|04-03-2005, 01:00 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Nfl Report Sunday
Even model franchises make mistakes. The Patriots apparently aren't content enough to have Tom Brady accept a new contract that would fall well below market. Brady wasn't insisting on getting the kind of money Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb got in their recent contracts. Even though he had earned the right to be at that level, he wasn't looking to be a nine-figure superstar. He was apparently happy with a six-year, $60 million deal that included a $24 million signing bonus. That's a package not entirely dissimilar from the contracts just signed by the Jets' Chad Pennington and Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck, two decent players but whose resumes fall quite short to that of Brady. A bargain? You better believe it. But rather than just saying, ``Thanks, Tom, for bailing us out once more and allowing us to spend more money on other people on this team,'' Patriots management apparently decided to attempt to force another concession from their franchise player. Instead of fully guaranteeing the bonus portion of the contract, which is standard practice with new, long-term contracts, the Pats apparently tried to diversify the bonus money which could have put some of it at risk.
Seattle's Shaun Alexander and Indianapolis' Edgerrin James were slapped with one-year franchise tags by their teams last month. They're two of the best running backs in the league, and both want long-term deals and fat signing bonuses. Nobody is going to ante up the two first-round picks required to lure away a franchise player, but draft-day packages will be dangled. "No one is really talking," Seahawks President Tim Ruskell said. "There is just a dance going on right now. It's a very slow dance." Don't rule out Philadelphia making a move here. There are rumblings within the Eagles that Brian Westbrook is not the answer as the No. 1 back.
A deal between the Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs involving Patrick Surtain might be only a week away, a source close to the situation indicated Saturday. While the Chiefs have been low-balling the Dolphins by offering only a fourth-round pick the past two weeks, Kansas City president Carl Peterson is expected to budge at some point. In February, Peterson confirmed he had talks with agent Gary Uberstine about a contract extension for Surtain. The sides have agreed to a deal that includes a signing bonus in excess of $12 million, a source said.
The Broncos are expected to continue to address the Trevor Pryce situation this week. The team still is trying to trade Pryce. If the Broncos can't get a buyer, they may be forced to cut him to create $5 million-plus in salary cap room. A less likely possibility is Pryce taking a major pay reduction. Denver obviously prefers to trade Pryce so it can dictate where he lands. If Pryce were released, AFC West rivals Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego likely would show interest. All three teams have been in the market for a defensive end this offseason. The Broncos clearly would rather ship Pryce out of the division.
Dallas has two first-round picks and is said to be waiting for New Orleans to talk turkey about franchise defensive end Darren Howard. Oakland may want to get involved by dangling either of its starting cornerbacks -- Charles Woodson (their franchise guy) or Phillip Buchanon. That deal would fill voids for both teams.
The agent for Jamie Sharper said he received five phone calls Friday night and three more by yesterday afternoon from teams interested in the veteran linebacker, but the Ravens were not one of them. Tony Agnone said Sharper would strongly consider returning to the Ravens and the Baltimore area, where he still has a home, if the deal is right, but the Ravens' interest in a possible reunion is unknown. The Ravens selected Sharper in the second round of the 1997 draft, and he went on to start all but one game in his five seasons with the team, posting a career-high six sacks in 2001.
Ty Law continues to struggle trying to find a buyer because he is not yet able to run, which may be the case until late spring. With the Kansas City Chiefs looking at Miami's unhappy corner Patrick Surtain, the market is drying up for Law and former Tennessee starter Andre Dyson. The Chiefs could still be in the market after the draft, however, if Dolphins coach Nick Saban continues to insist on a second-round pick he'll never get to free Surtain.
Veteran tight end Ken Dilger, who the Eagles had some interest in, informed the team through his agents he would prefer not to finish his career in the Northeast. The Jets were another team who had interest in Dilger.
