Feb 23, 2011
There still is not much to report on the labor front aside from the fact that the NFL and the players continue their mediated sessions. While the vow of silence continues, no news seems to be good news, as it was not a certainty that they would make it the full seven days without one side walking out. But here we were on Day Six, and talks continue. On we go to the rest of the news of the day:
You might want to draft Jimmy Graham … If the stock of young Saint TE Jimmy Graham wasn’t already on the rise after a
strong finish to the season, it’s certainly on the rise now. The Saints cut veteran TE Jeremy Shockey, who battled injuries in 2010 and ended up 4th on the team with 41 catches for 409 yards and 3 TDs. Shockey, who will be 31 years old by the time the season starts, has never played all 16 games in a season and has missed 10 regular season games in three years with the Saints. Shockey would have made $4.7 million this year, and given that the team has an emerging threat in Graham, the move makes complete sense. Graham has a lot of upside, and he is certainly a fantasy player to watch as we move toward the 2011 season. In the wake of the Shockey move, ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas asks the next important question: What do the Saints do with RB Reggie Bush and his outrageous $11.8 million salary?
Bailey will stay in Denver … Just two days after tens of people showed up at a rally in support of the Broncos re-signing star CB Champ Bailey, the 10-time Pro Bowler reached an agreement to stay in Denver. Whether or not the “rally” made an impact is up for you to decide. Anyway, Bailey’s deal is four years and worth $43 million, which is a lot of money for a 32-year-old cornerback. Still, Bailey was one of the few reliable players on a defense that had a miserable season and ranked 25th against the pass and 31st against the run. New HC John Fox has said the team is switching back to a 4-3 from a 3-4, and the unit will also receive a significant boost from the return of LB/DE Elvis Dumervil from injury.
Lewis will likely get tagged by Jaguars … Jaguar TE Marcedes Lewis enjoyed what was clearly the best season of his five-year career in 2010, but he has yet to reach a long-term agreement to stay in Jacksonville. That means that he can expect to be hit with a franchise tag today, with the team planning to continue negotiations in hopes of getting a deal done before the CBA expires March 3. If a deal doesn’t get done and franchise tags stick in a new CBA, Lewis would make about $7.3 million in 2011. An effective blocker, Lewis emerged as more of a receiving threat, catching 58 passes for 700 yards and 10 TDs – all career highs. He never had more than 2 TDs in his first four seasons.
Barber back for more in 2011 … Despite the fact that he’s clearly lost a step – or several – Buccaneer CB Ronde Barber agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucs to stay in the league for another year. The 35-year-old Barber has played 14 seasons in Tampa, and he’s the only member of the 2002 Super Bowl team still on the roster. Barber is a year older than HC Raheem Morris, and he is part of a young defense that ranked 7th against the pass and 28th against the run last season. He has stayed healthy and made 183 consecutive starts, and he was one of the few constants on a defense last year that dealt with a lot of injuries – including one to emerging star CB Aqib Talib – and a revolving door of safeties.
- Unlike early in 2010 training camp, there won’t be any Houston running back controversy, but Texan RB Ben Tate revealed that he is fully healthy after a broken fibula and torn ankle ligaments wiped out his entire rookie season. He’ll be in the mix for some touches behind Foster next season.
- And now for the most exciting franchise tag news you’ll ever see. Tuesday saw a whole bunch of action… featuring a kicker and a center. The Browns tagged PK Phil Dawson, while the Panthers joined in the excitement by tagging C Ryan Kalil. Most importantly, the Panthers did not tag RB DeAngelo Williams, meaning we’ve probably seen the last of him in a Carolina uniform.
- Eagle OT Winston Justice underwent surgery on his left knee to remove bone chips, with an expected recovery time of 3-4 weeks.