Tag:DeAngelo Williams
Posted on: July 12, 2011 8:33 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 10:09 pm
 

Fox: 'Running back is our No. 1 priority'

Posted by Will Brinson

If at any point during the Denver coaching transition you thought that the 2011 Broncos would resemble the 2010 Broncos, well, you must not have realized that John Elway went out and hired John Fox.

Because Fox, the former Panthers coach well-known for pounding the rock and focusing on defense, confirmed again recently that Denver's gonna focus on the run in the coming season. Oh, and that he doesn't really like Knowshon Moreno all that much.

"We were 13th on offense last year. I certainly want more balance. We've got to run the ball more and better, and (another) running back is our No. 1 priority [in free agency]," Fox said, per the Denver Post.

All right, he doesn't directly insult Moreno and/or call him a "third-down back," and you could make the case that Fox knows he needs two solid running backs.

But come on -- it's clear that he's not that high on Moreno. And it's also clear that he'll pursue his former star, DeAngelo Williams, who should be an unrestricted free agent under the new (old?) collective bargaining rules.

If he doesn't land DeAngelo -- and there's a decent chance he won't, as both Carolina and Miami will be fighting for Williams' services -- there are other options out there, including Cedric Benson, Ronnie Brown and Willis McGahee.

It's all but certain that Denver will be able to pick one up too -- Fox's tendency to let his running backs tote the rock with great frequency makes his offense attractive for running backs.

Unless you're Knowshon Moreno anyway.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 1:37 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:00 pm
 

7 questions to ask for the labor home stretch

Posted by Will Brinson

Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- is ready for the NFL to start back up. (Otherwise, we might end up with Brett Favre putting his name back in the active player pool. And that's no good for anyone.)

And while it might be a simple process for the NFL and NFLPA to suck it up, find some common ground and make a deal happen ASAP, there's still a whole pile of issues to handle before we get the season ready to roll.

So, as we head into the hypothetical home stretch of the labor strife that's plagued NFL fans all summer, let's hit up our trusty seven-question format to figure out what it is we need to know in the next 10 days.

1. I just woke up from the Fourth of July ... are these guys close to a deal at all?
Surprisingly, yes, it sure does seem like the NFL and NFLPA are getting somewhere when it comes to negotiating.

At some point, both sides must have seen the balance sheets for what they stand to lose -- $800 million in revenue just from the preseason, not counting salaries! -- by continuing to be stubborn and decided that playing football was in everyone's interests.

Also, it's important to remember that DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell didn't exactly know each other well before this whole labor strife went down, and they've been, for all intents and purposes, feeling each other out as things went along.

It's infinitely easier to negotiate with someone you've negotiated with a bunch of times in the past, and trying to strike a deal with someone in a supercharged environment doesn't make things any easier.

Plus, if there's not a deadline for making a deal, you don't see people budge off their stances in negotiations. That's not something that's new to the NFL labor talks.
NFL Labor

2. What are the sticking points now?
The same as they've always been. Revenue sharing tops the list, but it's believed the sides are closer than they've ever been on that issue.

The 18-game schedule's been tabled for the time being.

The owners "agreed" on revenue sharing.

Everyone wants something to happen where Al Davis isn't capable of giving JaMarcus Russell $60 million guaranteed ever again. (Or, at least right out of the draft.)

And everyone agrees that the retired players need better benefits. Although, those guys did just sue everyone, and no one's entirely sure how to get them paid, so that could be a problem. But still, it's something that can be sorted out in a quick fashion when people want to make a deal happen.

Just like the rest of the issues.

3. Is there an actual deadline for the NFL and NFLPA to reach an agreement?

Not technically, no, although July 15th has long been considered the "soft deadline" for making something happen. But a deal could be struck any time between Wednesday, July 6, and September 1 and we could still get a full season football.

The problem is that all teams -- even ones like the Packers -- need some kind of training camp and preparation for the season. That might mean that preseason games become more meaningful, but that's not all bad.

