Tag:NFL free agency
Posted on: August 1, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 3:18 pm

Bradshaw move no-brainer

The Giants re-signed Ahmad Bradshaw for all the right reasons -- because he was their best back last season and the Giants still believe in the run.

Bradshaw wasn't a distraction. He wasn't a complainer. OK, so he fumbled. So did Tiki Barber.  But that can be helped ... if not resolved. What you couldn't resolve was the 1235 yards that would've evaporated with his departure.Bradshaw was one of the top free agents left on the market, and I couldn't imagine why something hadn't happened sooner with him.

Yeah, I know the Giants flirted with Jason Snelling. But Bradshaw is the better option. He knows the system, he is happy with his role and he has Brandon Jacobs there to split carries. By staying put, he remains with a team that is a playoff contender and a team that will make sure he's a significant part of the offense. He also may extend his career, with Jacobs absorbing some of the hits reserved for Bradshaw were he somewhere without a suitable partner.

So Bradshaw goes where he is needed, and the Giants retain a contributor -- something that's critical in a season where new is not necessarily good. In fact, its the veteran teams with the returning head coaches and familiar scripts that should survive, and the New York Giants are one of those teams.

Keeping Jacobs was smart as long as you had someone to split carries with him. The Giants do. That should take some of the heat off Eli Manning's shoulders and ensure that Tom Coughlin can do what he likes to do --- which is mix his passing attack with an effective running game.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 31, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 5:36 pm

Bad sign: Rodgers already having it his way

Aaron Rodgers is a terrific quarterback. He might be a better salesman.

It was the Packers' quarterback who earlier this summer spoke out about re-signing two of the team's key free agents, fullback John Kuhn and wide receiver James Jones, and it was the Packers' quarterback who on Sunday reiterated his position.

Only this time, the Packers followed through. They re-signed both, further strengthening a team that looks armed and dangerous for another Super Bowl run.

While Rodgers fully acknowledged it's not his job to act as an agent for teammates, he did explain why he felt compelled to speak out about the importance of retaining them.

"I am a leader on this football team," he said, "and my voice carries some weight in this locker room. You don’t get better by taking from the whole.  You need a guy like James Jones back. You need a guy like John Kuhn back. Solid locker room contributor; solid contributor on the field.  We need guys like that to win.

"I don’t make statements about that all the time unless I feel strongly about something them, and I feel very strongly that James Jones was an important part of this football team. And so was John Kuhn. And so was Daryn Colledge and Cullen Jenkins. I'm going to miss those guys, but it’s important for us to bring back those other two guys."

Apparently, management agreed.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 31, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: July 31, 2011 5:17 pm

Burress pawn in battle for NY

Nothing bothers the New York Jets as much as playing second banana in the New York metropolitan area to the Giants. OK, so maybe losing to the Patriots is in there.

But the Jets love attention, and they've been making alot of it on and off the field since Rex Ryan took over as head coach. That's why the signing of free-agent Plaxico Burress should come as no surprise. He's a big name, the Giants were interested in him and the Jets wanted to make a move at the wide-receiver position.

More important, they probably felt they had to make a splash after losing out with Nnamdi Asomugha. So they sign Burress, and say goodbye to Braylon Edwards. I don't know where he ends up, but it's safe to assume it won't be back with the Jets.

I know, Edwards must drop his price for anyone to be interested, but he's a more dangerous weapon than Burress. Burress, of course, is a sexier name, and the Jets opted for the guy who will get the attention ... and he will get it in stadium where the Giants play.

My question: Will he also get the passes? He turns 34 next month and missed the past two years of football while sitting in prison. More to the point, when you talk to personnel directors and GMs they tell you he was slipping in 2008, when we last saw him.

My guess is that he didn't wind up with the Giants because he and coach Tom Coughlin have too much history together. While each may have been willing to accomodate the other, they both know where they could end up ... because they've been there. So Burress goes to the competition, and I'm not talking about within the NFC East; I'm talking about the back pages of the Post and Daily News.

The Jets are there again, thanks to Burress, and that's how they like it. And the Giants? Frankly, I think they couldn't care less.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:46 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 5:47 pm

Osi ends holdout; will show up

There's a breakthrough in the Osi Umenyiora stalemate... except it's really no breakthrough at all. The Giants' defensive lineman will end his holdout Saturday evening, his agent confirmed, and attend the Giants' training camp.

But that doesn't mean that anything has been resolved. In fact, nothing has been. Umenyiora, who set a league record last season with 10 forced fumbles, wants a new contract or a trade -- and neither is in the works.

Umenyiora charges in an affadavidit that was part of the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit that Giants' GM Jerry Reese promised him either in 2008 if he had two good seasons. Umenyiora's contention is that he lived up to his side of the deal, and the Giants aren't living up to their. But he will show up because, well, he's decided to show up ... without Reese contacting him or his agent.

Umenyiora is under contract for the next two seasons and faced a $30,000 a day fine if he didn't attend practice.

So he will show up. But that doesn't mean Umenyiora is OK with the situation. He's anything but. He still wants the Giants to respond, but so far, nothing.

"(Shaun) O'Hara and (Rich) Seubert had contracts, and they got released," said agent Tony Agnone, "and Brandon Jacobs had a contract and it was reduced. Does this only work negatively, and not positively?"

Only the Giants can answer.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 6:06 pm

The hits keep coming for Philly 'D'

Once upon a time, people wondered if the Philadelphia Eagles were the team to beat in the NFC East. Not anymore. Now they ask if they're the team to beat, period.

That's because the Eagles keep adding and adding to a defense that let them down the past three playoffs, with defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins the latest addition. Jenkins, who Saturday agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal, joins cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end Jason Babin to a defense that includes a new coordinator (Juan Castillo) and line coach (Jim Washburn) and should be vastly better than the unti that wilted in the 2010 playoffs.

The 21-16 loss to Green Bay marked the third straight playoff loss for the Eagles and, apparently, the end of coach Andy Reid's rope. Determined to improve a lethargic pass defense that surrendered a club-record 31 touchdown passes, Reid scored huge hits this week through free agency and the Kevin Kolb trade.

I remember when Reid's critics wondered what he would do to retool his team, and what he's done is address its defensive shortcomings with monster acquisitions. OK, so the Eagles might be issues at linebacker, but don't tell me their pass rush won't improve ... because it will. And don't tell me their secondary play won't be better ... because it will. And don't tell me the defense will cost Philadelphia another run at a Super Bowl ... because it won't.

Not with the cast the Eagles are assembling.

That doesn't mean they make it to Super Bowl XLVI. As Green Bay's Desmond Bishop said, "Yeah, I mean they got better on paper. But only time can tell. You might look good on paper, but it's all about putting it out there on the field on Sunday."

Well, with what the Eagles put out there on the field next week they are vastly improved from the club that last year suffered its second-straight playoff defeat in the opening round. Philadelphia fans are impatient with Reid, and, apparently, Reid is impatient with himself. He keeps picking up defensive stars to throw at the next opponent, and I would suggest the opponent he has in mind is Green Bay.

It was the Packers who dispatched Philadelphia from the playoffs last season, and it was the Packers who won a Super Bowl. So, you're serious about reaching the Super Bowl? Then build a team to beat the Packers. Reid is. Every day,

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 28, 2011 9:49 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 10:16 pm

VY seems headed for Eagles

Looks like the Philadelphia Eagles have their backup to Michael Vick. Would Vince Young come on down?

The Eagles are expected to add Young, who was released by Tennessee on Thursday, and sit him behind Vick as the team's backup. Mike Kafka, a 2010 draft pick, is the third-stringer.

The addition of Young makes sense -- all the way around. Young needs to start over, as Vick did when he was released from prison in 2009, and the Eagles are the perfect spot. In fact, it seemed so good a day ago I wrote a story about it -- saying the Eagles should talk to the guy and that he was the right guy for this situation.

Looks like they're following through, with Young a virtual certainty to join the team. The move is a good one for the Eagles, who gain an experienced backup with playoff experience, and a great one for Young, who can step back and rebuild his career while sitting behind Vick.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 9:39 pm

Kolb headed to Cards, but deal not complete

As expected, the Philadelphia Eagles will make the deal with Arizona that will send quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Cards for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick. But hold on, people: The deal is not complete. Not yet it's not, and it may be hours before it is.

I'm not sure what the hangup is, but it doesn't appear to be compensation. The Eagles gained what they want. The Cards gained what they want. And Kolb has a contract extension, so he gained what he wanted. But this isn't finalized, and, as Yogi said, it ain't over 'til it's over.

Is there something here that could ruin the deal? I doubt it. I suspect the Eagles are trying to find a veteran backup quarterback to cover themselves after Kolb leaves. They like Mike Kafka, but they'd like an experienced guy more behind Michael Vick, and I have one suggestion for them that I threw out there Wednesday: Vince Young.

Why not? The Titans will release him. He needs a second chance. He can do what Vick did in 2009 and sit on the bench, comfortably out of the line of fire, while reconstructing his career. Plus, he's started, and he's been to the playoffs. Seems like a good idea to me.

Of course, if Young thinks he's going to start somewhere, the Eagles are out.

Anyway, the Eagles are doing what they had to do, and so is Arizona. The Eagles need help at right cornerback, and they believe Rodgers-Cromartie is just the ticke. He's young (25), has size (6-2, 190) and was a Pro Bowler two years ago.

The Cards, on the other hand, desperately needed a quarterback, and Kolb was the best one available. Had Carson Palmer been on the market, Arizona would've jumped for him. But he's not, making Kolb the next best option. Arizona did what it had to, which is to solve the most important position in the game.

Some people say they overpaid for Kolb, but I say you better wait to see what Kolb does for them. You don't overpay if he takes you to the playoffs.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 28, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 9:39 am

Why Babin to Eagles? Try the DL coach

The Washburn Effect is already making a difference in Philadelphia.

Don't tell me the addition of defensive line coach Jim Washburn won't have an impact on the Eagles because it already has. The club on Thursday added defensive end and pass-rushing specialist Jason Babin a year after he left the club.

And the reason he's back? Look no farther than Jim Washburn.

Oh, yeah, and money. But Washburn had to play a part in Babin's return to the Eagles. He was his coach in Tennessee last season when Babin produced career numbers, with a team-high 12.5 sacks -- which, it should be noted, were more than any of the Eagles' pass rushers.

What makes this move intriguing is Babin's age. He's 31, and the Eagles almost never commit long-term deals to guys over 30. They made an exception here, and I'd suggest that urgency played a role in it. They saw a player who could help them immediately in an area of need, have a coach under whose direction he flourished and took the plunge.

Aside from the age, Babin is a perfect addition for the Eagles, who watched their pass rush wind down in 2010 as the season went on. In fact, the team's leading pass rusher, Trent Cole, had one sack in his last five starts (including the playoffs) and three in his last eight. If you're going to catch Green Bay, you better be able to pressure quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Eagles just improved their chances in that department.

But this is the first in what should be a two-pronged attack to shore up a pass defense that failed the club in 2010. The Eagles still are expected to find a right cornerback to replace Ellis Hobbs and Dimitri Patterson, with the Cardinals' Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie the likely choice. He is part of a proposed deal that would send him and a second-rounder to Philadelphia for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, a trade that still is in the works.

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Category: NFL
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