Chicago shipped Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2020 sixth-round pick on Thursday night, the Eagles announced. Conditions in the trade could flex that selection to a 2020 fifth-round pick.
Howard had been rumored as trade bait since before the 2018 season, as Tarik Cohen took on a larger role in first-year coach Matt Nagy's offense. In his third season in the Windy City, Howard saw another dip in production as he totaled 935 rushing yards and 3.7 yards per carry. When Chicago signed former Seahawks running back Mike Davis in free agency, the writing looked to be on the wall.
This is a significant fantasy move for both teams since Howard is now the favorite to lead the Eagles in carries and his absence in Chicago opens up major work for Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis. Howard had a down season (935 yards rushing on 3.74 YPC) in 2018 after averaging 1,218 yards (on 4.61 YPC) in his first two seasons. It's a low-risk move for the Eagles since Howard is still on his rookie deal. He's not likely to catch many passes, though his hands were better in 2018 (77% catch rate, a career-high). Howard's arrival throws cold water on the rest of Philadelphia's committee (Clement, Adams and Smallwood). In Chicago, this is big news for both Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis, but especially Davis, who is likely to take over the bulk of the 15.6 carries per game (and short-yardage work) that Howard has vacated. Davis also showed some passing game chops last year in Seattle, so the Chicago offense won't be as easy predict with Davis replacing Howard in the backfield.
Multiple teams have expressed interest in Hunt, and it now appears the former Chiefs running back will have a job "sooner rather than later," one league source told ESPN.
The story went on to say, since late November, when the disturbing video that shows Hunt shoving and kicking a woman surfaced, he has been undergoing anger-management counseling daily, according to a source. Hunt appears to be making progress with the counseling, which has helped him draw the interest of some teams, sources said. Obviously those in keeper leagues who have held on to Hunt want to continue to stick with him for next year. But, Hunt still faces potential discipline as the league continues to investigate.
The Chicago Bears left open the possibility of pursuing free agent running back Kareem Hunt, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 1 after video surfaced of Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in the hallway of his Cleveland residence.
Hunt is on the Commissioner Exempt List and would need to be reinstated before he could sign with any team.
Related players: Jordan Howard
HC Matt Nagy has a relationship with Hunt dating back to his days in Kansas City. The Bears will face a decision on Howard as he reaches the final year of his contract. The story added nothing is imminent in regard to bringing in Hunt, who is subject to discipline once a team does sign him.
Bears GM Ryan Pace says the team has to get better at the kicker position.
Related players: Cody Parkey
Kicker will be an emphasis this offseason for the Bears. Pace added there will absolutely be competition at kicker next year. Parkey is signed through 2021 so it's assumed he'll at least be part of the competition.
Miller injured his shoulder in Week 17’s season finale against the Vikings but recovered in time to play in the Bears’ wild card playoff game against the Eagles. It was the second time Miller suffered a shoulder injury in 2018, the other in Week 3, and was a continuation of shoulder ailments he struggled through in college.
Coach Matt Nagy announced Friday night he hired former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano to step into the team’s top defensive role. Pagano has 16 years of NFL coaching experience, most recently as the Colts coach from 2012-17.
Pagano, 58, was the Ravens defensive coordinator in 2011, when they went 12-4 and ranked third in total defense, third in points allowed, second against the run, fourth against the pass and third in sacks. Before that he served as defensive backs coach for the Ravens, Raiders and Browns.
As the story mentions, Pagano guided the Ravens to the No. 3 overall finish in 2011 before jetting to Indianapolis to take over the Colts. There, his defenses finished higher than No. 20 just once (in 2014) in six seasons. Otherwise, the defense was a perennial problem. Given all the talent on that side of the ball, the Bears should be fine defensively.
Todd Bowles, recently fired as the New York Jets head coach, had an interesting choice.
If Bowles wants to be a head coach again, he had to be a coordinator again first. He was a fine defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals; that’s why he got the shot to lead the Jets.
When Bruce Arians took the job as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach, it was expected that Bowles would reunite with him to run the defense. Then an interesting option came along: Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio became the Denver Broncos’ head coach. Bowles reportedly had an opportunity to lead the Bears’ defense. From the outside looking in, it would seem that running the Bears’ elite defense would give Bowles his quickest path back to being a head-coaching candidate.
