Posted by Mike Florio on February 16, 2013, 9:44 PM EDT
The weekend is the time when things slow down and I can go back and clean up the periodic messes I make between Monday and Friday.
When deciphering the mechanics of Mike Vick’s new contract with the Eagles, I originally believed that the three-year deal voids to one year early in the 2013 league year in order to nudge cap dollars into 2014, both from the $3.5 million signing bonus and the remnants of the signing bonus Vick received in 2011.
In reality, the voiding of the contract to a one-year deal will push the bonus dollars into 2013.
This means that, once the final two years of the contract go away, $2.333 million from the new signing bonus will hit the 2013 cap, along with $2.8 million in lingering bonus allocation from his prior deal.
Thus, while the cap hit for now is only $7.066 million, it soon will jump by $5.133 million to $12.2 million. This means that the new deal ultimately will save only $4.7 million in 2013 cap space, since Vick’s 2013 cap number under the prior deal was due to be $16.9 million.
The convoluted three-year-down-to-one-year device was needed because the Eagles already had carried over all remaining 2012 cap space. Thus, they had no way to absorb the bonus acceleration before the start of the new league year on March 12.
Urlacher sent out a tweet on Wednesday saying that it was an honor to play his entire career with the Bears and including a link to a longer statement announcing that he has decided to retire from professional football.
“After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire,” Urlacher wrote. “Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear. I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of yo everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.”
The decision might have been different had Urlacher found a more robust market for his services as a free agent this offseason, but there was barely any market to speak of for the eight-time Pro Bowler. So he’ll ride off into the sunset after a very successful career that is likely to land him a yellow blazer as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point down the line.
Posted by Darin Gantt on May 22, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT
The Panthers doubled up on defensive tackles to open the draft, and now they’ve gotten half of them under contract.
The team just announced they had signed second-rounder Kawann Short, the 44th overall pick.
“We are very pleased to have Kawann under contract,” Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “We felt he was the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the draft, and we are excited about what he can bring to our defensive front.”
A penetrator to go with first-rounder Star Lotulelei, Short has a chance to get plenty of snaps even with the retention of free agent Dwan Edwards. A four-year starter at Purdue, Short had 19.5 sacks and blocked a school-record eight kicks.
And while it’s just on paper at the moment, the additions this offseason give them a chance to have a solid and deep defensive front, which they’ll need to help mask the deficiencies in the back.
Posted by Josh Alper on May 22, 2013, 10:56 AM EDT
Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn’s second NFL season didn’t go the way he would have liked as a torn ACL ended his year after just three games.
Clayborn used his time away from the field to concentrate on both rehabbing his knee and adding muscle to his upper body, something that has earned him praise from coach Greg Schiano. Schiano said that Clayborn looks like a different person as a result of his work and that his work “is really going to pay benefits” when he gets back on the field. Clayborn’s knee is sound enough to get clearance for all activities, but Schiano said that the team will be taking it slowly with the defensive end this spring.
“Adrian is doing well in his recovery,” Schiano said, via the team’s website. “We are going to keep him out of team periods right now, just for safety. Could he do it? Yeah, he could do it but there’s no reason to right now. Maybe as we get into June, we’ll give him some, when I visit with [Head Trainer] Todd [Toriscelli] on some on that. I like where he is and what he’s doing.”
With Michael Bennett in Seattle and no surefire improvements to the pass rush made in free agency or the draft, the Bucs are relying on Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers to provide the lion’s share of pressure on the quarterback this season. That makes a cautious approach now all the more sensible as a limited schedule in May is far easier to swallow than a limited one in September.
Posted by Mike Florio on May 22, 2013, 10:41 AM EDT
The 2012 NFL coach of the year may be in for the coaching challenge of his life.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who has inherited a Cardinals team that would be wise to petition for relocation back to the NFC East, isn’t happy with the performance of his offense during offseason workouts.
Arians had specific criticism for the men charged with running routes and catching passes.
”I don’t like mistakes,” Arians said. “I really don’t like mental mistakes, especially if you made the same mistake last week. That should be corrected and in the books by now, and our receivers are not getting that done.”
Running back Ryan Williams applauds Arians’ tell-it-like-it-is style.
“Everybody’s accountable, that’s the No. 1 thing,” Williams said. ”It’s a respect thing. We used to have egotistical guys who felt like they couldn’t be touched and be able to do whatever they wanted to. So having guys like coach Bruce is able to nip that ASAP and we’re able to have a good, quality practice and sometimes that wasn’t able to happen because some guys were just doing whatever they wanted to do.”
Unfortunately, Williams didn’t name any of the “egotistical guys” who used to be on the team. It’s possible that he was talking about one or more former quarterbacks on the roster.
”I see [Carson Palmer] sometimes on the sideline, coaching the receivers and talking to the offensive line,” defensive lineman Darnell Dockett said. ”What a big difference from that position last year. Right now I think he’s more respected and a lot of guys are willing to go that extra yard for him. He’s a tough quarterback and he’s going to hang in there for us.”
Even without mistakes and with better quarterback play, the Cardinals have their work cut out for them in the NFC West. Not long ago the weakest NFL division by a wide margin, it’s now clearly the best.
Posted by Michael David Smith on May 22, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT
New Eagles coach Chip Kelly has said he can adjust his style and run a different system in the NFL than he ran at Oregon. Former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski says he’ll have to.
Jaworski, who analyzes film in his work with ESPN, said on 97.5 The Fanatic that Kelly, who has no NFL experience at all, is much more likely to adjust his offense to the realities of the NFL than to revolutionize the NFL by bringing his spread offense to the next level.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaworski said, via Phillymag.com. “I’m going to say no.”
Jaworski says there are fundamental differences between the way Oregon could exploit weaker defenses in college and the way an NFL defense would attack an offense like Kelly’s.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Yeah, it worked in college,’” he said. “But then I looked at a game like Stanford. Stanford, a good defensive football team, shut them down. I hope it works. I like the innovation, but I think it’s going to be very difficult. The NFL is a different league with fast players that have all week to prepare for you. At the collegiate level, you have 20 hours to prepare for that Oregon offense. Take out three hours of game time. You’ve got 17 hours in the course of a week to practice and prepare for that style of offense. It kills you in college. But in the NFL, these guys work 17 hours a day. A day, not a week – 17 hours a day getting ready, so there’s no secrets.”
Kelly’s system will certainly be different in the NFL than it was at Oregon. The question is how different. If Jaworski is right, it will need to be very different.
In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio last weekend, Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel said that he found the Bills offense was easier to learn than the one he was in at Florida State and he’s picking it up quickly as a result.
If that’s the case, it’s the one thing Manuel can rest easy about when it comes to his transition to the NFL. Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t address that claim directly on Tuesday when he spoke to reporters, but he did make it clear that he thinks Manuel has plenty of work to do in order to get himself ready to play at the professional level.
“Everything,” Hackett said, via the team’s website. “He’s a young man that’s got to work on a lot of things from footwork to progressions to plays to formations, everything. Defenses in the NFL are obviously a little different. He’s got to work on that too. He’s got to work on everything.”
There’s no great reason for concern about Hackett’s assessment of the first-round pick nor are Hackett’s thoughts reason to suspect Manuel won’t be the starter this year. You wouldn’t expect any player to come from the college ranks as a finished product, especially not a quarterback who is going to be dealing with faster defenses capable of showing more looks than he was exposed to before coming to the NFL. You’d expect even less to hear one of his coaches say that all was well before a significant time has been spent working with the rookie.
If Hackett’s saying the same things about Manuel in August, there will be more of an impact but, for now, it sounds like Manuel’s pretty much where he’s supposed to be in his progression to the NFL game.
Posted by Michael David Smith on May 22, 2013, 9:33 AM EDT
Hundreds of players will get cut by NFL players before the start of the regular season, and most of those players will keep working out and hoping for another chance at making it in professional football.
But some of those players may try to make it in professional wrestling.
Jim Ross, who works with World Wrestling Entertainment in talent development, has a meeting scheduled with the NFL Players Association today in which he’ll make the case that football players who lose their jobs on NFL teams should be informed that a second career in pro wrestling may be available to them.
“Everybody doesn’t make the 53-man roster,” Ross told Alex Marvez and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Some guys are going to be looking for work, and we’ve got some job openings. Maybe we can put the synergies of those two entities together and create something wonderful some day.”
From the WWE’s perspective, it’s easy to see why this makes sense: Pro wrestling needs big, strong, agile athletes, and football produces lots of those. And some of the guys cut by the NFL would bring name recognition from their playing days into the wrestling ring.
