June, 2011:

Linky – June 24, 2011 – Giants fans are either done with Diehl at LT, O’Hara at C, or both

52% of Giants fans HOPE William Beatty is ready to start at LT. 30% prefer Shawn Andrews. Oof.

EAGLES

Would Kevin Kolb for Dominique Rodger-Cromartie be a good deal… For the Eagles? – Jason Brewer, BGN

Straight up?  Short answer – Not even close.  Kolb is a far more valuable asset than DRC.

Eagles asking price for Kevin Kolb has changed – Greg Esposito, arizonasports.com

LOL, silly Arizona paper, presenting a Sal Paolantonio report as near-fact.

Answering the McNabb question – Sheil Kapadia, philly.com

Sheil proactively shoots down the inevitable “McNabb to Philly?” question that’s going to come up at some point.

Plugging in the Pieces: Danny Watkins – Chris McPherson, Eagles Mothership

Obviously, the expectations are that Watkins will start immediately at RG.

Flyers blow it up – SBN Philly

Obviously, not football related, but holy crap…

BEARS (Wait, what?)

Ted Phillips: Bears won’t replace Soldier Field turf – Bob Warja, chicagonow.com

Stumbled on this yesterday.  I truly hate the Bears.

(Giants, Cowboys and Redskins news after the jump)…

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Owners are reportedly trying to ruin free agency

You had the chance to franchise Doug Free in February, Jer. Cut the crap.

Per Pro Football Talk:

Chris Mortensen of ESPN told 101 ESPN in St. Louis that, once the free-agency frenzy commences, the owners want to have a right of first refusal as to three or four players per team.  This would operate essentially as the transition tag, which provides a right to match but no compensation.  And, in cases where the current team chooses to match, it means that the team that pursued the player negotiated his new contract with his old team at no charge.

From an NFC East perspective, this would be a major blow to the Eagles, who have the cap space, and, from their own mouths, the want to be extremely aggressive in free agency.

Conversely, this proposed wrinkle would greatly benefit the Giants, who have the following players set to become free agents: Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Mathias Kiwanuka, Barry Cofield, Chase Blackburn, Kevin Boothe, Keith Bullock, Deon Grant, Derek Hagan, and Dave Tollefson.  In a “free-for-all” situation, it would be very difficult for the Giants to corral all the players they’re interested in keeping, but the right of first refusal would settle down free agency for them.

Also of interest from PFT’s post:

Howard Balzer of 101 ESPN tells us that teams that didn’t apply the franchise tag to players with four or five years of service want to have the chance to do so.

This would be of immense benefit to the Cowboys, who stupidly did not place the franchise tag on Doug Free back in February.  I’d be shocked if Jerry Jones wasn’t spearheading this nonsense.  I covered this yesterday, and noted that there’s no way in hell the Cowboys should be bailed out here, as 10 other NFL teams knew full well to use their franchise tags on players that were eligible for a lesser RFA tender back in February, listed here:

Player Yrs in NFL Team
David Harris 4 Jets
LaMarr Woodley 4 Steelers
Ryan Kalil 4 Panthers
Paul Soliai 4 Dolphins
Tamba Hali 5 Chiefs
Kamerion Wimbley 5 Raiders
Chad Greenway 5 Vikings
Marcedes Lewis 5 Jaguars
Vincent Jackson 6 Chargers
Logan Mankins 6 Patriots

The upcoming free agency period was shaping up to be perhaps the most interesting and fun free agency period in the history of the NFL. The owners are apparently doing their best to ruin it.

2011 Free Agency: FB Menu

FB Current team FB Current team
Brian Leonard Bengals Korey Hall Packers
Lawrence Vickers Browns Marcel Reece Raiders
Lex Hilliard Dolphins LeRon McClain Ravens
Jason Snelling Falcons Heath Evans Saints
Tony Richardson Jets Vonta Leach Texans
Jerome Felton Lions Ahmard Hall Titans
John Kuhn Packers Naufahu Tahi Vikings

Apologies in advance – Having some difficulty finding reliable FA lists.  I’ll have it fixed in time for the WR’s tomorrow.  Sorry.

