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#pounditFriday, January 28, 2022

Football

Odell Beckham Jr could land with AFC powerhouse this offseason?

Odell Beckham Jr warms up

Odell Beckham Jr. will be a free agent this offseason, and the three-time Pro Bowler has done a decent job of rebuilding his stock in his brief tenure with the Los Angeles Rams. He should have plenty of suitors, and a Super Bowl contender that showed interest in him previously will likely be one of them.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler published an early look at this offseason’s impending free agent wide receivers. The NFL insider mentioned the Kansas City Chiefs as a team that could make a run at OBJ.

Fowler notes that the Rams probably will not have the salary cap space to re-sign Beckham if he’s looking for a big contract. He may try to secure top dollar since he will turn 30 next year, and that almost certainly will not come from Los Angeles. It probably would not come from the Chiefs, either.

If Beckham did sign with Kansas City, he would be the third option in the passing attack behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. That is a role he willingly accepted with the Rams, though he was almost immediately elevated to the No. 2 spot after Robert Woods went down with a season-ending injury.

Beckham has 10 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ two playoff wins. The Chiefs were said to be a finalist to sign him after he was cut by the Cleveland Browns earlier this season. It would make sense for them to pursue him again this offseason, especially if OBJ is willing to take less money to contend for a Super Bowl.

Photo: Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) warms up before the game between the Browns and the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones addresses questions about Mike McCarthy’s future

Jerry Jones wears sunglasses

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is not in danger of losing his job heading into 2022. We know this because his boss has finally come out and said as much.

Jerry Jones addressed the questions about McCarthy’s future during a Friday appearance on 105.3 The Fan. He insisted the coach’s job was never in jeopardy and said McCarthy was working with the team to try to keep defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Jones claimed it was part of his strategy to not come out and say McCarthy would be back in 2022.

Quinn informed teams this week that he has removed his name from consideration for head coaching jobs. It’s unclear exactly how the two things are connected. Either way, Jones said he never considered McCarthy’s future in Dallas to be “wishy washy.”

Some have speculated that there could be even more pressure on McCarthy now that Sean Payton has stepped down as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints. Payton is planning to take at least a year off, but he was an assistant coach with the Cowboys before he was hired by the Saints. He has a strong relationship with Jones. As expected, Jones dodged those questions.

There is little doubt that Jones would be open to hiring Payton in 2023 if things don’t work out with McCarthy next season. Jones would obviously prefer for the Cowboys to have better results under McCarthy so he doesn’t feel the need to make a change.

Jones was asked about McCarthy’s job status last week, and his response seemed quite telling. While McCarthy is going to return as the head coach in Dallas next season, he obviously has to makes Jones and Cowboys fans forget the brutal way 2021 ended. If he can’t do that, Jones will probably make a change.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes’ girlfriend selling T-shirts after being ripped on Twitter

Patrick Mahomes and Brittany Matthews

Patrick Mahomes’ longtime girlfriend Brittany Matthews is often criticized on social media for the way she supports the Kansas City Chiefs. She is now trying to turn that backlash into something positive.

Matthews partnered with apparel website CharlieHustle.com this week to design a T-shirt that says “TEAM BRITTANY” across the front. Proceeds from the sales will go to Red Card KC, which is an anti-bullying charity in Kansas City. Matthews began promoting the shirts on social media Thursday and said she will match the amount that is raised and donated to Red Card KC.

Matthews celebrated Kansas City’s overtime win against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night by showering a bunch of unsuspecting Chiefs fans with champagne (video here). She was criticized for spraying alcohol on people — including potentially children — in cold weather. She said on her Instagram story Thursday that that was the catalyst behind making the shirts.

“Me and my team have decided to try to turn this buzz into something and something good for the Kansas City community,” Matthews said, according to TMZ. “I do receive a lot of hate on a daily basis on social media and I know so so so many other people do as well. That’s why I’m just proud to partner with this company and get behind this cause and hopefully push everything into the right direction and start spreading some more positivity on all of these platforms.”

Mahomes and Matthews are engaged. They have been dating for many years and have a daughter together. Matthews has even faced backlash from Chiefs fans, but she doesn’t back down from that, either. It will be interesting to see how many $36 shirts she can sell.

Report: Brian Flores a ‘finalist’ for at least 1 head coach job

Brian Flores at a press conference

Brian Flores was expected to be the hottest name on the head coaching market after he was fired by the Miami Dolphins, but he has not generated much buzz over the last week or so. One particular team may prefer that it stays that way.

Flores is considered a finalist for the New York Giants head coach job, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The 40-year-old is expected to interview with the New Orleans Saints, but the Giants want to hire a new coach this weekend and have Flores at or near the top of their list.

The first interview Flores took was with an intriguing team, but there has been no indication he will be offered and/or take that job.

Flores went 10-6 last season and 9-8 this year with the Dolphins. The team had a major turnaround after beginning the 2021 season 1-7. That wasn’t enough for Flores to save his job. There have been differing reports about why Miami fired him, ranging from the team’s owner being upset with him for not tanking to Flores losing a power struggle.

The Giants are in desperate need of stability, as they are looking to hire their fourth different head coach since 2016. If they decide to hire an offensive-minded coach to work with Daniel Jones, they may have a different candidate in mind.

Report: Bears want Rich Bisaccia as special teams coordinator

Rich Bisaccia on the sidelines

The Chicago Bears have a new head coach, and now the new coach needs to fill out his staff.

Chicago announced on Thursday that they had hired Matt Eberflus as their new head coach. Eberflus comes from the Colts, where he was the defensive coordinator since 2018.

