Posted on: March 20, 2009 1:30 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 3/20/09


Here is my latest edition of NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy the read:

- If the Broncos decide to formally put Jay Cutler up for trade, they won't have trouble finding partners. An NFL source said "more than 10" teams have called the Broncos this week inquiring about Cutler. In most instances, those teams communicated nothing more than interest should Cutler become available. The Broncos have listened but have told all comers their plan is not to trade Cutler. He requested to be traded Sunday. Teams who figure to have untouchable passers are New England (Tom Brady), Indianapolis (Peyton Manning), New Orleans (Drew Brees), the New York Giants (Eli Manning), San Diego (Philip Rivers), Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger), Cincinnati (Carson Palmer), Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers), Atlanta (Matt Ryan) and Baltimore (Joe Flacco).

- A Bill Belichick interview can be a little like the verbal version of a Rorschach test - subject to interpretation and variation depending on one's point of view. What was indisputable yesterday is that in a lengthy phone interview with WEEI, the Patriots coach never once said his team was not interested in obtaining Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. That will only further fuel the idea the Patriots are working to acquire Peppers. A source close to Peppers has made it clear the Patriots are on a short list of teams to which he would accept a trade. Echoing the statement released by the Panthers Monday, Belichick pointed out that Carolina can't engage in trade discussions because Peppers hasn't signed his $16.68 million franchise tender. Belichick said there are no trade talks going on with Carolina. Responding via text message, Carl Carey, Peppers's agent, said he has had no contact with the Patriots.

- Apparently, the feud between Browns Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers and coach Eric Mangini has not yet been resolved. Rogers skipped the first week of the Browns voluntary off-season program, which began Monday, according to Rogers' agent, Kennard McGuire, reached by phone, declined to comment. Last month, Rogers asked the Browns to release him from his six-year, $42 million contract after what he felt were two snubs by his new head coach. Rogers was also miffed that his first contact from the new regime was a mandate to show up for the off-season program at a prescribed weight, a source said. Rogers felt that because he played hurt the second half of last season and was in compliance with his weight requirement all year, such a command was unnecessary. Rogers had asked the Browns not to pay him the $6 million option bonus he was due this month and to release him instead, a source said. But the Browns had no intention of releasing their top defensive player, a source close to the team said. Mangini reportedly has tried to reach out to Rogers, but it is unknown if the two have spoken.

- Broncos owner Pat Bowlen challenged a claim made by agent Bus Cook to on Wednesday morning that he had lied to quarterback Jay Cutler, a Cook client. "Jay was disappointed in the firing of Mike Shanahan and met with the owner," Cook told "The owner assured him everything would be fine. The owner said he had the second-best offense in football and would leave the offensive staff intact. Jay was good with that. Then he hires an offensive coach who gets rid of the staff." Bowlen said Wednesday afternoon that he did not recall meeting with Cutler during the coaching search. Cutler left Denver the day before Mike Shanahan was fired and did not return until February. Bowlen said he would like the Pro Bowl quarterback to stay with the Broncos but was unable to predict if that would happen.

- If the Jets decide to make a strong play for Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, who could wind up on the trading block in the coming days, they may need help from a certain Cleveland resident whom they unceremoniously dumped - Eric Mangini. Wouldn't that be a trip? The Jets have the need, the cap room and the draft-pick ammunition to make a serious offer for Cutler, but the one thing they probably don't have is a quarterback the Broncos would take in return. That's where Mangini and the Browns would come in. The former Jets coach has two viable quarterbacks, Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, neither of whom has received an endorsement from Mangini. Quinn might be appealing to Broncos coach Josh McDaniels because he played at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis, who used to work with McDaniels in New England. Quinn is well-versed in the Weis/Patriots offensive system, which McDaniels will use in Denver. That means the Browns could emerge as the third team in a potential three-way trade. The main components of a three-way deal would be the Jets getting Cutler, the Broncos getting Quinn and the Browns getting a premium draft pick (or picks) to help their rebuilding process. Without Mangini, the Jets would be hard-pressed to swing the deal.

- Percy Harvin, the dynamic Florida receiver who doubled as a running back, will be in New Jersey Thursday for a private workout with the Giants. The 5-11, 195-pound Harvin, who did everything but run the 40 at his Pro Day Wednesday, said the Giants wanted him for a "special teams" workout. The likely mid-to-late first-round pick is expected to be both a punt and kickoff returner in the NFL, too. The Giants, who pick 29th in the April 25-26 draft, are likely looking for a receiver in the early rounds due to the uncertain future of Plaxico Burress. They did not sign a receiver during free agency. Harvin said he also has private workouts scheduled with the Jets, Dolphins, Vikings, Bucs and Ravens.

