The Way I See It
In this The Way I See It, a look at the NFL fired coaches, Roquan Smith gets paid, and a pair of veteran WRs might be on the move.
NFL Fired Coaches
It’s that time of year again, when NFL coaches drop faster than a hooker during shore leave. The NFL is a ruthless business, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many coaches operate on a short leash. Here’s a list of coaches, coordinators and general managers who are out of their respective positions:
- Marcus Brady, Indianapolis Colts – Offensive Coordinator
- Liam Coen, Los Angeles Rams – Offensive Coordinator (leaving for University of Kentucky)
- Todd Downing, Tennessee Titans – Offensive Coordinator
- Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos – Head Coach
- Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals – General Manager (left due to health issues)
- Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals – Head Coach
- Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts – Head Coach
- Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers – Head Coach
- Dean Pees, Atlanta Falcons – Defensive Coordinator (retired)
- Jon Robinson, Tennessee Titans – General Manager
- Lovie Smith, Houston Texans – Head Coach
- Phil Snow, Carolina Panthers – Defensive Coordinator
- Scott Turner, Washington Commanders – Offensive Coordinator
- Joe Woods, Cleveland Browns – Defensive Coordinator
The NFL Fired Coaches
Matt Rhule was the first coach to be fired (10/8/22), followed by Frank Reich (11/7/22) and Nathaniel Hackett (12/26/22). They fired Kingsbury and Smith at the conclusion of the regular season. Rhule seemed overwhelmed in Carolina, while Reich’s downfall was due to a succession of horrible QB play. Kingsbury seemed to not have control of his team while simultaneously thinking he was more clever than he actually was.
However, I feel sorry for Hackett and Smith. They fired both after just one season. While many did not view the Broncos as championship contenders, we expected them to be a playoff team. Especially considering the pricey acquisition of Russell Wilson. Also, he was so bad at clock management that Denver needed to hire a coach whose sole purpose was to watch the clock and alert Hackett when to call timeouts. On second thought, Hackett deserved to go.
Lovie Smith deserved better. He walked into a horrible situation, inheriting all the bad mojo associated with the Deshaun Watson situation and a roster lacking much talent. Despite the obstacles, I think Smith was laying the proper foundation for success. I thought he deserved at least another season in Houston.
SPORTS GRUMBLINGS SPOTLIGHT
Completely subjective, and here’s a list of worthy contenders, including Paige Spiranac, and Alicia Schmidt.
Roquan Smith Gets Paid
Roquan Smith signed a five-year, $100 million deal with $60 million in total guaranteed money, first reported by Ian Rapoport. While I’m happy to see a player of Smith’s caliber get paid, I’m confused. Experts told us that linebackers, especially off-the-ball linebackers, no longer mattered. EDGE, shutdown corners… those guys get paid. But three-down linebackers that play sideline to sideline? Gone the way of the dodo bird.
The Bears listened to those experts and decided that Smith wasn’t worth a big contract, so they moved him to the Ravens. As a result, the Ravens’ defense improved by leaps and bounds since the arrival of Smith. Note to the “experts”: great players never go out of style.
Veteran Receivers on the Move?
Continuing a trend from last season, where we saw several top-tier wide receivers get traded (Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, Hollywood Brown) the 2023 rumor mill is already grinding.
On the heels of firing head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim, owner Michael Bidwill has made it known that the team intends to trade WR DeAndre Hopkins. Bidwill has gone so far as to inform potential new GM candidates that Hopkins is to be traded. Hopkins has two years left on his current contract (for $34.6 million) and a full no-trade clause, making it difficult to move him to another team. Especially if Hopkins asks any potential trade partner for a new contract. However, it appears that Bidwill plans to enter rebuild mode, so the 31 year old Hopkins’ contract doesn’t fit into those plans.
Another veteran who might be on the move is the perennially underrated Brandin Cooks. In case you haven’t heard, Cooks wants out of Houston because he has no desire to be part of a rebuild. It’s not clear if the Texans will try to accommodate Cooks, especially since he still has two years on his contract and would serve as a calming veteran influence for the franchise QB they’re likely to draft. Cooks would likely fetch some decent draft capital, and the Texans would be wise to collect picks to speed the rebuild along.
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