With NFTL free agency right around the corner and the 2022 NFL Combine not too far away, here are the latest news and rumors around the league from PFN National NFL Insider Aaron Wilson. Make sure to continue to check back here as we update you with the most recent NFL news and rumors on February 24, 2022.
NFL News and Rumors: Colts hiring DL coach Nate Ollie
The Indianapolis Colts are hiring Nate Ollie as their defensive line coach as the replacement for Brian Baker, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
Ollie was the New York Jets assistant defensive line coach last season. He was previously the Philadelphia Eagles assistant defensive line coach, coaching Pro Bowl defensive lineman Fletcher Cox along with Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat.
At Ball State, Ollie was a defensive lineman and finished his career with 178 tackles (28 for losses) and 13.5 sacks. He started his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant before joining the University of Tennessee coaching staff as a graduate assistant. In his last stop before joining the NFL ranks, Ollie was a defensive line coach at Eastern Kentucky.
Ravens re-sign Tony Jefferson
The Baltimore Ravens have re-signed veteran safety Tony Jefferson.
Jefferson, 29, is a former Arizona Cardinals free agent who returned to the Ravens after being cut by the San Francisco 49ers with an injury settlement. He played in six games for the Ravens last season and recorded 16 tackles, 1 sack, and a pass deflection.
Jefferson was cut by the Ravens in 2020 when he was due a $7 million base salary. He originally signed a four-year, $34 million contract that included $19 million guaranteed with Baltimore in 2017.
NFL News and Rumors: Browns expected to promote T.C. McCartney to tight ends coach
The Cleveland Browns are expected to promote offensive assistant T.C. McCartney to tight ends coach from offensive assistant, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
McCartney, 32, is a former Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach and a former San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant-quality control. McCartney is the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney.
T.C. is a former LSU walk-on quarterback and earned a national championship ring before becoming a graduate assistant at Colorado, coaching at LSU and in the NFL with the Browns and 49ers.
NFL concussions down last season
Concussions were down across the NFL last season. The total combined concussions for the preseason and regular season were 187 despite the increase to 17 games in the regular season, according to NFL Players Association data shared with agents during a virtual seminar Thursday.
That represents a seven-year low except for 2020, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, which had a 16-game regular season and no preseason games for a total of 172 concussions.
Bills promote John Butler to defensive passing game coordinator
The Buffalo Bills promoted veteran secondary coach John Butler, adding the title of defensive passing game coordinator to the once Houston Texans secondary coach. Butler has coached the Bills’ defensive backs for the past four seasons, including standouts Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde.
The Bills allowed just 163 passing yards per game last season, the fewest in the NFL. They also ranked first in total defense (272.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (17 points per game).
Butler has also coached at Penn State, South Carolina, Minnesota, and Harvard. Meanwhile, the Bills officially announced the previously reported retirement of linebackers coach Bob Babich and shifted safeties coach Bobby Babich, his son, to coach the linebackers. The new safeties coach is Jim Salgado, who was the nickels coach.
The Bills hired Kyle Shurmur to be their defensive quality control coach, Nick Lacy as strength and conditioning assistant coach, Marcus West as assistant defensive line coach, Jaylon Finner as defensive quality control coach, Cory Harkey as assistant special teams coach, and Austin Gund will take over as the fellowship coach.
Texans re-sign Tae Davis
The Texans have re-signed former Cleveland Browns linebacker Tae Davis, according to his agent, David Canter. Davis was waived/injured and spent the season on injured reserve last year.
Davis, 25, has recorded 52 career tackles and 2 sacks, with 5 quarterback hits. At 6’1″, 224 pounds, Davis is an athletic fit for coach Lovie Smith’s 4-3 scheme and a core special-teams contributor.
In 2018, Davis made the New York Giants’ 53-man roster as a rookie before joining the Browns off waivers two seasons ago.
Falcons hire Ryan Pace
The Atlanta Falcons hired former Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace as a senior personnel executive, the team announced.
He joins general manager Terry Fontenot, whom he worked with previously with the New Orleans Saints prior to Pace joining the Bears as their general manager. Pace was fired by the Bears and replaced by Ryan Poles. He was named Executive of the Year by the Sporting News in 2018.
Pace will work in tandem with Ruston Webster and Phil Emery. He has also been a director of player of personnel in New Orleans.
Packers restructure Aaron Jones’ deal
The Green Bay Packers are staying busy clearing cap space to be in compliance with the NFL salary cap and give themselves as good a chance as possible to retain quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams.
They have now restructured running back Aaron Jones’ contract one year after signing him to a $47.976 million deal that averages $12 million annually and included $13 million guaranteed.
Per a league source, the Packers converted $3.85 million of Jones’ total salary into a signing bonus and added two void years. He was due a $3.75 million roster bonus on the third day of the league year.
A former fifth-round draft pick from Texas-El Paso, Jones rushed for 799 yards and 4 touchdowns on 171 carries to go along with 52 catches for 391 yards and 6 touchdowns on 65 targets.
Previous restructure work
The Packers previously restructured the contract of standout nose tackle Kenny Clark, according to NFL Players Association records.
The move created $10.8 million in cap space for the Packers. Furthermore, the team restructured Clark’s contract by converting $7.2 million of his base salary and $6.4 million of his roster bonus into a $13.6 million signing bonus with two voidable years added to lower his cap figure.
Prior to this move, the Packers were $42.7 million over the NFL’s projected salary cap for 2022. Thus, there will need to be more moves and cuts to get their salary cap in shape. The Packers need the flexibility to make another championship run, hopefully with Rodgers and Adams back to lead the charge.
A first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Clark is an excellent run-stopping presence in the middle of the Packers’ defense. Green Bay signed Clark to a four-year, $70 million contract extension two years ago. Clark played in all but one game last season and recorded 48 tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.
As the league transitions into free agency, there will be plenty of news and rumors from around the NFL regarding your favorite team. That includes chatter about players who will be on the move (or not) in free agency. Stay updated and keep track of Pro Football Network’s Top 50 Free Agent Rankings to better understand the free agent market.