The Bears lost special teams coordinator Chris Tabor to Carolina and need a replacement.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Eberflus is hoping to hire Rich Bisaccia as his special teams coordinator. The two have coached together on the same staff in Dallas previously.

Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for the last two decades. He has been with the Raiders since 2018 and served as their interim head coach this season after Jon Gruden resigned.

Bisaccia has been a candidate for the full-time Raiders job, but there have been signs the team is ready to move on from him.

Photo: Dec 5, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia reacts against the Washington Football Team in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

John Harbaugh hires coach off brother’s Michigan staff

Mike Macdonald talks with the media

The Baltimore Ravens have a new defensive coordinator, and he is a very familiar one.

The Ravens on Thursday announced they have hired Mike Macdonald to be their defensive coordinator.

Macdonald is well known by Ravens fans. He was with the team from 2014-2020, beginning as an intern and working his way up to linebackers coach.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh appeared to loan out Macdonald to John’s brother Jim at Michigan last season. Macdonald served as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator for the team’s 12-2 season. Now Macdonald’s returning to serve on John’s staff, this time as defensive coordinator.

Under Macdonald, Michigan allowed just 17.4 points per game last season, which was good for 8th out of 130 teams.

Report: Patriots could bring back familiar coach

Bill Belichick looks on from the sideline

The New England Patriots could be going from one company man to another if Josh McDaniels leaves.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday that the Patriots could potentially hire Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator to replace McDaniels if McDaniels gets the head coaching job with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The veteran O’Brien is currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the University of Alabama, helping lead them to the national title game this past season. He was also known, albeit infamously so, for his tenure as the head coach and GM of the Houston Texans prior to that.

Whne it comes to the Patriots, O’Brien has history with them too, serving on coach Bill Belichick’s staff from 2007 to 2011. O’Brien began as an offensive assistant for the Pats, got promoted to wide receivers coach, then became quarterbacks coach, and finally the team’s offensive coordinator. While O’Brien was the offensive coordinator, New England won the 2011 AFC championship (but lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI).

There were some questions in recent years about the relationship between Belichick and O’Brien. But it has apparently improved to the point that the Patriots are now considering bringing O’Brien back if McDaniels walks.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings reportedly considering Sean McVay assistant for head coach role

Sean McVay on the sideline

Another member of the Sean McVay coaching tree could soon reportedly be roaming NFL sidelines.

Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell is a serious candidate for the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach position, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. New Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is said to be intrigued by O’Connell, and the Rams assistant has impressed so far in virtual interviews.

O’Connell spent several seasons as a backup quarterback in the NFL before transitioning to coaching. The 36-year-old has experience as an assistant with Cleveland and San Francisco before serving as offensive coordinator in Washington and Los Angeles. Washington apparently gave him some consideration as head coach in 2019 before ultimately hiring Ron Rivera.

Minnesota’s search has been moving fairly slowly, with few candidates strongly linked to it thus far. After eight years with a defensive mind in charge in the form of Mike Zimmer, looking for an offensive coach would make sense for the Vikings.

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Singletary makes surprising claim about turning down Ben Roethlisberger trade

Ben Roethlisberger throwing a ball

Ben Roethlisberger on Thursday officially announced his retirement from the NFL as expected. He spent his entire career with the Steelers and is synonymous with the franchise. But apparently there was a time when the franchise was prepared to move on from him.

Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary revealed in an interview published by The Athletic’s Dan Pompei this week that the Niners had a deal in place to acquire Big Ben in a trade. Moreover, Singletary claimed he actually vetoed the deal.

Alex Smith was 49ers’ quarterback at the time. Singletary said he told Smith he believed in him and would give him a chance after the former No. l draft pick had been a disappointment to start his NFL career. Additionally, the Steelers were willing to trade Roethlisberger at the time due to his the sexual assault allegations he faced. Singletary felt it would send a conflicting message to his players if they acquired Big Ben when Singletary was preaching having high-character players.

Big Ben was accused of sexual assault both in 2009 and 2010. It’s unclear whether these trade talks took place prior to the 2009 or 2010 season, but Roethlisberger ended up remaining with the Steelers for the rest of his career. He was suspended four games to start the 2010 season though.

Singletary didn’t last long as the Niners’ head coach, as he was fired in 2010, midway through his second full season on the job. He was ultimately replaced by Jim Harbaugh, who wound up replacing Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick too.

But Roethlisberger is so identifiable as a Steelers player, it’s kind of hard to look back now and consider that Pittsburgh at one point was ready to trade him.

H/T Steelers Depot
Photo: Nov 25, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

A Josh McDaniels hire could be good news for Derek Carr?

Derek Carr with a helmet on

Derek Carr has often faced rumors that the Las Vegas Raiders might want to move on from him. The team’s potential hire of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could reportedly change that.

Both McDaniels and rumored GM candidate Dave Ziegler have high opinions of Carr, according to Michael Silver of NFL.com. Carr has one year remaining on his contract, but Silver makes it sound like both Ziegler and McDaniels would be interested to work with the quarterback beyond that.

Less than two weeks ago, it was reported that the Raiders could look to move on from Carr during the offseason. That was said to be dependent on the team’s personnel hires, as there may be other interested coaches that might be less enthusiastic about the Las Vegas quarterback.

McDaniels appears to be the leading candidate to become Raiders coach at this stage. Given his success with Tom Brady, that could prove very good news for Carr.

Photo: Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) before playing against the Baltimore Ravens at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports