Monday is April 15, which is Tax Day in the United States, Patriot's Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the day that 21 of the 32 teams in the National Football League begin their offseason workout programs. Along with the eight teams that hired a new head coach this offseason, who began their programs on April 1 or April 2, offseason programs are officially underway in 29 NFL training facilities. The three teams who have to begin their offseason program — the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans — are scheduled to do so on April 22. Teams gathering on Monday for the first time this offseason are the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Redskins. These 21 teams are entering "Phase One" of the program, a two-week period that is limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. The only coaches allowed on-field contact with the players are full- and part-time strength and conditioning coaches, and head coaches and position coaches are not even allowed to observe the workouts, which are limited to "dead ball" activities. Quarterbacks can throw to uncovered receivers and no helmets are allowed to be worn. Participation is voluntary, but attendance is usually very high as there are workout bonuses at stake. Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady is not expected to report to the team's Dove Valley headquarters, reports Mike Klis of the Denver Post. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Newtork, Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is also not expected to show . Neither absence is considered a surprise as Clady and Byrd are the two remaining unsigned franchise players. According to salary data obtained by Shutdown Corner, active NFL contracts contain over $46 million in workout bonuses, including 192 players scheduled to earn at least $100,000 by satisfactorily participating in a high percentage of his team's offseason program.
New York Giants defensive tackle Shaun Rogers had nearly half a million dollars in jewelry stolen from him during an apparent burglary in his room at the Fountainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida this weekend, CBSMiami reports. According to the report, Rogers and some friends left the hotel room to hit the clubs and before returning to the hotel with a woman at 7 a.m. Rogers placed the jewelry in the hotel safe but, when he awoke at 12:30 p.m., both the jewelry and the woman were gone. Among the missing items were diamond earrings worth $100,000; two wristwatches worth a combined $160,000; a gold necklace with gold pendant worth $50,000; gold bracelets worth $60,000; and a diamond Cuban necklace with a gold pendant worth $70,000. Rogers entered the NFL with the Detroit Lions, who selected the former Texas standout with the 61st overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft. Rogers went to three Pro Bowls earlier in his career and was among the league's highest-paid defensive tackles, earning over $27 million from the Cleveland Browns (2008-10) and New Orleans Saints (2011) before signing for the league minimum with the Giants in 2012. [Also: NFL draft prospect dabbles in basketball before finding 'natural' fit ]
Cincinnati Bengals rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict earned an NFL-high $299,465 in the NFL's performance-based pay program, a source with knowledge of the payout distribution confirmed to "Shutdown Corner" on Wednesday. Off-field issues at Arizona State dropped Burfict out of the 2012 NFL Draft and the Bengals were able to sign him to a three-year undrafted rookie contract that included a signing bonus of $1,000 for a first-year cap number of $390,333. Burfict had a team-high 127 tackles while playing in 82.96 percent of the team's defensive snaps, which set him to do very well in a poorly-named program that rewards players with high playing-time percentages and low cap numbers. Here's a look at the Top 10 payouts from 2012: 1. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Cincinnati Bengals - $299,465 2. Dallas Reynolds, OL, Philadelphia Eagles -$294,844 3. Brian De La Puente, OC, New Orleans Saints - $289,373 4. Bobby Massie, OT, Arizona Cardinals - $283,776 5. J'Marcus Webb, OT, Chicago Bears - $275,360 6. Sam Acho, LB, Arizona Cardinals - $273,785 7. Bruce Miller, FB, San Francisco 49ers - $273,476 8. Max Starks, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers - $272,590 9. Robert McClain, CB, Atlanta Falcons - $269,505 10. Austin Howard, OT, New York Jets - $259,645 Each team had $3.46 million to divide among their players, though four teams (Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and New York Jets) had reduced amounts due to excess payouts in 2009, the previous year this program was in place.
