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02-13-2012, 04:54 PM
Use this thread to post news articles related to your team.

02-13-2012, 05:05 PM
Peyton Manning Medically Cleared, Headed for Free Agency
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Long time Colts QB Peyton Manning will hit the free agent market.

It looks like Peyton Manning's storied career will continue in a city other than Indianapolis.

Earlier in the day, Manning was cleared for all football related activities by a team of medical specialists. He was seen throwing and appeared to be in good health. His throws had velocity and were on target, and he showed no ill effects from the neck surgery that knocked him out for the 2011 season.

In the afternoon, he met with Colts management and was informed that the team would not be picking up his $28 million dollar option, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Manning immediately becomes the top free agent QB and one of the top free agents overall. With his new clean bill of health, Manning figures to have a long list of suitors lining up for his services.

Manning was not available for comment but his agent indicated that a good situation on a contending team would be just as important to his client as the money the team is offering.

His story will just be one of many to follow in what is sure to be an interesting offseason.

02-13-2012, 05:22 PM
No Franchise Tag for Mario Williams
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Best free agent ever?

Team sources with the Houston Texans have announced today that they will not apply the franchise tag to pass rusher Mario Williams.

Williams is slated to hit unrestricted free agency and figures to be one of the most highly coveted free agents of all time. And this is despite the fact that he missed much of the 2011 season with an injury.

Williams is reportedly working out hard and is showing no ill effects from the injury.

He hasn't expressed a preference in any particular team thus far, but that is sure to change in the coming weeks as teams make him their finest offers.

02-14-2012, 07:15 AM
Vincent Jackson to Hit Free Agency
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Top free agent WR?

After two straight years of playing on one year contracts with the Chargers, Pro Bowl WR Vincent Jackson is set to hit the free agent market.

Jackson held out for most of the 2010 season after being hit with a restricted free agent tender and then played the 2011 season on the Chargers franchise tag.

Jackson has freakish athleticism at 6'5 and over 230 lbs. He is 29 and coming off of one his best seasons as a pro, posting 18.4 ypc and reeling in a career high 9 TDs.

Along with Dwayne Bowe and Wes Welker (who figured to be franchise tagged by their respective teams) Jackson is one of the best WRs on the free agent market.

"It feels great man, to finally have a shot at a long term deal after two years of one-year deals," Jackson said. "I'm excited to see what some of the other teams in the league think of me."

Jackson also stated that he would be open to returning to the Chargers if they offered him a fair deal.

02-14-2012, 08:14 AM
Players Likely to be Franchise Tagged
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Staying with their teams?

The franchise tag is a useful tool for NFL franchises, allowing them to keep one player a year on a salary equal to the five highest paid players at their positions.

Players generally dislike getting stuck with the tag, preferring instead for a long term deal that typically comes with a large guaranteed signing bonus and a commitment from the team longer than one season.

Regardless of your feelings on the tag, we're sure to see it applied plenty this upcoming offseason. Here are a look at some of the players who will most likely be seeing the tag used on them:

TE Jermichael Finley - Packers - Finley is easily the best TE available on the market currently, and in a league where the TE position is as valuable as ever, the Packers really can't afford to let him go. Despite his penchant for drops and occasional asinine post-play antics, look for the Packers to apply the tag to Finley. Likelihood: High

DE Cliff Avril - Lions - While both parties would certainly like to work out a long term deal, the amount of money the Lions have tied up in other places on the d-line make further investments there unlikely. Instead, look for them to apply the tag to Avril, one of the better up-and-coming pass rushers available on the market. Likelihood: High

RB Matt Forte - Bears - Matt Forte showed that he is one of the best all-around players at the RB position last season before injuring his knee. With little else to get excited about on the offensive side of the ball, the Bears absolutely have to keep Forte, even if it means applying the franchise tag. Likelihood: Extreme

LB EJ Henderson - Vikings - With a rebuilding team like the Vikings, you don't often see the team applying the franchise tag as the money can be better spent addressing other needs. That said, Henderson is a quality linebacker and the Vikings may be tempted to keep him around another year. Likelihood: Low

OLB Anthony Spencer - Cowboys - While Spencer hasn't been the player the Cowboys expected after drafting him in the first round, team owner Jerry Jones has said that he would like to keep Spencer around, via franchise tag if required. Whether it was simply a bluff or if he actually follows through on it, this will be a situation to keep an eye on. Likelihood: Moderate

WR Desean Jackson - Eagles - Though his attitude problems showed through last season in which he was clearly unhappy with his contract, Jackson still has elite caliber speed and playmaking ability. The Eagles certainly aren't going to let him simply walk away without getting something in return. This may be a likely place where we see a player franchise tagged and then traded. Likelihood: High

TE Fred Davis - Redskins - Despite being suspended for the first 4 games of 2011, Davis returned to the field to put up career highs in receptions and yardage. While not in the elite class of the league's TEs, he is a quality player and one the Redskins would certainly like to keep around. Likelihood: High

QB Drew Brees - Saints - This one is a no brainier. Unless the team works out a long term deal with him in the next few days (the real life team, that is,) Brees will absolutely be franchise tagged in order to keep him in town. No if's, and's or but's about it. Likelihood: Certain

LB Curtis Lofton - Falcons - Even though new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has said that Lofton will be a "two down player" (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/4657/curtis-lofton) in his defense, keeping Lofton is still expected to be a priority for the Falcons. Whether that means they will use the franchise tag to ensure that he stays remains to be seen. CB Brent Grimes is another possibility here if the Falcons choose not to keep a two down linebacker.Likelihood: Low

S Dashon Goldson - 49ers - In a year of many pleasant surprises for the 49ers, Goldson was easily one of the best. He played a pro-bowl caliber all season and is a guy the team would certainly like to keep around. The franchise number for safeties isn't too bad and franchising him would allow the team to keep a vital part of its defense in-tact. It was a tough choice between Goldson and CB Carlos Rogers, and either could be the pick in actuality. Likelihood: High

RB Marshawn Lynch - Seahawks - Lynch is coming off of his best season as a pro and was a huge part of the Seahawks offense. Keeping him around needs to be priority #1 for the Seahawks, as 25 year old backs coming off of 1200 yard seasons aren't easy to find on the open market. Likelihood: Extreme

DE Calais Campbell - Cardinals - Campbell has quietly become one of the league's best defensive lineman, posting 3 straight excellent seasons. he has freakish size and athleticism and is a vital piece of their defense. Look for the Cardinals to rush their franchise tag announcement on Campbell into the league office. Likelihood: Extreme

RB Ray Rice - Baltimore - Like Matt Forte above, Ray Rice is one of the best all-around backs in the league and is a huge part of the Ravens offense (when Cam Cameron actually thinks to use him at least...) The Ravens must do what they have to in order to bring him back, even if that means allowing other quality free agents like Ben Grubbs and Jarret Johnson to hit the market.

WR Mike Wallace - Steelers - Right now, you're probably saying "now Rick, he's a restricted free agent, why use the franchise tag?" Well, the highest tender possible for a restricted free agent under the new CBA is a single first round pick, and there are plenty of teams who would gladly give that up for an elite talent like Wallace. If franchise tagged (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/14/steelers-could-use-tag-on-rfa-wallace/), a team would have to give up two firsts for Wallace, which may scare the other teams off. This move would likely hinder the cash-strapped Steelers from doing anything else in free agency, but it would ensure that they keep one of their most talented offensive players around for at least another year. Likelihood - Moderate (Because the team may choose to gamble on just using his RFA tender.)

LB D'Qwell Jackson - Browns - After missing most of the 2009 and 2010 seasons with injury, Jackson returned to action with the Browns in 2011 and played like one of the league's best linebackers. If not for Matt Stafford, Jackson would likely have been a shoo-in for Comeback Player of the Year. The franchise number for linebackers isn't too bad and the Browns may wish to see Jackson play for another year to see if he can stay healthy and keep up the level of play he displayed in 2011. Likelihood: Moderate

WR Wes Welker - Patriots - Despite the rumors that Welker could hold out (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/09/franchise-tag-could-be-coming-for-wes-welker/) if he gets franchise tagged, the Patriots are almost certainly going to apply the tag. Welker is a unique talent and perfectly suited for the Patriots offense as a slot WR. However, his production could likely be matched by a group effort of the teams excellent TEs and other WRs if the Patriots instead wanted to use this money to lure in a true #1 WR...it will be an interesting situation to watch. Likelihood: High

WR Stevie Johnson - Bills - Though Johnson is not without his issues, the fact remains that he's easily the best WR the Bills have had in quite some time. While he may not deserve the "top 5 WR in the league" the franchise tag would give him, it may be well worth it to the Bills to try keeping him around for at least another year. Likelihood: Moderate

RB Arian Foster - Texans - While only a restricted free agent, it may be well worth it to the Texans to apply the franchise tag to Foster for the same reasons as mentioned for Mike Wallace above. Foster is an incredible talent and has been one of the best performing RBs of the past two seasons. With the team already saying they won't franchise tag Mario Williams, it frees them up to potentially consider this move here. Likelihood: Moderate

S Michael Griffin - Titans - It was between Griffin and CB Cortland Finnegan, but the fact that Finnegan has a nasty reputation for his behavior and the Titans have other quality corners already on the roster made me lean towards Griffin. The league doesn't have many top level talents at safety right now, and though Griffin struggles with inconsistency, the team is better off with him than without him. Likelihood: Moderate

DE Jeremy Mincey - Jacksonville - While not a household name, (how many Jaguar players are though?,) Mincey was the Jags top pass rusher last season registering 8 sacks. With a decent amount of cap room, it may be worthwhile to apply the tag and keep him around for another year to see if he can follow it up with another good performance. Likelihood: Moderate

DT Brodrick Bunkley - Broncos - Outside of DRotY Von Miller, the Broncos defense has primarily lackluster talent around the rest of the defense. Bunkely was one of the other bright spots as the team's best run stuffer on the inside, and may be worth applying the tag to in order to maintain a little consistency. Likelihood: Low

C Nick Hardwick - Chargers - Hardwick has been the Chargers most consistent offensive lineman the past two seasons, starting every game and playing at a relatively high level. With questions about the futures of Marcus McNeil and Kris Dielman up in the air due to injury, keeping Hardwick will go a long way towards keeping some consistency on the o-line in front of Philip Rivers. Likelihood: Moderate

S Tyvon Branch - Raiders - This may be difficult for the cash strapped Raiders to do, but if they want to franchise someone, Branch would be an excellent choice. Branch is one of the league's best in-the-box strong safeties, racking up triple digit tackles in each of the last three seasons. It is uncertain whether the Raiders in their first year under a new regime would want to spend the money required to keep him via the franchise tag though. Likelihood: Low

WR Dwayne Bowe - Chiefs - This is one of the "no brainer" moves. Bowe is an excellent WR, managing an 1100 yard season in 2011 despite the extreme inconsistency at QB for the Chiefs. If the Chiefs let him hit the market, teams will be lining up to dump money on Bowe and the Chiefs cannot allow that to happen. Likelihood: Extreme

02-14-2012, 09:28 AM
Salary Cap Situation Evaluations
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Teams with the most money to spend.

The 2012 offseason will be unique in that it will be the first in which teams are allowed to carry over cap space from the previous season. This is a new addition in the most recent CBA which should lead to plenty of money being available to sign free agents.

These are the team that, with their cap space combined, will be the biggest players on the free agent market. Each has the cap space to sign multiple top free agents (or use the franchise tag without much risk) with some maneuvering room left over to sign some lesser guys later on:

- Cincinnati Bengals
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Denver Broncos
- Tampa Bay Bucs
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Washington Redskins
- Tennessee Titans
- San Francisco 49ers

These are the teams who have enough cap space to sign a top free agent or two with some money left over for some lesser ones. They are also in a good position to use the franchise tag, as they'll still have enough money left over to sign a big free agent or several smaller ones:

- Buffalo Bills
- Seattle Seahawks
- Chicago Bears
- Cleveland Browns
- New England Patriots
- Atlanta Falcons
- Philadelphia Eagles

These are the teams who have some money to spend, but need to be somewhat careful. If they sign a big free agent or use the franchise tag, they won't be left with much room (if any at all.) These teams may wish to cut a few players in order to trim salary and get into a better position to compete for high level free agents:

- Miami Dolphins
- New Orleans Saints
- San Diego Chargers
- Baltimore Ravens
- Arizona Cardinals
- Dallas Cowboys
- Green Bay Packers
- Indianapolis Colts
- Minnesota Vikings
- Houston Texans

These are the teams who are just under or right up against the cap. In order to sign anyone, use the franchise tag, or make trades in which they acquire more salary than they send out, they will need to trim some salary.

- St. Louis Rams
- Carolina Panthers
- NY Jets
- Oakland Raiders
- Detroit Lions
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- NY Giants

(Remember, I set any teams who were over the cap to just under it. They'll still have to make cuts in order to sign anyone, so I think it's fair. I just didn't want anyone to be over the cap to start.)

02-14-2012, 01:37 PM
Under the Radar Free Agents
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Low key free agents who could be big finds for new teams.

Every year, there are always a few free agents who go under the radar. They aren't talked about much, yet pay huge dividends to the teams that sign them. Think along the lines of Darren Sproles to the Saints last year...these guys, if they fall into the right situation, can give a team a major boost at a relatively low price tag.

CB Terrell Thomas - Giants - Thomas missed all of the 2011 season due to injury and was initially a huge loss for the Giants. Prior to the injury, Thomas had started 33 of the previous 34 teams notching 10 interceptions and forcing 5 fumbles. Due to the injury, Thomas likely won't cost a team more than an incentive laden deal, but if he gets back to pre-injury form, a team could find themselves with a high quality corner.

WR Laurent Robinson - Cowboys - The oft-injured Robinson had bounced around the league for a few years before finally landing in Dallas last year where he really broke out, grabbing 11 TD catches. While his injury history and only one year of success will likely scare off some teams, he looks to be a great pick up for a team looking for a #2 WR option on a budget.

S Thomas DeCoud - Falcons - DeCoud, though somewhat inconsistent, has started all but one game in the past 3 seasons and could be a quality pickup for someone looking to upgrade their secondary. The lack of many top quality safeties in the league makes him a more appealing option than potentially overpaying for someone like a Michael Griffin for instance.

QB Josh Johnson - Bucs - Johnson was seen as a bit of a high-potential project when he was drafted, but never really got much of a chance to show off in Tampa since they immediately drafted Josh Freeman. To a team looking to create a little competition at the QB position, Johnson may be an appealing option who likely won't cost much.

K Connor Barth - Bucs - Barth has improved each of his past 3 seasons in Tampa, with his best year coming in 2011 where he he went 26/28 in FG attempts. Kickers don't generally get that much attention or draw that much money, so Barth could bring some consistency to the kicking position for a team currently without it.

WR Josh Morgan - 49ers - Morgan has good size and speed and improved each of his first three years in the league before getting injured early in 2011. He likely won't cost much and would be a potential upgrade as a #2 WR to a team currently without one.

TE John Carlson - Seahawks - Carlson established himself as a solid, if a bit unspectacular, TE in his first couple seasons in the league but missed all of 2011 due to injury. With the current emphasis on the TE position in the league and the top two options at the position (Jermichael Finley and Fred Davis) expected to be franchise tagged, Carlson could make for an excellent under the radar signing to a TE needy team.

LB David Hawthorne - Seahawks - Hawthorne has quietly put up quality seasons for each of the last 3 years, topping it off in 2011 with his best season yet. Hawthorne is a great option at MLB, possibly even better than the much more heralded Curtis Lofton, and is still young at 26. He could help to greatly improve any rebuilding defense.

RB Mewelde Moore - Steelers - Moore missed some of 2011 due to injury, but is just the type of well rounded "3rd down back" popular in the league today. He's 29 which, paired with the time missed due to injury, will likely keep him from getting too expensive. Any team looking for a 3rd down/change of pace back should definitely take a look.

DE Frostee Rucker - Bengals - While not a great pass rusher, Rucker has a solid build and has proven to be a good 4-3 run stopping DE. These guys don't typically get huge deals, but their impact can be felt by the entire defense. Rucker also has some past off the field issues that could keep interest low.

WR Plaxico Burress - Jets - This may seem like an odd choice, but Burress will be entering his 2nd year out of prison and will likely be in much better football shape this offseason than last. A new team might do well to roll the dice on him, as his size makes him a dangerous jump ball threat and any additional athleticism gained from a 2nd year of workouts will be a major plus.

TE Joel Dreessen - Texans - Dreessen has seen plenty of playing time these last few season as an injury substitute for Owen Daniels and has played moderately well. Much like Carlson above, he could be a solid (and cheap) addition to a TE needy team.

DE Jeremy Mincey - Jags - I mentioned Mincey in my franchise tag article and I'll bring him up again here. There are a number of quality pass rushers available this year (Mario Williams, Robert Mathis, Cliff Avril, etc) but all will likely be fought over and come at high costs. Mincey is coming off of an 8 sack season and could help bring some pass rush to a team at a much cheaper rate. He's a good backup plan for those guys in the very least.

WR Pierre Garcon - Colts - Why Garcon isn't talked about more I'll never know. He's younger (25) than most of the other WRs on the market and is coming off his career best season despite being on a godawful Colts team. I'd look to him even before looking at his older and likely more expensive teammate Reggie Wayne if I needed a WR.

WR Eddie Royal - Broncos - After a fantastic rookie campaign that had many people seeing him as the next big thing at WR, Royal dropped completely off the face of the earth. The offensive systems he was in and the play of his QB certainly didn't help, but a fresh start may be able to respark the magic Royal displayed as a rookie.

RB Mike Tolbert - Chargers - While it's unlikely he has the same level of impact his former teammate in Darren Sproles had last year, Tolbert could be an excellent pickup needing a power back. He had good production splitting carries with Ryan Matthews the last two seasons and is an ideal short-yardage back thanks to his compact size.

QB David Garrard - Formerly Jacksonville - Garrard spent 2011 out of football after being cut before the season and nursing a back injury. His biggest problem is that he was always painfully average...never great, but never particularly bad either. He'd make a great option for a team in need of a veteran stop-gap at QB or a high quality backup.

LB Channing Crowder - Formerly Miami - Crowder also spent 2011 out of football, but is apparently interested in returning in 2012. Crowder isn't too old (28) and was effective as a starter before his abrupt retirement. He could make a solid option for 3-4 team at ILB.

02-14-2012, 05:34 PM
Bucs Cut Haynesworth
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

"He is a big fat piece of ****" says Bucs GM.

The first major move of the offseason has taken place, with the Bucs releasing DT Albert Haynesworth.

The move will save the Bucs an additional $7 million in cap room for the 2012 season.

Haynesworth becomes a free agent and will be free to sign with any team.

The Bucs also made a minor cut, releasing reserve DE Tim Crowder.

02-14-2012, 06:19 PM
Cardinals Tag Campbell, Release Former First Round Pick Brown
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Levi Brown cut, Campbell sticking around.

The Arizona Cardinals released a list of transactions today, most notably using their franchise tag on DE Calais Campbell. Campbell has freakish size and athleticism and is a key piece of their defensive front. Both sides would obviously like to work out a long term deal, and the franchise tag amount of over $12 million for a DE will be the starting point.

To create some more cap space, the Cardinals released a number of players including former first round pick OT Levi Brown. The players and the full amounts that will be saved against the cap are as follows:

Levi Brown, OT, $18,225,000
Stewart Bradley, LB, $6,000,000
Todd Heap, TE, $3,375,000
Chansi Stuckey, WR, $2,450,000
Rex Hadnot, C, $2,000,000

Bradley and Heap are also notable in that they were just signed by the team last offseason.

02-14-2012, 06:42 PM
Jaguars Tag Scobee, Release Kampman
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Scobee franchised, Kampman gone.

The Jaguars official transactions have been been released, showing that they've chosen to apply the franchise tag to K Josh Scobee. The franchise tender for kickers is a relatively low $3 million, which will not hinder the Jaguars too much when it comes to signing other players.

The Jaguars also applied 2nd round RFA tenders to CB William Middleton, DE Leger Douzable, and LB Russell Allen.

Veteran DE Aaron Kampman got the opposite end of the stick, being released. His cut saves the Jaguars around $5 million.

02-14-2012, 06:54 PM
Buffalo willing to deal FredEx?

Buffalo GM Buddy Nix said no comment when asked about the rumor Tuesday night. It makes some sense in a way as word spread a few days ago that C.J Spiller wants to be the number one horse in the backfield. Who's to blame him he was electric with the ball in his hands. Spiller didn't see many touches before Jackson got hurt but Jackson was putting up pro bowl numbers. Gaily must find out a way to get them both touches if Fred isnt traded and if he can watch out.