Once we move past July 15, there's no longer a convenient window for both free agency and training camps leading up to a full preseason, and things start to get a little hairer.

One of the more interesting aspects to watch about this soft deadline is whether or not an actual deal has to be in place. The rumors coming from the league are that the lockout can't be lifted until all the legal papers are signed/sealed/delivered, but if there's a firm "handshake agreement" in place by next Friday, it would be pretty surprising to see the two sides haggle over some signatures.

4. Are the lawyers really trying to screw the talks up?
You know what my dad always likes to point out to me? That the difference between a dead lawyer in the road and a dead squirrel in the road are the tire marks in front of the squirrel.

And my dad's a lawyer.

Jeff Kessler and Jim Quinn have $10-plus billion reasons to consider trying to keep the two sides in court for the duration of the season. (A favorable verdict for the players would generate a big, old trough full of money, of which they'd get to amply slurp at.)

Which is why it's good news that the team of attorneys for the players are supposedly reworking their contract (and/or that De Smith listened to my man Mike Freeman's advice) -- if Quinn and Kessler are off of the contingency-fee deal, there's much less motivation for them to stay in court for a lengthy amount of time.

5. Wait, what about that whole "the players sued the owners and everyone's fighting in court" thing?
The rulings at the District Court in Minnesota and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals are the gigantic elephant and gorilla, respectively, that you see in the back of the metaphorical room.

As of now, both the television ruling from Judge David Doty at the District Court level (leveraging how much in damages the players are owed) and the ruling on the permanency of the lockout (leveraging how long the owners can keep the players away from work) are in a holding pattern.

This is because the two sides have continually made progress on a deal that could get done without the court having to rule either way on either issue.

If the two courts do rule, though, things are going to get ugly, because suddenly all the angry feelings the two sides have temporarily put aside are going to start rearing up again.

6. Enough lawyer stuff -- when does my team get to sign free agents?
This is probably the trickiest question of all, because it's going to depend on the lockout being lifted first, natch.

But let's say that a deal does happen by July 15 and the lockout's lifted -- then we're probably facing a 48-hour (or thereabouts) window with which teams have to wait to sign free agents.

It's possible, based on some reports, that teams -- like the Carolina Panthers -- with a lot of restricted free agents (RFAs) will help muscle some sort of right of first refusal deal into the new CBA.

That scenario would give teams like the Panthers a chance to ink their big-name players -- in this case DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson -- that they didn't expect to become free agents.

But it's highly unlikely that the players cave on that issue, if only because the owners choose to opt out of the CBA themselves, thereby setting up a scenario in which the market became flooded with an unexpected amount of high-quality players.

7. So what are the chances a deal actually happens by July 15?
I'm going with the same answer I gave three months ago (before the lockout!): 75 percent. That doesn't make me a soothsayer, and it might actually make me wrong for the time being, but there really is too much to lose for both sides not to make something happen.

Don't get me wrong -- there is PLENTY that can cause these talks to explode and send both sides scurrying away from the negotiating table, back into the court room and as far away from the football field as you can get.

We could lose the preseason. And we could still lose the regular season.

But right now, both the owners and the players know there's a 10-day-ish window in which they can hammer out a deal, get the season started on time, make all the money they would have made anyway, and get right back in the good graces of football fans everywhere.

And the difference between now and the beginning of March isn't just a calendar date -- this time around, both sides appear ready to work with each other to make a deal happen and get football back on track.

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Posted on: June 30, 2011 9:34 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 9:49 am
 

Dolphins have very specific FA targets?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Miami Dolphins have -- already -- had an interesting offseason. The running back combo of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown appears headed out the door (and the Fins still passed on Mark Ingram) and, as previously noted, questions about Chad Henne remain (and the Fins still passed on various quarterbacks).

Oh yes, and owner Stephen Ross publicly pursued Jim Harbaugh while Tony Sparano was still employed, failed to land the then-Stanford coach and then had to give Sparano a raise.