It's not going to be the biggest deal in the next week, but the New Orleans Saints' decision to re-sign Junior Galette, a restricted free-agent defensive end, to a new three-year contract on Saturday could be a major one in the long term. The terms of the deal are not yet disclosed. The re-signing is a big step for a Saints defense that was terrible in 2012, and is trying to regroup under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Under Steve Spagnuolo last season, New Orleans ranked dead last in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted metrics, and allowed an astonishing 440.1 yards per game -- more than 50 yards per game more than the second-worst New York Giants. Gallete, however, was a standout when healthy. In just 12 games, he amassed a career-high five sacks, and ranked fourth overall in Pro Football Focus' Pass-Rushing Productivity statistic among 4-3 defensive ends. He put up 30 total pressures on just 187 pass-rush snaps, and can be expected to grab a more prominent role in Ryan's more aggressive and multi-front defense. This despite missing four games late in the season with a sprained ankle. The 6-foot-2, 257-pound Galette should be expected to see time at defensive end and pass-rushing outside linebacker. "You sit there and look and Junior Galette and Martez Wilson and think, 'Man, if we could get these guys on the field as outside linebackers, we could have a 3-4 front and we could have Will [Smith] at defensive end,' " Saints linebacker Scott Shanle said after Sean Payton made the call to fire Spagnuolo. "We just had so many combinations that a 3-4 package would make sense. Obviously, Steve wasn't going to do that. That's what he's never done."
March 2 (The Sports Xchange) - Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's new contract will make him the highest-paid signal caller in the league. CBS Sports reported Saturday that Flacco will be paid an average of $20.1 million per year in his new six-year deal. He will reportedly make slightly more than the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees. Flacco will make $62 million in the first three years of his contract, $1 million more than Brees. ...
…And we're back! After taking a few days to focus on the 2013 NFL scouting combine, "Shutdown Corner" resumes our look back at each team's 2012 season and a look at what lies ahead for the 2013 offseason. We resume our trek in the NFC South with the New Orleans Saints. 2012 record : 7-9 What went wrong : The Saints' problems in 2012 began with the suspensions handed down by the NFL after their investigation into an illegal bounty program that was in place from 2009-11. The Saints lost head coach Sean Payton for the season, linebackers coach Joe Vitt for six games, GM Mickey Loomis for eight games. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the season and defensive end Will Smith for four games, which were vacated by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue upon appeal. The Saints opened the regular season with four straight losses, including a 27-24 overtime loss at home to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs, but managed to claw back to .500 before Thanksgiving. A three-game losing streak - to the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants – ended any hope the Saints had of a miraculous run to the postseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, who missed the OTAs and minicamps while his agent and the team worked on turning his franchise tag into a five-year, $100 million contract, was intercepted nine times during that three-game losing streak that sunk the Saints' playoff hopes. The Saints defense went very wrong in 2012, establishing an NFL single-season record for yards allowed. The Saints allowed nearly 60 yards more per game than the league's 31st-ranked defense and were last in the NFL in rushing yards per game, rushing yards per play and passing yards per play. New Orleans finished 31st in passing yards allowed per game and in scoring defense, allowing 28.4 points per game. Perhaps it was due to playing without Sean Payton, but the Saints dipped from second in Football Outsiders offensive DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) in 2011 to ninth in 2012 . The Saints still ranked second in the NFL in terms of total offense, and were the league's No. 1-ranked pass defense, but having to throw the ball all the time led to the rushing offense to rank 25th in 2012, averaging less than 100 yards per game on the ground. What went right : Four Saints would compete in the Pro Bowl, though only two were "Original Ballot" selections. Guard Jahri Evans was voted as a starter in his fourth straight Pro Bowl and the other selection was punter Thomas Morstead, who was tied for first in the NFL with a net punting average of 43.2 yards and had 45 touchbacks on 90 kickoffs. Evans and Morstead would be joined two injury replacements: left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who started at right tackle, and Brees, who started at quarterback for the NFC squad. Brees led the NFL with 5,177 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes, but 19 interceptions kept his passer rating at 96.3. Another byproduct of airing the ball out was big seasons from wide receivers Marques Colston and Lance Moore, who both had over 1,000 yards receiving and combined for 16 touchdowns. Moore and Colston ranked fifth and sixth among wide receivers in Football Outsiders' DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) metric. Tight end Jimmy Graham led the team with 85 receptions, nine of which resulted in touchdowns, and was eighth among NFL tight ends in FO's DYAR metric. Coaching/front office changes : One of the first things Payton did upon his return from a season-long suspension was to fire defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who replaced Gregg Williams for the 2012 season. The Saints' search for a new defensive coordinator ended with the hiring of Rob Ryan, who had been fired after spending the previous two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. At the same time the Saints hired Ryan, they announced that they would be moving to a 3-4 defense on a full-time basis after dabbling with 3-4 looks the last few seasons, but remaining a base 4-3 team. Estimated 2013 cap space : $15 million over their projected 2013 adjusted cap number.
