While not planned, the NFL has found a way to seize the sports spotlight during the first two full weekdays of the Olympics, with Michael Sam dominating Monday’s coverage and the Cleveland Browns claiming the top spot on Tuesday.
So maybe Wednesday is the day Ted Wells’ report will be released.
It’s far more likely that the league will announce Wells’ assessment of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation late Friday afternoon, where between the ongoing Olympics coverage and the long Presidents’ Day weekend it will quickly disappear from the center of the national media’s radar screen, if it ever even makes a blip there.
Then after Wells’ findings emerge, the question becomes whether either or both players will find new homes in 2014.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald recently addressed the issue. He’s convinced Incognito will get a new team this season, and that he will face no further suspension in exchange for his agreement to remain on the sidelines for the final eight games of 2013 (he was paid for six of them). If accurate, Incognito’s guaranteed non-suspension for 2014 makes his recent Twitter tantrums even more ill-advised, since the only thing left for him to do is attract an employer on or after March 11.
As to Martin, the Dolphins apparently want to try to get trade value for their 2012 second-round pick. Salguero suggests that the team should simply waive Martin, which would prevent the situation from hovering over the franchise until the draft in May, or beyond.
Unless multiple teams will be clamoring for Martin’s services, it makes no sense to wait and wait and wait for someone to offer a face-saving trade package. And if multiple teams are pursuing Martin, new G.M. Dennis Hickey would be wise to work out a tentative deal at the Scouting Combine, and then to implement the deal on March 11, the first day of the new league year.
Of course, all assessments and negotiations are subject to the findings and conclusions of Ted Wells, which could dramatically change the perceptions and realities of both players. It would be fitting for the report to arrive today; we’ve got a feeling that it will slide through the media’s five hole at 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday.