PHOENIX — The 16 NFC coaches took their turn in the spotlight at the NFL owners meetings here Tuesday. And while Aaron Rodgers discourse dominated the concurrent morning news conferences, there was a ton of NFL news and rumors made at the tables surrounding Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.
NFL News and Rumors: Is Door Still Open for Lamar Jackson to Atlanta Falcons?
Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is a master of saying a lot but really saying very little. So it wasn’t a surprise that he tried to deflect any talk about the Falcons either trading for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson or signing him to an offer sheet.
When the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson earlier this month, the Falcons sent out the bat signal via back channels that they weren’t interested in both signing Jackson to a massive contract and surrendering two first-round picks to acquire him.
But now that Jackson has gone public with his trade demands, perhaps the dynamic has changed. If he is determined to force his way out of Baltimore — and could do that by sitting out the 2023 season — maybe the compensation to acquire him won’t be so steep.
Smith was asked at least three times about Jackson during his 30-minute news conference here Tuesday. And his answers got more revealing the more he talked.
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At first, Smith was on message, declining comment on Jackson and saying that Desmond Ridder is the Falcons’ starting QB in 2023 and that “we expect Desmond to take the next step.”
He added: “We are going to talk about our own players.”
But Smith, in response to a question posed by Pro Football Network, later suggested that the door isn’t closed and locked on Jackson.
“Any potential move we’re going to make around this league at any position, whether that’s a sixth corner, a backup gunner, maybe a backup nickel player, you’re always looking to improve your roster,” Smith said. “It’s a constant evolution. Your roster is never done.
“… You’re always looking for ways to improve your team. I think dynamics change every day at every position with every player. The marketplace changes, and you’re always aware of it.”
The Falcons own eight of the NFL draft’s 259 picks, including No. 8 overall.
Would that top-10 pick and a sweetener be enough for the Ravens to move Jackson? Unlikely. But the Falcons should at least ask.
Latest on Odell Beckham Jr.
Could Odell Beckham Jr. be headed back to La La Land? Rams coach Sean McVay certainly didn’t rule it out Tuesday.
Beckham hasn’t played since tearing his ACL in Super Bowl 56 — a game the Rams won. After sitting out the entire 2022 season, Beckham has been looking for an entry point back into the NFL, and was spotted here at the NFL annual meeting, presumably to make his case to teams. He’s the second-best remaining free agent on PFN’s Top 100 list and looked fit during his open workout earlier this month.
The Rams were among the teams in attendance and apparently came away impressed.
“You’re always monitoring those things,” McVay said. “He was a guy that did a great job for us. Love Odell. Definitely wouldn’t say that there’s not an interest in figuring out if we can get him, but I also know there’s a lot of teams, like we talked about, there are certain perimeters that limit what we can do. If that’s the situation that’s presented to us, I know we’ll be a better football team if we’re able to do that.”
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The Rams currently have $12.4 million in salary cap space and seven wide receivers on their roster — a list that includes (for now) Allen Robinson, who is on the trade block.
“Allen is a great person,” McVay said Tuesday. “He’s been a great player for a long time. You talk to him and say, ‘This is a possibility that we’re going where we may move you. But if you don’t, I want you to know I’ll pour everything I have into you as a player to help you reach your highest potential, make sure it’s an enjoyable experience where you enjoy coming into work.’ That’s exactly where we left it.
“I don’t think it’s uncomfortable because those are the realities of the situation. And if he is here, we’ll be excited about it. And if he’s not, you wish him the best in his next stop. That’s kind of where we’re at. If that’s where the situation remains where he’s a Ram, and we start that offseason program on April 17, I’m looking forward to going to work with him.”
Jamal Adams Injury Update
Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams has kept a low profile since tearing his quad tendon in Week 1 of the 2022 season. He’ll probably keep the same profile until Week 1 of the 2023 season — and perhaps beyond.
When asked Tuesday if Adams will be ready for the season opener, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gave a bit of a confusing answer. But the long and short of it is Adams almost certainly won’t be ready for the start of training camp in four months.
“That’s wishful thinking on my part right now,” Carroll said. “I don’t know that for sure. That’s not what the doctors were saying. We’re allowing more room for that to see what happens. I’m talking Day 1 of camp. We’re going to be really optimistic about it, but we’re not going to rush him.”
Adams’ health and contract (he has an $18.1 million cap figure), combined with the Seahawks’ decision to sign Julian Love in the offseason, has led many to speculate that Adams could be a post-June 1 cut.
Carroll basically shot that theory down Tuesday and instead suggested that the plan is to play Adams, Love, and Quandre Diggs together a ton. Three safeties might even be the Seahawk’s base defense this year.
“We’ve been on this for a while,” Carroll said. “… The opportunity to get Julian, who’s a remarkable player, had a remarkable season last year. I can’t remember — and maybe you guys can bring it up — I can’t remember a guy who played over 1,000 snaps and played over 200 snaps of special teams as well. That’s an unusual mix.
“That’s just one aspect of what Julian brings. He’s a really versatile football player. He called their defenses. [Wore] the green dot. He was a captain. A very rare opportunity to get a guy like that, so we jumped at it.”