This friction across three key areas has created a need come free agency -- Omar Kelly of the Miami Sun-Sentinel writes that the Dolphins have a couple of very specific targets between now and whenever the season starts.

First, Kelly believes they'll add a veteran quarterback, but not a Chad Pennington-style backup-type. Kelly believes it will be someone who will be "savvy enough to push -- if not unseat -- [Henne]"; names he floats include Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, Matt Flynn, Vince Young, Matt Hasselbeck, Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.

That's a pretty, pretty wide spectrum of quarterbacks, but the point is salient -- the Dolphins will get another quarterback who expects to get a shot at starting.

They're also going to get a "tailback who has the ability to run stretch plays … that gets to the EDGES," Kelly writes. The biggest name associated with Miami thus far has been the Panthers' DeAngelo Williams; Carolina's repeatedly said it wants Williams back, but depending on how free agency shakes out, it seems less and less likely that re-signing him would be a prudent move.

There are other available names, though: Ahmad Bradshaw, Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush are names Kelly hears from "reliable sources."

Those guys make a lot of sense, especially if the Dolphins have interest in bringing back Ricky -- a combo of Sproles or Bush plus Williams would be a solid 1-2 punch out of the backfield.

All that's easier said than done, of course, but it's pretty clear what the Dolphins need, and there's good news for Fins fans, because it lines up nicely with what Miami wants.

And, provided free agency plays out as expected, the open market might be spot-on for those voids as well.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: June 29, 2011 9:32 am
 

Podcast: Free agency could be a frenzied hot mess

Posted by Ryan Wilson

For no official football, there's plenty going on in late June and we cover a lot of it in the latest Eye on Football podcast.

Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are meeting in Minnesota in the hopes of ending the lockout. And then there's Terrell Owens, 37, who has no plans on retiring … even though he recently had ACL surgery. We're not sure who will have a need for him at this stage of the proceedings, although he's destined for Canton. (Right? Right.)

Related geriatric talking points: Tiki Barber, you may have heard, wants to return to the NFL. Tiki's sort of like Terrell in that he can be problematic in the locker room, but the difference is that even TO had supporters. We have yet to hear one person -- including twin brother Ronde -- come forward in Tiki's defense.

Finally, we discuss Pete Prisco's top 50 free agents list. For the most part, we agree, although Michael Huff at No. 11 might be a tad high.

Talking starts below.

Just hit the play button and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.



If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.

Posted on: June 23, 2011 6:16 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 6:29 pm
 

Owners want right of first refusal free agents?

Posted by Will Brinson

It's beginning to seem likely -- or at least reports make it seem likely -- that players with four years of service time who were previously restricted free agents (RFAs) will, if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, become unrestricted free agents (UFAs).

If this happens, there will be an additional 500 or so people added to a free-agent class that will suddenly be bursting with talent. Unless the owners are able to convince the players to give them several "right-of-first-refusal" options on UFAs.

Which is what they're trying to do, according to Chris Mortensen, who told Howard Balzer of 101 ESPN Radio in St. Louis that "owners are asking that teams be able to have three or four right-of-first-refusals this year on UFAs."

What this would mean is that while guys like DeAngelo Williams of the Panthers would be able to negotiate with other teams, their original teams would have the right to match the highest offer those players got on the open market.

But it would also let teams determine the market ... without actually having to make an offer to their players.

Such speculation is probably fruitless, however, because there's little chance that the players would agree to creating these de facto franchise tags that might limit a large number of players' ability to cash in on their unrestricted free agent status.

Plus, if owners didn't see a reversion to free agency rules that existed before 2010 -- when a new CBA was negotiated -- happening from the get-go, it's hard to fathom what they were expecting to see.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 3:00 pm
 

As new CBA nears, free-agency rules still unclear

Posted by Ryan Wilson

NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Chicago Tuesday, and they have been told to plan to stay late, presumably in order to continue hammering out the details of a new collective bargaining agreement. And depending on which source you consult, the new CBA could usher in the 2011 season by mid-July.

