Tag:Cam Newton
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:42 am
Edited on: March 12, 2011 1:36 am

7 questions NFL fans should ask about the lockout

Posted by Will Brinson

First of all, the NFLPA no longer exists, as the union decertified on Friday afternoon. (I highly suggest you read this Q & A on what decertification means , too.) And as of Saturday, March 12, the NFL is locking the players out .

But what happens to football now that things are seemingly in utter chaos and the NFL has locked out the trade association formerly known as the NFLPA? 

Well, no one actually knows , because much of it hinges on legal decisions but we can take a gander at some possibilities in the old lucky No. 7 formation.

1. A lockout --  does that mean I get no NFL football in 2011? 

Well, not necessarily. The interesting thing about a full-on legal battle is that there's a decent chance all the "action" takes place in the courtroom. Which means there's a decent chance that actual NFL football gets played. Could much of the offseason be lost? Most definitely. And could part of the regular season be missed? Sure. In fact, the whole season could go unplayed, but there's just waaaaay too much money at stake (about $9 billion, in case you didn't hear) and way too many mortgages that need to be paid on stadiums and way too many paychecks that need to be cashed for the NFL simply not to exist in 2011.

NFL Labor
2. What happens next?

No, see, that's the thing. There's a lockout but there's not definitely one. Which sounds really stupid, but makes sense when you consider that the legal issue of a lockout -- whether the NFL can actually stop a non-union from coming to work -- won't get solved for a little while. As it stands now, the earliest we'll probably know whether a lockout is actually happening is probably Monday. But it could be anytime Saturday, only that would mean that someone employed by the government works on a weekend for the first time ever. (Hey-o!)

No, but seriously, judge Judge David Doty's first piece of work will be deciding whether or not the NFLPA (when it was a union) was within its legal rights to decertify. If he says yes, then the league won't be able to lock the players out and we'll move closer to a "normal" offseason. 

3. Wait, why wouldn't the NFLPA be able to decertify? I mean, they already did, didn't they?

Yes, they did. But the league is likely to try and block the decertification based on the logic that the NFLPA decertified before and then rejoined at a later date. In fact, the league will be regularly (and publicly) referring to it as a "sham" in the coming days. However, there's a certain portion of the lawsuit against the league that references a previous ruling by Minnesota court that "the NFL could not assert any claimed exemption to antitrust laws based on an allegation that the action by a majority of NFL players to renounce collective bargaining is somehow ineffective or a sham."

To put it more simply: the players got a "decertification insurance" the last time around, and they're going to be using it.

4. Can my team sign Nnamdi Asomugha (or anyone for that matter)? 

Not yet, because there's also not free agency. If the NFL had skipped the lockout and imposed the last set of rules on the players, the market would have been open and the result would have been utter and total insanity. Not to mention a lot of awkward negotiating (after all, these guys are suing each other). 

What probably happens on this end is that we get a ruling on whether or not decertification is legal, and then, somewhere down the line -- think 3-6 weeks, as is being reported by various outlets -- free agency starts. That's not terrible, because it means teams will get a decent head start on filling out rosters and making sure no really stupid money gets tossed about for free agents. Alternately, it might not start until August, and then it'll be kind of ugly to see what happens in a really short amount of time.

5. How about Peyton Manning -- can my team sign him?

No. Because Manning is currently "franchised" by the Indianapolis Colts. But there's an interesting part of the players' antitrust lawsuit dedicated to those tags, where the lawyers in charge point out that there's no logical reason for the franchise tag to survive any longer. Namely, that once the CBA expires, so does the franchise tag and that the NFL is just imposing the tag (along with the Transition Tag) because it wants to without any legal basis.

This is vastly more interesting now that the union no longer exists, because the argument from the players is that applying such a restriction is a violation of trade law. Oh, and yes, there ARE three named plaintiffs who happen to be designated as franchise players: Manning, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins.

