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Tag:2012 NFL Free Agency
Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:13 pm
 

Report: Lynch, Seahawks 'deep' in contract talks

Seattle and Lynch are reportedly 'deep' in contract talks. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

In 2011, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch had the most productive season of his career, rushing for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns on 285 carries. Despite that, it's been thought that Seattle wouldn't use the franchise-tag on the impending free agent.

A report from Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network significantly changes the perception of Lynch's future in Seattle, as LaCanfora writes on Monday that the two sides are "deep" in contract talks and could use the tag if a deal isn't completed.

"The Seahawks are deep in talks with running back Marshawn Lynch on a long-term deal, which could well be completed before the March 5 deadline. If that somehow falls apart, the Seahawks are prepared to tag Lynch, according to a source with knowledge of the situation."

There's reason to be optimistic about Lynch's future. Though he didn't produce his best cumulative season, he was absolutely dominant down the stretch in 2011, rushing for 941 yards (78.2 percent of his season total) over the final nine games of the season.

And maybe this tag is an obvious one to some people, but there's a reason we didn't list Lynch when we ran down a list of guys we thought would be likely to get franchise-tagged: he's got some serious mileage and some serious question marks.

For starters, Lynch's career-high yards-per-carry total is 4.2, which he posted in 2011. It's also easy to laud his numbers from 2011, but remember, through the first seven weeks of the season, Lynch was averaging 3.55 YPC and just 44 yards per game. That's not the sort of performance that warrants a big-money, long-term investment and it might not be the type of performance worthy of an $8-million-ish payday just for next season either.

Especially when you could just pay him in Skittles.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 10:20 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 12:22 pm
 

Report: Rice wants a 'Peterson type of contract'

Rice is good, but is he worth 'AP money'? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

One guy we expect to see franchised over the next fortnight or so is Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice is an unrestricted free agent, is just 25, and is one of only 16 NFL players since the merger to accumulate multiple seasons with 2,000 or more yards from scrimmage. But we also expect Rice and the Ravens to work out a new long-term deal; Rice said he's OK with the tag provided it leads to such a deal.

Latest NFL News, Notes

But his expectations might be too high: Peter King of Sports Illustrated writes Monday morning that he's hearing Rice "wants an Adrian Peterson-type of contract" for his next deal.

Unfortunately, that's probably not happening. Prior to the 2011 season, Peterson signed a seven-year deal worth up to $100 million, with $36 million guaranteed.

That's "best running back in the NFL" money, and Peterson might be lone exception when discussing running backs who are worthy of that kind of cheddar. (Of course, Peterson spent much of 2011 dealing with a high-ankle sprain that Leslie Frazier later parlayed into a torn ACL by rushing his franchise player back onto the field too quickly.)

Rice, as talented as he is, isn't worth that much money. The Ravens know this and they won't give Rice "AP money." King writes as much, saying that he "doesn't see them going anywhere near that for Rice," although he believes that Baltimore will find a way to get Rice his cash.

A closer approximation to what Rice could get? The deal the Carolina Panthers handed DeAngelo Williams after the 2011 lockout. Williams got a five-year, $43 million deal with $21 million guaranteed.

Rice is more valuable than Williams (the stats bear that out, particularly in 2011), but Williams deal was -- and remains -- a straight-up overpay. The Panthers threw the market for "franchise running backs" out of whack, and now guys like Rice and Matt Forte, who run a lot of risk by only playing for a one-year guaranteed deal in 2011, will suffer because of it.

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 10:10 pm
 

Mario Williams isn't worried about big money now

WilliamsBy Josh Katzowitz

With Houston’s Mario Williams set to hit the free agent market, there’s a real question whether it's worth it for the Texans to re-sign the former No. 1 overall pick to what will be an enormous long-term contract.

As the Houston Chronicle points out, the Texans would have to go to some length in order to free enough salary cap room to make Williams a strong-enough long-term offer. And if the Texans allow him to get to free agency, John McClain writes, “there are teams with so much cap room and such a desperate need for pass rushers that he could end up with the largest contract of any defensive player in league history.”

Williams, though, isn’t necessarily interested in hitting that kind of milestone. Or so he says right now.

"I'm not worried about that,” Williams told the team’s website, via Rapid Reporter Brandon Williams. “Money is money at the end of the day, and it's really not that big of a deal for me. Whatever fits best for me and the team, whichever it may be, then so be it."

Free agency starts soon
Williams obviously doesn’t have to be as concerned about money because his rookie contract paid him $54 million over six years, and though his next deal likely will far exceed that money total, Williams apparently doesn’t feel he has to cash in as large this time around.

Besides, he really enjoys Houston.

“I love it here,” Williams said. “We’ve got everything we need here. The team is right where it needs to be. The pieces fit, but it’s part of business. Whatever happens, happens.”

