Tag:Will Brinson
Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:41 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:54 am
 

Report: New CBA will protect high-priced veterans

Posted by Will Brinson

The owners are meeting in Atlanta today and will likely vote on -- and hopefully ratify -- a new collective bargaining agreement. If and when that happens, there'll be plenty of surprises that come out of the woodwork with respect to new NFL rules and regulations.

Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk has an interesting early twist on one of these, reporting that the new CBA "will be very friendly to veterans with big salaries" in that it will keep these vets from "becoming cap casualties."

Rosenthal also notes that there will be language in the CBA "that good agents will exploit for veteran players."

No specific examples are offered in Rosenthal's post, mainly because the specifics probably aren't entirely concrete yet.

The most logical example of something that might happen, however, is that teams are given some sort of exemption for high-priced veterans when it comes to fitting in the salary cap.

Such an exemption would offer a solution that's both team- and player-friendly in that it doesn't punish either party for signing contracts during an uncapped year. (You think Denver wants to pay 38-year-old Brian Dawkins more than $7 million if they're nudged up against the cap? Doubt it.)

The agent aspect is interesting as well, though, because one has to wonder how that would affect someone like Baltimore Ravens backup running back Willis McGahee, who stands to make $6 million in 2011.

The Ravens seem likely to cut him, and McGahee's agent Drew Rosenhaus has intimated that he doesn't expect his client back with the Ravens, but perhaps the new rules will create a scenario where the Ravens can't simply cut McGahee outright, at least not without compensating him first.

Or perhaps not -- the only thing certain these days in the NFL labor world is that there's uncertainty abounding.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:26 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:38 am
 

Wisenhunt: No one on Cards' roster 'untouchable'

Posted by Will Brinson

The most prominent rumor of the offseason is that Kevin Kolb, currently of the Eagles, will end up on the Arizona Cardinals within a very short time after the lockout ends.

It's a done deal as far as many folks go, and it's simply a matter of what -- not when -- the two teams will trade.

But Ken Wisenhunt pointed out that he's a little surprised by all the chatter surrounding his team and the interest in Kolb, particularly the recent rumors that the team would give up Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in exchange.

"I don't even know where that speculation started about trading or what we're going to give up," Wisenhunt said, per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. "We don't even know if [the Eagles) are willing to do that. That's something that everybody speculates on."
Kevin Kolb: So Hot Right Now

Wisenhunt also mocked the speculation that occurred with quarterback Marc Bulger, who'd been rumored to already have a deal with the Cards and also not even interested in Arizona.

But, more importantly, Somers notes that Wisenhunt doesn't believe anyone on the Cardinals roster is "untouchable" when it comes to making a deal.

Of course, that's what everyone usually says when discussing the possibility of making a blockbuster deal. But it's also indicative of just how badly the Cardinals need a quarterback.

And exactly why Kolb's practically already pencilled on on the Arizona depth chart.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 11:51 am
 

Mawae: NFLPA 'not tied to a timeline of July 21'

Posted by Will Brinson

Have we all taken for granted that a labor deal has to be in place by July 21 (Thursday)? Perhaps, yes. So it's a bit sobering to hear NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, speaking to reporters before the NFLPA's executive committee gets set to review a proposed labor deal, downplay the significance of that date.

"We're not tied to a timeline of July 21," Mawae said outside the NFLPA offices before heading in to review the proposal. "Our timeline is to get the best deal for our players. We're not going to agree to any deal unless it's the right deal for all the players."

See, again, everyone's assumed -- because of the good vibe going down in labor negotiations -- that the executive committee would walk into the NFLPA offices today, take a look at the deal, tell all the players they were good to go and then everyone would collectively high-five and football would be back.

It's pretty obvious from Mawae's comments that such a scenario isn't guaranteed. And that he's not necessarily "in-tune" with another potential sticking point -- the settlement of the Brady v. NFL class-action lawsuit.
Latest on Labor

"Obviously this litigation with the named plaintiffs -- there's a process and I'm not familiar with the legal part of it," Mawae said.  "Whatever argument there is going on between them, I think there's a lot of sensationalism going on."

Look, his lack of clear-cut understanding of how the named plaintiffs will end up being compensated doesn't mean Mawae's not in touch with those guys. It's necessary for Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Vincent Jackson, Logan Mankins and the rest of the guys on the lawsuit to settle their legal issues with the NFL before we see a settlement.

And maybe at the end of the day, there's an approved proposal that's heading to the owners' meeting in Atlanta for ratification tomorrow.

But Mawae's comments are a tangible reminder that there are lots of moving parts in this deal, and even though everyone seems full of sunshine and rainbows when it comes to a labor deal getting done, it's still not done yet.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:48 pm
 

NFL Lockout: The Movie

Casting by Will Brinson, poster art by Ryan Wilson

We're more than four months into the lockout, which means, save the draft, more than four months without much to talk about, whether it be free agency, trades or the impending training camp battles.

So we've resorted to making stuff up. That's right, we've put our heads together for "LOCKOUT," an original motion picture* brought to you by the crack staff of the Eye on Football blog.

It has everything you've come to expect from a taut modern-day thriller ... save a few minor details. For example, there are no sympathetic figures, no strapping young male lead, no bombshell love interest and no clear storyline beyond "We want more money!" Other than that, we liken it to a cross between the Bourne vehicles and anything from the Coen brothers.
 
Okay, we've laid it on way too thick (we're blaming it on lockout fever; it was only a matter of time before we completely lost our minds). Conveniently ignoring that, we suspect that you may have your own thoughts about which actor should have been cast to portray the real-life lockout figures below. Consider this your chance to be a pretend casting director -- give us your suggestions in the comments. If nothing else, it'll take your mind off the fact that we're 126 days without football.  

You're welcome. (Click on the image to the right and the one below to make them bigger. Trust us, it's worth it.)



* This isn't quite true. The movie isn't scheduled for production and, in fact, we haven't even secured the funding for this film. To tell the truth, we're only as far as the make-believe casting and the movie poster. But you already knew that.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Rashard Mendenhall sues Champion over 9/11 tweets

Posted by Will Brinson

Rashard Mendenhall created one of the offseason's biggest controversies when he tweeted some stuff about 9/11 following Osama Bin Laden's death. The tweets got fans all stirred up, drew some remarks from teammates and got him fired as an endorser of Champion.

In response, Mendenhall is -- per CNBC's Darren Rovell -- suing Hanesbrand, the parent company of Champion in North Carolina District Court.

“This case involves the core question of whether an athlete employed as a celebrity endorser loses the right to express opinions simply because the company whose products he endorses might disagree with some (but not all) of those opinions,” the suit reads.

In all likelihood, this won't work like a normal "wrongful termination" case -- Mendenhall had a clause in his Champion contract that, per Rovell, allows them to fire him if Mendenhall "commits or is arrested for any crime or becomes involved in any situation or occurrence tending to bring Mendenhall into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or tending to shock, insult or offend the majority of the consuming public.”  

The problem here for Mendenhall is that because he's dealing with an issue like 9/11, he'll have an uphill battle to prove that the majority of the consuming public wasn't offended by his comments, particularly given the storm of media coverage it generated.

Additionally, he's seeking monetary damages for his termination, which probably won't play well in the media, despite what his attorneys claim.

"Although the lawsuit seeks damages, this case is truly not about the money," Mendenhall's lawyer Stephen Thompson told Rovell. "In this age of widespread social media, Rashard believes (whether an athlete can be fired for his or her opinions) is an important question for all athletes who serve as celebrity spokespersons, and he intends to pursue this lawsuit to vindicate his rights and those of other athletes caught in this situation."

Perhaps the biggest problem is the resulting image hit that Mendenhall could suffer. Even though he's defending a basic American tenant -- free speech -- he's going to remind everyone in the country exactly why he got fired in the first place; it's unlikely that the general public's stance has changed on his statements since then.

And, of course, he's suing an ex-employer and someone who signed him to an endorsement contract. That's never good for business, particularly if you're trying to find future endorsers.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:12 pm
 

Study: NFL players more vulnerable to Alzheimer's

Posted by Will Brinson

A study presented on Monday by the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris revealed that ex-NFL players are more susceptible to developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than non-football-playing men of the same age.