Manning's probably not going to leave the Colts, but, needless to say, fans of Indy's franchise (and Indy management) probably don't want to see the franchise tag disappear quite yet. After all, these guys are tagged right now, but if that tag disappears, there's a decent chance they become unrestricted free agents. Just like free agency, it's TBD.

6. What about the draft -- is my team getting Cam Newton?

There's a clause in the lawsuit about that too! Go figure, right?

And, in the player's suit, the draft is also called an "anticompetitive restriction." In the "real business world," this makes sense -- imagine if you were the top graduate from business school out of Harvard and, instead of deciding to work at the job that offered you the most money and best benefits and whatnot, you had to go work for whatever company finished with the worst profit margin the previous year? You'd be pretty angry. And we'd all work for Aol.

That's not to say there won't be a draft, but if the players are as unified in late April as they are now, they could always boycott the draft. And, in a total worst-case scenario, a ruling from Judge Doty could come whereby the draft IS considered an anticompetitive restriction and therefore no longer a legal method of "hiring."

The most important thing to remember about those two points, though, is that as the draft gets closer, there's a good chance the owners face an even tighter squeeze to make some sort of settlement happen and get ready to play football.

7. Will my favorite players just be working hard to get prepared for the upcoming season? Anything else I should know?

Well, yeah. About that. See, at midnight, the NFL's personal conduct policy and drug testing goes out the window. That means if someone wants to spend the evening chugging HGH out of a bong, they can't actually get in trouble with the NFL for it. (Johnny Law might disagree, but that doesn't matter for work purposes.)

And, as we've noted, agents are in the wild, wild west, too . That should mean lots of poaching and no union to regulate whether these guys are paying off college athletes. So, yeah, a sleazier version of Lord of the Flies .

Much more devastating and serious is that there will be lots of coaches and employees who are also worked out and not getting paid. Fans care about football, as is their right. But we/they are still consumers -- many people are going to be losing their jobs because these two diametrically opposed sides feel compelled to play a high-stakes game of chicken in a very public arena.

And that, folks, is the key word here: leverage .

It's what this whole shebang is about and it's why we'll be dealing with a barrage of "we're winning but we're not in it to win, we just care about the fans!" public relations statements over the next few months. This thing will, in my humble and not legally legal opinion, still end in a settlement.

It'll come once things get really ugly in court and both sides are really happy with each other, but it will come. And we will (probably) have football in 2011. But it's not going to be a rough road getting there, so strap in. 

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:35 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 11:53 am

Hot Routes 3.10.11 squeezing 'em in

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Chris Cooley reads every ounce of his fan mail (even if it’s several years later).

Nick Fairley is now a Nike guy .

The Broncos are working out Von Miller (who probably doesn’t fit their new 4-3 defense anyway).

Mike McCarthy is making no bones about it: Nick Barnett is no longer a starter .

The Steelers don’t want Tiki Barber.

Less than a year after mysteriously quitting football, former Dolphins second-round pick Pat White has retired from baseball .

Another Larry Fitzgerald contract bit .

The Dolphins will have a private workout with Cam Newton. That’s the benefit of being a professional sports organization: you get to workout with some of the best athletes in the world. It’s the perkiest of perks; Newton ain’t working out with, say, a southern Florida branch of Charles Schwab.

Just to be clear, Randy Moss is not returning to the Titans.

Good news passed along from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on Thursday: Steve Sabol is recovering well in a Kansas City hospital. The president of NFL Films suffered a seizure on Saturday.

Kevin Faulk says his surgically repaired ACL is 70 to 75 percent recovered at this point.

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 3:56 pm

Panthers not in love with Clausen or Gabbert?

Posted by Will Brinson

Finding out that the Panthers aren't in love with Jimmy Clausen might not seem like news, but it's fairly important with respect to the draft. After all, if everyone in Carolina think his ship has sailed, it's probably time to start drafting a quarterback.

Well, according to Don Banks of Sports Illustrated, the only person left in Clausen's corner is GM Marty Hurney. Oh, and the Panthers aren't big fans of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, either.

Banks cites a source who informed him that Hurney is the "only one in the building in Charlotte" who thinks Clausen can still turn into the Panthers starting quarterback. This isn't entirely illogical: watching Clausen play in 2010 made it clear he wasn't progressing quickly. (Duh.) But Hurney drafted him, and therefore has a little bit of loyalty -- even if it's blind -- to the Notre Dame product.

What's particularly interesting about this, but probably won't be publicly noted for quite some time (if ever), is that if everyone's already off the Clausen bandwagon after one season, there's a pretty good chance that John Fox was never on it to start.

Fortunately, Ron Rivera, as a new head coach, isn't likely to be saddled with a quarterback he's not amenable to; in this case, Blaine Gabbert. (And Clausen.)
NFL Draft

And, apparently, Carolina "doesn't really love" Gabbert either. Banks cites a source who tells him the Panthers have concerns about the Mizzou product, because they don't believe he's "accurate enough outside the hash marks and deep downfield."

Those concerns are legitimate given the offense that Gabbert's coming from, and it obviously opens up the door for Cam Newton as the Panthers' No. 1 overall selection. In case the fact that they're holding a private workout with Newton didn't open it enough.

Or a defensive player, if they don't love Cam. But whether or not they turn to the Heisman winner with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, it certainly is seeming like there'll be a change at quarterback for the Panthers in 2011.

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:06 pm

9 teams schedule private workout with Cam Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

The report on Cam Newton -- our No. 11-ranked NFL Draft prospect -- varies, depending on who you ask. Some people love him, some people hate him. But everyone's interested in potentially drafting him. Which is why there are a reported NINE teams scheduling private workouts with the Auburn quarterback.

That's according to Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald, who lists the following teams as having schedule workouts with Newton: the Panthers (first overall pick), Bills (third), Bengals (fourth), Cardinals (fifth), Browns (sixth), Titans (eighth), Redskins (10th), Vikings (12th) and Seahawks (25th).

So what you have there is a) a nice little list of everyone in the draft who needs a quarterback and b) a perfectly excellent example of just how insanely fluid Newton's draft stock is in 2011.

For instance, he's currently the No. 1 overall pick in both Rob Rang and Chad Reuter's mock drafts, but you don't exactly have to scour the Internet to see him potentially dropping as low as the mid-teens.
NFL Draft

This is one reason why all of these teams are scheduling workouts with Newton -- he's an elite athlete and an interesting talent, but he's also not a stone-cold lock to go in the top-five picks, though it would be surprising to see him fall out of the top 10.

Oh yes, and there's this too: because there's a strong likelihood that there will be a rookie wage scale in place for the 2011 Draft (or, at least, in place for the signing of 2011 draftees), the Panthers top pick is immensely more valuable. People make comparisons of Newton to JaMarcus Russell, but those are a LOT less concerning when an investment in Newton doesn't equate to $60 million guaranteed.

That means that these teams have to see what Cam can do in a private setting and fully determine how much they want to invest in him, because he'll also likely be available via a trade with the Panthers or another team at the top.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 10:17 pm

Has Ochocinco 'lost his nerve and work ethic'?

Posted by Will Brinson

A lot of mock drafts -- including those of Rob Rang and Chad Reuter here on this very site -- have A.J. Green, the seventh-overall prospect on our board, going to the Bengals with the fourth overall pick.

While Green's talent certainly elevates Cincinnati's interest, so does the likelihood that they're ready to move on from the Chad Ochocinco/Terrell Owens era. Firming that theory up a report Wednesday from CSN New England's Tom Curran on that very subject.

Curran reports, via a "well-informed source," that Ocho "has lost his nerve and work ethic."

Burn. This probably means that Curran can expect an offer to rumble at some point from Ochocinco. Oh, and that the Patriots aren't interested in inking Chad, which was actually the point of the whole thing in the first place.

El Ocho and the Bengals

One interesting trade Curran does mention, though, is getting Steve Smith from the Panthers for a third-round pick.

I'd actually argue that the Panthers need to get a touch more than that, particularly because the Patriots currently hold the Panthers' second-rounder (the first pick in that round), and, unless Carolina's front office is completely devoid of human emotion, they'd probably like to recoup close to as much as they gave to New England last year so they could draft Armanti Edwards. Who, um, hasn't quite panned out like Smith.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 5:52 pm

Signs of a Carson Palmer trade on the horizon?

C. Palmer (US Presswire)Posted by Andy Benoit

The Cincinnati Bengals insist they won’t give in and trade disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer. Owner Mike Brown’s history supports this claim (Brown has refused to trade Chad Ochocinco and he held onto malcontent running back Corey Dillon for several years).

But read between the lines and you might see a different outlook.

First off, thebelief around the league is that Palmer’s threat to retire if untraded is not an empty one. The Southern California native has two young kids, tens of millions in the bank and a wife who doesn’t like the Cincinnati area. The Bengals know this.

More directly, look at the recent behavior of Cincy’s coaching staff. We wrote in a post about Cedric Benson’s likely return that new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden casually referred to Benson as someone who could carry the ball “20 to 25 times a game if we need to if we have the young quarterback.” When Gruden mentions a “young quarterback”, he’s not referring to the 31-year-old Palmer.

Bengals and quarterbacks

On Tuesday, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis attended Auburn’s pro day workout. The Bengals currently hold the fourth overall pick in the draft. Auburn only has two early round draft prospects this year: defensive Nick Fairley and, of course, quarterback Cam Newton.

It’s possible Lewis was there to see Fairley (though the Bengals don’t figure to be in the market for a defensive tackle). It’s also possible that Lewis just happened to be in the area (other southern schools have pro days this week). It’s possible he was there for smoke screening purposes (never hurts to have teams drafting below you think that you might surprise them with your selection).

Or it’s possible that the Bengals are listening to all those who continue to whisper about Palmer actually making good on his threat to retire.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 1:56 pm

Hot Routes 3.9.11 anyone want Tiki?

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 7:30 pm

Newton, Mallett pro days in the books

Posted by Andy Benoit
C. Netwon (US Presswire)
The much anticipated pro days for Auburn’s Cam Newton and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett wrapped up Tuesday evening. The reviews? About what you’d expect (if you were expecting to see more of the same from both guys).

Newton struggled somewhat with his accuracy, completing 50 of 60 passes (i.e. 10 incompletions against thin air). To compare, Sam Bradford completed 49 of 50 attempts at his pro day workout. Some of Newton’s incompletions resulted from receiver drops, though there were a handful of balls that were overthrown. CBS’s draft guru, Rob Rang, gave Newton a B.

As for Mallett….he did not impress with his 5.37 forty time, but ask anyone who has ever defended Peyton Manning how important a pocket passing quarterback’s forty time is. Mallett’s arm was the story of his workout. According to NFL.com respected draft expert Bucky Brooks, that story was enticing enough to propel Mallett into the first round.

NFL Draft

Brooks writes:

The junior was absolutely sensational during the workout, and his natural talent is unrivaled in this year’s draft. As a strong-armed passer, Mallett easily makes all of the requisite throws in the pro game. He had little trouble putting the ball on the proper shoulder with velocity and zip. His arm strength, touch and accuracy also stood out on deep throws. His high-arcing throws consistently hit receivers in stride 40-45 yards down field, but he also showed the ability to adjust the arc and trajectory of his throws to match the speed of his intended receiver.

Mallett’s footwork and fundamentals were sound in the pocket, as he quickly sets up and comes to balance following three-, five- or seven-step drops. His natural rhythm comes from his extensive experience running a pro-style attack, and he shouldn’t have any problem transitioning to the next level from a physical standpoint.

There is still a lot of time between now and April 28, so don’t expect Tuesday’s events to be the final piece of evidence in this particular quarterback comparison debate.

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