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CA

l VOL. XXIII, NO. 1 l MARCH 2008

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

SCOUTING COMBINE
Up close with OT Ryan Clady and WR DeSean Jackson

BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

Is new coach Jim Zorn ready to


lead the Redskins back to the playoffs?

DON WRIGHT / THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS

SURPRISE PICK
IN WASHINGTON

URGENT NEWS
DELIVER IMMEDIATELY

TOP 100
Randy Moss
heads our
exclusive list
ranking this
seasons
free agents
ANALYSIS: IN-DEPTH PREVIEW OF EACH TEAMS PLANS
ALAN FANECA

LISTS: THE PLAYERS AVAILABLE BY POSITION, TEAM


LANCE BRIGGS

FRANCHISE TAGS: WHATS AHEAD FOR TAGGED PLAYERS


JARED ALLEN
$ 4 .49 9 9U .SS .$ 5 . 9 9 C. A N C a n .
/ $5 99
$ .9 U

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HARRY SCULL JR. (MOSS, FANECA, ALLEN) l SCOTT WALLEM-PROCASE (BRIGGS)

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

MARCH 2008

In this
edition of

Volume XXIII
No. 1

CREATORS & FOUNDERS

Arthur Arkush, Robert Drazkowski


and Joel Buchsbaum

ALSO:

SCOUTING
COMBINE

18

Publisher/Editor Hub Arkush


Editor-in-chief Keith Schleiden
Art director Bob Peters
Managing editor Mike Holbrook
Executive editors Dan Arkush
Neil Warner

C O V E R

Senior editors Nolan Nawrocki


Eric Edholm
Mike Wilkening

S T O R Y

FREE AGENCY

Associate editors Matt Sohn


Dan Parr

2008

Production assistant Matt Quinnan

OVERVIEW ....................5
TOP 100
FREE AGENTS................6
TEAM REPORTS..........10

NEW MEDIA
Publisher Sue Nemitz
Web developer Tom OBrien

FRANCHISE/TRANSITION
TAG FORMULAS ..........12
FREE-AGENT LIST
BY POSITION ..............17

Business manager Christine Klimusko


Network support tech. Bob Boklewski
Distribution manager Arthur Arkush
Subscription manager Kristine Carlsson

TERRELL SUGGS

All the draft-related


news from Indianapolis, plus features on OT Ryan
Clady and WR
DeSean Jackson.

DEPARTMENTS
Whispers..............................................Pg. 3
Feature on Redskins coach Jim Zorn ....Pg. 22
Audibles ............................................Pg. 28
Arena Football ..................................Pg. 29
2008 draft order;
NFL transactions ........................Pg. 30
The Slant with Dan Arkush..............Pg. 31

COLUMNISTS
Eric Edholm; Jerry Magee ..............Pg. 23
Glenn Dickey; Ron Borges ..............Pg. 24

SPORTPICS PHOTO

ADVERTISING SALES
VP, Marketing Phil Hornthal
AD SALES OFFICE: 1-847-940-1100

COLUMNISTS
Ron Borges, Jim Campbell, Bob Carroll,
Glenn Dickey, Barry Jackson, Jerry Magee,
Don Pierson, Reggie Rivers, Bill Wallace

NFC REPORTERS
Arizona Cardinals Kent Somers
Atlanta Falcons Steve Wyche
Carolina Panthers Scott Fowler
Chicago Bears Bob LeGere
Dallas Cowboys Mickey Spagnola
Detroit Lions Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Green Bay Packers Bob McGinn
Minnesota Vikings Sean Jensen
New Orleans Saints Mike Triplett
New York Giants Paul Schwartz
Philadelphia Eagles Dave Weinberg
St. Louis Rams Jim Thomas
San Francisco 49ers Kevin Lynch
Seattle Seahawks Dave Boling
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Katherine Smith
Washington Redskins John Keim
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Tom Danyluk, Matt Duffy, Art Edelstein,
Pat Fitzmaurice, Court E. Mann,
Rick Matsumoto, Billy Wellner
STATISTICIANS
Rick Arkush, Daryl Arkush
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BUTT OUT:

Senators investigation should be NFL internal matter


HUB ARKUSH

PUBLISHERS PEN

AFC REPORTERS
Baltimore Ravens Jamison Hensley
Buffalo Bills Chuck Pollock
Cincinnati Bengals Mark Curnutte
Cleveland Browns Tony Grossi
Denver Broncos Bill Williamson
Houston Texans Megan Manfull
Indianapolis Colts Tom James
Jacksonville Jaguars Vito Stellino
Kansas City Chiefs Rick Dean
Miami Dolphins Harvey Fialkov
New England Patriots John Tomase
New York Jets Andrew Gross
Oakland Raiders Michael Wagaman
Pittsburgh Steelers Jim Wexell
San Diego Chargers Jay Posner
Tennessee Titans Paul Kuharsky

NEXT ISSUE
PFWs pre-draft issue goes to press March
31. It includes player reports for all of the top
prospects, player rankings by position, team
needs for all 32 clubs and a new mock draft.

PUBLISHER/EDITOR

here is absolutely no cheering allowed in


the press box. As much as I might wish to
have a favorite team about which I can be
emotional, biased and view with a complete
lack of objectivity, because thats what many
fans do, I cant. Ill guarantee there isnt one
of you out there who loves pro football any
more than I do, but the job demands I avoid
being a fan, and so I do, or at least I try my
best. And thats the best explanation I can
come up with for why Arlen Specter chose to
be a United States senator instead of a sportswriter. He apparently thinks his job allows
him to butt into anything he wants, and he
actually expects us to applaud him for it.
Normally a guy like Sen. Specter, from the
state of Pennsylvania and the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has
better things to do and would only be mentioned in Pro Football Weekly for making an
illegal wager with a politician from another
state prior to their teams meeting in a big
game. Wait, I forgot gambling is only illegal
for fans, not politicians. But it seems Sen.
Specter has appointed himself as the lordhigh ruler of anything he chooses, still hasnt
gotten over the Eagles loss to the Patriots in
the Super Bowl XXXIX and has nothing better to do than tell NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell how to do his job.
I promised myself I was done with Spygate, or whatever you want to call it. Done
because the guilty parties have apologized
and been punished severely, as they should
have been. Done because not a single new
fact or shred of evidence has emerged since
those admissions and punishments took
place. There are allegations by Matt Walsh, a
former employee of the Patriots, that he has
evidence of additional malfeasance, but to
date he has refused to produce it, were told,

because he is afraid of the potential recriminations from telling the truth. Am I the only
one having a problem finding the real focus
in that picture? Until we see the evidence or
can at least verify its existence, what more is
there to say? If it turns out Walsh is telling
the truth and the Patriots chicanery was far
worse than we realize so far, I say, fine, hang
em all! But until then, can someone please
explain to me what the hell this has to do
with the Senate Judiciary Committee?
Best as I can tell from a visit to the committees own Web site, http://judiciary.senate.gov, the seven areas of focus of the committee are: (1) administrative oversight and
the courts; (2) antitrust, competition policy
and consumer rights; (3) the Constitution; (4)
crime and drugs; (5) human rights and the
law; (6) immigration, refugees and border
security; and (7) terrorism, technology and
homeland security. I imagine none of you is
any more shocked than I failed to be that
there is no subcommittee for monitoring NFL
rules violations.
Still, Sen. Specter is outraged by the
unwillingness of any number of NFL players,
coaches and front-office personnel to respond
to the inquiries from members of his staff or
cooperate with his investigation. Perhaps
its because theyre as outraged as I am, and
every one of you should be, that our tax dollars are being wasted paying the salaries of
his staff to butt into something thats none of
their freaking business.
Im sure the senator will claim jurisdiction
in this matter because of his committees
oversight in the areas of antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights. Specter has
mentioned on a number of occasions that the
NFL has an antitrust exemption, while stopping short of saying thats why he wants to

investigate the matter. I assume thats


because he knows the NFL actually has a
limited antitrust exemption as it relates to
its right to negotiate broadcast rights for all
of its 32 teams, and that there is no reasonable interpretation in the world that would
suggest or defend the idea that the rules governing the playing of pro football games
should come under the purview of that particular subcommittee.
Those of you whove followed this column
for a while know that I am a political animal
and well off the center. But my position here
is completely nonpartisan. Republican or
Democrat, please tell me you agree that
while we are at war overseas and our veterans at home are in need, were on the brink
of recession, near almost certain disaster in
our Social Security and health-care systems,
systematically destroying the only atmosphere we have to live in, our public education
system is in decline, and we face a host of
other problems that actually matter and
whose answers elude us, every one of our
elected officials must be focused on the job
we elected them to do, rather than abusing
the office weve granted them because their
favorite team cant win a Super Bowl!
Has Major League Baseball or its fans
benefited in any way from the members of
the House of Representatives bipartisan
efforts to exploit baseballs problems with
steroids for their own TV face time? I dont
trust Roger Goodell blindly, and neither
should you. But I have more than enough
faith in him, and even more so in the egos of
the NFL owners, that if the Patriots were
cheating to gain an unfair advantage, the
other 31 clubs are going to do something
about it. And unlike Sen. Specter, they have
the right.

MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

WAY
WE

DA N PA R R

with the top 10 picks are considering

it...

ERIC EDHOLM NOLAN NAWROCKI


M AT T S O H N
MIKE WILKENING

DALLAS COWBOYS
With the Cowboys signing of
ILB Zach Thomas, we hear that
Thomas feels confident he can win
a starting spot ahead of Akin Ayodele at the weak ILB position. Ayodele had a solid season in Wade
Phillips first year, but Ayodele oftentimes was
replaced by Kevin Burnett
in the teams nickel package. And team sources say
that Ayodele didnt display
the tackling ability the team had
hoped. That said, there are some
who feel that Thomas will need to
be protected; matching up with
offensive guards who often are
uncovered in odd fronts is
something that the undersized
Thomas has struggled with at

JAMES D. SMITH

N F C lE A S T
Giants dont give
Wilson franchise tag,
leaving door open
The Giants decided that the
franchise tag was too expensive to
place on free-agent S Gibril Wilson. But with the Cowboys placing
the tag on Ken Hamlin, Wilsons
price and demand could go up
comparatively. The rival Eagles are
said to be hot on Wilsons trail, and
the fact that he fit in well
with the Giants defense
which is very similar to
what the Eagles run
would make him an even
better fit. The 2008 franchise guarantee for safeties is
$4.396 million for a one-year deal;
the transition figure isnt much different at $3.893 million. Wilson
made $1.3 million this past season
and is due for a raise, but the
Giants clearly believe hes not
worth paying in the $4 million
range. If they cant re-sign Wilson,
they likely would have to go outside the roster to find his replacement. Michael Johnson and
James Butler had their moments
last season, but both are strong
safety types, and the club is said
to want to improve on Butler.

Headed home: LB Zach Thomas will


play in his home state of Texas
times. Still, hes one of the best
run stoppers and tacklers of his
generation, though most of that
was done in a 4-3 scheme, where
he played behind two defensive
tackles. There also could be some
turnover at the LB position.
Rumors persist that Bobby Carpenter may not fit into the teams
future plans, and there isnt a lot of
depth inside. But Thomas signing
is a pretty clear indication that the
coaches feel they can make an
improvement over Ayodele.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Eagles GM Tom Heckert did his
best to put out the fire that was the
growing story about CB
Lito Sheppards desire to
play elsewhere and that the
team had granted Sheppard and his agent, Lamont Smith, the right to work
out a trade with another team. But
this much is believed to be true:

INDIANAPOLIS Now that


the coin has been flipped at
this years Combine to determine the third through fifth
spots in the 2008 draft, maybe
the Falcons fortunes are starting to take a turn for the better. After all, the time seems
right for an updated look at
the draft strategies and mindsets of the teams who own this
years top 10 picks.
Heres what our sources
around the league were
telling us as the Combine was
winding down:

BRUCE L. SCHWARTZMAN

By DAN ARKUSH

http://www.profootballweekly.com

Setting the
draft on what the teams
stage
The latest word

THE

HEAR
HEAR

Hes No. 1: Matt Ryan


could be drafted first

1. Miami The Dolphins appear to be going out of


their way not to tip their hand, but our sources remain
pretty confident that the team will select Boston College
QB Matt Ryan, provided they dont trade down. Its an
easy decision, a source told PFW. They are pressing
hard to move down now, but I dont see it happening.
2. St. Louis The word is the Rams are looking at
both Michigan OLT Jake Long and LSU DT Glenn
Dorsey, with a higher priority apparently on the offensive line given the teams history of busting on early DT
prospects. New Rams executive V.P. of player personnel
Billy Devaney told PFW at the Combine that he is
going to depend tremendously on the input of V.P. of
player personnel Tony Softli, who suddenly is looking
like hell stick around through at least the length of his
contract, which has two years remaining after the draft.
3. Atlanta In conversations with team sources,
were being told that they are looking primarily at quarterback (Ryan), left tackle (Long) and defensive tackle
(Dorsey) in that order. Tackle is a desperate need,
one team source said. They don't have a legitimate
starting OT on the roster after cutting Wayne Gandy.
4. Oakland Raiders officials say the always-intriguing Al Davis will look to fill his teams most pressing
needs first, starting at offensive tackle and defensive
tackle. Thats where it gets interesting, a rival team
executive told PFW. Maybe (USC NT) Sedrick Ellis
goes higher than he should. Hes more like a top-15 pick
than top-10, but Al has always loved Trojans, and the head
coach (Lane Kiffin) knows Ellis. Or maybe that's where
the L.A. kid (Boise State OLT Ryan Clady) goes. Al won't
care about (character concerns).
5. Kansas City Chiefs officials say they are looking hard at offensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver, in that order, and will reach for an OT if they can't
move down. We hear the preferred OT choice of Chiefs
head coach Herm Edwards is Pittsburgh OLT Jeff
The Eagles feel they cannot count
on a healthy Sheppard, even if he
is their best cover corner. His
injury troubles last season highlighted what scouts have said for
years that hes too thin to play
the way he does and stay on the
field. Thats what makes the

Otah.
6. N.Y. Jets The consensus is that theyre looking
first and foremost for a running back and a hybrid DEOLB, with Oregon RB Jonathan Stewart, Virginia DEOLB Chris Long and Ohio State OLB Vernon Gholston
as the primary suspects. The team is still exploring
options in free agency, not to mention shopping
Jonathan Vilma and Dewayne Robertson moves
that could seriously alter their draft plans.
7. New England With Asante Samuel asking for
$11 million in free agency, a figure the Pats brain trust
will absolutely not pay, the team is eyeing a cornerback,
but more than anything, we hear they would like to move
down the same way everyone in front of them would.
Said one team insider: This could be a good spot for
Gholston, but their coaches are not that far into the draft
yet, coming off their Super Bowl run, and they always
have considerable input.
8. Baltimore We hear the Ravens would like to
address the QB position but will probably be looking for
a badly needed cornerback with Ryan expected to be
long gone. In that case, our sources believe their choice
will likely be either Virginia Techs Brandon Flowers or
Troys Leodis McKelvin.
9. Cincinnati With Justin Smith on the way out of
Cincy, we hear the Bengals are looking hard at defensive
end, just as they were a year ago in the first round, when
head coach Marvin Lewis loved Jarvis Moss but was
scared by his background concerns. Word is Floridas
Derrick Harvey, who has a cleaner character than
Moss and is a more versatile player, and Clemsons
Phillip Merling are two players they like a lot. Its also
possible an offensive tackle such as Vanderbilts Chris
Williams could be an option, with a big run on tackles
expected to occur in the top part of Round One.
10. New Orleans We hear the Saints are desperate
for a corner and are not willing to enter the extreme bidding for Samuel, thus making McKelvin, South Floridas
Mike Jenkins and Kansas Aqib Talib top considerations.
One more interesting development worth noting: Conspicuous by his absence in the above observations is
Darren McFadden, who could be in the midst of a
Randy Moss-type plunge in the first round due to character issues the Arkansas running back might not be
able to shake.
How bad has it gotten for McFadden, who was widely
considered to be a surefire top-five pick not too long
ago? Not only has his stock fallen beneath the likes of
Stewart and Illinois Rashard Mendenhall, we also
hear fellow Razorbacks RB Felix Jones could now conceivably be selected before him.
Typically in recent years, it has been quarterbacks
who have fallen hard. The safe landing spot for McFadden, as it was for free-falling Brady Quinn a year ago, is
at No. 22, where fellow Arkansas alum and Cowboys
owner Jerry Jones is still said to be very interested, if he
does not get overexcited and package his two first-round
picks to land him sooner. Carolina, who traded down a
year ago, and Chicago both need runners and are prime
trading candidates who could help Dallas end a McFadden free fall. Perhaps helping offset some of McFaddens
character concerns is the unofficial 4.27 time he posted
in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.

Eagles very likely to upgrade both


at cornerback and safety this offseason. With Brian Dawkins and
Sean Considine also battling
injuries, the depth at the DB positions was exposed. The Eagles
know they cant go another season
with that thin a group back there.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS
One longtime NFL executive
wonders if Jim Zorn may be biting

DAN ARKUSH
off more than he can chew in his
first go-round as the Redskins
head coach. Calling plays
in this league is tough, the
executive said. Being a
head coach is a nightmare.
Doing both few guys can
(do it). I love Jimmy Zorn as
much as a lot of people, and I saw
him as a guy who could do one or

CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

Panthers RB DeAngelo
Williams rises to the top of the depth
chart now that DeShaun Foster has
been released, but he may not stay
there for long. Williams fits the role of
a change-of-pace back and is not an
every-down workhorse. Carolina will
most likely pursue a free agent, like
the Chargers Michael Turner, or

use a high draft pick on a prospect to


compete with Williams in camp for
the starting job.
The Saints will shift their attention
to striking a deal with recently
released Panthers MLB Dan Morgan, now that Zach Thomas, who
had received an offer from New
Orleans, has signed with the Cow-

SPORTPICS

W H I S P E R S

DeAngelo Williams

boys. Morgan has battled concussions


and most recently a partially torn
Achilles tendon, but if healthy, he
would be a major upgrade over the
squad's 2007 middle linebacker,
Mark Simoneau, who will become
an unrestricted free agent Feb. 29.
While watching game tape on
Boston College QB Matt Ryan, new

Falcons head coach Mike Smith said


one of the attributes he was most
impressed by was Ryan's ability to
come from behind late. Games in the
NFL, as we all know, the majority of the
time, they come down to the last four
or five minutes, Smith said. You have

CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

MARCH 2008

W H I S P E R S
to have guys who can make plays,
and the guys who make plays at the
end of the game have the best discipline.
Former Falcons DT Grady Jackson may return to Atlanta, according
to a source close to the team. The Falcons released Jackson, a starter,
about midway through last season,
and the perception was then-coach
Bobby Petrino, who struggled to get
along with some players, spearheaded the move. Jackson finished the
season with the Jaguars and remains
close to many players in the Falcons
locker room. Atlanta is in the market
for a defensive tackle following the
recent release of Rod Coleman, and
new coach Mike Smith was the
defensive coordinator in Jacksonville
last season.
The Cowboys are hopeful, but
team sources dont appear terribly
optimistic that OLT Flozell Adams
will come to an agreement with the
team on a long-term extension before
the free-agency period opens. That
said, he still might return.
Dont rule out the Giants in the
DeAngelo Hall trade derby.
Although a deal isnt likely to happen,
the Giants would be interested in the
services of Hall, whose man-coverage skills would be a good fit for the
teams scheme. A source with knowledge of the Giants line of thinking
said the team feels that his off-field
issues would not be a problem
because of the teams strong leadership.
Free-agent WR D.J. Hackett following Jim Zorn to the Redskins?
Reports suggest its possible, and
Zorn reportedly wants to get bigger
at wideout. He also wants to get
receivers who have experience in a
West Coast offense.
The Lions, looking to become
more of a physical running team,
could be in the market for RB Julius
Jones. Jones might get a bit overlooked in free agency after sharing
the load in Dallas, but he could fit
what the Lions need at the position.
It appears that there is a trade
market for Vikings WR Troy
Williamson. The team reportedly
told the wideout and agent David
Canter they were free to work something out, and it appears that some
team will offer the Vikings at least a
draft pick in return. It could be as high
as a third-rounder.
How serious are the Bears about
possibly moving John Tait from left
tackle to right tackle, which some
consider his more natural position? I
dont know if Id say its his natural
side, Bears head coach Lovie Smith
told PFW at the Combine. Of course,
he has played both positions. Thats
an option we have, and right now,
were keeping all of our options open.
The direction we go with the left tackle position will dictate what happens
to John.
While its quite possible that the
Packers will draft a tight end after cutting Bubba Franks, we hear they
think Tory Humphrey, who missed
last season with a broken leg, is a
tight end with great promise.
Our Cardinals sources believe
DE Bertrand Berrys newly restructured deal will earn him roughly $1
million (down from $4 million) in 2008

