Category:NFL
Posted on: June 14, 2010 7:02 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2010 7:04 pm
 

Jared Gaither Is Blowing It

You won’t find many offensive tackles as gifted as Jared Gaither. Beside being the size of a small house (6’9”, 340 to be exact), Gaither has light feet and a preternatural feel for harnessing his immense strength. He makes football look easy.

With Michael Oher moving to the left tackle position that he played at an Oscar-worthy level in high school and college, Gaither has been tasked with learning to play right tackle. The fourth-year pro is gifted enough to become a perennial Pro Bowler, but Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun wrote this earlier today:

“Gaither, the former Maryland player, has been unpredictable. According to a team official, Gaither has only suited up twice for the organized minicamps, and participated in only two offseason weight-training sessions.

Gaither has been treated for a foot injury, but what has bothered some members of the coaching staff is that Gaither acts like he really doesn't want to be around the team.

There is speculation that Gaither wants a new contract, but that isn't going to happen. There was trade talk about Gaither during the offseason, but no team wanted to ante up anything for him because of past and current problems.”

That last part should really jump out: no team wanted any part of Gaither because of past and current problems? How serious must these problems be considering we’re talking about a young, top-five quality offensive tackle? Generally, gifted but troubled young players are inconsistent and fundamentally unsound. But Gaither, at least last season, was anything but. He has improved with each snap he takes. This almost certainly won't be the last Gaither-related post we have this offseason. The guy is an intriguing enigma.

---Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 14, 2010 6:12 pm
 

Marshawn Lynch to Seattle?

It would be a little weird for the Seahawks to dump LenDale White for character issues (failed drug test, iffy work ethic) only to sign Marshawn Lynch weeks later. But according to Jason La Canfora of NFL Network, they are “very interested” in doing exactly that.

Lynch is unhappy in Buffalo (he doesn’t like the town or organization) and the Bills aren’t thrilled with him either. Lynch’s off-field problems are a factor, but what many outsiders don’t realize is he’s not a valuable commodity on the field. Lynch struggles reading his blocks and defensive fronts, and he often shows a concerning lack of patience with the ball in his hand. He’s athletic and tough, but not drastically more than most running backs. Last season Fred Jackson was far and away Buffalo’s best runner.

Still, it may seem worthwhile for Seattle to give Lynch a shot, assuming they don’t surrender anything more than a fourth-round pick. After all, Lynch was a first-round pick only four years ago. Plus, Pete Carroll and his new regime don’t seem too high on Julius Jones. The seventh-year veteran has failed to rush for 700 yards in each of his first two seasons in Seattle.

That said, Jones’s style of play is a good fit in Seattle’s new zone-blocking scheme. Though not a quick direction-changer, Jones is a finesse-runner who can eat up ground when given initial space between the tackles. He’d be more likely to succeed with the scheme’s one-cut-and-go responsibilities than would Lynch. Either way, expect diminutive Justin Forsett to wind up being Seattle’s most dangerous running back in 2010.

---Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 14, 2010 5:22 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2010 5:28 pm
 

Linebackers Giving In, Signing Tenders

As expected, more restricted free agents have chosen to sign for what they believe is “less than fair market value” today. Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, Redskins inside linebacker Rocky McIntosh, Titans middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson all signed tenders. It was an obvious choice, given that their other option was to hold out and risk signing for “far, far less than fair market value” later. At midnight, teams can reduce their original tenders to restricted free agents, leaving players with two options: sign for just 110 percent of their ’09 base salary or sit out the season and get nothing.

There has been speculation that Dumervil, the AFC’s sack leader in ’09 and Denver’s only bona fide pass-rusher, could be in line for a long-term deal. However, the Broncos have been quiet on that front.

McIntosh, while presumably pining for a long-term contract, could break an even bigger bank in 2011. The fifth-year pro is coming off a career season. Given his continuously improving run-stopping abilities, McIntosh should be even more productive (read: more valuable) in Washington’s new 3-4 scheme. Plus, London Fletcher is 35. Fletcher has yet to show any hint of decline, but if he hits a wall in ’10, McIntosh’s value to the Redskins becomes even greater.

Tulloch’s presence is critical for Tennessee given the absence of injured veterans Keith Bulluck (currently a free agent) and David Thornton (likely to be released). Jackson, one of the league’s most productive tacklers (statistically speaking), is looking to bounce back after an injury-riddled ’09 campaign.

---Andy Benoit

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

Posted on: June 14, 2010 4:21 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2010 9:47 pm
 

Mankins wants out of New England

Count New England G Logan Mankins as one unhappy Patriot.

Mankins told Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston that he wants to be traded and there is “no way” he’ll sign his $3.26 million tender offer.

"At this point, I'm pretty frustrated, from everything that's happened and the way negotiations have gone," Mankins told Reiss in a phone interview. "I want to be traded. I don't need to be here any more."

One source of Mankins’ frustration is his free agent status. As a sixth-year player, he would have been an unrestricted free agent in normal years. But because this is a non-salary cap season – the final year of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement – he reverted back to being a restricted free agent.

Naturally, Mankins isn’t expected to attend New England’s min-camp that begins Tuesday.

--Josh Katzowitz

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


UPDATE: According to Boston.com's Albert Breer, the Patriots offered Mankins a five-year deal worth around $7 million per season, which would have made him one of the five highest-paid guards in the game.
Category: NFL
Posted on: June 14, 2010 3:46 pm
 

Another one for the Titans

It’s not been what you’d call a great last two days for the Titans. First, QB Vince Young. Now, LB Gerald McRath.

Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said today that McRath has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

McRath told the Tennessean that he didn’t take a steroid.

"I have no idea," he told the newspaper. "… I didn’t test positive for a steroid … None of the products I took were on the banned list.’’

--Josh Katzowitz

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


Posted on: June 14, 2010 3:20 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2010 11:36 am
 

RFA deadline fast approaching

Tuesday is the day where millions of dollars could be won and millions of dollars could be lost. That day is the deadline when restricted free agents must sign their qualifying offers from their previous team. If not, they’ll only make 110 percent of their 2009 salary.

For players like San Diego WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeill, that could cost them a bunch of money. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune , neither player will sign their tender offer because they want long-term deals. That means both could lose $2.5 million a piece for this season. It also means they both might just sit out the year in protest.

A player like New England Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins could lose more than $1.5 million, and a guy like Denver sack-master Elvis Dumervil could have to settle for collecting $630,000 rather than the $3.1 million the Broncos have offered.

One player, like Ray Edwards with the Vikings, went ahead and signed his tender offer today, and I expect a few others to ink their names sometime this evening. Unless you’re trying to project some semblance of leverage – which, honestly, most of the players don’t have because of the potential upcoming lock-out when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at the end of this season – it doesn’t make sense not to sign a one-year deal.

But I don’t make millions of dollars per year (hint, hint CBSSports.com upper management), so I don’t have that perspective.

On Sunday, Pro Football Talk had an interesting theory, based off something the Boston Globe’s Albert Breer wrote a few days ago. PFT wonders if the smell of collusion is in the air.

One reason this topic has been raised: teams sent letters to the players who hadn’t signed their RFA tenders, which suggests some sort of league-wide memo was passed around on how to handle the scenario. If that’s true – or even remotely true – the NFL Players Association might have something to say about that.

From the NFL owners’ perspective, it makes sense not to re-up their players for long-term contracts, especially with the uncertainty of what happens when the CBA ends. But at the same time, the Colts gave S Antoine Bethea a four-year, $27 million extension last week, so we know it is physically possible to compromise with the players.

Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent owners, one supposes. But if players like Jackson and McNeill sit out the season, everybody – with the exception of San Diego’s 2010 opponents – loses.

UPDATE: According to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post on her Twitter account, Dumervil has signed his tender.

--Josh Katzowitz

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


Posted on: June 14, 2010 1:48 pm
 

Revis sits out a few

Jets CB Darrelle Revis, hungering for a contract extension, participated in mini-camp today. Sort of.

He sat out a few plays at the end of practice Monday, and though he told the NY Daily News’ Manish Mehta that he was “a little light headed,” Revis basically winked when he used that excuse. He said he was insulted by the Jets offer and that, as of now, the contract talks “(don’t) look good.”

The big issue is what the Raiders pay their star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, giving him a $45 million, three-year contract last season. He’s supposed to make about $16 million in 2010, or 16 times what Revis will be paid this season. Revis, meanwhile, believes he should be the highest-paid CB in the NFL. I’d expect the Jets to give him more money, but I’m not sure they’ll give him that much money.

--Josh Katzowitz

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


Category: NFL
Posted on: June 14, 2010 12:55 pm
 

Some Sage advice for Rosenfels - make other plans

If Brett Favre doesn't return for another season with the Minnesota Vikings, there likely will be a two-way battle for starting quarterback. At this point, we know who probably won't be taking snaps for the Vikings. Coach Brad Childress seemed to make that pretty clear this past weekend during Minnesota's mini-camp.

Sage Rosenfels, stuck behind Favre and backup/former starter Tarvaris Jackson, didn't enter a game for the Vikings last season, and the number of snaps he received last weekend gives a pretty good indication how the Vikings view his chances this year, even if Favre doesn't return.

With the Vikings sticking with sixth-round pick Joe Webb as a QB (they had thought about moving him to WR), Childress gave him second-team snaps on Saturday, while Jackson took the first-team reps. Rosenfels, meanwhile, got only two snaps in 11-on-11 drills. That was a boatload of work compared to what Rosenfels received Sunday. Try zero reps. When R.J. Archer is getting more snaps than you, that can't possibly be a positive development in your career.

Rosenfels hasn't been talking, but after listening to Childress say nobody should read much into the decision not to give snaps to Rosenfels and that he simply was trying to get his other QBs some work, the Star Tribune's Judd Zulgad had this bit of analysis in his blog:

You can buy Childress' argument to only a certain degree. Keep in mind, this was the only mandatory minicamp where everyone (well, almost everyone) was supposed to be present. That meant this was the best place for players to get their pre-training camp work. While everyone expects Brett Favre to return, the expectation also has been that  Rosenfels would at least get a chance to battle Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job if Favre does not come back.

That means Rosenfels certainly would have expected to get in some work that might have been close to what Jackson got. But in the end it was Webb who got those snaps.


Rosenfels, entering his eighth season, is three years removed from his best performances, when he replaced Matt Schaub as Houston QB and led the Texans to a 4-1 record in his five starts and finished the 2007 season completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,684 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The question now is: if Favre returns and the Vikings cut loose Rosenfels, does any team think it's worth the gamble to bring in a 32-year-old backup?

--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