The New Orleans Saints maned Wesley McGriff as their defensive backs coach on Monday.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The New Orleans Saints have hired Wesley McGriff as secondary coach.
Over the next few weeks, "Shutdown Corner" will pay homage to "Office Space" (TPS reports) as we take a quick look back at each team's 2012 season and a look at what lies ahead for the 2013 offseason. We continue in the NFC East with the New York Giants. 2012 record : 9-7 What went wrong : A 6-2 record at the midway point of the season had the defending Super Bowl champion Giants poised to walk away with the NFC East and defend the Lombardi Trophy in the playoffs. The Giants would lose three of their first four games to start the second half of the season, including a 17-16 loss to the eventual NFC East champion Washington Redskins on Dec. 3. After a blowout win of the New Orleans Saints the following week, the Giants were shut out 34-0 by the Atlanta Falcons and lost 33-14 to the Baltimore Ravens, putting them in a situation where they needed to beat the Philadelphia Eagles and have three teams lose and/or tie to make the playoffs. The Giants won, but two of the three teams they needed to lose in the regular season finale won their games, eliminating the Giants from the postseason. The Giants' problems were largely on the defensive side of the ball. In terms of raw numbers, the Giants allowed 383.4 yards per game, which ranked 31st in the NFL, ahead of only the New Orleans Saints, who were historically bad last season. The Giants were 25th against the run, 28th against the pass and ranked 30th on third downs. A pass rush that posted 46 sacks in 2010 and 48 sacks in 2011 had just 33 in 2012, posting one or no sacks in seven of 16 games. Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora, who had 25.5 sacks combined in 2011, had 12.5 last season. The lack of a pass rush contributed to a pass defense that yielded 60 plays of 20+ yards and 13 plays of 40+ yards. What went right : Offensively, the Giants ranked seventh in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted team DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) metric, ranking fifth in rushing and 11th in passing. Ahmad Bradshaw played through chronic foot issues to lead the Giants with 1,015 yards , while Andre Brown had a team-high eight touchdowns before landed on injured reserve in late November. Brown landing on IR and Bradshaw's injuries led to first-round pick David Wilson emerging from his fumble-caused exile to Tom Coughlin's doghouse to carry the ball 43 times for 285 yards and three touchdowns in the final month of the regular season. Victor Cruz topped 80 receptions and 1,000 yards for a second consecutive season and set a career-high with 10 touchdown grabs. The Giants also got a productive season out of tight end Martellus Bennett, who had 55 receptions for 626 yards and five touchdowns to go along with some high-quality blocking in the run game. The Giants offensive line allowed a league-low 20 sacks in 2012, finishing third in the Football Outsiders' "Adjusted Sack Rate" metric. The Giants ranked 10th in Football Outsiders' special teams DVOA metric and were the best in kick returns, where rookie running back Wilson averaged 26.9 yards per return and had a 97-yard kick return for a touchdown in the shellacking of the Saints. Coaching/front office changes : No changes to Tom Coughlin's coaching staff, but the front office did lose senior pro personnel analyst David Gettleman, who is now the general manager of the Carolina Panthers. Estimated 2013 cap space : $4.518 million
The New Orleans Saints announced Saturday that they hired Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator. Ryan was interviewed on Friday. He replaces Steve Spagnuolo, who was fired after one season. Ryan was let go by the Dallas Cowboys after the season.

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