Rex Ryan, seemingly on the brink of being fired during the 2013 regular season, has been given a contract extension by the New York Jets that runs through multiple years. News of the deal may come as a surprise for some, but the Ryan's contract is only guaranteed through 2015, so the Jets will be able to cut ties easily if need be.
Nonetheless, it's not often one sees a coach be given a re-upped contract after going 8-8 and missing the playoffs. The Jets won two straight games to close the regular season, however, improving off a 6-10 record in 2012 with a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith starting 16 games.
The Jets' defense was one of the best in the league, especially in the front seven. More importantly, Ryan's players seemed to rally around him late in the season, proving that he still has the confidence of the locker room. That said, if Ryan's Jets don't win enough games next season, he may promptly be shown the door, even with a year remaining on his contract.
Dallas Clark is reportedly mulling over retirement after playing 11 seasons in the NFL. Clark is one of the most productive tight ends in league history. If he does hang up his cleats, he will do so with the 14th-most career yards by a tight end ever. He has 505 receptions for 5,665 yards and 53 touchdowns to his name.
Clark spent his last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Baltimore Ravens. He will be better remembered as one of Peyton Manning's most reliable targets in Indianapolis, however. In 2009, he became just the second tight end in NFL history to reach 100 receptions. Clark finished the year with 1,106 yards and 10 touchdown.
The Indianapolis Colts sent a first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for Trent Richardson, likely in hopes that he would become the workhorse running back he was in college and for a short time in Cleveland. Instead, he struggled to pick up the offense, averaging 3.0 yards per carry and falling behind Donald Brown as the Colts' go-to ball carrier.
Through one year, the deal appears to have been a bust for Indy, though general manager Ryan Grigson doesn't see things that way:
Grigson: We don't win 12 games if Trent Richardson isn't here. Trent fits all the things we're trying to do here.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) January 16, 2014
One could make the argument that Richardson's arrival helped spur the development of Brown, who averaged 5.3 yards per carry this season and took on an increasing workload as the season wore on. That said, Richardson will need to improve significantly next season for the trade to be a considered a profitable one.
Former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum has a few regrets about his final years with the organization, trading for Tim Tebow being the most notable, though not necessarily chief among them. Via CBS Sports Radio:
"Obviously we made a couple mistakes - trading for Tim Tebow most notably. But I would say beyond that, but we (could have done a better job with the bottom of our roster), especially toward the end."
Tannenbaum cites mismanagement of the bottom end of the Jets' roster as one of the organization's biggest failings, and he may be right. There is no question that Tebow was his most public failing, however. After giving up fourth- and sixth-round picks to acquire the quarterback, Tebow sat mostly unused during the season, attempting just eight passes while Mark Sanchez floundered as the starter.
Court document released Thursday reveal that Boston police have probable cause to believe that former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was the shooter in a double murder that took place in July, 2012. The police have requested permission to search an SUV that is currently being stored at the home of Hernandez's uncle. The vehicle is believed to have been used in the shooting, and has reportedly sat unused for more than a year.
Hernandez is currently being held without bail after being charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd this past summer. He has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge in the Lloyd case. Hernandez has not been formally charged for the double murder.