Players coming in, coaches going out, accusations of bigotry, network drama and catastrophic weather. It’s just another start to the year for the NFL.
The most notable transaction in the coaching landscape was Lovie Smith, who looks to have been hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fox Sports is reporting that Smith will sign a four-year deal for about $5 million per year. There could also be an option for a fifth year.
This came a day after Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien was hired by the Houston Texans. His signing led to some harsh fan reactions from State College, Pa.
The remaining teams currently without a head coach are the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns.
Detroit fired coach Jim Schwartz after his team missed the playoffs for the fourth year out of five he had been coaching. Mike Shanahan was fired after a season in which he had a tense relationship with Washington’s front office.
Frazier is now dealing with some controversy thanks to former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. Kluwe, a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage rights, wrote a lengthy piece for Deadspin in which he called out Frazier and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman as “cowards” and special teams coach Mike Priefer as a “bigot,” and said that the three may have been the reason he was fired.
Teams without coaching problems are not without issue, though. The Indianapolis Colts have been given a one-day extension to sell out their Wild Card game against the Kansas City Chiefs. If they do not succeed, the playoff game will be blacked out in the area nearby.
Green Bay and Cincinnati have been having trouble moving tickets. Those that do show up to the game in Green Bay, however, will be dealing with cold weather. Temperatures for the game between the Packers and 49ers are expected to be in the single digits, and the game could be one of the coldest in NFL history.
While some teams are looking for coaches and others are competing for a spot in the Super Bowl, others are looking to the NFL Draft, where many top talents have made their intentions known.
One such player is Mike Evans, who is a wide receiver for Texas A&M. Evans declared shortly after his Aggies defeated Duke in the Chick-Fil-A bowl. His quarterback, Johnny Manziel, has yet to declare one way or another.
Two players who are expected to go early in the draft are Jadeveon Clowney and Teddy Bridgewater. Clowney, defensive end for South Carolina, declared for the draft after his Gamecocks defeated Wisconsin in the Capitol One Bowl. And Bridgewater, Louisville’s quarterback, has been set to go into the draft for months, according to NFL.com.
Other notable players nationwide who have declared are Bradley Roby, cornerback for Ohio State; Dominique Easley, defensive tackle for Florida; Colt Lyerla, tight end for Oregon; and Brandin Cooks, wide receiver for Oregon State.
In the Mountain West Conference, a few players have declared. Fresno State receiver Davante Adams declared a few days after the Bulldogs lost to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl. Wyoming QB Brett Smith declared last Friday.
Other MWC players to declare are Kapri Bibbs, who announced days after his Colorado State Rams beat Washington State; and Demarcus Lawrence, who declared following Boise State’s loss in the Hawaii Bowl.