|03-11-2006, 09:21 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Nfl Report Sat.
As free agency officially began at midnight Saturday, Drew Brees set his sights on spending the weekend visiting with New Orleans officials, and the chances of him leaving the Big Easy without signing a lucrative contract are small, according to an NFL source. ''We've already got things lined up and we'll be rocking and rolling the minute the clock strikes midnight,'' Brees said Friday from Birmingham, where he is rehabilitating from right shoulder surgery.
Carolina’s Will Witherspoon, considered by many the top linebacker on the free-agent market — particularly since Derek Smith re-signed with San Francisco — could be visiting Rams Park over the weekend according to multiple sources.
That leaves the Dolphins working on a trade for Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who wants to leave Minnesota and play for Miami. The Dolphins, eager to upgrade the quarterback spot this offseason, must land Culpepper or face the prospect of chasing either a rookie draftee or a less accomplished player such as Washington's Patrick Ramsey or Arizona's Josh McCown. McCown is starting free agency with a trip to Detroit followed by a stop in New Orleans should Brees and the Saints not agree on a deal.
NFL free agency finally began late Friday, and the Bears zeroed in on their No. 1 target when they contacted the agent for Antwaan Randle El and discussed at length a long-term deal for the wide receiver/returner from Thornton High School. On Thursday, Randle El had told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he would test the free-agent market, and general manager Jerry Angelo wasted no time in trying to make a quick strike for an important offensive threat. The two sides are discussing a deal of five or six years, believed to be valued in excess of $20 million. The Bears will have to wait until Randle El visits the Redskins, but they made a strong start to upgrade their offense.
The Miami Dolphins called David Givens shortly after this morning’s 12:01 free-agency deadline and scheduled a visit with the receiver today in Miami. Givens’ agent, Brad Blank, also scheduled a visit in Houston tomorrow. Givens is from the Houston area. The Dolphins and Texans were not the only teams to express interest, as Blank also spoke to Buffalo, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, New Orleans and Cleveland. Givens has no other visits scheduled after the Dolphins and Texans.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis confirmed that the team is planning to part ways with long-time starting quarterback Aaron Brooks. Loomis said there has not been much of a trade market for Brooks, who turns 30 this month, and the team most likely will release him. Brooks' large contract ($6.5 million in salary and bonuses this season and $7.5 million next season ) is a deterrent, as is the fact that most teams know Brooks will be released if he's not traded, so they can gamble on signing him as a free agent.
The Cardinals reportedly have reversed field and decided to pursue an elite running back in free agency after all. In an interview Friday morning with KGME-AM (910), Jay Glazer of Foxsports.com said Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James and agent Drew Rosenhaus are scheduled to visit the Cardinals today, the opening day of free agency. If the report is true, it's a departure in philosophy for the Cardinals. Both coach Dennis Green and Vice President for Football Operations Rod Graves have said the team wasn't likely to pursue free agents at the top of the market.
At guard, the Cowboys have been intrigued by Detroit's Kyle Kosier and New England's Steve Neal. If Dallas signed either, it could mean a parting of the ways with Larry Allen, who is scheduled to count more than $7 million against the club's $102 million salary cap this season. Veteran right tackle Jon Runyan, who has spent the past six seasons with Philadelphia, could be an option if the Cowboys don't want to use a high draft choice on the position.
Still, it remains a possibility, the front office person said, that the Raiders will re-sign Kerry Collins between now and the start of the season. They have agreed to speak in the coming days. The likelihood of Collins' return increased once the Raiders dropped out of the Culpepper sweepstakes Friday night.
Unless the Pats have interest in Charles Woodson, there are few impact corners on the market.
At running back, the Eagles could have an interest in recently released Mike Anderson from the Denver Broncos and Baltimore's Chester Taylor.
In terms of what the Pats may be targeting, positions of need include receiver, corner, safety and linebacker. It’s also worth watching to see if the Pats get involved in the running back pool. Two receivers to keep in mind are Seattle’s Joe Jurevicius, who the Pats courted in 2002, and Atlanta’s Brian Finneran. Both are tall possession receivers who would serve as a nice complement to No. 1 receiver Deion Branch.
