View Full Version : Whispers from around the League

02-16-2008, 02:40 PM
Whispers from around the League
Feb. 16, 2008
Pro Football Weekly

*We?re told the Bengals may elect to give DE Justin Smith the franchise tag for the second consecutive year. However, if they do, Smith?s salary-cap number for 2008 would be in excess of $10 million, and that could hamstring Cincinnati?s attempts to bring back other members of one of the Bengals? most talented groups of free agents in years ? a group that includes S Madieu Williams, OLB Landon Johnson and OG-OT Stacy Andrews, among others.

*The way we hear it, don?t rule out the possibility of the Bengals re-signing unrestricted free-agent S Madieu Williams, even with young safeties Marvin White and Chinedum Ndukwe having staked their claims for more playing time in 2008.
Word from Baltimore is that the Ravens are hopeful they will receive a compensatory third-round selection after losing versatile OLB Adalius Thomas to the Patriots in free agency last offseason.

*The Browns? aggressiveness at the outset of free agency may be tied to the availability of the top free-agent defensive linemen. It?s no secret Cleveland wants to bolster its D-line, but the feeling is some of the top linemen available ? with Titans DT Albert Haynesworth being the prime example ? will be slapped with the franchise tag.

*The Dolphins? release of MLB Zach Thomas came as only a mild surprise to those close to the situation. A veteran of 12 seasons, he?s not the player he once was, as injuries and age have limited his impact. Furthermore, he doesn?t fit the mold of the massive, hulking inside linebacker that executive vice president of football operations Bill Parcells prefers. However, the prevailing thought had been that Parcells would want to keep Thomas around for stability and leadership purposes but would ask him to agree to a lesser contract.

*What had been rumored around Orchard Park all season became official on Thursday. WR Peerless Price will not be a Bill in 2008. Price was one of the few Bills who had failed to fulfill expectations under Dick Jauron, and he was seen as dead weight. Wide receiver is undoubtedly the team?s biggest need, both before and after Price?s release.

*Don?t expect the Patriots to pick up the $4 million option they have on WR Kelley Washington. In his first year as a Patriot, the former Bengal failed to catch a pass, as he was buried on the Patriots? depth chart. However, the Pats value his tremendous special-teams contributions and would be happy to keep him on board if he?s willing to accept a reduced salary.

*Look for Jets WR Justin McCareins to be earning his paycheck outside New York in 2008. Even with the contractual stalemate between fellow WR Laveranues Coles and Jets management, McCareins ? who had been rumored to be on the trading blocks all season ? doesn?t fit into the team?s plans. The team is excited about the potential of WR Brad Smith, a converted quarterback who has game-breaking ability.

*Three of the Colts? most prominent players may not be available for the start of training camp in late July. DE Dwight Freeney (foot), WR Marvin Harrison (knee) and S Bob Sanders (shoulder) could all be sidelined through the summer. On the plus side, team president Bill Polian says that none of them is expected to be out for the start of the regular season.

*While the Titans want to sign PK Rob Bironas to a contract extension, they also realize there is no rush to do so, the way we hear it. Bironas, a restricted free agent, will likely receive one of the highest tenders from the Titans if they don?t sign him to an extension, and that probably will ward off any potential suitors for the 2007 Golden Toe winner.

*Team insiders say that an infusion of youth is needed in the Chiefs? CB corps. For as great as his career as a whole has been, 34-year-old Ty Law no longer has the speed to be considered an elite player. Once boasting the physicality and recovery speed to be a premier bump-and-run corner, Law now cheats further off the line to help mask his diminishing ability. Fellow starting CB Patrick Surtain will be 32 by the time training camp opens and also has seen a regression in ability.

*Sources tell us it?s only a matter of time before FS Marlon McCree is officially booted off the Chargers. He was a liability in coverage and also showed poor tackling ability in 2007. Making the move easier and all the more prudent is the Chargers? belief that they have a budding star in versatile DB Eric Weddle. The team traded up in the second round in the ?07 draft to nab him, and he showed great promise in sub packages in his rookie season.

*We hear one of the last remaining Broncos from the John Elway era could be on his way out of Denver. WR Rod Smith, who?ll be 38 in May, has been placed on the reserve/retired list, though he has not made anything official and still has hopes that he will play again. Smith missed all of last season with an injured left hip.

*The Cowboys would be willing to franchise FS Ken Hamlin if it means keeping him. They would like to reach a long-term accord with Hamlin, who was mostly very good last season and earned a Pro Bowl invite. However, if they can?t reach an agreement, the Cowboys are not afraid to slap the tag on him and guarantee another year with him heading up the secondary.

*Safety might be one of the few positions the Giants overhaul this offseason. They?d like to re-sign FS Gibril Wilson, an unrestricted free agent, but the SS spot might look different. James Butler was functional and rookie Michael Johnson showed some upside, but the team might go for a veteran option, which could leave Butler out of the picture.

*Slapping L.J. Smith with the franchise tag gives the Eagles continuity at tight end, and Brent Celek showed enough promise to be prominently in the picture for 2008. But disappointing Matt Schobel might be on the outs. The team likes to keep three tight ends and might seek an upgrade, especially in the blocking department.

*With the reports on CB Carlos Rogers not looking great ? he?s expected back around October from a knee injury suffered last October ? the Redskins appear more likely to keep Shawn Springs and his unwieldy salary-cap number for next season. A new deal could be struck.

*Our Cardinals sources believe the team will give all of its restricted free agents the lowest possible tenders, except DE Antonio Smith and CB Eric Green, both of whom figure to receive at least second-round tenders. Because the team is so thin at corner, it actually may consider giving a first-round tender to Green, who has shown enough ability to garner some interest from other teams at the right price.

*Our Rams sources aren?t putting much stock in the rumor that new Rams offensive coordinator Al Saunders may be interested in bringing free-agent QB Todd Collins with him from the Redskins. The feeling is the team remains more than satisfied with backup Gus Frerotte, who has been a coach?s favorite on every team he?s played for.

*New Rams executive vice president of player personnel Billy Devaney on the possibility of the Rams trading down from their current No. 2 spot in the first round: ?It depends on the way those picks shake out. Are there six players that are worthy of being taken at that spot, and could you still move down and get a credible player? I think that?s what we have to evaluate. ? I think everything is on the table. I. Along with everybody, we?d be open to whatever makes us a better team.?

*It appears that the Vikings won?t make a strong push to re-sign FB Tony Richardson, though they are not opposed to bringing him back. The team has two young fullbacks ? Jeff Dugan and Naufahu Tahi ? on the roster and might allow them to take over full-time blocking duties for the Vikes? top-ranked run offense.

*An interview with new Lions QB coach Scot Loeffler on the team?s Web site makes no mention of J.T. O?Sulivan, the team?s backup to Jon Kitna last season, perhaps lending credence to what PFW long has suspected: The team will move forward with Kitna, Dan Orlovsky and Drew Stanton as its top three quarterbacks. That said, don?t rule out possibility of the team taking a QB later in the draft.

*Though it would appear the Saints are settled at offensive tackle with Pro Bowler Jammal Brown and Jon Stinchcomb in place, our source in New Orleans told us not to be surprised if they select a tackle early in April?s draft. Word is, Stinchcomb is thought to be very replaceable, and his contract expires after the 2008 season.

*We hear Bucs DE Gaines Adams showed so much improvement in the latter part of his rookie year that veteran DE Greg Spires, who missed six games last season with a calf injury and had his lowest sack total ? two ? since 1999, may not be in Tampa?s plans for next season.

*The Falcons began their roster purge by releasing nine-year veteran DT Rod Coleman, leaving the middle of the team?s defensive line pretty barren. Without Coleman, who started five games last season before missing the final six with injury, defensive tackle becomes an even higher priority for the Falcons in the draft, making LSU?s Glenn Dorsey look like a potential fit for the squad should he be available.

*It appears the Panthers will retool their offensive line from the inside out. They released veteran OG Mike Wahle but re-signed OLT Travelle Wharton to a six-year deal, and reports say ORT Jordan Gross will either be franchised or will re-sign by Feb. 21. To replace Wahle, there will be shuffling on the interior ? last year?s starting center, Justin Hartwig, could move to one of the OG positions, and Ryan Kalil, fresh off his rookie season, would become the center.

02-16-2008, 03:07 PM
Thanks for posting this.

02-16-2008, 03:12 PM
Now that my eyes stopped bleeding from reading all that. It's safe to say the off-season is going to be interesting to say the least.

02-16-2008, 03:44 PM
Now that my eyes stopped bleeding from reading all that. It's safe to say the off-season is going to be interesting to say the least.

I actually have to scale it back and delete things like assistant coaching moves!!!...Good stuff though...PFW rocks.