2009 NFL Rumors Ending 03/28/09
Total Pro Sports – A pretty quiet week in NFL free agency gives me a chance to preview some potential moves that may come to fruition in the next few weeks; consider this the calm before the second wind of free agency, a surge led by the following:
16 sides have elite and/or expensive starters already, Washington wants no part, Miami have ramped up the Henne talk to quell any Cutler rumors, whilst it’s unlikely the Broncos accept the injury prone Hasselbeck or Bulger in any sort of deal, and despite Chicago making a lot of noise when your QB situation is adequate and you have bigger needs to fill – why? Who would he throw to anyway? It’s the same situation in Buffalo.
The Jags, Browns and Eagles are in the maybe pile for me, but Jacksonville will focus on MJD next year meaning they’ll need to seriously upgrade that offensive line – they just don’t need a big name QB to throw to their non-existent receiving core. It’s a huge long shot but the Browns, Eagles and Broncos all have something the other wants: Philadelphia want Braylon Edwards, the Broncos want one of Philadelphia’s two first rounders and McNabb always seems ready to leave, whilst Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini doesn’t really fancy Quinn or Anderson. Some sort of three way deal involving the above is unlikely but remember: Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels must have some sort of working relationship after their time in New England.
As far as the teams desperate for a QB I think you rule out Detroit and the Bucs; no way Cutler wants to fester in Detroit and in an unstable economy paying Aaron Curry number one overall pay is unattractive to Denver front office, Tampa select at 19 and don’t have a second rounder so may not be able to cough up enough for him. That leaves the Jets, Vikings and 49ers who I think pursue him in that order. Minnesota have been eerily quiet during this whole fiasco and I’m still mystified by the Sage Rosenfels deal; either he’s a very expensive backup (he cost them a fourth round pick), or he’s the favorite to start ahead of Tavaris Jackson – call them the wild card. San Francisco and New York fit the bill with draft picks under 20, and on paper Cutler would enjoy the prospect of playing for either. They’re definitely the two favorites but I have reserves for both of them; Brett Ratliff and Kellen Clemens have been told to fight it out, and would Mick Singletary see the perceived ‘whiny’ Cutler as a fit in his “I want winners!” offense? Wherever he does land it’s going to be blockbuster; we haven’t seen a QB of his age and talent traded in a long time.
Rumor has it the Browns are shopping everyone apart from linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and left tackle Joe Thomas, and Edwards is at the front of the exit line. As the Browns went through 4 QBs Edwards fell off the map, so a year out from him hitting free agency the Browns want to cash in now. The Eagles and Giants lead the race, though Plaxico for Braylon straight up has been squashed in recent days. It’ll likely cost a team their second and I put the chance of him leaving at about 70% – the Titans, Rams, Bears and Jets would also be interested if his status is made official.
It sounds like Gonzalez wants out, whilst Pioli says no. He deserves a shot at the Super Bowl, but teams would be apprehensive to move for a player who seems to be on borrowed time and many expect the bottom to fall out on soon despite dominating 2008. The most Kansas gets is a second with the Packers sniffing around, but in all likelihood Gonzo probably remains a Chief.
Tory Holt is getting a job as either a Jag or Jet, but it’s all quiet for Marvin Harrison. Harrison may have to wait until pre-season and hope an injury opens up a spot for him.
A week ago he was a lock for New England, but nothing official has materialized. He wants to play in the NFC and as a 3-4 linebacker, which makes New England, Dallas, Green Bay or San Francisco all options, but since Green Bay is notoriously conservative in free agency it’s likely a shootout between the Pats and ‘Boys – it’s worth noting that the Pats invited Jason Taylor to the Meadowlands this week, possibly putting the skids on any Peppers deal.
The Chain Gang
And finally; subject to suspension/reinstatement Plaxico Burress and the vaunted Mick Vick will at the very least have their rights up for grabs come pre-season. Chicago has tepidly expressed interest in Vick, but I think he makes a great fit for the Vikings. Two dominant runners in the field every down is very hard to matchup against and Bernard Berrian is a deep threat that Vick’s big arm could exploit, he could also feel out the year with a run first team who possesses a comparable backup. Plaxico is a red zone target, the sort the Eagles desire but given their NFC East status is unlikely, alternatively a short leash in Tennessee is a possibility – the Titans don’t suffer time wasters, ask Pacman Jones.