Bill Belichick was correct when he told a Bryant College audience last week that Tedy Bruschi has been at Gillette Stadium almost daily. What he didn't tell them, according to sources familiar with the linebacker's situation and the goings-on in Foxborough, is that Bruschi has been there for physical therapy to rehab from the stroke damage he sustained three days after returning from the Pro Bowl.
Those who have spent a lot of time with Mike Martz since he became Rams head coach know that few days have passed without Martz experiencing some kind of back pain. "I can't remember when it wasn't bothering me, but it's just been in varying degrees," Martz said Thursday. Less than three weeks ago, just before Orlando Pace signed his multiyear contract, Martz went to Los Angeles for back surgery. Martz is still experiencing some lower-back soreness, discomfort that increases as the day goes on. "But each day it gets remarkably better," Martz said. "I'm getting better rest. Each day I'm making huge strides.
If the Patriots can't work out the details of an acceptable bonus structure with quarterback Tom Brady, he'd become a free agent in 2007. How'd you like to be Brady on the open market in an upcapped year? As Dick Enberg would say, "Oh, my!"
For many of the Broncos, including Jake Plummer, Monday is the real start of another year. The team will begin its formal off-season conditioning program that day, their first collective venture since the 49-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC wild-card game in January. For Plummer, Monday will bring his marching orders for 2005 as well. The Broncos have committed, in word and deed, to the 30-year-old to be the guy behind center, the one they believe can take them where they want to go - no ifs, ands or huts. "And I think every quarterback is evaluated on winning playoff games, winning Super Bowls," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said during the league meetings. "So the next step for him has to be us getting to the next level. We've been to the playoffs twice (with Plummer) but we haven't won a playoff game. The challenge is now getting to that next level. But Jake is our guy, we wouldn't have signed him if he wasn't."
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid has had all he can stand of receiver Freddie Mitchell. Mitchell is not expected to be back with the team next season, having worn out his welcome with four unproductive seasons. A first-round choice in 2001, Mitchell has only 90 career catches for 1,263 yards and five touchdowns. Worse, Mitchell's mouth never stops running.
A month into free agency, the teams that have upgraded the most are the Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Detroit Lions and even the Randy Moss-less Minnesota Vikings, who picked up three defensive starters. Teams that lost plenty and have yet to bring in reinforcements are the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and, dare we say, the New England Patriots if you factor in the two-time defending champs' loss of their offensive and defensive coordinators and possibly linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
As a head coach without Tom Brady at quarterback, Bill Belichick's record is 42-58. With Brady running the offense, Belichick's Patriots are 57-14.
Miami cornerback Patrick Surtain, whose representatives agreed Thursday to terms with defense-starved Kansas City on a deal that includes a signing bonus of more than $10 million. The Chiefs are willing to surrender a fourth-round choice, but Dolphins Coach Nick Saban wants a third. KC doesn't have a tradeable third this season, but Saban has to be looking at Surtain's $8.5 million hit in '05 that represents 10 percent of the $85.5 million cap.
The agent for Denver free-agent defensive tackle Ellis Johnson said his client intends to play three more years. While it doesn't look like he will play those years with Denver, Johnson, a 10-season NFL veteran, is open to coming back to the Broncos.
Wade Smith will have the chance to become one of the Dolphins' starting offensive linemen again, but it won't be at the position he has played the past two seasons. A source said Smith will be used at center instead of left tackle when the team begins offseason practices later this spring. Smith was a consensus all-rookie tackle in 2003 when he started 16 games as a third-round draft choice from Memphis. Smith, though, lost his starting spot to Damion McIntosh two games into last season and was inactive for the final 10 games.
Arkansas QB Matt Jones is creating quite a buzz. Jones, trying to make the conversion to wide receiver, is 6-6 and "runs like a scalded dog," one scout said. He was timed at 4.4. Still, Jones is regarded as a project.
If former Cowboys QB Vinny Testaverde plays anywhere in 2005, it could be with the Patriots.
