Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson plans to sign his one-year, $1.176 million tender with the Vikings, according to NFL sources. That will leave defensive end Ray Edwards as the Vikings' only restricted free agent who has not signed his tender. The deadline for restricted free agents to shop their services was 11 p.m. Thursday, meaning Edwards' rights would belong exclusively to the Vikings unless he received a late offer. That does not mean Edwards is obligated to sign the tender, but he no longer can shop his services.
Browns fans have big dreams in the days before the NFL Draft, and team president Mike Holmgren tried to quash the biggest Thursday. Holmgren said it was highly unlikely that the Browns would move up from No. 7 to get Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. To get the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, they might have to trade with the St. Louis Rams to leap to No. 1. Holmgren said he doesn't foresee a scenario like then-coach Mike Ditka pulled off with the New Orleans Saints in 1999, giving all of the team's picks and a first-rounder in 2000 to the Washington Redskins to get University of Texas running back Ricky Williams.
The Bengals on Thursday re-signed linebacker Brandon Johnson, a restricted free agent. Johnson is entering his fifth NFL season and third with Cincinnati. He played in 16 regular-season games with three starts last season and also started the playoff game. He was seventh on the defense with 67 tackles and also had 11/2 sacks and a fumble recovery. He tied for second on special teams with 12 tackles. The Bengals waived cornerback Mike Mickens, a former University of Cincinnati player who spent six games on the practice squad last season.
The Jaguars have sent a message to the rest of the league: They're ready and willing trade out of the first round for more draft picks next week during the NFL Draft. And they didn't wait until the day of the draft to start trade talks. General manager Gene Smith and his top deputy, director of player personnel Terry McDonough, said they have been talking with teams since the scouting combine. "We've been networking with the league and having constant dialogue," Smith said Thursday at the team's annual pre-draft luncheon.
As Thursday evening's deadline approached for restricted free agents to receive outside offers, all was quiet for Rams RFAs Oshiomogho Atogwe, Alex Barron and Clifton Ryan. Once the midnight (Eastern time) deadline passed, the only option for most restricted free agents is to sign their one-year tenders. But Atogwe's situation is different because he was tendered at such a low level by the Rams. As a result, if the veteran safety does not sign his tender offer by June 1, the Rams must pay him 110 percent of his 2009 salary - which would be $6,976,000. If the Rams decide not to do so, Atogwe becomes a free agent.
The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't talked with other teams about dealing embattled quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but they've had significant internal discussions about the matter, a source with knowledge of the situation said Thursday. According to the source, Steelers ownership remains dismayed and embarrassed by Roethlisberger's actions this offseason and finds his string of off-the-field incidents troubling. The team has been closely monitoring the public backlash against Roethlisberger. "The Rooneys are livid," the source said.
Sam Bradford to the Rams with the No. 1 pick in next week's draft has the feel of a foregone conclusion, but it's still not without its potential complications. A source close to the situation told FanHouse on Wednesday that Bradford is "not doing a deal, period, until he is drafted." That would represent a change in recent trends. The last two No. 1 picks -- Matthew Stafford of the Lions in 2009 and Jake Long of the Dolphins in 2008 -- agreed to contracts before they were selected, as did Mario Williams of the Texans in 2006.
The Jason Taylor decision is taking longer than some folks in the Jets' organization expected, but they're giving him his space and it looks like they will be rewarded. The word close to Taylor is that he's leaning heavily toward accepting the Jets' offer, believed to be a two-year contract. Not sure why it's taking so long, but don't be surprised if it goes into next week. Obviously, the Jets want to know before the draft, next Thursday, because it could have a dramatic impact on their draft strategy.
RB Leon Washington, a restricted free agent, will sign his one-year tender tomorrow -- an amount of $1.759 million, according to a source. Washington has been rehabbing and working out at a facility in Pensacola, Fla., skipping the Jets' voluntary program. He had hoped to attract a suitor, but his leg injury caused teams to shy away. The RFA signing period ends today.
Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said the team is not shopping Marshawn Lynch in a trade, and he warned fans not to get too focused on the team's needs in the first round of the NFL draft. Lynch has yet to show up at the Bills' voluntary offseason conditioning workouts. He lost his starting running back job to Fred Jackson last season. And it's believed he would welcome a trade out of Buffalo. Nix, speaking at the Bills' annual pre-draft news conference, said the team needs and wants Lynch. "Our intention is for Marshawn to be here," Nix said. "He's under contract. We think he's a good back. We need two backs. Our intentions are for him to be here…."
Falcons running back Jason Snelling signed his one-year restricted free agent tender on Thursday, according to his agent Scott Smith. "He has enjoyed his time with the Falcons so far and he looks forward to helpiing the team to succeed in the future," said Scott, who is based in Madison, Wis. "He's really happy there." Snelling was tendered at the second round level and will receive a base salary of $1.684 in 2010. Snelling, a seventh round pick (244th overall) in 2007 from Virginia, rushed for 613 yards on 142 carries last season. He played some fullback and running back as the team was beset with injuries in the backfield. In the season finale against Tampa Bay, he rushed for 147 yards.
Veteran cornerback Lito Sheppard is visiting the Detroit Lions according to a tweet from the NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora. LaCanfora also reports the Vikings, Bears and Raiders could emerge as suitors for Sheppard.
Coach Tony Sparano has often said the Dolphins are happy with their wide receivers. Well, I guess one would have to define happiness if, as I suspect, the report Ted Ginn is on the trade block is correct. NFL.com's Jason LaCanfora tweeted that Ginn is being shopped by the Dolphins. My question is who would buy and for how much? Ginn is coming off a year in which he regressed in 2009. He caught 38 passes for 454 yards and one touchdown. He also dropped eight passes, which was among the NFL leaders in that category.