Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Posted on: June 16, 2010 2:21 pm
 

Don't expect Jackson, McNeill to return soon

Despite giving WR Vincent Jackson and OT Marcus McNeill an extra 24 hours to sign their restricted free agent tender offers, the Chargers now expect to play much of the 2010 NFL season without two of their stars, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee writes.

“We lost a couple of great players today, and it hurts,” GM A.J. Smith told the paper. “We are trying to build a championship team, and losing the services of both Vincent and Marcus just made that more difficult – but not impossible. In due time, Coach (Norv) Turner will name two new starters. We will rally as a team, compete and try to win as many games as we can.”

It won’t be easy to replace the production of Jackson and McNeill. Jackson is coming off a 68-catch, nine-touchdown season, and every year he’s been in the NFL, his production has improved. McNeill, meanwhile, is a two-time Pro Bowler and will be sorely missed on the offensive line, protecting QB Philip Rivers’ blindside.

Acee expects both players to forgo signing what would be a hugely-reduced contract and then return to the team in mid-November to play the final six games – which would count to their service time as an accrued season. Acee explains how much money Jackson and McNeill will give up:

McNeill will lose $2.568 million as his tender is dropped to $600,000. Should he not report until after the Chargers’ 10th game, which numerous sources have said he will and the Chargers are expecting, he will make $212,000.

Jackson will have his tender dropped from $3.268 million to $583,000 (a $2.685 million reduction). He would make $206,000 if he doesn’t report until six games are left, though it remains unclear how an expected suspension of two to four games for his past DUIs will affect him.


Without them, expect newly-signed WR Josh Reed and OT Tra Thomas to take their places in the lineup.


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .

Posted on: June 16, 2010 1:39 pm
 

Teammates call Haynesworth 'selfish'

Not surprisingly, Albert Haynesworth’s teammates aren’t particularly pleased that the $100 million man won’t be at training camp and that he's declared that he wants a trade.

“He decided to take our check and we’re very disappointed he wasn’t here today,” coach Mike Shanahan told reporters.

LB London Fletcher called his teammate “selfish,” and unlike the Patriots who declined to address the Logan Mankins contract dispute Tuesday, the Redskins on Wednesday didn’t have a problem teeing off on Haynesworth – who signed his $100 million contract, which included a $41 million guarantee, last season.

“What he's decided to do is make a decision based all about him,” Fletcher told reporters. “It's no different than his attitude and his approach to last year's defense, about wanting everything to revolve around him and him making plays. And if it didn't benefit him, he wasn't really willing to do it."

Said C Casey Rabach: “It doesn’t sit well with the players.”

In an interesting development, Shanahan told Haynesworth in February that he was free to find another place to work if that’s what he wanted and if he was willing to forget about the $21 million bonus he was due .

The Redskins also have continued to claim they haven’t been trying to trade Haynesworth.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .


Posted on: June 16, 2010 10:40 am
Edited on: June 16, 2010 2:43 pm
 

The continuing saga of Tramon Williams

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Greg A. Bedard has an interesting take today on the Packers duel with CB Tramon Williams. Though it’s unclear if the Packers reduced their tender offer to the restricted free agent after he didn’t sign ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, what is known is that the Packers are in a tough spot here.

As Bedard points out in this story , Green Bay doesn’t want to anger its best defensive back, particularly since Al Harris is 35 and coming off knee surgery and since the rest of the Packers DBs are unknown quantities. Yet, Williams also stands to lose millions of dollars in compensation if Green Bay actually decided to reduce that offer to 110 percent of his 2009 salary.

Bedard has an interesting theory why Williams, entering his fourth season in the league, is willing to play salary chicken. It’s because the Packers gave RB Ryan Grant a four-year, $20 million contract in 2008. As Bedard writes:

Up until that point, the Packers had been decidedly disciplined in how and when and to whom they gave contract extensions to. It was a big reason why they got in good cap shape in such a hurry after Mike Sherman.

The players that got new deals had put in their time, signed their tenders and just played along with the program.

But the decision by (Russ) Ball and Ted Thompson to do that deal then with Grant eroded much of what the Packers had done previously


So when the Packers gave Grant that deal, after his first accrued season in the NFL, his first with the Packers, after 15 games played and seven regular-season starts, they set the stage for guys like Williams to want theirs.

He and they have a point.

How can the Packers give Grant his deal, yet refuse to give the same kind of deal to Williams after he did everything they asked of him for three seasons and he started more than twice as many games as Grant (20 - 10 last season)?

Can the Packers tell Williams that Grant was more valuable when he got his contract? I don’t think so.


Stay tuned. This will turn out to be an interesting result.

UPDATE (2:40 p.m.): Bedard reports Williams signed his $3.1 million tender offer before Tuesday's deadline. Strange that the Packers didn't, you know, immediately tell the NFL about this bit of news.


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .


Category: NFL
Posted on: June 16, 2010 10:12 am
 

Sanchez looking to bounce back

If it wasn’t his knee, it was his accuracy. On Tuesday, both combined to force Jets QB Mark Sanchez into an unimpressive performance during New York’s mini-camp workouts.

According to ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini , Sanchez was 7 of 17 during 11-on-11 drills and threw high to his receiver targets throughout the Tuesday morning practice.

In the afternoon, Sanchez, coming off knee surgery, participated only in 7-on-7 drills.

He’ll have a chance for redemption during the final practice of mini-camp today.


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 16, 2010 9:48 am
 

Falling further behind

CINCINNATI – For Bengals rookie long snapper Mike Windt, his entrance onto the practice fields Tuesday was the first time he’d worked out with his teammates in a month. He hadn’t been around for any of the team’s OTA practices, and for a free agent who’s competing with an established LS and an incumbent starter in Clark Harris, Windt’s absence couldn’t have been a comforting feeling for the rookie.

It wasn’t his fault, though.

Because the academic schedule of the college he attended, the University of Cincinnati, remains on the quarter system and since a rookie can’t practice with his new team until his class has gone through graduation ceremonies, Windt hadn’t been on the field since rookie camp in May.

Windt, of course, isn’t the only one.

Titans RB LeGarrette Blount (Oregon) and CB Alterraun Verner (UCLA) couldn’t practice until Monday, and Chargers LB Donald Butler also didn’t take the field until Monday.

Yet, Windt  doesn’t feel he’s at a disadvantage.

“The quarter system screws us over,” Windt told me Tuesday after Cincinnati’s morning practice. “But I don’t feel I’m behind the team. I’m caught up with everything I need to learn. During rookie camp, (special teams coach Darrin Simmons) taught me everything I needed to learn that I’d miss at OTAs. The only day they had without me was the day I got back here on June 10. I feel right, but there are little details you’re rusty on when you don’t do it for a month.”

Windt doesn’t have the same luxury of former and current teammate, punter Kevin Huber. Last year, Huber – who also played at the University of Cincinnati and is now a second-year kicker for the Bengals – couldn’t start until late. The difference, though, is that Huber didn’t have any competition for the punter spot.

“Yeah, but competition brings out the best in everybody,” Windt said. “I’m happy that I’m competing. If I wasn’t competing, I’m not saying I wouldn’t put my 100 percent out. But when you’re competing, you’re putting out 120 percent instead of 100.”

Since he couldn’t practice, Butler spent his time studying the playbook in order to keep his mind fresh.

“My guys have been down here working hard and it’s been killing me that I haven’t been able to work with them,” Butler was quoted as saying on the blog, Chargers Gab . “The biggest thing is, you’ve got  to open your eyes and ears more at this level, because if you don’t hear something, you’re going to be a step behind and then you’re out of the play.”

Blount, meanwhile, simply tried to keep himself in the best physical shape as possible.

“I know I’m further behind,’’ Blount told the Tennessean . “I was just hoping to be in good enough shape to at least maintain the first few days, and I am. The only thing is that the sun drains the energy quick.”

Although it might seem like Windt would have fallen behind the more-experienced Harris, that’s not how he’s approaching the rest of mini-camp.

“I don’t think there’s an advantage or a disadvantage,” he said. “I learned the same stuff he’s learned. It was just a different timeline. When I learned it, he wasn’t here. When he learned it, I wasn’t there. Now, it’s just play football. Snap the damn ball and see what you’ve got in you.”


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .

Posted on: June 15, 2010 11:39 pm
 

Winslow says his knee willl be fine

Though he’s missed all of Tampa Bay’s offseason workouts and this week’s Buccaneers mini-camp, TE Kellen Winslow, coming off right knee surgery, said he’d be ready for training camp.

Although Winslow declined to say exactly why he had another surgery – the St. Petersburg Times speculated that it was to clean out scar tissue from his five (5!) previous knee surgeries – he also proclaimed that he couldn’t be stopped.

"It feels good. It's just something I deal with every day,'' Winslow told reporters Monday. "I'm not going to let these guys down, though ... It's an every day thing. It really is. It's not easy, by any means necessary. But I've been through worse and I'll be back and I'll do my job and my thing.''


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 15, 2010 10:58 pm
 

Haley making nice with his players

Todd Haley had a rough season last year. Sure, he was named Kansas City Chiefs head coach in February, but Kansas City lost the first five regular-season games of his tenure (not to mention all four preseason contests). Then, the Chiefs lost seven of their last 11.

Don’t forget about cantankerous RB Larry Johnson, who publicly questioned Haley’s credentials on Twitter. Something about how Johnson’s father had played for the coach of “Remember the Titans” and then went on to a brief career with the Redskins and that Haley had played … golf.

(In fact, the week of the Bengals-Chiefs game – Johnson had been released by the Chiefs and picked up by the Bengals – when the Cincinnati beat writers talk to the opposing coach and a player on teleconference, it was all we could do not to ask Haley about his golf game. We figured that would not have gone well.)

Last year, Haley recently told the Kansas City Star’s Kent Babb , was a lonely experience. Before he took over Herm Edwards’ job, he had no idea how much burden the head coach actually takes on his own shoulders following a loss.

“There was no possible way to recreate the circumstances that I was going to be in,” Haley told the Star. “You have to live it. No matter how many mentors and guys I could call and talk to who would help me, there was no way to recreate being a head coach and all the things that came with it.”

So, how have things changed in Haley’s second year? Well, basically, he’s stopped being such a hard-ass. He’s stopped being so much like his mentor, Bill Parcells.

From Babb’s story:

Haley is more polished now, more comfortable in his own skin. The profanity-laced outbursts that in part defined Haley’s first season have, at least for now, quieted. The tightness that followed his first discipline-fueled months has eased.

Players smile now, and Haley smiles back at them. When quarterback Matt Cassel performed a perfect read and pass Saturday, checking off covered receivers to his left before finding an open Dwayne Bowe running toward the right corner of the end zone, Haley jogged toward Cassel and high-fived him.


But perhaps the best part of Haley’s new attitude – at least in the short term? He cut short the last practice of mini-camp, and then he canceled the final OTA of the offseason.

“I cut it short because of the progress we made this weekend, the fact that some of it was going to be review and as much as these guys have put in here over the last few months, I thought it was worth giving something back to them which I think they appreciated,” Haley told the team’s official web site .

The Chiefs don’t return to the field until the first day of training camp on July 30 where Haley likely will welcome back his squad with bear-hugs and an assortment of baked goods.


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .

Posted on: June 15, 2010 10:02 pm
 

Lynch returns to practice

Bills RB Marshawn Lynch participated in practice today for the first team this offseason, and after he was asked what had taken him so long to pull on a uniform, he told reporters he was having too delightful of a time not wearing pads. It’s not that Lynch – who might not be any higher than third on Buffalo’s depth chart behind Fred Jackson and first-round pick C.J. Spiller – wants to be traded. Nope, he was just chilling out.

"I was just enjoying, what they call it, the offseason,” said Lynch, who finally met with new coach Chan Gailey on Monday for the first time. “Kicked back at home, but still getting in the necessary work for me to come back and be able to produce.''

I guess, we’ll see about that last part. If Lynch even makes the 53-man roster, he might have a tough time convincing the coaches he should have the chance to produce.
 
--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl .

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com