The NFL Players Association took its first big step toward preparing for a potential work stoppage when its player representatives authorized not rebating the players' annual individual dues of $10,000, as it has done for years. That roughly $18 million will instead be put aside as part of a growing war chest in case an extension of the collective bargaining agreement cannot be agreed to in time to avoid making 2007 an uncapped year with a strike and legal battle to follow. If that ever happens, chaos will reign, and most of the owners know it. But not all of them.
Boston-based agent Kristen Kuliga also represents former Chargers QB Doug Flutie and is hoping to land him a job in New England.
Are the Denver Broncos taking a page from the Oakland Raiders? Raiders managing general partner Al Davis has long been a believer in the rehabilitation of high draft choices gone bad, but the Broncos have not tended to go in that direction -- until this offseason. The Broncos' struggles in pass defense have cost them dearly the last few years, and coach Mike Shanahan believes much of that has been the result of a failure to pressure the quarterback. So in the last few weeks, he has imported the defensive line of the Browns, which helped them win four games in Cleveland last year. Shanahan traded a fourth-round pick for former No. 1 choice Gerard Warren, signed the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2000, Courtney Brown, and then swapped the AFC's No. 6 rusher, Reuben Droughns, for ex-No. 1 choice Ebenezer Ekuban, with Michael Myers being a throw-in.
Jets coach Herman Edwards will be among the New Yorkers rejoicing if the team ever gets a stadium built on the West Side highway, but if not, he insists his team will take lemons and make lemonade. "Obviously we need a stadium," Edwards said. "We're the only team in the league that doesn't have a stadium. I think that's important, and I think it's important for the league, too. I just think when you think of 32 teams and only one shares a stadium, that's odd. And it's the New York team. We laugh [that] all our games are road games. That's OK. But I felt for the most part we started to play better at home, and we had a pretty good record at home. Our fans are very, very passionate. It's a little different than any other home venue. And our players, they understand that. We don't make excuses. It's kind of the way it's always been for the Jets. It's one of those franchises, you kind of look at, it's a nomad franchise. They kind of played over here for a while, they played over here for a while, now they're playing over here, trying to get a new stadium. But our players take it in stride and that doesn't really determine how we play."
One of the free agents the Packers are looking at is Kansas City backup Monty Beisel, who fits the mold of the smaller, quicker-type linebacker Bates favors. When it's all said and done, Bates expects to have a group of linebackers who can run and swarm to the ball.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger daily has been throwing to receivers, tight ends, running backs, "whoever's here." Then he'll do some weightlifting, some running or another type of exercise, some lunch. After that, it's meetings and film review.
When Ben Roethlisberger receives the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year award on April 17, he will become the first rookie so honored since the Steelers' Buff Donelli in 1941.
Paul Mazzoleni, a 2002 inductee into the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame, died last week in Green Bay. He was 91. A fan since the team's inception in 1919, he was a water boy for the Packers' first two seasons and counted legendary coach Vince Lombardi and Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke among his friends.
The NFL is going to announce its regular-season schedule Wednesday, April 13, and it's a good bet that the Jaguars will make their first Monday night appearance since 2001. The Jaguars are likely to qualify because they had a winning record, even though they didn't make the playoffs. They played well late in the season against a pair of playoff teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. The Jaguars tended to play to the level of their competition last year. Also, the NFL appears to expanding the pool of teams available for prime-time slots in this age of parity. The league is even sending the Oakland Raiders to New England for the Thursday night opener, even though the Raiders were 5-11 last year. The mystique of the Raiders and their acquisition of receiver Randy Moss make them worthy of prime time.
|04-03-2005, 01:11 PM||#2|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2001
I havent read the entire report yet. I had to comment about the first paragraph.....
All the more reason to love Tom Brady as a player. The perfect example of a team player.
|04-03-2005, 05:04 PM||#4|
Chiefs > Broncos
Join Date: Apr 2004
|04-03-2005, 05:11 PM||#5|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Alexandria, VA
|04-03-2005, 05:46 PM||#6|
Lights Out B***h!
Join Date: Mar 2003