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Jay Gruden set to join Jags as new offensive coordinator

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars are close to hiring former Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden as their offensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN.

A deal, which NFL Network first reported as being close to completion, is likely to be finalized on Wednesday.

Marrone also interviewed former NFL head coaches Ben McAdoo and Scott Linehan for the position.

The Redskins fired Gruden in October after an 0-5 start in his sixth season. He led the Redskins to a 35-49-1 record that included an NFC East title and playoff appearance in 2015. Gruden was the offensive coordinator with Cincinnati for three seasons prior to being named the Redskins’ head coach.

Gruden’s offenses with the Bengals ranked in the middle third of the league in yards per game, rushing, passing and scoring in 2011 and 2012 but ranked in the top 10 in yards per game, passing and scoring in 2013. The Bengals had winning records all three seasons and quarterback Andy Dalton, the team’s second-round pick in 2011, had his best season in 2013: 33 TD passes and 4,293 yards — both of which are career highs.

Gruden’s offensive coordinator in his first three seasons was Sean McVay, who parlayed that job into becoming the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.

Gruden, 52, will be the third offensive coordinator Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone has hired in his four seasons with the Jaguars. He retained Nathaniel Hackett from the 2016 staff but fired him midway through the 2018 season and hired John DeFilippo last January. The Jaguars and DeFilippo announced earlier this month that they had mutually agreed to part ways.

Gruden’s top priority will be figuring out the quarterback situation in Jacksonville. The team signed Nick Foles last March to a four-year, $88 million contract that included a franchise-record $50.125 million guaranteed, but he suffered a broken collarbone just 11 snaps into the 2019 season opener. Rookie Gardner Minshew, the team’s sixth-round pick, took over and played well enough to get the Jaguars to 4-5 before Foles was able to return.

However, Foles and the offense struggled and Marrone benched Foles for Minshew after 10 quarters.

Neither Marrone or GM Dave Caldwell – both of whom were retained by owner Shad Khan despite winning just 11 games the past two seasons — would commit to either player as the starter heading into the 2020 season.

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Cowboys’ Jason Witten wants to play in ’20, open to other teams

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FRISCO, Texas — Jason Witten wants to play another season but acknowledged it might have to be with a franchise other than the Dallas Cowboys.

“I think I have to be,” Witten said when asked if he’s open to playing elsewhere. “Obviously I’d love to finish it out here, but some of those things are not in your control.”

Witten said he met with Mike McCarthy not long after McCarthy was named head coach. He has had conversations with owner and general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones.

While Witten said the talks with McCarthy and Jones were great, he added, “We didn’t get into the weeds of my role and what that would look like.”

He said he will have more discussions after next week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis but before free agency begins on March 18.

Witten caught 63 passes for 529 yards and four touchdowns in his return from a one-year hiatus as an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. He has played 16 seasons for the Cowboys, a franchise record.

“I still feel like I have something to give,” Witten said. “I’ve obviously been on the other side of that in the decision to retire. Yeah, I think coaching is in the future, but I want to play while I can. We’ll see where that takes place. Of course I want it to be with the Dallas Cowboys and I’ll always be a Dallas Cowboy, but I also understand that with all the changes that I might have to go somewhere else.”

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Source — Ex-Panthers TE Greg Olsen joining Seahawks on 1-year deal

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Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has agreed to terms on a deal with the Seattle Seahawks, the team announced Tuesday.

Terms weren’t released, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter the deal is for one year and worth $7 million, with $5.5 million in guaranteed money.

Olsen visited with Buffalo, Seattle and Washington, and he felt most comfortable with the Seahawks, the source said.

Tight end was an area of need for the Seahawks with Will Dissly coming off a ruptured Achilles, his second major injury in as many NFL seasons. Veteran Ed Dickson is a candidate to be released after missing most of his two seasons with Seattle due to injuries. Luke Willson, whom Seattle re-signed after trading Nick Vannett last year, is an unrestricted free agent. Jacob Hollister is a restricted free agent.

Because Olsen was released by Carolina, his addition won’t cost the Seahawks a compensatory pick.

Olsen became a free agent after he and the Panthers mutually agreed to part ways after nine seasons. A three-time Pro Bowl selection who has played 13 NFL seasons, he said he was still interested in playing in the NFL.

Olsen’s cap number for the 2020 season was to be $11,675,000 after he ruled out an extension to lower that number.

After dabbling in broadcasting during some time off, Olsen returned to the field in 2019 to prove that he could still be among the top tight ends in the league. From 2014 to 2016, he became the first tight end in NFL history to have 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons.

Olsen, the 31st pick by the Bears in 2007, had 52 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns this past season. He has 718 career catches for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns.

Olsen, who turns 35 on March 11, holds the Panthers’ franchise record for single-season receiving yards (1,104 in 2015) and receptions (84 in 2014) by a tight end.

ESPN’s David Newton and Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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Ex-Panthers TE Greg Olsen going to Seahawks

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Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is signing a one-year, $7 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

The contract includes $5.5 million in guaranteed money.

Olsen visited with Buffalo, Seattle and Washington but felt most comfortable with the Seahawks, the source said.

Seattle has a need at tight end with Will Dissly coming off a torn Achilles. In addition, Luke Willson is an unrestricted free agent and Jacob Hollister is restricted. Ed Dickson is a candidate to be released after missing last season with injury.

Because he was cut by Carolina, Olsen won’t cost Seattle a compensatory pick.

Olsen became a free agent after he and the Panthers mutually agreed to part ways after nine seasons. A three-time Pro Bowl selection who has played 13 NFL seasons, he said he was still interested in playing in the NFL.

Olsen’s cap number for the 2020 season was to be $11,675,000 after he ruled out an extension to lower that number.

After dabbling in broadcasting during time off, Olsen returned to the field in 2019 to prove he still could be among the top tight ends in the league. From 2014-16, he became the first tight end in NFL history to have 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons.

Olsen, the 31st pick by the Bears in 2007, had 52 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns this past season. He has 718 career catches for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns in his career.

Olsen, who turns 35 on March 11, holds the Panthers franchise record for most receiving yards (1,104 in ’15) and receptions (84 in 2014) in a season by a tight end.

ESPN’s David Newton and Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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