The Texans could franchise tag Williams, though they most likely won’t because the salary cap hit would be way too large. For now, Williams -- who said the torn pectoral that knocked him out for most of the season is 100 percent healthy -- will wait. And he seems fine to do so.

“They have to do their thing,” Williams said. “I know they have a lot on their plate getting ready for the combine and draft. So I’m just waiting. That’s part of being in this position. I tell my agent to just let me know what’s going on. Whatever he hears he’ll tell me. Once I’m told something (concrete), then we’ll sit down and talk about it. I’m not really worried about it.”

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 4:19 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 6:35 am
 

Report: Jets, Eagles 'curious' about Randy Moss

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Monday morning, Randy Moss fired up the Internets by proclaiming "I wanna play football" on USTREAM. Yes, that's him coming back to football. And he's eligible to sign with a team whenever he wants. However, it's not likely you'll see anyone sign him before they find out what kind of wide receiver market emerges vis-a-vis franchise-tagging.

There are definitely teams interested in Moss, though. Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports reports that the Eagles and Jets are "curious" when it comes to Moss and that the 49ers and Patriots should be lumped into potential suitors for Moss as well.

Latest NFL News, Notes

Moss spoke on Monday morning about dealing with some personal and/or family issues. If he was going through things that altered his concentration and motivation, it's possible there's another reason for his poor production in 2010.

After all, Moss was considered "done" after a 2006 season with the Raiders that saw him catch 42 balls for 553 yards and three touchdowns at the age of 30. A year later, he was destroying the NFL for a record-breaking Patriots team, catching 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Sure, Moss is five years older now than he was then. But he's one of the all-time physical freaks in NFL history, and if he's motivated and healthy, he can be a difference-maker.

The Patriots make sense for Moss because they lack a deep threat. Sure, Bill Belichick isn't known for second go-rounds, but he's already done it with Deion Branch; why wouldn't Moss work too if he's willing to work hard, be quiet and take less money than Chad Ochocinco?

The Jets are a logical fit also because, well, they're the Jets. If a famous veteran is on the market, they'll chase him. Also, he would fit the personality of the Jets, in theory. However, Mark Sanchez under center could be a concern for Moss, particularly if his top goals are producing big stats and winning a championship.

That applies to the 49ers, who are also a run-based team. But there's no other top wideout in San Francisco and the Niners have an easier path to the playoffs out of the NFC West.

And, of course, there's the Eagles. After last year's "Dream Team" debacle, it's easy to cringe at the idea of adding Moss. But if DeSean Jackson is dealt out of town to plug a hole on defense and a motivated Moss can come in and catch bombs from Michael Vick, that's a pretty spicy proposition.

No one knows what Moss will look like, of course. But it's Randy Moss we're talking about, which is why it's hard not to be curious.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:11 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:33 am
 

Randy Moss: 'I wanna play football'

Moss did a USTREAM chat Monday and said he wants back in the NFL. (USTREAM.com)
By Will Brinson

There's really nothing more surprising in life than finding yourself watching Randy Moss do a live USTREAM chat at 10:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. Except for this: Randy Moss announcing that he wants to return to the NFL while chatting live with fans on USTREAM.

Latest NFL News, Notes

"I wanna play football," Moss said Monday morning. "Your boy is going to come back here and play some football, so I'm really excited. I had some things I had to adjust in my life."

It just so happens that Monday is Moss' birthday, so he gave back to fans by hopping on the Internet and holding a live chat. He seemed genuinely surprised by the fact that 100-plus people were watching around 9:45 a.m. ET, but was straight-up shocked when the number swelled to over 500 by the end of the hour, thanks to various people like our own Mike Freeman sending out links on Twitter.

Moss' live chat was both bizarre and entertaining. At one point, he pulled out a bag filled with all the hair he recently cut off and said it smells like "sauerkraut."

But, again, the most important thing is that Moss said he's coming back to football in 2012. Or, at least, wants to come back to football. There are teams (the Vikings, Raiders and Titans most notably) that can be crossed off the list.

Perhaps the Patriots are too much of a stretch for Moss. But there will be someone interested in taking a flier on Moss, particularly if he's as motivated as he sounded on Monday morning. On his birthday. During a USTREAM chat.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 9:29 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:32 am
 

Report: Eagles plan to franchise DeSean Jackson

D-Jax looks like a likely target for the Philly franchise tag. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson wants a new contract. This is not new news. But the latest reason for this discussion won't likely end with Jackson being any happier, as the Eagles are reportedly planning to place the franchise tag on Jackson before he gets to free agency.

Latest NFL News, Notes

That's according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who says to "count on" the Eagles franchising Jackson because the team will not let Jackson "walk without getting something in return."

Philly has from February 20 to March 5 to apply the franchise tag. After that, Jackson would become a free agent. Jackson's already said he's fine with playing under the franchise tag in 2012, probably because he'd be willing to make around $9.5 million guaranteed. (More than three times the value of the entire rookie deal he just finished playing out.)

A pile of disastrous events -- an insurance policy, missed team meetings, a fourth-quarter benching, getting called out by teammates, you name it -- are sandwiched between Jackson's holdout before 2011 and his impending free agency in 2012. That being said, the Eagles need Jackson. The explosive wide receiver had just 58 catches for 961 yards in 2011, but his value to the Eagles offense as a deep threat can't be understated.

Additionally, the Eagles may seek a trade with Jackson once they use the franchise tag on the wideout, according to McLane. There are plenty of other wideout-needy teams in the NFL who might be interested in giving Jackson a long-term deal, and the Eagles would love to get something back for him.

Could a long-term deal with Jackson still happen? Of course it could. But Jackson and agent Drew Rosenhaus want Jackson to be paid like a top-five wideout.

"I think right in that range," Jackson said last year. "Maybe top-5 in the NFL. ...My playmaking skills and abilities, my punt returns, and the ability to get the ball and score on any play. I mean, Fitzgerald, he's a special receiver -- don't get me wrong -- but he doesn't play special teams so that adds an extra edge to it."

Jackson's not "wrong," per se, when discussing how his skills make him a valuable commodity. The problem is his attitude, which is so poor -- at times -- that it's reduced his effectiveness on the field and made him a distraction off of it. That's not exactly the type of behavior that sends teams scrambling to throw big-time, long-term money at a player.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:16 pm
 

Report: Peyton can't 'throw the ball to his left'

Manning reportedly can't throw the ball to his left. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Wednesday evening, Ryan Wilson passed along a report that Peyton Manning's arm "is a noodle." That description was not complimentary. And neither is the the description of Manning from NFL Network's Michael Lombardi.
Manning's Offseason Saga

Lombardi, appearing with Bill Simmons on "The BS Report," said that Manning "can't throw the ball to his left." Ruh-roh.

"I've talked to people who have caught the ball for him," Lombardi said. "He can't throw the ball to his left. He can't throw the ball across his body because he doesn't feel it. People that catch the ball for him say that he doesn't really have the velocity on the ball yet."

Maybe Peyton's just not an ambi-thrower? Eh, that seems unlikely, since we have a reasonable sample size to back up Peyton's ability to throw all over the field. Instead maybe it's possible that the "noodle" report and the "can't throw the ball to his left" report are just really one and the same.

Right now, the strength of the nerves in Manning's arms simply aren't built up enough to throw the ball well. That's bad news for Manning's future, but the good news is that Manning has a month to continue rehabbing and prove that he's healthy enough to play in the NFL.

If he's shown improvement with the strength and velocity on his throws by March 8, it's possible Jim Irsay will keep him on the Colts. (It's possible. Just not likely.) And if Irsay doesn't keep Manning, then Peyton will have until March 13 to prove to teams he's improving enough to step in and produce in 2012.

Of course, if reports are still circulating about Manning's lack of arm strength at that time, it might not matter.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:29 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 2:46 pm
 

Report: Plaxico 'badly' wants to play for Eagles

Burress "badly" "wants" to play for Philly next year? That's the word on the street. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Prior to the 2011 season, it was widely believed that the Eagles would land Plaxico Burress in free agency. That's mainly because Philly housed the last convict-turned-NFL-player in Michael Vick, whether that presumptive logic was right or wrong.

NFL Offseason Begins

Plax, of course, ended up playing for the Jets, and caught 45 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. He'll be a free agent on March 13, though, and according to Howard Eskin of NBC 10 in Philadelphia, he "wants" to play for the Eagles this time around.

"Saw and talked to Plaxico Burress at Super Bowl and told me he wants to play for Eagles," Eskin tweeted on Wednesday. "Badly!"

We also saw Plaxico at the Super Bowl while dining at Mo's Steakhouse in Indianapolis, but we didn't get a chance to ask him any questions, because we were too busy cackling about the wide receiver giving a bro-hug to Jared Fogle of Subway. (We were too stunned to take a picture, but we have witnesses. This really happened.)

Eskin followed up on the tweet with NBC Philly's David Chang, although he wasn't quite as emphatic about it happening.

"I do believe the Eagles will take a hard look at signing Plaxico Burress," Eskin said.

Burress wasn't fantastic in 2011; though he tied for the 11th-most touchdowns in 2011, he certainly wasn't close to the 11th-best wide receiver in the league. He's not going to be a deep threat at his age, but he can be a dangerous red-zone weapon, which is something the Eagles could really use.

If DeSean Jackson isn't franchise-tagged and/or doesn't receive a deal, the Eagles will suddenly be a team in need of a wide receiver. That would likely ramp up the potential interest in a guy like Burress.

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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