Patriots offensive coordinator] Josh McDaniels (when McDaniels was the Broncos' head coach), he's a guy who ultimately could be available, $8 1/2 million (in salary for 2018). We've seen [Broncos executive vice-president and general manager] John Elway do this, where he'll squeeze a guy very, very late, maybe try to trade him, and if that all else fails, out he goes like T.J. Ward last year.

"But with the young receivers there, Courtland Sutton for example, if these guys can develop and Elway looks at it and says, '8 1/2 million, that's too much to pay,' it would not shock me if a guy like Thomas ends up joining [New England's] depth chart. [It's] late in the game, but still in time to make an impact with the Patriots."

King doesn't necessarily agree -- he doesn't see Thomas leaving Denver before the start of the season -- but he admits: "Nothing will shock me with John Elway at all."

So stay tuned.

Report: NFLPA hires law firms, prepares for legal fight over new anthem policy

Report: NFLPA hires law firms, prepares for legal fight over new anthem policy

The NFL Players Association has retained multiple law firms to research the options for fighting the NFL's new national anthem policy implemented by the owners last month, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. 

Three weeks ago at their spring meeting, NFL owners changed the policy without input from or discussion with the NFL Players Association. It now mandates that all players not in in the locker room stand for the anthem and any player who wants to protest during the anthem must remain in the locker room.

Following the lead of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, several NFL players kneeled or raised a fist during the playing of the anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality. It sparked a controversy and drew sharp criticism from President Donald J. Trump. 

The owners' new rule drew the ire of the NFLPA and its members, including Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty, who called it "dumb."

More from Florio's report: 

One potential challenge would come in the form of a “non-injury grievance” under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The deadline for filing the grievance would come in late July, and the argument would be that the NFL failed to engage in good-faith bargaining with the union before taking away a right that the NFL had previously given to the players, and that the NFL had confirmed on multiple occasions.

Other forms of litigation are possible, according to Florio, including an action based on First Amendment protections in the U.S. and various state constitutions.