Pre-vacation cleanup: 10 items on to-do list, starting with McCoy, Brees, FA bargains


Colt McCoy could be a great pickup for six teams in particular. (Getty Images)  
Colt McCoy could be a great pickup for six teams in particular. (Getty Images)  

The final minicamps are over and everyone in the NFL is just about ready to go on vacation. With all the rookies signed, even the contract negotiators (which I once was) will get a real vacation. But before everyone races out of the parking lot and heads to the lake, here's a few things left to do:

1. Teams like the Packers, Chiefs, Saints, Bucs, Rams, and Ravens should make a call to the Browns and find out just how serious they are about trading Colt McCoy.

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2. The Saints need to push the Drew Brees deal to $20 million per year, get him signed and let him get his offseason throwing program with his receivers going. Opening day isn't that far away.

3. Pro personnel directors need to look closely at the remaining quality free agents and grab one or two to fill in the back end of their rosters. Plaxico Burress, Vernon Carey, Patrick Crayton, Visanthe Shiancoe, James Hall, Jim Leonhard, Gary Brackett and Cedric Benson among others can still play and probably start for some teams.

4. Either the Bears or the Ravens need to sign their franchise running back now. Whether it's Matt Forte or Ray Rice, the team that waits will spend more to get their guy under a long term deal later this summer. Remember what Chris Johnson got when he held out?

5. The Lions need to get a long term deal done with Jim Schwartz before he heads out for some R&R.

6. The Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders may want to celebrate the retirement of LaDainian Tomlinson by sending him a thoughtful thank you note. LT had a 34-22 record against his former division opponents and his numbers were ridiculous: 1,142 rushes, 5,099 yards, 56 rushing touchdowns, 193 receptions, 1,331 yards and seven receiving touchdowns. LT averaged 115 yards of total offense a game against the AFC West.

7. Time for Bountygate to go away even if that means reducing some of the player suspensions. Cut the four player penalties in half and put the issue behind us so the focus is on the upcoming season.

8. All the first-round picks unsigned just need to get their deals done. The era of the holdout is over.

9. Some team or teams should make a consulting deal with former Eagle executive Joe Banner. Hand him all of your contracts (which he probably already knows verbatim) and when vacation is over he will have a nice set of guidelines for the future of your club.

10. The Steelers should spell out to Mike Wallace just how much money he can lose under the restricted tag and two franchise tags over the next three years versus doing a five-year deal now with significant guaranteed money in it. He will see $23.43 million over three years ($7.81 average) under the three tags IF he stays healthy. Keep in mind the franchise tag went down $2 million from 2011. A five-year deal now averaging just over $8 million should put $18 million guaranteed in his pocket now and close to $28 million over the first three years. He may be better than DeSean Jackson, who got $51 million over five years, but Jackson came into the NFL in 2008 and had a franchise tag on him this year. Wallace came in 2009 and is only a restricted free agent and simply doesn't have the same leverage. Both players were born in 1986, and Jackson now knows his contract expires as he turns 30. If Wallace plays on three tags he will be looking for a long term deal when he's going to be 28 and any serious injuries between now and then will hurt his market value.

Pat Kirwan has been around the league since 1972, serving in a variety of roles. He was a scout for the Cardinals and Buccaneers, a coach for the Jets as well as the team's Director of Player Administration where he negotiated contracts and managed the team's salary cap. He is the author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, and the host of Sirius NFL Radio's Moving the Chains.

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