Thursday, February 19, 2009

NFL Update - 2/19/2009


  • The NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis, IN. Prospects stock will fluctuate wildly over the next seven days.
  • Titans DT Albert Haynesworth will test the free agent market. The Buccaneers are strongly considering making a run at the big man. NFL Free Agency starts February 27th.
  • Tom Brady has almost guaranteed he'll be ready for opening day.
  • If the Panthers use the franchise tag on Julius Peppers, he will demand a trade. It is rumored he has already narrowed down his acceptable teams to a mere four.
  • The Raiders resigned punter Shane Lechler and released WR Ronald Curry.
  • At least four teams are switching from the base 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme for 2009: Denver, Green Bay, San Francisco, and now Kansas City.
  • Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby say that Santonio Holmes' feet were not down on his game-winning TD grab in the Super Bowl.
  • The Colts reached a 5-year deal with CB Kelvin Hayden.
  • K Rob Bironas signed a 4 year deal to remain with the Titans.
  • According to reports, the Indianapolis Colts will sever all ties with Marvin Harrison soon.
  • The Buccaneers have resigned DT Ryan Sims, who was to be a free agent next week.
  • Sources say that both the Raiders and Panthers are close to deals with two big name free agents, CB Nnamdi Asomugha and LT Jordan Gross, respectively. If deals aren't wroked out in the next few hours, each could get the franchise tag. UPDATE: Both deals are done.
  • UPDATED: Speaking of which, here are the players that have been tagged as of 12:15 (tags can be applied until today at 4pm): LB Karlos Dansby (Cardinals), P Michael Koenen (Falcons), LB Terrell Suggs (Ravens), K Shayne Graham (Bengals), CB Dunta Robinson (Texans), QB Matt Cassel (Patriots), RB Brandon Jacobs (Giants), OT Max Starks (Steelers), RB Darren Sproles (Chargers), LB LeRoy Hill (Seahawks), S Oshiomogho Atogwe (Rams), WR Antonio Bryant (Buccaneers), and TE Bo Scaife (Titans).
  • Players for unrestricted free agent WR T.J Houshmanzadeh? Unlikely.
  • Miami may look to grab Cowboys restricted free agent WR Miles Austin, if the price is right. The Dolphins are looking for a feature WR since they have a plethora of #2s and 3s (Greg Camarillo, Ted Ginn, Davone Bess).
  • Some think that Bill Parcells will try to reunite with former Virginia Cavalier and current Cowboy Chris Canty. The soon-to-be free agent was drafted by Parcells and is the best available 3-4 DE. The problem is Miami has a stockpile at the position, especially since two 2008 draft picks have already started to blossom (Phillip Merling, Kendall Langford).
  • The center position is garnering a lot of attention in Miami. Samson Satele is considered too small for a power running scheme and could be moved to guard or traded. Miami may go hard after free agent Jason Brown. Brown, the Ravens incumbent center, is more than 20 lbs. larger than Satele and paved the way for one of the best rushing units in the league last season. If Brown is too pricey, the Dolphins could use their 1st round pick (25th overall) on Cal's Alex Mack.
  • With the chances of LB Channing Crowder resigning with the team at about 0%, could the Dolphins turn to a former Cowboys LB to fill the void for the second straight offseason? Rumors say that Miami could trade for former 1st round pick Bobby Carpenter, and it may take only a 6th or 7th rounder to secure his rights. Last offseason, the Dolphins stole TE Anthony Fasano and LB Akin Ayodele from Dallas for a mere 4th round pick. Both are Dolphins starters.
  • The Dolphins will not use the franchise tag on LB Channing Crowder, S Yeremiah Bell, or RT Vernon Carey.
  • Head Coach Tony Sparano thinks the presence of QB Chad Pennington makes QB-of-the-future Chad Henne better.
  • Dolphins season ticket sales go on sale Wednesday, February 25th.
  • My Two Cents - Crowder thinks he's worth more than he really is. Miami will not overpay. Crowder will not be a Dolphin again. This leaves a huge void at ILB for the Dolphins. Akin Ayodele is solid but Reggie Torbor proved he isn't an every down guy. The Dolphins must sign a free agent (Ravens Bart Scott?) and draft someone. If Miami doesn't sign a marquee ILB, then they should use one of their first three picks on one for sure. Ohio State's James Laurinaitis should be available but he really doesn't have the skills for the 3-4. He isn't the best block shedder and is slow to recognize plays developing.

  • The Jets are not interested in QB Michael Vick.
  • Fans seem to be split over how to think of QB Brett Favre's one season in New York.
  • It is entirely likely that the Jets may be able to draft either of the top QBs in the 2009 draft. The class is considered weak and there is a good chance both Georgia's Matt Stafford and/or USC's Mark Sanchez will be available at the 17th pick.
  • Of course if the Jets don't trust drafting another young QB they could turn to the free agent market. Someone like Kurt Warner or Byron Leftwich could be enticing short term options.
  • Or they could go with Brett Ratliff or Kellen Clemens. Clemens started games in 2007 and Ratliff played quite well in the 2008 preseason.
  • Recently cut CB Chris McAlister could reunite with new Head Coach Rex Ryan in New York. The Jets are looking for some CB depth to team with Darrelle Revis, David Barrett, and Dwight Lowery.
  • My Two Cents - Once again Brett Favre leaves a team scrambling. The best bet for the Jets, in my opinion, is to sign a veteran such as Byron Leftwich to a two year deal and drafting a QB, if needed, in 2010. The 2009 crop is weak and 2010 could be a banner year for the position. Plus, Brett Ratliff and Kellen Clemens deserve a shot, something they won't get with a 1st round rookie added.