- Cut by the Cowboys on March 5, Roy Williams is in Cincinnati, visiting with the Bengals and possibly rejoining defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. According to Williams' agent, Jordan Woy, Williams has already turned down one offer and he has two more potential visits. Scheduled to count $6.6 million against the salary cap this season, the Cowboys released Williams, who was named to the Pro Bowl five times in his first seven seasons, and signed free agent Gerald Sensabaugh to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.

- Jets running back Thomas Jones was once again a no-show for the third consecutive day of the team's offseason workouts today. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the veteran is making a statement about his displeasure with his contract. These workouts are voluntary (if you believe that, I have Bernie Madoff's phone number if you want it), so Jones can get by on a technicality for now. But he can really draw a line in the sand next month. The Jets have a voluntary minicamp scheduled a week before the NFL draft and if Jones doesn't attend, the battle lines will be etched in stone and it may influence the team's decision on whether or not to draft a running back in the early rounds. Having filled almost all of their major needs in free agency except wide receiver, the Jets have the flexibility to go a number of different ways with their first-round pick (17th overall). With Jones in the fold, the Jets are believed to be looking at wide receiver, cornerback, quarterback and linebacker in the first round. Without Jones, they may decide to target a running back.

- A Delaware County prosecutor this morning named former Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter among the reported clients of an alleged drug dealer during opening arguments of a trial. Deputy District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland, addressing the jury, said that Styles N. Beckles, 36, of Clifton Heights, had told police that he sold drugs to pro athletes, including Buckhalter and Keita Crespina, a former Temple University football player. No charges have been filed against Buckhalter or Crespina. Buckhalter, 30, spent eight years with the Eagles before the Denver Broncos signed him to a four-year deal this month.

- The Cincinnati Bengals have the sixth overall selection in this year's NFL draft and will be in search of an impact player on either offense or defense. The prospect evaluation process has long begun and the franchise is beginning to narrow down its choices. One impact player ranked high on the team's list is Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells. The Bengals have a need for a playmaker at the running back position behind starter Cedric Benson and Wells is scheduled to visit the organization in Cincinnati the first week of April. Wells may have put himself back in the running as a potential Top 5 pick after an explosive performance at the school's pro day on March 13, rebounding from a so-so showing at the Scouting Combine last month.


Category: NFL
Posted on: March 13, 2009 2:20 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 3/13/09

 Not much going on right now, but here's the latest.  Enjoy: 

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones believes the release of Terrell Owens will allow Tony Romo to spread the ball around more. Sam Hurd said the same thing the day Owens was cut. Jones said the decision to cut loose Owens had little to do with locker room chemistry, but he admits it had something to do with on-field chemistry. When you have a receiver like Owens, quarterbacks cater to him whether they know it or not. He was the target of 140 throws last season, tied for ninth in the NFL. He needs, wants, craves the football and even when he was the intended target 20 times against Washington -- whether the passes were catchable or not -- he wasn't happy.


The Eagles have contacted the agent for Bills free agent linebacker Angelo Crowell but have not made a contract offer, is reporting. Crowell is represented by Todd France, who also represents Brian Westbrook. Crowell visited Detroit on Wednesday and Tampa Bay on Monday, according to the report. St. Louis also has expressed interest.


General Manager Rod Graves denied a report by that the team is "shopping" receiver Anquan Boldin to potential trade partners. The report was attributed to an unnamed NFL source. Via text message, Graves said the Cardinals position regarding Boldin has not changed. Boldin first asked for a trade about a year ago, and the Cardinals have consistently said they were not interested in trading the Pro Bowl receiver. Graves, however, has left open the possibility that the team's stance could one day change. Boldin has two years remaining on a four-year extension signed in 2005. That extension was worth about $23 million in new money, including $10 million in bonuses. Boldin recently backed off a promise never to re-sign with the Cardinals. Through his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, Boldin said he would be willing to re-sign provided an offer was forthcoming in a reasonable amount of time.


The Vikings' plan remains to have Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson compete for the starting job in training camp. There are no plans for any trading or for free-agency signings. The defending NFC North Division champions plan next to improve through the draft.


Note to NFL linebackers: Gisele Bundchen gives some insight into the psyche of the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots that you may find useful as you try to take his head off next year. In the cover story of Harper Bazaar's April issue, Bundchen says Tom Brady, her new husband, is "very naive, almost like a child."

Category: NFL
Posted on: March 9, 2009 2:36 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 3/9/09

Here is the latest NFL dirt & gossip. Enjoy:

- After spending 11 seasons in Philadelphia as one of the top LT's in football, LT Tra Thomas has signed a three year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars had cut several veterans this offseason and vowed to rebuild through the draft. However, they felt Tra Thomas was too good a player to pass on.

- 33 year-old free agent CB Shawn Springs has found a new home - with the New England Patriots. The veteran signed a three-year; $10.5 mil deal with the team. Springs had also considered signing with the Eagles. The signing of Shawn Springs continues a tradition by the Cheatriots of signing veteran players on defense in the offseason. The Cheatriots, eh, I mean, Patriots also acquired Eagles WR Greg Lewis in a trade. The Patriots get WR Greg Lewis and an undisclosed Eagles 2010 draft pick. The Eagles get an undisclosed 2009 draft pick from the Patriots.

