Home NFL NFL Journal: A month from league year, teams forming two plans — existing CBA/same CBA – The Denver Post
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NFL Journal: A month from league year, teams forming two plans — existing CBA/same CBA – The Denver Post

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The NFL’s new league year begins March 18 and despite reports about the players and owners making progress on a new collective bargaining agreement, teams are waiting for the official word: New CBA or the existing CBA.

“We’re getting closer and closer to the new league year and nobody knows what’s going on,” a league executive said recently. “It’s frustrating because a lot of things could change. Let’s say they drop a bomb on us March 1 and there’s a new CBA. You have less than two weeks to re-adjust everything and plan again and try and learn the new rules before going into free agency.”

The executive cited three issues:

1. Franchise/transition tags: Minus a new CBA, teams will be allowed to designate one player apiece under the franchise and transition tags. If there is a new CBA, teams can designate only one player (same as the first nine years of the current deal).

“Without a new CBA, teams who have some talent coming up (to free agency) will find using both the franchise and transition tags helpful,” the executive said.

Team A is Dallas, which could tag quarterback Dak Prescott (franchise) and cornerback Byron Jones or receiver Amari Cooper (transition). Team B is Tennessee, which could use the tags on quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry.

2. Post-June 1 cut option: Some teams make regular use of this, which allows them to spread the “dead money” of a cut player over two seasons. But if there is no new CBA, the post-June 1 rule does not exist in 2020, meaning the entire bill is due on the current cap.

This wouldn’t impact the Broncos since they currently have around $61 million in cap space and could easily absorb it.

3. Salary cap projection: Teams begin planning for the next season by assuming the salary cap will go up by $10 million. In late 2019, teams were told to expect the cap to be $196-$201 million.

But let’s say a new CBA features a different player/owner revenue split. The executive estimated the cap could go up by $15-$20 million.

“You’re left in limbo with your financial planning,” the executive said. “We’re having to make two different scenarios.”

Assistants staying home. A source confirmed an ESPN report on Friday that Broncos coach Vic Fangio will not bring any of his assistant coaches to this month’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

While Fangio and general manager John Elway are at the Combine, the Broncos’ assistants will spend their time evaluating the tape of draft eligible players. They will be able to watch the individual prospect interviews later via video.

The Los Angeles Rams will send only a few assistants to Indianapolis. A source said new Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, previously the Broncos’ outside linebackers coach, told Sean McVay about Fangio’s strategy and liked it.

In past years, the New England Patriots have not sent their assistant coaches to the Combine.

Riddick leans on resume. Broncos running back Theo Riddick’s 2019 ended in the preseason opener at Seattle because of a shoulder injury.

“It wasn’t anything severe,” he said a day after the season, declining to offer specifics. “No surgery or anything like that. It had to heal on its own and the best thing is, I’m healthy.”

The Broncos viewed Riddick as their third-down back option, but post-injury, that job fell to Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay. Riddick is a free agent.

“Hopefully my resume speaks for itself and we go from there,” said Riddick, who has four years of at least 53 catches. “I know I’ll be somewhere. … You have to be open to everything and what (stinks) the most is that I’m a committed person and I wanted to show Broncos fans what I had and what I could do for this team and unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Hopefully, the coaches still think highly of me and give me another shot.”

McCartney back in Cleveland. Boulder native and former Broncos quarterback coach T.C. McCartney has returned to the Browns as an offensive assistant. He previously worked for the Browns in 2014 under then-coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

In a news release, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said McCartney was recommended by Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

“That was good enough for me,” Stefanski said. “There were many people that reached out on T.C.’s behalf.”

McCartney was praised for his behind-the-scenes work with rookie Drew Lock, particularly during Lock’s stay on injured reserve (sprained thumb).

Around the NFL

Trading up to No. 2. The Redskins currently hold the draft’s second pick. Assuming they are committed to quarterback Dwayne Haskins, they should be open to dealing down to help stock their depleted depth chart. One conversation during last month’s Senior Bowl practices: Which team will trade up to No. 2 to take a quarterback? Miami (No. 5), the Chargers (No. 6) and maybe Carolina (No. 7) could/should be in the passer market. The best way to guarantee getting Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert is to move up.

Rivers’ next stop. The Chargers won’t be re-signing 38-year-old quarterback Philip Rivers. He was 123-101 in the regular season and 5-6 in the playoffs (reaching one AFC title game). The Colts, if they have lost confidence in Jacoby Brissett, and Tennessee, if it doesn’t want to pay Ryan Tannehill long-term, make sense. The Chargers have Tyrod Taylor, who started for Buffalo in a January 2018 playoff game, under contract.

Caserio staying put. Per the Boston Globe, New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio is expected to sign a contract extension. Last offseason, Houston wanted to hire him as general manager, but the move was blocked, the assumption being he would eventually land with the Texans. But now the Patriots have the triumvirate of coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Caserio in place.

Footnotes.  The NFL’s compensatory picks are expected to be announced before the end of the month. The Broncos could receive as many as three, bringing their draft haul to 12 picks. … Per BetOnline, the over-under for fastest 40-yard dash time at this year’s Combine is 4.29 seconds. John Ross holds the record (4.22 seconds). …  McVay on Staley: “When you listen to the things (Fangio) says about Brandon Staley, when you listen to the people that I’ve come in close contact with that have been around him and when you look at his background, it’s impressive.”

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