NFL Rumors: Latest Trade and Coaching Reports Following Week 18
With the end of the NFL regular season comes rumor about the future of underperforming coaches, but rarely is the Super Bowl winner's name mentioned in the same breath.
Reports surfaced Saturday and Sunday about Sean McVay's willingness to return to the Los Angeles Rams for another season, with burnout and exhaustion following a grueling, challenging season setting in.
The 36-year-old's future with his squad headlines this collection of reports from NFL insiders that also includes the latest on McVay's divisional rival Kliff Kingsbury and his status with the Arizona Cardinals, as well as the New York Jets' future quarterback plans.
Could Sean McVay Leave Los Angeles One Year After Winning It All?
Less than a year ago, Sean McVay stood atop a podium, clutching his newly won Lombardi trophy as the youngest head coach to ever accomplish that goal. Now, his future with the Los Angeles Rams team that he guided to that victory, and one other appearance in the big game, is in doubt.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media and Peter Schrager of Fox both reported that McVay is expected to take time after the season to decide whether he wants to return to the franchise.
Rapoport suggested burnout may be part of the reason for his undecided future.
"McVay's near-obsession with coaching—his passion to compete—is part of the reason he earned the Rams head coaching job as a 30-year-old in 2017. It also offers an explanation for the potential burnout that might cause a figure as successful as McVay to need time for reflection every summer."
Jay Glazer of Fox reported that more in the Rams building expect him to leave than return (h/t Pro Football Talk). Glazer's colleague at the network, Schrager, warned viewers about listening to those claiming the deal is done.
FOX Sports: NFL @NFLonFOX
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rams?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rams</a> and Sean McVay are openly talking about his return for the 2023 season. Kliff Kingsbury surprised <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cardinals?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cardinals</a> J.J. Watt with a congratulatory retirement video as he plays in his last game today.<a href="https://twitter.com/PSchrags?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PSchrags</a> is keeping us In The Know 🔎⬇️ <a href="https://t.co/JXaDKAzMh1">pic.twitter.com/JXaDKAzMh1</a>
McVay is a details-obsessed coach, something that is evident every time he speaks to the media. His energy is partly what makes him such an effective leader. To maintain the level of research and game study that goes into formulating the game plans that he does, and to do it with the same energy on a weekly basis, has to be exhausting.
Couple it with the fact that he has coached two long seasons that culminated in Super Bowl berths and other postseason campaigns and you have a 36-year-old who probably feels far older than his age.
Despite speculation prior to last year's Super Bowl that McVay may retire with a win in that game, he told Rich Eisen back in May that he is a long way from not wanting to coach football.
Speaking to The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue, he noted the challenging nature of this year's 5-12 campaign, but he said that it has not changed his passion for coaching or his competitive fire.
McVay rightly took time at the conclusion of last season to decide on his future and, with some time away to really digest what went right and wrong here in the 2022 campaign, he will make a decision that is right for him.
Given the passion he brings to his job, it would be surprising to see him go sit in a broadcast booth, watching the game unfold in front of him without being directly involved. Exhausted? Probably. Burnt out? Maybe. But do not be surprised to see McVay return to Los Angeles in 2023.
New York Jets Looking for a New QB
At one point, the New York Jets were a 6-3 football team following a stunning upset of the Buffalo Bills in November. Since then, controversy surrounding former No. 2 overall draft pick Zack Wilson and inconsistent play by his backups resulted in a freefall that saw them lose their last six, during which they only scored 20 points once.
Now, the team will be looking for a new quarterback, per Connor Hughes of SNY.
Connor Hughes @Connor_J_Hughes
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Jets?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Jets</a> will have a new starting quarterback for the 2023 season. <br><br>They'll pursue Jimmy G, Derek Carr and, if available, Lamar Jackson. <a href="https://t.co/xJsPanClXM">pic.twitter.com/xJsPanClXM</a>
Among those the team will have its eyes on are Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr and, potentially, Lamar Jackson.
The Jets have a stud wide receiver in Garrett Wilson, who amassed 1,103 receiving yards in his rookie season but saw his touchdowns limited by the play of his sub-par quarterbacks.
Garoppolo played fairly well prior to an injury that ended his season. While the stat line is nothing special (16 TDs, four interceptions), he appeared to be a QB with something to prove to a team that had benched him in favor of Trey Lance, only to need him to continue their march to the postseason.
Jackson had similar statistics (17 and seven) but also missed considerable time because of injury.
In a new offensive scheme, Derek Carr struggled at times in Las Vegas under head coach Josh McDaniels but still managed 24 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.
Of the players mentioned, Carr would seem like the safest bet.
Yes, Jackson is a playmaker with the ball in his hands, but he is far too inconsistent a thrower, and that makes it difficult to justify giving up the money it would take to lure him from Baltimore.
Garoppolo is a solid choice who would do just enough to help the team win but would really just be a placeholder until the team found itself picking high in the draft once again.
Carr is young enough, has plenty of playing experience and is far from the reason for the Raiders' problems in 2022. He is also a legitimate, former MVP candidate who has put up prolific numbers in the past.
His experience and passion, coupled with the play of Wilson and running back Breece Hall on the offensive side of the ball, and Sauce Gardner holding things down on the defensive side, could push the Jets into the playoffs as soon as next season.
Cardinals Potentially Moving on From Kliff Kingsbury
The Arizona Cardinals inked head coach Kliff Kingsbury to a lucrative contract extension through 2027 this past March. Following a dismal 4-13 season that saw star quarterback Kyler Murray regress on the field, then finish the season off of it and injured, it appears the honeymoon in Arizona is over.
Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reported that Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell has done his diligence on new coaching candidates, citing former Saints coach Sean Payton and current Cards defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as potential replacements.
"Behind the scenes, Bidwill has been gathering information on candidates and figuring out how he would run the process if he makes a change, just one year after Arizona made the playoffs in Kingsbury's third season," the report stated.
Compounding the situation is the absence of longtime general manager Steve Keim, who Bidwell leaned on heavily to help make decisions regarding personnel, including the head coach.
Kingsbury has amassed a record of 28-37-1 during his time as the Cardinals head coach, and there has not been a ton of evidence to suggest things are going to get any better in Arizona.
Murray has not made the massive improvements one would expect from a franchise quarterback, DeAndre Hopkins was suspended early for violating the league's PED policy, and the team lost stud defenders Chandler Jones and Hassan Reddick in the offseason, resulting in a middling defensive unit.
Kingsbury may be an offensive mind, but he has yet to coach the team to the level one would expect with the perceived talent it has. The closest thing to it would have been the 7-0 start last season, but the team went 4-6 down the stretch and lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round.
There will be some who tout the absence of Murray as a reason Kingsbury should get another chance to prove his value to the team, but the Cardinals were a so-so football team at best with Murray this season.
To maximize the QB's value, and bloated contract, it is best for all involved to move on.