- Perhaps the biggest surprise for Ravens fans this offseason is the team's failure to sign a WR in free agency. Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, and Demetrius Williams will all be free agents next season. A name that has come up in the rumor mill for possible acquisition is WR Torry Holt, who has requested to be released from the Rams.

- The Chargers have cut off negotiations with RB LaDanian Tomlinson. However, if things don't work out in San Diego, don't expect the former probowler to be out of work for long. Saints QB Drew Brees told a San Diego radio show that he would love LT to join him in New Orleans, and has been lobbying for his team to sign Tomlinson should be be released.

- Word out of Detriot is that the Lions appear to be the front runner to acquire the services of free agent TE L.J. Smith. The Lions have already lost two TE's this offseason, and can't afford NOT to upgrade the position on their roster.

- Rams former #1 draft pick - OT Orlando Pace - will be wearing a different uniform next season. If the Rams cannot get something for Pace in a trade, he will be released.

- With QB Kurt Warner signing on for two more years with the Cardinals, former 1st round pick QB Matt Leinart faces the possibility of not being the starter until 2011; when he will be 28. However, Leinart is not disgruntled and has not asked for a trade. He intends to stay in Arizona with the team that drafted him, and compete for the starting job.

- The New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts have both scheduled private workouts for former USC QB Mark Sanchez. Both workouts will occur before the April 1st pro day.


Category: NFL
Posted on: March 3, 2009 4:16 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 3/3/09


OK, gang. Here it is - my latest version of NFL Tidbits & rumors. Enjoy: -

On Monday, a league source advised us that the new regime in Cleveland -- known lovingly in league circles as "ManKok" -- would likely be interested inBroncos quarterback Jay Cutler as an alternative to Brady Quinn and/or Derek Anderson.

 - T.J. Houshmandzadeh's two little girls forecast the future Friday when they were presented with tiny No. 84 Houshmandzadeh jerseys in colors upon their arrival via Paul Allen's sea plane. Their daddy said yes to Seattle on Monday and goodbye to a team he leaves as the third-most prolific receiver ever. "Nothing is going to change," Houshmandzadeh said Monday. "I'm going to line up with either one guy in front of me or two. I'm going to run the route and I'm going to catch the ball. Just like I've done and more. I guarantee it." What's guaranteed is that the are looking to replace their most consistent third-down receiver with another veteran and they're waiting for long-time Jet Bengals reached out to Coles over the weekend and he couldn't get on a flight Sunday.BengalsSeahawksBengalsLaveranues Coles to fight through the East Coast snow to reach Cincinnati on Tuesday for a visit. A league source said the

- The Washington yesterday released former Pro Bowl defensive end after he declined to participate in the offseason workout program at Redskins Park, team and league sources said, ending a brief and unproductive union that cost the team a second-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft and a sixth-round pick in 2010. Taylor rejected owner Daniel Snyder's request to have a workout clause added to his contract, which would have resulted in the three-time all-pro receiving a bonus, believed to be $500,000, if he took part in most of the conditioning program scheduled to begin March 16 at the complex. Taylor, who makes his year-round home in Miami, would have made $8 million during the final year of his contract next season, not including a $500,000 roster bonus he was scheduled to receive this week. Snyder's insistence about the proposed new contract language surprised Taylor, sources said, especially considering the Redskins and Taylor's agent, Gary Wichard, had agreed both sides would honor the final two years of the deal, without any restructuring, before Taylor was traded from Miami to Washington on the first day of training camp last July.Jason TaylorRedskins

- Roy Williams wants to know what his future holds immediately, so his agent, Jordan Woy, has asked the Dallas to either cut or trade the strong safety by today. The Cowboys have made Williams available for trade but the market has been slow, largely because teams believe the club will eventually release him. Williams is scheduled to count $6.6 million against the 2009 salary cap.Cowboys

- The today have no intention of making overtures to Taylor or his agent. The team is eyebrows-deep in locking up new center to a five-year contract and making sure it has enough salary cap space to conduct other business throughout the offseason. Adding a salary like Taylor's is not in the budget and therefore not in Miami's immediate plans, according to an informed team source. But ... Are the Dolphins absolutely, positively shutting the door on Jason Taylor? Is there zero chance he returns to Miami? Did the JT express leave the station last year, with no chance of ever stopping back again? No. There is indeed a scenario under which the Dolphins would welcome Jason Taylor back. By the way, when I asked about Taylor late Monday, I expected the answer to be a quick and decisive, "No thanks," so we could all move on to the next order of business. But that wasn't the answer I got and these next few facts surprised me. First, the idea that Taylor cannot be welcomed back to the Dolphins because he and football czar Bill Parcells had a falling out last year just prior to his trade to Washington is not correct. Taylor, in fact, has talked and spent time with Parcells a couple of times since the trade. Parcells has nothing against Taylor. Secondly, the Dolphins don't dismiss the idea Taylor still has something substantial left in the tank.Jake GroveDolphins

