Colts owner Jim Irsay posted on Twitter today that the team has released safety Bob Sanders. "We have released Bob Sanders today. We thank Bob 4 all his incredible contributions from his Sup Bowl pic 2 def player of year honors," Irsay said. Sanders has only played in 9 regular season games the past three seasons due to injuries. The Colts selected the safety in the 2nd round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
The New Orleans Saints wrapped up their visit with free agent defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. Rogers did not sign a contract, but Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said the visit went well. "Good visit," said Loomis, who described it as "fact finding for both sides at this point." Rogers, a three-time Pro Bowler who turns 32 next month, has also visited the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs since he was released last week by the Cleveland Browns. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Rogers does not have any other visits scheduled for now. Rogers is free to sign with any team he wants up until March 4, since he was released before the end of the current league year.
Kris Jenkins is keeping the Jets involved as the defensive tackle recovers from a second serious knee injury. If the Jets want Jenkins involved with them next season, he doesn't know. NJ.com reports Jenkins is working out in New Jersey in an attempt to return to the NFL after his previous two seasons were ended by torn knee ligaments. The report says Jenkins talks to Jets trainers "every few days." The former Pro Bowl player is one of many decisions the Jets have to make about their 2011 roster.
"Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay's approach to reaching a long-term contract with quarterback Peyton Manning remains unchanged. Irsay said Thursday he has issued an offer that would make the NFL's only four-time MVP the highest-paid player in league history, and hopes to finalize a five- or six-year contract sooner rather than later. The Colts placed the "exclusive franchise" designation on Manning this week to keep him from hitting the free-agent market. He's in the final year of a seven-year, $98 million contract. The franchise tag will pay Manning, who turns 35 in March, $23.1 million for 2011. A long-term deal would surpass the four-year, $72 million extension the New England Patriots gave to Tom Brady.
John Elway, the Broncos' new front-office boss, re-emphasized by Twitter on Thursday the team's commitment to re-sign cornerback Champ Bailey before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. But no thanks to chief nemesis Al Davis, the Broncos have a ways to go before they can reach an agreement with their cornerback. Davis, the Oakland Raiders' owner, re-signed Richard Seymour, a defensive end who will turn 32 in October, to a two-year contract that has been reported by multiple outlets as having $22.5 million guaranteed. The Broncos' offer to Bailey, who will turn 33 in June, has less than $15 million guaranteed.
The Eagles placed the franchise tag on QB Michael Vick earlier this week, a move that is very likely a precursor to a long-term contract. So where does that leave fellow Philadelphia QB Kevin Kolb, who will be entering his fifth season without something he had at the start of his fourth year: a starting job. Though Kolb is an important insurance policy to the injury-prone Vick, he's also a valuable trade commodity given he's unsigned after 2011 and is only due $1.4 million next season -- a topic Philadelphia president Joe Banner has touched on. Kolb could follow the career paths of players like Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Schaub, signal callers who flourished in other cities after sitting and waiting as back-ups on the teams that drafted them.
The New York Jets are willing to let cornerback Antonio Cromartie explore free agency this offseason, sources said Wednesday. The Jets hope to re-sign wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards first because they want to maintain continuity on their offense. They believe surrounding young quarterback Mark Sanchez with veterans Holmes and Edwards is essential, according to a source. Edwards led the Jets with seven touchdown catches this past season and was second in receptions with 53. Holmes, whom the Jets acquired after the 2009 season from the Pittsburgh Steelers, was second in TD catches (six) and third in receptions (52) despite missing the first four regular-season games.
Having in recent years lost a premier pass rusher, the Chiefs were determined not to let it happen again, this time with outside linebacker Tamba Hali. They effectively prevented Hali, who led the AFC last season with 14 1/2 sacks, from becoming a free agent in 2011 by designating him as their franchise player. "You need a guy to go and get the quarterback," former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "You've got to knock the quarterback down and that's what Tamba brings to the table." Edwards coached the Chiefs in 2008 when they traded the NFL's leading pass rusher, Jared Allen, to Minnesota. That deal netted the draft picks that brought three players, one of them Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles.