02-14-2012, 06:55 PM
Browns Tag Jackson, Release Steinbach
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

D'Qwell remains, Steinbach not-so-much.

The Browns transactions are in and it appears that they'll be keeping LB D'Qwell Jackson around for another year. Jackson exploded in 2011 after missing two years due to injury, and the Browns have opted to keep him via the franchise tag. The tender amount for linebackers this year is going to be around $9.5 million.

To offset the use of the tag and create some additional cap space, the Browns have released veteran OG Eric Steinbach. The release of Steinbach will save the team around $6 million.

In addition to Steinbach, LB Scott Fujita and OT Tony Pashos have also been released, saving about another $7 million combined.

02-14-2012, 07:09 PM
Winslow and Faine on Trade Block?


Tampa Bay General Manager Mark Dominik is reportedly fielding offers for starting tight end Kellen Winslow and starting center Jeff Faine. Under the guidance of Head Coach Greg Schiano, the Buccaneers are reportedly keen to rid the locker room of nuisances like Winslow. In his 3 seasons in Tampa Winslow has started 40 games, recording 218 catches for 2377 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Faine has been a reliable starter for the Buccaneers during his tenure in Tampa, but the team is eager to move forward with Jeremy Zuttah as the teams future starter. Zuttah is said to have the inside track to the starting center job due to his history with Schiano at Rutgers. Faine has made over 50 starts for Tampa.

02-14-2012, 07:12 PM
Eagles Franchise Desean Jackson
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

But is he happy about it?

The Eagles have opted to use their franchise tag on WR Desean Jackson, paying the speedy WR almost $10 million.

Jackson is reportedly not happy about the move and will consider holding out as he seeks a long term deal. Look for the Eagles to look for a potential trade partner to get some compensation for the talented though troubled WR.

The Eagles also announced several cuts, including C Jamaal Jackson, OT Winston Justice and LB Moise Fokou. The release of these players will save the Eagles around $6 million total towards their 2012 salary cap.

02-14-2012, 07:36 PM
Chiefs Franchise Carr
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Top CB Off the Market?

The Chiefs wasted no time once the period to apply franchise tags began, immediately applying the tag to CB Brandon Carr. Carr is a quality young CB and will be paid over $9 million as his franchise tender.

Additionally, the Chiefs opted to apply a 2nd round level tender to RFA LB Jovan Belcher.

02-14-2012, 07:41 PM
Bills Tender Urbik, Rinehart
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

In a day of bigger, flashier moves, the Bills opted to stay low key. They've announced that they've applied RFA tenders to offensive lineman Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart. The tenders are equal to the round the players were drafted in.

02-14-2012, 07:49 PM
Falcons Franchise Grimes, Release Baker
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Baker a goner, Grimes sticking around.

The Falcons have announced their first moves of the offseason today, starting with the application of the franchise tag to CB Brent Grimes. Grimes was clearly the teams best corner in 2011, but it likely wasn't easy to decide between him and LB Curtis Lofton. Grimes will be paid over $9 million as part of his franchise tender.

On the opposite end, the Falcons have announced the release of OT Sam Baker. Baker, a former first round pick, fell out of favor with the team and ended up on the bench in 2011. His release will save the team $2.5 million towards the 2012 cap.

FB Mike Cox was also released.

02-14-2012, 08:09 PM
Raiders Release Three
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Henderson one of the casualties.

The Raiders, in a rough position with few draft picks and very little cap space, have tried to free themselves up a little bit by releasing three players.

The biggest name is DT John Henderson. His release will free up around $4 million.

CB Chris Johnson and S Hiram Eugene were also cut, which will save the team a combined $6 million.

02-14-2012, 08:15 PM
Bears Franchise Forte
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Staying in the Windy City for another year.

The only move the Bears announced thus far was the application of the franchise tag to RB Matt Forte. Forte is one of the best all-around RBs in the league and was playing extremely well before getting injured to finish the 2011 season.

The franchise tender for RBs is in the $8 million range.

02-14-2012, 08:25 PM
Bengals Tag Jerome Simpson
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

More flips in Cincy to come?

In one of the first big surprise moves of the offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals have opted to apply the franchise tag to WR Jerome Simpson.

Few would contend that he's worth top 5 WR in the league type money, but the Bengals are so far under the cap that this move will barely affect them.

Simpson is a fan favorite and an effective #2 WR across from rookie phenom AJ Green.

The franchise number for WRs is right around $10 million.

02-14-2012, 08:46 PM
Barber, Smith, Faulk and Wiegmann to retire
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Barber wraps up a successful career.

Four veteran players announced their retirement from the NFL today.

CB Ronde Barber - Bucs - Barber has had a long, successful career in Tampa as one of the premier corners of his generation. He won a Superbowl with the Bucs in 2002.

DE Aaron Smith - Steelers - When you think of modern 3-4 DEs, Smith is one of two names that should immediately jump to mind (along with Richard Seymour.) Smith has missed most of the last few seasons due to injury, and has decided to hang it up.

RB Kevin Faulk - Patriots - Faulk was a very underrated part the Patriots success in the past decade as one of the best "3rd down" backs in that span. It was unfortunate that he had to sit out in the Superbowl that otherwise would have been his final game.

C Casey Wiegmann - Chiefs - Wiegmann, at 38, was the oldest non-specialist player in the league last year. The team drafted Rodney Hudson to develop behind him and Wiegmann played the role of mentor well.

02-14-2012, 09:32 PM
Bill Franchise Stevie Johnson
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Johnson will spend another year listening to god in Buffalo.

After some further deliberation, the Bills have decided to use their franchise tag after all. They chose to apply it to WR Stevie Johnson, who has been a pleasant surprise these last two seasons.

Johnson will earn around $10 million as a franchise tender.

02-14-2012, 09:42 PM
Steelers Release Five, Including Ward
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Former Superbowl MVP Ward amongst the Steelers cuts

The Steelers entered the offseason as one of the most cash-strapped teams in the league when it comes to cap space. They restructured a lot deals early in the offseason, but still needed to make some cuts in order to get under the cap.

The players they released were WR Hines Ward, OG Chris Kemoeatu, S Will Allen, LB Larry Foote and K Shaun Suisham.

Ward is a former Superbowl MVP, a huge fan favorite, and holds nearly all of the teams career receiving records. Look for the Steelers to potentially try to resign him more cheaply.

Suisham is also somewhat of a surprise, but the team apparently felt that a 74% kicker was not worth over $1 million.

The total amount saved figures to be around $14 million, which will give the Steelers a little bit of maneuvering room under the cap.

02-14-2012, 09:53 PM
Chargers Release McNeil, Castillo
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Too many injuries for former first rounder Castillo

The Chargers have made their first two moves of the offseason, releasing OT Marcus McNeil and DE Luis Castillo. Both players have their share of injury concerns.

McNeil was not cleared to play by team doctors and his playing future is up in the air due to a spinal cord injury.

Castillo fractured a leg early in 2011, continuing a stretch of ill health for the former first round pick.

Releasing both players will clear a combined $14 million 2012 cap space.

02-14-2012, 10:00 PM
Texans Tender RFAs, Foster Included
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Foster likely to stay in Houston.

The Texans first moves came in the form of RFA tenders.

Most notably, they've applied a first round level tender to RB Arian Foster. Foster has established himself as one of the most explosive backs in the league and the Texans would likely prefer to lock him up long term, with the RFA tender as a starting point.

Also tendered was S Quintin Demps. The Texans placed an "original round" tender on Demps, who was drafted in the 4th round.

02-14-2012, 10:12 PM
Titans Franchise Jones, Griffin and Finnegan to Walk
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Tennessee+Titans+v+Indianapolis+Colts+U2Fz6INjMHjl .jpg]
Franchise caliber player?

The Titans have opted to use their franchise tag, not on Cortland Finnegan or Michael Griffin as expected, but on DT Jason Jones.

A few years ago, Jones was seen as an up-and-coming young defensive lineman, but his sack numbers have decreased each season of his career and he was largely ineffective in 2011.

The Titans will lock him up for one more season in hopes he can get his career back on track.

The tender amount for a DT is over $7 million.

02-14-2012, 10:22 PM
Bills Announce Cuts
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Terrence McGee amongst cuts

After franchising Stevie Johnson earlier in the day, the Bills decided to create some additional cap space by releasing several veteran players.

CB Terrence McGee, as well as pass rushers Chris Kelsay and Shawne Merriman, were the biggest names on the list.

The Bills also trimmed the bottom of their roster, releasing DL Lionel Dotson, TE Fendi Onobun, OG Cordaro Howard, WR Kamar Aiken, OL Colin Brown, LB Danny Batten and DE Kyle Moore.

This series of moves saves the Bills over $21 million towards the 2012 cap. Look for the Bills to be major players on the free agent market as a result.

Matthew Jones
02-14-2012, 11:51 PM
Pats tag Welker, release Ochocinco and Wright

by Matthew Jones


As expected, the New England Patriots immediately placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Wes Welker at the start of free agency. Negotiations regarding a contract extension will continue, but for the time being the Patriots have secured Welker's rights for one year at a guaranteed salary of roughly $9.4 million. Welker caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011, and has spent the past five seasons with New England.

The Patriots additionally announced the release of WR Chad Ochocinco, DT Mike Wright, and eight other players: QB Mike Hartline, FB Lousaka Polite, WR Britt Davis, WR Tiquan Underwood, OL Matt Kopa, OL Nick McDonald, LB Mike Rivera, and S Ross Ventrone. Ochocinco failed to establish a role in New England, finishing with 15 receptions, 276 yards, and one touchdown. His $3.1 million salary made it unreasonable for him to return in 2012. Wright has suffered season-ending concussions in consecutive seasons and is likely to retire in order to preserve his health.

02-15-2012, 07:51 AM
Matt Light Traded to Cardinals
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Matt Light is on the move.

The league has announced a the first trade of the offseason today. The New England Patriots are sending Tom Brady's long time blind side protect Matt Light to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for 5th and 6th round picks in this years draft.

With young bookend tackles Sebastian Volmer and Nate Solder in place, the veteran Light was expendable.

The 33 year old Light will likely assume the Cardinals LT position, protecting Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and/or whoever else the Cardinals may target at the position this offseason.

Light is under contract at $3.4 million for the 2012 season.

02-15-2012, 08:02 AM
Steelers Continue Making Cuts
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Long time NT Casey Hampton is one of them.

Continuing in their efforts to create more cap space, the Pittsburgh Steelers have announced two more cuts today.

NT Casey Hampton and OG Jonathan Scott were the casualties this time around. Their release will save the team around $6 million in cap room.

02-15-2012, 08:02 AM
Anthony Spence Will Not Be Franchised

Last week, Dallas Cowboys Owner/General Manager Jerry Jones reported that outside linebacker Anthony Spencer would receive the franchise tag. However, sources close to the situation are saying newly hired assistant GM Jay Drylie has advised Jones to allow the former first round pick to hit the free agency market.

When asked, Drylie responded, "We want Anthony back. He is in our long term plans. We'll just have to see how the offseason plays out."

Spencer, who has amassed 21.5 sacks in his five year career, was slatted to make nearly nine million dollars under the franchise tag. But as an unrestricted free agent, Spencer could now get a deal resembling the six year, $42 million contract signed by Paul Pozlusny last year.

02-15-2012, 08:06 AM
Steelers Franchise Wallace
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

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It will now take two first round picks to get the speedy WR.

After clearing enough cap space with multiple cuts, the Steelers have decided to apply the franchise tag to restricted free agent WR Mike Wallace.

The team could have tendered him at the highest level allowed via restricted free agency for a drastically reduced cost, but it would only have taken one first round pick for another team to sign Wallace and the Steelers weren't willing to take that chance. The franchise tender for WRs is in the $10 million range.

The Steelers additionally announced that they will be tendering all of their restricted free agents at the original round tender. This list includes S Ryan Mundy, CB Keenan Lewis and OL Ramon Foster.

02-15-2012, 08:26 AM
Broncos Release Three, Including Moreno
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

"Slowshon" will be hesitating behind holes somewhere else in 2012.

The Broncos have announced three cuts today, further increasing their already immense cap space.

Most notable amongst the cuts is former first round pick Knowshon Moreno. Moreno struggled as a hesitant runner who didn't hit the holes very hard, and missed much of 2011 due to injury. A drunk driving arrest to start the offseason was the final straw.

Also released were veterans Ty Warren and Andre Goodman.

In all, the Broncos will save around $9 million towards their 2012 cap number.

02-15-2012, 08:37 AM
Packers Tag Finley, Release Three
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Finley's *** little first down dances will continue in Green Bay.

The Packers have decided to apply the Franchise Tag to TE Jermichael Finley. Finley, though a bit inconsistent and often struggles with drops, would have easily been the top TE on the free agent market. He will remain a member of the Packers potent offense for at least another year.

To make some room for Finley's $6 million franchise tender for his position, the Packers have made several cuts.

Long time veterans Donald Driver and Chad Clifton were the first to go, as was LB AJ Hawk. Hawk is notable in that he was just resigned a year ago, but underperformed in 2011.

These cuts will save the Packers around $14 million in additional cap room.

02-15-2012, 08:54 AM
Redskins Release Five
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Santana Moss is one of the casualties.

For much of the past decade, the Redskins were one of the biggest players in free agency. Years of this left them with stuck in cap hell more often than not. However, improved roster management the last few season has found the Redskins in great shape.

They improved their standing even further with the announcement of five cuts today.

FB Mike Sellers, WR Santana Moss, OT Jamaal Brown, S Reed Doughty and S OJ Atogwe were all released by the team. These moves save the team around $16 million in additional cap space.

Brown and Atogwe are likely the largest surprises of the group. Atogwe in particular was just signed last offseason.

It appears that the Redskins are building up something huge for this offseason. Whether or not they'll be able to attract the free agents they want remains to be seen.

02-15-2012, 09:06 AM
Cowboys Release Newman
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Newman Era in Dallas come to an end.

After announcing earlier in the day that the team would not be using it's franchise tag, the Cowboys announced that they are releasing veteran CB Terrence Newman.

Newman has shown his age the last few seasons and was victimized frequently. Cutting Newman saves the Cowboys about $4 million in cap space.

The team also announced that they've applied the original round tender to RFA FB Tony Fiametta. Fiametta was drafted in the 4th round.

02-15-2012, 09:17 AM
Saints Franchise Brees, Release Two
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Franchise QB gets the Franchise Tag.

In a move that surprises no one, the New Orleans Saints have applied the franchise tag to record setting QB Drew Brees. Both sides would obviously like to work out a long term deal, but one could not be reached before the free agent signing period began.

The one year tender for QBs will be around $16 million.

In order to clear cap space to make this move, the Saints have released two veteran defenders: S Roman Harper and DE Will Smith.

These cuts will save the Saints a combined $14 million in cap space, nearly making up what was lost when they franchised Brees.

The Saints have a number of other free agents they would surely like back, including Carl Nicks, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem, Whether or not they have the space to make it happen remains to be seen, as all of those players are expected to be receive top quality offers on the market.

*Update - The Saints have also released LB Scott Shanle, saving another $2 million in cap space.

02-15-2012, 09:31 AM
[center]Colts Announce Cuts
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

It is a sign that the Colts are truly rebuilding. They have announced the release of 4 players, just days after letting long time QB Peyton Manning go.

Those players are OL Jeff Linkenbach, LB Gary Brackett, S Melvin Bullitt and S David Caldwell.

The release of these 4 players saves the Colts $5 million towards their cap number.

Rumors are also abound that the team is considering the release of DE Dwight Freeney after they were unable to reach a restructured deal with him. The move would save the Colts a massive $14 million. More on this sure to come.

02-15-2012, 09:37 AM
Freeney Release Confirmed
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Colts release their long time defensive end.

And now the move is official. The Colts have released long time pass rusher Dwight Freeney.

Like most of the Colts players, Freeney had a down year in 2011. Couple that with his age (32), reported unwillingness to convert to OLB in the Colts new 3-4 scheme and his huge salary cap number, cutting him was justified.

The Colts save $14 million towards their 2012 cap number with this move. Freeney will likely be a highly prized free agent to a number of other teams, joining his former teammate Robert Mathis as the top pash rushers in the class behind Mario Willliams.

02-15-2012, 09:46 AM
Dolphins Release Bell
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Veteran safety Bell released.

The Dolphins stayed pretty low key in the moves they announced today, releasing safety Yeremiah Bell.

Bell was a veteran starter on the Dolphins for years, but did not justify his salary of $6 million.

The Dolphins also announced that they've applied RFA tenders to RB Lex Hilliard, OT Lyndon Murtha and DE Phillip Merling.

02-15-2012, 09:49 AM
Redskins Clean Roster, Set Eyes on Manning

In the first day of free agency, the Redskins front office has announced the release of Santana Moss, Jammal Brown, OJ Atogwe, Reed Doughty, and Mike Sellers. Reed Doughty and Mike Sellers were expected casualties. However, Moss, Brown, and Atogwe could be considered surprises by many fans. There have been no official comments released by Coach Mike Shanahan or GM Bruce Allen, but it is assumed that these releases are based on a combination of injury, age, and performance compared to compensation.

What is known, is that the Redskins have turned full attention towards free agent quarterback, Peyton Manning. For years, the Redskins organization has been void of a true franchise quarterback. Coach Shanahan and Bruce Allen are confident that Peyton can lay down a cornerstone and be part of returning the Redskins to greatness. There is no better or more appreciative city in which to be champion.

In only a few seasons as GM, Bruce Allen has brought a new approach to roster management and has put the Redskins in a position to be aggressive in free agency. The Redskins know that they need to add playmakers and additional protection to the offense in order to support Peyton and are fortunate to have the ability and cap space to make the necessary moves. The Redskins believe that franchising Fred Davis is the first step towards showing Peyton that they are willing to do what needs to be done in order to bring him to Washington.

Coach Shanahan and Bruce Allen aren't the only ones who see Peyton in Washington. Recently former Quarterback Steve Young quoted, ďI think it becomes a coach-quarterback relationship. Itís gonna be somebody [like] a Mike Shanahan. You look at those guys around that really understand quarterbacks, theyíre gonna be able to take advantage of all Peytonís talents, and then you need to be a team that doesnít have an answer right now....I expect that the move will be a team that just needs that guy, that hasnít had that guy, and Peyton will be that guy.Ē

He continued, "Coach Shanahan can call plays like no one Iíve ever seen. He was just amazing in my professional career. So first of all, when you talk about quarterbacks and who could really do something with Peyton Manning, in my mind itís Mike Shanahan....Itís one of those places where it seems like itís all in place.Ē

02-15-2012, 10:03 AM

(Because I was dumb and accidentally deleted it...)

02-15-2012, 10:13 AM

GM Caught with his Pants Down?

GM Scottyboy had a press conference regarding some moves made by the team...and by himself. Mr. Scotty was around for the conference while fellow GM OsuGiants was out on a mysterious scouting trip, as rumors as heating up with potential moves the defending champions are looking to make.
"We're looking to make some moves here. We love Brandon and are very thankful for his time here, but I could go to a local dance studio and pay a 10 year old ballerina to do what Brandon did 90% of his runs and have it not be over 4 million. We need the cap space, which is unfortunate, but this is a business."- Scotty.

Reports with big moves to come as well, as the trade stove is heating up regarding DE Osi Umenyiora.

The report of Mr. Scotty in the film room...well maybe it was scouting, and when asked, he responded with a smirk and coy response of "Well, the number 27 IS now available..."

02-15-2012, 10:16 AM
Reminder from the League Office
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The league office has asked to remind all teams that franchise tag and RFA tenders must be applied via email by 11:59pm Eastern tonight. Cuts and trades may continue to happen.

In the event of inactivity on the part of a team, the league office reserves the right to apply the franchise tag and RFA tenders in a realistic fashion to the team's players.

02-15-2012, 10:22 AM
Redskins Franchise Fred Davis
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The TE will be in Washington for at least another year.

As expected, the Redskins have announced that they've applied the franchise tag to TE Fred Davis.

Despite being suspended for the first 4 games of the season, Davis stormed back to have a career best year in 2011.

The franchise tender for TEs is around $6 million.

02-15-2012, 10:23 AM

The eagles are actively searching for trade partners for star players CB Asante Samuel and WR DeSean Jackson, and say they are willing to negotiate with teams to come up with the best deal for both sides. Rumor has it that a team has already offered a high 2nd round pick for Jackson, but the team refuses to comment on that situation.

02-15-2012, 10:36 AM

Packers look to trade Finley


Its is being reported that the Green Bay Packers are listening to trade offers when it comes to young tight end Jermichael Finley. Finley burst onto the scene in 09 when he had a monster game in the wildcard loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Since then Finley has shown promise but is yet to live up to the high potential he seemed to have.

It remains to be seen what Packers GM Super Packer will have in mind when negotiating with teams, however he has encouraged teams to come to him with offers, he has this to say, "Jermichael is a talented player with all the potential in the world, unfortunately it hasn't worked out for him here so we hope we can find him a new team sooner rather than later"

02-15-2012, 11:17 AM

Woodson could be traded


Very surprising news coming out of Green Bay today that veteran cornerback Charles Woodson may be available for trade. The Pro Bowl player that lead the league in interceptions is due 4 million in roster bonus in March and will then later be due 6.5 million for the year in base salary.

Woodson, 35 is nearing the end of his career however it is believed he is willing to make the move to safety either in Green Bay or whichever team takes him on. Further news when we get it folks.

02-15-2012, 11:17 AM
Raiders Shopping McFadden?
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The dynamic back may be on the move.

The Oakland Raiders are reportedly shopping RB Darren McFadden. They are asking for a late first round and are willing to negotiate.

McFadden is a dynamic speedster when healthy, and could really add some punch to an offense currently lacking any.

02-15-2012, 11:32 AM
Brian Dawkins to Retire
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Neck Injury to blame?

Earlier today, it was revealed that Broncos S Brian Dawkins had apparently renegotiated his contract with the team sometime last preseason or during the regular season, according to Rotoworld: http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/709/brian-dawkins

The NFLPA database does not list Broncos SS Brian Dawkins as being under contract for 2012.
Dawkins' old contract listed him with a 2012 base salary of $6 million, but he appears to be an unrestricted free agent after the Broncos did some kind of tinkering with the deal, either last offseason or during the year. Dawkins has a career-threatening neck injury and may be forced into retirement anyway.

And retire is just what Dawkins will do.

02-15-2012, 11:38 AM
Seahawks Franchise Lynch
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Skittles will flow in Seattle for another year.

The Seattle Seahawks have announced today that they will apply the franchise tag to RB Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch enjoyed a pro bowl season in 2011 and was easily the Seahawks best offensive player. The franchise tender for RBs will pay him around $8 million in 2012.

02-15-2012, 12:48 PM
Big Names Amongst the Cuts
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Freeney, Brown and Smith will be highly prized even after being cut.

Every offseason, a number of players typically end up getting cut from their original team only to be signed away by another team in a trash-for-treasure deal.

We've seen some quality players hit the free agent market simply because their original team needed to clear some cap space. And surely, they will have plenty of suitors elsewhere in the league.

OT Jammal Brown - Redskins - Brown was a surprise cut to many as the Redskins moved further underneath the salary cap. He has proven to be capable of playing both tackle positions and should be an effect upgrade for a team needing either.

S OJ Atogwe - Redskins - The Redskins signed Atogwe just last offseason but that did not make him immune from being cut. He started 8 games for the Redskins last season and would make for a decent starter on a lot of teams.

DE Will Smith - Saints - This long time Saint was a casualty of Drew Brees receiving the franchise tag. While not an elite sack artist, Smith is a well rounded DE who would make a great consolation prize for any team who misses out on someone like Mario Williams.

S Roman Harper - Saints - Harper is a quality in-the-box safety who excels at blitzing, but his coverage skills and salary made him expendable. Look for the Saints to try and bring him back at a cheaper deal, but if not, he could be a decent upgrade for some other teams out there.

DE Dwight Freeney - Colts - Freeney is a guy the Colts would have preferred to restructure, but the talks broke down and they were forced to cut him. Freeney is 32 but could still provide an excellent pass rushing threat to any team who needs one.

02-15-2012, 01:43 PM
Special Note from the League Office:

Due to a squirrel on a power line, a transformer box blew causing a mistake in the submission of one' teams transaction statement.

TE Dallas Clark was NOT released by the Colts.

02-15-2012, 02:01 PM
Jets Tender Maybin
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

From bust to tendered RFA.

The Jets have announced their first move of the offseason, applying the 2nd round tender to OLB Aaron Maybin.

Maybin was a notorious bust with the Bills but began to turn his career around last season in New York.

The Jets also tendered all other RFAs at the lowest level, meaning they will receive no compensation if another team signs them.

With the Jets fairly close to the salary cap, we expect some additional moves to be made in order to clear out some cap space.

02-15-2012, 02:20 PM
Vikings Announce Moves
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Hutchinson has played his last game with the Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings announced the release of three players today, including OG Steve Hutchinson, OG Anthony Herrera and CB Cedric Griffin.

These moves clear about $14 million in cap space for the Vikings.

02-15-2012, 02:50 PM
Tampa Franchises Barth
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Bucs franchise player is their kicker.

After much deliberation, the Bucs have decided to use the franchise tag on kicker Connor Barth, coming off of his career best year.

The franchise tender for kickers is a relatively low $3 million and the Bucs have plenty of cap space to justify the move.

02-15-2012, 03:21 PM
49ers Announce Moves
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The 49ers announced a couple of minor moves today, applying the 2nd round level franchise tender to reserve LB Larry Grant and the original round tender to WR Brett Swain (7th.)

The team also announced the release of TE Nate Byham and WR John Matthews.

The moves have very little affect on the 49ers good salary cap situation.

No word yet on whether or not they will choose to use their franchise tag before tonight's deadline.

02-15-2012, 06:43 PM
Titans Release Hasselbeck
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

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Veteran QB will be allowed to test the market.

Unable to work out a restructured deal, the Titans have released QB Matt Hasselbeck.

The team has noted that they would like Hasselbeck to return at a reduced deal. The QB is open to a return but will utilize his ability to test the market first. He may be an attractive veteran option to a team too wary of Peyton Manning's injury risk.

The move saves the Titans $5.5 million.

02-15-2012, 06:57 PM
Jets Release Three
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

"Can't Wait!" for unemployment.

The Jets have announced the release of three players today. They are LB Bart Scott, OT Wayne Hunter and S Eric Smith.

The Jets were right up against the salary cap, and these moves will save them a total of around $10 million, giving them some wiggle room to make moves in free agency.

02-15-2012, 07:06 PM
Lions Tender Five, Release One
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

It appears that the Detroit Lions will not be using the franchise tag this offseason. The team debated using it on DE Cliff Avril, but simply did not have the cap space to pull it off.

Instead, they looked to keep some of their younger players. They tendered five restricted free agents:

Sammie Lee Hill - original pick tender (4th)
DeAndre Levy - 2nd round tender
Ashlee Palmer - right to match
Corey Hiliard - Right to match
Stephan Logan - original pick tender (Undrafted, no pick)

The team also released reserve RB Joique Bell, saving about $500k.

02-15-2012, 07:22 PM
Rice Franchised, Ravens Release Four
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Giants GM Incredibly Disappointed.

Ray Rice will remain in Baltimore for another year. The Baltimore Ravens ensured that by applying the franchise tag to him. The RB tender will pay him in the $8 million range.

Additionally, the Ravens opted to place a 1st Round tender on RFA CB Lardarius Webb.

To offset these moves and create some additional cap space, the Ravens announced the release of 4 players. They are WR Lee Evans, OT Bryant McKinnie, CB Dominique Foxworth and CB Chris Carr.

These cuts will save the Ravens close to $18 million.

To offset this move and create more space, the Ravens

02-15-2012, 07:38 PM
Packers Release Peprah
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Green Bay Packers have announced that they've released safety Charlie Peprah. The move saves around $1 million in salary.

02-15-2012, 09:39 PM
49ers Franchise Goldson
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Goldson had a career year in 2011.

In the 11th hour of the time span to apply the franchise tag, the 49ers have opted to apply the tag to S Dashon Goldson.

Goldson is coming off of a career year in 2011, one of the many 49ers to break out last year in the team's first year under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The franchise tender for safeties is around $6.5 million.

02-15-2012, 10:00 PM
Pre-Free Agency Cap Situations
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Here is one last review of each team's salary cap situation on the even of free agency.

These are the teams in the best cap situations. They have enough cap space to sign multiple high quality free agents and still have money left over. Expect them to be highly competitive on the free agent market:

- Denver Broncos
- Tampa Bay Bucs
- Washington Redskins
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Buffalo Bills
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Tennessee Titans

These are the teams who are in good cap shape. They will be able to compete for the top free agents, but may not be able to sign as many of them as the teams listed above. These teams are also expected to be competitive in the market:

- Cleveland Browns
- San Francisco 49ers
- San Diego Chargers
- Indy Colts
- Arizona Cardinals
- New England Patriots
- Seattle Seahawks
- Minnesota Vikings
- Baltimore Ravens
- Chicago Bears
- Miami Dolphins
- Green Bay Packers

The following teams have enough cap space to make one big move and some smaller ones, or a few mid-level moves. They'll likely lose out on the highest quality free agents in a bidding war with the above teams, but should still be players in free agency.

- Atlanta Falcons
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Dallas Cowboys
- New Orleans Saints
- Oakland Raiders
- NY Jets

Finally, these teams have relatively little cap space and will be limited to lower end deals.

- NY Giants
- Houston Texans
- St. Louis Rams
- Detroit Lions
- Carolina Panthers

02-16-2012, 06:05 AM
Bears Acquire Umenyiora
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Bolster pass rush.

One of the Bears bigger needs headed into the offseason was depth at the DE position. With Israel Idonije hitting free agency, Julius Peppers was the only proven player at the position.

That changes now that they've acquired DE Osi Umenyiora from the Giants. Despite missing 7 games due to injury in 2011, the 30 year old Umenyiora still came away with 9 sacks on the season.

In return, the Bears sent their 2nd and 3rd round picks to the Giants. Osi will sign new deal with the Bears which will pay him a multi-year, high-end Quality level deal.*

* - I did say players who were traded with usually receive new contracts. (Check the trades section of the discussion thread.) This is the only "restructures" will happen.

02-16-2012, 07:20 AM
Peyton Manning Tour Kicks Off in South Beach
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Former Dolphin and Future Dolphin?

Peyton Manning's tour of the league has officially begun today, with his first visit being to the Miami Dolphins.

Owner Stephen Ross has spared no expense in attempting to woo the top QB on the free agent market.

The day began with Manning being introduced to new head coach Joe Philbin and the rest of the coaching staff, as well as meeting with some of the Dolphins current star players including WR Brandon Marshall, LT Jake Long and RB Reggie Bush.

Ross and Manning then spent the evening in a luxury box at the Heat game where he got to rub elbows with stars LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

Manning was reportedly impressed by the extents the Dolphins went to in welcoming him, but he is in no rush to make a decision.

"I'm grateful for everything Stephen and the team has done for me to day," Manning said. "But I'm going to take some time to look at all of my options and pick the best one."

Manning may even wait to see where some of the league's other top free agents end up before deciding on his own team.

He is expected to make several other stops but the teams involved have not yet been identified.

02-16-2012, 07:30 AM
Mario Williams Visits Florida Teams
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Will he be playing his home games in the Sunshine State?

On the same day Peyton Manning was visiting with the Miami Dolphins, the guy who spent years trying to sack Manning was visiting two teams in the same state.

Mario Williams met with both the Buccaneers and Jaguars today. Both teams are highly interested in signing the player many have called the best free agent ever available.

Williams began the day in Jacksonville meeting with new owner Shahid Kahn, GM Gene Smith and head coach Mike Mularkey. The meeting reportedly went well.

Williams then moved on to Tampa Bay where he was greeted by head coach Greg Schiano. The Bucs are one of the teams in the best shape salary cap-wise, so money will be no object here. Williams reportedly like where he would fit in on a talented young defensive line in Schiano's aggressive scheme.

Williams will continue his tour of the league with more visits lined up throughout the rest of the week. When he finally does choose a team, he is expected to be made one of, if not THEE, highest paid defensive players in the history of the league.

02-16-2012, 07:35 AM
Bears Release Frank Omiyale
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

No longer a Bear.

The Bears have announced today that they've released OL Frank Omiyale. Omiyale played multiple positions along the offensive line the last few seasons after being a "prized" free agent signing of former GM Jerry Angelo a few years back.

The move came after the Bears acquired DE Osi Umenyiora in a trade. His release will save the Bears just under $2 million in cap space. The team is reportedly going all in to sign free agent WR Dwayne Bowe and will need some additional cap space in order to better their chances.

02-16-2012, 07:51 AM
Brandon Lloyd Visits Jaguars
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Circus catches coming to Jacksonville soon?

WR Brandon Lloyd isn't one of the biggest names on the free agent market, but the Jacksonville Jaguars apparently believe in him.

Lloyd visited the Jaguars facilities early on the first day of free agency and reported came away very impressed by what the team had to offer him.

"I talked to coach Mularkey and really like some of his ideas for me in his offense," Lloyd was quoted as saying.

The 30 year old WR is coming off of two straight solid seasons in Denver and then last year in St. Louis after he was traded there.

The Jaguars are in excellent cap shape and are reportedly interested in adding additional WRs even if they get Lloyd.

02-16-2012, 08:58 AM
Packers Host Gaither
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Could he end up protecting Rodgers blindside?

OT Jared Gaither bounced around the league in 2011, primarily due to injury concerns. However, he was given an opportunity to start in San Diego and finished the season very strong.

This has made him an attractive free agent in the eyes of many teams, including the Green Bay Packers who are notorious for rarely dipping into the free agent pool.

Gaither may prove to be an exception however, as the Packers released long time though oft-injured LT Chad Clifton earlier in the offseason.

"Protecting Aaron is very important to us, as the team will go as far as he can take us," said team president Ted Thompson.

This may be doubly important as Green Bay's quality backup QB, Matt Flynn, is a free agent and is not expected to return to the team.

02-16-2012, 09:10 AM
Cowboys Release Spears
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Dumped by "America's Team."

The Cowboys announced today that they've released veteran DE Marcus Spears. Spears was a former first round pick who resigned last offseason, but has never lived up to his first round billing and was no longer worth his nearly $3 million salary.

The move frees up some space for the Cowboys to use on some of the free agents they plan on hosting later on today. Rumor has it that they are very interested in adding a top quality pass rusher to play opposite DeMarcus Ware on defense.

02-16-2012, 09:36 AM
Texans Release Three
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Houston Texans have announced today that they've released three players in order to free up some additional cap space. The players are:

QB Matt Leinart
WR Jacoby Jones
WR Kevin Walter

Their release will free up an additoinal $10 million in cap space.

02-16-2012, 09:44 AM
Foster Signs Long Term Deal
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Foster will be a Texan for a long time to come.

RB Arian Foster has burst onto the scene as one of the league's most explosive backs in the last few seasons. His presence has catapulted the Texans into one of the league's top offenses.

Already tendered by the team at the first round level as a restricted free agent, the team made him an Elite level long term offer to lock him up.

The Texans feared that another team with a low first round pick may try to steal Foster as a restricted free agent. This move ensures that cannot happen.

Foster is reportedly ecstatic to remain a Texan for the foreseeable future.

02-16-2012, 10:02 AM
Vernon Carey Visits Steelers
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Future protector of Big Ben?

The Steelers started the offseason in the worst salary cap situation of any team in the league. Judicious cuts and restructurings allowed the team to get far enough under the cap in order to compete for some free agents.

The free agent at the top of their list is apparently former Dolphin Vernon Carey who was in the Steel City today visiting the team facilities.

Carey isn't the biggest name on the market, but is an experienced NFL lineman and fits what the Steelers like to do offensively.

The o-line has been an area of serious need for the Steelers in recent years. Carey figures to be the immediate starter at RG if he signs with the team.

02-16-2012, 10:10 AM
Grubbs Visits Colts
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Ravens connection at work?

Ben Grubbs is one of the top free agent offensive lineman on the market, and he's making his first known visit to a team today in Indy.

The Colts seem all but certain to take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April's draft, and protecting him is a huge concern. Grubbs would solidify the interior of the Colts o-line and also help to improve their sub-par rushing attack.

It also doesn't hurt that new Colts head coach Chuck Pagano also comes from the Ravens, a connection that he is sure to use to try and lure Grubbs to his new team.

The Colts are also expected to host several of Pagano's former defenders from Baltimore, including linebackers Jarret Johnson and Jameel McClain.

02-16-2012, 10:17 AM
Bucs Host Multiple Quarterbacks
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Garrard a potential Buc?

Bucs QB Josh Freeman regressed severely in 2011, and the team is currently without an adequate backup QB in place.

The team is supposedly interested in acquiring a veteran to backup and mentor Freeman, while also being a potential replacement should the young QB continue to struggle.

Several free agent QBs have been sighted at the Bucs facility, including the recently released Matt Hasselbeck. Former Jaguar David Garrard and former Raider Jason Campbell were also in town to interview.

Another intriguing option spotted interviewing was David Carr. Carr was in New York last season where new Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan served as his QB coach.

The Bucs are most interested in bringing back former backup Josh Johnson. Johnson is expected to receive offers from other teams and would like to go to a situation where he can compete for a starting job however.

02-16-2012, 11:03 AM
Bills Lock Up Urbik and Rinehart
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Buffalo Bills have announced that they've agreed to long term contracts with restricted free agent offensive lineman Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart.

Urbik started 13 games in 2011 and Rinehart started 12 after numerous injuries racked the Bills offensive line. Both played reasonably well and have been rewarded with multi-year, lower level deals.

Other teams could have signed either player as they were RFAs, but the Bills have ensured that they will keep both.

02-16-2012, 11:21 AM
Avril visits Cowboys, Bills
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Best pass rusher after Mario?

The Bills and Cowboys met twice in the Superbowl in the early 90s, and are now competing head to head once again for the service of former Lions DE Cliff Avril.

Avril's sack numbers have gone up every year that he's been in the league, hitting a career high 11 in 2011. He's young (25) and possess enough athleticism to make him a versatile piece in any defense.

Avril first visited the Cowboys, where he met with owner/GM Jerry Jones and the coaching staff. Avril was very intrigued by the possibility of playing across from perennial all-pro DeMarcus Ware.

Avril then flew to Buffalo where he met with GM Buddy Nix and Head Coach Chan Gailey. The Bills don't have anyone like Ware to pair Avril with, but they do have more cap space than the Cowboys and would allow him to remain a down lineman in the 4-3 rather than a stand up OLB in the 3-4 as he would be in Dallas.

Avril will consider both options, as well as any offers from other teams that come up in the next few days before he makes his decision.

02-16-2012, 11:31 AM
Eagles Play Host to Jackson, Connor
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Catching bombs from Michael Vick next year?

Though the Eagles were the unquestioned "winners" of free agency last year, they failed to play up to that title in the regular season and missed the playoffs. Despite this, the Eagles are still looking for some quality free agents to help them get over the hump this season.

The biggest name in town is WR Vincent Jackson, formerly of the Chargers. Jackson met with coach Andy Reid to go over his role in the offense and Jackson reportedly liked what Reid had in mind. Jackson has an excellent combination of size and speed, making him an attractive target for Michael Vick in the passing game.

The Eagles biggest weakness in 2011 was certainly their run defense, where a lackluster group of linebackers failed to perform. The Eagles brought in former Panthers LB Dan Connor for an interview. Connor would likely start for the team at MLB right away, a spot that caused a lot of problems for Philly last year.

While the Eagles seem unlikely to bring in as big of haul as they got last year, players like Jackson and Connor would be a big boost to the team.

02-16-2012, 11:39 AM
Garcon "Blown Away" by an Offer, Turns Down Other Interviews
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Has he already found his 2012 team?

Former Colts WR Pierre Garcon is coming off of a career best year in 2011 despite the overall poor performance of the Colts squad he was on.

And reportedly, he's been "blow away" by a large offer from one team, so much so that he has declined visits with several other interested teams.

Garcon wouldn't specify which team made him the large offer, but did announce on Twitter that "he'd be keeping #85 in 2012."

Garcon will still allow some time for other teams to up their offers, but he sounds as if he's already found where he wants to be in 2012.

02-16-2012, 11:46 AM
Super Mario Visits Falcons
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Super Mario in Hotlanta?

After spending the morning visiting the Bucs and Jaguars, Mario Williams' tour headed slightly north to Atlanta where he met with the Falcons.

Williams reportedly liked what coach Mike Smith had in mind for him and also liked that the team has a quality quarterback in place in Matt Ryan.

The Falcons don't have the cap space advantage that the Bucs and Jags have, but are a team who made the playoffs in 2011 and could become a Superbowl caliber contender with the addition of a player like Williams.

02-16-2012, 11:53 AM
Carl Nicks Disappointed by Lack of Contact
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Nicks is generating less interest than expected.

Despite being one of the best offensive guards in the NFL, Carl Nicks' phone has been suspiciously silent since the start of free agency.

At a time where all sorts of players are visiting teams all around the league, Nicks has yet to even leave his house.

Some fear that the position he plays simply isn't valuable enough to justify spending $10+ million annually on him.

There is no doubt that Nicks will be on an NFL roster come the 2012 season. This early lack of interest may just be a sign that his price tag will need to come down a bit in order for interest to pick up.

02-16-2012, 12:17 PM
Cardinals Extend Franchise Player Campbell
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Campbell will stay a Cardinal for a long, long time.

The Arizona Cardinals announced today that they've reached a deal with franchise player DE Calais Campbell on a 7-year Elite level contract.

Both sides are reportedly extremely happy with the deal that is in place. Campbell has quietly become one of the league's best 3-4 DEs, following in the footsteps of previous greats at the position like Richard Seymour and Aaron Smith.

Since Campbell was already franchise tagged, the deal won't hurt their cap situation any further. They are still in good shape to go after some key free agents.

02-16-2012, 12:32 PM
Cowboys Trigger Contract Clauses to Save
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

(This is a real thing:
so don't give me ****...if you find something that says you can do this for one of your players, let me know)

The Dallas Cowboys have opted to trigger escalator clauses in the contracts of OT Doug Free and CB Orlando Scandrick that reduce their 2012 base salary to the league minimum while shifting the rest to future guaranteed money.

This saves the team $8.6 million against the 2012 cap, freeing up more money to potentially pursue free agents.

02-16-2012, 12:44 PM
Manningham Meets with Six Teams
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Superbowl hero tours the nation.

One of the perks about being the Superbowl hero is all of the attention you receive afterwards. It's even better if you're a free agent, as your value shoots through the roof.

This is exactly the situation Mario Manningham finds himself in right now. He is receiving so many calls from potential suitors that he's struggled to meet with them all.

Rumored destinations for him include Houston, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Dallas, Philly, Indy and Tampa Bay.

We have confirmed that he has visited with at least 6 of these team, though so far, none have blown him away with an offer.

It seems that most teams view him as more of a #2 WR than a guy deserving of a top dollar contract.

Manningham seems to be enjoying the attention. His is a situation worth following for any WR needy teams in the league.

02-16-2012, 12:51 PM
Interest Low on Curtis Lofton
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Few teams have shown serious interest in the linebacker.

Much like the situation division rival Carl Nicks is in, former Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton ha so far drawn very little interest from teams around the league.

Typically, 4-3 middle linebackers do not tend to draw large contract offers, but Lofton is the best on the market and his expectations do not seem so unreasonable.

Still, Lofton has generated only a low-ball deal from the Falcons where new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan envisions Lofton as a two down linebacker.

Lofton feels that he is an every down player and would love an opportunity to show it somewhere else.

02-16-2012, 12:57 PM
All Quiet on the Alex Smith Front
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

His future is currently uncertain.

Last offseason, the 49ers showed great trust in Alex Smith by giving him a playbook and moving forward as if he were going to be the starting QB despite not having a contract.

Smith stayed in town on a one year deal and enjoyed the greatest success of his career.

This year, he is trusting in the 49ers to bring him back. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh spoke as if he planned on having Smith return, but so far, there has been no contact between the team and the QB.

02-16-2012, 01:08 PM
Manning Talks to Cardinals...After a Mile High Layover?
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Is the desert the place for Manning?

After spending time with the Dolphins in Miami, Peyton Manning headed to Arizona to meet with the Cardinals decision makers.

Interestingly, Manning's travel itinerary showed that he first spent several hours in Denver. There is no word on what Manning did there, and he explained it as "a simple layover."

The rumor mill is really churning on this one, suggesting that Broncos President John Elway was not in his office during those same hours. Could Denver be trying to lure Manning in a clandestine fashion in order to not upset "Tebow Nation?" The Broncos have the most available cap space in the league and a QB like Manning may just be good enough to allow them to move away from Tebow.

Hard evidence is lacking, but what we do know is that Peyton Manning is now in Arizona where he spent several hours with head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Arizona has a quality defense that should only improve with experience, as well as Larry Fitzgerald as a target for Manning. Fitzgerald and Manning apparently met for dinner during Superbowl week, where it was rumored that Fitzgerald tried to sell Manning on the idea of coming to Arizona.

Manning was quick to point out that he won't rush into making a decision and has stated several times that he may even wait until after some of the bigger free agents have signed to see where the better players end up.

It may be key for teams interested in Manning to make some other additions as well in order to put the best possible supporting cast around him. Manning wants to win another Superbowl and he will look for the best situation in which to do that.

02-16-2012, 02:15 PM
Chiefs Focus on the Trenches
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Soliai headed to Arrowhead?

The Chiefs have been busy interviewing free agent targets today, appearing to be focused on upgrades in the trenches.

Two of the biggest names in Kansas City today were NT Paul Soliai and OG Ben Grubbs.

Both players would be huge upgrades to middle of their respective lines, and the Chiefs have the cap room to make both players top dollar offers.

02-16-2012, 02:25 PM
Scott Wells Visits Jags
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Will he go from snapping to Rodgers to snapping to Gabbert?

Scott Wells is considered one of the league's better all around centers, and he's currently in Jacksonville for a visit with the Jaguars decision makers.

The Packers would love to have Wells back, but he's looking at his other options as well.

02-16-2012, 02:36 PM
Tebow Fans Protest Outside Broncos HQ
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Elway forced to flee building.

Though there has yet to be confirmation to the earlier rumors that the Broncos met with free agent QB Peyton Manning, the psychotic following that current Broncos QB Tim Tebow has in Denver decided to protest the potential move.

Thousands of fans stormed the headquarters of the Denver Broncos once the news broke out, some driving in from as far as several states away to join the fracas.

A team spokesman tried to dissuade the rumors, but was pelted with rocks, bottles and shoes forcing him to flee into the building.

A police escort was called to help several key members of the Broncos organization, including team president John Elway and owner Pat Bowlen, flee the building to safety.

Fearing a violent riot, police were forced to use tear gas to break up the mob that had formed.

Extra police have been stationed around the building to prevent any more angry mobs from forming for the time being.

02-16-2012, 02:44 PM
Packers desperate to resign Wells


With the news of Packers centre Scott Wells speaking to the Jacksonville Jaguars the Packers GM Super Packer has come and and said he is desperate to resign Wells. "Scott Wells is an integral part of this organisation and we will do whatever we can to bring him back to Green Bay. Scott has been a top performer for us for many years and we do not want to lose him".

Super Packer has reportedly offered Wells an elite contract offer which he hoped would of warned teams away from looking at the 31 year old centre, however with this recent news he felt he needed to come out and express his opinion on the matter.

02-16-2012, 02:47 PM
Tulloch, Bills have Mutual Interest
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The LB likes what the Bills are selling almost as much as Tebowing.

Earlier in the day, the Bills visited with former Lions DE Cliff Avril and now, they've talked to former Lions LB Stephen Tulloch.

Tulloch apparently liked the plans the Bills had for him, and also said they had presented the best financial package to him thus far.

The LB corps in Buffalo is extremely thin and Tulloch would instantly become the best player in it. Playing behind quality defensive tackles Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams was also a big incentive for him.

Tulloch will wait to see what other opportunities present themselves but Buffalo seems to be high on his list.

02-16-2012, 02:55 PM
Bills Cut Edwards
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Bills have announced today that they've released veteran defensive lineman Dwan Edwards.

The move saves the team almost $4 million in cap space.

02-16-2012, 03:25 PM
Giants have interest in Peyton?


When asked about the potential of uniting the 2 brothers, GM Scottyboy said

"I think it'd be funny."

More to come on this story

In additional news, Jeremy Zuttah hates GM Scottyboy.

02-16-2012, 04:24 PM
Lions Cut Cherilus
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Lions have announced the release of former first round pick, OT Gosder Cherilus.

Cherilus was benched several times during the 2011 season and quickly fell out of favor with the coaching staff.

The move saves the Lions $2.5 million.

02-16-2012, 05:05 PM
Rams Cut Four, Including First Rounder Smith
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The St. Louis Rams announced today that they've released 4 players. They are DT Justin Bannan, C Jason Brown, DE James Hall and OT Jason Smith.

Smith is the most notable player on the list as a former first round pick.

These moves save the team around $20 million.

02-16-2012, 05:10 PM
Colston Visits 49ers
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Coming to the Bay area in 2012?

Former Saints WR Marques Colston has quietly made rounds as a free agent today, staying mostly low key.

His most intriguing visit was to the San Francisco 49ers who need additional playmakers on offense.

02-16-2012, 05:14 PM
Super Mario Visits Browns
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

His tour stops in Cleveland to visit the Browns.

Mario Williams has, unsurprisingly, been a busy man thus far in free agency. It may be easier to list the teams NOT interested in the former first overall pick.

The Browns made their best pitch to the free agent pass rusher today as he visited the team HQ and met with team president Mike Holmgren.

The Browns have plenty of cap space but can they wow Williams enough with the team they're building? Getting a player like Super Mario would certainly be a major boost to the franchise which has struggled since reentering the league in 1999.

02-16-2012, 05:18 PM
Saints Host Landry
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Will he return to play football in Louisiana?

There hasn't been a whole lot of interest former Redskins safety LaRon Landry thus far in free agency, but he did make one notable visit to the Saints.

An LSU alum, Landry is familiar with the state and would fill a big need after the Saints cut Roman Harper to save some money.

There is apparently mutual interest, but Landry will continue to see what other offers come in.

02-16-2012, 05:26 PM
Blackburn Makes the Rounds
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Superbowl champion looking for a long term deal.

Chase Blackburn's story is a good one. He was out of football until re-joining the Giants mid-season. He immediately became their MLB and made the on-field adjustments for the team.

In the Superbowl, he intercepted a pass helping the Giants to their victory over the Patriots.

And now, much like Mario Manningham, the Superbowl victory has propelled his free agent stock and he's been making the rounds with several teams.

He's visited with the Cowboys where he would join Sean Lee as the ILBs of the future for that defense. He also visited the Browns in his home state of Ohio where he would potentially play next to the franchise tagged D'Qwell Jackson.

He has another visit lined up with the Raiders where new GM Reggie McKenzie's good character policy already has Rolando McClain in the dog house. Blackburn would provide a sharp mind in the middle of the defense.

The Giants have also made a play to sign him long term, but Blackburn is doing his homework and checking all of his options before deciding.

02-16-2012, 06:44 PM
Bengals Looking at the O-Line
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Carl Nicks finally getting some love.

The Bengals were one of the most surprising teams of 2011, with a quality defense ready to break out and some young talent in key positions on offense.

In an effort to continue building, the team is looking to spend some of their tremendous cap space on the o-line.

Former Saint Carl Nicks, widely considered the best o-lineman available in this free agent class, was one of several players seen at the team's facility today. Evan Mathis of the Eagles and Ben Grubbs of the Ravens were also seen at the facility.

It appears that protecting Andy Dalton and opening better holes in the run game are priorities for this year's Bengals team.

02-16-2012, 07:11 PM
Carlson Quietly Popular
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Most well-rounded TE available?

John Carlson missed the entire 2011 season due to injury, but that hasn't hurt his popularity amongst teams looking for a TE in 2012.

Carlson has received no fewer than 6 offers from teams so far in the free agency period. He has been making the rounds today visiting each team and hearing what they have to offer.

Most recently, Carlson visited the Titans who are looking for a well-rounded TE to pair with the more pass-catching oriented Jared Cook.

So far, no team has distinguished itself with a big offer to Carlson. If this trend continues, Carlson will be picking the team that is the best fit rather than go for the money.

02-16-2012, 07:15 PM
Meachem Visits Ravens
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Offensive addition in store?

The Ravens have gotten active in free agency and started off by making their pitch to WR Robert Meachem.

While Marques Colston is widely considered the better of New Orleans' two free agent WRs, Meachem brings plenty to the table himself as a deep threat.

The Ravens feel his vertical ability will do well in their offense with Flacco's arm strength.

02-16-2012, 07:17 PM
Dolphins Cut Two
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Dolphins have announced two cuts to clear up some additional cap space. The players are DT Tony McDaniel and LB Jason Trusnik.

Combined, they save Miami $4 million.

*Update - The team has also released OT Ryan Cook, saving another $1 million.

02-17-2012, 07:26 AM
Raiders Send McFadden to Rival Broncos
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

McFadden will move to Mile High.

In the days where Al Davis was in charge of the Raiders, trading a quality (though oft-injured) RB to the hated rival Denver Broncos would have never happened.

But as new Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie establishes himself with the team, no player is sacred and no team is too big of rival to trade with if the offer is right.

When healthy, McFadden is one of the most dangerous backs in the league. However, he is rarely healthy and Oakland's lack of draft picks made this proposition too good to pass up.

Oakland will receive Denver's first round pick, #25 overall, in return for McFadden. The Raiders feel that 2nd year player Taiwan Jones can be their speed threat in the backfield and will likely look for another back, possibly attempting to resign RB Michael Bush, to compliment him.

An accelerated cap hit from McFadden's signing bonus means that the Raiders only gain about $2 million towards the salary cap, but having a first round draft pick makes it well worth it.

02-17-2012, 07:36 AM
Bears Release Four
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Chicago Bears have announced today that they've released four players, RB Marion Barber, OG/C Chris Spencer, DT Anthony Adams, and OG Mansfield Wrotto.

Barber and Adams in particular fell out of favor with the coaching staff last season, and their salary wasn't justified as backups.

This series of moves will save the Bears $6-7 million.

02-17-2012, 07:44 AM
Bears Ready to Spend
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Dwayne Bowe is HIGH on the Bears wish list.

New Bears GM Phil Emery recent told the media that "money won't be an issue (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/17/bears-chairman-on-free-agency-money-wont-be-an-issue/)" for the Bears this offseason.

With a number of aging veterans on the roster, many believe that the Bears window is closing. Making a splash in this year's free agency period would go a long way towards helping the Bears get back into the championship hunt.

Target #1 on the Bears list? Former Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe.

Bowe was in town last night to speak with the Bears, and the Bears tried hard to keep him there. Much like they did with free agent WR Muhsin Muhammad years ago, the Bears did everything in their power to keep Bowe from leaving town without a contract.

Bowe was reportedly flattered and very impressed by the Bears offer, but he is going to take a look at every offer before accepting one.

The Bears will be right back to work today interviewing other free agents.

02-17-2012, 07:51 AM
McNeill Visits Lions
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Protecting Stafford's blindside in 2012?

Marcus McNeill's season ended last year due to concerns about his neck. The injury was apparently concerning enough that it was thought that McNeill's career might be in jeopardy.

But he's still making the free agent rounds and today's stop was in Detroit. Long time starter Jeff Backus is an aging free agent who may not return to the team, so the Lions are doing their homework on alternatives.

McNeill's history of neck issues makes him a risky signing, but when healthy, he is one of the league's better blindside protectors.

02-17-2012, 07:56 AM
Lloyd Visits Patriots
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Will he reunite with McDaniels?

From the very moment Josh McDaniels rejoined the Patriots staff, soon-to-be free agent WR Brandon Lloyd was immediately linked with the team.

This link was well grounded in reality, particularly after the WR visited the Patriots today.

While Lloyd has gotten some high level interest elsewhere in free agency, players have taken less money in the past to sign with perennial Superbowl contender New England.

Lloyd has said that he feels that he and McDaniels are "connected" in the past, and has enjoyed the greatest success of his career when McDaniels was calling the plays.

Lloyd will reportedly consider all offers, but put a star next the Patriots if you're keeping track at home.

02-17-2012, 08:00 AM
Dolphins Host Flynn
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Matt+Flynn+Green+Bay+Packers+v+Kansas+City+mvDbzoD 0IJcl.jpg
Are two starts enough to justify signing him?

A day after showing free agent QB Peyton Manning around town, the Dolphins flew in another highly rated free agent QB in Green Bay's Matt Flynn.

Flynn has only made two starts in his career, but performed extremely well in both of them. He made his first confirmed free agent visit to Miami today.

The Dolphins pretty clearly have Manning as their first choice, but appear to be doing their due diligence on Matt Flynn as a possible plan B. If signed, Flynn would likely come in and compete with incumbent Matt Moore for the starting job in Miami.

02-17-2012, 08:09 AM
Vikings Host Thomas
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Will he be in purple next season?

CB Terrell Thomas missed the entire 2011 season due to a knee injury, but that hasn't stopped several teams from expressing high levels of interest on the open market.

Prior to the injury, Thomas was considered the Giants top CB, intercepting 10 passes in the previous two seasons.

The Vikings are one of the teams interested in Thomas. Thomas was apparently very interested by the Vikings offer and where they see him fitting into the defense.

02-17-2012, 08:24 AM
Orton Visits Seahawks
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Seattle is that uh-way.

QB Kyle Orton enjoyed a career year in Denver two seasons ago, but found himself pushed out by Tim Tebow and finished the season with the Chiefs. Orton started the final weeks of the season with the Chiefs and defeated the playoff bound Packers and Broncos in that time.

Now, the Seahawks have an interest in the journeyman QB. Many feel that Seattle is a good QB away from being a competitive team, and Seattle thinks that Orton may be the man for that job.

Orton was reportedly intrigued by Seattle's offer, capped off with the team essentially guaranteeing him the starting job.

Orton will wait to hear other offers, but it sounds as though "neckbeard" has a good chance of winding up in the Emerald City in 2012.

02-17-2012, 08:28 AM
Jackson Heads North, Visits 49ers
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

VJax to the Bay Area?

A day after a good visit with the Philadelphia Eagles, WR Vincent Jackson headed back across the country to visit with the 49ers in San Francisco.

The 49ers are highly expected to resign QB Alex Smith, and if they do, he'll need some additional weapons on offense.

Jackson would provide an elite #1 type presence at WR and would really open the 49ers passing attack which struggled at times in 2011.

02-17-2012, 09:48 AM
Peyton Tour Hits Washington
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Manning given the presidential treatment in the nation's capital.

Things were fairly quiet on the Peyton Manning front after his highly publicized visits to Miami, Arizona and possibly (don't tell the Tebow fanatics) Denver. But Manning resurfaced in Washington today as part of his visit to the Redskins HQ.

The welcoming party was out in full force, as owner Dan Snyder spared no expense in making sure the prize free agent QB got the best experience in Washington possible.

Manning met with the front office staff and coaches as the parties made their best pitches possible the QB.

Washington is in desperate need of help at the position, as they cannot possibly go into another season with the likes of Rex Grossman and John Beck at QB.

The Redskins have done well to clear out cap space the last few years after a decade of constantly living in cap hell, but Manning will be the first to point out that money is less of a big deal than the team's situation.

Currently, the Redskins don't have a Larry Fitzgerald or Brandon Marshall to offer Manning at WR, but the Redskins have the cap space to bring one in.

Manning has also said before that he may wait until after the first free agents have signed to see which team creates the best situation.

One thing we do know is that Washington is going to do whatever it has to in order to provide the best possible situation for Manning to sign.

02-17-2012, 11:08 AM
Skins Surprise Manning, Bring in Bowe for visit

Who wouldn't want to catch throws from Peyton Manning? One guy that definitely seems intrigued is wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe. The Redskins recently hosted Peyton Manning and in pulling out all the stops, Dan Snyder sent his private jet to pick up Dwayne Bowe and bring him in to meet with Peyton and the coaching staff.

The Redskins front office is on a mission to prove to Peyton that they are willing and able to bring the necessary surrounding talent to Washington to bring the Nations Capital back to prominence. The Redskins have the money, the resources, and the wherewithal to successfully recruit top tier free agents like Dwayne Bowe. The focus of this offseason is clear and this front office is focused on continuing the success of the last few offseasons bringing the right talent into the equation.

02-17-2012, 12:40 PM
Soliai Spotted in San Diego
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Chargers have need of a big nose tackle.

After playing the 2011 season as Miami's franchise player, Soliai was allowed to hit the market this offseason.

There haven't been many credible reports of Soliai visiting teams thus far, but he did spend this afternoon visiting with the Chargers.

The Chargers have a need at the position as their former NT, Antonio Garay, is a free agent and seems unlikely to return to the team.

02-17-2012, 02:59 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The big NT will remain a Jet.