The biggest issue between the owners and players has been about how to split the 10-figure revenue pie, but there are plenty of other important details to sort out, too. Like the nuances of free agency and the salary-cap rules that will accompany it.

In a typical offseason, free agency began in March. Now NFL teams could have just a few days to review any changes to free-agency rules resulting from the new CBA before a hectic signing period would take place prior to training camp.

The Green Bay Press Gazette's Pete Dougherty writes about a looming labor resolution as it relates to the Packers' roster, but the overall theme holds for the other 31 teams, as well.
If the deal isn’t finished until closer to the start of camps, or after camps were scheduled to have opened, most of the signings and the beginning of camps could overlap in an especially chaotic time for front offices, coaches and players.

Teams are working from the assumption that the new CBA will return eligibility for unrestricted free agency to four years service, the same as it was from 1993 through 2009. That’s not guaranteed but is the most likely outcome of the pending CBA talks.

Less certain is how the CBA will handle restricted free agency this season.
Restricted free agency will have to be worked out ahead of time, and it could even be canceled for 2011. As for whether free agency will require just four years of service (as it was from '93 to '09) or remain at five (as it did in 2010) is still unknown. Clearly, Dougherty thinks four years is likely, while the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly tweeted on June 9: "Word on the street is '10 rules will apply IF a new CBA gets done so it looks like [DeAngelo] Williams/ [Ahmad] Bradshaw are is out."

Because it's cheaper, teams would prefer to push free agency as far off into the future as possible. Not surprisingly, players want the opposite. Rotoworld points out that "No one, from Adam Schefter to Peter King, has been able to get a good read on what rules will end up in place, but the pre-2010 assumption has merit as long as there is agreement on a new CBA." 

Hopefully, Tuesday's meeting will go a long way in settling these issues. Because, frankly, the prospect of a shortened NFL season appeals to absolutely no one, even if history says it won't much affect the eventual playoff teams.

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Posted on: May 24, 2011 8:20 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 8:44 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.24.11 Belichick's latest honor

Posted by Will Brinson and Andy Benoit



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Not to be outdone (or wait, actually, they were slightly outdone) were the Raiders, who had 34 players show up for their workouts in Georgia.

Posted on: May 22, 2011 10:21 pm
 

Panthers hoping to bring back DeAngelo?

Posted by Will Brinson

Many an analyst has assumed that DeAngelo Williams is as good as gone from the Panthers for the 2011 season. After all, Carolina used their franchise tag on Ryan Kalil, instead of Williams, and the Miami Dolphins have been flirting with the former Pro Bowler quite a bit.

However, the Panthers might not be quite so cool with letting Williams roll out of town.

Dan Pompei writes in the National Football Post's "Sunday Blitz" that he's learned the 'Cats are much more excited about the depth they have at running back, "believe Williams is their best running back and hope he returns."

Pompei also cites the fact that new offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinki's system "calls for two backs to get a lot of action," which means that Carolina won't likely be thrilled at the prospect of "just" having Jonathan Stewart, Mike Goodson and Tyrelle Sutton on the roster.

Of course, whether or not bringing back DeAngelo is an easy decision will likely revolve around what kind of rules are in place for 2011. If it's 2010's rules, Williams will be a restricted free agent and have another year with the Panthers. If not, he'll be unrestricted.

If the latter happens, it's hard to believe that the Panthers would invest heavily in a position in which they have sufficient depth.

However, two things stand out here. One, the Panthers know better than anyone how much mileage Williams has on his tires; though he's suffered injuries over the past few years, he still doesn't have as many carries as a running back his age might typically have.

And perhaps most importantly -- Jerry Richardson is one of the leaders in the CBA negotiations. If anyone has a good idea whether or not a large group of potential free agents will remain restricted, he's the guy.

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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