ESPN reported Bowles will join the Buccaneers after all, as their new defensive coordinator. He must like a challenge.
Bowles' defenses have been a little up and down. Working backwards, here's how they ranked in yards allowed: 25th, 25th, 11th, 4th (all Jets), 24th, 6th (both with the Cardinals), 15th (Eagles) and 15th (Dolphins). It's not a great sign that the Jets' defense got significantly worse over his two-year tenure or that the Cardinals dropped from 6th to 24th in 2013 and 2014. Bowles did have five-year run from 2011 to 2015 where his defenses where in the top 10 in fewest points allowed in four out of five seasons.
After missing out on the Cleveland Browns' head coaching job, Kevin Stefanski will return to Minnesota.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Stefanski is expected to return as the Vikings' full-time offensive coordinator, per a source informed of the situation.
Stefanski took over in Minnesota with three games left in the 2018 season after the Vikings jettisoned OC John DeFilippo. The Vikes offense got back to the ground game in the first two outings of the 36-year-old's play-calling career, compiling 320 rushing yards in back-to-back victories.
Returning as full-time offensive coordinator, Stefanski will be tasked with unleashing an offense that vastly underperformed expectations in 2018. Despite a star running back in Dalvin Cook, two 1,000-plus-yard receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and an $84 million quarterback in Kirk Cousins, the Vikings were an inconsistent mess this season. If the Vikings can't finally figure out their offensive line issues in 2019, it likely won't matter who is calling plays.
After firing DeFilippo, HC Mike Zimmer demanded that Stefanski establish the run game. Under DeFilippo, the Vikings averaged 40.3 pass attempts and just 21.1 rush attempts, a 65.7% pass rate. In three games under Stefanski, Minnesota averaged 27.3 pass attempts and 27.7 rush attempts for a 49.7% pass rate. The team's offensive pace slowed from 61.4 plays per game under DeFilippo to 55.0 plays per game under Stefanski. Kirk Cousins and the passing game suffered in the final three games, as his fantasy PPG dropped from 17.6 PPG to 15.8 PPG. Meanwhile, Dalvin Cook's usage spiked--he averaged 14.9 touches per game under DeFilippo and 18.0 touches per game with Stefanski calling the plays. His PPG (PPR) was 17.7 over the final three games after averaging 12.9 PPG in eight games under DeFilippo. Adam Thielen's averages (21.8 vs. 8.0) took a major hit while Stefon Diggs' production (18.4 vs. 14.5) also dipped. Keep in mind that one of the three games was at home against the Bears, who own the top defense in the league. Still, the Stefanski full-time hire looks to be good for Cook and bad for Cousins, Thielen and Diggs.
Vic Fangio is getting his first shot to be a head coach in the Mile High City. He's walked at least that far to get there.
The Denver Broncos are expected to hire the longtime defensive coordinator, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, per sources informed of the situation. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero added Fangio is getting a four-year deal with a fifth-year option.
The 60-year-old Fangio has spent more than half his life coaching in the NFL, including five stops and 19 seasons as a defensive coordinator. His four-year stint with the Chicago Bears culminated in the league's top scoring defense in 2018.
In addition, Gary Kubiak will leave his front office duties to run the offense, per Adam Schefter.
Fangio's departure is a blow to the Bears defense, but fantasy-wise the unit should be OK assuming the team hires a good defensive coordinator. His arrival should help get the Denver defense back on track to elite status. As for the offense, Kubiak has a long and great record as a play-caller. In his 22 years, his offenses have an average ranking of 9.3 in total yards and 11.5 in points scored. They have had an average ranking of 10.5 in rush attempts versus 15.8 in pass attempts, though in the last 11 years, his rush attempt ranking (14.7) and pass attempt ranking (14.1) evened out.
Burton said on Monday he became aware of the issue last Friday and thought he would be able to push through it before waking up on Saturday to find things were “completely locked up.” He tried “everything possible” to loosen up, but it didn’t work out for him.
Burton said he considered whether his issue on Wild Card weekend was a mental one, but felt he was in “a really good spot” mentally and that the reason for his absence from the lineup was purely physical, the story would add.
Friday, January 4, 2019, 6:52pm
Friday, January 4, 2019, 6:52pm
Friday, January 4, 2019, 6:52pm
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