NFL Rumors: Latest Reports Heading into 2022 Divisional Round

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2022

NFL Rumors: Latest Reports Heading into 2022 Divisional Round

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    As the eight remaining NFL teams inch toward the divisional round, the rest of the league is already focused on the 2022 offseason. Free agency isn't far off—it begins on March 16—and a quarter of the league is in the head-coaching market.

    The Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants all fired their head coaches during or after the 2021 season. The Las Vegas Raiders have a decision to make on interim coach Rich Bisaccia.

    With so many moving parts among the league's non-playoff teams, the rumor mill is understandably spinning. Here, we'll dive into some of the latest buzz.

Jim Harbaugh Reportedly Negotiating with Michigan

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    With so many head coaching vacancies, could Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh find himself back in the NFL this season? It's certainly possible, according to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio:

    "As a source with knowledge of the situation explains it to PFT, Harbaugh is watching and waiting to see whether a team with a reasonable ownership and general manager situation is interested in giving him an opportunity to continue an NFL career that resulted, from 2011 through 2014, in a record of 44-19-1 and a Super Bowl berth. At age 58, Harbaugh wants to get back to the Super Bowl and win it."

    However, there's a chance that Harbaugh parlays his reported NFL interest into a bigger deal with the Wolverines.

    "Michigan, per sources, has had productive conversations with Harbaugh, who does have parties negotiating on his behalf with Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, about another new deal," The Athletic's Nick Baumgardner and Austin Meek wrote.

    Michigan brought back Harbaugh in 2021 on a reduced salary. After reaching the College Football Playoff and beating rival Ohio State, Harbaugh may be seeking a raise. He could potentially use NFL leverage to get it.

    "Per sources, there are still some in high-ranking university positions who wonder if the head coach is torn between staying at Michigan or perhaps returning to the NFL," Baumgardner and Meek wrote.

Seahawks Targeting Ed Donatell, Sean Desai for DC Opening

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    The Seattle Seahawks aren't searching for a new head coach, but they are in the market for a defensive coordinator. Ken Norton Jr. was fired after the season.

    It appears that Seattle already has a pair of replacements in mind. One is Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.

    "The Seahawks have requested permission to speak with Broncos DC Ed Donatell for their defensive coordinator job, per source," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler tweeted. "Donatell has coordinated and coached NFL secondaries for decades."

    Seattle also has interest in Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai.

    "Hearing that another name to watch in the Seahawks defensive coordinator search is Sean Desai of the Bears. Seahawks have requested to interview him, I'm told," Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic tweeted.

    Donatell previously worked with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll in the 1990s with the New York Jets. He also has NFC West experience, having been the San Francisco 49ers' defensive backs coach from 2011-2014.

    Desai has spent his entire NFL career with Chicago, joining the franchise as a defensive quality control coach in 2013.

Jets Would Like to Trade No. 10 Selection

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    The 2022 draft is still relatively far away, especially in football time. The draft is scheduled to kick off on April 28, and we still have the scouting combine, pro days and the rest of the pre-draft process between now and then.

    In other words, we're a long way off from knowing what draft boards are going to look like.

    However, the Jets are reportedly already looking into trading one of their two first-round selections. New York owns the fourth overall pick and the 10th overall pick—the second selection via Seattle and the Jamal Adams trade.

    According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Jets are open to trading the No. 10 pick in order to land more draft capital.

    "It's too early to know anything, but I've heard rumblings that the Jets prefer to trade this pick if they can," Vacchiano wrote.

    This wouldn't be a surprising development for New York. The Jets are not one player away, and if they can add, say, a future first- or second-round selection to move down a handful of spots, they'll probably do it. OF course, this could also change if New York decides that a "can't-miss" prospect will be available at No. 10.

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