MCI is, as Time's Alice Park notes, a form of dementia that leads to Alzheimer's and, unsurprisingly, the development of MCI relates directly to the number of violent hits and jarring shots to the head that football players take during the course of their career.

"The players who were impaired looked exactly like the typical clinical MCI patient in terms of their profile," Christopher Randolph, a professor of neurology at Loyola University Medical Center who led the study, said. "That supports our hypothesis that what we are dealing with is an earlier expression of MCI or AD in these players than would be expected otherwise."

The most terrifying aspect of the study (in which researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also assisted)? Helmets won't prevent this brain damage.

"The harder the stop, the more movement you have in the brain tissue; you stretch nerve fibers, tear fibers and bruise things," says Randolph. "So helmets are not going to protect you."

Player Safety

Randolph believes that changing practice habits could reduce the damage done to players' heads but that it could be difficult to reduce the amount of stress in games.

Regardless of the scientific evidence relating to reducing stress in games, though, it's obvious that decreasing the number of helmet-to-helmet hits that occur will significantly impact players' brains in a positive manner.

As will, hopefully, the league's ability to enforce a safer concussion policy that keeps players from returning to games too soon.

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H/T: MDS at PFT
Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 5:32 pm
 

GM Smith: Re-signing current Jags '1st priority'

Posted by Will Brinson

The Jacksonville Jaguars are an interesting team to watch as we emerge from the lockout cocoon and head (hopefully) to the 2011 season. They've got a rookie quarterback who might or might not play and a head coach who might or might not be on the hot seat.

In other words, the future, and measuring short- versus long-term goals is kind of up the air. So it'll be interesting to see how they handle free agency. According GM Gene Smith, getting their "own players" will take precedent. “Our own players will always be our first priority,” Smith said, per Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union. “I’ve said this before that it is our objective to get a long-term deal done with Marcedes.”

Obviously, Smith's referring to tight end Marcedes Lewis, who was franchise tagged near the end of February. Less obvious is how the situation with Lewis will play out -- there's been some chatter that Lewis will hold out, based on his decision to remain in Los Angeles "until [his] deal is done."

He's also commented that he just wants "to be treated fair."

“All I can do is be optimistic about it,” Lewis told Ganguli in a recent phone interview. “I think both sides have an idea of where we want to go. I’m just going to continue to handle my side and let them take care of that. I’m hoping we can get it done and get me in camp.”

Lewis' situation is fascinating because the Jaguars have already gotten rid of one-time breakout wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker and are left with Mike Thomas shoring up their No. 1 receiver spot.

Making Lewis happy and getting him into camp on time is something that appears absolutely essential for Smith if he wants to ensure that the Jaguars have enough offensive potency to keep with the rest of the AFC South, especially if they're not planning on trolling for free agents between now and the start of the season.

After all, if David Garrard doesn't have any weapons, the Jags might struggle early and Blaine Gabbert might find himself under center sooner than anyone expects. Not having a safety net at tight end for their rookie is probably something the Jacksonville front office would like to avoid.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Bengals lead league in arrests, no-comment Benson

Posted by Will Brinson

Over the weekend, Cedric Benson was arrested in Austin for assault. The collective response from most folks was: "Again?"

That's a problem. And so is the fact that Benson was the third Bengal in the past eight days to get arrested (Adam "Pacman" Jones and Marvin White were both arrested in the last week). Fortunately, the Bengals can use the lockout to no-comment the rash of arrests away.

"The team is aware of the incidents," Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan said, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "However, as with most situations of this nature, it would be inappropriate for the team to comment until the matters are resolved through normal legal channels."

Unfortunately, as Reedy notes, Cincinnati leads the league in arrests since 2000, with 35! 

That's not something they'll likely comment on now either, and it might not be anything too surprising (it is the Bengals) but it's still a disturbingly high number of arrests.

The -- somewhat anyway -- good news is that such a run on legal issues isn't a problem that stems out of the lockout and an associated rise in crime (you may recall noted sociologist Ray Lewis' theory on this).

It's a problem that stems specifically from the Bengals organization, and probably why the "national media continues to hammer" them for basically everything.

And much like Cincy suddenly rising up and winning a Super Bowl, change isn't something you should expect to see until there's a systematic overhaul of the franchise.

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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