The first signing of the free agency period was a no brainer for both parties involved.

The NY Jets have resigned DT Sione Pouha to a long-term, Quality level deal.

Pouha played the 2011 season the the team's franchise tag and the Jets chose not to tag him this year. They made him the best offer on the market and Pouha is reportedly ecstatic to be back in town.

02-17-2012, 10:29 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Pats weak secondary gets a major boost.

The Patriots made a splash on the free agent market early during the signing period by landing former Titan safety Michael Griffin.

The Pats offered Griffin an Elite level deal and Griffin gladly accepted. He immediately becomes the best player in the New England secondary and will hopefully go a long way towards making that defense respectable once again.

02-17-2012, 10:35 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Ravens keep the interior o-line strong.

Ben Grubbs was a popular man on the free agent market, but he stayed at home after resigning with the Ravens.

Grubbs signed an Elite level deal to stay in Baltimore.

02-17-2012, 10:42 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

49ers keep two important pieces from their playoff run.

The 49ers have succeeded in keeping two key free agent players, signing both CB Carlos Rogers and QB Alex Smith to long term deals.

The team wanted both players back, the players both wanted to be back, and the money was fair for both. Rogers signed an Elite deal while Smith signed a Quality deal.

02-17-2012, 10:51 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Bringing the fight to the Bay.

Though the Bucs are still holding out hope that they land prize free agent Mario Williams, they'll certainly take the news that Cortland Finnegan has agreed to sign with the team.

Finnegan likes where he'll fit in Greg Schiano's defense and the money the Bucs offered him was too much to pass up, an Elite level deal.

02-17-2012, 10:59 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Freeney hops one state over.

Released by the Colts to clear cap room, DE Dwight Freeney used the opportunity to cash in with a team less strapped for money: The Cincinnati Bengals.

Freeney liked the young talent on the Bengals and felt that his presence there would make them more of a championship contender than the rebuilding Colts. Freeney also reportedly wasn't interest in converting to OLB at this point in his career, preferring to stay as an end in the 4-3.

Freeney signed an Elite level deal with Cincy.

02-17-2012, 11:14 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Colts keep two key free agents.

Moments after it was announced that the Colts had lost free agent DE Dwight Freeney to the Bengals, they announced some positive news.

The team had managed to resign free agent DE Robert Mathis and WR Pierre Garcon. Both players had previously expressed interest in staying in Indy despite the team rebuilding, and the Colts ponied up the cash to keep them in town.

Garcon was also heavily pursued by the Redskins, but the Colts made a similar monetary offer and convinced Garcon to stay when they convinced him that he could play Marvin Harrison to Andrew Luck's Peyton Manning.

Mathis, unlike his former line-mate Freeney, was willing and excited to move to OLB in new head coach Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense.

Both players signed Elite deals.

02-17-2012, 11:25 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Redskins defense bolstered.

Though the Redskins have not heard any word from Peyton Manning, they have heard from two defensive free agents.

First, they signed former Raiders safety Tyvon Branch to an Elite level deal. Branch is an excellent in-the-box safety and will add some much needed punch to the Redskins defense.

Also, the Redskins resigned veteran defensive leader LB London Fletcher. Despite his age, Fletcher is coming off of one of his best seasons and was the field general of the Redskins defense. He signed a Quality level deal, likely keeping him in Washington for the rest of his career.

02-17-2012, 11:49 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

D-Line and QB help arrive in Buffalo.

The Buffalo Bills announced a series of signings this evening, including stealing a pair of defenders from the Lions.

The biggest name of the group is easily DE Cliff Avril. Avril was a hot commodity, prized by several teams, but ultimately decided on Buffalo. He was offered an Elite deal and liked the idea of sharing the d-line with quality players in Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams. The move also allowed Avril to stay as a 4-3 DE, rather than move to 3-4 OLB as several teams wanted him to do.

Joining Avril is former Lions teammate LB Stephen Tulloch. Tulloch also signed an Elite deal and will solidify the middle of the Bills LBing corps.

Finally, the Bills added some QB competition for incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick in the form of Josh Johnson. The Bills offered Johnson a Mid-level deal, borderline starter money. Fitzpatrick struggled down the stretch last season and Johnson will provide a solid backup option and possible competition.

02-17-2012, 11:58 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Veteran QB back in the fold.

The Titans released Matt Hasselbeck earlier in the offseason in an attempt to save some money. Their ploy worked when Hasselbeck opted to return to the Titans on a reduced salary.

Interest was minimal on the free agent market for Hasselbeck, so he resigned with the Titans on a Mid-level deal.

02-18-2012, 12:08 AM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Two more bodies to protect Rodgers.

The Packers have announced the signings of two offensive lineman who will be doing the job of keeping the franchise QB on his feet.

OT Jared Gaither was signed to a Mid-level deal and will be tasked with protecting the blindside of Aaron Rodgers. Gaither was offered a few similar deals, but none offered him the opportunity to compete for a Superbowl like the Packers did.

C Scott Wells resigned with the team at a Quality level deal and will continue to snap the ball to Rodgers.

Matthew Jones
02-18-2012, 11:43 AM
How the Michael Griffin signing impacts New England
by Matthew Jones

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Griffin joins Pat Chung in New England's secondary.

Perhaps New England's biggest weakness in 2011 was the play at safety, where the team released Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Jarrad Page, and Brandon McGowan in preseason only to end up forced to experiment with the likes of James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown, Josh Barrett, Nathan Jones, Sterling Moore, and Ross Ventrone. The instability at the position had a negative effect on New England's pass defense, in particular Devin McCourty, who was forced to cover the likes of Vincent Jackson and Brandon Marshall without being able to rely on safety help over the top.

Signing Michael Griffin brings a known quantity to the free safety spot opposite Patrick Chung. Griffin, a 2010 All-Pro and former first-round draft pick, has appeared in every game over the past five seasons and developed into a starter during his rookie season. He has recorded 17 career interceptions and broken up 44 passes in addition to making 389 tackles, an average of over 70 per season. His size, physicality, durability, ball skills, and aggressiveness make him one of the league's most well-rounded safeties. New England will enter the 2012 season with a strong secondary consisting of Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling on the outside at cornerback, as well as Griffin and Patrick Chung deep.

02-18-2012, 11:51 AM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Vjax to the city of brotherly love.

A year after "winning" free agency but failing to make the playoffs, the Eagles cast out their free agent net again this year and brought in one of the top WRs in former Charger Vincent Jackson.

Jackson provides a huge 6'5 frame for QB Michael Vick and should compliment Philly's other weapons nicely. Jackson signed an Elite level deal and was thrilled that the Eagles made him their top FA priority.

This also means that the Eagles are far more likely to trade Desean Jackson, or potentially pull the franchise tag tender if they can't find a trade partner.

02-18-2012, 11:59 AM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

I hope he likes BBQ.

Carl Nicks was widely considered the top free agent offensive lineman available, and he'll be taking his talents to Kansas City.

The big guard signed an Elite level deal with the Chiefs and will be tasked with trying to keep the Chiefs QBs healthy this season.

02-18-2012, 12:04 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Mathis allowed 0 sacks in 2011.

A day after landing stud DE Dwight Freeney, the Bengals kept on spending the money.

First, they signed free agent guards Evan Mathis (formerly of Philly, Elite deal) and Ryan Diem (formerly of Indy, Quality deal.) They will slot in on the o-line that will be charged with keeping sophomore QB Andy Dalton upright and healthy.

But they weren't done there...not by a long shot. They also offered an Elite level deal to former Giants CB Terrell Thomas. Thomas missed all of 2011 due to a knee injury after great years in 2009 and 2010. The Elite level deal is a bit of a risk to a guy coming off of a serious injury, but the Bengals were willing to take the chance.

Finally, the Bengals added to their WR corps by signing former Cowboys Laurent Robinson to a Quality level deal. Robinson broke out in 2010 and the Cowboys wanted him back. Cincy simply offered him more money than the Cowboys could afford to be the #2 WR to AJ Green. Whether the Bengals remove the franchise tag on Jerome Simpson now or not has yet to be revealed.

02-18-2012, 12:18 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Will he win the starting job in 2012?

(I accidentally overwrote this post so...)

Chiefs resign Orton to Quality level deal, will compete for the starting job. Seattle and Washington showed interest, but didn't pony up the same money as the Chiefs.

They also resign FB McClain to a Mid-level deal.

02-18-2012, 12:32 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Carlson is the newest Bronco.

The Denver Broncos had the most cap space available headed into the free agent signing period, and while they wait to hear back from prized FA Mario Williams, they confirmed the signings of three lower level players.

First, the resigned DT Brodrick Bunkley to a Quality level deal. Bunkley was the team's best run defender last season and will now be with the team long term.

Additionally, the Broncos added former Seahawks TE John Carlson for a Quality level deal. Carlson received a TON of Mid-level offers elsewhere in the league, but the Broncos were the only team to offer him more. He'll immediately be the starter at TE.

Finally, the Broncos added CB Eric Wright, formerly of the Browns and Lions. He will provide depth at a Mid-level deal.

02-18-2012, 12:40 PM
Skins Make Final Push for Manning

This morning, Mike Shanahan boarded Redskins One and personally flew to Peytons home in Greenwood, IN to sit down with him one on on. "We know that Peyton is nearing a decision and we understand that there are a lot of things for him to consider but we truly believe that he is the missing piece to the puzzle here in Washington and has a chance to be a part of something special." said coach Shanahan.

In a bit of a surprise, Redskins owner Dan Snyder allowed Mike to pack up and bring the Redskins lombardi trophies with him on his visit to Peyton. "Peyton knows what the ultimate goal is but seeing the lombardi trophy and holding it in your hands, that really makes you think. I know what it takes to win the big game. John Elway and I brought home two championships and I know that Peyton and I can do the same."

02-18-2012, 12:41 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Lofton gets to be a 3 down LB in Nashville.

The Tennessee Titans signed two former Falcons today.

First, they signed LB Curtis Lofton to a Quality level deal. Interest was surprisingly low in the middle linebacker, with only two other teams offering Quality level deals. He liked his potential role in Tennessee the best though, agreeing to sign there.

Additionally, the Titans added long time Falcons center Todd McClure on a Mid-level deal. The Falcons were the only other team to make an offer, trying to keep him for a Low level deal where he would need to compete for the starting job.

02-18-2012, 12:48 PM
Manning Narrows Options to Two
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Down to Arizona or Washington.

Peyton Manning still hasn't decided on who his next team will be, but did decide who it wouldn't be.

Peyton Manning has said "thanks but not thanks" to the Miami Dolphins. The team made it's best case possible for him but Manning decided to pass on their offer.

Manning did not give any exact reasons, but many think that Tom Brady's Patriots in the division, plus the Jets and an improving Bills team, he did not feel that it was his best chance to make the playoffs.

Manning is down to just two suitors now: Arizona and Washington.

02-18-2012, 12:54 PM
Bills Cut Two, Sign Bell
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Bell will stay a Bill.

The Buffalo Bills have already brought in some good players in DE Cliff Avril and LB Stephen Tulloch to their defense, and now have resigned one of their key o-lineman.

Demetrius Bell chose to resign with the Bills for a Quality level deal, choosing them over signing a similar deal elsewhere. He likes Buffalo and appreciates that the organization gave him a chance and has kept him around.

To create more cap space, the Bills have also announced the release of former backup QB Tyler Thigpen (made expendable with the Josh Johnson signing) and CB Drayton Florence. Combined, they save the team around $8 million.

02-18-2012, 01:02 PM
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Denver makes call to Mario
In the last hours of Phase On of Free Agency, the Denver Broncos make a last ditch effort to convince Williams he's the team for him. A source at Broncos HQ has reported John Elway was on the phone with Williams no more than 30 minutes ago. Our source says the two talked for 20 minutes and it seemed to be going well. Keep track of Broncos signing news on denverpost.com

02-18-2012, 01:05 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The newest Cleveland Brown.

The Browns got started with some free agent signings by nabbing a pair of former Washington Redskins.

First, they acquired LB Rocky McIntosh on a Quality level deal. McIntosh figures to kick outside in Cleveland to play next to franchise tagged D'Qwell Jackson.

Then, the Browns brought in OT Jammal Brown to play RT. Brown was a surprise release of the Redskins and joins the Browns on a Quality level deal as well.

Both players received moderate interest elsewhere, but neither was offered Quality level deals as another team's first choice at the position.

02-18-2012, 01:17 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Bears finally get a #1 target for Jay Cutler.

After a tense standoff that had the Chiefs and Bears fighting over Dwayne Bowe into the wee hours of the morning, the star WR chose to head to the Windy City.

A number of teams offered Bowe elite level deals, but he finally narrowed his options down to resigning with the Chiefs or heading to the Bears. Former Chiefs exec and new Bears GM Phil Emery was instrumental in luring the WR to Chicago, where he'll immediately become the #1 WR and Jay Cutler's best friend.

Additionally, the Bears tacked on a few Mid-level signings by bringing in former Rams #2 overall draft pick Jason Smith and former Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett. Neither player drew much interest on the FA market and will have a good chance to win starting jobs in Chicago.

Somewhere, Jay Cutler is slightly less miserable looking. (I'd say that he's smiling...but c'mon now.)

02-18-2012, 02:07 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

But who will he be catching passes from?

While the Washington Redskins wait to see what Peyton Manning decides to do, they've decided to sweeten the pot a bit by signing former Saints WR Marques Colston to an Elite level deal.

For Colston, the decision came down to the Redskins or 49ers. Colston liked his fit in Washington a little better as the clear #1 option on offense and it would be closer to where he grew up in Pennsylvania.

02-18-2012, 02:15 PM

Report: Mario Williams Leaning Towards Atlanta


According to unnamed source, former Houston Texan and free-agent Mario Williams is leaning towards signing with the Atlanta Falcons. Williams, the star player out of N.C. State, is known for his superb athleticism and pass-rushing skills.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank is known for going all out for his man. On Thursday night, Blank took out Williams to dinner, the two were joined by Falcons coaches Mike Smith and new addition Mike Nolan. Nolan had this to say of Williams, "He (Mario Williams) would make for a great addition to our defense, and no doubt we would love to have him. He's scheme versatile and when healthy arguably the most dominant defensive force in this game."

Apparently Mario Williams is quite intrigued by the role he would play in a Falcons uniform, and understands that he could be the player to finally push the Falcons over their playoff hump. Under the helm of Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons have yet to have a losing season, yet have not won a playoff game. "We would love to have a guy like Mario join the team," said Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, "he would instantly upgrade our team and make things tougher for opposing quarterbacks".

Mario Williams is expected to make his decision later tonight. Here's hoping he decides to join the Dirty Birds.

02-18-2012, 02:15 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Have they finally found a replacement for Marino?

Hours after being shot down in their pursuit of Peyton Manning, the Miami Dolphins have moved onto Plan B.

They've signed former Green Bay Packer Matt Flynn to be their QB, offering him a Quality level deal.

Flynn played extremely well in his two career starts, though his lack of experience scared a lot of teams off from making big offers. He will come into Miami and should assume the starting job right away.

02-18-2012, 02:19 PM
Peyton Manning calls 4pm EST Press Conference
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

He will announce his team.

Peyton Manning has informed the media that he will be conducting a press conference at 4pm EST where he plans to announce which team he will sign with.

His choices have been narrowed down to the Cardinals and the Redskins. Both parties feel confident that Manning will sign with them.

Tune in at 4:00 to see who Manning chooses!

02-18-2012, 02:27 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

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Will he be snapping the ball to Peyton Manning?

Chris Myers was considered one of the best centers on the free agent market, playing at a pro bowl level in 2011 with the Texans.

He will now be on the move to the nation's capital, where he signed a Quality level deal with the Redskins.

Myers would have preferred to return to the Texans, but the cash strapped team simply didn't have the money to compete with the Redskins offer. The Redskins also being a ZBS team, and Myers having played for Shanahan previously, both helped to seal the deal.

02-18-2012, 02:37 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Crowder follows Mike Nolan to Atlanta.

The Falcons are thought to be one of the key players in the Mario Williams sweepstakes, but have made a number of minor moves while they wait for his decision.

Most notably, the Falcons have signed LB Channing Crowder, bringing him out of a one year retirement. He has signed a Mid-level deal to join the Falcons and play under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan once again.

Additionally, the Falcons signed several players to Low-level deals:

- WR Steve Smith - The former Eagle and Giant has been struggling to recover from microfracture surgery and will join the Falcons WR corps as the 3rd option behind Julio and Roddy White.

- TE Jacob Tamme - Tamme was the 2nd fiddle TE to Dallas Clark in Indy and will now backup/potentially replace Tony G.

- DE Trevor Scott - Scott was a promising player in Oakland a few years back but dropped off the charts in recent seasons. He will likely fill Kroy Bierman's situation role in Atlanta.

02-18-2012, 02:57 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Maybe he can help keep Big Ben healthy this year.

After starting the offseason in salary cap hell, the Steelers worked hard and cast off a lot of dead weight in order to get some cap room.

They've now used that cap room to bring in some o-line help in the form of former Dolphin Vernon Carey. Carey figures to immediately become the starter at RG. He signed a Quality level agreement.

The Steelers also retained QB Byron Leftwich and WR Jericho Cotchery at Low-level deals.

02-18-2012, 03:11 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

He chooses his next team.

Peyton: I'd like to thank everyone for tuning in. I've given my decision a lot of thought, and I feel truly blessed to have three great franchises open their doors to me.

So, without further ado, the team I will be playing for in 2012 is...<reaches under podium and pulls out...>


The Arizona Cardinals

Reporter: Why choose Arizona?

PM: The chance to play with Larry Fitzgerald was a big reason. I think he's one of the best WRs in football. Tremendous athlete and great work ethic. We met and talked during Superbowl week and he really sold me on the organization and coaching staff there.

Reporter: Did Arizona's stadium have anything to do with it?

PM: It did. I like the stadium they have there and in that division, I'd get to play 9 games every year indoors, which is where I spent my whole career in Indy.

Reporter: Did the perceived weakness of the division have anything to do with it?

PM: Well, there are some good teams and good players in that division. The 49ers almost made the Superbowl this year don't forget. I just think Arizona is a great place to go play.

Reporter: Did your brother's presence in the NFC East keep you away from Washington?

PM: I'm a competitive guy and I love playing against Eli. That did not factor into the decision at all.

02-18-2012, 03:26 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Jay Feely will hopefully be kicking a lot of extra points after Peyton Manning scores TDs.

After bringing in the biggest free agent QB possibly ever, the Cardinals looked to made some lower level signings to help bolster their roster.

OT Levi Brown, cut earlier in the offseason to lower his cap number, returns to the team on a more more sensible Mid-level deal.

Veteran TE Todd Heap, cut in a similar fashion to Brown, also returns on a Low-level deal.

DE Vonnie Holliday comes back to the defensive line rotation on a Low-level deal, as does OL Rex Hadnot.

And of course, K Jay Feeley returns to the team as well, also on a Low-level deal.

02-18-2012, 03:41 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Mincey returns to the Jags, joined by Lloyd.

The Jaguars have gotten involved in the free agency game by bringing in a haul of players.

First, they made sure to resign their best pass rusher from 2011: DE Jeremy Mincey. Mincey returns to the team on a long-term, Quality level deal.

Next, they went out and paid WR Brandon Lloyd a Quality level deal to steal him away from the Patriots, where he was looking to sign. The Pats only offered him a Mid-level deal though, and even Lloyd's connection with new OC Josh McDaniels could make up for the monetary difference. Lloyd becomes the #1 WR in Jacksonville.

The Jags weren't done there though, as they swiped CB Aaron Ross from the defending champion Giants. Ross started 15 games for the Giants on their way to the Superbowl win. He also signed a Quality level deal.

The Jags additionally offered Mid-level deals to S Dwight Lowery and WR/ST Ace Matt Slater, formerly of the Patriots. Slater was...slated...to return to the Pats but the Jags monetary offer was too much to pass up.

Finally, the Jaguars also signed former Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda to a Low-level deal.

02-18-2012, 04:03 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

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Randy is glad to be a Patriot again.

The last time Randy Moss joined the Patriots, he only went on to fuel the offense to a record shattering season. Now, he has been brought back.

Moss has stated multiple times that he loves and respects coach Bill Belichick, and is promising to give 100% effort all the time now that he's back on the team. He signed a very Low-level deal that offers him some incentives for playing well this season. A few other teams had low level interest in Moss, but his love for Belichick and the Patriots drew him there.

Additionally, the Patriots signed several other lower end players:

WR Deion Branch - Low level - Brought back because he knows the offense and the team well. Still a contributor.

OT Mark LeVoir - Low level - A backup tackle to replace the traded Matt Light.

C Dan Connolly - Mid level - Replaces Dan Koppen as the long term center for the Pats.

DE/OLB Mark Anderson - Mid level - Anderson had a bit of a career rebirth in New England last offseason and returns to bolster the Pats pass rush.

LB Manny Lawson - Mid level - Lawson is the type of bigger OLB that Belichick likes and he should be a starter.

LB Tracy White - Low level - Special teamer and backup.

DE Marcus Spears - Mid level - 3-4 end who could start and contribute to the rotation.

DE Luis Castillo - Mid level - 3-4 end who could start and contribute to the rotation.

OLB Matt Roth - Mid level - Type of bigger pass rusher that Belichick likes.

CB Antuan Molden - Low level - CB Depth and special teamer

CB Chris Carr - Low level - CB Depth and special teamer

02-18-2012, 04:18 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Both head to the great Northwest.

The Seahawks have gotten in on some of the sweet, sweet free agent action.

First, they resigned LB David Hawthorne to a Quality level deal. Hawthorne has been one of their best defensive players the last couple seasons.

Next, they addressed their QB situation by bringing in former Dolphin Chad Henne. Henne will compete with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job. (Henne is expected to win it rather easily.) Henne signed a Mid-level contract.

02-18-2012, 04:33 PM

New Team Vying For Super Mario?


Feb 18th, 2012- In a stunning new twist, the New Orleans Saints apparently jumped into the Mario Williams sweepstakes. After looking for a trade partner for Jonathan Vilma, the Saints finally found a suitor in New York, trading the MLB for a player and two picks. This freed up the money for the Saints to do what they wanted to do the whole time: Nab Mario Williams. Mario has talked about wanting to be paid, and it looks like the money saved in the Vilma trade will be more then enough to land Williams. Williams would be a perfect fit in the Saints defense, giving them the pass rush they desperately needed. Playing for a DL guru in Steve Spagnoulo, Mario looks to be one of the premier players playing on the Superdomes fast turf for eight games a year. We've just got word that Mickey Loomis and Spanoulo are flying to meet Mario in a secret location near South Carolina, possibly NC States campus. Look for this to be a top destination for Mario Williams.

02-18-2012, 05:13 PM
Giants bolster already scary front 7 with addition to Vilma:

Jonathan Vilma is returning to New York, but this time he'll be playing for the big brother of the city, as a Giant. Vilma gives the Giants a very strong LB duo with him and Boley. The Giants, who like the young Jacquian Williams, are still hoping to bring back Chase Blackburn to start alongside Vilma and Boley, turning LB into a strength instead of a question mark. They're also considering moving Kiwanuka BACK to DE to give keep the dominance in pass rushing, and hope to bring back Dave Tollefson, to give them an extremely talented, and deep, front 7.

02-18-2012, 06:32 PM
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After missing out on multiple WRs the Arizona Cardinals find them selves with plenty of cap space and no one to spend it on. †While it is likey that lower level options will be brought in the extra cash could entice Manning's former AFC South foe into joining him in the quest for championship. While they are certainly late to the race, the Cardinals may be Williams' best shot at a ring†

02-18-2012, 06:38 PM
Bills call Routt.....Again

Bills front office has called Routts agent again after he took his first visit last week. Since that time Buffalo has cut Drayton Flornce and saved 4.9 million. Seems like that plus more would go to Routt and he'd become the Bills number one CB. Aaron Williams likely the number two. Buffalo also called GreenBay about Charles Woodson more to come later, maybe?


Nix and free agent pick ups talk

Nix told reporters on the Avril and Tulloch signings.

"It made sense both ways ya know and when you have the cap to make big moves it helps for sure. Cliff and Stephen played very good last year and they fit what we need. Pass rushers and linebackers. I think they liked the idea of having someone they played with last year still on the field with 'em. Kind of help them with the transition. Cliff is going to play right end and Stephen middle backer."

What happens to MLB Kelvin Sheppard?

"We like Kelvin at Sam linebacker as well. He is gonna start there. He played all three spots at LSU so hes moved around before. Dave has talked to him about it and Kelvin is looking forward to it. Dave thinks he will be fine and so do I."

Josh Johnson pick up and Thigpen cut.

"He is a threat to run with it ya know. He is a guy that can make ya miss too. We feel like he has a chance to be a good nfl QB. Right now he under stands the back up roll to Fitz. He's gonna have to learn a new system so he needs to learn first. But he is gonna be the number two QB if on one else is added, maybe late in the draft if we like a guy. Tyler just didn't play well when he had chances. You have to prove it to earn a roster spot. He didn't do it. Tyler's a great person but it's a job and that's the nfl."

Matthew Jones
02-18-2012, 06:53 PM
Examining New England's defensive additions

Marcus Spears is one of the latest players to sign with the Patriots

The New England Patriots made a large splash in the free agent pool today, signing a litany of free agents, including WR Randy Moss and OT Mark LeVoir. But arguably the biggest upgrades made were to New England's defense, as the Patriots were able to convince Marcus Spears, Luis Castillo, Matt Roth, Manny Lawson, and Chris Carr to join recently-inked safety Michael Griffin in Foxboro. Bill Belichick and co. also successfully re-signed defensive end Mark Anderson, linebacker Tracy White, and cornerback Antwaun Molden. So how do the team's new signings fit in, and how will New England's defensive fronts look in 2012?

The signings suggest that opposing offenses will be seeing more three-man fronts from the Patriots; both Spears and Castillo are most at home playing defensive end in 3-4 fronts. The two linemen are former first-round picks who should be considered front-runners to start; Spears was drafted by Bill Parcells and has also played under Rob Ryan, a former Belichick assistant.

Roth and Lawson have experience playing in odd and even fronts, which gives New England a great deal of flexibility in creating gameplans. Roth projects to the "elephant" linebacker position in odd fronts and can also play left end in the 4-3; he played under Eric Mangini in Cleveland in 2009 and 2010. Lawson was a defensive end in college, but was drafted by San Francisco to play outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense before signing with Cincinnati last season and playing outside linebacker in 4-3 fronts. He is considered a strong run defender with excellent coverage ability and can play in either defense.

Carr and Molden are expected to provide depth on the outside at cornerback behind starting cover-men Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling.

Matthew Jones
02-18-2012, 07:09 PM
Patriots release three players

New England cut ties with three players today

After signing a number of free agents, the New England Patriots released three players today: LB Christian Cox, LB Aaron Lavarias, and DB Malcolm Williams. They are free to sign with any team.

Matthew Jones
02-18-2012, 07:40 PM
Blockbuster trade in the works?


Rumor has it that New England has entered negotiations with a fierce rival on a blockbuster trade. Stay tuned...

02-18-2012, 10:21 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Mike Tolbert is amongst the "others."

The Bucs have continued signing free agents, including two of their own: CB Elbert Mack and OG Jeremy Zuttah, both on Mid-level deals.

Mack figures to be the #2 CB to Finnegan or possibly the team's nickel back.
Zuttah received strong interest from a few other teams, but opted to return to the Bucs to play for his college coach in Schiano.

Additionally, the Bucs added several lower level free agents including:

- QB David Carr - Low - Carr follows former Giants QB coach Mike Sullivan to Tampa. The Bucs also offered a little more money than the veteran minimum deal the Giants wanted to sign him to. Carr already got a Superbowl ring as a backup and happily took the money.

- RB Mike Tolber - Mid - The Chargers tried to keep Tolbert, but just didn't offer the money the Bucs did. Tolbert will likely be the #2 back to Blount but if Blount struggles, Tolbert could take over as the team's main rusher.

- FB Ahmard Hall - Low - The Bucs promised Hall the chance to do a lot of lead blocking in their offense and he decided to sign with them.

- TE Joel Dreessen - Mid - Dreessen has seen a lot of action the last two season backing up Owen Daniels in Tampa and is a capable all around TE. He'll see action in two TE sets as well as be the primary backup to Winslow.

02-18-2012, 10:57 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Ginn will be returning to San Fran.

The 49ers have announced the resigning of two players, plus the addition of a third.

First, the 49ers brought back WR and return man Ted Ginn Jr on a Mid-level deal. Though he struggles with drops, he is still a potent return man and boost to the San Francisco special teams.

Additionally, the 49ers resigned OG/T Adam Snyder to a Quality level deal. Snyder will start at G and can backup both tackle positions making him a valuable, versatile piece.

Finally, the team added former Redskins safety Reed Doughty on a Mid-level deal. He will provide valuable depth at the least.

02-18-2012, 11:22 PM
(It has been pointed out that quantity beats quality at this point, so I'm just going to bang out signings by team and update the tracker. Free agent list will be updated later.)

02-18-2012, 11:26 PM
St. Louis Rams Sign:

WR Mario Manningham - Quality - Superbowl hero gets paid like a #1 WR, which he'll be in St. Louis

OT Wayne Hunter - Mid - Follows Brian Schotty to St. Louis, should be an instant starter on the o-line.

LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar - Mid - Follows Gregg Williams to St. Louis and should be an instant starter who knows the defensive system.

02-18-2012, 11:27 PM
Arizona Cardinals sign:

WR Robert Meachem - Quality - He'll be the #2 WR/deep threat to Larry Fitzgerald for Peyton Manning.

02-18-2012, 11:30 PM
Houston Texans sign:

WR Santana Moss - Mid - Veteran #2 WR to Andre Johnson.

K Niel Rackers - Low - Returns to the team.

02-18-2012, 11:32 PM
NY Jets sign:

WR Braylon Edwards - Low - Returns to the Jets where he had success on a cost efficient deal for the Jets.

02-18-2012, 11:36 PM
San Diego Chargers sign:

NT Paul Soliai - Quality - The Chargers are viewed as a playoff caliber team in need of a new NT.

OT Sam Baker - Mid - With Gaither and McNeil leaving town, the team needed to bolster the tackle position. Backer is a capable though unspectacular starter.

C Nick Hardwick - Quality - Long time player returns to the team on a market value deal.

FB Jacob Hester - Low - See Hardwick's explanation.

RB Justin Forsett - Low - A speedier, shiftier presence to compliment Ryan Matthews.

WR Mike Sims Walker - Low - WR depth

WR Chaz Schilens - Low - WR depth

02-18-2012, 11:41 PM
Oakland Raiders sign:

CB Jason Allen - Mid - Had a good year in Houston and will start for the Raiders.

RB Michael Bush - Mid - Returns to the Raiders as a starter with McFadden gone.

C Samson Satele - Mid - Returns to the Raiders as a starter, allows the team to keep Wisniewski at LG where he played well last year.

02-18-2012, 11:47 PM
Detroit Lions Sign:

OT Marcus McNeill - Mid - Need a better/younger LT to replace Backus. McNeill is risky but quality if he's healthy.

OG Eric Steinbach - Mid - Cleveland tried to keep him but more money from a playoff team drew him away.

S Brandon Merriweather - Low - Lions are taking a chance on him. Low risk, high reward if he pays off.

S Bob Sanders - Low - See Merriweather.

LB Lofa Tatupu - Low - See Merriweather and Sanders.

02-19-2012, 12:01 AM
Minnesota Vikings sign:

CB Tracy Porter - Elite - They showed Porter the money more than anyone else. He considered signing in Oakland to play under his old position coach in Dennis Allen, but couldn't refuse the Vikes money.

S OJ Atogwe - Quality - The Vikes badly needed safety help and offered Atogwe a good deal.

LB Erin Henderson - Mid - They paid him more than anyone else was willing to in order to keep him around.

02-19-2012, 12:08 AM
NY Giants sign:

DE Dave Tollefson - Low - Works in the Giants rotation well, hometown/SB discount to stay.

LB Chase Blackburn - Low - See Tollefson.

02-19-2012, 12:11 AM
Dallas Cowboys sign:

DE Red Bryant - Mid - Should be a starter at DE, got little interest elsewhere.

02-19-2012, 12:14 AM
Philadelphia Eagles Sign:

DB Reggie Smith - Low - Eagles will give him opportunities by moving him all around the secondary.

FB Owen Schmitt - Low - He'd start.

DT Derek Landri - Low - Depth/rotational piece.

OT King Dunlap - Low - Depth

DT Antonio Dixon - Low - See Landri.

02-19-2012, 12:19 AM
Washington Redskins sign:

WR Eddie Royal - Mid - Will have a chance to start and played his best football under Shanny.

DL Adam Carriker - Mid - Quality defensive line depth/rotational piece.

OT Barry Richardson - Mid - Will start at RT.

QB Matt Leinart - Low - Backup option, experience with Kyle Shanahan in Houston.

02-19-2012, 12:22 AM
New Orleans Saints sign:

FB Mike Karney - Low - Will have a job with the Saints after being out of football last year.

WR Donte Stallworth - Low - Returns to the team where it all started.

OG Leonard Davis - Low - Big body to provide depth or potentially replace Nicks.

LB Xavier Adibi - Low - Depth LB

02-19-2012, 12:26 AM
Atlanta Falcons sign:

DT Vance Walker - Low - Depth/rotational player

DE John Abraham - Quality - Still brings the pass rush and can likely finish his career a Falcon.

C Andre Gurode - Low - Potential starter, good depth player

02-19-2012, 12:30 AM
Tampa Bay Bucs sign:

- S LaRon Landry - Elite - They showed him the most money.

- LB Dan Connor - Quality - They also showed him more money than just about anyone.

- DT Trevor Laws - Mid - Good rotational/depth piece who could start since Brian Price and Gerald McCoy aren't models of good health.

02-19-2012, 12:40 AM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Super Mario on the move to Mile High.

Was it Tebow Time that did it? Or perhaps the mountain air? Or, most likely, the heaps and heaps of money the Broncos threw at him?

Probably a combination of all three, with heavy emphasis on the latter part.

Today, the Denver Broncos signed Mario Williams to a contract that will make him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.

Many teams were in the sweepstakes for Mario's services, but in the end, the Broncos and their league highest cap space won out.

Mario will get to play with Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller as well as share the d-line with Elvis Dumervil and the recently resigned Brodrick Bunkley.

02-19-2012, 12:50 AM
Seattle Seahawks sign:

FB Michael Robinson - Low - Starting FB, made a pro bowl with them last year.

LB Heath Farwell - Low - Brings back a special teamer/depth player

02-19-2012, 12:54 AM
Baltimore Ravens sign:

LB Ahmad Brooks - Quality - Will be a key starting LB and gets to play with Lewis, Reed, Suggs and Ngata.

02-19-2012, 01:00 AM
Buffalo Bills sign:

TE Scott Chandler - Mid - Returns to the team as starting TE.

RB Tim Hightower - Low - Depth guy with potential if he gets healthy.

02-19-2012, 01:03 AM
Miami Dolphins sign:

OT Anthony Collins - Mid - Capable starter who should get that role in Miami.

WR Donald Driver - Low - Brings knowledge of Philbin's offense to Miami.

02-19-2012, 01:07 AM
Chicago Bears sign:

S Thomas DeCoud - Mid - Should start at safety, connection with new GM Emery from time in Atlanta.

CB Cory Graham - Low - Great special teamer and depth.

CB Zack Bowman - Low - Depth

WR Matt Willis - Low - Special teams and depth.

02-19-2012, 01:11 AM
Tennessee Titans sign:

DE Will Smith - Quality - The Saints gamble didn't work as the Titans offer Smith more money and a starting gig.

S Gibril Wilson - Mid - Probable starter

S Jordan Babineaux - Mid - Returns to the team as a probable starter.

OG Steve Hutchinson - Quality - Most money anyone was willing to give him and will be a starter.

02-19-2012, 01:15 AM
Indianapolis Colts sign:

OLB Jarret Johnson - Quality - Follows Pagano to Indy to start at OLB for good money.

LB Philip Wheeler - Low - Resigns to be in the more aggressive scheme of Pagano like he was in college.

02-19-2012, 01:16 AM
San Diego Chargers sign:

S Roman Harper - Quality - Sure fire starter next to Eric Weddle, good money.

02-19-2012, 01:18 AM
Kansas City Chiefs sign:

All low level depth moves:

RB Jackie Battle
S Jon McGraw
TE Leonard Pope
DE Wallace Gilberry
DL Amon Gordon

02-19-2012, 01:22 AM
Green Bay Packers sign:

CB Jarrett Bush - Low - Returns as a depth player.

02-19-2012, 01:26 AM
Minnesota Vikings sign:

(all low level depth offers)

S Husain Abdullah
WR Devin Aromashadu
DT Letroy Guion

02-19-2012, 11:08 AM
Tennessee Titans sign:

(low level depth deals)

LB Tim Shaw
C Ken Amato

02-19-2012, 11:13 AM
Patriots News:

DE Luis Castillo has failed a physical after signing with the Patriots, putting him back on the FA market.

As a result, the Patriots have signed DE Kendall Langford to a Mid-level deal instead.

(I went out of order on his list accidentally. I'm giving everyone one fix if it's something I did wrong.)

02-19-2012, 11:21 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers sign:

DT Aubrayo Franklin - Mid - The Steelers need a cheaper/younger/healthier NT option with Hampton having been cut. Franklin also got interest from the Colts at the Mid level before their cap space ran too low.

LB Jonathan Goff - Low - Depth/special teamer, possible future starter with Farrior and Foote older.

02-19-2012, 11:24 AM
Cleveland Browns sign:

S Mike Adams - Mid - Returns to the team as a likely starter.

K Phil Dawson - Low - Long time kicker returns to finish his career with the team.

CB Dmitri Patterson - Low - Solid nickel guy/depth.

OT John Greco - Low - Depth

02-19-2012, 11:54 AM
Indianapolis Colts sign:

(both depth/backups returning to the team)

CB Justin Tryon - Low

DE Jamaal Anderson - Low

02-19-2012, 12:01 PM

Release TE Matt Spaeth, freeing up $1.8 million.
Release RB Marion Barber III (2.25 mill)
Release DT Anthony Adams (1.9 mill)
Release OG Chris Spencer (2.75 mill)
Total: $9 million

Pull the franchise tag off of Jerome Simpson ($10 million)

02-19-2012, 12:08 PM
NY Giants sign:

WR Devin Thomas - Low - Key special teamer who may get more of a role on offense with Manningham and Barden moving on.

02-19-2012, 12:12 PM
Chicago Bears sign:

They freed up some space with their recent cuts:

CB Rashean Mathis - Quality - Will be a starter, Bears taking a big financial risk on him given his injury.

QB Jason Campbell - Mid - Got no offers elsewhere, will backup Cutler for decent backup QB money.

DT Amobi Okoye - Mid - Will rotate with Melton at UT, Anthony Adams' release unclogs the rotation a bit.

02-19-2012, 12:24 PM
Washington Redskins sign:

OL Korey Lichtensteiger - Low - depth

LB Keyaron Fox - Low - Special teams ace

02-19-2012, 12:40 PM
St. Louis Rams sign:

TE Bo Scaife - Low - Played with Fisher before, has an opportunity to contribute a lot.

P Donnie Jones - Low - Punter returns to the team.

LB Chris Chamberlain - Low - Special teamer and depth.

DT Gary Gibson - Low - Depth/rotational player

02-19-2012, 12:54 PM
Atlanta Falcons sign:

WR Eric Weems - Low - Their top return man.

02-19-2012, 12:57 PM
Jacksonville Jaguars sign:

QB Chris Redman - Low - Played under Mularkey in Atlanta and likely has a better shot of seeing the field behind Gabbert than he does behind Ryan.

02-19-2012, 01:00 PM
Seattle Seahawks sign:

CB Kelvin Hayden - Low - Chance to start, better offer than the VM Atlanta offered to keep him.

02-19-2012, 01:07 PM
Tennessee Titans sign:

CB Stanford Routt - Quality - It was a tough decision between Buffalo and Tennessee, but Routt opted for the Titans in the end.

02-19-2012, 01:11 PM
Buffalo Bills sign:

CB Drayton Florence - Mid - Returns to the team on a more team-friendly deal. Basicially works out like a restructure.

02-19-2012, 01:39 PM
Colts release three:

Chris Rucker - $465K in savings
Curtis Painter - $440K in savings
Jermale Hines - $465K in savings

02-19-2012, 01:54 PM
Post Round 1 Salary Cap Situations
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Teams have been spending money like it's going out of style, but a number of impact free agents remain for round 2. Here is a look at the salary cap situation of each team to know who the players will be:

Plenty of space:
(These teams have plenty of space and could still make any offer to anyone, or make plenty of Mid and Low offers.)