The Broncos are closing in on the detail work that will be needed to secure New York Jets defensive end John Abraham, a proven edge rusher. Several sources in the league said Friday night they believed the Broncos and the Jets already had developed a framework for a trade before the extension of the collective bargaining agreement was announced, but both teams were waiting to see what the salary cap would be before moving on to contract negotiations. Those negotiations probably will take a few days, and as much as a week, before a deal could be completed.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't say exactly when, but the Packers coach implied Friday night Favre is close to announcing his decision about whether he'll retire or return for a 16th NFL season. McCarthy said during the team's Fan Fest activities he has spoken to Favre "the last two days" and the team is "hoping for a decision soon." Asked when that might be, McCarthy replied, "I'll just use the word soon." And how soon is soon? "You're not going to pin me down for that. Soon. The near future."
The agents for Jets Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham said yesterday that their client plans to go on tour next week, visiting three or possibly four teams in an effort to find a new home. Abraham, who has been slapped with the franchise tag ($8.3 million) but has requested and will be granted a trade, will visit Denver, Washington, Seattle and perhaps Oakland or Atlanta. The Jets are believed to be seeking a first-round pick for Abraham. Denver, with a pair of first-round picks (22nd and 29th), appear to be the front-runners. The free-spending Redskins don't have a first-round pick.
The Jets are tentatively scheduled to have Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna in for a visit next week, according to someone with knowledge of the team's thinking. Kitna, 33, is a proven veteran who has been on the Jets' radar for quite a while. He's expected to visit Detroit this weekend.
Another free agent the Saints will likely attempt to sign is Dallas Cowboys tight end Dan Campbell. The 29-year-old blocking specialist has a close relationship with Saints coach and former Cowboys offensive coordinator Sean Payton.
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson made it very clear Friday the club will not accommodate recalcitrant wide receiver Javon Walker, who has demanded a trade for the second time in as many offseasons. "During his time as a Green Bay Packer, Javon Walker has been well thought of by everyone here. I like Javon, certainly as a person and as a player," said Thompson, who earlier this week denied agent Kennard McGuire's request for permission to seek a trade for Walker. "That said, Javon is under contract, which he signed as a 2002 first-round draft choice ... and we expect him to honor it. "There have been several highly publicized cases of player discontent in the National Football League. I don't anticipate us making any concessions in this matter. We will continue to stay the course, and the Green Bay Packers will have no further comment on this topic."
Quarterback Patrick Ramsey remains a Redskin, but reports in New York stated yesterday that a trade between the Redskins and Jets was imminent. The Redskins would receive a fifth-round pick and Ramsey would compete with Chad Pennington for the starting position. The Ramsey trade would give the Redskins seven draft picks -- their most since 2002.
The Washington Redskins began pursuing several free agents last night as the market officially opened at 12:01 a.m., and also were working to acquire restricted free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd from the San Francisco 49ers, according to several league sources.
The Texans have the first pick in next month's draft. They are expected to take Southern California running back Reggie Bush or Texas quarterback Vince Young. They haven't ruled out trading down, but it would take an incredible offer. "We're going to select players the same way we went about selecting our new coach," McNair said about Gary Kubiak. "You want to get the best coach you can get. That's what we did with Gary. The fact that he was from Houston was a bonus. "It's the same way with the players. If you start letting your hometown sentiment override sound judgment, I'm afraid you'll never have a winning team. We look at it as which player, or players, can help our team the most."
The Saints reportedly are making an aggressive push to sign free agent Drew Brees, the top quarterback on the market. An NFL source said the Saints will bring in Brees for a visit today and tomorrow, and they have emerged as the strongest contender to sign him, offering to guarantee more money than his other suitors, including the Dolphins and Detroit Lions.
