NFL News and Rumors: Panthers retain tight end, Vikings bolster coaching staff, Bengals’ interest in top free agent

Here's the latest NFL news and rumors from February 25, including the Minnesota Vikings expected to bolster their coaching staff.

With NFL 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 25, 2022.

NFL News and Rumors: Browns name Drew Petzing as quarterbacks coach

The Cleveland Browns named Drew Petzing as their new quarterbacks coach, shifting him from tight ends coach.

“We feel like he has a unique perspective that he can contribute with those quarterbacks and help in their development,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “He’s an important piece of our offensive staff, and we’re excited to get him and [offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt] working together.”

As previously reported, former offensive assistant T.C. McCartney is the new tight ends coach.

Browns promote Jonathan Decoster

The Browns are also promoting Jonathan Decoster to offensive assistant to offensive quality control coach with McCartney’s promotion, according to league sources.

Decoster has previously coached tight ends at Old Dominion University. He was a graduate assistant at LSU coaching the tight ends.

At West Virginia State University, Decoster was the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. At Nevada, he was a graduate assistant offensive line coach. With LSU, he coached Thaddeus Moss, Randy Moss’ son, and Foster Moreau, a Raiders fourth-round draft pick.

Decoster was a four-year starter at right tackle at Louisiana Lafayette.

Cleveland’s other coaching moves

The Browns also named Ashton Grant as an offensive quality control coach. Stephen Bravo-Brown, who was a defensive quality control coach last season, moved to assistant special teams coach. Callie Brownson will remain chief of staff but will also hold the role of assistant wide receivers coach.

Furthermore, Jordan Thomas has been hired as assistant defensive line coach, Jeff Anderson is defensive quality control, and Chris Kiffin is back as defensive line coach. He opted to stay instead of going to Mississippi.

“I think year in and year out, we’ve had some changes with the staff, and we were fortunate last year to bring back the staff in total,” Stefanski said. “This year, we have a few more changes, and I think that can be good. We have some new coaches, and we are also moving some coaches to different positions that allows them to grow and allows us to hear different points of view.

“T.C. is a really good, young coach that has a ton of experience in NFL systems. We think he’s ready to take on the challenge of coaching the tight ends. I think it’s a great place for young coaches to grow. It’s something I did when I first moved to a position coach, and I think T.C. will do great in applying all the knowledge he already has.”

Speaking about Brownson, Stefanski said, “Callie’s done a great job in her role, and now going into Year 3, she definitely has the capacity to add more responsibilities to the offensive side of the ball. She’s been a utility player for us in the past and filled in for coaches on game day, so this is just another step in her career. Coach O’Shea does an awesome job of mentoring coaches in that room, so I know Chad is excited to get to work closer with Callie.”

Panthers re-sign Ian Thomas to three-year, $16.95 million deal

The Carolina Panthers have re-signed veteran tight end Ian Thomas to a three-year contract.

It has a total value of $16.95 million, a two-year payout of $11.5 million through two years, and $8 million guaranteed, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly.

A former fourth-round draft pick, Thomas was a pending free agent. He caught 18 passes for 188 yards last season. As a rookie, Thomas caught 36 passes for 333 yards and scored twice.

NFL News and Rumors: Vikings finalize deal with Greg Manusky as linebackers coach

The Minnesota Vikings have finalized their deal with veteran assistant Greg Manusky as their new inside linebackers coach, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

Manusky has been a defensive coordinator for four NFL teams and has coached for 19 seasons. He played linebacker in the NFL for 12 years, including with Washington, the Kansas City Chiefs, and Vikings, earning All-Madden team honors in 1991 for his gritty style of play in Minnesota. Manusky played in 113 straight games during one stretch before retiring in 1999.

Manusky spent last season on the University of Kentucky’s defensive staff. He has been a linebackers coach in the NFL for Washington and the Los Angeles Chargers. Additionally, he was a defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, and Washington. He has worked for Marty Schottenheimer in Washington, Mike Singletary in San Francisco, Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis, and Jay Gruden in Washington.

Manusky played collegiately at Colgate University and was named a Division I-AA consensus All-American and won the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. Furthermore, he played in the Blue-Gray Football Classic and was the first two-time winner of the school’s Hal W. Lahar Trophy, given annually to the Most Valuable Defensive Player. A year after retiring from the sport, Manusky made the Patriot League All-Anniversary Team in 2000.

Bengals among NFL teams expected to have interest in Ravens’ Bradley Bozeman

To some within NFL circles, Baltimore Ravens veteran center Bradley Bozeman is considered one of the top free agent offensive linemen along with Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen.

Bozeman is expected to draw interest from multiple NFL teams should he hit free agency, including the offensive line-needy Cincinnati Bengals, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow sprained his knee during the Super Bowl loss to the Los Angeles Rams and was sacked 7 times.

Bozeman, 26, is a former Alabama sixth-round draft pick and is regarded as a technically sound blocker and a high-character, community-minded individual. He started all but one game last season for the Ravens at center last season. He has also started at left guard and 49 of 62 career games played. Bozeman analytically is one of the top-ranked centers in the NFL.

A two-time national champion for the Crimson Tide, Bozeman (6-foot-5, 325 pounds) and his wife, Nikki, founded the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation, which focuses on helping at-risk children and their families to educate them on the dangers of childhood bullying. The foundation has held multiple food drives in partnership with Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries.

As the league transitions into free agency, there will be plenty of news and rumors from around the NFL in regard to 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.

Aaron Wilson is the NFL Insider for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL.

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