Category:NFL
Posted on: June 15, 2010 1:03 pm
 

Drama in San Diego

In a move that comes as no surprise, Charger stars Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson did not sign their restricted free agent tenders yesterday, meaning both men are willing to leave $2.5 million on the table to stage their protest against not having long-term contracts. Expect lengthy holdouts.

Chargers GM A.J. Smith is always willing to play hardball. He’s already brought in a temporary replacement for both players in lumbering left tackle Tra Thomas and fundamentally-sound possession receiver Josh Reed. Neither Thomas nor Reed is a great fit in San Diego’s offense, but they’re both able bodies who can hold down the fort in training camp.

As for San Diego’s third RFA, Shawne Merriman, Chargers Rapid Reporter Boyce Garrison emailed this to us:

Merriman hasn't signed his one-year tender, but unlike Jackson and McNeill, his offer can't be reduced that much, since he played for over $3 million last year. He'll play for 110 percent of that.

Merriman likely will come to camp at some point. He wants a long-term deal and the only way he will get it is to play this season and prove the last two injury-filled years are over. He will be an unrestricted FA after this season.

--Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 12:31 pm
 

Martellus Bennett Tweets Apology To Vince Young

Yesterday we mentioned that Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett had a harsh Tweet for Vince Young. Today, Bennett, like Young, finds himself making apologies:

"I would like to apologize I wasn't trying to make the headlines or anything when I responded to a tweet asking what I thought about VYs ... Situation. Didn't wanna draw anymore negative attn to it. And for that I'm sorry. I wasn't tryna rip vince or anything I was jus saying ... Didn't think it was the rgt decision. Making several stupid ones myself I know how it is. I have nothing but love for the homie. ... Don't regret what I said jus nvr wanna make anyone elses situation worse."

Bennett issued this apology over multiple Tweets. In case you don’t already know, here’s the Tweet from yesterday that he is apologizing for:

"Mann I dunno wat 2 say abt VY that was childish & very unprofessional u cant do [expletive] like that when u play qb. He needs better ppl round him."

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 15, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2010 12:19 pm
 

Some Happenings in New York

A few notes from the New York Football scene....

The Giants are practicing in their new $1.7 billion stadium for the first time today. The practice is open to the public.

Jets NT Kris Jenkins returned to the practice field for the first time since his October ACL surgery. Rex Ryan said the Jets are breaking him in slowly. Jenkins says he’s on the right track for training camp.

In other news, Ryan also told the NY Post that his “gut feeling” is Revis will “be a Jet for a long time”. Given Ryan's gut, you have to imagine that feeling is pretty intense….

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio is covering the Jets minicamp and made a great point on Mike and Mike this morning. Paolantonio essentially said that Revis owes Rex Ryan an apology for embarrassing the coach with staged sitouts during yesterday’s practice. Ryan has been a major supporter of Revis yet wound up taking the brunt of the cornerback’s questionable negotiating ploy. Revis must remember that he’s butting heads with Mike Tannenbaum and the front office more than he’s butting heads with his coach.

UPDATE: Ralph Vacciano of the NY Daily News tweeted that Osi Umenyiora is working with the second unit. Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka are the starting defensive ends.

--Andy Benoit

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

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 15, 2010 11:32 am
 

Is Cornerback Frank Walker Getting Desperate?

Oft-penalized Ravens nickelback Frank Walker, a serviceable but brash veteran who remains unsigned as a UFA, recently had a tryout with the Houston Texans. The Ravens, though thin at corner (and potentially deathly-thin, given that Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are both coming off major late-season knee injuries) clearly have no interest in retaining Walker. Recently, Baltimore welcomed cornerbacks Walt Harris and Ken Lucas in for a tryout. (Side note: Lucas struggled mightily in all phases as Seattle’s No. 2 corner last year, but it’s still somewhat surprising that the 31-year-old, who was once amongst the highest-paid corners in the league, remains unsigned).

Trying out with the Texans suggests Walker is getting desperate. Houston has fantastic depth at the cornerback position. First-round rookie Kareem Jackson is expected to start opposite last year’s fourth-round pick Glover Quin. Another second-year pro, Bryce McCain, figures to have the inside track on slot duties. That leaves Jacques Reeves (experienced veteran), Antwaun Molden (fluid athlete who’s often injured) and Fred Bennett (gifted but disliked by coaches) competing for No. 4 duties. Even if Walker were offered a contract by the Texans, it’s highly unlikely he’d make the final roster.


--Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 10:45 am
 

Obligatory Brett Favre Mention

Not that we need confirmation (or more Brett Favre stories) at this time, but two Viking players told NFL.com’s Vic Carucci that they expect Favre to return because of the way the ’09 season ended.

From Bernard Berrian:
"We know we should have won the Super Bowl, we should be champs right now. That's where we're leaving off, and I think that's where (Favre’s) leaving off, too.  I think that's lingering around his head, too -- that there are still plays to be made out there.  I'm hoping that's what he's thinking."

From Ben Leber:
"The way we ended last season, being so close, I think that's still on his mind and he understands the capabilities of this team and what we have. I just think his competitive spirit is going to bring him back."

--Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 10:10 am
 

The Amazing Wes Welker

Albert Breer of the Boston Globe has a really interesting article on Wes Welker’s recovery from ACL surgery. Welker surprised everyone by cutting and running routes for a few minutes back on June 2. In this article, Rod Woodson and Philip Rivers talk about their own remarkable recoveries from knee operations.

Obviously, it wasn’t as easy as those men made it look. (Woodson, you may recall, tore his ACL in Week 1 of the ’95 season but came back for the Super Bowl; Rivers played with a torn ACL in the ’07 playoffs and, a few months later, was back on the field in Week 1 for the ’08 season. Both men played at a high level after their injuries.)

Here’s an excerpt:

Rivers was told it would take 18 months before his knee would feel normal again and, much as he didn’t want to believe it, that was the truth. He added that a third of his patellar tendon was removed from the front of his knee to create the ACL graft, which brought additional soreness. And he’d feel that, in his calf and quad, doing mundane things such as driving or getting a night’s sleep.
But his ability to block out pain on the field came quicker.

“It took until those preseason games the next year,’’ Rivers said. “Those were important. Even in practice, as much you did, you knew it was protected. In a live deal, it takes some time to where your mind is committed and focused on the game and the defense in front of you. You have to get through it, and realize you’ll be OK.’’

Woodson said it took him about 16 months to stop thinking about the knee completely.

“He’s got to be careful that he doesn’t overcompensate,’’ said Woodson, who made five Pro Bowl teams following the injury. “Maybe his Achilles’ is sore, because he’s running on a leg that’s not fully healed, so something happens. With your Achilles’, your quad, your hamstring, you compensate because you’re not running right.

“I remember my right Achilles’ started hurting, and that bothered me more than the knee did the next season.’’
Ian Rapoport of BostonHerald.com also has a unique piece on Welker, talking about the Hermosa Beach, CA training facility where Welker is rehabbing his knee. The facility is operated by a 5’1” ex-power lifter named Jeremy “Troll” Subin and offers alternative physical and emotional exercises.

--Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 9:25 am
Edited on: June 15, 2010 1:06 pm
 

Why Green Bay's 3 Unsigned RFA's Are Interesting

It’s worth examining the Green Bay Packers’ three unsigned restricted free agents. They embody the curious situation of unsigned restricted free agents. All three – cornerback Tramon Williams, defensive end Johnny Jolly and safety Atari Bigby – chose to miss the June 15 deadline, meaning they now could have their tender offers reduced.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran the numbers and reported that the Packers could reduce Williams from $3.168 million to $584,000 (i.e. 110% of his ’09 salary). Jolly could drop from $2.521 million to $589,000. Bigby’s case is unique. He stands to lose only one SUV worth of dough, dropping from $1.759 million to $1.704 million.

But besides the money, all three players are jeopardizing their short-term prosperity. Williams is presumably in contention for a starting job, given that veteran Al Harris is recovering from major knee surgery. At 27, Williams is around that age where he either blossoms as a key NFL contributor or becomes permanently viewed as a backup.

Jolly is facing a felony drug trial and could be off to prison. You’d think he’d know that this doesn’t exactly give him great leverage at this point.

As for Bigby, his starting strong safety job could go to rookie Morgan Burnett, a third-rounder who has gotten an opportunity to practice with the first unit all offseason.

The Packers could use all three of these players, but they don’t need any of them. Corners Jarrett Bush, Pat Lee and Will Blackmon have all seen the field in their short careers and could compete for Williams’s role. Second-round pick Mike Neal and ’07 first-rounder Justin Harrell are both newcomers at Jolly’s end position. And for Bigby, as just stated, there’s Burnett. It will be interesting to see how Ted Thompson goes about playing hardball here.

UPDATE: Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Jolly has now signed his tender.

--Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 8:45 am
 

Collusion in the NFL?

Yesterday we mentioned that whispers about collusion against restricted free agents could be rising to the surface. Pro Football Talk originally raised the issue after noticing that a number of different teams wrote letters to unsigned restricted free agents warning them about the June 15 deadline (RFAs who didn’t sign their tender by midnight last night ran the risk of having their offer reduced).

The letters teams sent out were suspiciously similar in tone and timing, leaving one to wonder if teams might all be operating under a set of unofficial guidelines. Speculation is that teams could also be under pressure not to aggressively pursue RFA’s, due to the ongoing labor negotiations.

The NFLPA is said to be seriously looking into this matter. Collusion would likely be hard to prove, but you have to figure some form of it is going on, and not just in regards to RFA’s. Look at Kevin Mawae, for example. Though still one of the best centers in the league, the veteran unrestricted free agent’s phone has not rang this offseason. Mawae has even said he’d be willing to accept a backup role. Still, no calls. Could it have something to do with Mawae being the president of the NFLPA?

--Andy Benoit

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