Eagles – Nothing here. Owen Schmitt and 7th round draft pick Stanley Havili will battle it out in camp.  Leonard Weaver remains a bit of a longshot to ever return (or at least ever get back to anywhere close to the player he was) after suffering his gruesome injury Week 1 last year vs. GB.

Redskins – Longtime FB Mike Sellers remains with the team.  I don’t see anything changing there, although it’s worth noting that he’ll turn 36 in July.

Cowboys – If I’m being 100% honest, I don’t really know what to make of the Cowboys’ FB situation.  Chris Gronkowski was the Cowboys’ FB in 2010, and unfortunately, he’ll always be remembered as the guy that got Tony Romo killed.  While that’s a little unfair to Gronkowski, the Cowboys can still do better here.  John Phillips will be back from a torn ACL suffered during the preseason last year.  He played some FB back in 2009, but is a TE at heart.  I’m really not sure if they should bring in a thumper to kick-start their stagnant run game or go with what they have.

Giants – Love Vonta Leach for the Giants, and think it’s a perfect fit.  The Giants are in a very difficult cap situation, and will find it difficult to shell out big money for impact players during this free agency period, but Leach is a player that can truly make a difference in the Giants’ offensive, as Madison Hedgecock’s play has declined sharply the last 2 years.  Leach reportedly wants to be the highest paid FB in the league.  He’s worth it.

Linky – June 23, 2011 – Mike Francesa is a big fat bully

 

REDSKINS

McNabb: Take a deep breath – Rich Tandler, Real Redskins

Rich reminds Redskins fans to chill about McNabb “practicing” with the Eagles.

To former Washington Redskins QB Joe Theismann, it’s all about integrity – Chris Abshire, The Times-Picayune

Random thoughts from one of the worst color commentators in the history of sports.  In fact, let’s expand on that one.  My top 3 worst color commentators in sports history, in order:

1) Tony Kornheiser

2) Tim McCarver

3) Joe Theismann

Expect Kolb, not McNabb, Palmer or Orton, to get dealt – Jason La Canfora, NFL Network

Jason doesn’t see anyone dealing for McNabb’s contract.  I agree.

Niles Paul’s journal: Living in Mom and Dad’s basement – Niles Paul, WaPost

I like this kid.

(Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys news after the jump)…

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2011 Free Agency: RB Menu

RB Current Team RB Current Team
Brian Westbrook 49ers Ahmad Bradshaw Giants
Cedric Benson Bengals Danny Ware Giants
Laurence Maroney Broncos Kevin Smith Lions
Mike Bell Browns Tiki Barber None
Michael Spurlock Buccaneers Brandon Jackson Packers
Cadillac Williams Buccaneers DeAngelo Willliams Panthers
Tim Hightower Cardinals BenJervus Green-Ellis Patriots
Mike Tolbert Chargers Sammy Morris Patriots
Darren Sproles Chargers Kevin Faulk Patriots
Joseph Addai Colts Fred Taylor Patriots
Mike Hart Colts Michael Bush Raiders
Ronnie Brown Dolphins Kenneth Darby Rams
Ricky Williams Dolphins Pierre Thomas Saints
Patrick Cobbs Dolphins Leon Washington Seahawks
Jerome Harrison Eagles Mewelde Moore Steelers
Jerious Norwood Falcons Derrick Ward Texans

Once again Cowboys fans, you guys are excused.  We’ll see you tomorrow when we cover the FB’s.  With Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, and Tashard Choice in place, your RB corps aren’t stellar, but it’s highly unlikely anyone will be added to the mix.

Redskins – I’ve read several places where people think the Redskins would be wise to sign a big name RB.  I don’t see it that way, and covered that very topic at length a few weeks ago.  I have nothing more to add there.

Giants – The Giants are highly likely to sign Ahmad Bradshaw, and I’m already on the record as saying the Giants should dump Brandon Jacobs’ bad contract.  I think a guy that makes a lot of sense would be Michael Bush.  Bush’s production isn’t much different than Jacobs’, and he’d come far cheaper.

Eagles – Jerome Harrison is the current #2, and while the Eagles would probably like to have him back, I doubt Harrison is interested in sticking around and getting 3-5 touches per game.  That puts the Eagles in the market for another RB, and I see a lot of different options for Philly.  Not listed above is Reggie Bush, who is still under contract in New Orleans.  Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz likes the thought of Bush in Philly.  I agree.  Another player that has always intrigued me going back to his days at Auburn is Ronnie Brown.  I love his skill set in the Philly offense, although I wonder what his price tag will be.  Leon Washington could be another option as a guy that can also return kicks.  Ditto that for Darren Sproles.  Tim Hightower could also be a nice fit, as he’s a weapon in the passing game.  Lots of options here for the Eagles.

More on Doug Free and the Cowboys’ decision not to franchise tag him

Yesterday I wrote that the Cowboys were foolish not to use the franchise tag on LT Doug Free, as their only good, young, proven offensive lineman is going to be exposed to the rest of the league if reports that 4th year players with expired contracts are able to test the free agent waters are indeed true.  In response to that piece, I received a few questions about whether or not the league would think about giving teams a second chance to use the franchise tag on players that were originally given restricted free agent tenders (under last offseason’s rules).

The simple answer – Don’t count on it.

The deadline to franchise players was February 25th, and the Cowboys knew full well at that time that there was a very good chance those tenders would be meaningless in the new CBA, as did every other NFL franchise.  By my count, there were a whopping 10 NFL teams that used their franchise tag on players that would have been eligible for a restricted free agent tender, listed here:

Player Yrs in NFL Team
David Harris 4 Jets
LaMarr Woodley 4 Steelers
Ryan Kalil 4 Panthers
Paul Soliai 4 Dolphins
Tamba Hali 5 Chiefs
Kamerion Wimbley 5 Raiders
Chad Greenway 5 Vikings
Marcedes Lewis 5 Jaguars
Vincent Jackson 6 Chargers
Logan Mankins 6 Patriots

Jerry Jones is going to have to live with his gamble.

Donovan McNabb works out with the Eagles

Per Dave Zangaro of CSN Philly, Donovan McNabb joined Trevor Laws, Juqua Parker, Jamaal Jackson, and Austin Howard for some agility drills at the Eagles’ pseudo offseason workout site in Marlton, NJ (my birthplace).

Number of times McNabb has worked out with the Eagles – 1

Number of times McNabb has worked out with the Redskins (that we know of) – 0

While the NFL is mostly a lawless Wild West during the lockout and anyone with any sense whatsoever knows that McNabb is done in DC anyway, the fact remains that he’s still under contract with the Redskins.  Obviously, McNabb still maintains friendships with his former teammates and all they’re really doing is running around some cones, not to mention that he was only really in town to donate a boatload of money to a hospital.  But still, I can’t help but feel that it’s in bad form to work out with a division rival.  Maybe I’m just an old school fuddy duddy that way.

That said, if I were a Redskin fan, I don’t think I’d really care, and my best guess is that actual Redskins fans don’t either.  In fact, I’m already starting to wonder why I typed all of this up in the first place.  Oh well, the work is already done, so I may as well just post it.

Linky – June 22, 2011 – Lots of free agency talk

The Giants' Barry Cofield is fired up to test the FA market

ALL NFC EAST

Sources: 48% share for players – Chris Mortensen, ESPN

Highly optimistic news on the lockout.

COWBOYS

Under terms of proposed CBA, Cowboys could lose key players to free agency – Rainer Sabin, SportsDay DFW

Rainer gives almost as much attention to Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen, but for me, the losses of Bowen and Hatcher would pale in comparison to the loss of Doug Free, who I think might actually generate more interest on the open market than Nnamdi Asomugha.

Sizing up Cowboys’ run at Nnamdi Asomugha – Todd Archer, ESPN

Todd rightfully questions what Peter King is thinking about, placing the Cowboys 2nd on his list of likely Nnamdi suitors, with the following explanation:

2. Dallas. Go back in history. Remember when Jerry Jones, against the wishes of son Stephen, gave Deion Sanders a $13 million signing bonus in 1995 to come to Dallas? (Jerry thought his son was going to punch him over it.) Jones has the ability to fit Asomugha under his cap. With Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware the only huge-money players on the roster, the Joneses can find a way to shoehorn an Asomugha contract into the fold.

For one, there are way more “big money” players on the team other than just Romo and Ware, depending on your definition of “big money.”  I’d add Terence Newman, Leonard Davis, Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and Andre Gurode.  Come to think of it, the Cowboys probably have more “big money players” than anyone other team in the NFL.  As Todd also mentions, the Cowboys have more money committed to player salaries in 2011 than any team in the NFL.  Add in the huge contract they’re going to have to give Doug Free, and I’m not sure how they could possibly shoehorn Nnamdi in under the cap.

Jason Garrett expected to deliver big things for the Cowboys – Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

Vinnie lists Dez Bryant as Garrett’s “biggest headache.”  I’d go with Jerry Jones.

Should the Cowboys say goodbye to Choice and Bennett – Rob V, Lone Star Struck

I don’t think there’s a ton of interest in Martellus Bennett anymore, and Choice’s value is very minimal at this point, so I think the Cowboys are better off just keeping these guys and their team-friendly rookie-contract salaries.

Cowboys’ LB Victor Butler on Rob Ryan’s defense: ‘It’s crazy… You’ve got D Linemen lining up at the free safety spot – Rainer Sabin, SportsDay DFW

Sounds like Sean McDermott’s defense.  Sometimes less is more.

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The Cowboys may have made an enormous mistake not franchise tagging LT Doug Free

Doug Free a hotter ticket than Nnamdi Asomugha? Maybe.

Four months ago, I wrote on Bleeding Green Nation that the Cowboys may have gaffed by not making it a 100% certainty that Doug Free will remain a Cowboy in 2011.  The Cowboys instead opted to place a restricted free agent tender on Free, but with reports today that all 4th, 5th, and 6th year players will likely become eligible for unrestricted free agency, any restricted FA tags would basically void.  This is a potential disaster for the Cowboys, as Free, with 4 years of NFL service, would be able to test the market, and the market will undoubtedly be hot for his services.

Bad OL play has become an epidemic in the NFL in recent years, and there are no shortage of teams that will be licking their chops to sign a good young LT like Free.  Consider the A-list group of pass rushers Free faced in 2010.  Now consider that Free only gave up 5 sacks last season, and Free could be the hottest commodity in the league.  Name pretty much any team in the NFL, and you can make a case that Doug Free would make that team better.  Call me crazy, but based upon the position he plays as well as age considerations, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Free generates more interest league-wide than the crown jewel of this free agent class, Nnamdi Asomugha.

(Cont after the jump)…

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2011 Free Agency: QB Menu

I can see Matt Moore as a Redskin or Giant

Now that we’re beginning to see some progress on the CBA front and have early reports from Adam Schefter that all free agents with as many as 4 years of NFL service with be unrestricted free agents, every blogger and their mother is going to be speculating on free agency moves.  Why should I be any different?

With that in mind, let’s just dive right in, position by position, and take a look at the menus from Le Cafe du Free Agency, starting with this craptastic group of QB’s:

QB Current Team QB Current team
Kyle Boller Raiders J.P. Losman Seahawks
Marc Bulger Ravens Matt Moore Panthers
Kellen Clemons Jets Keith Null Panthers
Kerry Collins Titans JT O’Sullivan Raiders
Todd Collins Bears Patrick Ramsey Vikings
Brodie Croyle Chiefs JaMarcus Russell None
Trent Edwards Jags Chris Simms Titans
Brett Favre Vikings Alex Smith 49ers
Chrlie Frye Raiders Troy Smith 49ers
Bruce Gradkowski Raiders Jim Sorgi Giants
Rex Grossman Redskins Drew Stanton Lions
Matt Hasselbeck Seahawks Billy Volek Chargers
Tarvaris Jackson Vikings Seneca Wallace Browns

Cowboys fans, you’re excused.  You guys have your starter (Tony Romo), your seasoned veteran backup (Jon Kitna), and developmental guy (Stephen McGee).  Have a good one.  We’ll meet back here for the FB’s.

(Cont after the jump)…

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