An extension for coach Lovie Smith remains a work in progress, but the Bears got some other business knocked out Wednesday. Two days after offensive line coach Mike Tice was prohibited from interviewing with the Titans for their offensive coordinator position, the offensive line coach was signed to a one-year extension through 2012. Smith long has talked about promoting his assistants when they have opportunities for advancement, but the organization has entrusted so much to Tice that it didn't believe it could afford to lose him.
Lovie Smith may get a contract extension, but he shouldn't expect a raise after Mike McCarthy signs his reported new deal with the Green Bay Packers. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers' coach will soon sign a three-year contract extension that will pay him $5 million per season. Since that's the same amount written on Smith's current W-2, it will be more difficult for the Bears' coach to persuade general manager Jerry Angelo and president Ted Phillips to add a bump in salary as well as more years to his new deal. How can Smith claim he is worth more than the coach of the defending Super Bowl champions? NFL coaching salaries are leveling off or going down, not up.
The Ravens are expected to give up a fifth-round pick in this year's draft to the Seattle Seahawks to complete last season's trade for cornerback Josh Wilson. Neither the Ravens nor the NFL would confirm it will be a fifth-round pick. But it was reported on Aug. 31 that the Ravens agreed to send a conditional fifth-round pick to the Seahawks. It could have improved to a fourth-round selection if Wilson started a particular number of games. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed that Wilson didn't meet "the requirements for the condition to kick in."
The Miami Dolphins are currently exploring the possibility of adding another former NFL player to its coaching staff, and this time it's a name Miami's fans know well. Bryan Cox, who was named to three Pro Bowls during a successful five-year stint as a linebacker for the Dolphins, interviewed this week to join coach Tony Sparano's staff, sources said Wednesday. The specialized capacity of his role is unknown. A fifth-round draft pick by the Dolphins in 1991, Cox most recently was a defensive line coach in Cleveland since 2009, but he was among the staff's casualties in the wake of last month's firing of head coach Eric Mangini.
The Buffalo Bills released defensive lineman Marcus Stroud, the team announced earlier this week in an e-mail. Stroud started 45 of 46 games and posted 7.5 sacks since joining Buffalo in 2008 via a trade with Jacksonville.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour has signed a two-year contract worth $30 million, meaning the Raiders won't have to use the franchise tag to keep him off the open market, according to a CNN-Sports Illustrated report. An 11-year veteran, Seymour was expected to be hit with a franchise tag if the two sides couldn't come to an agreement. He played under that designation last season for just under $12.9 million, and was due for a 20 percent increase this year if tagged again, or just under $15 million. The reported deal includes $22.5 million guaranteed, including a $7.5 million guaranteed bonus this season. Seymour had 5.5 sacks while moving inside to defensive tackle full time in 2010.
Dick LeBeau spent the weekend playing golf in North Carolina, not mulling his future as defensive coordinator for the Steelers. After all, there was no reason to focus on anything other than pars and birdies. "I'm not coaching anywhere but here," LeBeau said Tuesday after returning from four days off before getting ready for the NFL combine that begins Feb. 23 in Indianapolis. The Steelers want LeBeau, 72, back as their defensive coordinator and he intends to sign a new one-year deal to return as the leader of a defense that ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 against the run in 2010.
Just more than a year after announcing his retirement from the NFL, Chris Palmer returned to accept quite a challenge. He was named offensive coordinator of the Titans on Tuesday and will face the daunting task of improving an offense that ranked 27th in the league last season overall — 29th in first downs per game and last in time of possession. To add to the challenges ahead, the Titans don't know who will start at quarterback. They are preparing to part ways with Vince Young, and backup Kerry Collins is not under contract.