a fair price, they believe, for a


player who has missed 21 games the
past three years.
The news regarding Rams OLT
Orlando Paces recovery from
shoulder surgery is promising. Team
insiders told PFW at the Combine that
Pace has regained roughly 80 percent of the strength in the shoulder
that sidelined him for practically the
entire 2007 campaign, and that he
has been a steady presence at Rams
Park, working diligently and enthusiastically on his rehab.
Niners head coach Mike Nolan,
speaking at the Combine on the
teams decision to hire Chris Foerster, previously the Ravens O-line
coach, to share the job of coaching
the teams offensive line with incumbent George Warhop: It makes
sense to have two coaches for a position that always has five players on the
field. Were very fortunate to get
Chris. He is an outstanding coach in
this league. He was just coming to
Baltimore when I left, but going
against him, Ive always had the
greatest respect for the job he did.
We were lucky to have an opportunity to hire him.
We hear veteran Niners LB Mike
Ulbrich isnt likely to follow in
departed LB Derek Smiths footsteps, as has been rumored more
than a few times. Daily team
observers tell us that not only did
Ulbrich play extremely well once he
was inserted as a starter in the teams
nickel defense, hes also a true team
leader and a workout warrior who
also encourages younger players to
get involved in the teams offseason
conditioning program.
We hear the best bet to replace
departed Niners LB Derek Smith in
the teams Ted LB spot is Brandon
Moore, who our sources believe
deserves much more playing time.
Look for the Niners to probably draft
a linebacker in the second or third
round to help fill the role.
Dom Capers has his work cut
out for him. Fired as defensive coordinator of the Dolphins along with
head coach Cam Cameron, Capers
was picked by Pats boss Bill
Belichick to coach the secondary.
For as loaded as the Patriots are, their
defensive backfield is relatively thin,
especially at cornerback. With
Asante Samuel expected to collect
big bucks elsewhere in free agency,
middling starter Ellis Hobbs on the
mend for shoulder and groin injuries
and no promising youngsters, Capers
has quite the restoration job to oversee.
Its typical for most of the new
bigwigs on the NFL scene head
coaches, executives, etc. to
address the media at the annual
Scouting Combine. The new Dolphins regime is bucking that trend.
Neither executive vice president of
football operations Bill Parcells,
GM Jeff Ireland nor head coach
Tony Sparano offered his insight at
the Combine, a revelation that surprised many. Naturally, this only adds
to the ongoing speculation of what
the Dolphins will do with the No. 1
pick in Aprils draft.
It seems as if every year, more
NFL teams are running a base 3-4
defense. On the flip side, only a smattering of college programs run it. As
one of the numerous NFL coaches

operating the scheme, Jets coach


Eric Mangini offered his take on
how he evaluates prospects who lack
3-4 experience. You try to look at
plays where they have been dropping on a zone blitz, or their workouts. Things along those lines,
Mangini said. (We also use) the
interview process. Will they be able
to make the switch from being a guy
who has his hand in the dirt, versus a
guy standing up? And then some of
the OLB types may have to move
inside in the 3-4 system. There is
quite a bit of projecting.
While many in Buffalo are fretting
that the Bills eight games to be
played in Toronto over the next five
years are an ominous warning that
the team will soon be permanently
transplanted, Bills coach Dick Jauron had a unique perspective on the
issue. As an assistant coach in Green
Bay for nine years, I do have a lot of
experience being involved in (one
team playing in two cities), said Jauron, who served as the Packers DB
coach from 1986-94, an era when the
Pack would play a few of their regular-season games in Milwaukee. Our
record in Milwaukee was pretty good.
We traveled about the same distance
that we will be traveling for our
games in Toronto. It was certainly a
home-field advantage for us.
The Colts surprised many by
agreeing on a long-term deal with
free-agent OG Ryan Lilja. Lilja was
previously believed to be headed to a
team with more cap room. On the
other hand, the Colts other starting
guard, Jake Scott, who also happens
to be a free agent, is as good as gone.
Team president Bill Polian said
almost as much on Wednesday, when
he insinuated he would welcome
Scott back only if he agreed to a contract well below market value.
The Jaguars are looking for a
quarterback to back up David Garrard. Their No. 2 passer last season,
Quinn Gray, is a free agent, and
sources indicate hes a long shot to
be back in Jacksonville. It remains
anyones guess as to whether the new
No. 2 comes via free agency or the
draft.
Should Texans WR Andr Davis
re-sign with the club, he could be
overtaken as the clubs No. 3 receiver
by Jacoby Jones, Houstons thirdround pick from a year ago, who
flashed considerable potential in the
preseason but didnt play as well in
the regular season. However, were
hearing the Texans are open to paying Davis like a No. 3 receiver
because of his value as a receiver
and a kickoff returner.
Entering the second season of
his second stint in Kansas City, OLB
Donnie Edwards is rivaled by very
few when it comes to commanding
respect and admiration from his
coaches and teammates in the
Chiefs locker room. But team
sources tell us that he started showing signs of slowing down in 2007
despite posting 104 tackles, and an
eventual replacement could soon be
groomed.
While Chargers FS Marlon
McCree is soon to be ousted, SS
Clinton Hart should be around San
Diego for quite a while. According to
a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, talks to extend the 30-year-old
veteran were expected to commence

WWHI
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3

RON FINE

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3

Justin Smith

during the Combine.


The Bengals decision to give OTOG Stacy Andrews the franchise tag
likely means the end of DE Justin
Smiths time in Cincinnati. Industry
chatter at the Scouting Combine indicated Smith would be one of the most
popular unrestricted free agents to hit
the open market, with the Rams
among the teams that could be interested in the durable defensive end.
That the Browns gave RB Jamal
Lewis a new three-year contract is
testament to his value to the offense
both as a player and a leader. The
way we hear it, Lewis has made a
positive impression on the Browns
from training camp onward. He
brings a maturity, toughness and football temperament to the team that is
critical to our success, on top of the
physical abilities that he possesses,
said Browns general manager Phil
Savage.
At the Scouting Combine, Steelers director of football operations
Kevin Colbert addressed QB Ben
Roethlisbergers stated preference
for a taller receiver and whether
that would change the teams Draft
Day plans: Ideally, everybody wants
the biggest, fastest, best player, and
Bens a tall quarterback; hed like to
have a tall receiver thats on the same
plane as he is. You understand that,
but you cant just make a guy a more
valuable prospect than he is just
because he happens to be 6-3 or 6-4.
If you can find a great receiver thats
tall, super, take him, but in the meantime you better take the best player
regardless of his height.
Ravens general manager Ozzie
Newsome, speaking to reporters at
the Combine, deftly sidestepped
making any comments on the freeagent status of ex-Baltimore (and current Cleveland) QB Derek Anderson, scheduled to become a restricted free agent Feb. 29. Derek is not a
restricted guy, said Newsome, mindful that free agency was a little more
than a week away and that commenting on a player under contract with
another team could open him to tampering charges. Hes not a UFA. Hes
a member of the Cleveland Browns
and he had a great year. Newsome
ran the Ravens draft room in 2005
when Baltimore drafted Anderson in
Round Six. Anderson was released
early in his rookie season, and the
Browns signed him to their roster
before the Ravens could add Anderson to their practice squad. Baltimore
may add a quarterback in free
agency or the draft.

the other, but both, I dont know.


Hes got a lot on his plate. The
executive, though, says he wont
be surprised if Zorn at some point
hands off the play-calling duties to
new coordinator Sherman Smith,
much as Vikings head coach Brad
Childress did last season with
first-time coordinator Darrell Bevell. Or Jim Fassel (handing off) to
Sean Payton, the exec said. Of
course, Jim (Fassel) took the playcalling away from him later on,
which (eventually) drove him out of
New York.

N F C lN O R T H
Bears interest
in bringing back
WR Berrian grows
In the Bears team meetings just
before the Scouting Combine, the
word from our sources was that
there had been a change of heart
regarding the possibility of hanging
on to unrestricted free-agent WR
Bernard Berrian. Weve watched
him grow as both a person and a
player, Bears head coach Lovie
Smith told PFW at the
Combine. Hes a 1 receiver. Its important that we
bring him back. Hopefully,
we can find a way to keep
him in Chicago. Keeping
him by using the franchise tag on
him, though, just wasnt an option.
As Ive said in the past, its not
something that we like to do with
our players, Bears GM Jerry
Angelo said a few hours later in
Indianapolis. We did it last year
(with Lance Briggs). But circumstances were different last year.
As a result, signing Berrian to a
new long-term deal has become
the only alternative if the team has
indeed decided it wants to keep
him. And based on what we were
hearing from our Bears sources in
Indianapolis, its an option that has
just recently become much more
feasible. We feel weve been very
aggressive with Bernard, Angelo
said. Again, he has expressed
that he wants to be back. We feel
our offer is a good offer, and when
we do a deal with a player, we like
to do a long-term deal.