- The biggest question in Broncoland: Did Josh McDaniels at least entertain moving Jay Cutler because he wanted to help him move the ' offensive system to Denver? Or does McDaniels want to move Cutler? Cutler believes he may still be trade bait. But while several reports quoted sources saying it was McDaniels who initiated the Cassel-Cutler trade proposal, only McDaniels put his name behind his comment. "We don't want to trade Jay," McDaniels said Saturday. "We never did. He's our quarterback." Expect other NFL coaches and GMs to test McDaniels' resolve. An NFL source said the Detroit and Minnesota also expressed interest in Cutler. But it's unlikely the cash-strapped Broncos would want the ' No. 1 overall draft pick, because that slot would command a minimum $30 million guarantee. The Lions, however, have a terrific defense and the league's best running back in . With all due respect to the recently acquired , the Vikings may consider Cutler, who threw for 4,525 yards last season, as a final piece to becoming a Super Bowl contender. Most significant NFL trades are made on the first day of the draft. The threat of a Cutler trade probably won't dissolve until the draft's second day, April 26.Vikings

- Kurt Warner apparently didn't leave his heart in San Francisco after a successful visit with the 49ers. While he's pondering a more lucrative offer by the 49ers, Warner reached out to the Cardinals to give them a chance to sign him at a "hometown" discount. On Tuesday, Warner instructed his agent, Mark Bartelstein, to make a two-year, $23 million proposal to stay with the Cardinals. According to Bartelstein, Warner's proposal would include $12 million in guarantees, $6 million each season. To further sweeten the deal to the Cardinals, Warner, through Bartelstein, is willing to reduce his contract by $1 million a year if they can successfully renegotiate the contract of wide receiver .Anquan BoldinCardinalsKurt Warner49ers on Monday that could net him a rich two-year contract. Warner's heart is still with the Cardinals. 


Category: NFL
Posted on: February 27, 2009 2:58 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 2/27/09



Hi, gang. Here are my NFL Tidbits & Rumors for today. Lots of free agency info. Enjoy the read:

- Even after getting kicked out of the NFL for drug use, former Cowboys QB Quincy Carter managed to get himself arrested in Hidalgo County, TX for drunk driving and marajuana possesion. At 31, his football career in ANY league is likely over.

- The Cleveland Brows have traded former Pro Bowl TE Kellen Winslow to the Buccaneers for undisclosed draft picks. New Coach Eric Mangini is looking to add newer, younger talent to the offense with the extra draft picks from this trade.

- The Vikings made it official; trading a fourth round draft pick to the Houston Texans for QB Sage Rosenfels. Roselfels - 31 - agreed to a two-year, $9 mil deal.

- After giving $100mil to a DT who's never played a full 16-game season, the Redskins spent even more money; signing CB DeAngelo Hall to a six-year, $54mil deal. $24mil of that money is guaranteed. He is now one of the highest paid CB's in the NFL. The Redskins have a bad history of giving lots of $$$$ to free agents who usually turn out to be busts. Now, they have $154mil tied up in two players! One of those players has never played a full 16-game season - EVER. Good luck, Dan Snyder.

- 33-year old free agent RB Fred Taylor has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots. The move keeps the Patriots true to their history; signing veteran RB's to bolster their backfield.

- MLB Keith Brooking was released by the Falcons after the two sides failed to work out a contract extension. The Falcons have also cut ties with OLB Michael Boley, CB Domonique Foxworth, and DE Chauncey Davis.

- The Jets are expected to sign former Ravens OLB Bart Scott to a contract estimated at around $40mil, which will, ironically enough, leave MLB Ray Lewis the last remaining free agent of the famous Ravens linebacker trio. Ray Lewis reportedely wants off the Ravens team as he was apparently rubbed the wrong way in contract negotiations with the Ravens. The Jets are interviewing another former Ravens player. CB Corey Ivy is scheduled to visit the Jets.

- Texans FS Eugene Wilson will not be hitting the free agency market after all, and is expected to come to terms on a new contract to remain with the Texans.

- Rumor out of Cleveland is that the new GM and head coach are not sold on Brady Quinn as their starting QB. This only adds to the speculation that Derek Anderson will be kept by the Browns to compete for the starting QB job. My personal opinion - if they hand the starting job to Derek Anderson, than the Browns deserve another losing season. Derek Anderson had two good games last season, and looked horrible in the rest of the ones he played in. So, I guess I'm failing to see the Browns logic here. Good luck, Browns fans.

- The Raiders are continuing to try to re-sign C Jake Grove. As for WR Jerry Porter's possible return, the Raiders are not interested. Yikes. It's pretty bad when the Raiders don't want you on their team. Perhaps it's time for another career, Mr. Porter.

