Tag:Bear Pascoe
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:45 pm
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2012 NFL Free Agency: NFC East preview

Can Jerry get Tony enough help in 2012? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas 2011 season reeked of redemption for a lost 2010 season much of the way through. Despite close (and awkward) losses to the Patriots, Jets and Lions, the Cowboys rolled into December on a four-game winning streak, with a shot at closing out the NFC East. Then things absolutely fell apart: Jason Garrett iced his own kicker in an overtime loss to Arizona, Tony Romo overthrew Miles Austin in a tight Week 14 loss to the Giants, Romo was injured the next week in a meaningless game against the Eagles and Dallas got pounded by the eventual Super Bowl champs on New Years Day. Then Jerry Jones team had to watch the 9-7 Giants march to a Super Bowl victory. Not a fun couple of months for them. And though most of the blame usually finds its way onto Romo or Garrett, significant upgrades on the offensive line and secondary could go a long way towards fixing the Cowboys problems and making them a legit contender.

Free Agents of Note
Linebacker Anthony Spencer was tagged on Monday by Dallas, so he'll be back at least one more year and could get a longer deal ... Tight end Martellus Bennett is a good blocker but hasn't panned out the way Dallas wanted ... Linebacker Keith Brooking is 36 but has drawn interest from Dallas to return in 2012 ... FB Tony Fiammetta is an RFA and needs to be retained, especially given the work he did for DeMarco Murray last year ... Linebacker Bradie James is 31 and could be gone ... Wide receiver Laurent Robinson really clicked with Tony Romo in 2012 and would be a big re-addition ... Punter Mat McBriar could be done in Dallas if the 'Boys want to move forward with Chris Jones.

Needs
Secondary
: Terence Newman, 33, could be a cap/age casualty and Abram Elam, Frank Walker and Alan Ball are free agents. If Dallas plans on remaining as aggressive as defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wants them to be, they'll need to drastically improve the secondary.
Guard
: Tyron Smith and Doug Free flipped sides and are locked in at tackle, but the interior of the line needs improvement.

Targets
Brandon Carr or Cortland Finnegan would be an ideal target for Dallas as longer-term options. Neither is expected to remain with their respective teams. But if the Cowboys can't get Carr, they'll need to pursue some shorter-term options like Carlos Rogers. Guard is deep in free agency too, and it would behoove the Cowboys to invest in a stud like Carl Nicks. Getting Spencer signed to a long-term deal, rather than give him $9 million in 2012, would do a lot for their cap space.

New York Giants

It's crazy to think that the Super Bowl champion Giants looked DOA by the start of the regular season; an almost unbelievable (were it not true) string of injuries hit the team before the season began. The Giants looked even worse off in the middle of a late-season swoon that featured some of the toughest

Free Agents of Note:
Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham is going to get overpaid somewhere else based on his postseason performance ... Secret Super Bowl hero Steve Weatherford got the franchise tag Monday, so he'll be back in 2012 ... Wideout Domenik Hixon's already been re-signed ... Cornerback Aaron Ross says he wants to return but won't commit to a "hometown" discount ... Terrell Thomas was lost in the preseason but is closing in on a deal with the Giants ... Deon Grant is scheduled for free agency as well ... Both Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe tore their ACLs in the Super Bowl, so the Giants have to sign someone to play tight end ... Kareem McKenzie is 32-years-old and the Giants could be ready to move on after he struggled last season.

Needs
Tight End: This seems like a classic "address it at the end of the first round" issue, since the Giants could have their pick of Cody Fleener, Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen at No. 32. If not, they'll need to get someone from a not-so-attractive free agent pile.
Offensive Line: This is a unit that's getting older quickly. David Deihl can work anywhere on the line, but he's 31.
Secondary: If the Giants get Thomas, they could be fine here, as they've already got Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle. But last year proved how important depth really is, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them beef up the position.

Targets
The Giants are tight up against the salary cap this offseason, but are also coming off a year where they won the Super Bowl. The pressure isn't too intense on them to make a big splash with outside guys in free agency (nor should it be). If they can find value in a some cheaper offensive line options with a little upside (Geoff Schwartz anyone?) that would make the most sense in terms of an outside pick up.

Philadelphia Eagles

You know what happened here: a dream-team season quickly turned into a nightmare out of the gates, and the Eagles were the laughingstock of the NFL as they fell to 1-4. They finally turned things around with a four-game winning streak to close out at 8-8, giving Philly fans plenty of hope for 2012. (Not to mention helping Andy Reid's job security.) But there are still concerns here, because the Eagles have to get some linebackers and safeties in order to stop the run, manage their high-priced cornerbacks in a more efficient manner and keep Michael Vick from getting tattooed by opposing defenders. It's unlikely that Philly will make the same splash in free agency as they did in 2011, but that could actually be a good thing.

Free Agents: Running back Ronnie Brown might've thrown away (literally) any chance he had of returning to Philly ... DeSean Jackson got the franchise tag, and the team could still sign him long term or seek to trade him ... King Dunlap and Evan Mathis are both free agents on the offensive line; Mathis wants to return and should be priority No. 1 ... Trevor Laws, Juqua Parker and Derek Landri would depart the defensive line's depth if they all left ... Vince Young and Steve Smith, two big-name additions that didn't contribute much in 2011, seem likely to bolt.
Needs
Linebacker: Luke Koechly is the hot name for the Eagles in the draft, but his stock is rising and might not be available. Getting a middle linebacker who can stuff the run is absolutely essential for the Eagles defense in 2012. Adding some help at outside linebacker would be a bonus; acquiring linebackers isn't really Andy Reid's forte though.
Defensive Line Depth: The Eagles still have Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin and Trent Cole starting, but as noted above, they're going to need depth to keep those guys fresh throughout the year.

Targets
Linebacker, as noted, is the biggest need. Fortunately for the Eagles, there are some nice names out there. Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton represent pricier, albeit talented, options at middle linebacker. Dan Connor's a name that's been rumored with Philly and he could make sense as a run-stopping specialist who doesn't cost that much.

Washington Redskins

As Clark Judge recently wrote, the Redskins are running out of options for 2012. Either get Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III or prepare to move on from Mike Shanahan. They'll have their chance at each, as Manning will be a free agent soon and the Rams are willing to deal the No. 2 pick in April's draft. And the Redskins success really could come down to the quarterback position: if they can get Manning or RG3 and put suitable weapons around one of those guys (I personally prefer RG3 for them), Washington could net a few more wins and at least challenge for the division title that Rex Grossman guaranteed before 2011 started.

Free Agents
Fred Davis was franchised and remains the team's most explosive offensive weapon but he needs to stay out of trouble ... Tim Hightower fits what Mike Shanahan wants to do but wasn't as effect ... London Fletcher is old but remains effective and the Redskins need him back ... Rex Grossman seems destined to remain with Shanny forever, even if it's just on one-year deals ... Graham Gano was tendered and should be back ... Washington's already re-signed center Will Montgomery ... LaRon Landry can't stay healthy but Washington might gamble on him at a cheap price ... Roy Helu makes Tim Hightower expendable, though Hightower was decent in his five starts before being injured.
Needs
Quarterback: Quite obviously.
Wide Receiver: Jabar Gaffney shouldn't be anyone's No. 1 wideout. If the Skins go with the Manning route, it's entirely possible they can lure other free-agent wideouts into town. Either way, reports indicate they want to get a "high-profile wide receiver" and that's a good thing. Pairing Manning or RG3 with a viable wideout could make this offense explosive in 2012.
Offensive Line: Washington's set at several slots on the front, but could use an upgrade on the right side, where Jamaal Brown in particular has not been as good as they'd hoped.
Targets
Manning's the main target here. If they can't get Peyton, then the Skins have to get RG3. Both are attainable, it's just whether or not the cost is prohibitive. Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Marques Colston would all qualify as "marquee" wideouts. Ben Grubbs and Carl Nicks would be obviously be tremendous adds and allow the Redskins to shift some personnel and improve their line. Evan Mathis would take away from a division opponent as well.

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Posted on: September 4, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: September 4, 2010 9:23 pm
 

NFL cut day: updating the latest noteworthy moves

Posted by Andy Benoit & Josh Katzowitz

On this NFL cut day, we're monitoring all the media outlets and waiver wire action like a hawk so that you can make this is your one-stop shop for instant news and analysis on all the latest noteworthy cuts. Stay with us throughout the day.

Troy Williamson, WR, Jaguars
This isn't a hugely surpising move, because it never seemed that Williamson had a chance to make this team. The Jaguars are stocked with talented young receivers, and in the end, there wasn't a need for a former first-round pick who's had such a disappointing career (eight catched in the past two years with Jacksonville).

Dre Bly, CB, Lions
The Lions secondary has been brutal the past few years, and Bly was signed in the offseason to add a veteran presence. Bly wasn't that bad last year with San Francisco, but if he can't make a Detroit squad that's still in need of secondary help, that's not a real good sign for the health of his career.

Justin Hartwig, C, Steelers
He'd been the starter the previous two seasons in Pittsburgh, but along came rookie Maurkice Pouncey and took away his starting spot. Now, Hartwig's spot on the roster is gone. The team apparently had been trying to work out a trade for him but obviously failed to do so.

Spencer Havner, TE, Packers
Perhaps you haven't heard of Havner, who has recorded only seven catches in his two-year career. But reporters close to the team expressed surprise that Havner was sent packing, mostly because of his versatility and because he was decent-to-pretty good in so many different areas (receiving, blocking, special teams).

Max Jean-Gilles, OG, Eagles
This was an interesting transaction and didn't have much to do with his performance in the preseason. Since the Stacy Andrews trade occured after the 6 p.m. cutdown deadline, the Eagles had to cut Jean-Gilles to complete the 53-man roster. The Eagles are expected to sign him Sunday - Jean-Gilles is a vested veteran that doesn't have to clear waivers. Unless, that is, somebody else comes to him with a better offer.

Chase Coffman, TE, Bengals
The 2009 third round pick of the Bengals didn't see any playing time last year, because even though he was a strong receiver, he had tons to learn on how to block (he never really had to do it in college at Missouri). Though we didn't know it at the time, the first-round selection of Jermaine Gresham this year and the comeback by Reggie Kelly probably sealed Coffman's fate

Sam Aiken, WR, Patriots
He was the special teams captain for New England, and it appeared he had landed one of the final WR spots. But apparently his deficiencies as a WR were too much for the Patriots to handle. Plus, he lost his gunner job on special teams earlier in the preseason.

Derrick Burgess, LB, Patriots
He had a league-leading 16 sacks in 2005, and he was a Pro Bowler that year and the next. But his skills have steadily declined since then, and against the Giants in New England's final preseason game Thursdasy, Burgess was terrible. He couldn't defend the run or rush the passer. And if you can't do either, New England - which will struggle to rush the passer this season - doesn't want you.

Trent Guy, WR, Panthers
Not a big-name guy, but he's got a great story. In July 2008, Guy was shot in the back while leaving a nightclub, and he barely escaped paralysis and/or death. Read the complete story here on the Charlotte Observer web site. Alas, he'll likely end up on Carolina's practice squad.

Troy Smith, QB, Ravens
After signing Marc Bulger in the offseason, the Ravens shipped away John Beck and now have released Smith. The former Heisman Trophy winner had wanted a trade in the offseason, but the Ravens never got around to it. But who would take him? He's got speed but his accuracy is questionable, and he doesn't appear to have the tools to be an NFL starter. The Ravens will keep only two QBs on the roster for now.

Chad Jackson, WR, Bills

Thought to have first-round potential, Jackson was picked in the second round of the 2006 Draft by the Patriots. So far in his career, he's made exactly 14 catches. Jackson was out of football in 2009, and that's exactly where he's going in 2010 as well.

Kraig Urbik, OG, Steelers
A third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2009, Pittsburgh expected big things out of the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder. But he had a rough preseason last year, and he struggled while adjusting to the NFL speed. He eventually lost his backup spot, and apparently, the Steelers - who even tried him out at center in the offseason - have no use for him anymore.

Tank Tyler, DT, Panthers
The Panthers gave up a fifth-round pick to get Tyler last season. He had his moments but, as was the case in Kansas City, he never put it all together.


James Hardy, WR, Bills
The 6’5”, high-leaping ’08 second-round pick has not been the same since blowing out his knee. The Bills were hoping he could capture the starting job vacated by Terrell Owens.


Rhys Lloyd, K, Vikings
He was brought in to be a kickoff specialist. Vikings likely decided he wasn’t worth the extra cost (perhaps because they’re already paying a little extra to that old guy playing quarterback). Ryan Longwell will be pleased – he didn’t want to give up the kickoff duties in the first place.

Jay Richardson, DE, Raiders
He was a starter a few years ago but has tailed off as of late. Teams should take a look at him, though. At his best, he’s one of the more impressive run-defending ends in football.


Will Blackmon, CB, Packers
The athletic but oft-injured cornerback/return specialist reached an injury settlement with the team.

Pierre Woods, LB, Patriots
We mention Woods only because the Patriots spent four years waiting for him to come around. Most non-achievers don’t last four months in New England. In the end, Woods never did come around. He was given an opportunity to work with the first unit last season, but in five starts he recorded zero sacks. (In fact, in four years total, he recorded just one sack.)


Chris Simms, QB, Titans
Known more for his name than anything. Would have been nothing more than the third-string option in Tennessee. Recent legal problems certainly could not have helped his cause. Titans will likely keep sixth-round rookie Rusty Smith as the No. 3.

Chevis Jackson, CB, Falcons
The competition for the starting cornerback job opposite Dunta Robinson has been so fierce that you forget about any Falcon corners being on the roster bubble. This explains the mild sense of astonishment we’re all feeling when we hear that Jackson, a third-round pick in 2008, has been waived. In his two years with Atlanta, Jackson mostly competed for reps at the nickel position. Jackson was never awful for Mike Smith; it’s a virtual guarantee that some team will quickly snatch him up.

Ian Johnson, RB, Vikings
By no means a big-name NFL player. But remember the Boise State running back who proposed to the cheerleader after scoring the winning touchdown against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl? This is him.


Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals
What a disaster this whole saga turned out to be. Leinart is officially a first-round BUST. For more, click here .

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seahawks
Given that his $7 million salary was already guaranteed, the Seahawks basically said they simply didn't want the veteran wideout around. You have to figure attitude played a part . What else could result in the sudden release of a surefire 70-plus catch weapon?


Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos

He was everyone’s favorite “scrappy slot receiver” before Wes Welker. But at 34 and having caught only 19 passes last season, he’s expendable. The Broncos have been impressed with Brandon Lloyd, and they figure to develop high-drafted rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
Note: Stokley has a groin injury and, according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post, is still working out an injury settlement with the club. He's been placed on Injured Reserve, but when that's healed, he'll be released.


Jarron Gilbert, DT, Bears
Remember the San Jose State draft prospect who jumped straight out of a swimming pool last year? That’s about all the athletic defensive lineman is known for. Gilbert was drafted in the third round last season but hardly got on the field.

Allen Barbre, OL, Packers
Barbre, a fourth-round pick in 2007, showed up dripping with raw talent. However, things never materialized. Barber was victimized as a starter early last season and was never much of a factor in the ongoing job competition at guard.

Myron Rolle, S, Titans
The sixth-round rookie Rhodes Scholar was a favorite of the coaches. However, he lacked the necessary athleticism to thrive in the NFL. If he wants to continue with football, he could probably sneak on to a practice squad somewhere.


Jarvis Green, DE, Broncos
Seriously!? Green signed a four-year, $20 million free agent deal with the Broncos in March. He was a key contributor for eight years as a versatile downlineman in New England’s 3-4 scheme. But in Denver, Green eventually lost his starting job to Ryan McBean; the Broncos must have felt he was too expensive to be a backup (Green wound up walking away $3.225 million). With Ty Warren out for the season, the Patriots may want to consider bringing Green back.

Michael Clayton, WR, Buccaneers
Clayton has had one of the most enigmatic careers in recent NFL memory. He caught 80 balls for 1,193 yards as a rookie but has failed to top 38 receptions or 484 yards in the five seasons since. Injuries have never been a factor. Coaches say Clayton is the most impressive player in practice each week, but on Sundays, he pulls a Houdini. Bucs GM Mark Dominik must watch a lot of practice, as he gave Clatyon a new contract with $10 million in guarantees just last year.


Pat White, QB, Dolphins
The biggest name to get the ax (or is it axe?...why hasn’t society agreed on one spelling yet? ) thus far. Talk about wasting a second-round pick. White suffered a bad concussion late last season and was rumored to be questioning his football future earlier this summer. He wound up competing in camp, but the Dolphins no longer had a need for him after retaining Chad Pennington and bringing in Tyler Thigpen. Running back Ronnie Brown can continue to be the wild cat ace.

Josh Reed, WR, Chargers
This was to be expected after the trade for Patrick Crayton. Both are underneath possession receivers; Crayton, however, is a bit quicker and has been more productive in recent years.

Dave Rayner, K, Bengals
This means Mike Nugent has won Cincy’s kicking job.

Shayne Graham, K, Ravens
The longtime Bengal was expected to beat out Billy Cundiff for the Ravens kicking job. Apparently he didn’t. Cundiff has the stronger leg.


Donald Thomas, G, Dolphins
Arguably the most surprising cut thus far today – not because Thomas is a particularly good player (he’s not), but because he’s a third-year pro who started 12 games last season. Thomas badly struggled with his footwork and was too much of a plodder at times. The Dolphins signed Richie Incognito and drafted John Jerry to fill the guard spots over the offseason. Looks like Cory Proctor will wind up being the top backup inside now.


Darrell Reid, OLB, Broncos
The veteran special teams ace was on PUP all preseason with a bad knee. Even with Elvis Dumervil on IR, Denver still saw fit to move on. This tells you Reid probably had little chance of physically being ready to play anytime soon. The coaches also really like soaring newcomer Jason Hunter.


Travis Fisher, CB, Ravens
Fisher’s NFL career has been hanging by a threat the past few seasons. The former Ram is an experienced veteran, but the Ravens saw no place for him after trading for Josh Wilson.

J.P. Losman, QB, Seahawks
Could be back to the UFL for the underachieving former first-round pick.


Willie Parker, RB, Redskins
It’s common knowledge that running backs hit a wall around age 30. Parker hit his last year at 29. Parker’s yards per carry had decreased every season in his career until 2009 (when he had very few touches with the Steelers). He was hoping for a resurgence behind Mike Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, but with his speed diminished and body dinged up (injuries have hounded Parker the past few years), he couldn’t climb out from the fourth spot on the depth chart.

Brandon McDonald, CB, Browns
McDonald is best known for his disgraceful tweet about Terrell Owens earlier this offseason. Looks like his reputation will remain there for a while. McDonald’s playing career in Cleveland is over. He struggled mightily in man coverage as the Browns starting cornerback last season and was benched on more than one occasion. Throw in his flashy, irritating attitude and he became an easy player for Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren to dump.

William Joseph, DT, Raiders
The 2003 first-round pick of the Giants could be on done for good. Joseph is 31 and has never achieved consistent success at the pro level. Then again, he’s been shuffled on and off the Raiders roster since 2008 – maybe this is just another shuffle. He was fifth on the depth chart at defensive tackle. The news here is that Joseph’s release could mean John Henderson makes the final roster. We’ll find out.

Matt Jones, WR, Bengals
The only thing he had going for him was a history of legal problems (which seems to be an attribute Bengals owner Mike Brown covets in a player). Jones is too lethargic off the line to be a quality NFL receiver. The Bengals found that out.

Patrick Turner, WR, Dolphins
Turner was a third-round pick just one year ago. The Dolphins thought they’d found the next Marques Colston. Instead, they found the next Joe Nobody. Turner never earned the respect of coaches and teammates.

Jon Jansen, OL, Lions
No surprise here. Jansen is a sagacious veteran, but at 34, he has reached his physical end. He was a major liability wherever he lined up last season.

Bear Pascoe, TE, Giants
Thanks to injuries to starter Kevin Boss, Pascoe spent a great deal of the offseason working with the Giants first team offense. Because Pascoe played in only four games as a rookie last season, he is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers.


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