GREEN BAY PACKERS


Team sources had clearly
expected the Packers to release
TE Bubba Franks, who had gone
steadily downhill since signing a
five-year, $17.5 million contract in
2005 and would have been on the
books for $3.5 million in 08 a
ridiculous expenditure for a
player who had become a
backup tight end who primarily was used as a blocker. But the Packers decision to give DT Corey
Williams the franchise designation, the teams first franchise/transition tag since giving Franks the
transition tag three seasons ago,
came as a bit of a surprise, considering the $6.363 million they will
be forced to dole out for a player
who has plenty of company at his
deep DT position. The bottom line,
as it turned out, was that the Packers felt they had enough money at

CONTINUED ON PAGE 25

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

Slim pickings
By

MIKE WILKENING

SENIOR EDITOR

INDIANAPOLIS You know this isnt a


banner free-agent class when the Redskins are
wondering what all the fuss is about.
I think a lot of the free agents will be overpaid, Redskins executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said. He works for
owner Daniel Snyder, who rarely flinches at the
cost of doing business in free agency.
That cost will be higher than ever this offseason, thanks to a short supply of desirable free
agents and a slew of teams with the salary-cap
space needed to write the
contracts long in length and
heavy on the up-front, guaranteed money it will take to
get into the game on the first weekend of free
agency, which starts Feb. 29.
Widespread use of the franchise tag is the
biggest reason for the lack of freely available top
talent in unrestricted free agency. Twelve players
were designated their teams franchise player,
five more than last year. Eleven prospective free
agents received the non-exclusive franchise
tag, which requires teams to tender a player a
one-year contract worth the greater of the average salary of the five highest-paid players at his
position in 2007 or a 120 percent raise of his
2007 salary. A player who receives the nonexclusive tag can negotiate with other clubs, but
his team has the right to match any offer and
receives two first-round picks should it decline to
match the financial package. Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha was the only prospective free agent to receive the exclusive franchise tag; he cannot negotiate with other clubs, but he will
receive a one-year tender worth the
greater of the average of the top five
salaries at his position as of April 18,
2008, or the average of the top five
cornerback salaries in 07 or 120 percent of his 07 salary.
The increased use of the franchise
tag can be attributed to the same factors that will drive up prices at the
beginning of free agency. Teams are
better than ever at managing the
salary cap; only a handful of teams
most notably the Redskins, which
may explain their market stance
dont have much spending room
under the cap, which is $116 million,
$7 million more than last season. The
repeated rise of the salary cap, coupled with better cap management,
has allowed teams to use the tag
more frequently and not just on
their best players.
There were non-starters that got
the franchise tender this year, Rams
executive vice president of player
personnel Billy Devaney said, likely
referring to Bengals OT-OG Stacy
Andrews and Packers DT Corey
Williams, two relatively obscure
players to the general public but ones
who were likely to receive considerable interest on the open market.
Thats because the pool (of elite free
agents) is so small this year. Theres
going to be a small amount of players
who are going to get ridiculous
money, and people are going to say,
Youve got to be kidding me.

The tag particularly affected the market for


defensive players. Eight defenders Chiefs DE
Jared Allen, Asomugha, Cardinals LB Karlos
Dansby, Cowboys S Ken Hamlin, Titans DT
Albert Haynesworth, Ravens OLB-DE Terrell
Suggs, Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant and
Williams were designated franchise players.
Half as many offensive players were tagged:
Andrews, Colts TE Dallas Clark, Panthers OT
Jordan Gross and Eagles TE L.J. Smith.
One day after giving Clark the franchise tag,
the Colts removed it and signed him to a six-year
contract. Several key non-tagged free agents also
reached deals before the start of free agency.
Indianapolis signed OLG
Ryan Lilja to a five-year
contract; evaluators polled
by PFW said he would have
been one of the top interior linemen available.
Another coveted lineman, Seahawks ORT Sean
Locklear, also re-signed for five years. And the
Browns kept RB Jamal Lewis in the fold with a
three-year deal.
With so much of their competition either off
the market or saddled with the non-exclusive
franchise tag, the top unrestricted free agents will
have no shortage of suitors. A pair of Patriots
WR Randy Moss and CB Asante Samuel are
among the most highly desired free agents. Cowboys OLT Flozell Adams, Bears LB Lance

O V E R V I E W

Tagged: Chiefs DE Jared Allen will not hit the open market after being slapped with Kansas Citys franchise tag

TEAMS HAVE PLENTY OF MONEY TO


SPEND, BUT IMPACT FREE AGENTS
ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN
Briggs, Steelers OLG Alan Faneca, Chargers RB
Michael Turner and Bengals DE Justin Smith
will also draw significant interest.
Of that group, only Moss is expected to re-sign
with his current club, meaning the first days of
free agency wont be lacking for intrigue or
contracts worth tens of millions of dollars.
The ever-rising cost of adding veteran talent
makes building a team predominantly through
free agency an almost impossible task, given the
hefty price the best free agents command.
It comes back to what you do in the draft,
because thats where you get the bang for the
buck, 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan
said. If you draft guys in the third and fourth
round and get them locked in for three- or fouryear deals, the amount of money you spend on
them is much less than in free agency.
In free agency, you always overspend.
Teams looking to restricted free agency probably wont find much cost relief, either. If the
Browns cant sign QB Derek Anderson to a
multiyear contract before the start of free agency,
they will give him the highest tender, which
would require a club that wanted to lure Anderson to surrender first- and third-round draft picks
if Cleveland didnt match the offer sheet. Cowboys RB Marion Barber, one of the leagues most
punishing runners, is a similar case.
Thats life under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, but the future of the CBA is
uncertain, with owners expected to terminate the
final two years of the agreement this November.
NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw has
said his membership will not take a smaller share
of revenues than it did in the latest
agreement, ratified in March 2006
after the owners agreed to a take-itor-leave-it offer from the union.
Should the owners vote to shorten the
agreement later this year, the 09 season would be the last covered by a
salary cap.
Labor unrest may be on the horizon, but none of the executives who
spoke publicly about the CBA at the
Scouting Combine said they were
going to drastically alter their preparation for this offseason.
Weve been, for some time now,
talking about it, planning for it,
Packers general manager Ted Thompson said. But it will be uncharted
water, as well, so well all learn as we
go along.
Judging from the ample cash available to teams and the short list of difference-making free agents, NFL
teams have learned how to cope with
free agency. But no matter how well
teams plan ahead, no matter the risk
of spending significant money on a
veteran who may not perform as
hoped, the big-ticket signings early in
the signing period are always going to
be a hallmark of free agency, Titans
executive vice president/general manager Mike Reinfeldt said.
I think every year is going to be
the same, he said. Theres always
horror stories This guy, we paid
him all this money. What happened?
That being said, what happens
every year is people have great needs,
theyre in tough spots, and they jump
in and do it. Thats going to continue.
SPORTPICS

MARCH 2008

FREE-AGENT
PAY SCALE
Below are the designated salaries
for franchise and transition players
by position for this offseason, as well
as the figures from the start of the
free-agent period in each of the past
four years.

QUARTERBACKS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$10.73 M
$12.615 M
$8.789 M
$8.078 M
$9.958 M

TRANSITION
$9.5 M
$10.182 M
$8.327 M
$6.831 M
$8.169 M

RUNNING BACKS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$6.538 M
$6.999 M
$6.085 M
$6.323 M
$5.167 M

TRANSITION
$5.699 M
$5.981 M
$5.153 M
$5.239 M
$4.494 M

WIDE RECEIVERS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$7.848 M
$7.613 M
$6.172 M
$7.768 M
$7.229 M

TRANSITION
$6.872 M
$7.040 M
$5.160 M
$6.414 M
$6.420 M

TIGHT ENDS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$4.522 M
$4.371 M
$3.327 M
$2.687 M
$2.612 M

TRANSITION
$3.733 M
$3.612 M
$2.718 M
$2.095 M
$2.104 M

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$7.455 M
$9.556 M
$6.983 M
$7.424 M
$7.021 M

TRANSITION
$6.895 M
$8.267 M
$6.391 M
$6.201 M
$6.012 M

DEFENSIVE TACKLES
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$6.363 M
$6.775 M
$5.656 M
$5.134 M
$5.613 M

TRANSITION
$5.654 M
$5.554 M
$4.463 M
$4.436 M
$4.561 M

DEFENSIVE ENDS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$8.879 M
$8.644 M
$8.332 M
$6.666 M
$6.503 M

TRANSITION
$7.679 M
$7.701 M
$7.075 M
$5.615 M
$5.796 M

LINEBACKERS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$8.065 M
$7.206 M
$7.169 M
$5.950 M
$5.834 M

TRANSITION
$7.335 M
$6.493 M
$6.144 M
$5.120 M
$5.063 M

CORNERBACKS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$9.465 M
$7.790 M
$5.893 M
$8.816 M
$6.801 M

TRANSITION
$7.659 M
$6.766 M
$4.774 M
$6.938 M
$5.698 M

SAFETIES
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$4.396 M
$4.490 M
$4.109 M
$4.968 M
$4.113 M

TRANSITION
$3.893 M
$3.984 M
$3.592 M
$3.926 M
$3.578 M

KICKERS/PUNTERS
YEAR

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

FRANCHISE
$2.514 M
$2.078 M
$2.468 M
$1.787 M
$1.611 M

TRANSITION
$2.245 M
$1.926 M
$2.045 M
$1.599 M
$1.446 M

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

MARCH 2008

Top 100
The

PFW RANKS THE TOP FREE AGENTS

WR

RANDY MOSS

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS


AGE: 31 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Comes off a remarkable regular


season (98 catches, 1,493 yards and
23 touchdowns). Jacksonville and
San Diego schemed to take him out
of the Patriots game plan in the playoffs, but Moss played well in Super
Bowl XLII and caught what could well
have been the game-winning TD
were it not for the heroics of Eli Manning, David Tyree and Plaxico Burress. New England is expected to
make a long-term commitment to
keep him in the fold after he
answered questions about his motivation, health and diminished skill
level.

DE

JARED ALLEN

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS


AGE: 26 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

The Chiefs gave Allen, the AFCs


leading sacker in 2007, the franchise
tag. In a conference loaded with top
pass rushers, Allen may be the best.
If the Chiefs become more competitive, Allen could become a Defensive
MVP candidate.

DT ALBERT

HAYNESWORTH

TENNESSEE TITANS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

When he was at his best last season, successfully running against the
Titans was nearly impossible.
Haynesworth can also collapse the
pocket when asked to rush the passer from his natural tackle spot and
can manhandle smaller left tackles
when he switches spots with DRE
Kyle Vanden Bosch. Last season was
by far his most productive a factor

that hasnt been lost on skeptics


but the Titans are expected to work
to sign him to a lucrative new contract.

OLB

TERRELL SUGGS

BALTIMORE RAVENS
AGE: 26 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

Notched only five sacks last season, but make no mistake: Opponents fear him. If he were ever to hit
the market, he would be handsomely
paid on account of his age, career
production and still-vast potential. Is
most dangerous when he puts his
hand down and rushes the passer,
but the Ravens also like the strides
he has made in his all-around game.

CB

Done deal? There is speculation that WR Randy Moss has a verbal agreement in place to return to the Patriots
ing his ability to negotiate with other
teams.

CB

or sign a lucrative deal to remain the


anchor on the left side of Pittsburghs
offensive line. The question is: How
much longer can Faneca play at an
elite level? Some observers have
suggested he isnt quite the player he
once was.

MARCUS TRUFANT

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

Had his best season in 2007, intercepting seven passes. The instinctive, physical Trufant is one of the
most well-regarded players at his
position. A difference-maker.

OG

ALAN FANECA

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
AGE: 31 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The top guard available in free


agency, Faneca will provide an
immediate boost for another team

ASANTE SAMUEL

AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Instinctive ballhawk (16 interceptions the past two seasons) who


wants Nate Clements-like money
(eight years, $80 million, $22 million
guaranteed). New England would like
him back but wont overpay to do so.
Samuel isnt especially physical, and
hes not a cure-all for a secondary,
but hes among the best players at
his position, and he will be paid
accordingly.

AGE: 25 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

LB LANCE

BRIGGS

CHICAGO BEARS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The standout outside linebacker


seems like a good bet to depart
Chicago. Briggs starred in the Bears
version of the cover-2, but his skill
set translates well to other schemes,
too. Opinions vary on his value
because of Brian Urlachers presence in the middle of the Chicago
defense, but enough teams think
highly of Briggs for him to get the
payday he craves.

NNAMDI ASOMUGHA

11

OAKLAND RAIDERS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

In another time, when the Raiders


were among the AFC elite, Asomugha would be a star in the eyes of
the public. With Oakland struggling,
its coaches, scouts and executives
are the loudest in singing the praises
of Asomugha, one of the conferences best at his position. The
Raiders will consider signing him to
a long-term deal after using the
exclusive franchise tag on him, nix-

MARION BARBER

DALLAS COWBOYS

10

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

CB

RB

Tough, physical runner who seemingly never is brought down at first


contact. Wants to dominate, and that
comes across loud and clear to anyone who watched him in his Pro Bowl
season of 2007. The Cowboys will
tender him high and work to sign him
to a long-term contract.

HARRY SCULL JR.

(LISTED AGE IS AS OF
SEPT. 1, 2008)

SPORTPICS

s long as the franchise tag is around, it will thin the free-agent


market. Such is again the case this season, with Titans DT
Albert Haynesworth, Chiefs DE Jared Allen, Packers DT Corey
Williams, Ravens OLB-DE Terrell Suggs, Cardinals WLB Karlos
Dansby, Panthers ORT Jordan Gross, Eagles TE L.J. Smith, Bengals OT Stacy Andrews, Titans DT Albert Haynesworth, Packers DT
Corey Williams, Cowboys S Ken Hamlin, Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant and Raiders CB Nnamdi AsoBy MIKE WILKENING mugha receiving the franchise
designations from their clubs.
SENIOR EDITOR
But if you enjoy the thrill of the
free-agent chase, take heed: Several high-profile players will hit the
market on Friday, Feb. 29. Patriots CB Asante Samuel will be available, as will Steelers OLG Alan Faneca and Bears OLB Lance Briggs.
All three may sign elsewhere. The top unrestricted running back,
San Diegos Michael Turner, is all but assured of landing with a new
club; his days of being LaDainian Tomlinsons backup will be memories soon enough.
Our list of the top 100 free agents was compiled with help from
PFWs editors and NFL evaluators. Players were ranked on talent,
position value, age and other factors.

Going nowhere: Raiders CB Nnamdi


Asomugha cant negotiate with other teams

RB MICHAEL

TURNER

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS


AGE: 26 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Finally will get his chance to be a


featured back, and he will be paid like
a star because of the lack of wear
and tear on his body (228 career carries) and the talent he has flashed in
relief of LaDainian Tomlinson. Has
been compared to ex-Jets RB LaMont Jordan, who received a lucrative deal from Oakland after serving
as Curtis Martins backup.

12

DE JUSTIN

SMITH

CINCINNATI BENGALS
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

A workmanlike defensive end,


Smiths value may be highest to the
Bengals: Hes a dependable, durable
team leader who is strong vs. the run
and never gives up on the play. May
not have the upside of others on this
list some evaluators prefer Tennessees Antwan Odom, to name
one promising defensive end but
you know what you are getting with
Smith, who could also have some
potential as a 3-4 rush linebacker.
Likely to land a huge contract.

13

LB KARLOS

DANSBY

ARIZONA CARDINALS
AGE: 26 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

One of the Cardinals' core defenders, Dansby logged the majority of his
snaps inside last season when Arizona employed its preferred 3-4
scheme and made a significant
impact with his ability to clog the
passing lanes (eight passes defended, three interceptions). The 6-4, 250pound Dansby is also a pass-rushing
threat. Dansby views the franchise
tag as an honor; look for the Cardinals to work to sign him long term.

14

OT JORDAN

GROSS

CAROLINA PANTHERS
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

Finally lived up to his considerable


promise in 2007. One of the games
top right tackles, Gross and the Panthers havent been able to agree on a
long-term contract. Can also play left
tackle, which increases his value.

15

DE ANTWAN

ODOM

TENNESSEE TITANS
AGE: 26 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Odoms eight sacks in 2007 nearly


doubled his previous career total,

MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

28

QB DEREK

not at all fast for the position, as evidenced by his 3.9 yards per carry for
his career. That said, hes a startercaliber back who wont lack for interest.

ANDERSON

CLEVELAND BROWNS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

The Browns would like to sign him


to a long-term contract, but probably
not for the six years he has reportedly asked for. At times in 07, Anderson
looked like a drop-back passing star
in the making as he delivered the ball
on time and accurately to WR Braylon
Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow. But
some evaluators want to see Anderson prove 2007 wasnt a fluke. Hes
not a particularly accurate or mobile
passer and is prone to cold streaks.

29

S MADIEU

34
35

WILLIAMS

AGE: 26 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

JAMES D. SMITH

Running out of Dallas? RB Julius Jones will test the market as an unrestricted free agent

16

OT FLOZELL

ADAMS

DALLAS COWBOYS
AGE: 33 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The 6-foot-7, 340-pound Adams


wont fit in every system, and he may
be on the downside of his career, but
hes a proven left tackle expected to
attract considerable interest on the
open market if the Cowboys cant resign him.

17

OT STACY

ANDREWS

CINCINNATI BENGALS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

Like ex-Bengals OG Eric Steinbach, Andrews can start at either


guard or tackle. The Bengals
patience with him paid off for team
and player.

18

OLB CALVIN

PACE

ARIZONA CARDINALS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

After looking like a classic example of an overdrafted first-round bust,


Pace had a breakout fifth NFL season. The Cardinals want to re-sign
this 6-foot-4, 270-pound pass-rushing outside linebacker, whose career
has finally started to take off.

19

OG JASON

BROWN

BALTIMORE RAVENS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Is one of the NFLs most promising


left guards. Brown has thrived

against top competition his play in


Baltimores upset attempt vs. New
England drew raves and could
become a Pro Bowl fixture in the
years to come.

20

S O.J.

ATOGWE

ST. LOUIS RAMS


AGE: 27 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Atogwe led the NFC in interceptions last season, his second as a


starter. Atogwes mix of instincts and
athleticism are likely to make him one
of the key parts of the Rams defense
for years to come.

21

DT COREY

WILLIAMS

GREEN BAY PACKERS


AGE: 28 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

The 6-foot-4, 313-pounder has


notched seven sacks in each of the
past two seasons. Evaluators said
Williams improvement was eyecatching last season. Despite the
Packers depth at defensive tackle,
the team applied the franchise tag to
keep him off a market that figured to
have a long list of suitors.

22

DE CHRIS

CANTY

DALLAS COWBOYS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Massive defensive end (6-7, 299)


could draw interest from 3-4 and 4-3
teams alike. His play really started to
pick up in the second half of last season.

23

S KEN

HAMLIN

DALLAS COWBOYS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

Hamlin solved a long-standing


problem for Dallas with his play at
free safety in 2007, intercepting five
passes and earning a trip to the Pro
Bowl. Can play either safety spot.

24

OL DAMIEN

WOODY

DETROIT LIONS
AGE: 30 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Durability has been a problem in


the past two seasons he has
missed 14 games in that span but
a strong finish to the 07 season at
right tackle may have done wonders
for his market value. Woodys versatility is a major selling point he can
play center, guard or tackle.

25

TE L.J.

SMITH

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: FRANCHISE

Smith played only 10 games last


season because of a sports hernia
injury that nagged him throughout,
but the Eagles didnt hesitate to give
him the franchise tag. Not quite a goto target, but he can stretch the field,
and last season was the first marked
by a major injury.

26

PK JOSH

AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

When healthy, Hackett is a capable No. 2 receiver. The problem is, he


has struggled to stay on the field.
Durability concerns could hurt his
market value, but theres no doubting
his ability.

31

37

WILSON

NEW YORK GIANTS

32

AGE: 26 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

38

COLQUITT

AGE: 26 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Colquitt has averaged better than


39 yards net per punt in each of the
past two seasons. Has a long, bright
future ahead of him.

33

39

JONES

DALLAS COWBOYS

Teams looking for a 150 to 200carry back could do worse, but he is

40

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
AGE: 29 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

41

STALLWORTH

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

DE TRAVIS

LaBOY

TENNESSEE TITANS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

TE ALGE

CRUMPLER

NONE
AGE: 30 FA TYPE: CUT

OG JACOB

BELL

TENNESSEE TITANS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

C JEFF

FAINE

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS


AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

CB DRAYTON

FLORENCE

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS


AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Florence lost his starting job to


Antonio Cromartie; no shame there.
Hes a capable No. 2 cornerback and
nickel back, and his experience and
potential are likely to help him land a
nice deal in free agency.

AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

He might be the most polarizing


player on this list. Personnel men surveyed either loved him or hated him.
Detractors will note he caught only
46 passes for one of the leagues alltime prolific passing attacks last season and that he has never had a
1,000-yard receiving season. But his
speed likely will earn him another
lucrative contract if, as expected, the
Patriots decline to pay him an option
bonus on Feb. 25.

BERRIAN

Revitalized his career in New


Orleans, where he started all 30 regular-season games in which he
played in two seasons. He is not
quite as big as some teams would
like their center to be, but hes a
capable starter.

The Seahawks are enamored with


their dependable, strong-legged kicker, the top player at his position available in free agency.

27

WR BERNARD

CHICAGO BEARS

Has developed into one of the better left guards in the game. Whether
the Titans can afford to bring him
back remains to be seen.

AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

BROWN

WR DONT

AGE: 30 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Long one of the few weapons in a


popgun Atlanta passing game, Crumpler is starting to slow down because
of knee injuries and the rigors of a
very physical position. But he is capable of being a high-quality, short-term
solution in the right situation.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

RB JULIUS

BIRONAS

TENNESSEE TITANS

Teammate Antwan Odom is likely


to get a more lucrative contract, but
LaBoys pass-rushing ability will create a demand. His durability is something of a concern, however.

