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NFL Tidbits & Rumors - 3/1/11

Posted on: March 1, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Three players who are older than 30 received pink slips Monday from the New York Jets -- Kris Jenkins, Jason Taylor and Damien Woody. One player in that precarious age group who doesn't have to worry about his future is LaDainian Tomlinson. The Jets will retain the future Hall of Fame running back for the 2011 season, the final year of his contract, according to league sources. There had been mild speculation about Tomlinson, who turns 32 in June, but the team intends to go forward with a three-headed backfield -- Tomlinson, Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight.

 

The Patriots have signed free agent defensive lineman Marcus Stroud to a two-year deal, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter. Stroud, a three-time Pro Bowler, has been in Buffalo the past two seasons but was recently released by the team. The 10-year veteran, who is 32, didn't fare well as the Bills switched to a 3-4 defense from a 4-3. In 15 games, playing defensive end, he had 49 tackles and 3 sacks.

 

What long seemed inevitable became reality Monday when the Bears terminated the contract of former star defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who for the last four seasons struggled to regain his place as a cornerstone of coach Lovie Smith's defense. The simple truth is that Harris was due $3 million in bonuses before training camp and no longer was a player who commanded big money. "I kind of knew; it's nothing personal," Harris said. "I want to thank the McCaskeys. I want to tell my fans I love them, and I'm going to miss the city and my teammates. I think it's one of the best locker rooms in the NFL."

 

The Jaguars locked in their second quarterback for next season on Monday. Paperwork for backup quarterback Luke McCown's one-year deal went through for a deal agreed upon over the weekend. The Jaguars now have two quarterbacks on the roster for next season: McCown and starter David Garrard. Trent Edwards, who began last season as Buffalo's starter but was then claimed off waivers by the Jaguars, is set to become a free agent.

 

Raiders linebacker Kamerion Wimbley will sign his franchise tag after being unable to reach a long-term agreement with the team. Wimbley's agent, Joe Linta, confirmed a Fox Sports report Monday that Wimbley will sign the tag, which will guarantee him $11,312,000 next season. Linta and Raiders owner Al Davis talked about a long-term contract since the Raiders placed the tag on Wimbley last week, and Linta said those discussions would continue. The Raiders tried to keep Wimbley for much less money by exercising a $3.5 million buyback option that would have given him about $4.1 million next season. But the NFL ruled that contract was invalid, so the Raiders used the franchise tag………..

 

The Cowboys have not closed the door on Marcus Spears and Gerald Sensabaugh to return, but they have left it wide open for both starters to explore the free-agent market. Meanwhile, the club is poised to extend tender offers to key players in the next few days to get its house in order before an expected lockout plunges the NFL into darkness later this week. Spears and Sensabaugh will be unrestricted free agents in whatever system is adopted going forward. The club's stance with both should come as no surprise. The Cowboys retained Spears, their starting defensive end, with a tender offer last season that was less than what the club paid to his backups, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher.

 

The Giants told running back Ahmad Bradshaw that signing him this offseason is a "priority." They also want to make sure no one else will try. That's why the 24-year-old running back expects to receive the highest possible restricted free agent tender from the Giants this week, theoretically guaranteeing him at least a one-year deal worth about $3.4 million. Two sources said Bradshaw will "probably" receive a "first- and third-round tender," meaning any team that signs him to an offer sheet would owe the Giants first- and third-round picks if they don't match. The Giants have until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday to issue their RFA tenders.

 

Texans general manager Rick Smith met with Ralph Vitolo, the agent for fullback Vonta Leach, at the Indianapolis scouting combine, but no deal was done. Leach, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after playing in the Pro Bowl last month, said he's hopeful a deal can be reached before the current collective bargaining agreement expires Thursday at 11:59 p.m. "I'm hoping we can get something done because I want to return, but if we can't, I'll test the market when (free agency) begins," Leach said. "I think we're on the verge of something special. We're only a couple of players away, and I want to be here when we finally turn it around."

 

The Redskins announced Monday that they have released running back Clinton Portis, the second-leading rusher in franchise history with 6,824 yards. "Clinton provided excitement from the very first time he touched the ball as a Redskin and we were lucky to witness every ounce of energy, effort and passion he has given ever since," Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder said in a statement released by the team. "We have been through a lot both on and off of the field and we would like to wish him and his family the very best. He will always be a Redskin and go down as one of the franchise's all-time greats."