  • The Steelers have five offensive lineman set to become free agents on February 27th.
  • One of them, OG Chris Kemoeatu, expects to resign with the team before free agency begins. However the three OTs (Marvel Smith, Max Starks and Trai Essex) are expected to hit the market. The last of their free agents is OT Willie Colon, however he is an RFA and would yield compensation if he were to sign elsewhere. UPDATE: The Steelers have designated Max Starks as their franchise player.
  • The Steelers added DE Jordan Reffett to their offseason roster. The 6-4, 292 DE was undrafted last year out of Washington. The Steelers are a bit long in the tooth along the defensive line and will welcome any challengers to push the aging veterans.
  • The Steelers and the agent for Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison have been meeting on a contract extension. Harrison is considered the Steelers #1 priortiy right now, even though he was still under contract.
  • A new amphitheater may be built near Heinz Field. A proposed one block street next to the new theater may be named Chuck Noll Way.
  • My Two Cents - It's critical for the Steelers to sign Chris Kemoeatu. If they'd lose him it'd be a huge blow to the continuity of the line. It looks like Max Starks and Willie Colon will return, but Trai Essex and Marvel Smith are most likely gone. If Kemoeatu leaves as well... wow. The Steelers may be spending as many as three picks on lineman, plus adding a veteran free agent. The line was heavily criticized this season, despite the Super Bowl championship. Things won't change next year if this many starters and back ups leave.

  • Dallas is one of four teams that Julius Peppers would like to suit up for in 2009.
  • Drama surrounding Terrell Owens never ceases. Will he be back in Dallas? It's looking more and more likely that the Cowboys will give him one more chance.
  • Someone who is most likely out of Dallas' plans is SS Roy Williams. The hard hitting safety is continually exposed in coverage and may need to switch to a 4-3 OLB. Dallas may cut Williams in the next two weeks.
  • While its true that teams can never have enough cornerbacks, the Cowboys don't have too much room to add a marquee name. Terence Newman is entrenched as a starter and the team hopes Mike Jenkins steps up for his 2nd year in the league. With Adam Jones gone, 2nd year man Orlando Scandrick will see his reps increase since Anthony Henry will make the long awaited shift to safety. The only way a free agent will be signed or a player drafted is if Dallas thinks Newman is a big injury risk.
  • Former Cowboy great and Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman has gotten his degree from UCLA.
  • Dallas has five key defensive free agents: DE Chris Canty, DT Tank Johnson, S Keith Davis and LBs Kevin Burnett and Zach Thomas.
  • My Two Cents - The Cowboys need Canty and I'm really surprised they aren't making a bigger effort to resign him. Canty is a solid if unspectacular 3-4 DE. If he leaves, who's left? Marcus Spears has one anchored, but is Jason Hatcher or Stephen Bowen the answer? The only way the Cowboys can let Canty go is if they grab a NT and can successfully move Jay Ratliff to DE. Ratliff is undersized at NT but has proven reliable thus far. He could be a great 3-4 DE. But then who plays NT?

  • The Eagles will be players in the T.J. Houshmanzadeh sweepstakes. They could try to pry Anquan Boldin from Arizona, too.
  • Philadelphia will not use their franchise tag this year. Last year they tagged TE L.J. Smith.
  • QB Donovan McNabb wants a new deal but may skip the offseason program. Contract negotiations have not started, despite many believing they would happen prior to the combine.
  • With the Eagles in desperate need of young OTs, could they package their two first rounders to move into the Top 10? The top draft prospects are Eugene Monroe (Virginia), Andre Smith (Alabama), and Jason Smith (Baylor). All are expected to be taken in the Top 10. Another OT, Michael Oher (Ole Miss), may slide outside of the Top 10 but may still be taken in the Top 15. The Eagles are most likely going to lose John Runyan and possibly Tra Thomas this offseason. If desperate, Philadelphia may move starting RG Shawn Andrews to RT, a position he played in college.
  • In other Eagles OT news, the team has given up on 2006 2nd rounder Winston Justice and are looking to trade him. They are holding out for a draft pick but they won't get more than a 6th or 7th, at best. Justice, out of USC, has been a huge disappointment. He is best known for having a hand in allowing 12 sacks to the Giants in 2007.
  • If the Eagles retain their two first round picks, and the top tackles are gone, they will focus on TE, RB, and S.
  • The Eagles gained a second 1st round selection during the 2008 draft. They traded their 2008 1st rounder to Carolina so that the Panthers could take OT Jeff Otah (Pittsburgh). Among other selections, the Eagles grabbed Carolina's 2009 1st rounder. The hope was that Carolina would finish in the bottom half of the league in '08. Well, they didn't, winning the NFC South and finishing with the 2nd best record in the NFC. The Eagles maintain that they are not disappointed in the 2008 draft day trade, even though they could have drafted Otah last year and had someone primed to take over for either Runyan or Thomas.
  • My Two Cents - With Jordan Gross franchised it is believed that the Eagles are trying to resign Tra Thomas. Since he has a better injury history than Runyan it's a wise move. It's hard enough to replace one OT each offseason. Can you imagine trying to replace both? Signing Thomas to a two or three year deal makes sense but the Eagles should still add a veteran in free agency plus draft a young gun in the first or second round come April. Of course, if Miami doesn't reach a deal with Vernon Carey he'd be a pretty enticing option next to Shawn Andrews.
Wow that's a lot. I'll be back tomorrow with my mock draft update and info. on the first day of the scouting combine.

No comments: