Tag:Josh Katzowitz
Posted on: February 9, 2012 6:08 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 6:09 pm
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Raiders release Routt and his huge contract

By Josh Katzowitz

The 2011 season was a good one for Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt. Former owner Al Davis reworked his three-year, $31.5 million deal into a five-year, $54.5 million deal*, and then, he had the best statistical season of his career, notching four interceptions and 15 passes defended.

He was no Nnamdi Asomugha, but in Asomugha’s absence, he still was one of the team’s most-important defenders.

NFL Offseason Begins
Routt’s 2012 hasn’t gotten off to such a good start, though, as the Raiders announced they’ve released the seven-year veteran.

*It was a deal that guaranteed him $20 million, and at the time, it made him the third-highest paid cornerback in the league.

While the move is surprising, perhaps it shouldn’t have been. As the San Jose Mercury News points out, this is what new general manager Reggie McKenzie said after he took over the job:

“From where we are, we've got some contracts that are kind of out of whack, but in discussions and viewing the cap situation, we should be fine,. We don't have to make wholesale changes.”

It was thought that Routt’s $5 million salary for 2012 was guaranteed, but NFL analyst Adam Caplan reported that the money was only due if Routt was on the roster this Friday. 

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:23 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 6:10 pm
 

Victor Cruz: 'I deserve to be paid more money'

CruzBy Josh Katzowitz

In real-life standards, making $490,000 is a pretty decent salary. In the world of pro football, it’s more like a “meh” financial reward, almost the definition of entry-level pay. For an outgoing wide receiver who was virtually unknown before this season and then exploded with an 82-catch, 1,536-yard, nine-touchdown performance and became known as the guy who salsa dances after he scores, it’s an outrage.

Well, not really an outrage, but after his glorious season that ended with a touchdown catch in the Giants Super Bowl XLVI win against the Patriots, Victor Cruz  -- who made $450,000 in 2011 -- would like a substantial raise for 2012.

“I think I was paid, you know, relative to where I came in this year and, you know, I came in as a free agent so that’s the salary I was on, so I don’t feel like I was underpaid,” Cruz told the men at Pro Football Talk. “I mean, I feel like after my performance this year, you know, I feel like I deserve to be paid more money at this point.  But that’s something I’ll let my agents and those people take care of and I’ll just go out there and play the game.”

I don’t think many people would disagree that Cruz deserves more money after his 2011 performance, but remember, he signed a three-year $1.2 million contract after he went unselected in the 2010 draft. He missed all of last season with an injury, so it's not like Cruz has put together multiple seasons of consistency.

NFL Offseason Begins
Also, you have to remember the players who had breakout seasons and demanded more money from their teams and never got it. Players like Sidney Rice, Matt Forte and DeSean Jackson. Just because Cruz had one wonderful season, that doesn’t mean the Giants have to give him a bigger raise than they’d already planned. And considering New York has a powerful receiving corps, is Cruz holding out in training camp really going to scare the Giants into tearing up his old contract and giving him a new one? I’d guess no.

But in other Cruz news, it’s also been reported that he signed with the powerful IMG agency after the Super Bowl. That won’t increase his ability to barter for a new deal with the Giants, because IMG was hired to work on his marketing and endorsement campaigns (I see either a marketing campaign for Tostitos salsa or for Fred Astaire Dance Studios, though considering Cruz turned down “Dancing with the Stars,” he might like to go less mainstream).

However, adding IMG means Cruz most likely will make more money this year. And if that money doesn’t come from the Giants, Cruz might have to be OK with that.

In even more Cruz news, he weighed in on the laughable “Rob Gronkowski was dancing with his shirt off after the Patriots lost” controversy. Cruz, it seems, disagrees with the spirit of what Gronkowski was doing.

“I would have been in my room, watching TV, soaking in the moment,” Cruz told PFT. “It’s not every day you make it to a Super Bowl, man. . . . Some guys play 15, 16 years in this league and don’t make it the Super Bowl. Or even the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. . . . I probably wouldn’t have been partying too much after that.”

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 4:42 pm
 

Forte OK with franchise tag if it leads somewhere

M. Forte said he'd be OK with a franchise tag if it leads to a long-term deal. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

The Bears, despite their somewhat contentious relationship with Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte during the past season, have made clear they don’t plan on letting him test free agency. That’s what team president/CEO Ted Phillips said recently, claiming new general manager Phil Emery would work with Forte on a possible agreement to a long-term deal or would franchise-tag him to keep him in Chicago.

Forte has been on record saying that he didn’t want to be tagged, noting in November that “If they think by just slapping the franchise tag on me that’s going to silence anything, they’re sadly mistaken.”

Forte apparently has changed his mind.

That’s the impression he gave ESPN 1000 in Chicago during a recent interview when he said he’d be fine with a franchise tag if it led him to that elusive long-term deal.

Forte's future
"It depends on the motive of (the franchise tag)," Forte said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show.” "If they are doing the franchise tag just to get more time in order to negotiate a long-term deal, then I would be OK with it. But if it's just to hold me another year and just, 'Let's throw some money at him right now to keep him quiet,' that's not going to solve anything."

OK, so he’s beginning to waver on the tag issue. But Forte -- who sprained his MCL late in the season after complaining earlier in the year that the Bears were grinding him to a pulp without paying him what he’s worth -- isn’t going to forget the idea of signing an extended contract.

"I would expect (a new GM) to affect (the talks) positively," Forte said. "Hopefully, if we don't reach a deal by the time the franchise tag has to be placed, if they do franchise me, it's in order to get a deal done."

And if not, I’m sure we won’t hear the end of Forte’s disillusionment.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 3:55 pm
 

What happens when you turn off the Super Bowl?

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s usually unwise to get between a man (or a woman) and his (or her) football, and if you do so, you have to know that you might get punched in the stomach for your trouble. Watch, then, what happens when late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel instructs viewers to unplug the TV during a crucial moment of the Super Bowl.

The results are, in two words, absolutely ridiculous (especially the home where the Christmas tree is STILL up and the wife tells her husband that he can’t watch the Super Bowl until he takes it down).

The only thing that surprised me about this video was that there wasn’t MORE cursing. Check it out. It is hi-larious.



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Posted on: February 7, 2012 3:35 pm
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Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:52 pm
 

Man who bet on SB safety to donate to charity

Justin Tuck's safety on Tom Brady won a man $50,000. (AP)
By Josh Katzowitz

In the immediate aftermath of the first-quarter safety in Super Bowl XVLI, when Justin Tuck forced Tom Brady into an intentional grounding penalty while throwing from the end zone, a few writers in the auxiliary press box started looking up the prop bet odds that surely would pay off in a huge way for at least one person.

Well, a guy named Jona Rechnitz had played a $1,000 wager that a safety would occur, and with those 50-1 odds, he suddenly was $50,000 richer. But not for long.

That’s because as TMZ reports (via Yahoo Sports), Rechnitz plans to donate all the post-tax money to various charities, including one of Brady’s choice. Rechnitz, a big Giants fan, also apparently wants to donate $5,000 to the charity of Tuck’s choice.

Even crazier, Rechnitz -- who owns a capital investment firm in Manhattan and who apparently does quite well for himself -- only makes one Super Bowl bet per year. Luckily for him and his future recipients, this year’s wager panned out rather nicely.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:32 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 3:49 pm
 

Ricky Williams tells Ravens he will retire

R. Williams will retire with more than 10,000 rushing yards. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

According to numerous reports, Ravens running back Ricky Williams has informed the club that he will retire, and if he keeps that promise, it will end one of the most successfully interesting (or interestingly successful) careers in many years.

He rushed for 10,009 career yards (the 26th best total of all time) and 66 touchdowns (third-most among active players), and at one point early in his career, he was the greatest workhorse in the league, recording 313 carries for the Saints in 2001, 383 for the Dolphins in 2002 and 392 for Miami in 2003.

He only gained one more 1,000-yard season after that three-year stretch*, recording 1,121 yards in 2009 for the Dolphins.

Unfortunately for Williams and the Saints -- who traded their entire 1999 draft to the Redskins (plus a first- and third-rounder in 2000) for the right to draft him at the No. 5 spot in 1999 -- he was never a player who could turn around a franchise.

*Proving he could take a pounding and continue to perform at an NFL standard, there are only three other players who are currently active (Donovan McNabb, Champ Bailey and Antoine Wingfield) from the first round of the 1999 NFL draft class and only four from the second round.

Wrote Williams on his Twitter account: “Thank you all, but this ain't it, I'm gonna do something really special. "Be you and change the world.”

Ricky Williams in 2005. (US Presswire)
Williams entered the league surrounded by controversy after Mike Ditka orchestrated the trade that got Williams to New Orleans. It was the largest trade since Ollie Matson was sent from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Los Angeles Rams in 1959 (a trade that was made by future NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and eventually got legendary coach Sid Gillman fired), and it backfired for the Saints, setting back the franchise a number of years -- Ditka went 15-33 during his three years with the team.

"I don't care if it was for the second coming of Walter Payton, there was no way the deal could work out, " NFL analyst Chris Landry told the New Orleans Times Picayune in 2009. "And the fact that Ricky was a disappointment, a non-productive player for them, made it one of the worst trades of all time."

While he was introverted and, well, just kind of weird -- anybody remember that Sports Illustrated cover with Ditka in a tuxedo and Williams in a wedding gown? -- he had a resurgence when he went to the Dolphins in 2002, gaining a combined 3,225 yards in 2002 and 2003.

But he got in trouble with the league for drug usage and retired in 2004 before unretiring, and from 2005-08, he only played 13 games. Last season, he went to Baltimore to be the No. 2 back behind Ray Rice, and he accumulated 444 yards and two touchdowns. After the year, in fact, he spoke about returning next season.

“My body feels good and I know I’m going to train hard and so I’m excited about next year,” Williams told the team's website. “I’ve grown a lot, kind of falling into a new role and a new city and a new organization, and I’ve gotten better.  And like everyone else, I feel like I have something to build on for next year.”

Here's the statement released by Williams:
“The NFL has been an amazing page in this chapter of my life,” Williams said. “I pray that all successive adventures offer me the same potential for growth, success and most importantly, fun. I want to thank all my fans, teammates, coaches and supporters for the strength they've given me to overcome so much. I want to especially thank my family, coach Mack Brown, coach [Mike] Ditka, coach [Bill] Parcells, Ronnie Brown, Wilbert Montgomery and the Jamail Family for believing in me. As for what's next, I am excited about all the opportunities ahead -- continuing my education, running The Ricky Williams Foundation and whatever other opportunities present themselves.

“My football career has been filled with many great memories going back to pee wee football with coach Tom Miller, [San Diego’s] Patrick Henry High School and coach Jerry Varner and on to the University of Texas. It has been a big part of my life and blessed me with so many wonderful opportunities and the chance to connect with many people who have helped me grow and mature. I will miss the game, the camaraderie, my teammates and especially the emotions of a big victory. I love the game and leave it feeling fulfilled, proud, in great health and excited about the future.“

I have to thank coach [John] Harbaugh and the Ravens organization for the opportunity they gave me this year. I had so much fun and really appreciated the chance to finish on such a great note.”
And here’s what Ray Rice had to say.

“I was a big fan of Ricky before we were teammates, but being around him this year is the best thing that happened to me in my NFL career. As a young player, you need to be around a guy who knows what he is doing, and Ricky was tremendous to learn from. The way he took care of his body and the way he prepared, he always showed that he is a true professional. This past season with him is a year I will never forget. I had the best year with him beside me, and that was no accident. I believe that Ricky Williams is a Hall of Famer. All that he has done in his career, he deserves that. I was honored to share the field with him when he went over 10,000 yards. What an amazing accomplishment, as he is one of the best. I will miss him, but I wish him and his family well.”

As Williams' career advanced, he's changed his identity. He used to be an aloof character who would conduct interviews while wearing his football helmet, but he's morphed into a spiritual voice on Twitter. 

This isn't the first time Williams has retired, but it seems much more likely to stick considering that he'll turn 35 in May and he's playing a backup role in Baltimore. And if so, good luck to one of the more fascinating characters in the league. I'm sure we'll miss him more than he misses the game.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:35 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 1:03 pm
 

NFL announces 2012 draft order

The NFL draft will be held April 26-28. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Now that the 2011 season is completely over, it’s time to look ahead to the NFL draft. Here is the order in which teams will select from April 26-28.

One brief note:

Since the Panthers and Dolphins had the same winning percentage and strength of schedule marks, there will be a coin flip at the NFL Combine to determine the order in which they pick. Same goes for the Chiefs and Seahawks.

[Related: Click here for more CBSSports.com NFL Draft coverage]

1.Colts
2. Rams
3. Vikings
4. Browns
5. Buccaneers
6. Redskins
7. Jaguars
8. Panthers
9. Dolphins
10. Bills
11. Chiefs
12. Seahawks
13. Cardinals
14. Cowboys
15. Eagles
16. Jets
17. Bengals (from Raiders)
18. Chargers
19. Bears
20. Titans
21. Bengals
22. Browns (from Falcons)
23. Lions
24. Steelers
25. Broncos
26. Texans
27. Patriots (from Saints)
28. Packers
29. Ravens
30. 49ers
31. Patriots
32. Giants

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com