Feb 25, 2011
The league now turns its focus from the labor negotiations to the combine in Indianapolis. With executives, coaches, agents, and prospects all in the same place, we are learning about draft plans, possible roster moves, and a whole lot more, which we cover in today’s Fantasy Guru Daily.
Labor talks are over for now … but will resume on Tuesday. Representative from the league and NFLPA finished seven days of negotiations on Thursday with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service with mediator George H. Cohen. Cohen said, “Some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues.” At Cohen’s suggestion, the two sides have agreed to continue mediation on Tuesday, March 1. The owners have meetings scheduled for March 2-3, with the CBA running out at 11:59p.m. ET on March 3. With a five-day break in talks, Cohen requested that the two sides continue to stay silent on matters discussed in mediation.
Kyle Orton is the Broncos’ starter for now … according to HC John Fox. While Fox said Orton would be the team’s #1 QB if the season started right now, he did say Orton would compete with Tim Tebow and even Brady Quinn when the starts working out together. Orton was brought over by former HC Josh McDaniels in 2009 and was the team’s starter until injuring his ankle at the end of last season. Tebow took over for Orton and remained the starter for the final three games. Fox stressed that he liked competition at all positions, so nothing was set in stone, but the idea of Orton as the starter seems to be in line with the comments made by Team Vice President John Elway during the week of the Super Bowl.
Bears give Lovie Smith an extension … which will keep him with the team through 2013. The two-year deal had been rumored since the end of the regular season after Smith appeared to be on the hot seat heading into 2010. This past season, Smith led the Bears to their third NFC North title in his six-year tenure and a playoff victory over the Seahawks before losing to the rival Packers in the NFC Championship. Smith has a 63-49 record in the regular season and is 3-3 in the postseason including a loss to the Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
Kamerion Wimbley tagged by Raiders … on the last day teams were able to do so. The five-year veteran LB will make just over $10 million in 2011, the average salary of the top five LB contracts in 2010. In his first season with the Raiders, Wimbley led the team with 9 sacks and added 46 total tackles and 12 assists. He had his original contract, signed as a member of the Browns, voided because it broke an NFL rule related to an percentage increase in salary. Because of the violation, the Raiders were forced to use the tag on Wimbley, which means TE Zach Miller, who had been rumored to be tagged, will have to negotiate a deal with the team or test the free agent market, where he’d be the best available player at the position. Oakland also signed CB Stanford Routt to a three-year extension for $31.5 million, including $20 million guaranteed over the first two years.
- The Dolphins put the franchise tag on NT Paul Soliai, which will pay him in the area of $12.5 million in 2011. The tag is non-exclusive, so Soliai can still negotiate with other teams.
- While it may not come as a surprise, the Panthers are considering taking a QB with the #1 overall pick, according to HC Ron Rivera. Rivera added that the team was considering “7 to 10” players with that pick, which includes multiple QBs.
- The Vikings indicated that signing RB Adrian Peterson to a new deal would be addressed once a new CBA is signed. Peterson has two years left on his current deal, although the final year can be voided.
- Even though RB Reggie Bush is on the books for $11.8 million in 2011, the Saints aren’t expected to cut him. Instead, the team is expected to work with Bush to restructure the deal and possibly give him an extension.
- Raven HC John Harbaugh said QB Joe Flacco will be given more responsibility when it comes to running the offense. Flacco didn’t have much control over audibles in his first three years with the Ravens, but Harbaugh indicated that would change in the 2011 season.
- The Bills aren’t tipping their hand when it comes to their QB situation. GM Buddy Nix praised QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, but acknowledged they would consider drafting a passer if they thought he would be an improvement.