I’m in the air returning to Boston from Mobile, Ala., site of the Senior Bowl. And you had questions for me …

From Discussing Seahawks (@DiscussSeahawks): Where do the Seahawks go from here?

Discuss, honestly, I don’t see this being too complicated. The Seattle Seahawks were looking for a coach that could pick up the baton from Pete Carroll and build off the energetic culture he built over the last 14 years, while also injecting new ideas and concepts into it.

The challenge for Macdonald is hiring a coaching staff, especially offensive coordinator.

Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports

That’s Mike Macdonald. It’s what he did at Michigan, when Jim Harbaugh plucked him off his brother’s staff in Baltimore to replace five-year defensive coordinator Don Brown (who had done a lot of good things in Ann Arbor, but his system had become outdated in the Big Ten). It’s what Macdonald did when John Harbaugh hired him off Jim’s staff a year later, supplanting a mentor of his, Wink Martindale, and evolving the Baltimore Ravens defense.

So, on paper, the hire makes perfect sense. What’s next is hiring a staff, which is going to be interesting. All of Macdonald’s NFL experience came in Baltimore over two stints with the Ravens. The most recent offenses he’s been tied to, run by Greg Roman and Todd Monken, have been specifically built around a unique quarterback in Lamar Jackson. So based on that, where do Macdonald’s feelings on offense land? He did, at one point, work with Gary Kubiak, and maybe there’s some string for him to pull on there with the Shanahan tree?

Anyway, that one hire, to me, will be the most important one, but how the whole staff comes together will be very relevant for a head coach who doesn’t turn 37 until the end of June.

From Eric Joseph Baird (@ErJoe1992): How do we feel the Seahawks roster will be constructed with Mike Macdonald there?

Eric, on offense, the fact that Seattle ran a Shanahan style of offense under Shane Waldron, I think opens the door for Macdonald, like I said, to maybe pull on that Kubiak connection, and keep a very solid foundation in place. As for the defense, obviously, there will be some change—maybe in the need for bigger interior defensive linemen, and versatile defensive backs. But even there, guys such as Devon Witherspoon, Riq Woolen and Boye Mafe should be able to find fits, and at least give Seattle a baseline of talent.

Bottom line: That team’s good enough to win right away with Macdonald. And I don’t think schematic shifts will get in the way of that.

The Bears could have their sights on USC’s Williams with the No. 1 pick.

Jason Parkhurst/USA TODAY Sports

From david #13EARDOWN (@WeWantCaleb): What are the odds that the Bears are drafting a QB with the first pick?

David, I’d say better than even odds that the Chicago Bears take Caleb Williams first—and the clock is ticking on making that decision, believe it or not. If Chicago wants to extract the best value it can for Justin Fields, it’d be preferable to get the process of finding a trade partner off the ground between now and the beginning of March.

Once the league year starts, quarterback spots across the NFL will start to fill up. Kirk Cousins will decide on a home. Baker Mayfield will, too. And so will scores of others. So if the Bears drag their feet on this, they could miss the market at the position.

That’s why I’d bet that Fields could be moved around the time of the NFL Scouting Combine or so … if I were a betting man.

From Matt Ramas (@matt_ramas): What’s your day to day like leading up to the SB?

Matt, in a nutshell, Monday through Thursday are the days we have access to the teams. Monday is Media Day (or Opening Night, or whatever they’re calling it to slap a sponsor’s name on it), which isn’t the most productive evening for work purposes. The three days following that, we get access to the players and coaches; that can be really productive for networking, setting up stories and getting a feel for the teams going into the game. For me, along the way, there’s TV and radio responsibilities mixed in through those four days.

Friday, things slow down work-wise. Saturday, interestingly enough, the city starts to empty out a little with people in for the week going home, and fill back up with the fans of the two teams. And then Sunday is the game.

I still, after all these years, love Super Bowl gameday. The rest of it … I’m not quite as tolerant of it as I used to be.

Quinn’s candidacy heated up over the past two coaching cycles.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

From Ebby Kurian (@ebbinator): Why’s Dan Quinn missing out on HC opportunities?

Well, Ebby, he’s not anymore, landing in Washington as the Commanders’ next head coach.

But I’ll take the bait on your question. Quinn’s candidacy really heated up over the past two cycles, and rightfully so. He had a pretty successful run over five-plus years with the Atlanta Falcons, plus he adapted and adjusted the Seattle defense. With the Dallas Cowboys, through similar adaptations, Quinn got the most out of young players such as Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. And those guys swear by the work their coordinator has done.

So if you add up Quinn’s previous head-coaching experience, his football ingenuity, and his ability to get engagement from players—plus add in the network he’s got stretching across the league to build a staff—it’s not hard to see why so many teams were after him.

As for why his name might’ve cooled (and I don’t think his stock plummeted), I honestly believe that’s mostly surface-level, win-the-press-conference type stuff. Which in the end is kind of dumb anyway.

From FinznDawgs1984 (@FinznD): Best fit for Miami’s defensive coordinator job?

Finz, I think the two best fits would be ex-Chargers coach Brandon Staley and Ejiro Evero. Both have background and knowledge of the Vic Fangio scheme that’s left behind. Both have tangential connections to Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel. Both would have a shot to connect with players a little different than Fangio, and mesh better with McDaniel.

The trouble is, right now, it looks like Evero might be off limits, with the Panthers holding him to his contract (which pays him $3.2 million per year). That’d leave Staley, who, with the Green Bay Packers’ job filled, might be motivated to give his career a restart in a place such as Miami.

Love could be looking at a $45 million per year extension.

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

From ——— (@Sugondeezsports): What does a Jordan Love extension look like

Sug, let’s first look at the four players that moved the top of the market in 2024 …

• Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals: $55 million APY, $146.5 million fully guaranteed

• Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers: $52.5 million APY, $133.7 million fully guaranteed

• Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens : $52 million APY, $135.0 million fully guaranteed

• Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles: $51 million APY, $110 million fully guaranteed

Is Love better or more accomplished than any of them? He’s not. So what the Packers have to do here is try to find a happy medium, with a solution that leaves the quarterback feeling like he’s landed the deal of a lifetime and gives the Packers some flexibility.

The 25-year-old is due $6 million in cash next year, with a $7.76 million cap hit, and another $5.27 million in prorated cap charges pushed into future years. That gives the Packers an ability to fold that year, and that money, into how they structure Love’s next contract, which would soften the contractual blow over the long-term.

So if you offer Love, say, a four-year, $180 million extension, does he bite? That’s $45 million per year in new money, $37.2 million per year in cash over five years, and about $38.6 million per year in cap charges over that time. That, to me, is reasonable—and by doing it now, it sets up another payday around Love’s 30th birthday, and helps his team plan forward.

From . (@Dominic__Decoco): Who do you think Harbaugh hires as the Chargers OC?

Dominic, I would probably say Greg Roman.

Harbaugh’s always had a good eye for coaching talent and a good feel for what his staff needs at a given time. Going and getting Roman would be a way to try and inject a harder edge into his offense, which I think is going to be among the first orders of business as the Chargers coach settles into his new job.

From Ronnie (@Tray4o): Does Mike Vrabel make the most sense for the Washington Commanders?

Ronnie, I thought he made a ton of sense. Quinn did, too.

But my overriding thought is that it’s bananas that neither Vrabel nor Bill Belichick has a coaching job in 2024, when both guys wanted to coach.

From Steve Sabbatini (@ssabb05): Who is the front-runner for the Packers DC job?

Steve, by now, I’m sure you know it’s—surprise!—Boston College coach Jeff Hafley. Hafley is well regarded by those he was around in the NFL. He coached under Chip Kelly and Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, and was a close confidant of ex-49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who back then would rave about his secondary coach to anyone who would listen. Saleh’s best friend, of course, is Packers coach Matt LaFleur.