- Now that the Texans have traded Sage Roselfels, they are in the market for another back-up QB. Among the possible candidates are Lions QB Dan Orlovsky, Bears QB Rex Grossman, Bengals QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers QB Jeff Garcia,Broncos QB Patrick Ramsey, and Titans QB Chris Simms.

- Chiefs Pro Bowl G Brian Waters has asked to be released from the team after new GM Scott Pioli arrogantly refused to meet with him. Waters feels he was disrespected, and rightfully so.

- The Cowboys are reportedely shopping SS Roy Williams for a trade. The relationship between the player and the team has been rocky for a while now, and one way or the other, Roy Williams is not expected to be wearing a Cowboys uniform next season.

- Word out of Cincinnati is free agent WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the Bengals are close to reaching an agreement on a new contract. It is believed there a 70% change he returns to the Bengals next season.

- Talk are in the works about possibly moving a current NFL team to Los Angeles. If the NFL agrees, the developers would begin shopping for an NFL team as early as April 1st. The three teams specifically identified as possible targets for relocation to Los Angeles are the Raiders, Bills, and Vikings.

- The Broncos are beginning their free agency by bringing in RB J.J. Arrington, RB Correll Buckhalter, and S Renaldo Hill for visits.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 25, 2009 2:44 pm

The Latest Mock Drafts

Here's Rob Rang's.  Enjoy: 

