Some updated NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:
As folks in Philly begin to process the reality that Mike Vick is the newest member of the Eagles, most people are assuming that current starting quarterback Donovan McNabb has given the deal his personal seal of approval. According to a league source with intimate knowledge of the dynamics within the organization, McNabb isn't pleased with the development. But McNabb can't say anything about it for now, due in part to the fact that the Eagles gave him a money-for-nothing contract adjustment and otherwise spent a lot of cash and first-day picks to improve the offense, at McNabb's urging.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did the Browns a huge favor by suspending receiver Donte Stallworth without pay for the 2009 season. It relieves the Browns of a combustible public-relations issue and even costlier consequences to their team salary cap. The Browns can keep Stallworth on the reserve/suspended list through the 2009 season. He will be out of sight and out of mind. He is able to work out on his own, according to modified terms of his house arrest granted by a Florida judge on Tuesday, but the NFL prohibits him from entering the Browns' team facility.
By this evening, an Atlanta jury is expected to decide whether Brandon Marshall is a violent, abusive boyfriend or the victim of an extortion attempt by a disgruntled former girlfriend. While the truth may lie somewhere in the complicated middle, those were the two disparate arguments presented by lawyers Thursday on the first day of Marshall's trial in Atlanta on a misdemeanor battery charge, the result of a fight with his former girlfriend on March 4, 2008. Whether the Broncos will have to play regular-season games without Marshall, the team's No. 1 wide receiver who had more than 100 catches in each of the past two seasons, could hinge on what those four women and two men decide.
After Wednesday's last full-pads practice of the week before the Bears scale it down in preparation for Saturday night's preseason opener against the Bills, quarterback Jay Cutler was asked if he would offer an opinion on whom he wants on the final roster. "Oh yeah," Cutler said. "I think they're definitely going to ask me. If they don't ask me, I'm going to tell them what I think because I've got to be the one throwing to them on game day, and I've got to trust them."
Coach Rex Ryan angrily denied an Internet report that said the Jets are shopping RB Thomas Jones, who is unhappy with his contract. "I promise you, that is ridiculous," Ryan said. "Shoot, I'm not going to trade that. You know what I'm all about. This guy is huge in our plans. I'm not going to trade the running back that led the AFC in rushing. We ain't dealing him. No way."
A source said that Michael Crabtree almost certainly will sign, unless he's crazy enough to start skipping game-checks, which he probably isn't, but that it won't be until in the weeks or days before the 49ers' Sept. 13 regular-season opener. The key: agent Eugene Parker doesn't want to budge, well, at least until September, on his demands for a slot-busting deal that would get Crabtree something close to one of the biggest guarantees among the rookie deals of '09, despite his being drafted 10th. Parker's reputation, for now and in recruiting for future No. 1 picks, is at stake.
It has been well documented that the day of reckoning on Vince Young's future with the Tennessee Titans is scheduled for 2010. That's when Young's salary cap number jumps to more than $14 million, thanks in large part to a $7.5 million base salary in the fifth year of his original six-year contract. Young also has a base salary of $8.5 million scheduled for 2011. But Young's agent, Major Adams, told The City Paper that he and Young might be willing to lower that cap number in an effort to remain on the team, if something agreeable can be worked out.
The New Orleans Saints are going to kick the tires on former defensive player of the year Derrick Brooks, but they're not the only team that has taken interest in the 36-year-old 11-time Pro Bowler. A league source said the Oakland Raiders have spoken to Brooks recently, but it's unknown what their level of interest is for the veteran linebacker, who has been out of work since he was cast off by the new regime of GM Mark Dominick and coach Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay.
Defensive lineman Shaun Smith counterpunched the Browns by saying that their star defensive player, nose tackle Shaun Rogers, wants to return to Detroit. Smith, who was dumped by the Browns on Saturday and signed with Detroit on Monday, wasted no time stirring things up in his first interview sessions with Detroit media.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said yesterday the upcoming labor uncertainty has made it difficult to move forward in locking up his marquee players to long-term deals. Speaking after a news conference to announce a partnership between the Patriots and the Massachusetts lottery, Kraft indicated his team is proceeding cautiously with contract negotiations because of the potential for a lockout. That could make things interesting for the Patriots. Among the big-ticket players with expiring contracts in the next two years are quarterback Tom Brady, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, defensive end Richard Seymour, guard Logan Mankins and kicker Stephen Gostkowski.