Reports of the imminent retirement of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue are premature. So says the man himself. "It's not on my radar," Tagliabue said yesterday in Houston, where he and Texans owner Bob McNair discussed the league's new six-year CBA extension. "We've been so busy in the last year ... that I haven't had a chance to think of much other than what I've been doing. "Now that we have this done, maybe I can figure out what the future holds. But I haven't given it any thought."
LaVar Arrington's agent, Carl Poston, said the Giants contacted him yesterday and are scheduled to meet with his client in the next few days. The former Redskin expects a big contract, but he might be willing to forgo a few extra dollars to play alongside Pierce -- his former teammate -- on the defending NFC East champs. Two members of the Super Bowl champion Steelers -- safety Chris Hope and linebacker Clint Kriewaldt -- could be on the Giants' radar.
If the Cowboys do not re-sign Scott Fujita, they could look at Jacksonville's Akin Ayodele or New England's Willie McGinest. Ayodele, who played at Irving MacArthur, was a Cowboys ballboy growing up, and McGinest was Parcells' second first-round pick in 1994, a year after Drew Bledsoe.
Former Redskins LB LaVar Arrington visited with the Dolphins yesterday and will visit other teams today, according to a source close to the player.
As for Kimo Von Oelhoffen, the player who is known for injuring Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, the New York Jets are expected to make an effort right away to sign him. The Jets need a player like Von Oelhoffen to help shore up their run defense. Cleveland and San Francisco also will consider signing Von Oelhoffen.
For now, the Raiders are expected to turn the starting job over to Andrew Walter, follow the free agent market and explore their options in the draft. Texas quarterback Vince Young, who led the Longhorns to the national championship, is thought to be a favorite of team owner Al Davis.
The Chargers have passed on pursuing cornerback Ty Law, linebacker LaVar Arrington and offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson. They did make a run at LeCharles Bentley, a center in New Orleans they would want to play guard.
Panthers free agent Marlon McCree, who emerged as a solid starter at strong safety, is likely to be pursued by San Diego and other teams. QB Chris Weinke might be courted by Baltimore.
By all accounts, it seemed clear that Daunte Culpepper's days in Minnesota are numbered, one way or the other. Should they fail to consummate a trade, the Vikings probably will release their once-franchise quarterback.
The Vikings need at least two new starters, and they have been linked extensively to San Diego outside linebacker Ben Leber. The agent for LaVar Arrington, Carl Poston, said the Vikings were one of 12-14 teams who have called to express interest but did not set up a visit.
|03-11-2006, 09:21 AM||#2|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
The Vikings retained receiver Koren Robinson and made plans to play host to Baltimore running back Chester Taylor today.
When the Eagles acquired Jevon Kearse in the free-agent market two years ago, they also showed interest in New Orleans' Darren Howard as a backup plan. Howard, however, is coming off a season-ending knee injury and recorded a career-low 31/2 sacks last season.
The Eagles also have plans to sign quarterback Jeff Garcia as the backup for McNabb after watching Mike McMahon and Koy Detmer struggle in that role last year.
If things go as planned, unrestricted free agent LeCharles Bentley will be holding up an Eagles jersey for a photo opportunity by the end of the weekend after signing a lucrative long-term deal with the team. He is likely to get a signing bonus between $10 million and $12 million.
The market opened (after three delays) with the Browns and left tackle L.J. Shelton failing to come to an agreement on a new deal, so Shelton hit the market and the Browns are left-tackle shopping. The best one on the market is Brad Hopkins, who is 35 but has already drawn interest from the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Others include Jon Runyan, (last of the Philadelphia Eagles), Jason Fabini (last of the Jets), Damion McIntosh (Miami Dolphins), Kenyatta Walker (Bucs), Tom Ashworth (New England Patriots) and Kevin Shaffer (Atlanta Falcons).
It will also be interesting to see if the Pats dip into the linebacker crop, which is considered deep. The Pats have always appreciated the production of Indianapolis’ David Thornton, although he may be too small.
If the Pats lose Stephen Neal, offensive line could also be a priority. They’re close with former Jets center Kevin Mawae and have coveted former Philadelphia tackle Jon Runyan in the past.