<tbody> </tbody> 2009 NFL Mock Draft - 2/25/2009Round 11. Detroit LionsMatthew Stafford, QB, Georgia: Marginal performances by the other quarterbacks at the combine confirmed what most already suspected - that Stafford is unquestionably the top passer in this class. The Lions dined with several candidates for the top pick in Indy, including Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry and USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, but they met first with Stafford.2. St. Louis RamsJason Smith, OT, Baylor: With Orlando Pace entering his 13th season and starting RT Alex Barron a year away from free agency, the Rams need to address their tackle situation after missing out on Michigan's Jake Long last year. Smith cemented his position as the top tackle in this class - and a virtual lock for the top four - with an impressive all-around performance at the combine.3. Kansas City ChiefsAaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest: Considered by many to be the safest pick of the draft, the Chiefs would be wise to add Curry if he's available. Flanked by the playmaking Curry, former first-round pick Derrick Johnson could get the spark needed to rejuvenate his career.4. Seattle SeahawksMichael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: Seattle has holes on both sides of the ball, but none more pressing than a lack of playmakers. There isn't a more dominant playmaker in the draft than Crabtree - whose 41 career receiving touchdowns were largely responsible for his being the only two-time winner of the Biletnikof award.5. Cleveland BrownsEverette Brown, DE, Florida State: Brown is the draft's most explosive pass rusher and the Browns had just 17 sacks last season, but he'd be a better value a few picks later. With only four picks in this draft, Cleveland is expected to entertain offers for this selection.6. Cincinnati BengalsEugene Monroe, OT, Virginia: LT Levi Jones has started all 16 games only twice in seven years - and none of the past four seasons. RT Stacy Andrews had surgery in January to repair a torn ACL. Monroe took over for D'Brickashaw Ferguson as a sophomore and was so good at left tackle that he kept last year's No. 15 overall pick Branden Albert inside at left guard. Albert allowed 4.5 sacks in starting 15 of 16 games for Kansas City as a rookie -- all at left tackle.7. Oakland RaidersB.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: The Raiders finished ahead of only the Detroit Lions in run defense last season, allowing a staggering 159.7 yards per game. Raji's size and strength make him the draft's preeminent run defender, and his stock continues to climb after he impressed scouts at the combine with better than anticipated agility.8. Jacksonville JaguarsMichael Oher, OT, Mississippi: Left tackle Khalif Barnes surrendered more sacks last season (7.5) than any other blind-side blocker and is an unrestricted free agent unlikely to return. Oher raised some eyebrows during interviews at the combine, but Jack Del Rio and his coaching staff have extra insight into his ability after coaching him at the Senior Bowl.9. Green Bay PackersMalcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: The Packers' switch to a 3-4 alignment and more zone coverage is going to force the club to reevaluate many of its current starters. Jenkins' pedestrian 40 at the combine could push him out of the top 10, but GM Ted Thompson has shown a willingness to think outside of the box with defensive backs, and Jenkins is much more than a 40 time.10. San Francisco 49ersJeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: Flashes shown by young receivers Josh Morgan and Jason Hill might not be enough to keep the 49ers from considering Maclin. His ability to make defenders miss would help immediately on an offense desperate for more big plays and give the team options in the return game.11. Buffalo BillsBrian Cushing, OLB, Southern California: Angelo Crowell looked like a future standout for the Bills a few years ago, but a torn ACL and his impending free agent status makes Cushing a tempting option. A New Jersey native, Cushing is versatile enough to play opposite Kawika Mitchell and also drop down as a nickel pass rusher.12. Denver BroncosRey Maualuga, ILB, Southern California: Among new coach Josh McDaniels' first moves was to hire Mike Nolan as his defensive coordinator. Nolan, a strong proponent of the 3-4 defense, needs stouter, strong personnel to help the Broncos make the transition from the 4-3. Maualuga, 6-2, 249, could be the centerpiece of the linebacking corps.13. Washington RedskinsPeria Jerry, DT, Mississippi: With only four picks in the 2009 draft, the Redskins cannot afford to make mistakes. The defensive end class, hyped by many, lacks guarantees. Jerry's burst inside would give the Redskins an element they currently lack and provide insurance with three free agents at the position.14. New Orleans SaintsVontae Davis, CB, Illinois: The Saints have spent too many years and too many millions of dollars in failed attempts at fixing their secondary. Considering Davis' spectacular upside, New Orleans could spend its first first-round pick on a cornerback since selecting Alex Molden in 1996.15. Houston TexansBrian Orakpo, DE, Texas: The Texans already have three former first-round picks along the defensive line, but still lack a legitimate pass rusher opposite DE Mario Williams. Orakpo, winner of three of the four top defensive awards (Nagurski, Hendricks, Lombardi), wasn't as fluid in some of the linebacker drills that proponents of the 3-4 would like and may slip further than many are projecting.16. San Diego ChargersTyson Jackson, DE, LSU: The Chargers have shown a willingness to invest high picks in their 3-4 defensive ends in the past, using the 28th overall pick on Luis Castillo in 2005 and the 35th overall on Igor Olshansky in 2004. With Olshansky an unrestricted free agent and thought unlikely to be resigned, the Chargers would be wise to add Jackson, the elite 3-4 defensive end prospect of this draft.17. New York JetsMark Sanchez, QB, Southern California: Coach Rex Ryan may have said all of the right things at the combine about his three quarterbacks, but when the team is "split right down the middle" on which of their current passers can win the starting job, there is a potential problem. Sanchez has the tools to be a franchise quarterback, something that few can claim about the Jets' current group.18. Chicago BearsAaron Maybin, OLB, Penn State: Casual observers might tell you that the Bears have plenty of talent along their defensive line, but those close to the situation know that the club struggled to generate a consistent pass rush from the outside. Maybin is an ascending talent, but might still be a year or two away from being a starter. Used as part of a rotation - as he would be here - Maybin could make an immediate impact.19. Tampa Bay BuccaneersChris Wells, RB, Ohio State: The Bucs are a team in need of an offensive identity. Considering their reliance on 34-year-old Warrick Dunn, 'tweener back Earnest Graham and oft-injured Carnell Williams, new GM Mark Dominik would be wise to consider adding a bell-cow running like Wells should he be available.20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas)Andre Smith, OT, Alabama: Smith's lack of preparation and early departure from the combine is going to translate into a significant drop on draft day. The Lions, however, would be wise to take advantage of his falling stock here, instantly improving the size and physicality of their offensive line.21. Philadelphia EaglesBrandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State: Despite franchising L.J. Smith, the Eagles' best tight end through most of last season was receiving specialist Brent Celek. Pettigrew, a dominant blocker, would be a bit of a luxury selection, but considering the importance of the tight end in this offense and the fact that the Eagles have two first-round picks due to their trade last year with Carolina, they can afford it.22. Minnesota VikingsPercy Harvin, WR, Florida: The anticipated trade for QB Sage Rosenfels should upgrade the passing game. So, too, would the addition of a versatile slot receiver like Harvin, who could also make an immediate impact as a returner.23. New England PatriotsClay Matthews, OLB, Southern California: After not spending a first-round pick on a linebacker since 1990, the Patriots struck gold last year in taking Jerod Mayo. Matthews, Jr. continued his improbable rise from walk-on to potential first -ound pick with an impressive workout at the combine.24. Atlanta FalconsRobert Ayers, DE, Tennessee: The Falcons have received precious little in the way of a pass rush from their investment in former No. 8 overall selection Jamaal Anderson. Ayers struggled with consistency early in his career, but developed into a team captain as a senior and turned heads at the Senior Bowl.25. Miami DolphinsLarry English, OLB, Northern Illinois: The Dolphins have other needs, but considering Bill Parcells' penchant for selecting pass rushers, the fact that 11-year veteran Joey Porter (18) contributed roughly half of Miami's 40 sacks and that this is an especially strong year for the position, few league insiders would be surprised if Miami took another pass rusher here. English, the two-time defending MAC Defensive Player of the Year, showed enough at the combine to consider making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker.26. Baltimore RavensDarrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland: Perhaps the most exciting aspect of rookie QB Joe Flacco's development last season was his big arm downfield. With teams forced to attack the line of scrimmage due to Baltimore's running game and the precise route-running from Derrick Mason, the speedy Heyward-Bey would be a nice fit.27. Indianapolis ColtsEvander Hood, DT, Missouri: The Colts always seem to be on the lookout for size and strength on the defensive interior. Hood's steady improvement while at Missouri and impressive performances at the Senior Bowl and combine have his stock soaring.28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina)William Beatty, OT, Connecticut: Under Andy Reid, the Eagles have always shown a willingness to spend first-day picks on young offensive and defensive linemen. Beatty may lack the strength necessary to start immediately, but he has the athleticism for left tackle and could develop behind Tra Thomas (assuming the free agent returns) for a year before taking over.29. New York GiantsJames Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State: Linebacker has traditionally been an area of strength for the Giants, but they struggled in this area in 2008 and would like to add youth and versatility to the position. Laurinaitis isn't flashy, but his consistent open-field tackling and ability to play any linebacker position makes him an intriguing fit and a good value here.30. Tennessee TitansMichael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech: The anticipated free-agent defection of Albert Haynesworth will force the Titans to look to the draft for another standout defensive lineman. With no defensive tackles capable of replacing Haynesworth, Tennessee could look outside for a pass rusher to pick up the slack.31. Arizona CardinalsKnowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: Considering the Cardinals' struggles to run the ball last season and Edgerrin James likely to work his way out of town, the Cardinals need to add a feature back in front of Tim Hightower, who is better suited to a short-yardage role. Moreno is viewed by many talent evaluators as a top 10 talent, but his poor workout at the combine and few teams needing help at running back could lead to a stunning drop on draft day.32. Pittsburgh SteelersKenny Britt, WR, Rutgers: Only the 49ers (55), Lions (52) and Bengals (51) surrendered more sacks last season than the Super Bowl champs (49). With three free agents at the position, it is easy to see why Pittsburgh would strongly consider Britton, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection as a junior.



Category: NFL
Posted on: February 24, 2009 4:51 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 2/24/09


Here is an updated version of my NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy the read, gang.

- Rumor out of Houston is that the Texans and the Vikings are close to a trade that would send Texans QB Sage Roselfels to the Vikings for a 4th round pick. The consensus is that the Vikings are not willing to give up their 1st round pick for Patriots QB Matt Cassel, so they have elected to go this route.

- According to an report, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb might delay talks of a contract extension "until he sees how the Eagles improve themselves in the offseason via free agency and/or trades." The implication was that if the club doesn't meet McNabb's demands for more weapons, he might not seek an extension and, instead, could pursue a trade. This is confusing to everyone else involved; especially since McNabb was quoted not so long ago; stating he would like to remain with the team. Call me crazy, but I think Donovan McNabb may be over-estimating his own value at this point.

- Word out of Altanta is that the Falcons recent release of S Lawyer Malloy had nothing to do with his age. Apparently, he was a constant complainer and negative team influence; someone coach Mike Smith will not tolerate.

- There will be another cap casualty in Houston today. The Texans are set to release DE Anthony Weaver. Possible landing spots for Weaver are the Jets and Ravens - where he started his career.

- Word out of Cleveland is that the Browns will look to bolster their backfield this offseason; through the draft and free agency. As far as the draft goes, The Browns are said to be interested in former Ohio State RB Chris "Beanie" Wells. They are said to be so impressed with his workouts, they are considering taking him with the #5 overall pick. As for free agency, a name that is on the Browns radar screen is Giants soon-to-be-free agent RB Derrick Ward.

- Word out of Chicago is that the team is not pleased with CB Nathan Vasher. The former probowl CB signed a contract extension in 2007 which included $14 mil in guaranteed money. He folllowed that contract signing up with a lack luster '08 season. Vasher is now considered on the hot seat in Chicago and may not be in the Bears future plans if the lack luster play continues.

- Word out of Tennessee is despite DT Albert Haynesworth's intention to test the free agent market, the Titans and Haynesworth are still continuing discussions about a contract extension. The recent talks are considered "productive", and it is not out of the question that Albert Haynesworth may wind up staying right where he is - with the Titans.

- The Cardinals and Kurt Warner are still in discussions for a contract extension. However, it is said that Warner's agent is asking for the Cardinals to pay Kurt Warner an average salary in the $12mil to $16 mil range, which would actually make him one of the top five highest paid QB's in the league. However, with Warner being 37, who knows how much longer he'll be around. It's doubtful Warner will get the money his agent is requesting.

- According to a New England newspaper, the Patriots and the Bills appear to be the top candidates to land veteran free agent RB Fred Taylor. Taylor, 33, is expected to visit both teams this week.

- Word out of San Francisco is that coach Mike Singletary and his Gm want to add a power RB this offseason to compliment RB Frank Gore. The consensus is they want to change the offense to a power running game, and they believe they can fill this need via the draft. The draft doesn't have a lot of fast RB's this year, but there are several intriguing prospects as far as power-backs go that figure to fall to the later rounds.