There’s also a long history of athletes dabbling in both wrestling and football, from Bronko Nagurski to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and dozens of others in between. If you’re a football player who couldn’t quite make it in the NFL, you could do worse than turning to wrestling.
Before anyone complains that $25,000 is a drop in the bucket for a billionaire, keep this in mind: It’s still $25,000. How many other billionaires out there aren’t giving 25 cents to the effort?
So we applaud Irsay’s efforts, we encourage other billionaires, millionaires, thousandaires, and hundredaires to do what they can, and we’ll be glad to publicize other efforts by other NFL teams to raise money to help folks whose insurance policies will take them only so far through this time of intense crisis.
Posted by Mike Florio on May 22, 2013, 9:18 AM EDT
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has been engaged for more than a month in the intricate task of saying enough to protect and advance his business interests, but not saying things that would undermine and jeopardize his legal interests.
That balancing act entered a new frontier on Tuesday, when Haslam addressed his fellow owners at the quarterly meetings in Boston.
As Gantt pointed out, Haslam also offered to provide private explanations to any owner who wants more than the five-minute presentation Haslam made to the full league ownership.
Before any owner takes him up on that offer, the owner needs to consider the possibility of becoming a potential witness, at some point down the road. Since no one outside of federal law enforcement currently knows the contents of files and computers seized last month at Pilot Flying J headquarters or communications secretly recorded by a company employee that weren’t included in the 120-page affidavit in support of the issuance of the search warrant, it’s unknown whether the Justice Department has or will have enough evidence to target Haslam personally. If Haslam is indicted, anything Haslam has said to anyone — including privately to other owners — can be used against him.
This means that other owners could find themselves being interviewed by federal prosecutors and, possibly, being subpoenaed to testify.
The chances of that happening are slim, but the lawyers currently on retainer for Haslam and the other 31 owners are compensated handsomely to keep an eye on every possible worst-case scenario.
Thus, if Haslam wants to keep his fellow owners out of this mess, he’ll not make good on the offer to provide private explanations. And if his fellow owners want to stay out of this mess, they won’t accept.
Posted by Darin Gantt on May 22, 2013, 9:09 AM EDT
Apparently, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs is still getting used to the new look of his defense.
For the first time, he’s out there without a number of long-time co-workers, particularly linebacker Brian Urlacher.
And when he was asked about missing another unsigned free agent, Israel Idonije, Briggs replied “I miss everybody, you guys,” and he walked away from the media, according to John Mullin of CSNChicago.com.
Prior to that, in his first interview of the offseason, Briggs talked about the challenges of trying to fill in as a leader and a signal-caller for the defense for Urlacher, something he admitted was “very different.”
“It just means continue to be me. I’m just vocal now,” Briggs said. “I didn’t call the plays before and now I’m calling the plays. I just have a lot of respect, . . .
“I’ve been spoiled for the last 10 years.”
The on-field adjustment shouldn’t be hard for Briggs, but reading between the lines makes it seem like he’s still not 100 percent on board with the absence of Urlacher, a stance management seems to be fine with. That said, stepping into a leadership role was a significant move for Briggs, which should help eventually allow them to move on.
When the Steelers hired Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator last year, many people predicted that he and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would get along about as well as oil and water.
There were a few moments where things were less than placid, but the two men were able to play nice in the public eye for the most part as the team finished 22nd in the NFL in points per game. That doesn’t mean they saw things eye-to-eye, however, and Roethlisberger admits that he made some requests for changes to the offense in 2013. Others made similar requests and Roethlisberger says that it has resulted in an offense that everyone’s excited about.
“There’s been some changes this offseason in some of the offensive philosophies, playbook and some things that I think are good,” Roethlisberger said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s some compromise from all the different position coaches, the running back coaches, the line, and quarterback coaches. I think we’ve taken a little bit of everything and made it a lot better. You can ask anybody on offense that, including coaches, and they’ll tell you that we all like the way the offense is and where it’s going.”
The departures of Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall guaranteed a different look on offense in Pittsburgh before we even heard anything about larger schematic changes. Roethlisberger didn’t get specific about any of the changes, though we suspect it is safe to rule out any talk of him running the read option once the regular season rolls around. Whether or not it means less dinking and dunking, though, is a question that we’ll have to wait to have answered.
Posted by Mike Florio on May 22, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT
During a wide-ranging and entertaining (except when I was talking) segment of Tuesday’s PFT Live, former Patriots V.P. of player personnel and Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli reacted to the recent comments from former Dolphins assistant coach Tim Davis regarding former Dolphins head coach and current I’m-not-going-to-be-the-Alabama-coach Alabama coach Nick Saban.
Davis called Saban “the devil,” and Pioli called Davis out on that.
Reminded that Saban said in response that he was “terribly disappointed” by the comments, Pioli agreed. “I’ve got to be honest, I was terribly disappointed,” Pioli said. “You know, I know Nick Saban, I’ve worked with Nick Saban for a number of years back in Cleveland. First of all, I didn’t like it for Nick. I know Nick is a tremendous coach and he’s a tough worker and he’s a tough boss but I know a lot of people who are tough bosses.
“I’ll say this about Nick, though: I think he’s tough but he’s fair. He doesn’t ask anything of people that he hasn’t done himself or that he won’t do himself.”
Pioli also pointed out the inconsistency between the subsequent claim from Davis that it all was a joke to the lack of an apology from Davis. There’s another inconsistency that undermines the comments; Davis worked two years for Saban at Miami, and then later accepted another job with Saban at Alabama.
“[Davis] spends a year out of football, can’t get a job, Nick creates a position at the University of Alabama to help a guy who’s been unemployed he shows his loyalty to the guy, brings him in, creates a position, pays him. This guy made the choice to come work for Nick and now a couple years later, he’s bashing a guy who really helped him,” Pioli said. “And to me this is something within the industry that I really struggle with, Mike, because I’ve see it happen to Bill Belichick, I’ve seen it happen to Bill Parcells, I just don’t understand the mentality of people who are given opportunities, they seize the opportunity, they get paid, and then some time in the future they start to air dirty laundry or their hard feelings toward someone. I just don’t understand why people can’t keep their mouths shut and move on. So, to me, it’s one of these trends in sports that I see, that I just, truly
Looking at it that way, it really is disappointing that Davis would fire public shots at Saban, in jest or otherwise. If Saban was “the devil” or something close to it, Davis knew it based on their time together from 2005 to 2006 — and yet Davis signed up for another tour of duty in 2008.
And if it was all a joke, it was a bad joke from a guy who benefited from Saban’s willingness to hire him not once, but twice.
The ultimate message is fairly simple. If you have a problem with your current boss, find a new one. And if you had a problem with a former boss, try not to accept another job offer from him.
The Titans start their OTAs next week and it looks like they’ll get full participation from quarterback Jake Locker at the sessions.
Locker has spent the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery after suffering multiple dislocations of his left, non-throwing shoulder during the 2012 season and says that he has healed up enough that he expects to have no limitations when he joins his teammates on the field next week. While Locker stopped short of the rave reviews about his physical condition that we’re accustomed to hearing at this time of year, he made it clear that he feels ready for everything the Titans will throw at him.
“I don’t know a whole lot about it as far as if it’s supposed to be better or stronger, but I can tell you it feels better and just the same as it did before I got hurt,” Locker said, via Terry McCormick of Titans Insider. “I haven’t had any problems with it. I haven’t had any moments with it where, I’m like, ‘Aw, man, I can feel that,’ or ‘it slipped a little bit.’ It feels great. It feels normal and I’m excited about that.”
Any growth for the Titans as a team this season will likely require growth from Locker as an individual. It’s helpful, then, that he won’t have anything holding him back physically as he takes on the full leadership role for the team’s offense in his third NFL season.
According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam offered an explanation to his business partners about the recent federal investigation of his trucking business, and told them about steps he was taking to fix the problem.
His fellow owners were apparently touched by the five-minute talk, in which he apologized for any negative attention he brought to the league.
“I know he feels a sense of embarrassment,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “He said they’re going to do everything they can to get it under control and put it behind them, and that he felt bad for the attention that it brought to the Cleveland franchise and the NFL, and he was going to make it right.”
“He is the new kid in town in terms of NFL ownership,” Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said. “And to sort of deal with an issue like this in the first quarter is impressive.”
The league passed him through a vetting process before he was allowed to buy the Browns, and nothing came up then. And it sounds like his business partners were impressed by his willingness to open up to them, which included an offer for private explanations if anyone needed them.