The 6-foot, 209-pounder is both a


sure tackler and a ballhawk. When the
Giants secondary endured some
injury problems toward the end of the
season, Wilson was a rock, and he
played an important role in the Giants
run to the Super Bowl XLII title.

P DUSTIN

PK ROB

Can stretch the field vertically, but


consistency hasnt been his strong
suit, and he wants to be paid like a
No. 1 receiver. If he leaves Chicago,
expect Devin Hester to have a bigger
role in the Bears passing offense.

SCOTT WALLEM

and theres a feeling he has yet to


reach his potential. The Titans would
like to re-sign him, but the franchise
tag is not in play, having gone to
Haynesworth. Odom is one of the
most intriguing stories in free
agency: Hes not short on talent, but
expectations will surely be higher if
he signs elsewhere for big money
after having thrived in a low-pressure
setting in Tennessee.

36

HACKETT

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

S GIBRIL

AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The Titans want to sign Bironas,


the AFCs Pro Bowl kicker in 07, to a
contract extension after the best season of his career. Was more accurate
in 07 than he had been in past seasons.

The feeling in some circles is that


the Bengals are not going to bring
back Williams, a tough, athletic safety. But a change of scenery just might
be what Williams needs. At times,
Williams has struggled to stay
healthy, but in the right system, he
could be an impact player.

30

JOHNSON

CINCINNATI BENGALS

He can play all three LB spots in a


4-3 alignment, a talent he honed in
Cincinnati. Not a special player but a
useful one, and he has his share of
fans around the league.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

WR D.J.

LB LANDON

Franchise player: Packers DT Corey


Williams had a breakout season in 2007

42

WR-KR ANDR

DAVIS

HOUSTON TEXANS
AGE: 29 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Signing with Houston prior to the


2007 season may have saved Davis
(Continued on Page 8)

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

(Continued from Page 7)


career. Injuries to WRs Andre Johnson and Jerome Mathis allowed him
to get more playing time as a receiver and as a returner, and he responded with one of the finest seasons of
his career. The Texans want to re-sign
him.

43

DL TOMMY

KELLY

OAKLAND RAIDERS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Is coming off a season-ending


knee injury, and that could limit his
market. Based on his 2006 form, Kelly
can be a starter-caliber 3-4 defensive
end or a 4-3 defensive tackle.

44

DE BOBBY

McCRAY

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The 6-foot-6, 262-pounder can bolster a teams pass rush. However, he


did not play as well in 2007 as he did
the previous season, so he hits the
market with something to prove.

45

DT JOVAN

HAYE

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS


AGE: 26 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

An undersized, active defensive


tackle who is one of the better pass
rushers at his position, Haye is a
strong fit in Tampa Bays defense,
which thrives when defensive tackles
are adept at shooting the gaps.

46

OT DAVID

STEWART

TENNESSEE TITANS
AGE: 26 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

The Titans want to sign their


improving right tackle to a new contract. The 6-foot-7, 318-pound Stewart started all 16 games in 07.

47

LB MICHAEL

BOLEY

ATLANTA FALCONS
AGE: 26 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

One of the Falcons most dependable players, Boley looks like a player
new head coach Mike Smith can build
his defense around. The 6-foot-3, 242pounder notched 109 tackles and
defended seven passes last season.

48

WR JERRY

PORTER

OAKLAND RAIDERS
AGE: 30 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

On talent alone, Porter deserves a


look from WR-needy clubs. He can
still stretch the field vertically, and he
has had several productive seasons.
Indeed, Porter could prove to be one
of the bargains of this class.

49

LB KAWIKA

MITCHELL

NEW YORK GIANTS


AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Serviceable, dependable outside


linebacker proved to be a solid fit in
Steve Spagnuolos aggressive defense. The Giants signed him to a one-

http://www.profootballweekly.com

racked up 88.3 tackles per season in


four NFL campaigns. Williams wont
fit every system, but his quickness will
make him attractive to teams looking
to remake their LB corps or add some
speed to their sub packages.

year deal last offseason; could a


longer contract be in the cards for him?

50

WR BRYANT

JOHNSON

ARIZONA CARDINALS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The 6-foot-3, 213-pounder could


be attractive to teams looking for a
No. 2 receiver. He played the No. 3
receiver role in Arizona, and a promotion to the starting lineup isnt
coming as long as Larry Fitzgerald
and Anquan Boldin remain in the fold.

51

S YEREMIAH

54

BELL

MIAMI DOLPHINS

COLEMAN

NONE
AGE: 32 FA TYPE: CUT

AGE: 30 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

55

OG JUSTIN

SMILEY

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS


AGE: 26 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

LB DEMORRIO

S EUGENE

WILSON

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS


AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Isnt lacking for potential, but


injuries and inconsistency caused
him to lose a starting spot in New
England. He can also play cornerback in a pinch.

56

A shoulder injury limited Smiley to


only eight games in 2007. The sense
is that his stock isnt as high as it was
after the 06 season.

53

DT ROD

Played in only five games last season for Atlanta, so health is a concern, but he has a tremendous pain
threshold, and when hes right, hes a
difference-maker. Has three doubledigit-sack seasons to his credit.

His 2007 season was derailed by


an Achilles injury, denying him the
chance to build on a breakout 06
season. Evaluators who are intrigued
by what they saw two seasons ago
could roll the dice on Bell.

52

MARCH 2008

DE MARQUES

DOUGLAS

ATLANTA FALCONS
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Small, swift outside linebacker has

57

AGE: 31 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

LB REGGIE

TORBOR

NEW YORK GIANTS


AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Stepped into the starting lineup in


December and didnt relinquish the
starting SLB job. The big, athletic linebacker just might be coming into his
own.

58

QB JOSH

McCOWN

OAKLAND RAIDERS
AGE: 29 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Athleticism and starting experience make him a solid backup; lack of


durability and consistency will probably eliminate him from starting for the
vast majority of clubs. However, he
has never played behind a strong
offensive line, and it would interesting
to see what he could do with a better
supporting cast.

59

RB DeSHAUN

FOSTER

NONE
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: CUT

The Panthers released Foster


before the beginning of free agency
to save salary-cap space and begin
the re-tooling of their running game.
Foster has flashed breakaway ability,
but he racked up a career-low 3.5
yards per carry last season, and his
longest rush went for only 20 yards.
His durability has been a concern
throughout his career; last season
was the first time he played in all 16
games.

60

PK JASON

ELAM

DENVER BRONCOS
AGE: 38 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

SPORTPICS

Elam has hit 90 percent of his fieldgoal attempts in the past two seasons. His dependability on attempts
inside 50 yards, ability to kick in lessthan-ideal conditions and proven
track record are assets.

True blue: Will unrestricted free-agent LB Tedy Bruschi leave the only NFL team hes ever played for?

61

Call him champ: Kawika Mitchell


won the Super Bowl with the Giants
Jaguars running game.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Rugged, run-stuffing end is probably best-suited in a 3-4 defense,


although he is capable of playing
defensive left end in a 4-3 scheme, as
well. Has made a living with his
strength and hard work.

WILLIAMS

SPORTPICS

OG MAURICE

WILLIAMS

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
AGE: 29 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Williams has 95 career starts to his


credit. He began his career at tackle
but moved to guard last season a
position switch that was a boon to the

62

FB LEONARD

WEAVER

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Not quite a pure fullback or running


back, but Weaver has become an
important part of the Seattle offense.
Caught a career-high 39 passes last
season.

63

CB DOMONIQUE

FOXWORTH

DENVER BRONCOS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The Broncos nickel cornerback


has notched 18 starts in three seasons. Diminutive but speedy, Foxworth has good ball skills.

64

LB TEDY

BRUSCHI

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS


AGE: 35 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Has never played for anyone but


the Patriots, but his instincts and
leadership figure to make him in
demand this offseason. Looks like he
can play for a couple more years.

65

RB DERRICK

WARD

NEW YORK GIANTS


AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The 5-foot-11, 228-pounder enhanced his value with the best play of
his career in his fourth NFL season.
Unfortunately, he broke his leg in the
midst of a 154-yard rushing performance at Chicago, which allowed
rookie Ahmad Bradshaw to become a
major part of the Giants offense.
However, the Giants are reportedly
interested in re-signing Ward.

66

OLB CLARK

HAGGANS

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
AGE: 31 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

His days as a starter in Pittsburgh


are likely over because of the rapid
development of young LOLB LaMarr
Woodley. But Haggans pass-rush
ability and experience in the 3-4
defense are nice line items on his
rsum.

67

OT MAX

STARKS

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
AGE: 26 FA TYPE: TRANSITION

A mammoth right tackle who can


also play on the left side, Starks spent
the first three quarters of the 07 season on the Steelers bench before a
back injury to OLT Marvel Smith
allowed him to retake a spot in the
starting lineup. Starks played well in
place of Smith, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 17.

MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

secondaries, but he does not come


without concerns. A pair of off-field
incidents in Minnesota did not endear
him to club officials, and he reportedly
didnt always have the best relationship with head coach Brad Childress.

75

LB BOSS

BAILEY

DETROIT LIONS
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Surprise: OT Max Starks unexpectedly received the Steelers transition tag


Word is the Steelers still think Willie
Colon, not Starks, is their best option
at right tackle. However, Starks size
and potential could get him starters
money elsewhere.

68

RB CHRIS

BROWN

TENNESSEE TITANS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

After rushing for 175 yards in the


season opener at Jacksonville,
Brown didnt break 50 yards in any
other game. Did not attract much
interest in free agency last offseason.
Runs too tall and has missed at least
one game in every NFL season.

69

LB VICTOR

HOBSON

NEW YORK JETS


AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Hobson could offer some value to


a team looking for a versatile outside
linebacker. He has flashed some
pass-rush ability, and he can hold his
own in pass coverage.

70

DE ANTONIO

SMITH

ARIZONA CARDINALS
AGE: 26 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Improving pass rusher notched a


career-high 512 sacks in 2007.

71

DT DARWIN

WALKER

NONE
AGE: 31 FA TYPE: CUT

Recorded only one sack in his lone


season with Chicago but showed
some pass-rush ability previously.

72

WR DAVID

PATTEN

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS


AGE: 34 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Still can stretch the field after all of


these years. Caught 54 passes in
2007, his most in five seasons.

73

OG LARRY

ALLEN

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS


AGE: 36 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

After 14 NFL seasons and 197


career starts, Allen is contemplating
retirement. But if he decides to play
one more season, hell probably find
a starting job without much trouble.

74

S DWIGHT

SMITH

NONE
AGE: 30 FA TYPE: CUT

Smith intercepted four passes in


each of his two seasons with Minnesota, but the Vikings even with a lack
of depth at safety released him in
February. Smith is certainly a startercaliber player, and he could help many

76

S WILL

DEMPS

HOUSTON TEXANS
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

His career appeared in limbo when


the Giants released him before last
season, but Demps found a soft landing in Houston, where he was voted a
Pro Bowl alternate. Physical, instinctive strong safety who routinely was in
the right place at the right time for a
Texans secondary that needed his
veteran presence.

77

WR JUSTIN

GAGE

TENNESSEE TITANS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Caught a career-high 55 passes


for the Titans, who would like to resign him. Gage was a steadying,
dependable presence for a young
receiving corps that needed it.

78

S CHRIS

CROCKER

ATLANTA FALCONS
AGE: 28 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Crocker, who broke up 11 passes


last season, has never played for a
playoff team, but evaluators surveyed
by PFW say he belongs on this list.
Crocker can play either safety spot.

79

WR DEVERY

HENDERSON

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS


AGE: 26 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

A definite home-run threat, but


consistency isnt his strength, and his
all-around game hasnt developed.
Has yet to prove he can be more than
a niche player.

80

LB DANNY

CLARK

HOUSTON TEXANS
AGE: 31 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

The Texans want to re-sign Clark,


their starting strong-side linebacker
for much of last season, but hell draw
interest elsewhere from teams looking for a capable starter or a dependable fourth linebacker. Clark is also a
major asset on special teams and in
the locker room.

81

QB TODD

COLLINS

WASHINGTON REDSKINS
AGE: 36 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Led the Redskins to the playoffs


after Jason Campbell suffered a season-ending injury. But with Washington committed to Campbell as the
starter, and with associate head
coach/offense Al Saunders no longer
with the club, Collins may seek other
opportunities.

times.

84

LB DAN

teams, but he can also start in a


pinch. Hes the type of savvy veteran
back coaches love: He can pass-protect, and he wont make many mistakes.

MORGAN

NONE
AGE: 29 FA TYPE: CUT

Injuries derailed his career in Carolina. A torn Achilles tendon ended


his 07 season; if he can recover from
that, and if he can avoid the concussions that affected him earlier in his
career, he can still help a defense.
But thats a lot of ifs.

85

CB ERIC

94

AGE: 26 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

DAYNE

AGE: 30 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

AGE: 32 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

He can come off the bench and


quickly get into the flow of the game,
as evidenced in San Diegos divisional-round playoff win at Indianapolis.
Dependable backup.

98

Thrived in the Patriots prolific


offense. With New England, he was
the fourth wide receiver in the pecking order. Other teams may see him
as a No. 2 or No. 3 option, but he has
sometimes struggled in those roles.

96

Can be productive in short spurts.


Ideally, he would be used in tandem
with a younger, faster back. Will struggle to stay healthy for 16 games if
overused. The Texans, who respect
Daynes competitiveness and have an
offense suited to his talents, could resign him.

87

AGE: 26 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

TE BUBBA

FRANKS

NONE
AGE: 30 FA TYPE: CUT

Franks isnt the pass-catching


threat he was earlier in his career,
but hes a fine blocker. Teams looking
for a veteran No. 2 tight end are likely to consider him. Franks missed
eight games with a knee injury last
season, but he has generally been
durable.

HOUSTON TEXANS

RB T.J.

JOHNSON

VOLEK

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

95

GREEN

Started the first 11 games of the


07 season before suffering a seasonending groin tear. He has only intercepted one career pass, which hurts
his market value, but his career is on
the upswing.

86

DT SPENCER

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

97

QB BILLY

Johnson could help a team looking


for a defensive tackle to add to their
rotation. Notched a career-high three
sacks last season.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

RB RON

QB DAUNTE

CULPEPPER

OAKLAND RAIDERS
AGE: 31 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

A devastating knee injury in 05


has robbed Culpepper of his mobility,
leaving him vulnerable in the pocket.
To succeed, Culpepper needs a
patient offensive coordinator and a
very good offensive line.

DUCKETT

99

WR JABAR

GAFFNEY

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS


AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

DT GRADY

JACKSON

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
AGE: 33 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Big, veteran run stuffer. Thats the


thumbnail sketch.

100

OT TRAI

ESSEX

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Started at left tackle in the Steelers playoff loss to Jacksonville and


held his own. Other than the playoff
game, hasnt cracked the starting
lineup with the Steelers, but he has
some potential.

DETROIT LIONS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Duckett, a former first-round pick,


had success in a limited role with
Detroit last season, racking up 5.2
yards per carry. The Lions are reportedly interested in bringing him back.

88

WR MARTY

BOOKER

NONE
AGE: 32 FA TYPE: CUT

Released after four seasons with


the Dolphins, Booker wouldnt mind
signing with the WR-needy Bears.
Hasnt caught more than 55 passes
in any of the past five seasons.

89

ST BRENDON

AYANBADEJO

CHICAGO BEARS
AGE: 31 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Special-teams ability gets him on


this list and will get him paid this offseason.

90

S C.C.

BROWN

HOUSTON TEXANS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

A sure tackler, Brown is best-suited


at strong safety.

91

FB TONY

RICHARDSON

MINNESOTA VIKINGS
AGE: 36 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Blocked for Adrian Peterson at the


Pro Bowl, so you know hes got
something left to offer. When healthy,
still one of the better fullbacks
around.

92

RB TATUM

BELL

DETROIT LIONS
AGE: 27 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Size and leaping ability make him


an asset in the red zone; a lack of
speed makes him a complementary
player.

Is the fastest running back on this


list. That speed endeared him to the
Broncos and Lions, but it didnt sustain his career in Denver, and he may
have to start anew with a third club
after falling out of favor with the Lions.
Fumbles and a lack of toughness
have hurt him in the professional
ranks.

83

93

82

WR ERNEST

WILFORD

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
AGE: 29 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

WR NATE

WASHINGTON

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
AGE: 25 FA TYPE: RESTRICTED

Has shown the ability to get deep,


but drops have been a problem at

RB AARON

STECKER

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

SPORTPICS

SPORTPICS

Undersized, athletic linebacker


wasnt a great fit as the Lions strongside linebacker and could sign elsewhere. Can play all three LB spots in
a 4-3 scheme.

http://www.profootballweekly.com

AGE: 32 FA TYPE: UNRESTRICTED

Steckers primary contributions


come on third downs and on special

On the move? QB Todd Colllins may seek a starting job outside Washington

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

10

http://www.profootballweekly.com

MARCH 2008

TEAM
REPORTS
Analyzing how each NFL franchise
will negotiate the free-agent signing period
Each teams capsule contains a list of players who are scheduled to become free agents on Feb. 29. Unrestricted free agents (UFAs) are players who have accrued four or more NFL seasons and are free to sign with
any team unless given a franchise or transition tag. Restricted free agents (RFAs) are players with three
accrued seasons. If a restricted free agent receives a qualifying offer from his current team, that team has a
right of first refusal on offers from other teams. If the players team chooses not to match an offer, the team,
depending on the size of its qualifying offer, may receive draft-choice compensation from the players new team.
Franchise free agents (FFAs) can be either exclusive or non-exclusive. A non-exclusive franchise player can negotiate with other teams, but if he signs elsewhere, his old team gets two first-round draft choices
from the new team. He must be paid the average of the top five 2007 salaries at his position, or a 20 percent
raise, whichever is higher. An exclusive franchise player is not allowed to negotiate with other teams, and
he must be paid the average of the top five 2008 salaries at his position (as of April 18), the average of the
top five 2007 salaries at his position, or a 20 percent raise, whichever is higher. Transition players require
an offer of the average of the top 10 salaries at their position or a 20 percent raise, whichever is higher.
A transition player (TFA) can negotiate with other teams and if he signs an offer sheet, his current team
can match the offer and keep him. If it doesnt match, it receives no compensation for losing him.
Players designated with an asterisk were expected to void out of their contracts and become free agents.

Buffalo Bills
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: WR Sam Aiken, DT Tim Anderson, TE
Michael Gaines, SLB Mario Haggan, DE Tony Hargrove, TE Matt Murphy, TE Ryan Neufeld, S Bryan
Scott, SLB Josh Stamer, DE Al Wallace, CB Jason
Webster, OG Jason Whittle.
RFAs: DT Jason Jefferson, S Jim Leonhard.

ANALYSIS: With second-year QB Trent


Edwards and RB Marshawn Lynch operating first-year coordinator Turk Schonerts
system, the Bills have a promising, young
offensive nucleus already in place. The next
phase of the offensive evolution involves
upgrading Edwards targets in the passing
game. At both wide receiver and tight end,
the Bills have a serious dearth of talent. WR
Lee Evans is the only pass catcher who
poses problems for opposing defenses. The
Bills front office wasted little time validating this notion, as two of their first offseason transactions were signing TE-WR Teyo
Johnson and cutting underachieving WR
Peerless Price. With deep-threat wideout
Roscoe Parrishs availability uncertain following a recent DUI arrest, the need only
increases. While the Bills will give long
looks to quality receivers of all styles, big
targets who can create red-zone mismatches and can muscle their way to those thirddown conversions will be particularly coveted. After finishing 29th in the league
against the pass, secondary fortifications
headline the defensive needs. High-priced
DEs Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay failed
to justify their lucrative contracts in 2007,
but the prevailing thought is that they need
more help in the rotation to afford them
necessary breathers. The city of Buffalo is
not the easiest sell to free agents, but with
ample salary-cap space and all the important players already locked up, the Bills
will be serious contenders for the majority
of players they target.

Miami Dolphins
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: S Yeremiah Bell, RB Jesse Chatman, OG
Rex Hadnot, QB Cleo Lemon, OG Chris Liwienski, C
Gene Mruczkowski, WLB Derrick Pope, OT Mike
Rosenthal, SLB Donnie Spragan, S Travares Tillman.
RFAs: LS John Denney, OT Cory Lekkerkerker.