- We might be seeing another "Chad Johnson" situation unfold out in Arizona. Probowl WR Anquan Boldin has apparently given the Cardinals a deadline - today - to come up with a serious offer. If he doesn't get the offer he's looking for, word is he will want to be traded. The Cardinals have no intention of trading Boldin and expect him to honor his current contract, so this situation could turn real ugly, really fast.

- Contrary to previous reports that Browns QB Derek Anderson will be shopped for a trade, new coach Eric Mangini claims Anderson will be there next season to compete with Brady Quinn for the starting QB spot. Despite the consensus that Brady Quinn's time is now, this is the front the Browns are presenting, and refuse to name next season's starter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 19, 2009 2:59 pm

NFL tidbits & rumors

Ok, gang. Here is another edition of my NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy the read:

- According to NFL sources, Colts WR Marvin Harrison will be released in the days to come. This is a move that will happen to free up some much needed salary cap space. Harrison (36) had 1,102 receptions, 14,580 yards, and 128 TD's during his impressive career with the Colts.

- The Panthers have just signed OT Jordan Gross to a six-year deal, which includes $30.5 mil to be paid out in the first three years - the highest ever for an offensive lineman. As a result for getting a deal done with Jordan Gross, the Panthers have slapped the franchise tag on disgruntled DE Julius Peppers; a move that will allow them to seek a trade. Julius Peppers would like to have a say in where he winds up, and the front runner team he appears to be interested in is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys run the 3-4 defense, a scheme Peppers wants to play in, and the Cowboys have enough other playmakers on defense to take some attention away from Julius Peppers by opposing offenses.

- In an interview yesterday, Patriots QB Tom Brady said he is progressing from his knee surgery on schedule and expects to be ready for the 2009 season opener. The infection that impeded his earlier progress is said to be under control.

- The Dolphins are said to be happy with guards Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas. But with both coming off injuries, the Dolphins are expected to add at least one guard through the draft, free agency, or both.

- Word out of Miami is the Dolphins are said to be interested in Cowboys WR Miles Austin. At 24, he is still young, and posesses many attributes Bill Parcells covets. He's 6'3" and can stretch a defense a bit with his speed. He averaged 21.4 yards per catch in '08, had three TD's, and can also return kick-offs.

- QB Jeff Garcia's time in Tampa Bay is over. The Buccaneers have officially asked Garcia to move on. However, despite his age (39), Jeff Garcia has no intention of retiring. He wants to continue his career and believes some other team will give him an opportunity when the free agent signing period begins next week.

- Unable to work out a long term deal, the Houston Texans have placed the franchise tag on CB Dunta Robinson. The tag is said to be worth just under $10 mil, but will restrict Robinson's ability to find a new team.

- Word out of Tennessee is with the inability to tag DT Albert Haynesworth, the Titans will use the franshise tag on TE Bo Scaife. Scaife - the Titans leading receiver in '08 - is the first TE to be franchise tagged this offseason. Elsewhere in Titans land, QB Kerry Collins and the Titans have been unable thus far to work out a new deal. Collins is scheduled to become an unresitrcited free agent if the team cannot get him signed.

- Despite their salary cap woes, the Colts were able to come up with enough money to sign CB Kelvin Hayden to a five-year, $43 mil deal, which included $22.5 mil in guaranteed money. The Colts had intended to put the franchise tag on Hayden if they were unable to come to a deal the two sides could agree on.

- After contract talks failed to produce a new deal, the Rams have slapped the franchise tag on safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. Atogwe would have been the top free agent safety available had he hit the market. In an upcoming draft that is thin at the safety position, this was thought to be a wise move by the Rams.

- Word around the league is that WR Jerry Porter, who was cut by the Jaguars last week, could wind up back where is started his career - with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are said to be the team that has shown the most interest, and no doubt can use a veteran presence after releasing WR Ronald Curry.

- In other news out of Raiders nation, P Shane Lechler was just rewarded with a four-year, $16 mil deal, making him the highest paid punter in NFL history. $9 Mil of that money is guananteed.

- Another special teamer was rewarded with a big contract in Tennessee. The Titans and K Rob Bironas have agreed on a four-year, $14 mil deal, making Bironas one of the highest paid kickers in the NFL.

- The Ravens have decided on Terrell Suggs as their franchise player. This is big news for other teams looking for linebacker help as MLB Ray Lewis and OLB Bart Scott are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, free to test the market.

- The Chargers have used their franchise tag on RB Darren Sproles, and in doing so, take a big chance. They are hoping RB LaDanian Tomlinson will take a large pay cut to stay with the team. If for some reason he does not, the team may be forced to cut him; getting nothing for him in return, which will all but force the team to take a RB with their first round pick.

- Less than 24 hours after being released by the Patriots, WR Kelley Washington has a job interview already. He is scheduled to meet with the Jets today.

Category: NFL
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