Around The NFL: News, Notes & Rumors
DeSean Jackson (Getty)
DeSean Jackson (Getty)
brad.wilbricht@gmail.com
Posted Aug 2, 2011
Brad Wilbricht


DeSean Jackson is expected to end his holdout this week, Randy Moss might not be retired for long, Asante Samuel's future in Philadelphia is in doubt, Braylon Edwards might be asking for too much and more inside.


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Eagles’ Jackson expected to end holdout

WR DeSean Jackson is expected to end his holdout and report to training camp, according to 6ABC in Philadelphia.

He will report to Lehigh University on Monday or Tuesday, per the report. Jackson, who wants a new long-term contract, is facing fines of up to $30,000 per day by sitting out of camp.

"I think it would be best if DeSean came into camp and focused on being the best player he can be," Eagles president Joe Banner told the 610 WIP Radio Morning Show on Monday morning. "Whether that's short term or long term, that serves his goal and ours the best."

However, there are conflicting reports as to Jackson's intentions, with others saying he intends to continue his holdout.

"I hope the rumors are true but the conversations we've had he has not indicated that he intends to be in here imminently," Banner said.

Jackson is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He said in February and repeated in May that he was confident the Eagles would address his deal as soon as the lockout ended. The explosive wideout has notched two consecutive 1,000-yeard seasons and averaged a league-best 22.5 yards per reception a year ago.

"I know (agent) Drew (Rosenhaus) has a plan and that's the biggest thing, because we really don't know when the lockout is going to end. Drew has been keeping me patient and motivating me and trying not to have me focus on my contract," Jackson said in May. "That's why I have him, so he can do his job and do what he needs to do, so me, as a player can feel confident and know he will do the best thing possible for me."

Analysis: It’s hard to blame Jackson for wanting a new contract for a couple of reasons. 1) Jackson is set to make a base salary of only $565,000 and 2) the Eagles have been throwing money at almost every free agent imaginable. That said, Jackson has no choice but to report this week and be patient as things get sorted out.

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Moss retires, but will it last?

Randy Moss wanted to play this year, but couldn’t find a suitable home.

Moss’ primary interest was either making a return to New England or catching on with the New York Jets. After the Patriots traded for Chad Ochocinco, Moss’ desire for a three-year contract went out the door and Plaxico Burress’ decision to sign a one-year deal with the Jets nixed that idea.

Instead of considering a different team, Moss decided to retire. But will it last? Several people close to Moss are well aware of his desire to continue playing. There’s a chance we could see the eight-time Pro Bowler on a new team later this month.

Analysis: Moss’ decision to hang it up could be short lived if the right team comes calling. It could take an injury in training camp, but don’t be surprised to see Moss playing this fall for a team near you.



Umenyiora likely heading out of New York

DE Osi Umenyiora, who was initially placed on the reserve/did not report list after failing to show up for the team's reporting date, finally made an appearance just before the team was scheduled to take the practice field for the first time; however, he had yet to practice with the club due to a medical issue, believed to be related to offseason surgery he had on his hip, that required further examination by Giants' team physicians.

Umenyiora, who has long been unhappy with his current contract, was to have filed a sworn affidavit in early July as part of the NFLPA's litigation against the league in which he revealed that general manager Jerry Reese had promised to readdress the nine-year veteran's contract after the 2010 season, a conversation that has reportedly yet to take place.

Umenyiora is under contract for two more seasons, and the Giants also have Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul in the fold.

Umenyiora met with the Giants’ brass earlier this week and has been granted permission to seek a trade.

Analysis: Obviously, the Giants reneged on their promise to make Umenyiora one of the highest paid defensive ends in the league. Unfortunately for Umenyiora, other teams won’t be lining up to pay him that type of money either.



Samuel reports to camp, future in doubt

CB Asante Samuel has reported to training camp and passes his physical, according to multiple reports.

His future in Philadelphia was cast into doubt on Friday when the Eagles acquired cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromarte. Samuel was excused from the start of training camp by the Eagles for "personal reasons." He was chided by the team for his tackling last season. He also had seven interceptions and picked off nine passes in 2009.

Analysis: There’s still a chance that Philadelphia enters the season with its trio of Pro Bowl cornerbacks but also a chance that Samuel gets shipped out of town. The Eagles have played both the free agent and trade market very well this year and will likely do the same with Samuel.



Bradshaw agrees to new deal, stays in New York

RB Ahmad Bradshaw has agreed to a four-year deal with the Giants, according to the Star-Ledger; financial terms not immediately know.

Bradshaw visited the Miami Dolphins in free agency, but the Dolphins acquired Reggie Bush from New Orleans. He scheduled a visit with the Bengals before they re-signed Cedric Benson on Sunday.

Analysis: Bradshaw’s new contract was in doubt following a visit by Jason Snelling to New York but the two sides eventually got a deal done. Bradshaw will continue to be paired with Brandon Jacobs in the Giants’ backfield.



Former Seahawk Tatupu searching for new team

MLB Lofa Tatupu scheduled visits with the Raiders and Redskins. He was scheduled to be in Oakland on Monday. Tatupu asked to be released after declining a pay cut, and the Seahawks granted his request Sunday.

Tatupu, 28, was scheduled to earn more than $4 million in 2011. The six-year veteran was a second-round pick and has played in three Pro Bowls. But he has also started to wear down the past three seasons, including finishing 2009 on injured reserve with a knee injury. He did start all 16 games last season, but had surgery on both knees during the offseason.

Middle linebacker David Hawthorne is expected to take over the starting job for the Seahawks.

Analysis: Tatupu has been an under the radar free agent, but is expected to land with a new team soon. Tatupu was considered one of the best middle linebackers in the league just a few short years ago, but his skills have diminished of late.



Free agent Edwards looking for five-year deal

Although most of the top free agents have already been signed, wide receiver Braylon Edwards remains on the market.

Edwards has been discussing a future with several different teams, but his demand for a long-term contract has been turning away potential new employers.

Edwards is reportedly seeking a five-year contract worth around $10 million in guaranteed money. Most teams, however, would prefer to bring in Edwards on a three-year deal.

As of now the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings seem to be the most logical landing spots but talks with both of those teams have cooled off for the time being.

Other names such as James Jones and Malcolm Floyd could also get in the way of Edwards’ path to a big payday.

Analysis: After Steve Breaston cashed in on multi-year deal worth nearly $10 million guaranteed in Kansas City, Edwards was licking his chops. However, the market has dried up and he might not even be the best option available.



Falcons’ Turner back healthy for 2011

RB Michael Turner has led the NFL in carries in two of the past three seasons and has recovered from offseason groin surgery.

He said he played most of the season with the injury and said he had successful surgery during the offseason.

"It went good," Turner said. "I was out there running and stuff. It went pretty good. It feels good to be back playing football."

The injury explains why Turner did not participate in the players-led twice-a-week workouts that the Falcons held at a suburban Atlanta High in May and June.

"I was just rehabbing my groin stuff like that," Turner said. "I was here after I had my surgery."

Coach Mike Smith said that Michael Turner's offseason groin surgery was a minor procedure.

"We feel very confident with the procedure that was done and with his rehab," Smith said. "He's been back to full speed for a number of weeks. It was not a very complicated procedure."

Analysis: Turner has been a workhorse since arriving in Atlanta, but the Falcons should take to the air more in 2011. Rookie wideout Julio Jones gives quarterback Matt Ryan another weapon in the passing game, along with established stars Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.



Merriman hoping to return as impact player

LB Shawne Merriman is healthy, though he will be taking it slow with the veteran who has battled injuries the last three years. Early on in practice, you can't tell how Merriman will adapt to his new role with the Bills, but Gailey thinks Merriman will become more noticeable. "Until we get pads on, he's going to look very similar to every other guy out there now," said Gailey of the three-time Pro Bowler. "When he gets the pads on, to me that's where he makes the difference. I think in pass rush and leadership, that's what we expect to see right now until we get the pads on. Once we get the pads on it will be obvious."

Analysis: Merriman used to be one of the headlining pass rushers in the entire league but has fell of the radar of late. The Bills are hoping he can muster up a comeback this year.



Revis wanted Nnamdi but welcomes back Cromartie

CB Darrelle Revis publicly stated his admiration for free-agent CB Nnamdi Asomugha, who later spurned the Jets and signed with Philadelphia. Revis and Asomugha are good friends.

"He's the best cornerback in the league," said Revis, who has often been labeled that. "Me and him as a tandem would be unbelievable. It would be awesome.

"I would love to have him as a teammate," Revis added.

Revis, however, declined to say whether he would prefer to play opposite Asomugha or the Jets' 2010 starter at RCB, Antonio Cromartie. Smart move, considering the Jets have now re-signed Cromartie.

Analysis: The combination of Revis and Asomugha would have been arguably the best cornerback tandem in NFL history. That said, the combination of Revis and Cromartie is no slouch either.



Harbaugh impressed by Kaepernick at 49ers’ camp

QB Colin Kaepernick has been getting the lion's share of the snaps and has looked sharp so far.

"Colin did some really good things, he made some fantastic throws," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Those were big-league throws. To come in on the first day and take snaps with a starting professional football team on the offensive unit, there's some remarkability in that."

One area where Kaepernick, who mainly took snaps out of the shotgun, needs work is on the center-quarterback exchange. Several snaps were bobbled in his opening practice, although the 49ers were breaking in a new center, Adam Snyder, as well.

Analysis: Kaepernick is expected to sit back and learn during his rookie campaign, but that plan could go up in smoke if incumbent starter Alex Smith struggles.



Titans’ Johnson holding out, again

RB Chris Johnson is officially a holdout. The Titans' star wants his contract renegotiated with two years remaining, to which general manager Mike Reinfeldt responded, "He's under contract. He should be here. Everybody else is here. It's the right way to do it."

Analysis: Johnson has severely outplayed his contract and it’s obvious why he wants a new deal. The lifespan of an NFL running back is short and Johnson needs to cash in while he can.



Will Britt make the most of fresh start?

WR Kenny Britt is getting a fresh start under Mike Munchak's regime, and if ever a player needed one, he is probably it. Britt had three off-field run-ins with police during the lockout, but because there was no CBA at the time, might be able to avoid league punishment that would normally come his way. Britt has apologized before for boneheaded incidents that have plagued him in his first two years in the NFL, and was asked if this would be the last time he has to answer questions about his off-field issues. "Will this be the last time? We don't know that. We don't know if y'all are gonna get in trouble. So you can't ask me that question. Somebody may follow y'all around there could be some charges, but hopefully it will be."

Analysis: It remains to be seen if Britt will indeed get a fresh start under Munchak. Even if Britt was lucky and avoided punishment from commissioner Roger Goodell, it’s unlikely that he’ll stay out of trouble given his checkered past.



Hasselbeck, Locker perfect match in Tennessee

QB Matt Hasselbeck was brought in on a three-year, $21 million deal to start now and mentor Jake Locker as the quarterback of the future. Hasselbeck is a 13-year veteran and how well he plays could determine the Titans' fortunes early.

Analysis: Hasselbeck should be a perfect mentor for Locker, as the rookie quarterback gets acclimated to life in the NFL. In addition, Hasselbeck can also perform on the field and gives the Titans a chance to win games.



Bucs’ Bowers hungry to prove doubters wrong

DE Da'Quan Bowers, who fell in the draft because of knee surgery, looked impressive during his few two days of training camp and has not been limited in any way.

Bowers, 21, said the concerns were overblown, though he admits the surgery was more involved than he originally believed it would be.

"It was definitely frustrating, hearing one thing and then finding out it was another thing," he said. "You just have to keep faith and try to persevere. I had to fight through it."

Now that he's here, said he has a 'log' on his shoulder.

"I'm definitely hungry," said Bowers, who led the nation with 16 sacks in 2010. "Ten defensive ends went before me. Thirty-one teams passed up on me. So I have 31 points to make.

"All the haters, I'd tell them to watch on Sundays."

Analysis: Bowers tumbled in the draft but wound up in an excellent spot in Tampa. The Buccaneers have solid core of young players on defense and coach Raheem Morris is known for having one of the brightest defensive minds in the league.



Chargers’ Gates to PUP list

TE Antonio Gates (foot) is still not back to full strength and was placed on the physically unable to perform list to open training camp.

He played with grit last year, ignoring the pain of his torn plantar fasciitis in his foot. Gates finally had to shut it down and missed the final six games. But after an offseason of rest -- no surgery was required -- the hope that a healthy Gates would report to camp ready to go was misguided.

Gates is at practice, but he's working on the side. Seems that what ailed him in 2010 is still there. And Gates said part of that blame was because of the sport's labor unrest with its collective bargaining agreement.

"This whole thing about the CBA put a damper on a lot of things," Gates said. "People say, 'Oh, he had the time off (his foot),' but when you're not in with the training staff that normally understands you and knows what it takes to rehab it right, it's difficult."

Analysis: The Chargers don’t appear interested in bringing back wide receiver Malcolm Floyd, making a healthy Gates vital heading into this season. For now, Gates will be stuck on the sideline watching.



Haynesworth starting over in New England

NT Albert Haynesworth looked sharp in his training camp debut paired next to Vince Wilfork. While it's still too early to tell what this duo could produce in 2011, all signs were positive in the first two practice sessions.

Haynesworth fought through several double-team attempts during practice drills, which delighted the packed house behind Gillette Stadium.

Analysis: Good things are supposed to happen to good people, but Haynesworth is the exception to that rule. Despite being a major headache in Washington, Haynesworth somehow wound up with arguably the NFL’s best franchise.



Yanda back in Baltimore

OL Marshal Yanda agreed to a five-year, $32 million contract to remain with the Ravens.

But rather than use those riches on anything extravagant, Yanda elected to throw his belongings in a moving truck and drive the 16 hours or so from his family's home in Iowa to the team's facility in Owings Mills.

"It wasn't long because he said he was getting in the car, and he drove all night to get here," Harbaugh said. "He said, 'I don't have time to talk. I have to get in the car and drive now.' I guess he pulled over for about three hours somewhere en route and slept because he was passing out, and he got here in the morning. Obviously, he is excited to be here, and we're excited to have him. That's Marshal."

Analysis: In the day and age of multi-million dollar contracts in professional sports, it’s refreshing to see a player like Yanda stay grounded.

Information from the Sports Xchange was used in this report


Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com


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