Tag:Buffalo Bills
Posted on: March 4, 2012 5:43 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:00 am
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Gregg Williams to meet with NFL again

Gregg Williams, right, has been summoned to meet with Roger Goodell again. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

The NFL has summoned former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to New York City on Monday for more discussions with security officials about alleged violations of the league's bounty rules.

The meetings with NFL officials, including a possible sit down with commissioner Roger Goodell, come in the wake of new reports that Williams ran illegal bounty programs during his stints with the Redskins and Bills.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Obviously, this is terrible, though not unexpected, news for the current Rams defensive coordinator, recently hired for Jeff Fisher’s new staff in St. Louis.

In an email to The Associated Press, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote, the league will continue "addressing the issues raised as part of our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of the game."

Already, Williams has apologized for his actions, saying, “I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

Of course, that statement was released before we knew about the possibility of the programs in Washington, where he was the defensive coordinator under Joe Gibbs, and Buffalo, where he was head coach from 2001-03.

And while there has been a report that Williams would face a fine but not likely a suspension -- again, before we heard about Washington and Buffalo -- I’m guessing Goodell is going to leave all disciplinary options open after listening to what Williams has to say.

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:10 pm
 

Did Gregg Williams compensate players in BUF?

One of his former players in Buffalo said Williams encouraged his players to knock out opponents for financial rewards. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

The NFL already has informed its fans that, under Gregg Williams reign as Saints defensive coordinator, he contributed to a bounty pool that helped motivate New Orleans players to try to knock opponents out of games. He’s since apologized and said it was a terrible mistake.

Then, there was a report Saturday that the NFL would investigate the Redskins to determine whether Williams pulled the same shenanigans in Washington when he was the defensive coordinator there under Joe Gibbs from 2004-07 (Gibbs has said he wasn’t aware of a pool, but former player Matt Bowen admitted in a piece for the Chicago Tribune the Redskins had one in place).

Now, the Buffalo News reported Saturday night that, when Williams was the Bills head coach from 2001-03, he rewarded players for injuring opponents and making other important plays.

"There was financial compensation," former safety Coy Wire told the newspaper, along with three other former players who asked not to be named.

And it wasn’t just rewards for knocking out a player to gain a competitive advantage – which obviously is bad enough. No, according to Wire, it was a malicious-type atmosphere.

"There were rewards,” he said. “There never was a point where cash was handed out in front of the team. But surely, you were going to be rewarded. When somebody made a big hit that hurt an opponent, it was commended and encouraged."

And now at this point, Wire can’t believe he ever thought that was the right way to play the game.

"Now, it's unthinkable that was my reality," Wire said. "I shattered (former Lions running back) James Stewart's shoulder, and he never played again. I was showered with praise for that. It's a shame that's how it was. Now I see how wrong that was."

And assuming the NFL investigates these charges and punishes the offenders, Williams also will get the chance to learn just how wrong it was. And at some point maybe we should wonder whether, assuming all of this proves true, whether Williams deserves to continue his coaching career in the NFL.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:56 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:58 am
 

Owens catches 3 TD passes in IFL debut

Posted by Eye on Football staff

Terrell Owens, looking to get back into pro football, did just that Saturday night in his debut for the Allen (Texas) Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Owens caught three passes for 49 yards and three touchdowns in Allen's 50-30 opening victory at home over the Wichita Wild.

“I think I did all right,” Owens told the Morning News. “I’m just really trying to keep myself in shape for the most part. I feel like I’m healthy enough to play football. There’s not anything that I can’t do.”

The 38-year-old was on the field for 38 plays and was targeted five times in front of a crowd of 5,711. Wranglers owner Jon Frankel told the Morning News that the crowd was larger than the total home attendance for the 2011 season.

Owens hasn’t caught a pass in an NFL game since Dec. 12, 2010 and is using the IFL club as a hopeful springboard to an NFL tryout. He possesses an opt-out clause, in case an NFL franchise offers him a contract. However, after having a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee repaired last year, he hasn’t received much interest from NFL teams.

Facing some press and man-to-man coverage, Owens did not catch a pass in the third or fourth quarters.

 

Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:45 am
 

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

Whatever you say, Mr. Ryan. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Forgive us for not primarily focusing on draft-related players in this edition of knee-jerk judgments. But on the first day of the NFL combine, there were relatively few players of note to talk to; none of the interior linemen made appearances with the media, there were some lonely kickers and punters present, and not all of the tight ends showed up.

Most of the media sessions were spent chatting up various general manages and coaches, every single one of whom was asked about Peyton Manning and/or Andrew Luck. Or their own quarterback.

Winners

Andrew Luck: Luck isn't even in Indianapolis yet (that we know of) and he's already getting swooned over, as Mike Freeman wrote earlier on Thursday. The only flaw that people can find is his arm strength, and even that's a stretch. More good news is that his former coach, Jim Harbaugh, thinks he'll handle the pressure of all the expectations surrounding him just fine. Don't expect the hypemobile to drop speed between now and late April.

St. Louis Rams
: On Thursday night, we told a St. Louis radio station that Jeff Fisher would be sitting back and smoking a cigar by the time Robert Griffin III finished running his 40-yard dash. That's because Fisher and the Rams will be holding an auction for Griffin, the clear-cut, second-best (if second ...) quarterback in the draft. Everyone in Indy's glowing about the kid and he hasn't arrived yet either. And everyone interested should get involved. If the Browns, Dolphins and Redskins don't get involved, they're doing themselves a disservice, because RG3 is going to good in the NFL. Make the move, pay the picks and reap the benefits. Fisher's willing to do just that.

Green Bay Packers: There seems to be a lot of speculation about teams wanting Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn around Indy right now. (The Browns, Dolphins and Seahawks could all be interested parties.) Now that Green Bay's locked up Jermichael Finley for two more years, they can, if they want, apply the franchise tag to Flynn and then trade him for the best offer they get from one of the interested teams. As long as they get more than whatever the compensatory pick would be, they win in this deal.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Shortly after Kevin Colbert stated that he wanted wide receiver Mike Wallace to retire as a Steeler, Pittsburgh managed to restructure Ben Roethlisberger's contract. Making Ben more expensive in the future might not help in the future, but it means right now the Steelers can keep Mike Wallace. The No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh's gotten flak as the heat's cranked up on the possibility of him leaving, but the fact remains that he's the team's best wideout. Antonio Brown is a stud -- the only guy who we know that loves Brown more than we do is fantasy expert Dave Richard -- and he'll keep improving. But Brown doesn't become team MVP without Wallace keeping top cornerbacks away from his side of the field.

LaRon Landry: Holy muscles, Batman. Did he hijack Ryan Braun's FedEx package or something? We kid, we kid. (But no, seriously: we're joking.) On the first day of young football playing fellas flexing their muscles for the public, Landry stole the show with his ripped Twitter pics.

Losers

Jonathan Martin: Forgive us for not loving everyone out of Stanford, or for not giving Martin credit for having confidence. But the athletic offensive tackle won't be participating in most of the drills at the combine, because of food poisoning. (We asked him what he ate, and he didn't remember, but said it was in Arizona. Fear not, consumers of spicy shrimp cocktails.) Martin also repeatedly said he's the best tackle available in the draft, and said "without a doubt" he's better than Matt Kalil. Competition is fun, and confidence is good, but we're not sure why he's talking a big game if he's not participating in the drills.

Mark Sanchez: As Clark Judge noted, "Sanchez should be worried." That's because Rex Ryan came out and made no bold guarantees (a staple of the combine for Ryan) regarding the job security of his starting quarterback. It's OK for Rex to downplay the interest the Jets could have in Peyton Manning; Manning's not a free agent yet, and there are roughly 25 NFL teams that will at least discuss what Manning could do to their franchise. But the lack of guarantees for Sanchez during a tumultuous offseason should be concerning for the Jets current starting quarterback.

Kevin Kolb: Like Sanchez, Kolb didn't exactly get ringing endorsements from the guys who cut his checks. Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves didn't explicitly say they'd think about dumping Kolb (due a roster bonus on March 17) if Manning became available, but they sure didn't slam the door on the idea. 

Tight Ends: This is the new position that's redefining the NFL, right? Well, um, here's the problem (as also noted by CBSSports.com's own Pete Prisco): where were these guys during their big combine day? Rob Gronkowski was the story during the Super Bowl, and for a week after. Jimmy Graham shattered records. Vernon Davis was the guy who made Alex Smith great. And Orson Charles, the third-rated tight end by NFLDraftScout.com, said he's happy to sit and learn behind someone like Tony Gonzalez?Love the attitude. Love it, and Gonzo's the man. But if you're a coming into college and someone tries to steer you away from playing tight end in college, don't listen to them. Or listen to them and stop playing basketball?

Stevie Johnson: We've thought he'd get the franchise tag from Buffalo at minimum. But in listening to Bills head coach Chan Gailey, that's just not happening. Or it might; but Gailey's description of Johnson was quintessential "we're sorry to lose Stevie." He said he wouldn't miss Stevie until Stevie was gone and then cited the "business" of the game. Those aren't the words of a coach who's pumped to be celebrating a new contract for his franchise wideout.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:04 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 11:08 am
 

Report: Bills won't franchise tag Stevie Johnson

Johnson could be a free man if he and Buffalo don't work out a deal. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Stevie Johnson's an interesting test case for the wide-receiver market in 2011; he and the Bills are reportedly exchanging numbers, but they're also reportedly "far apart" in contract negotiations.

Latest NFL News, Notes

And now, the Bills reportedly won't be using the franchise tag on Johnson if they can't reach a long-term deal before March 5. That's according to Rodney McKissic of The Buffalo News, who reports that the "franchise tag option hasn't been discussed during negotiations" between the team and Johnson.

As we noted previously, Johnson's in a weird spot when it comes to his market value. $9.4 million -- the guaranteed money involved in the franchise tag -- seems like too much for Johnson. But he's certainly not a $5 million per year wide receiver.

And much of what he could get on the open market depends on how other situations play out. If, hypothetically, Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Wes Welker (to name just a few) all hit the market along with Johnson, his stock will drop faster than a potential game-winning catch against the Jets.

Then there's the fact that the Bills would hurt themselves in negotiations if they discussed the franchise tag. Should Johnson's camp believe the tag is an option, it a) reduces the rush to get a deal done before March 5 and b) means the Bills are automatically negotiating from a bare minimum of $9.5 million in guaranteed money.

The only surprising thing is that Buffalo is apparently willing to let their biggest playmaker in the passing game walk; without Johnson, the 6'5" David Nelson steps into the role as top playmaker, barring the Bills being able to bring another high-end free agent into Buffalo.

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:55 pm
 

Report: Bills, Stevie Johnson exchanging numbers

Johnson and Buffalo are reportedly talking contract. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

One of the guys we listed as a possible franchise-tag target last week was Bills receiver Stevie Johnson, who's coming off his second-straight season of 1,000-plus receiving yards. It just seems crazy that Buffalo would let their top passing weapon leave town for nothing.

And it sounds like they're not planning on it -- Rodney McKissic of The Buffalo News reports Thursday that the Bills and Johnson's agent, C.J. LaBoy, have begun preliminary discussions on contract negotiations.

McKissic writes that the two sides "have exchanged proposals and are expected to meet at next week's NFL Combine." LaBoy reportedly countered an offer from the Bills last week on Monday, which means there's probably a high- and low-end of a deal for Johnson established. (Presumably neither side is planning on negotiating against itself from the get-go.)

Johnson's contract negotiations should be interesting. He'd stand to make $9.4 million, all guaranteed, if he gets the franchise tag. And he could conceivably get real paid if he hits the open market and is one of the top wideouts available to teams.

Taking a look at wideout numbers over the past two years, via Pro-Football-Reference.com, Johnson's in pretty good company. He's one of just a few wideouts who caught more than 75 passes for more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in each of the past two years, along with Marques Colston (also a potential free agent), Hakeem Nicks, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Roddy White.

Football Outsiders isn't quite as generous with their similarity score for Johnson (although, granted, it doesn't include 2011 yet). Put more layman-ly: Johnson's not regarded as an elite wide receiver quite yet.

Perhaps part of that is his penalty-inducing touchdown celebrations. (Although he told us that he was "done" doing those.) Then there's Johnson starting one game and catching 12 balls his first two years; Colston's a guy who was missed in the draft, but he emerged immediately.

Johnson won't get Santonio Holmes ($10 million per) money. And Buffalo probably won't pay him $8 million a year. But Johnson's production over the past two years warrants a deal that'll pay him something near that range that other wide receivers -- T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Sidney Rice anyone? -- have gotten recently.

Plus, as our own Pete Prisco noted on Thursday, there are a couple teams where Johnson would fit nicely if the Bills decided not to work out a deal.

That, plus the large number attached to the franchise tag, give Johnson some pretty nice leverage over the Bills in the coming weeks.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:07 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 9:59 am
 

What players will get franchise tagged in 2012?

Brees reportedly won't be happy if he gets tagged. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Monday February 20, NFL teams can begin to apply the franchise tag to players. They can do so up until March 5 at 4 p.m. ET. For those that don't know, the franchise tag is a method of keeping players from hitting the open market. Previously, the franchise-tag number was generated by averaging the top-five salaries at a position to determine a number for that position.

This year, the franchise tag value will be a percentage of the overall salary cap figure for the previous five years. As such, NFL.com (the league's official website, making the figures trustworthy, one would hope) the following figures, plus figures from last year that we've included:

Position 2012 Franchise Tag Value*
2011 Franchise Tag Value
Quarterback
$14.4 million $16.1 million
Running Back
$7.7 million $9.6 million
Wide Receiver
$9.4 million $11.4 million
Tight End
$5.4 million $7.3 million
Offensive Line
$9.4 million $10.1 million
Defensive End
$10.6 million $13 million
Defensive Tackle
$7.9 million $12.5 million
Linebacker
$8.8 million $10.1 million
Cornerback
$10.6 million $13.5 million
Safety
$6.2 million $8.8 million

*The only instances this doesn't apply: when a player already made more than the franchise-tag value, or when a player receives the franchise tag for the second-straight year, in which case tagging said player would cost 120 percent of their previous base salary.

Aside from the asterisked exception above, it's clearly much more cost effective to utilize the franchise tag on a player in 2012 than it was in 2011. Wide receivers like DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe and Marques Colston might not be tag candidates at $11.4 million. At $9.4 million, they certainly are.


With all of that in mind, let's look at some possible franchise-tag candidates, in order of likelihood to be tagged.

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees, Marques Colston or Carl Nicks

The Saints are all but guaranteed to use their franchise tag. Brees is a free agent and there is a zero percent chance that they let him walk into free agency. This is an absolute zero; losing Brees would not only be a disaster for the franchise in terms of winning, it would result in riots on Bourbon Street.

Various reports have emerged about where Brees and the Saints stand. (His agent, Tom Condon, is involved in a small contract situation surrounding Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.) As CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote last week, "the road could be rockier than initially thought" when getting Brees a new deal.

If the Saints can't get a deal done by the tag deadline, they will use the tag on Brees and sort out a deal later. If they can negotiate a deal with Brees before then, either Colston or Nicks will likely get tagged. My money's on Nicks, who could be a steal at less than $10 million given his age and his performance on the interior line the last two years.
DeSean might finally catch that money. (Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson

Reports are already rolling in that Jackson will be tagged and that the team will seek to trade him once they place the tag on Jackson. Philly better be comfortable rolling with D-Jax if they can't find a suitor, though, because the wide receiver is a good bet to swoop in and sign his tender quickly. The $9.4 million represents more than triple what Jackson's made in his entire career thus far, and you can bet he'd like to see some guaranteed money.

Worst case, of course, is that Philly ends up giving its top playmaker one more "contract year" at turning in a big performance before hitting free agency. $9.4 million is a lot to pay for a wideout, but it's better than a) doling out a big contract to someone new and/or a malcontent, or b) letting Jackson walk for nothing in return.

Chicago Bears: Matt Forte

The rumors of Forte getting tagged began long ago as the Bears said they simply won't let him get to free agency. And they can't: Mike Tice replaced Mike Martz, but that could mean Chicago becoming more dependent on Forte's skills as a rusher and pass-catcher.

Forte said he's OK with the franchise tag provided it leads to further contract negotiations. Those appear to be more successful this time around, without Jerry Angelo on the other side of the table. But if Forte struggles early in his return from injury (an MCL sprain) things could get dicey.

Regardless, he's a steal at $7.7 million in 2012.

Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice

Another no-brainer for the team here: Rice is one of the most dynamic backs in football and accounted for a large chunk of the Ravens offense. Rice's league-leading 2,068 yards from scrimmage accounted for 38.2 percent of the Ravens 5,419 yards, to be exact.

Rice lead the team in rushing ... and receptions. The Ravens need him and it's unfathomable that they'd let Rice walk. He probably won't be happy about playing for $7.7 million in 2012 and it seems obvious that Ozzie Newsome would like to lock down a guy who's averaged just shy of 2,000 yards from scrimmage in the three years he's been a starter for the team.
Will Welker's drop hurt his value? (Getty Images)

New England Patriots: Wes Welker

Welker's taken a lot of grief for his now-infamous drop in the Super Bowl. But just because the guy missed one catch doesn't mean we should forget what he's done for the past five years in New England: Welker averaged 111 catches and 1,221 yards per season since arriving from Miami.

Here's where it gets interesting though: Welker will be 31 when 2012 begins. He's considered a "slot" receiver. But he reportedly wants to be paid like an "elite" receiver. (It's, uh, kind of hard to blame him.) Lots of people think Welker wouldn't be as successful without the Patriots system, but how successful would the Patriots be without Welker?

In other words, we might be headed to an old-fashioned standoff, where the Pats use the franchise tag on Welker (it's all but certain they will, mainly to avoid him landing with an AFC East rival), and Welker refusing to play. Our Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard's speculated as much previously, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Welker sit out the first few weeks if the Pats aren't willing to give him a long-term deal.

Washington Redskins: Fred Davis

Davis had a big year in 2011, catching 59 passes for 796 yards in just 12 games (with Rex Grossman and John Beck throwing him the ball). He missed four games when he was suspended under the NFL's substance-abuse policy. But that actually works in Washington's favor here, since they can commit just $5.5 million to Davis without any fear of long-term blowback.

Buffalo Bills: Stevie Johnson

I spoke with Johnson at the Super Bowl and he said he'd be amenable to playing under the franchise tag in 2012. And it's hard to imagine Buffalo letting one of the more talented and underrated receivers in the game simply walk away. Johnson, depending on the market, could be one of the top wide receivers available.

Given the nature of Buffalo's weapons on offense, $9.4 million isn't all that steep for someone who's produced as steadily as Johnson has over the past two seasons. He took a small step back in receptions, yardage and touchdowns in 2011, but part of that can be attributed to the injuries to Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the Bills late-season swoon.

And if he's willing to ditch the penalty-inflicting celebrations? He's worth it.

Bowe's a fan favorite in KC -- for good reason.(Getty Images)

Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe or Brandon Carr

This is quite the conundrum for KC: does new coach Romeo Crennel, recently promoted from defensive coordinator, push to keep the 25-year-old defensive back, or does he sit back while the franchise lets Carr walk and hangs onto it's top wideout?

Bowe quietly put together another monster season in 2011, catching nine more balls than he did in 2010 and only three yards less. Granted, he found the end zone 10 times less this past season, but chalk that up to the Chiefs stupid-easy schedule against the pass in 2010. Oh yeah, and because he was catching balls from Tyler Palko for a quarter of the season.

Bowe's a better value at his franchise cost ($1 million less) I suppose, but Carr will be harder to retain in free agency, because of the nature of cornerbacks on the open market.

Atlanta Falcons: Brent Grimes or Curtis Lofton

The Falcons, not so quietly, have a ton of guys up for free agency this year. Grimes, Lofton, defensive ends John Abraham and Kroy Biermann and center Todd McLure lead the list. One of Grimes or Lofton surely will get the franchise tag.

For the same reason as listed with the Chiefs, Grimes makes the most sense -- he'll simply be harder to retain in free agency. Lofton would be $2 million cheaper but Grimes is more important to the Falcons defense. A logical move might be to feel out contract negotiations with both players (provided the Falcons want to keep both of them anyway), work out an extension with one as quickly as possible, franchise the other defender and look to cut a deal with them down the road.
It's hard to put a price on Avril's pass rush. (Getty Images)

Detroit Lions: Cliff Avril

Avril's made no bones about the possibility of being franchised, and isn't happy with the notion. But the franchise tag actually doesn't exist simply to keep a guy around for another year without paying him big money. It's to keep a guy around while you work out a long-term contract.

That's what Avril, who will turn 26 in April, wants, and it should be what the Lions want too, given their dependence on a strong pass rush on the defensive end of things. At $10.6 million he would provide nice value. Provided he played the whole season anyway.

Indianapolis Colts: Robert Mathis

Chuck Pagano's a defensive guy, and even though he's coming into a rebuilding project, it's hard to see he and general manager Ryan Grigson passing on a shot to keep a talented pass-rusher like Mathis around for one more year at a reasonable rate.

Mathis probably said it himself over the weekend on Twitter when he noted that "The #TAG is an honor but personally if i was tagged now id feel they didnt want me but just have not found my replacement yet." Prepare to be honored sir.

Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Spencer

According to one report out of Texas, the Cowboys are at least considering franchising Spencer. The logic isn't that the outside linebacker, drafted 26th overall in 2007, is a monster and worth $8.8 million next year. He's not.

But Spencer might be worth holding onto if the Cowboys don't believe they can fill that spot with a reliable enough player through free agency and don't want to force themselves into selecting an outside linebacker early in the draft and forcing him to play.

Giving Spencer that sort of cash at least provides a safety net for Rob Ryan's defense.

Green Bay Packers: Jermichael Finley

Finley's case is a fascinating one. At $5.5 million, the tight end is a no-doubt-about-it franchise tag choice. But what about at $9.4 million? I ask because Finley's reportedly ready to argue that he's actually more of a wide receiver than a tight end, based on the number of snaps he takes from a wide receiver position. (He may want to remove the words "best tight ends in the league" from his website then.)

The Packers don't seem ready to give Finley a long-term deal yet, but they're also not willing to let him go. That tune could change if Finley's awarded the same price as a wide receiver in arbitration.
Wallace's RFA status is a concern. (Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Wallace

Wallace is actually on a restricted free agent, but as Wilson pointed out on Tuesday's podcast, there's been a lot of discussion in Steelers-land about the possibility of using the full-blown franchise tag on Wallace regardless of his status.

Here's some hypothetical logic: the Steelers use the non-exclusive tag on Wallace, the Patriots, with two first-round picks in the coming draft, negotiate a deal with Wallace and force the Steelers to match said deal or take one of the picks from the Pats. The pick isn't that high and Wallace is a stud, so Pittsburgh, who wants to lock down Wallace anyway, would be letting the Pats (or whomever) negotiate for them.

Lest you think this is silly, look no further than a guy we already talked about: Welker. The Patriots obtained him via trade, but only after the Dolphins used the restricted tag on Welker. After they did, the Pats negotiated with Welker to work in a provision in his contract that would include a monster bonus if he played X games in the state of Florida (AKA "a poison pill"). The Dolphins caved and simply dealt Welker to the Pats instead of trying to play chicken.

The downside is that the Steelers would be forced to paying $7 million extra in 2012 for their No. 1 wideout. The upside is not getting poison-pilled by an AFC rival who'll then hijack the Steelers for the deep threat they need. Hypothetically speaking of course.

Oakland Raiders: Michael Bush

The idea of paying Bush more than Darren McFadden's been bandied about, and it makes sense given Run-DMC's injury history. It doesn't make sense when you consider that new GM Reggie McKenzie would suddenly have a ton of money committed to two running backs. But here's an idea: tag Bush, trade McFadden and then give Bush a new contract. You keep him off the market, you recoup some of those Carson Palmer draft picks and you keep the back best suited for Greg Knapp's zone-rushing attack.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:57 am
 

Bills GM Nix: 'We want to extend Fred' Jackson

Fred-Ex could be in line for a big contract from Buffalo. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The Buffalo Bills were a surprise team for the early part of 2011 and much of that success had to do with perennially unappreciated running back Fred Jackson, who ran for 934 yards in the team's first 10 games. That includes Week 10's 35-8 loss to Miami where Jackson suffered the injury.

In other words, he was having a monster year before going down. And the Bills, according to general manager Buddy Nix, are prepared to reward Jackson, who'll be a free agent after 2012, with a new contract.

"We want to extend Fred," Nix said his recent press conference. "I’d like for Fred to finish his career as a Bill. He’s meant a lot to us. I’ve got great respect for him. I tell him that. We’re going to try to get something done. Does it matter if we do it or if we do it next week or a month from now? As long as we get it done before the season starts it’s all the same, really, seems to me. And it’s not like he’s going to get hurt playing now.

"But we do want Fred back and we do intend to try to workout a deal with him. I’ve told him that and I’m going to tell him again this week before I leave here."

Jackson was, as Clark Judge pointed out, having an MVP-type season before his injury. Having signed a four-year, $7.5 million deal before the 2009 season, Jackson hasn't really hit a monster payday yet.

What'll be interesting is how much the Bills are willing to invest in Jackson. He's only got 817 career carries (topping out at 237 in 2009), but he is on the wrong side of 30.

Additionally, C.J. Spiller came on strong at the end of 2011, rushing for 446 yards in Buffalo's final six games, and averaging over 100 yards from scrimmage and 5.19 yards per carry during that span. He also scored six touchdowns and because he was the Bills first-round pick in 2010, there has to be some commitment to making him a bigger part of the offense.

Jackson's the steadier presence on the ground, however and could form a potentially dynamic combination with Spiller if the Bills line can stay healthy. And if the Bills are willing to pay him. Otherwise he might be running for a new deal in 2012.

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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