|03-14-2006, 07:28 AM||#1|
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
NFL Report Tuesday 3-14-06
Several sources have indicated that the Dolphins are in hot pursuit of Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub, the 6-5 backup to Michael Vick. Schaub, who's in the final year of his three-year rookie $1.85 million contract, has started two games in two seasons. A source said the Falcons have received inquiries from several teams this offseason for Schaub, but it would take "a high pick" to possibly get him.
The Titans and receiver David Givens have agreed on money. All that's left now is for Givens, one of the top players in free agency, to give his final nod of approval to Tennessee's contract offer, something the Titans, the player's agent — and Givens — expect to happen today. The two sides agreed in principle to a five-year deal yesterday. "I am definitely leaning toward the Titans, you can say that,'' Givens said last night. "I had a good visit with the Coach (Jeff) Fisher and the rest of the coaches. I came in here exhausted from the last couple of days, but everything really went well. I like the system they have and the ideas that they have as far as utilizing me as a player. … They made me feel comfortable here. It seems like a good fit.''
According to a source, the Dolphins reached a contract impasse with free-agent quarterback Drew Brees. After three consecutive days of negotiations, the Dolphins and Brees were unable to reach an agreement as the source said that the 2004 Pro Bowl quarterback and his agent Tom Condon were "asking for too much." The source added that Brees flew back to Birmingham, Ala., Monday night and could possibly decide between the Saints and Dolphins later that evening. The Dolphins are apparently having reservations about giving him too much guaranteed money because of the his serious shoulder injury sustained in the 2005 season finale.
There's no rush for the Ravens to sign a quarterback because second-tier prospects such as Kerry Collins have received little interest. That allows the Ravens to wait and see if another quarterback - perhaps Steve McNair from the salary cap-strapped Tennessee Titans - becomes available.
The Eagles must make a decision on Terrell Owens by Tuesday, before he is due a $5 million roster bonus. There's as much chance of the Eagles paying that as there is of Donovan McNabb taking a spring break trip with Owens. Thus, the Eagles must either trade or release Owens by Tuesday. A team official said there have been "some sniffs." But if no team has traded for Owens by now, it's unlikely they will do it by Tuesday. Look for Owens to be released and one of the biggest stories of the offseason to kick off. NFL executives believe Dallas, Kansas City and Denver are the three most likely landing spots.
A league source confirmed yesterday that the Eagles are listening to offers for defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, but it's not a certainty that the team will trade him. The Eagles are trying to find out if any team looking for a run-stopping defensive tackle will make a worthwhile offer. Thomas, an Eagle since 1996, is going into the final year of his contract and is scheduled to make a base salary of $670,000 next season.
Willie McGinest may opt to make that history with the Browns, who are coached by former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. The two remain close. A number of other teams are interested, with the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins considered potential suitors.
The Bengals could be on the verge of making major headlines if they can land arguably the top-rated linebacker on the open market, LaVar Arrington. Talks between the Bengals and representatives for Arrington are believed to be in the early stages, but things could heat up real soon. According to Arrington's agent, Kevin Poston, the Bengals have contacted him regarding the Pro-Bowl linebacker, with the latest conversation taking place on Monday.
Drew Brees, who arrived in South Florida on Sunday and dined with Nick Saban that night, remained at Dolphins camp well into Monday evening before returning to Birmingham, Ala., to resume his injury rehabilitation. Condon and the team are expected to maintain talks. For the Dolphins and Condon, who is considered a hard-line negotiator, the main issue was over guaranteed money. The Saints are believed to have offered more than $8 million. The Dolphins might not be willing to go there, but Brees has been advised by many friends and associates to sign with Miami. The thinking is that the Dolphins are more stable and in a better position to win than the downtrodden Saints. However, there is some concern that he might not play this season. New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington and former No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch have struggled to come back from similar injuries.
The Oakland Raiders could be interested in Daunte Culpepper if the Vikings lower their asking price of a second-round draft pick. The Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints also are looking to improve at quarterback. The Vikings continue to shop the disgruntled Culpepper but haven't found a trade partner. Some teams expect the Vikings to release Culpepper before March 25, when he is due a $6 million roster bonus — one of the sticking points to a potential trade.
The Falcons kicked the recruitment of free-agent safety Lawyer Milloy into high gear, meeting with him and giving him a tour of the team's facilities at Flowery Branch. The Falcons coaching staff spent most of Monday making a pitch to pique Milloy's interest. Possibly working in their favor: Atlanta can offer an immediate starting job, and the guy who could draw up a contract for the Falcons is Milloy's former agent.
There might not be any more free-agent wideouts of note available, but the Eagles could trade for Javon Walker from the Packers, assuming Green Bay is moved to grant Walker's trade request. Coming off ACL surgery, Walker wouldn't require anything lavish. Of course, he also might not be full speed this coming season, either.
Will Shields, who’s been through four coaches, seven starting quarterbacks and 207 straight games in the starting lineup, is staying in Kansas City. Shields has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will allow him to retire with the Chiefs, his agent, Joe Linta, said Monday. “They were very accommodating people,” Linta said. “Everybody’s pretty happy.” The deal ended a month’s worth of speculation surrounding a lifelong Chief who has been the anchor of one of the NFL’s top offensive lines.
If Drew Brees goes to New Orleans and Daunte Culpepper gets his wish and goes to Miami, where he could even be teamed with Terrell Owens, the Raiders would have little choice but to attempt to re-sign Kerry Collins and hope for the best. It's not an ideal situation but an ideal situation may not exist.
According to a source in Pittsburgh, the Patriots have interest in running back Verron Haynes, a backup with the Steelers for the last four years who would presumably fill the same role with the Patriots.
The Bears now will shift into wait-and-see mode with various free-agent targets, which include small-name returners and quarterbacks Josh McCown, Brian Griese and Gus Frerotte, if Miami releases him.
Quarterback Josh McCown, a free agent from Arizona, completed his visit Monday but left without a signing a contract. The Lions expect a visit from tight end Dan Campbell, who spent four seasons with the Giants and the last three in Dallas.
The Jets are expected to decide on a quarterback by the end of the week. Jon Kitna appears to be their top choice to compete with - and perhaps unseat - Chad Pennington for the starting job. But the Jets would have to commit to Kitna beyond one year, whereas Patrick Ramsey is entering the final year of his contract.
Free agent receiver Tim Dwight scheduled a meeting with the New York Jets, joining former Patriots teammates Tom Ashworth and Matt Chatham, who have also met with ex-Pats defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, now the Jets’ head coach.
Safety Chris Hope yesterday visited the Tennessee Titans and will visit the San Francisco 49ers this week.
Free-agent nose tackle Ryan Pickett flew out of Green Bay on Monday afternoon knowing how much the Packers want him but without signing a contract. Pickett was headed for Buffalo and a meeting with the Bills, whose new defensive line coach, Bill Kollar, served as Pickett's position coach throughout his five-year career in St. Louis.
To replace Ryan Longwell, Packers GM Ted Thompson said "there's always options," and didn't rule out spending big money on a high-profile kicker, such as New England's Adam Vinatieri or Indianapolis' Mike Vanderjagt - as unlikely as that may seem to some.
With Edgerrin James now flashing his golden smile in Phoenix, the Indianapolis Colts must find a suitable replacement. It won't be easy, according to Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. "Edgerrin James is not replaceable,'' Manning said Monday morning from Knoxville, Tenn. "At the same time, you have to try to make the best out of the situation. To find somebody that can do all of the things he has done in this offense will certainly be a challenge, one that we certainly need to undertake. "Out of respect to him, it's going to be awfully tough to do, but we'll be committed to do it. Obviously as a team if you sit and sulk over it too long, you never get on with it.''
Start fitting Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson for a Minnesota Vikings. The $50 million offer sheet that Hutchinson signed Sunday with the Vikings includes a provision dictating that he be the highest paid offensive lineman on his team this season -- or the entire $50 million contract becomes fully guaranteed, according to someone who has seen the offer sheet. Well, Seattle offensive tackle Walter Jones averages $7.5 million per year, while Hutchinson's contract pays him an average of $7 million per year. So if Seattle matched Hutchinson's offer sheet, it not only would have to figure out how to squeeze in this year's $13-million-plus salary-cap figure, but it also would have to guarantee a whopping $50 million to Hutchinson, making it the richest cash contract in NFL history by a cool $15 million.
The Titans also remain interested in signing a veteran center following the departure of Justin Hartwig to the Panthers. Former Jets center Kevin Mawae is one possibility, according to Reese.
The Chargers signaled they are interested in spending some of the ample money they have under the salary cap, expressing interest in wide receiver David Givens. Asked about Givens yesterday, General Manager A.J. Smith confirmed, “We threw our hat into the ring.” Brad Blank, Givens' agent, said he heard from the Chargers on Sunday but had not spoken with them since.
Among the few remaining are two players long connected to Denver: receiver Terrell Owens and defensive end John Abraham. Owens will be released by the Eagles in the next 48 hours and Abraham is touring potential teams the Jets may trade him to. The Broncos likely will visit with Abraham this week.
|03-14-2006, 07:30 AM||#2|
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Join Date: May 2003
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Atlanta also is in search of a veteran defensive end, but interest in the New York Jets' John Abraham appears to have waned. Detroit's Kalimba Edwards, from East Point, is available.
The free-agent tackle with the highest profile is 32-year-old Jon Runyan, a 6-7, 330-pound fixture on the right side for the Eagles. Runyan is a durable 10-year veteran who excels in the running game but often struggles against edge rushers. With southpaw Chris Simms installed as Tampa Bay's No. 1 quarterback, the right tackle will be expected to provide critical protection for the blind side. Runyan is on vacation in the Cayman Islands until Saturday, and he has not visited other clubs since free agency began March 11.
Offensive tackle Mike Williams, a No.4 overall pick in the 2002 draft and whom the Buffalo Bills cut last month, visited the Jaguars on Monday, according to senior vice president Paul Vance.
David Givens spent last night in Nashville, pondering his NFL future, as the Titans put a $24 million offer on the table attempting to persuade the Patriots' free agent wideout to make Tennessee his home for the next five years.
San Francisco 49ers LB Julian Peterson, who is also a free agent. Peterson has long been rumored to be drawing interest from the Cleveland Browns, but Poston said he hasn't set up anything with the organization as of yet.
As far as punters, the Ravens have shown interest in Carolina Panthers free agent Jason Baker but have not scheduled a visit. Baker, who led the NFC with a 38.9-yard net average, is expected to meet with the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks. Another possibility is Sean Landeta, who attended Loch Raven High and Towson State.
Gil Scott, the agent for former Colts place-kicker Mike Vanderjagt, has contacted the Green Bay Packers regarding his client. When asked by a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel if the Packers were interested, Scott replied, "I would say a little bit, yeah.'' Scott and Vanderjagt did not return telephone messages.
The Colts' task now is to find a replacement for David Thornton, who started 47 regular-season games the past three seasons, and reinforce the linebacker position. Top prospects include Gilbert Gardner, a third-round pick in 2004 who has managed only 31 tackles while seeing limited playing time the past two seasons, and Tyjuan Hagler, a fifth-round pick in '05 who missed his entire rookie season after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia. The Colts might sign a mid-level free agent in the coming weeks, look for another young prospect in the April 29-30 draft or re-sign a couple of their own veterans who are free agents, most notably Rob Morris and Rocky Calmus.
The Dolphins also brought in kicker Mike Vanderjagt, fullback Fred Beasley and offensive lineman Tom Ashworth for visits. Bringing in Vanderjagt is curious. The former Pro Bowl kicker is the most accurate in NFL history at 87.5 percent, but his visit comes after Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare posted his best season since 2001. Mare has been with the Dolphins for nine years, holds all the team records for kicking and is the fifth-most accurate kicker in league history at 82 percent. Mare is also exceptionally good at kickoffs, ranking near the top in touchbacks annually.
The Eagles previously gave Terrell Owens and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, permission to seek a trade. The Dolphins, Broncos and Dallas Cowboys appear to be the front-runners among the handful of interested teams. Any club trading for Owens would inherit the remainder of the seven-year, nearly $49 million contract that produced his problems with the Eagles. If he's released, he and Rosenhaus would be free to negotiate an entirely new deal, but most teams probably would want Owens to accept an incentive-laden contract with relatively little guaranteed money.
The Saints, meanwhile, brought in free-agent quarterback Josh McCown for a visit Monday. McCown has shown flashes early in his career, and many believe his best football is in front of him. It is unclear if the Saints would consider him a starting or franchise quarterback -- or if they are interested in him as a stopgap and eventual backup to the No. 2 pick in next month's draft.
|03-14-2006, 07:37 AM||#4|
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
The Chiefs made their first moves in free agency, but it’s unclear whether the visits from Seattle defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and Giants cornerback Will Allen mean they are real shoppers or merely looking. Neither president/general manager Carl Peterson nor coach Herm Edwards was available to answer questions. Peterson last week said the Chiefs would sit out free agency’s opening flurry and not be major players in the market.
The Saints' fate when it comes to signing free-agent quarterback Drew Brees appears to be in the hands of the Miami Dolphins. Brees' agent, Tom Condon, was in contract negotiations with the Dolphins on Monday after the 27-year-old quarterback was courted by Miami coach Nick Saban and General Manager Randy Mueller. The Saints reportedly have offered more guaranteed money than Miami -- in the neighborhood of $8 million to $10 million -- but it is likely that Brees would prefer the Dolphins if they can come closer to his demands of more guaranteed money up front.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, a native of Greybull, Wyo., was trying to stir some interest from the Broncos, but no visit is yet planned.
The Broncos and Jets have discussed a trade for John Abraham - discussions that were far enough along to get Abraham and the Broncos to the contract stage. Abraham is looking for a megadeal but has an injury history and a 2003 arrest for driving while impaired that has caused concern for some teams. Abraham is believed to have lined up visits in the coming days to Denver, Seattle, Cleveland and Atlanta, but that's if he escapes Washington without a deal. The deep-pocketed Redskins had him in for a visit Monday.
The Texans pursued New England's David Givens, who is close to signing with Tennessee, and Cincinnati restricted free agent Kevin Walter. The Bengals have until Sunday to match the four-year, $6.4 million offer sheet for Walter.
Jeff Garcia remains the most likely candidate to sign with the Eagles as a backup quarterback.
Jeremiah Trotter also said he'd love to see the Eagles sign LaVar Arrington to play strong-side linebacker, but that's not likely to happen. Kevin Poston, one of Arrington's agents, said the Eagles have inquired, but that other teams have shown more interest. Arrington visited with the New York Giants earlier this week.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Eagles came close to signing wide receiver Brian Finneran before he agreed to a four-year, $8 million contract with the Falcons yesterday.
The Steelers will also host Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark today at their South Side practice facility. Clark, who will enter his fifth season, started for the 'Skins last season and had 57 tackles and three interceptions.
Charlie Batch will sign a contract with the Steelers this afternoon for the third time in five years. Batch and the Steelers came to an agreement yesterday on a three-year contract that will pay him more than $1 million annually, nearly double what he earned last season. He was promoted to No. 2 quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger at midseason when Tommy Maddox faltered. Maddox was released last week.
Jon Kitna, a proven veteran, remains atop the Jets' wish list at the QB position but the Lions are also interested. Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey would be the fall-back candidate.
Jets defensive end John Abraham visited the Redskins yesterday but left without a contract. The next stop on his tour is believed to be Seattle, Cleveland or Atlanta. Denver is also in the mix.
As for the biggest fish the Giants are trying to catch, LaVar Arrington's agent, Carl Poston, said he spoke to the Giants yesterday, but the team did not make an offer. Poston expects the Giants to make a proposal today. There's also a chance Arrington could visit other teams.
The Jets are believed to be close to signing Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham, and discussions are continuing with Patriots offensive tackle Tom Ashworth. The club is also interested in Titans veteran left tackle Brad Hopkins.
Free agent receiver David Givens plans to spend an extra day scouting neighborhoods in Tennessee after receiving a contract offer from the Titans that trumps the five-year, $18.5 million deal offered by Houston. “David had never set foot in Tennessee until this afternoon,” agent Brad Blank said. “After spending a day with the medical staff and in the offices, he felt he couldn’t decide on an offer until he had seen the city.” Givens also received an offer from the Patriots yesterday, but it is believed to be closer to Houston’s than Tennessee’s.
Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest has yet to hear from the Patriots regarding a return to the team and is ready to finish his career elsewhere, according to an interview with ESPN.com. “There are a lot of great memories from all those seasons in New England,” McGinest said, “but they’re called memories for a reason. I’ve still got some history to go out and make.” The Patriots cut McGinest last week rather than pay him a $3.5 million roster bonus. He stood to make at least $7 million in salary next season.
The Patriots released linebacker Chad Brown, who was due a $200,000 roster bonus next month, to save $1.08 million against the salary cap. “Chad is thankful for the opportunity he had with the Patriots,” agent Peter Schaffer said. “He has tremendous respect for Scott Pioli, Bill Belichick and the fans of New England. He enjoyed his time there and has no hard feelings. He understands the nature of the business.” When asked if the 35-year-old Brown is considering retirement after 13 seasons, Shaffer said, “he’s weighing all his options.”
Antwaan Randle El could have been deliberate. Philadelphia, Chicago, New England, Houston and Minnesota sought a big-play wide receiver, but the Redskins were the only team he visited before signing a seven-year, $31 million deal, with $11.5 million in guaranteed money. The difference, Randle El said, was the strong play the Redskins made. "Free agency started at 12:01. I got a call at 12:05, and they kept putting plusses on the chart," he said. "Coach Gibbs asked to speak with my wife. My wife? It was all about the approach. The Redskins made that first step into the door."
Joe Gibbs conceded the Redskins needs help at linebacker after the departure of LaVar Arrington, but the best of a thin free agent class has already signed elsewhere with little interest from Washington. The Redskins did make an overture to linebacker Akin Ayodele, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, but he signed with Dallas yesterday
The Minnesota Vikings brought in Green Bay Packers No. 3 quarterback Craig Nall for a visit Monday. Packers free agent fullback William Henderson is scheduled to visit the Vikings today. If both Nall and Henderson were to sign with the Vikings, Minnesota would have six ex-Packers on its roster. They would join Longwell, O'Sullivan, safety Darren Sharper and wide receiver Kelvin Kight.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf isn't skimping on food for free agents the team has been trying to sign. Last weekend, the Vikings catered pork chops and other top-priced items from J.D. Hoyt's in downtown Minneapolis for recruiting visits to Winter Park. The team also provided limousines as part of the process.
Al Davis has only drafted three quarterbacks in the first round -- Eldridge Dickey, 1968; Marc Wilson, 1980; Todd Marinovich, 1991 -- since joining the Raiders in 1963. He's 76. Why would he want to build around a rookie now?
|03-14-2006, 07:50 AM||#5|
Join Date: Jun 2004
Simply Denuis move by Minny
"a provision dictating that he be the highest paid offensive lineman on his team this season -- or the entire $50 million contract becomes fully guaranteed, according to someone who has seen the offer sheet. Well, Seattle offensive tackle Walter Jones averages $7.5 million per year, while Hutchinson's contract pays him an average of $7 million per year. So if Seattle matched Hutchinson's offer sheet, it not only would have to figure out how to squeeze in this year's $13-million-plus salary-cap figure, but it also would have to guarantee a whopping $50 million to Hutchinson, making it the richest cash contract in NFL history by a cool $15 million."