 

The agent for Sidney Rice said Sunday that the wide receiver will not re-sign with the Vikings before first testing the free-agent market. Drew Rosenhaus, who refused to talk about Rice's situation when approached Thursday, told ESPN that his client will become a free agent whenever that period starts. Rosenhaus and Vikings executives were scheduled to meet over the weekend at the NFL scouting combine, and the Vikings' hope was to sign Rice to a long-term deal. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that the Vikings had offered Rice a contract. There is no certainty that Rice will hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.

 

All signs point toward the exorbitant "exclusive franchise'' tag staying affixed to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning for the foreseeable future. The lines of communication with Tom Condon, Manning's agent, remain open, according to Colts owner Jim Irsay, "but nothing is imminent right now." "We'll see what happens in the next (few days)," Irsay said. "If we can get something done before the deadline, we will. If not, it's not uncommon territory for us to go the other way (with the franchise tag).'' The NFL's collective bargaining agreement with its players expires Thursday night.

 

The question of whether Kevin Kolb should stay or go could end up being moot if the NFL's labor standoff results in a long lockout that goes into the summer or early fall. That would be unfortunate for Kolb, who desperately wants the opportunity to be a starter and isn't going to get it in Philly this year as long as Michael Vick is alive and well. And it would be unfortunate for the Eagles, who would have no difficulty getting a first-round pick for Kolb if they were able to trade him before the April draft. If you doubt that, take a gander around the league at the shocking number of teams in the market for a quarterback.

 

Bears safety Danieal Manning rejected an extension offer during the season worth $6 million over three years, with $2 million guaranteed, according to NFL sources, but last week the team extended him an original-compensation tender. Manning finds himself in an interesting situation. Without a salary cap and CBA, Manning is technically a restricted free agent, which means that if another team signed him to an offer sheet and Chicago failed to match it, the team signing the safety would owe the Bears a second-round pick.

 

Negotiations with the agent for Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald are "ongoing," General Manager Rod Graves said, but it's doubtful a deal will be reached before Thursday, when the NFL's collective-bargaining agreement expires. If a new CBA isn't reached by then, the owners likely would lock out the players, and no players can sign a contract until the matter is resolved. "Obviously the window is getting shorter in terms of us being able to close something before the end of the (league) year," Graves said. Though Fitzgerald has avoided the subject, there is no question he wants to see how the Cardinals address the quarterback position.

 

New Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has called himself "a quarterback freak" and has said how much he likes studying film of them. He's going to have plenty of opportunities over the next two months. With the coaching staff preparing for life without Carson Palmer, the Bengals are evaluating this year's draft class as they address what has morphed into an immediate need. If Sunday's workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine were any indication, the process has a lot more questions than answers. Ryan Mallett and Christian Ponder had the best days in their respective groups. Cam Newton showed a lot of the raw skills that could make him a top three pick but questions still remain.

 

Miami Dolphins DT Paul Soliai signed his franchise contract, his agent David Canter told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Soliai will receive a one-year tender at $12.381 million -- the highest ever paid to a Miami defensive player. The contract would be guaranteed once he signs. The 27-year-old Soliai had 39 tackles and two sacks for the Dolphins last season.

 

At his introductory press conference in January, Ron Rivera said he would prefer the Panthers find one tight end rather than the committee approach they used last season. They might have found him. Emphasis on might. The Panthers will bring veteran TE Jeremy Shockey in for a physical next week and could reunite Shockey with his University of Miami position coach – Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. The move makes sense on a couple of levels, beginning with Shockey's familiarity with Chudzinski. Plus, as Rivera intimated at his presser, the type of offense he wants to run requires a capable tight end.

 

The Detroit Lions aren't using any of their 60 official combine interviews on quarterbacks, but that doesn't mean they're not doing due diligence on the position anyway. Agent Ray Brownell tweeted Saturday night that California (Pa.) quarterback Josh Portis met with a dozen teams at the combine, including the Lions. The meeting, however, was a casual introductory one (which teams try to do with as many prospects as possible), not a formal 15-minute session. Portis, the cousin of Redskins running back Clinton Portis, threw for 2,651 yards and 33 touchdowns last year after transferring to the Division 2 school from Maryland and Florida.

 

St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney said the team is aware of the situation and is gathering information on the arrest early Friday morning of team scout Luke Driscoll for public intoxication and public nudity. Driscoll has been with the Rams for 11 seasons and is part of the Rams' contingent at the NFL Scouting Combine.

 

 

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