Hafley put together a dynamite defense at Ohio State in 2019 before landing the BC job in ’20. And even though he did have plenty of bumps over his four years running the program there, his reputation as a talent developer and defensive coach hasn’t been diminished. He’ll bring a new energy to a Packers unit that has a lot of talent.

Could McCarthy be an option for the Giants with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft?

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

From RealJimmyT (@slimjimisfunny): Is it true that Joe Schoen and the New York Giants want to draft a QB or perhaps trade up Maye, Williams or Daniels or is that smoke?

Jimmy, it’s too early to know. Schoen and his scouts are digging into the class now. Having the sixth pick leaves the Giants in a position to try to trade up, but it also leaves them with no certainty of being able to get certain quarterbacks. It’s possible, maybe even probable, that none of the top three (Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels) make it to No. 6, and New York sees no one on the next tier (J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix) worthy of being drafted that high, though I wouldn’t totally rule out the Giants falling for someone such as McCarthy.

Stay tuned.

From Mike Madden (@Mike__Madden): Where do the Ravens go with their first couple of picks? Looks like a lot of free agents on defense and obviously they can’t keep them all.

Mike, my guess would be they prioritize signing Justin Madubuike, and at least take a swing with Patrick Queen (though that might not be as realistic with Roquan Smith already paid), and from there let a lot of players go. Some are on the offensive line. So depending on what happens with the aforementioned two stars, I’d guess that the Ravens prioritize the offensive line and the front seven on defense early in the draft.

From James (@jc333333333): Should Patrick Mahomes be the MVP every year?

This is the old Michael Jordan argument. Which should give you your answer.

From Cam Gravina (@cgrav05): Would the Patriots trade up for No. 1 if it was available?

Cam, I’d be surprised if the Bears made it available. But yeah, I think Williams is special enough that, if the Bears decided to keep Fields and trade the pick, I’d advocate trying to find a way to move up the two spots to get him. And I say that even though the New England Patriots do, at this point of a new build, need volume in picks, with tons of holes to fill.

From Kevin A Molina (@KevinAMolina): Now that Adam Peters is in Washington, Martin Mayhew is also staying and Tom Telesco (who reportedly has a strong relationship with John Lynch) is now the GM in Las Vegas, who do you expect to fill the 49ers assistant GM position?

Kevin, I think this could be a good opportunity for Lynch to bring in a fresh set of eyes. And along those lines, it’s worth noting that the vernacular that Peters put in for the scouts to grade and assess was closest linked to his Patriots roots—his first six years in the NFL were in that personnel system.

So if Lynch wants to go find someone who might bring a bit of a new perspective without having to flip the apple cart upside down, diving into a deep well of former GMs with New England ties (Scott Pioli, Dave Ziegler, Jon Robinson, Thomas Dimitroff, Bob Quinn) might make sense. All of those people have top-level experience. All, I think, would be assets to Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers.

From Gommy (@tua76466_g): Do you think either Washington or New England will play ball with Minnesota, if Minnesota wants to get up into the top three to select a QB or are they both taking quarterbacks no matter what offers come in? Thanks!

Gommy, maybe! Again, I think it’s too early to talk in absolutes on this stuff. Until Washington and New England, both of whom are going through major turnover, get a clear read on the draft’s quarterbacks, it’s impossible to guess how the two teams will approach having the second and third picks.

Check back with me in a month or two.

From Ben Heisler (@bennyheis): What more can we learn from Ben Johnson and Bobby Slowik’s decisions to remain as OC’s in their current situations? Was this simply a want to see their current situations through and chase a ring? Were the available HC spots not appealing enough? Did they not interview well?

Ben, I think, in both cases, the chances they were going to land the jobs was far from 100%, which I’m sure played into their decision. With Johnson, specifically, his interviews haven’t been great—and that became a real part of his candidacy in some spots. With Slowik, I just think he is a year away. Both have a chance to grow between now and next January, of course.

And, by the way, not forcing something you’re not all in on is a lot easier when you’re already in a really good situation, and you can go back to that situation. Which, now, is precisely what those two are doing.

By rb8jg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *