|03-16-2006, 11:13 AM||#1|
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Nfl Report Thur 3-16-06
Free-agent wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson said twice Wednesday afternoon he'd like to play for the Carolina Panthers. The bigger question might be if the Panthers are interested in Johnson. The team has a long-standing policy of not commenting on free-agent interest and a history of not pursuing players who have had trouble. Maybe it's wishful thinking on his part, but Johnson told the Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram he had spoken with the Panthers. On Sirius NFL Radio an hour later, Johnson said he had not talked to any teams.
The Joey Harrington era could be about to end. Harrington has not closed the door on Detroit, but he has serious reservations about returning to the Lions and whether he stays or goes should be resolved by the weekend, a person with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday. The person declined to say if Harrington had asked to be traded or released and said the decision ultimately would be up to the Lions. Meanwhile, the Lions remained in contact with Josh McCown even though they have agreed to a deal with Jon Kitna, three other sources said. The Lions have indicated they might sign two quarterbacks in free agency because Harrington might not be back, one of the sources said.
The Pats can go one of two directions. They can keep Mike Vrabel inside and go after an edge player. San Francisco’s Julian Peterson is one of the few marquee names left on the market and could even represent an upgrade over Willie McGinest. Normally, the Pats would have little to do with him because he’s represented by notorious agent Carl Poston, but Poston has reportedly been suspended by the NFLPA, so maybe there’s a crack in the door. Then again, maybe not, because Peterson is going to command big dollars no matter who his agent is. LaVar Arrington is another big name, but the way he plays (soft, undisciplined) screams out the word: anti-Patriot. Other possibilities include Tommy Polley, who has 3-4 experience, and Houston restricted free agent Antwan Peek, a Pats target in the past.
The Eagles could try to trade for Javon Walker, who is unhappy with his contract and has asked the Green Bay Packers for a trade. But the Packers have not agreed to trade Walker and certainly have not given him permission to talk to other teams, which is why a talk-radio report about Walker coming to town to talk to the Eagles yesterday could not have been true.
The Falcons confirmed for a new contract and have the ability to sign other free agents, like safety Lawyer Milloy, who was offered a three-year deal Monday.
Miami ramped up its interest in free-agent tackle Tom Ashworth and cornerback Ty Law. Multiple league sources said the Dolphins are pitted against the Buccaneers and Jets for Ashworth, a former Patriot. Law visited Miami last year before signing with the Jets, but the Dolphins aren't likely to pursue him until he drops his demands for a big contract.
The Jets are believed to want to trade a seventh-round pick for Patrick Ramsey; the Redskins are said to be holding out for at least a fifth-rounder. The Bucs, Lions, Bengals and Dolphins also might be interested in Ramsey, but the Redskins might have hurt their leverage yesterday by signing former Chiefs backup Todd Collins.
Now Keyshawn Johnson’s a free agent in a market in which perhaps no team needs a receiver more than the Patriots, and an obvious conclusion is being drawn. “Keyshawn used to play for Bill Belichick and they have a good relationship,” agent Jerome Stanley said yesterday. “He likes Bill Belichick and (Belichick’s assistant) Berj Najarian a lot. He’s close to Bill and Berj and they communicate a lot.” Said communication has not yet led Johnson to schedule an official visit, Stanley said. When asked if the Patriots had exhibited any interest, the agent hesitated. “I can’t talk about that,” Stanley said.
Dolphins coach Nick Saban has no plans to bring in outspoken Pro Bowl wide receivers Terrell Owens and Keyshawn Johnson. "I think we have two really good receivers. We have Chris Chambers, who went to the Pro Bowl, and Marty Booker, one of the leaders in yards per catch," Saban said. "If we could find someone who would complement those guys, that would certainly be something that would be a secondary priority on offense if we had the opportunity to do it."
The Eagles added a starting wide receiver last night when they agreed to a one-year deal with unrestricted free agent Jabar Gaffney, who started 50 of 64 games during his four seasons with the Houston Texans. Details of the deal were not immediately available. It remains to be seen if he will move into the starting lineup with the Eagles, who also have receivers Reggie Brown, Todd Pinkston, Greg Lewis, Billy McMullen and Darnerien McCants on the roster. McCants also signed a one-year deal yesterday.
The Raiders signed free-agent linebacker Henri Crockett on Wednesday in hopes of milking some production from a player who hasn't appeared in a game since the 2003 season. Crockett, 31, last played for the Minnesota Vikings. He is the younger brother of Raiders running back Zack Crockett. Injuries derailed a career that reached its pinnacle with Crockett's Super Bowl appearance for the Atlanta Falcons at the end of the 1998 season. Crockett has appeared in 103 games during an NFL career that started in 1997. He has played for the Falcons and Vikings.
The Jaguars agreed to terms Wednesday with Stockar McDougle, the 20th overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Detroit Lions. McDougle, 29, has a reputation similar to Mike Williams. He's a big player (6-6 and 348 pounds) noted for his athletic talent, but has yet to show enough intensity on the field.
A backup for running back Ronnie Brown is a Dolphins need. Travis Minor was re-signed to a one-year contract Wednesday but is mostly a special teams player. Possible free agents include Michael Bennett (Vikings), Najeh Davenport (Packers) and Maurice Morris (Seahawks). The Dolphins also have interest in a pass-catching fullback and have met with Fred Beasley, formerly of the 49ers.
The Vikings were discussing contract parameters Wednesday with free agent fullback William Henderson, who said after a visit that he could make a "huge impact" on the Vikings offense.
The Bengals might be able to fill two needs in one move when they visit with former University of Cincinnati receiver Antonio Chatman Friday. If he signs with the Bengals, Chatman could become the No. 4 receiver and punt return specialist. He was a restricted free agent, but the Packers did not tender him, meaning he is able to make a deal with any team.
Nick Saban said there has been no change in the status of Dolphins running back Ricky Williams. Williams is awaiting the results of his appeal of a fourth failed drug test and a potential one-year suspension. "Nothing has changed," Saban said. "There is no new information." The league doesn't release information about violations of the substance-abuse policy until a fine or suspension is given.
The Raiders met Wednesday with Josh McCown from the Arizona Cardinals but made no contract offer. McCown has been searching for a starting job himself after he was deposed by Kurt Warner last season.
According to published reports, Jets tackle Jason Fabini will visit Foxboro this week. All-Pro left tackle Jon Runyan, a possible target of the Patriots, won’t be visiting anytime soon. He’s vacationing in the Cayman Islands.
Unlike a year ago, there aren't many veteran quarterbacks available right now, according to NFL personnel people. Chris Weinke, the former great athlete at Cretin-Derham Hall, recently signed a three-year contract to stay with Carolina.
Apparently, the Vikings are not going to try to renegotiate the contract of center Matt Birk, who was injured all last year and will be paid $3.9 million this season.
The Dolphins were the only team that would give the Vikings a second-round draft choice for Daunte Culpepper. The only other team that had even slight interest was the Jets, and they were offering a lower draft choice. At no time did Oakland, Baltimore or Tennessee have any real interest in Culpepper. The big mystery is why former Vikings coach Dennis Green, now the Arizona coach, and former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, now coaching St. Louis, didn't make a bid to get a quarterback they know so well.
Joey Harrington wants out of Detroit, but the Jets aren't interested. They want a short-term insurance policy for Chad Pennington until the quarterback they are expected to draft next month is ready to take over.
According to multiple sources out of Atlanta, the Falcons have virtually no interest whatsoever in trading their valuable backup quarterback Matt Schaub. Yes, the Jets, like most teams around the league, covet Schaub. Many have inquired about acquiring him and have been turned away by Falcon management. And yes, the Jets are desperate to find a team interested in giving them good value for their franchised and disgruntled DE John Abraham, who's visited the Falcons and wants to play there because it's close to his South Carolina roots. The problem is this: Atlanta, while it likes Abraham, is not willing to part with Schaub nor is willing to trade its 15th overall first-round draft pick to the Jets for Abraham. According to league sources, Atlanta is hoping the Jets bite and trade them Abraham for a second- and a third-round draft pick. That, of course, would be the same kind of highway robbery the Jets were fleeced on in the Herman Edwards fourth-round draft pick compensation.
Chiefs free-agent receiver Marc Boerigter will visit Tampa Bay on Friday and is scheduled to be in Green Bay on Sunday.
Over the course of nine days in March, the Rams engaged in a spending spree that would make the Washington Redskins proud. Well, almost. It began March 6, with the signing of defensive tackle La'Roi Glover, and continued unabated through Tuesday's signing of cornerback Fakhir Brown. In between, the Rams re-signed local icon Isaac Bruce at wide receiver and added strong safety Corey Chavous and middle linebacker Will Witherspoon. Those five contracts represent $19.5 million in signing bonus money and a potential commitment of $88 million overall. In their 11 previous seasons in St. Louis, the team has never done anything like that.
Maryland tight end Vernon Davis dazzled pro scouts again with an impressive display at Maryland's pro day Wednesday. Terrapins Coach Ralph Friedgen showed up to watch the proceedings and said he has told Davis and his other draft-eligible players to keep their expectations in check. "I always tell them I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed," he said. Friedgen said he had no problem with Davis's decision to leave school early once he was told by the NFL's draft advisory board that he was projected to be a first-round pick.