The 2017 NFL Annual Meeting united owners, head coaches, and a gaggle of media members eager to fill the ovoid hole in Americans’ collective hearts this week. While some of the league’s new ventures generated 32-point headlines — farewell, Oakland, hello Las Vegas — many more slipped under the radar as team executives plowed through a litany of interviews and reporter requests.
Relocation and a handful of rules aimed at making the game safer weren’t the only notable pieces to come out of Phoenix. Nearly every team tipped their hands as to what the upcoming season holds, whether it’s cutting veterans, adding free agents, or potential players they’ll target through the draft.
We sifted through those unscripted comments and off-the-cuff remarks to break down some of the most interesting tidbits that fans may have overlooked.
1. Tony Romo’s next gig?
Tony Romo has said he wants to keep playing, but that hasn’t stopped different networks from courting the soon-to-be 37-year-old:
One tidbit on #Cowboys QB Tony Romo: CBS is eyeing him as a potential replacement for Phil Simms in the booth. A big-time opportunity looms.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 29, 2017
2. Dan Quinn is not one of you, Atlantans
THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.
LOL someone just asked Dan Quinn a question about Big Boi and got a dumbfounded "who?"— Ryan Burns (@FtblSickness) March 29, 2017
3. Pete Carroll would like to talk about some conspiracies on his mind
Head coach Pete Carroll used his breakfast time to address a pair of big rumors swirling around his organization.
Pete Carroll on Marshawn Lynch: "I have talked to him and I haven't gotten any indication" whether he's coming back.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 29, 2017
Minutes later, he tried to squash any idea of Richard Sherman trade, but may have inadvertently given that news new life.
Pete Carroll on Richard Sherman trade rumors: "I don't see anything happening at all.''— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) March 29, 2017
4. Bengals will only trade AJ McCarron for the right price
Backup quarterback AJ McCarron is available via trade, but Marvis Lewis isn’t sure he wants to make a move with a divisional rival.
“AJ McCarron is a valuable member of our football team,” Lewis said. “No one has asked to trade him. We’re not going to go out and seek a trade for AJ McCarron. He’s a valuable member of the team. We’ve said that how many times?
“Regardless of what team it is. Regardless of what division it is,” Lewis said in regard to doing business with Cleveland. “Normally the saying, if the price is right people do whatever you need them to do. So I think anything is possible until it’s not.”
5. Doug Pederson doesn’t know where Carson Wentz is
The Eagles head coach is very literal.
Q: Can you talk about where Carson Wentz is right now?— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) March 29, 2017
Doug: Well I don’t know where he is right now.
Q: In terms of development
6. Broncos or Saints might take chance on Joe Mixon, but Patriots won’t
The Broncos need a running back after burning through a Devontae Booker, Kapri Bibbs, Justin Forsett, C.J. Anderson platoon last fall. That could mean they’re willing to gamble on Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon, despite his off-field trouble. They’re not the only ones.
Sean Payton told me they will bring Joe Mixon in for a visit. They want to get to know him.— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) March 29, 2017
Several teams are interested in adding the talented Sooner, but the New England Patriots are not one of them.
7. Marty B appreciates Mike McCarthy’s creative mind
Why did Martellus Bennett sign with the Packers? Green Bay’s head coach thinks the two are kindred souls.
“I was really impressed with his personality,” McCarthy told Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Frankly, I may not look like it, (but) I kind of classify myself as a creative person. I’m married to an artist, and all my children are very creative. So I live in that type. That’s a reflection of my household with my wife Jessica and I.
“So sitting down and talking to Marty and his interests, and some of the things he does, he’s an extremely creative individual. When I meet people, I’m always curious on their view in life, how they look at things and how they process things. I enjoyed his view on life, the things he wants to accomplish.”
8. Rams are trying to erase the sins of Jeff Fisher
Sean McVay’s first offseason as a head coach has introduced him to TMZ (which published a story about the house he bought) and made sure to avoid one of his predecessor’s most avoidable mistakes by linking up with one of the franchise’s living legends.
Sean McVay talked to Eric Dickerson the day he got hired. Plans to have him around a lot. Good move— ryan van bibber (@justRVB) March 29, 2017
9. Giants could be eyeing Geno Smith to take over for Eli one day
The Geno Smith era could be the next step after Eli Manning decides to call it quits.
“[Smith] has a compact throwing motion, you like his profile, he has a quick release, gets it out of his hand, a ton of arm strength, he’s mobile so it will be interesting,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.
Though it comes with a lot of caveats:
McAdoo says "I don't see why not" when asked is Geno Smith could eventually be Eli's replacement. But lot of work to be done.— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) March 28, 2017
“We’re a long way to go from there,” McAdoo said. “I think he’s right in the mix of one of the better players available this year.”
10. Big Ben not going anywhere, as we all know
No surprise here — even Steelers’ management expects Ben Roethlisberger to come back for the 2017 season.
Art Rooney just now to NFL Network about Roethlisbwrger: I fully expect him back. pic.twitter.com/hhbOMYFMHw— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) March 28, 2017
11. Bengals publicly support Adam Jones after latest incident
After Jones’ felony charge was dropped, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and owner Mike Brown have both come to the veteran cornerback’s defense.
“His case continues to move forward. It will be whatever it is,” Lewis said.
“I’m going to give him a chance,” said Brown. “I hope it comes out right for him, for his family and for us. I know there are critics. I understand. But that is a full answer. And that’s what I have to say about it."
Jones quickly responded to the decision made by his team’s owner and coach with gratitude.
12. Cardinals’ offense is due for an upgrade
The Cardinals have plenty of questions to answer about their offense after a 7-8-1 slump in 2016. Their plan? More touches for David Johnson, a change in position for Andre Ellington, and maybe even a new quarterback.
Bruce Arians on drafting a QB: "It would be one of the best situations for a young quarterback to walk into... for as long as it takes."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 29, 2017
#Cardinals Arians says only one of the college QB prospects is ready to start as a rookie. "Others will need time." Wouldn't say which one— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 29, 2017
13. Panthers could target an impact running back in the first round
The Panthers have the eighth pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Could Leonard Fournette be the offensive spark the franchise needs to return to the playoffs?
#Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he'll be at Leonard Fournette's Pro Day. Wants to see him up close... adds no spot "too high" to take a RB— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 29, 2017
There were also rumors the Panthers were interested in trading up with the 49ers for the No. 2 pick, though if Fournette is who they’re targeting, he’ll still probably be there at No. 8.