There is no true offseason in the NFL, at least where the team and media are concerned. Though the Seattle Seahawks are champions of the 2013 season, teams have been working towards 2014 for weeks now.
Here is the latest roundup of news from around the league on Thursday.
Tony Romo rehabbing from back surgery
Last March, Romo was signing a six-year, $108 million contract extension with the Cowboys. Less than a year later, he's recovering from surgery. Romo went under the knife in December to relieve pressure on a herniated disk and has made "excellent progress" during his rehabilitation, according to sources via The Dallas News.
There is no timetable for Romo to make a complete recovery, but he's expected to move on to the next phase of rehab within the next week or two.
Romo missed the final game of the year, a 24-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that cost Dallas a trip to the postseason, due to injury. He threw for 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns last season and is fewer than 3,500 yards shy of becoming the franchise's all-time leading passer.
Giants could have interest in Jermichael Finley, and vice versa
Finley is currently rehabbing from spinal surgery, but his agent told the New York Post that the wide receiver is working out, catching passes, and that he "feels no different than he did pre-injury." Though Finley is not ready for contact, his agent says that he will be in the coming weeks.
The connection between the Giants and Finley is an easy one to make: New York's new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo coached Green Bay's tight ends from 2006 to 2011, and then moved on to be the quarterbacks coach before getting his new gig with the Giants. He knows first hand what Finley can bring to the table when healthy, but there are at least two problems.
Finley hasn't had a healthy career as of yet, and he also wants to remain with the Packers first and foremost. If Green Bay can't get a deal done with the pending free agent during its exclusive negotiation period, then it seems like New York could definitely be interested. Otherwise, he seems intent on sticking with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Mike Pettine adds 11 to Browns coaching staff
Gearing up for his first season as an NFL head coach, Pettine added nearly a dozen hires on Thursday, including many names he was familiar with from past coaching stops, as well as a couple of names coming with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan from the Redskins.
The quarterbacks will be coached by Dowell Loggains, who spent the last eight years with the Titans, according to a release by Cleveland. He coached quarterbacks from 2010 to 2012 and was the offensive coordinator last season. He's spent time working to develop players like Jake Locker and Vince Young, but may have an even bigger task ahead of him with the Browns. They are still looking for a franchise quarterback to build around and could be selecting a player like Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M with their first pick in the draft.
Shanahan brings along wide receivers coach Mike McDaniel and offensive quality control coach Richard Hightower from the Redskins.
Pettine coached with the Ravens from 2002 to 2008, and he has hired offensive line coach Andy Moeller, running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery and strength and conditioning coach Paul Ricci -- all of whom coached in Baltimore at some point with Pettine.
Bill O'Brien announces 16 new coaches with Texans, including Romeo Crennel
O'Brien was also busy this week finalizing his staff. Houston hired 16 new coaches and retained special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky. Crennel is the most familiar name to be added to the staff, and he will be the new defensive coordinator. After previous head coaching stints with the Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, Crennel tries to revitalize a defense that finished 32nd in turnovers forced amid a 2-14 season.
Eight of the other coaches hired are coming from Penn State, where O'Brien ran the show for the past two years.
Mel Kiper says that Johnny Manziel is the consensus favorite among NFL GMs
ESPN's foremost analyst on the NFL draft, Kiper certainly has connections all over the league. So as much as fans can make fun of his hair or his poor grade results, he may know more about the draft before it starts than anyone else in the country. And Kiper says that by and large, teams are preferring Manziel over Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.
Though that doesn't necessarily mean Manziel will go first overall to the Texans, or that Bridgewater or Bortles couldn't be taken ahead of him, Kiper says it would surprise him to see Manziel still be available when the Browns pick fourth overall. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner opted to forego his junior and senior seasons at Texas A&M to enter the draft, and it appears this was the right time to do so.
While his size -- Manziel is listed at 6'1 -- isn't typically ideal for the NFL, the success of someone like Russell Wilson could compel a team to take him in the top three without concern. That will probably happen, according to Kiper.