While the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are preparing for Super Bowl XLVIII, some of the other 30 NFL franchises are drumming up interesting rumors as they look ahead to the 2014 campaign.
Coaching vacancies, impending free agency and the 2014 NFL draft have those teams working overtime this offseason.
At the end of the year, only one team is truly satisfied with the previous seasons' result, and every team strives to get better, no matter how well it finished.
Here's the latest buzz surrounding a few hot topics as the Super Bowl approaches.
Cleveland Rocks the Draft?
The Cleveland Browns are reportedly willing to trade up in the 2014 NFL draft to land Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports dropped the bombshell:
[T]he Browns remain very much in transition. However, they do have game-breaking receiver Josh Gordon, they are willing to trade up to land Johnny Manziel in the draft if need be, sources said.
Trading up for Manziel would be _____ for Cleveland.
For a team that already sits at No. 4 in Round 1, this is a stunning rumor—not to mention an extremely risky scenario. Washington found this out firsthand when it traded two future first-round picks to move up into the second overall spot in 2012 in order to land Robert Griffin III.
That said, Cleveland owns a second first-round pick, acquired in the Trent Richardson trade with Indianapolis, which takes a bit of the edge off. If Manziel ends up becoming a franchise quarterback in the NFL, then the reward will far outweigh the risk involved.
Cleveland certainly needs a shot in the arm, and Manziel is a star. This will be an interesting story to track as the draft draws near.
Adam Gase Doesn't Care (Reportedly)
The Browns have reportedly been high on Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase to become the new head coach in 2014, per La Canfora and other media sources.
The feeling doesn't appear to be mutual, however.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com relays a report from Ian Rapoport:
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on "NFL GameDay Morning" that Gase might pass on talking with the Browns in order to stay in Denver for at least another season.
Rapoport was told that "it would take something perfect" to pull Gase away from his current job. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is close with Peyton Manning, who has vouched for Gase, but the young assistant is in no rush to move on.
Cleveland hasn't had any luck with other coaching candidates.
Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles withdrew his name from the list, per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels did the same, as noted by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Making matters worse, Albert Breer of NFL.com recently used the word "radioactive" when describing the job:
You get the increasing feeling, talking to people around the league, that the Browns job is seen as radioactive. Tough spot for them.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 12, 2014
Cleveland has some serious work to do right now to change this perception.
Hakeem Nicks' Future with Big Blue Isn't Set in Stone
After a disappointing 2013 campaign, it's looking like New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks won't be back with Big Blue in 2014, according to Rapoport, who also provides additional insight regarding team discipline:
Multiple sources tell me Hakeem Nicks was fined repeatedly for being late to meetings & missing treatment. He battled thru several injuries— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 19, 2014
That said, Paul Schwartz of the New York Daily Post doesn't think the fines will be a factor and believes the Giants will offer Nicks a contract:
There is little doubt the Giants will make some sort of offer to retain Nicks... Everything will be evaluated – his health, his desire, his attitude, his value from a financial standpoint, how in the world in 2013 he played in 15 games, had only 56 receptions for 896 yards and, incredibly, failed to secure a single touchdown catch.
Will Nicks be back with the Giants in 2014?
Nicks' lack of production will certainly be a mark against him when discussing a new contract—with the Giants or any other team—as will his health concerns. It's hard to imagine any team will feel comfortable forking over a multi-year deal with much guaranteed money to a guy who's missed games every year since joining the league in 2009.
So, while it doesn't seem like he'll be back with the Giants next year, nobody should be shocked if he does end up signing a one or two-year deal with Big Blue in the end.
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