NFL Rumors: Latest on Free Agents and Coaching Moves from Around the League

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IJanuary 28, 2014

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 8:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 8, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Titans 51-28.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Super Bowl is currently the biggest draw in not just football but the sports world in general.

But even with the biggest game in all of sports being played on Sunday, there are still 30 other teams trying to make decisions on how they can take either the Denver Broncos or Seattle Seahawks' place next season.

Whether it's making a coaching change to improve the team's offense or defense, locking up a coach who proved he's worth the money or even players making the decision as to which team they'll play for when the season kicks off later this year, several rumors are spreading about outcomes of several teams.

With the rumor mill still spinning, here are some of the latest rumblings from around the NFL.


Riverboat Ron Returning?

As Ron Rivera knows very well, you never count your money when you're sitting at the table.

So while he was in Hawaii to coach the Pro Bowl, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reported that Rivera's contract discussions began while the man infamously known as "Riverboat Ron" was several time zones away from Charlotte.

The 52-year-old led the Panthers to their best season in five years and was named CBS Sports' NFL Coach of the Year following his team's impressive 12-4 record in the regular season, according to the Panthers' official Twitter account:

With recent contracts for coaches signing with new teams, like Lovie Smith receiving a four-year deal worth an excess of $5 million a year according to, the offers for Rivera should be much higher than his current situation.

Following a season in which Carolina not only reached the playoffs but came in as the No. 2 seed after winning the NFC South thanks to the No. 2 defense in the NFL, it appears Rivera might be negotiating a contract at the perfect moment in his career.


Callahan to Cleveland?

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Here's a rumor with a lot of moving parts that could end up resulting in the Dallas Cowboys' current offensive coordinator taking his talents to the Cleveland Browns.

Scott Linehan, the former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator who was fired by the team following the regular season, could wind up as the play-caller for the Cowboys. If this happens, however, Bill Callahan, the current offensive coordinator for Dallas, won't be too happy, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

What this means for Cleveland is that Callahan could become available for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Albert Breer of is reporting that they might just go after Callahan if he does decide to leave the Cowboys:

Taking a look back at their head coaching search and it might seem obvious that the Browns will want to lock up their assistant positions as soon as possible under new coach Mike Pettine.

With offensive weapons like Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron—who both performed well in the Pro Bowl after huge regular seasons—the coordinator position looks like an enticing one.

Also taking into consideration that the Browns will likely be looking at drafting a quarterback early on in the 2014 NFL draft, having their offensive coordinator might be a top priority for Pettine.


CJ2K Will Undergo Surgery, Likely a Free Agent

Chris Johnson struggled this season to barely eclipse the 1,000-yard mark on the ground, and we might know why.

The sixth-year running back posted his lowest yards-per-carry average (3.9) and posted his second-lowest amount of rushing yards in a season (1,077), but this was all after suffering a torn meniscus in Week 3 of the season, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reports that the injury is not too serious for Johnson:

In his report, La Canfora also notes that Johnson is likely going to enter the free-agent market and will not return to the Tennessee Titans next season.

The move could work out in Johnson's favor. With a repaired knee and his choice of which team he wants to sign with, the 28-year-old could wind up with a team that has other offensive weapons around him in the passing game, unlike the Titans in recent years.

Johnson is owed $8 million next season, so the likelihood that he'll get that type of money on the free-agency market is unlikely. While his numbers were down in 2013, the torn meniscus is clearly one of the reasons for his drop in production.

As for what he can bring to his new team, Johnson is regarded as one of the most durable backs in the league, as he holds the longest active consecutive games started streak for running backs. He's missed just one game over his six-year career, which came in his rookie season.

There are no rumors on teams that are looking to add Johnson's play-making ability to their roster, but he will likely look to join a team that is enjoying success and needs a short-term running back who can still get the job done when fully healthy.


Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: