Tag:Will Brinson
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 2:02 pm
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Ahmad Bradshaw 'very interested' in Dolphins

Posted by Will Brinson

You don't need a crystal ball to know that the Miami Dolphins -- who are likely to rid themselves of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown this offseason -- will be chasing a running back in free agency.

Their top target will likely be DeAngelo Williams (yes, we're assuming a reversion to old rules here), but there's no guarantee the 'Fins can pick him up, particularly if the Panthers really do want to re-sign him and John Fox picks up his pursuit in Denver.

So, how about a fallback option like Ahmad Bradshaw? Is that something the Dolphins might be interested in? Because if they are, Bradshaw is also interested.

"I represent Ahmad. He's training here in Miami and would be very interested in the Dolphins," Bradshaw's agent Drew Rosenhaus told Sports Xtra, per Omar Kelly on Twitter. "If they (Dolphins) are interested in Ahmad (Bradshaw), we're interested back."

I'm not sure if this constitutes tampering or not (I don't think so), but Rosenhaus waved at the Dolphins from the set of the show, knowing that the Dolphins watch. And maybe that doesn't count either. Whatever, predicting what the Dolphins need and then assuming your client fits that need isn't quite like figuring out where Hoffa's body is.

Rosenhaus also made an interesting point about the 'Fins running-back situation -- they'll try and find someone who can compliment rookie Daniel Thomas, who the Dolphins moved into the second round to draft in April.

Conveniently, Sports Xtra had a relevant guest to that topic -- one Daniel Thomas.

"I can go every down, but if we get a [scatback] it will help the team,"said Thomas who, per Kelly, also said he's more of an inside runner.

So, yeah, you can tell why Bradshaw would be interested in this job opportunity -- it involves getting paid handsomely to carry the ball often for a run-first team that isn't going to make you get beat up by going between the tackles as often as you would elsewhere.

Of course, the quarterback setup may dictate the Dolphins spending ability at the running back position. If Miami can strike early and pick up a quarterback who will push Chad Henne for the starting gig and/or someone they'd feel comfortable starting the 2011 season with, you have to imagine they'll know more quickly what they can spend on a running back.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 8:47 am
 

Cedric Benson arrested for assault

Posted by Will Brinson

For the most part, the NFL has avoided a run of players getting in trouble with the law while not under team supervision. (Kenny Britt being the exception, of course.) The news, however, that Cedric Benson was arrested in Austin, Texas, early Sunday morning won't help that cause.

UPDATE (8:45 p.m. ET): According to wire reports, Benson was released from jail on Sunday following an arrest on an assault charge, the second year in a row he has gotten into trouble in his home state.

More details:
Travis County sheriff's spokesman Roger Wade said Benson was arrested in downtown Austin on a misdemeanor count of assault with bodily injury with family violence. Benson attorney Sam Bassett said in a statement the arrest followed "a conflict" between Benson and a male former roommate.

Wade said Benson posted a $10,000 bond and was released just before 2 p.m.

Bassett considers the "family violence" aspect of the charge erroneous "since the alleged male victim no longer is Mr. Benson's household member and was not a household member for the past few days." Conviction of assault with family violence would draw a stiffer penalty than simple assault.
The Bengals were predictably mum on the situation. "In cases like this, we don't feel it's appropriate to comment before there's some kind of legal resolution," team spokesman Jack Brennan said. 

Benson will be an unrestricted free agent in 2011 (assuming a reversion to old CBA rules), and there was a good chance that he could land a nice contract because of the market's demand for running backs.

Benson/Bengals Offseason

This arrest -- along with the fact that Benson has a previous assault charge from June 2010, in Austin -- won't do much to boost his value.

And depending on whether commissioner Roger Goodell and the league can enforce the personal conduct policy while the players are locked out, Benson could end up facing a suspension, something he miraculously avoided the last time he was arrested for assault.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: July 17, 2011 10:35 am
 

'Nice market' in FA for Tarvaris Jackson?

Posted by Will Brinson

In Minnesota, Christian Ponder has become the unquestioned future at quarterback, and even if the Vikings end up pursuing and/or signing a veteran free agent, it will be in a "mentor" role.

What about the past, though?

We know Tarvaris Jackson isn't coming back to Minnesota, and we know that there's a need for quarterbacks around the NFL. But could there be a market for a guy like Jackson, who's got potential but has struggled so often to succeed at the NFL level?

Well, the NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora certainly thinks so and notes that he foresees "a nice market" for Jackson in free agency.

Specifically, LaCanfora cites the Redskins, the Seahawks and the Dolphins as "strong possibilities" to sign the former first-rounder.

Those teams make a lot of sense, too, because they've got uncertain quarterback situations with incumbent veterans that need to be pushed.

The Redskins will, in all likelihood, end up with Rex Grossman and John Beck competing for the starting job (we're assuming here, of course, that despite love from Mike Shanahan, Donovan McNabb gets the boot) and Tarvaris would make a good third wheel to push the other guys and give Mike Shanahan a second option. Plus, he can roll out and throw on the run, so he must be just like Jake Plummer!

In Seattle, Matt Hasselebeck is supposed to come back, but no one's really all that sure -- one week he's guaranteed to be back, the next week it's no more than a 50-percent chance. Since anyone can beat out Charlie Whitehurst for a job, Jackson's a good candidate there as well.

And in Miami, there's been a lot of chatter about Vince Young as a possible addition to the Dolphins roster. Jackson might not have the same résumé as Young but he also doesn't bring to the table the same dramatic downside that VY does.

Factor in that Jackson will be cheaper and more durable over the course of a contract than most "veteran" quarterback options out there, and it's not unreasonable to see why teams might be interested.

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Posted on: July 16, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Issues remain before a labor deal is finalized

Posted by Will Brinson

Saturday was a "great day" as far as the NFL labor situation was concerned; there weren't serious issues to bridge, because, after all, the "legal and financial teams" could handle everything that remained.

Right? Well, maybe. Now it appears there might be a little more ground to cover than initially thought.

CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman reported  on Saturday that "there are still points to be resolved" with respect to a new CBA. Freeman noted two in particular: workman's comp and rollback benefits (those that were lost last season). Turns out there might be more.

There are also issues relating to whether the NFLPA will actually become a union -- it's currently a trade association -- and there are issues on how the named plaintiffs in the Brady v. NFL case will be compensated when it comes to free agency.

Latest on Labor

As you'll likely recall, when Reggie White and other named plaintiffs fought for free agency, they were compensated by avoiding any franchise tag issues. Now, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and the rest of the plaintiffs named in the antitrust lawsuit against the NFL want the same thing to happen.

Presumably, one of the issues that needs to be resolved involves whether these named plaintiffs, which includes rookie linebacker Von Miller, will be given special consideration. They'll likely need to be given something, or else it might be difficult for them to file a Voluntary Dismissal and end the lawsuit against the NFL.

There is also a report from ESPN that the franchise-tagging system as a whole is problematic in negotiations.

According to this report, the players don't want to allow teams to continue to use franchise tags over-and-over again on a player. Obviously, teams prefer the lack of liability involved in a long-term deal to a franchise tag.

These issues aren't dealbreakers, per se, but they are problematic. Can teams live with a one-time shot at franchise tagging a player? Can the named plaintiffs deal with only having to be tagged once if it settles the lawsuit? Or will they demand perpetual freedom from such contract issues?

Making things more complicated is that while those questions are being sorted out, the NFL and players must figure out a way in which to handle the reimbursement of $320 million (lost benefits) and determine the locale for workers' compensation.

These complex issues are solvable, but they're why it's necessary to keep the champagne on ice for at least a few days and let the negotiations play out.

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Posted on: July 16, 2011 8:27 pm
 

Report: Buccaneers won't cut Aqib Talib

Posted by Will Brinson

It wouldn't be the most shocking news in the world if Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib ended up suspended by the NFL to start 2011, or even if he ended up getting dumped by the Bucs as soon as the lockout ends.

There were plenty of reports to that extent following Talib's arrest on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges (not to mention his mother's involvement as well). But according to the NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora, Tampa Bay won't end up cutting the talented-but-troubled defensive back.

LaCanfora also cites sources who believe that when Talib's March 2012 trial rolls around "the level of evidence and nature of the testimony against the 25-year-old might work in his favor."

Then there's the disciplinary end of things: though Roger Goodell has said the league will enforce the personal conduct policy, there's absolutely no guarantee that the NFL will have power over issues relating to off-field behavior that occurred during the lockout.

And, of course, there's the matter of simply dumping a player who was the 20th overall pick in the 2008 draft and finding someone to replace a cornerback of of Talib's skills on short notice.

It's simply not easy, and given that the league could wait until Talib's trial ends before actually issuing a punishment, gambling on Talib to stay off the radar for a full season of football is a pretty wise move by the Bucs.

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Posted on: July 16, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 5:53 pm
 

Cincy OC Gruden 'assuming Dalton' is the starter

Posted by Will Brinson

Incumbent Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is currently playing in celebrity golf tournaments, "laying low" and not talking to the media. In other words, he's not backing down from his threat to retire if he's not traded.

And as such, it looks like the Bengals really are moving on without him. Jay Gruden, the new Bengals offensive coordinator, became the second major staff member to all but proclaim Andy Dalton the starter.

"That's a good question," Gruden said when asked if they'd bring in other quarterbacks to compete, per Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson. "We're not going to force-feed anybody. We're assuming Dalton but if Dalton is not quite ready—he's only (23)—then we'll get somebody else ready."

Gruden pointed out that it's "not an easy position" to have to start a rookie (although, hey -- it's still better than rolling with Carson's brother, right Dhani Jones?), but remained confident in Dalton's ability to step in and succeed.

"Guys have [gone with a rookie] and been successful and guys have failed miserably," Gruden said. "It's not an easy position ... it's a unique position for a unique individual and I know we drafted the guy with the right frame of mind and hopefully his ability will prove his worth."

The new OC pointed out that "the way to get better is playing" instead of "sitting on the sidelines making notes on a clipboard."

This is a touch interesting, of course, because Palmer was the prototype for drafting a quarterback early, plopping him on the bench with a clipboard and letting him learn.

If Dalton can't manage to succeed along the complete opposite path, it'll be a painful and obvious comparison for the Bengals to swallow.

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Posted on: July 16, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 6:41 pm
 

'Virtually nothing' stands in way of CBA deal?

Posted by Will Brinson

Update (6:15 PM EST): It appears the owners and players will meet -- Jeff Pash told media members that the players and owners will meet under the guidance of Arthur Boylan in Manhattan during the early part of the week to resolve some of the remaining issues in wrapping up a deal.

He also said, per Albert Breer, that the "principles have done their job" and that progressing the CBA will be up to the lawyers.

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There hasn't been a whole lot of news on Saturday relating to the theoretically soon-to-end lockout. The legal and financial teams have been "grinding" in New York City throughout the day, but nothing too substantial has leaked from the talks.

Except perhaps this: the NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that the players and owners have "no plans … to meet again unless necessary."

Yes, normally that would be terrible news. In this case, however, it's fantastic -- the sides are apparently close enough that, per Breer, all future negotiations/handling of details can be sorted out via email, telephone and via the wonderful channels that are lawyers.

Breer adds that there is "virtually nothing standing in the way right now" of a new deal getting done and getting done soon.

Additionally, the conversation/meeting/talk between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith that was referenced on Friday appears to have taken place (or is taking place) today, as NFL spokesman Greg Aiello noted as much while pointing out that today is "a great day." (Though Aiello may just be excited to be hanging out by a pool.)

Latest on Labor

This all should result in final copies of a settlement agreement and new CBA coming before the two sides early next week. And, as Breer notes, the owners "are likely to vote on a deal" when they head to Atlanta on Thursday for their meetings.

Does this mean we should drop all caution and proceed blindingly into a new world free of a lockout? Um, no. There are still some things that have to get sorted out. Like, most importantly, signatures.

And for those of who've seen our optimism shattered by previous negotiations that fell apart and/or those of us who understand the concept of a deal not being a deal until it's done, every single party needs to sign before it's time to pop the proverbial bubbly.

But if all this holds the course over the next few days, we'll all be firing up our fantasy leagues before we know it.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 11:55 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA statement: Things 'in a good place'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA have wrapped up their Friday session of negotiations and the primary parties involved -- DeMaurice Smith and NFLPA reps, Roger Goodell and NFL reps, and retired players -- have left for the weekend.

However, Smith, while departing, said he and Goodell would meet and/or talk during the weekend, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

Additionally, the NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement about the progress of negotiations through Friday.

"The discussions this week have been constructive and progress has been made on a wide range of issues," the statement read. "Our legal and financial teams will continue to work through the weekend. We will continue to respect the confidentiality orders of Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and will therefore refrain from commenting on specific issues or aspects of the negotiations.

We will provide additional information as developments in this process continue."
Latest on Labor
Additionally, per Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, the NFLPA said that "things are in a good place" following the negotiations.

"We don't disagree," was the NFL's response.

Though the clarity of the statement is about what you'd expect in this situation (read: opaque as all get-out), it's been quite clear all day that the two sides are making tremendous strides towards a new CBA.

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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