Green Bay also is said to be a player for Adam Vinatieri, with a connnection coming in the front office in the form of Packers vice president Andrew Brandt, Vinatieri’s former Boston-based agent.
The Packers reportedly contacted the agent for left tackle Damion McIntosh of the Miami Dolphins but didn't set up a visit. McIntosh, 28, started at left tackle for Miami in 2004-'05 and for San Diego in 2001-'03.
The Philadelphia Eagles are not expected to release Terrell Owens until March 16, five days after the free-agency period opens. At this point, it appears one of the Broncos' biggest AFC West rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, are the front-runners for Owens. "I'll save you the trouble," said Drew Rosenhaus, Owens' agent. "I'm not going to have any comment on Terrell Owens during the free-agent period."
Gerard Warren's desire to remain with the Denver Broncos might soon become reality. Joel Segal, Warren's agent, maintained there was a possibility that the deal could still get done today. "I think there's a chance," he said. "We've made very good progress, things are moving in the right direction."
Linebacker Bart Scott is expected to visit the Cleveland Browns this weekend. His top choices are the Ravens, Cleveland, Green Bay, Minnesota and St. Louis.
Offensive tackle Orlando Brown said he has been informed by the team that he will be cut Monday. The Ravens will save $900,000 by releasing Brown. "I'm not mad," Brown said. "I don't want to retire, but I might be forced to retire. I love football and I still want to play."
The quarterback market improved slightly with the Oakland Raiders cutting Kerry Collins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers releasing Brian Griese. The Ravens would allow either Collins or Griese to compete with Kyle Boller for the starting job if signed, but they are not expected to pursue a veteran quarterback immediately.
The Ravens have begun contract negotiations with Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor, their two leading rushers who officially become free agents today. If the team can't make any progress with either of them, a league source said, the Ravens are prepared to pursue Edgerrin James, the top running back available, sometime next week. James, a vital cog in the Indianapolis Colts' high-powered offense, would likely command a more lucrative deal than Lewis.
An NFL source said Friday night DE Aaron Kampman had agreed to a multi-year extension with the Packers, mere hours before he was to hit the open market. Contract details weren't immediately available, but the deal is thought to be worth an average of about $5 million per year, similar to the four-year, $21 million deal Tennessee's Kyle Vanden Bosch received.
Though the Bears wouldn't mind adding a safety at the right price, they don't expect Adam Archuleta to slide through the first wave of signings.
Arizona's Josh McCown, who has started 22 games in the last three years, is the Bears' target of choice. But McCown has drawn interest from New Orleans, Detroit, Miami and Minnesota, all able to offer prospective starting jobs and some involved in multiple scenarios.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported Friday that Colts running back Edgerrin James will begin his free agent tour today with a visit with the Cardinals. Drew Rosenhaus, James' agent, declined comment.
Indiana Pacers shooting guard Fred Jones might not be out as long as originally expected. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Friday that Jones doesn't need surgery on his left thumb, which has a torn ligament in it. Jones flew to Indianapolis from Houston on Thursday to visit a specialist. "If he's feeling better by next week some time, there's a possibility he could play with a splint," Carlisle said.
Corey Chavous, a starter the past four seasons at Minnesota — with most of those starts at strong safety — may be making a visit to Rams Park in the near future as well. Chavous’ agent, Eugene Parker, declined comment on any Rams interest Friday. "There are several teams interested in Corey," Parker said.
One Viking who will not be visiting St. Louis is quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Just as they did several weeks ago, Rams officials adamantly denied any interest in Culpepper on Friday in the wake of new speculation involving Culpepper and the Rams. Since Culpepper is still under contract, tampering rules hindered the Rams from commenting directly.
Atop the Jets' wish at tackle is Atlanta free agent Kevin Shaffer, who's got youth and talent. The Jets' interest in a tackle could also include former Patriot Tom Ashworth, though he's not a LT anchor type. After replacing released center Kevin Mawae, the Jets might look at Miami's Seth McKinney, who was coached by Jet OL coach Tony Wise.
Another appealing free agent to the Saints is veteran center Kevin Mawae, a former LSU and New York Jets standout. Mawae's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said he has spoken with Loomis and plans to continue talking with him, but no specific plans have been made.
The Saints reportedly are interested in Carolina Panthers free-agent outside linebacker Will Witherspoon. He, San Francisco's Julian Peterson and Washington's LaVar Arrington are three of the best in the NFL at arguably the Saints' greatest position of need.
In another development, S Tebucky Jones has visited the Jets. Also, the club might pursue former Patriots LB Willie McGinest.
As free agency hits today, the Jets have been low-key. However, they might try to make a big splash and go after either left tackle Kevin Shaffer (Falcons) or center LeCharles Bentley (Saints), a pair of big-ticket items who would help solidify the offensive line.
The Rams need a middle linebacker, and the meaningless win at Dallas to end the regular season may have cost them a chance to draft Ohio State MLB A.J. Hawk.
Receivers the Bucs are believed to be targeting include Antwaan Randle El and Koren Robinson.
Beyond signing their own players the Bucs are also in the market for offensive tackles and wide receivers this shopping season. They visited with former Tennessee Titans left tackle Brad Hopkins on Thursday and have expressed an interest in possibly signing former Steelers defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen.
Published reports had the Bucs expressing an interest in possibly signing either Ryan Longwell or Adam Vinatieri, but sources with knowledge of the Bucs plans told The Tampa Tribune on Friday that their intention is "to re-sign our own guy," meaning Matt Bryant.
After making it clear that he intended to play at least one more season, Mike Alstott made sure that season will be spent playing for the Bucs when he agreed to terms on a new one-year contract late Friday night. The agreement, confirmed by Alstott's agent and believed to be worth about $2 million, came shortly before the start of the new league year and the free-agency signing period and just hours after the Bucs released three players to gain increased room under the league's $102 million salary cap.
At center, they could add a veteran such as Kevin Mawae, one of Bill Parcells' best free-agent signings when he was with the New York Jets. Mawae's agent, Mark Bartelstein, has spoken with the Cowboys.
A replacement must also be located for departed Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, and Will Witherspoon (Carolina) is considered by many to be the best available, although at a steep price.
Defensive end Andre Carter (San Francisco), defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu (Baltimore), safety Adam Archuleta (St. Louis) and quarterback Todd Collins (Kansas City) were expected to draw strong interest from Washington as soon as the market opened, and league sources believe wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (Pittsburgh), defensive end Darren Howard (New Orleans) and a cornerback like Andre Dyson (Seattle) could be contacted as well.
|03-11-2006, 10:35 AM||#3|
Rocky Mountain Thunder
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: United States
I don't see how the Chiefs are the "front-runner" for getting TO considering their lack of cap space. Of course, Peterson said he'd be willing to sign TO to a "one year, incentive laden contract." Yeah ... like TO would sign a deal like that.
|03-11-2006, 10:41 AM||#4|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Dec 2002
|03-11-2006, 10:47 AM||#5|
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Shanghai, China
I wonder if Brees is going to New Orleans with the hope that the owner will be moving the team to san antonio. He is a Texas boy after all.
|03-11-2006, 10:48 AM||#6|
Lost In Space
Join Date: Apr 2004
In today NFL, a couple of the right FAs and decent draft could turn franchise around in hurry. See the Rams as an example. A QB like Bree could make that offense very good really fast. There is talent there with Horn, Stallworth, McAllister.
|03-11-2006, 10:52 AM||#7|
It is what it Is.
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: in a bunker
|03-11-2006, 11:09 AM||#8|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Nov 2003
This will play right into our hands. We can trade our two first rounders and grab Lienart...
|03-11-2006, 11:56 AM||#10|
"Nemo Me Impune Lacessit"
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northern California
I think Givens would be perfect in this offense. A guy that doesn't complain about the number of balls he will be catching, has a suttle impact, and will block his a$$ off. I would take him over TO and his baggage any day of the week.