- Denver Broncos (Even after Mario, they have the most cap space left.)
- Buffalo Bills (Not too far behind.)
- Kansas City Chiefs
- New Orleans Saints
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Cincinnati Bengals (Were low, but pulling the tag off of Simpson added space.)
- Miami Dolphins
- Cleveland Browns
- Seattle Seahawks
- Arizona Cardinals (If they cut Kolb after signing Manning, they'll be back in great shape.)

Still some room to maneuver:
(Not enough to offer an Elite deal, but could still make one Quality signing or several Mid and Low ones.)

- Dallas Cowboys
- San Diego Chargers
- Washington Redskins
- Tennessee Titans
- Green Bay Packers

A little space:
(Couldn't offer an Elite or Quality, but could still get a Mid or two plus some Lows.)

- Oakland Raiders
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- St. Louis Rams
- NY Giants
- Atlanta Falcons
- Minnesota Vikings
- Houston Texans
- NY Jets
- Indy Colts

Against the cap:
(Could maybe get one Low, but will be limited mostly to Veteran Minimum offers.)

- Chicago Bears
- Baltimore Ravens
- Tampa Bay Bucs
- Philadelphia Eagles (If they trade or defranchise Desean, they'll be back in good shape.)
- San Francisco 49ers
- New England Patriots
- Detroit Lions (Veteran Minimums only)
- Carolina Panthers (Veteran Minimums only)

02-19-2012, 02:50 PM
Cardinals Cut Kevin Kolb
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

After signing Peyton Manning, you knew that it would only be a matter of time until they released Kevin Kolb. Now it has happened.

Kolb had a $10 million dollar cap hit coming this offseason and the Cardinals will now save all of that.

Kolb will now hit the free agent list as well, looking for work in 2012.

02-19-2012, 03:01 PM
Best Available Round 2: Offense
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

- Kevin Kolb - Mid
- Shaun Hill - Mid
- Vince Young - Mid
- Rex Grossman - Mid
- David Garrard - Mid
- Dennis Dixon - Low
- Brian Hoyer - Low (2nd Round tendered RFA)
- Chad Pennington - Low

- Peyton Hillis - Quality
- Ryan Grant - Mid
- Jason Snelling - Mid
- Mewelde Moore - Mid
- Cedric Benson - Mid
- Benjarvus Green-Ellis - Mid
- LaDanian Tomlinson - Low
- Knowshon Moreno - Low

- Reggie Wayne - Elite
- Jerome Simpson - Quality (franchise tag removed)
- Harry Douglas - Mid
- Josh Morgan - Mid
- Early Doucet - Mid
- Lee Evans - Mid
- Andre Caldwell - Mid
- Chad Ochocinco - Mid
- Plaxico Burress - Mid
- Roscoe Parrish - Mid
- Jacoby Jones - Mid
- Kevin Walter - Mid

- Visanthe Shianco - Mid
- Jeremy Shockey - Mid

(all Mid)
- Jeff Backus
- Gosder Cherilus
- Kareem McKenzie
- Winston Justice
- Brandon Keith
- Bryant McKinnie
- Max Starks
- Khalif Barnes

(all Mid)
- Chilo Rachal
- Deuce Lutui
- Jacob Bell
- Mike McGlynn
- Mike Brisiel
- Jake Scott

- Jeff Saturday - Quality
(all Mid)
- Jammal Jackson
- Will Montgomery
- Jason Brown
- Matt Birk
- Dan Koppen
- Mike Pollack

02-19-2012, 03:08 PM
Best Available Round 2: Defense
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

- Israel Idonije - Quality
- Kroy Bierman - Quality
- Cory Redding - Quality
- Frostee Rucker - Mid
- Aaron Kampman - Mid
- Ty Warren - Mid
- Luis Castillo - Mid

- Antonio Garay - Quality
(all Mid)
- Rocky Bernard
- Shaun Rogers
- Albert Haynesworth
- Casey Hampton
- Jonathan Fanene
- Pat Sims
- Marcus Thomas
- Kelly Gregg

- EJ Henderson - Quality
- Leroy Hill - Quality
(all Mid)
- AJ Hawk
- Erik Walden
- Keith Brooking
- Bradie James
- Scott Shanle
- Geno Hayes
- Clark Haggans
- Stewart Bradley
- Jameel McClain
- Scott Fujita
- Bart Scott
- Barrett Ruud
- Ernie Sims
- Joe Mays
- Wesley Woodyard

- Anthony Spencer - Quality
(all Mid)
- Andre Carter
- Shawne Merriman
- Chris Kelsay

- Richard Marshall - Quality
(all Mid)
- Tim Jennings
- Cedric Griffin
- Terrence Newman
- Leigh Torrence
- Marcus Trufant
- Dominique Foxworth
- William G ay
- Bryant McFadden
- Kelly Jennings
- Pacman Jones
- Terrence McGee
- Lito Sheppard

- Reggie Nelson - Quality
(all Mid)
- Charlie Peprah
- Deon Grant
- Abram Elam
- James Sanders
- Sean Jones
- Haruki Nakamura
- Tom Zbikowski
- Jim Leonard
- Eric Smith
- Brodney Pool
- Bryan Scott
- Will Allen
- Yeremiah Bell
- Chris Hope
- Melvin Bullitt
- Steve Gregory
- Matt Giordano

Mike Nugent
Nick Folk

Mat McBriar
Matt Turk

02-19-2012, 09:34 PM
Release updates:

Cincinnati Bengals:
S Chris Crocker - $1.9 million
CB Brandon Ghee - $540k

Green Bay Packers:
LB Frank Zombo - $490k
TE Tom Crabtree - $490k

San Francisco 49ers:
CB Shawntae Spencer $3.2 million

02-19-2012, 11:55 PM
Vikings Bolster Secondary

The Minnesota Vikings have emphasized the importance of improving the secondary this offseason, and followed through on that in free agency.

The Vikings announced today that they have come to terms on a contract with cornerback Tracy Porter and free safety OJ Atogwe, and that they have re-signed strong safety Husain Abdullah, outside linebacker Erin Henderson, defensive tackle Letroy Guion, and wide receiver Devin Aromashodu.

Porter, most known for his Super Bowl XLIV clinching interception, said his final choice came down to the Vikings and Raiders with multiple other teams showing interest. Porter will be slated to start opposite Antoine Winfield with Chris Cook, barring further legal consequences stemming from a domestic dispute case, expected to play in the nickel. Porter had a bit of a down year in 2011, but the Vikings expect for the 25-year old to bounce back.

Atogwe will take over at free safety for a Vikings team that struggled mightily in the secondary with many lapses in coverage, despite primarily playing cover 2 which is known as a system that makes the safeties’ responsibilities simple. The Vikings hope Atogwe brings a playmaking aspect the Vikings secondary has been missing. In 2011, the Vikings set an NFL record of most consecutive passes thrown against without an interception, and ended the season tied for last in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts with only 8 interceptions. Atogwe had 3 interceptions in 13 games with Washington last season and has 25 career interceptions in 7 seasons.

The Vikings would like to move away from the cover 2 to a more man oriented system, but lacked the coverage corners and the safeties to cover tight ends and slot receivers to do so. They believe that with the addition of Porter and getting back Cook, who showed vast improvement before coach Leslie Frazier sat him after his arrest on Oct. 22 for domestic assault, that they have the corners to play man said new general manager Marshallb. He added that Atogwe will be a huge improvement over the combination of Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford at free safety, allowing the team to mix things up and that they won’t be forced to play such a vanilla concept.

Henderson started 15 games at weak-side linebacker in 2011 next to his brother EJ, who is also a free agent and remains unsigned. Henderson is again slotted in as the starting will linebacker and is expected to play the nickel snaps this year barring another addition at linebacker as the team hasn’t been in contact with EJ Henderson and it appears as though they are willing to let him walk.

Abdullah missed half of the 2011 season with concussion issues, but was a solid starter at strong safety prior to that and played well in 2010 after getting a chance to start. Abdullah is slated to be the starter opposite Atogwe in 2012.

Aromashodu started five games in 2011 following a season ending knee injury to Michael Jenkins, and caught 26 passes for 468 yards with one touchdown on the season. Aromashodu is expected to take a step back into a depth role in 2012 with Jenkins back and marshallb added that the team will never stop looking for weapons to surround quarterback Christian Ponder with.

Guion, who started 3 games in 2011, rotated with Christian Ballard and Remi Ayodele at nose tackle after Kevin Williams returned from suspension, and is expected to play a similar role in 2012.

Marshallb declined to give exact terms on contracts at this time, but said that they gave Porter an “elite contract”, Atogwe a “quality contract”, Henderson a “mid level contract” and Abdullah, Aromashodu, and Guion “low level contracts”.

Earlier this offseason the Vikings released offensive guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, and cornerback Cedric Griffin to free up some cap space. By cutting those three, the Vikings saved slightly under $14 million. Hutchinson has since signed with the Tennessee Titans while Herrera and Griffin remain unsigned.

02-20-2012, 08:00 AM
"Fat Al" Sighted in St. Louis
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Might they reunite?

After a tumultuous couple of seasons in Washington, New England and Tampa Bay that saw Albert Haynesworth fall from "dominant pass rusher" to "fat, out of shape and lazy," many believed that Haynesworth had hit the end of the line.

Not so if today's news is any indication. Haynesworth was sighted in St. Louis where he could potentially reunite with his former head coach in Jeff Fisher. Haynesworth was drafted by Fisher and enjoyed the greatest success of his career under Fisher.

Haynesworth certainly won't get the uber-deal he got last time he was a free agent, but if he can show that he still has the desire to go with his talent on a short term, low-value deal it could prove beneficial to both Haynesworth and the team.

02-20-2012, 08:06 AM
Reggie Nelson Popular in Round 2 of Free Agency
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Reggie+Nelson+Cincinnati+Bengals+v+Jacksonville+yx Bnwpx8efXl.jpg
Could he be back blowing up receivers in the AFC North?

Reggie Nelson was a borderline bust in Jacksonville, struggling to adapt to the speed and complexity of the NFL as he failed to live up to his first round billing.

Fast forward a few years, and Nelson is coming off a career best season in Cincinnati. He started every game, wracked up over 80 tackles and was the most consistent member of the Bengals secondary after Leon Hall was injured.

Nelson didn't get many offers that he liked during the first round of free agency, but now some teams are talking to the Cincinnati safety.

The Bengals are one of them and would like to have him back. Miami is also interested and may be willing to up their offer from the first round in order to secure his services. Several other teams are interested in speaking with the free agent safety as well.

02-20-2012, 08:12 AM
Reggie Wayne Speaks With Cardinals
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

http://www4.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Peyton+Manning+Reggie+Wayne+AFC+Wild+Card+FmN2WmM3 vLKl.jpg
Together again the desert?

Reggie Wayne was extremely disappointed by the lack of interest in him in the first round of free agency. Perhaps his expectations were too high, as he is 33 and coming off of his worst season in the last 7 years.

Still, Wayne is a savvy veteran who, despite lacking ideal physical abilities, has sure hands and runs tremendous routes.

One team now showing interest is the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals signed Peyton Manning to be their QB in 2012, and bringing a receiver he has a connection with in would be a great benefit.

The Cardinals already had all-world WR Larry Fitzgerald, who was one of the biggest reasons Peyton signed with the team. They went out and added deep threat Robert Meachem in free agency, though he can be rather inconsistent. Adding Wayne as a #3 option to work with Manning would be a great boost for the club.

02-20-2012, 08:20 AM
Peyton Hillis May Resign with Browns
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Would they get the 2010 or 2011 version?

After a breakout 2010 campaign that ended with Hillis being put on the cover of Madden, Hillis had an abysmal season in 2011. He missed several games due to illness and injury, and even when he was on the field he was less effective than he had been in the past.

Through it all, a contract dispute was definitely part of the problem. Now, with the Browns still holding a decent amount of cap space following the first round of free agency, they may finally be interested in paying Peyton.

Neither Hillis nor the team seems to have any bad blood that would keep them from striking a fair deal. When healthy, Peyton is easily the best offensive player the Browns have, and now it looks like they may pay him accordingly.

02-20-2012, 08:29 AM
Desean on the Move?
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Heading out of town?

Ever since the Eagles successfully signed free agent WR Vincent Jackson, rumors have been flying about the Eagles potentially trading disgruntled franchise player Desean Jackson.

Desean wants a long term deal, but isn't going to get that in Philly, especially now. The Eagles are apparently seeking a late first round pick for Jackson.

If the Eagles trade Jackson (or, if they can't find a suitor, simply pull their franchise offer,) it will free up around $10 million in additional cap space.

It appears that Philly will use that money on a linebacker, as the team hosted a cavalcade of free agent linebackers today including former Packer AJ Hawk, former Seahawk Leroy Hill and former Titan/Buccaneer Barrett Ruud. LB was an area of major concern for Philly headed into this offseason and they have not yet addressed it.

02-20-2012, 08:37 AM
Terrence Newman Visits Texans
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Staying in Texas?

The Cowboys released CB Terrence Newman earlier in the offseason after an awful 2011 season. Newman was overpaid for the performance he gave on the field, and was booted from the team accordingly.

However, one team's trash is always another team's treasure and the Houston Texans may be that other team. They brought in the veteran corner for a look earlier this morning.

Newman has experience in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme from their time together with the Cowboys would provide an experienced depth player if nothing else.

02-20-2012, 08:43 AM
Colts Host Garay
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Antonio+Garay+Oakland+Raiders+v+San+Diego+4Or7i3gX e-4l.jpg
Might he bring his freaky hair and beard to Indy?

Garay was viewed by many as one of the best 3-4 NTs available in free agency, but was surprisingly not made a single offer during the first round. Even his former team, the Chargers, opted to move on signing Paul Soliai to play the position instead of Garay.

That doesn't mean no one is interested now of course. The Indianapolis Colts will be move to a 3-4 scheme in 2012 and, thanks to former GM Bill Polian's obsession with tiny defenders, are currently lacking anyone capable of playing NT in such a scheme.

After resigning WR Pierre Garcon and DE Robert Mathis to Elite level deals in the first round of free agency, the Colts aren't left with much cap space. However, Garay may certainly take a below market deal at this point just to land a starting role in 2012.

02-20-2012, 08:48 AM
Anthony Spencer's Phone Still Quiet
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Where will he end up in 2012?

For a while, the Cowboys were expected to keep Anthony Spencer on the team via the franchise tag. However, the team opted not to and now, Anthony Spencer is still sitting at home.

The Cowboys showed only faint interest in resigning the 3-4 OLB during the first round, but Spencer wanted a better deal. He is yet to receive such an offer.

Spencer never lived up to his first round billing, even with superstar Demarcus Ware on the other side drawing the offense's attention.

It's looking more and more likely that Spencer will have to accept a below market deal in order to play at all in 2012.

02-20-2012, 08:58 AM
Kroy Biermann Making the Rounds
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

"Beer Man" because there is only one "BeerBaron."

Free agent defensive end Kroy Biermann did not receive any offers during the first round of free agency. It's not that his contract demands were unreasonable, it's more likely that there just isn't a lot of demand for base 4-3 ends who provide very little pass rush.

Biermann's career high in sacks is 5 and he's coming off of a season where he registered just 2.5. He does play a very solid all around game and could certainly be productive as a member of any team's rotation.

During this round of free agency, his name is starting to pop up more and more, including a visit scheduled to the Tampa Bay Bucs who could use depth behind sophomores Adrian Clayborn and DaQuan Bowers.

02-20-2012, 09:05 AM
Redskins Eye Brian Hoyer
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

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He may not be Peyton Manning, but he's a better option that last year's QBs.

The Washington Redskins came close but failed to land free agent QB Peyton Manning during the first round of free agency. They did land former Texan Matt Leinart, reuniting him with former his former QB coach in Kyle Shanahan, but he's definitely more of a backup option than starting QB.

With Kyle Orton returning to the Chiefs and Chad Henne going to Seattle, the free agent QB market looks pretty bare. So, the Redskins are now taking a long look at restricted free agent QB Brian Hoyer of the Patriots.

With Ryan Mallett waiting in the wings behind Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer is expendable in New England. Hoyer doesn't have much experience in games that counted, but he has looked reasonably good in limited opportunities.

Hoyer currently has a 2nd round tender placed on him, but the Pats may be willing to let him go for less than that. While he's not the ideal option for the Redskins, they would be better served taking a chance on him than entering the season with the likes of Rex Grossman and John Beck once again.

02-20-2012, 09:11 AM
AJ Hawk Visits Ravens
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

He's not pretty, but he's a solid NFL linebacker.

We mentioned in passing earlier that one of the linebackers who visited the Eagles was former Packer AJ Hawk.

Well, later in the day, Hawk traveled just a short distance south to meet up with the Ravens in Baltimore. With players like Jameel McClain, Jarret Johnson and Brendan Ayanbadejo likely to move on as free agents, the Ravens have very little left on the roster to play around Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs.

Hawk has always been a solid though pretty unspectacular linebacker, and was released from Green Bay earlier this offseason. He'd certainly start in the Ravens 3-4 defense next to the future HoFer in Ray Lewis.

02-20-2012, 09:45 AM
Brandon Jacobs "Pissed" About Lack of Offers
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Giants didn't even want him back.

RB Brandon Jacobs has yet to receive even a single offer in free agency, and the big back is none too happy about it.

"I'm <expletive> pissed man. <expletive> that <expletive>. I ran for the champs last year, I should get some <expletive> offers," he said when asked by the media.

Jacobs did run for over 500 yards and 7 TDs for the eventual champion Giants. But his average YPC dropped almost 2 full yards from 5.6 in 2010 to 3.8 this year.

And despite his size, Jacobs has never been a great inside runner. He ofter goes down at first contact due to a lack of great balance and doesn't punish defenders as much as he could.

Add this to the fact that he'll be 30 when the season starts, and it's little wonder why Jacobs has yet to receive an offer.

Matthew Jones
02-20-2012, 10:00 AM
Patriots cut three more

Former second-round pick Jermaine Cunningham was one of the players jettisoned.

New England continued the process of releasing players today, severing ties with three roster reserves. OG Donald Thomas, DE Jermaine Cunningham, and DE Justin Trattou were all informed that they do not currently factor into the team's plans for 2012.

Cunningham is the most notable player to get walking papers; he was a second-round draft pick in 2010 but failed to develop as a pass rusher and offered little special teams value before finishing last season on injured reserve. The pass rusher has just one career sack in 24 games and saw his snap count diminish greatly in 2011. The Patriots pride themselves on playing the best players regardless of draft position or contract.

Donald Thomas is a graduate of the University of Connecticut who functioned as a reserve offensive guard as well as a fullback in the team's jumbo packages, but appeared in less than one percent of the team's 2011 snaps and figures to be even less of a factor now that the Patriots have a healthy offensive line. Ryan Wendell and Rich Ohrnberger both have the versatility to play at guard and center, while Marcus Cannon can fill in at guard if needed as well.

Trattou was recently acquired in a trade for defensive end Alex Silvestro, but the deal was an inconsequential one. Trattou's work ethic and special teams value mean that he is candidate to appear on New England's practice squad next season if he goes unclaimed in free agency.

The players' 2012 cap hits are as follows:

Donald Thomas - $615,000
Jermaine Cunningham - $490,000
Justin Trattou - $465,000

Total: $1,570,000

02-20-2012, 10:06 AM
Giants Very Interested in Terrence McGee
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Jumping ship to play in New Jersey?

The NY Giants felt the sting that often follows a Superbowl victory. While the victory itself is very sweet, their free agents tend to see their value inflated highly and skip town for more money.

This is exactly what happened to the Giants at the CB position, where they lost both Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas to big money deals in Jacksonville and Cincinnati respectively.

This has left the Giants awfully thin at the already precarious CB position, where Corey Webster is the only surefire starter on the team. As a result, the Giants are scrambling for help there and are currently fixated on former Buffalo Bill CB Terrence McGee.

McGee has only started 9 games during the last two seasons, due in large part to injury. The 31 year old has seen his level of play decline as well in the games he has played.

Still, he is one of the more attractive options on the market as the #2 corner for the Giants. The Giants have also brought in several other free agent CBs for a tire kicking, including former Viking Cedric Griffin and former Seahawk Marcus Trufant.

All three are solid corners when healthy, but each has struggles with injury in recent seasons.

02-20-2012, 10:25 AM
Richard Marshall Resurfaces in San Diego
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Could Marshall be headed towards the Chargers?

Following the 2010 season, Richard Marshall was a free agent leaving Carolina and was expected to be one of the hotter names at the position. After generating low levels of interest, he signed a one year deal in Arizona and spent most of the season as a nickel player and occasional safety.

Now, after going untouched in the first round of free agency, Marshall's name has surfaced in connection with the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers seem set with Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer as starters at CB, and have Eric Weddle and the recently signed Roman Harper at safetey, so Marshall would figure to provide depth at both positions.

He is still a top quality run defender from the CB position and would fit well with any team in a nickel role.

02-20-2012, 10:38 AM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Desean headed to the Bay Area.

Well, now it's official. The Philadelphia Eagles have traded WR Desean Jackson (and a 4th round pick) to the San Francisco 49ers for LB Larry Grant and the 49ers 1st, #30 overall.

Jackson wanted a long term deal in Philly but the team wasn't in a position to give it to the disgruntled WR. After signing free agent WR Vincent Jackson, Desean became expendable.

Desean now heads to San Francisco, who will extend his franchise tag offer long term. He joins a San Francisco offense that sports weapons like Michael Crabtree, Vernon David and Frank Gore, but lacked a deep threat WR who could actually catch the ball. (Looking at you, Ted Ginn Jr.) Jackson will also contribute to the return game.

In addition, the 49ers sent RFA LB Larry Grant to the Eagles. Grant played well in a reserve linebacker role last season, filling in for Patrick Willis while he was out. Grant can play inside or weakside in Philly's 4-3 scheme. The Eagles are still expected to look for a free agent LB to further address the position.

02-20-2012, 11:37 AM
Andre Carter Visits Jags
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Mark Sanchez is still feeling that one.

Andre Carter was the Patriots best pass rusher last season, registering 10 sacks before getting injured and winding up on IR. It was a career rebirth year before the injury after Carter struggled with inconsistency in Washington for several seasons.

Now, after missing out of some of the top free agent pass rushers in the first round, the Jacksonville Jaguars are bringing in Carter for a look.

Carter got some minor interest in the first round, including from the Patriots, but no on really stepped up to make a big offer. The Jaguars still have a good deal of cap space and are apparently willing to make him a fair deal.

02-20-2012, 11:47 AM
Hill Meets With Saints
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Could he be the impact linebacker they need?

It wasn't too long ago that Leroy Hill was a pro bowl level player who received the franchise tag from the Seahawks. However, declining play and a marijuana arrest have seen his stock take a hit to the point where he was completely passed over in the first round of free agency.

Now the Saints have brought him into town for a look-see. They traded LB Jonathan Vilma to the Giants, lost Jo-Lonn Dunbar to free agency and released Scott Shanle earlier in the offseason, so they have a need at the linebacker position. Hill would fit nicely into new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo's blitzing scheme.

02-20-2012, 12:17 PM
Simpson Visits Buffalo
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Future Bill?

Jerome Simpson received the franchise tag from the Cincinnati Bengals, much to the surprise of everyone in the league. After signing Laurent Robinson however, the Bengals pulled the franchise tender from Simpson, making him a free agent.

While a lot of the big money dried up in the first round of free agency, Simpson is still getting some reasonably good offers from teams in need of a quality #2 WR.

Simpson was in Buffalo today to meet with the Bills. They have retained Stevie Johnson using their own franchise tag, but could still afford to add some more weapons to their rather lackluster offense.

02-20-2012, 12:22 PM
Patriots Considering Leonard?
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Would he jump ship to a hated rival?

Jim Leonard has acted like an extension of his head coach on the field for the Jets the last two seasons, but was injured and couldn't finish either season.

Leonard doesn't have all of the ideal physical tools you'd look for, but he is a smart and heady player who would fit right in with the Patriots philosophy.

The Pats sent out some feelers on him in the first round of free agency in case they couldn't sign Michael Griffin, but got Griffin in the end. Now, with Leonard still unsigned, the Pats are looking to add him for depth.

One thing is for certain though, the Jets would prefer not to see the on-field brains of their defense going to New England.

02-20-2012, 12:29 PM
Dixon Visits Packers
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Could he be the next backup for Aaron Rodgers?

Dennis Dixon has always been viewed as a very talented but raw QB in the NFL. He got lost in the Steelers revolving door of backup QBs along with Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, but is still thought to have a lot of potential.

With previous backup Matt Flynn moving on to Miami, the Green Bay Packers are in need of a talented backup QB and Dixon might be a good fit.

Rodgers has missed at least one game in each of the last two seasons, so Dixon may get the chance to start. The Packers also have a successful track record when it comes to developing their backup QBs, something Dixon would also benefit from.

02-20-2012, 01:29 PM
Chad Pennington Working Out, Wants a Job
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

For what he lacks in healthy joints, he makes up for in veteran savvy.

Chad Pennington last played during the 2010 season, where he injured his shoulder for the 800th time in his NFL career. He recovered and planned to make a comeback in 2011, but tore an ACL during the offseason.

Now, Pennington wants back in. The 35 year old QB has made a career out of being an intelligent, accurate passer who limits mistakes. He made the playoffs several times as a starter with the Jets and Dolphins, and could make for a solid veteran backup option to a young QB.

So far, interest has been low in the QB. But he's going to continue working out and will speak with any interest teams.

02-20-2012, 01:42 PM
Lions Bring McNabb in for Visit
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

It might be his last chance.

The Lions currently have only one QB under contract, starter Matt Stafford. While previous backups Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton have not yet signed anywhere else, the Lions are doing their homework on other potential candidates just in case.

One of those QBs is former Eagle, Redskin and Viking Donovan McNabb. McNabb was famously released midway through last season but did not receive an offer to join a team.

McNabb's production has taken a nose dive straight off a cliff since leaving Philadelphia, with his already poor accuracy plunging to new depths.

Still, the Lions could be a good destination. Last year was the only season so far that Matt Stafford remained healthy and, if forced to play, McNabb's accuracy would be greatly aided by the presence of a certain 6'5 WR nicknamed after a Decepticon.

The Lions have also reportedly talked to Tyler Thigpen, Rex Grossman and several others.

02-20-2012, 01:49 PM
Lack of Interest Stuns EJ Henderson
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

No offers at all.

Despite starting 30 of his teams past 32 games and playing at a relatively high level, former Viking EJ Henderson has not received a single offer thus far in free agency. And no, not just offers he likes...no offers at all.

EJ even saw his younger brother Erin draw the interest of few teams before resigning with the Vikings.

At 31, EJ isn't the youngest player around, but would provide a solid, veteran presence at MLB. He's topped 100 tackles in each of the last two seasons as well as forcing 7 turnovers.

02-20-2012, 01:56 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

He can do his silly little first down dance in Buffalo now.

Jermichael Finley, while being very physically talented, seemed to be the weak link in the Packers offense due to his drops and inconsistency.

When the Packers applied the franchise tag to him earlier in the offseason, it seemed likely that they would attempted trade him. And now they have.

In exchange for a handful of draft picks, as well as a swap of 2nd rounders and a 2012 pick, the Packers have shipped Finley off to Buffalo.

Finley will join an offense currently featuring QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Stevie Johnson and RB Fred Jackson. They already resigned TE Scott Chandler, but his deal wasn't large and he will fit in well as the #2 TE in the offense.

This move clears Finley's $6 million cap number off of the books for the Packers. The Bills have agreed to a long-term contract extension with Finley at an Elite level.

02-20-2012, 02:25 PM
Super Packer Looking to Bring in Tight End?

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Packers looking at replacement for Finley?
With the news the Packers have traded tight end Jermichael Finley to the Buffalo Bills, Packers GM Super Packer has not shied away from saying what his plans are for replacing Finley. "We want Shiancoe" said Packer on the former Vikings player.

Shiancoe makes a lot of sense for the Packers and the Packers make a lot of sense for him. "We're looking for him to come here and play a big role in this offense, he's a very talented receiver, so we are excited with the prospect of having him here".

02-20-2012, 05:33 PM
St. Louis Eyeing Superman In Upcoming Draft
Griffin in Blue and Gold?

According to team sources The Rams do indeed have Robert Griffin as their number one player on their big board and not Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, a player who has become the peoples choice here in St. Louis.

Les Snead when asked about Griffin gave the short "he's a nice player" answer. Mr Snead saw first hand what a player of Griffin's caliber can do for an organization when he was in Atlanta and saw Mike Vick carry the Falcons for so many years. Let's not forget that the Rams new Staff wasn't a part of the old regime, the one that Drafted Sam Bradford.

When asked about the Rumor Sam Bradford had "no comment"

02-20-2012, 07:47 PM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Enough competition for Tebow?

Broncos president John Elway has made it clear that, while Tim Tebow will be given a chance to start at QB in 2012, the job will not be handed to him without earning it.

And now he knows at least one player who he'll be battling with: former Patriot Brian Hoyer.

Hoyer, a former UDFA, had impressed the Patriots enough to make him the primary backup for Tom Brady the last few seasons. While his experience in games that counted is rather low, he has played reasonably well in limited action.

Now he'll enter the circus side show that is the Denver Broncos under Tim Tebow. While the team will need to give Tebow a fair chance to win the job in order to appease the fans, Hoyer likely has a good chance of getting some starts next season if Tebow struggles.

02-21-2012, 07:35 AM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The newest Redskin.

Washington Redskins:
QB David Garrard - Low - After missing out on Peyton Manning and having a trade fall through for Brian Hoyer, the Redskins were left with only the newly signed Matt Leinart at QB. Needing another veteran presence, they went out and signed former Jaguar David Garrard. Garrard got similar monetary offers elsewhere, but this was the only opportunity for him to become a starter. Still, I look for the Redskins to come away with a rookie QB somewhere in the early rounds of the draft.

Philadelphia Eagles:
LB AJ Hawk - Quality - By trading away Desean Jackson, the Eagles freed up enough salary to make a few more key moves, including bringing in former Packers LB AJ Hawk. Hawk figures to immediately provide a strong presence at MLB for the Eagles, which was a definite area of weakness last season.

NY Giants:
CB Terrence McGee - Mid - The Giants watched two of their key CBs slip away to bigger deals elsewhere, so bringing in a veteran top provide depth at the position was critical. McGee, though injured for much of the last two seasons, has the inside track to winning the #2 CB job across from Corey Webster next season.

Minnesota Vikings:
QB Shaun Hill - Mid - Hill was seen as one of the best backup QB options available after having a solid season two years ago starting in place of the injured Matt Stafford. With the failure of the Donovan McNabb experiment, the Vikings were left without a veteran on the roster to mentor young Christian Ponder. They now have that in Hill.

New Orleans Saints:
LB Leroy Hill - Mid - With the losses of Vilma and Dunbar this offseason, the Saints linebacker depth was a major question mark. Hill will provide an impactful veteran presence at the position for the Saints in 2012.

Arizona Cardinals:
WR Reggie Wayne - Quality - Left with a large amount of cap space after releasing Kevin Kolb, the Cardinals went out and brought in Wayne, a veteran WR whose familiarity with Peyton Manning will be a huge asset to the offense. Wayne actually passed up bigger money deals in Jacksonville and Denver to join up with Peyton Manning in Arizona for another championship run.

OLB Anthony Spencer - Quality - Though he fell through the first round with nothing more than low ball offers, Spencer was one of the most popular players of the 2nd round drawing a ton of Mid and Quality level offers. After weighing his option, including a return to the Cowboys, Spencer chose to sign with Arizona where he will be a key starter on the defense as they try to make a championship run with Peyton Manning.

St. Louis Rams:
DT Albert Haynesworth - Low - Despite many believing that Haynesworth's career might be over after his most recent release, the Rams (led by the head coach Al had the most success under in Jeff Fisher) opted to take a chance on him. He signed an incentive laden deal and will have the opportunity to become a disruptive pass rusher once again in Gregg Williams' attacking defense.

02-21-2012, 08:05 AM
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

TO resurfaces with the Bills.

Buffalo Bills:
WR Terrell Owens - Low - Three years ago, TO signed with the Bills in an attempt to rehab his image after being released under negative terms yet again. The season he had was rather unspectacular, but as the Bills continue their attempts to build a contending team and get out of their league-longest playoff drought, they've brought in TO for a Low level deal laden with incentives. They were the only team to offer TO a deal.

DE Michael Bennett - Mid - (RFA Right to Match Tender - Tampa Bay) - The Bills have also offered a Mid level contract to Tampa Bay DE Michael Bennett. Bennett will compete with Alex Carrington for one of the starting DE spots while also able to contribute to the overall defensive line rotation. The Bucs will have 24 hours from the time of this posting to match the offer. (If they can afford it.) As he is a "Right to Match" only RFA, they will receive no compensation.

Cleveland Browns:
QB Kevin Kolb - Low - After being released by the Cardinals after only one sub-par season, Kolb has caught on with the Browns where he will be given a chance to compete with Colt McCoy for the starting job. They were only team to offer Kolb a deal.

QB Peyton Hillis - Quality - Well, Hillis finally has his long term deal with the Browns. Hillis received very little interest elsewhere on the market but will return to Cleveland in an attempt to replicate his success of 2010 after the failure that was 2011.

Miami Dolphins:
S Reggie Nelson - Quality - While Nelson was a highly popular name during round 2 of free agency, Miami simply ponied up more money than everyone else. Nelson will be an immediate starter at safety for the team. Nelson played under new Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle when he was the DBs coach in Cincy last season.

DT Pat Sims - Mid - Along with Nelson, the Dolphins brought in another former Bengal in DT Pat Sims. Sims is versatile enough to play NT in either defensive front and will provide valuable depth at the position if not be an outright starter.

Houston Texans:
OG Mike Brisiel - Mid - After losing their starting center, Chris Myers, in the first round of free agency, the Texans upped their offer to starting guard Mike Brisiel in order to ensure that he was brought back. The Texans sported one of the best o-lines in football last season and Brisiel was one of the more unheralded players on it.

Tennessee Titans:
S Charlie Peprah - Mid - The former Packer was another popular name during the 2nd round of free agency and it came down to a bidding war between the Titans and Cowboys for his services. The Titans promise of a guaranteed starting job is what sealed the deal for Peprah to sign in Tennessee.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
DE Andre Carter - Quality - Many believed that Andre Carter would return to the Patriots after taking a pay cut, but those people didn't take into account the Jacksonville Jaguars who were one of the teams with the most cap space remaining after the first round. Carter and the recently resigned Jeremy Mincey combined for 18 sacks in 2011 and figure to be the starters for the Jags.

WR Jerome Simpson - Quality - After having the franchise tag rescinded by the Bengals, Simpson hit the free agent market and many wondered if there was still enough money flowing for him to be signed. It turns out there was, and the Jaguars were the team to do it. He and Brandon Lloyd (signed in the first round) will provide the 1-2 punch at WR for the Jags.

C Jeff Saturday - Mid - The long-time veteran center of the Colts will remain in the division after signing with the Jags. Saturday didn't receive a lot of interest, but had a few teams campaign for his services with the Jags simply offering the most money.

Denver Broncos:
- LB EJ Henderson - Mid - The Broncos defense definitely overachieved in 2011 and got lost as the spotlight falsely shined on QB Tim Tebow. Now, with the addition of all-world talent DE Mario Williams in the first round and LB EJ Henderson here, they should only continue to improve in 2012.

- S Jim Leonhard - Quality - Leonhard is viewed a smart, savvy field general in NY and strongly considered returning to the team while passing on the money the Broncos offered, but in the end, the pay day won out since it was just so much more. If he can stay healthy, Leonhard figures to take the retired Brian Dawkins spot as the leader of the defense on the field.

San Diego Chargers:
OLB Kroy Bierman - Quality - This move was a bit of a surprise to say the least, especially after Bierman drew next to no interest in the first round of free agency. The Chargers had some money left over and decided to spend it on Bierman who, while he has never played as a stand up OLB before, has a great motor and is a well rounded player.

Kansas City Chiefs:
NT Antonio Garay - Mid - After the division rival Chargers allowed Garay to walk, the Chiefs snapped him up. Previously without a proven 3-4 NT, the Chiefs now get a solid one in Garay who should take the starting job outright.

02-21-2012, 08:30 AM
Green Bay Packers sign:

OLB Aaron Maybin - Mid - (RFA 2nd Round Tender - NY Jets) - Maybin was a huge bust in Buffalo before breaking out as a situational pass rusher in NY last season. Without a pass rusher to take advantage of the attention Clay Matthews could draw, the Packers defense dropped to one of the worst in the league last season. They feel that Maybin may be able to fill that role and are willing to part with a 2nd round pick to make it happen. The Jets will have 24 hours from this posting to match the deal (if they can.)

TE Visanthe Shiancoe - Low - After trading franchised TE Jermichael Finley to Buffalo, the Packers were suddenly thin at the position. Shiancoe doesn't have the raw athleticism of Finlsey but is a consistent, solid-all-around TE who will provide some consistency at the position.

QB Dennis Dixon - Low - Dixon received a few offers to be the backup QB during the 2nd round of free agency, but opted to go to the Packers with the money being equal. Rodgers has missed a game or two each of the previous seasons and the Packers have a track record spanning the last two decades of developing their backup QBs into starters elsewhere effectively.

02-21-2012, 08:33 AM
Cowboys Looking To Move Back?

On the eve of the 2012 NFL Draft, there are whispers coming out of Cowboys Stadium that Dallas is very interested in moving down from pick 14 in the first round of the draft.

"There are three or four guys we are looking at very closely." said a source close to Owner Jerry Jones. "Our expectation is that a few of them will likely be available ten picks later."

After missing out on many free agents, including linebackers Cliff Avril, Anthony Spencer, Dallas is in dire need of additional draft picks to fill their roster, especially on defense.

"We are surprised at the lack of free agents we have been able to bring in." our source replied. "Because of this, many of our rookies will need to step in and play a large role next season and we just don't have enough picks right now to have this happen."

Although no specifics were discussed, the expected asking price of pick number 14 appears to be a first and an early third round pick.

02-21-2012, 08:34 AM
Detroit Lions sign:

OT Ryan O'Callaghan- VM - Depth at OT.

OL Jonathan Scott- VM - Depth at G or OT.

QB Drew Stanton - VM - With Shaun Hill moving on, Stanton becomes the primary backup and knows the scheme well.

QB Tyler Thigpen - VM - Competition for Stanton at the backup spot with Hill moving on.

LB Bobby Carpenter - VM - Passed on slightly more money elsewhere to remain with the team where he's found a niche the last two seasons.

DL Shaun Ellis - VM - Will provide veteran depth at DT behind youngsters Suh and Fairley.

RB Kevin Smith - VM - With questions about the health of Best and Leshoure, Smith will provide a fall back option at RB for the Lions.

02-21-2012, 08:37 AM
Chicago Bears sign:

LB Brendan Ayanbadejo- VM - Veteran special teams player who played great under ST coach Dave Toub in the past.

TE Nate Byham - VM - Depth at TE with the potential to see playing time with how weak the position is in Chicago.

C/G Chris Spencer - VM - Resigns with the Bears on a cheaper deal. Can provide depth or start if need be.

RB Marion Barber - VM - Like Spencer, he resigns on a cheaper deal to provide depth.

02-21-2012, 08:39 AM
NY Giants sign:

OT Kareem McKenzie - VM - McKenzie received a few other offers but mostly as a plan B in case other teams missed a more prized tackle. He returns to the Giants as a likely starter hoping for another championship run.

QB Charlie Batch - VM - With David Carr moving on to Tampa to follow his QB coach, the Giants needed a backup for Eli and Batch is one of the best veteran backups in the league who can start in a pinch.

02-21-2012, 08:45 AM
Dallas Cowboys sign:

OG Montrae Holland - Low - Returns to the team at least as depth with the potential to start.

CB Alan Ball - Low - Depth player who can start at CB or S in a pinch.

LB Erik Walden - Low - Replaces Anthony Spencer as starting OLB for the time being.

S Abram Elam - Low - Returns to the team with the chance to start.

S Craig Steltz - VM - Good special teamer and depth at safety, could earn a starting job with a strong offseason.

LB Tim Dobbins - Low - Switches between the Texas teams to provide depth at ILB.

DL Tommie Harris - VM - Seeing if he has any gas left in the tank as a situational pass rusher and potential 3-4 DE.

02-21-2012, 08:48 AM
Philadelphia Eagles sign:

OT Gosder Cherilus - Mid - Potential starter at RT or at least starting caliber depth.

C Mike Pollack - Mid - Likely starter at C, familiar with Howard Mudd's scheme form Indy.

02-21-2012, 08:49 AM
Washington Redskins sign:

OL Will Montgomery - Low - Former starter on the team who will return to compete for another starting job.