ANALYSIS: By terminating the deals of QB


Trent Green, MLB Zach Thomas, DT Keith
Traylor, WR Marty Booker and OT L.J. Shelton, the Dolphins new front office sent a clear
message that wholesale changes will be made
to a team that went an embarrassing 1-15 in
2007. Specifically, the message was that players past their prime, especially if theyre
attached to a rich contract, had better continue
to produce if they want to maintain a roster
spot under the new regime. Partly because of
the aforementioned cuts, the Dolphins enter
free agency with roughly $35 million in
salary-cap room, one of the few Dolphins facts
that most other teams are envious of. The
issues begin at quarterback, where executive
vice president of football operations Bill Parcells and his brain trust must determine
whether John Beck underwhelming as a
rookie in 2007 should be given the keys to
the offense. Either way, bringing aboard another passer is a necessity. But multiple players
will need to be nabbed to upgrade a lackluster
receiving corps and porous O-line. The
defense is in dire need, as well. Miami wants
to revert to a 3-4 scheme, but the switch could
be dictated by whether it brings in a suitable,
wide-bodied nose tackle. All three defensive
levels need substantial upgrades, so expect the
Fins to be scouring the free-agent list and
waiver wire. S Yeremiah Bell is the only
defender worth forking over even moderate
money to re-sign, and even hes a bit of a wild
card coming off a torn Achilles tendon.

New England Patriots


2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: WR Troy Brown, ILB Tedy Bruschi, WR Jabar
Gaffney, CB Randall Gay, ILB Larry Izzo, S Mel
Mitchell, WR Randy Moss, LS Lonnie Paxton, CB

HARRY SCULL JR.

Senior citizen: Patriots LB Junior Seau is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at age 39
Asante Samuel, CB Chad Scott, WLB Junior Seau,
WR Dont Stallworth, S Eugene Wilson.
RFAs: DT Mike Wright.

ANALYSIS: The Spygate fallout and the


Super Bowl loss arent the only things
weighing on the Patriots minds. Retaining numerous players and upgrading units
with just an $8 million salary-cap buffer
will put the leagues most resourceful
front office to the test. Its a testament to
his record-breaking season and otherworldly ability that keeping WR Randy
Moss is considered a necessity when the
Patriots have one of the NFLs reigning
receptions leaders Wes Welker, whose
112 catches tied the Bengals T.J. Houshmandzadeh already on board. Then
again, with the Pats unable to afford
Dont Stallworths $8 million option and
revelation Jabar Gaffney free to leave to
the highest bidder, Moss could seemingly
be even more important in 2008. The Pats
have maximized the ability of an old and

thin LB corps, and Bill Belichick will


have to do his best coaching job yet to
keep the veteran crew humming with little
hope of a significant upgrade. Likewise,
its unrealistic to think they can afford to
retain coveted CB Asante Samuel, making
it imperative that middling free-agent
defensive backs such as Randall Gay stick
around to ensure some semblance of a
legitimate secondary. Unless they restructure enough deals, their need for personnel upgrades, coupled with their limited
salary-cap maneuverability, makes for a
daunting challenge.

New York Jets


2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: S Erik Coleman, DE Eric Hicks, WLB Victor
Hobson, ILB Brad Kassell, CB Hank Poteat, TE Sean
Ryan, C Wade Smith, QB Marques Tuiasosopo.
RFAs: None.

ANALYSIS: Like their division rivals in

MARCH 2008

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11

FREE AGENCY 2008

Baltimore Ravens
2008 FREE AGENTS
FFA: OLB Terrell Suggs.
UFAs: WR Devard Darling, SLB Nick Greisen, DE
Kenny King, RS B.J. Sams, S Gerome Sapp, RB Musa
Smith.
RFAs: OG Jason Brown, DT Amon Gordon, FB
Justin Green, LS Matt Katula, ILB Mike Smith.

ANALYSIS: Dont expect any big-ticket


signings from the Ravens, who dont have
much salary-cap space after having placed
the franchise tag on OLB Terrell Suggs. The
Ravens would prefer to sign him to a longterm contract, but team and player are said
to be far apart on what it will take to come
to such an agreement. Suggs, 25, only
notched five sacks last season, but hes one
of the few premier 3-4 pass-rush threats in
the game and would draw considerable
interest if he hit the open market. He wont,
because the Ravens regard him as one of
their defensive cogs. OLG Jason Brown is
among the top restricted free agents available; the Ravens would like to keep him in
the fold for years to come, but its unclear
whether there is enough money to get such a
deal done. The Ravens would bring back
Musa Smith, but only at their price; Smith
has struggled to stay healthy. Devard Darling might return as a backup, as could special-teams contributor Gerome Sapp.

Cincinnati Bengals
2008 FREE AGENTS
FFA: OT Stacy Andrews.
UFAs: WR Antonio Chatman, PK Aaron Elling,
WLB Landon Johnson, WLB Dhani Jones, P Kyle Larson, OLB Lemar Marshall, WLB Caleb Miller, DE
Bryan Robinson, DE Justin Smith, C Alex Stepanovich,
S Madieu Williams.
RFAs: DE Jonathan Fanene, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick,
OT Adam Kieft, WR Tab Perry.

ANALYSIS: The Bengals have seven unrestricted free agents on defense. Its unlikely
all of them will return, what with Cincinnati
again finishing near the bottom of the league
in defense and the team perhaps contemplating a move to a 3-4 scheme. The Bengals
elected not to use the franchise tag on DE
Justin Smith for a second year in a row,
which could spell the end of his time in
Cincinnati. Smiths strong character and
above-average talent will make him a want-

ed man in free agency, and the Bengals may


not be able to keep him. Instead of giving
the tag to Smith, the Bengals placed it on
Stacy Andrews, who has developed nicely
under the tutelage of OL coach Paul Alexander. Madieu Williams figures to draw interest from other teams, and the Bengals are
probably not going to spend big to keep him,
considering the way young safeties Marvin
White and Chinedum Ndukwe developed
last season. Dhani Jones might be back in a
reserves role, as could run stuffer Bryan
Robinson. Landon Johnsons versatility will
make him a top attraction in free agency; he
could sign elsewhere early in the signing
period.

lion (the average of the 10 highest salaries


for offensive linemen in 2007) next season.
However, Starks and the Steelers could still
agree on a long-term extension. FB Dan
Kreiders role diminished last season, and
he may sign elsewhere. Restricted free
agents Trai Essex and Nate Washington
could draw interest from other teams. Washington could eventually develop into a No. 2
receiver.

UFAs: CB Roc Alexander, OLB Charlie Anderson,


TE Mark Bruener, LB Danny Clark, WR Andr Davis,
RB Ron Dayne, S Will Demps, S Glenn Earl, S Von
Hutchins, DE Ndukwe Kalu, DT Cedric Killings, S
Jason Simmons, P Matt Turk, OG Fred Weary, CB Dexter Wynn.
RFAs: S C.C. Brown, OT Scott Jackson, DT Anthony Maddox, WR Jerome Mathis.

Houston Texans

Andr Davis is likely to draw interest as a


returner and a pass catcher. The Texans want
to re-sign him. The Texans may struggle to
re-sign the SLB tandem of Danny Clark and
Charlie Anderson. Clark has a good reputation around the league for his special-teams
play and leadership ability, too. Ron
Daynes value is likely highest to the Texans, who have used him correctly in his two
seasons in Houston and could bring him
back for one more season. If Matt Turk is resigned, hell have a challenger for his job.
Restricted free agents C.C. Brown and
Anthony Maddox could receive offer sheets
from other clubs if given low tenders by the
Texans.

2008 FREE AGENTS

Cleveland Browns
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: LB Keith Adams, CB Gary Baxter, WR Tim
Carter, CB Ricardo Colclough, OT Nat Dorsey, OG
Lennie Friedman, DE Bobby Hamilton, DT Ethan Kelley, C Seth McKinney, S Nick Sorensen, OLB Matt
Stewart, ILB Chaun Thompson, DT Ted Washington.
RFAs: QB Derek Anderson, DE Simon Frasier, LB
Kris Griffin, CB Daven Holly.

ANALYSIS: The Texans werent blessed


with an excess of salary-cap space last season but still managed to strike early for RB
Ahman Green. They have more room under
the cap this season and a slew of needs,
especially in the defensive backfield. The
Texans would like to bring back safeties Von
Hutchins and Will Demps; Hutchins can
also play cornerback, and Demps impressed
the club in his first season in Houston.

ANALYSIS: The Browns have been aggressive at the start of free agency in past years,
but they figure to take more of a wait-andsee approach this year unless a top frontseven defensive player catches their attention early in the signing period. The
Browns were able to re-sign RB Jamal
Lewis to a multiyear deal on Feb. 21, which
takes care of the starting RB position. All
eyes are on the Browns negotiations with
Derek Anderson. Anderson is said to want a
six-year deal; the Browns have reportedly
offered a three-year contract. If Anderson
and the Browns cant come together on a
contract, hell likely be given the highest
tender as a restricted free agent. The Browns
would be open to bringing back Seth McKinney and Ethan Kelley. Versatile Chaun
Thompson could also be back. Tim Carter
didnt have a clear role in Cleveland and
may be allowed to depart.

Indianapolis Colts
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: SLB Rocky Boiman, DT Dan Klecko, WR
Aaron Moorehead, OG Jake Scott, TE Mike Seidman,
QB Jim Sorgi, DE Josh Thomas.
RFAs: TE Bryan Fletcher, OG Dylan Gandy, S Matt
Giordano, DT Darrell Reid, TE Ben Utecht.

ANALYSIS: Even though a shoulder injury


he sustained in the playoff loss to the Chargers could keep him out through training
camp, S Bob Sanders ability to get through
the regular season unscathed was enough to
convince the Colts to re-sign the 2007 NFL
Defensive Player of the Year to the richest
(Continued on Page 12)

Pittsburgh Steelers
2008 FREE AGENTS
TFA: OT Max Starks.
UFAs: LB Marquis Cooper, DT Nick Eason, OG
Alan Faneca, OLB Clark Haggans, FB Dan Kreider,
QB Brian St. Pierre.
RFAs: OT Trai Essex, OLB Andre Frazier, OG Chris
Kemoeatu, LS Greg Warren, WR Nate Washington.

ANALYSIS: The Steelers top offseason


goal: signing QB Ben Roethlisberger to a
contract extension. With that objective
looming, and with rookie salaries to pay,
Pittsburgh doesnt have too much financial
flexibility. The Steelers typically dont
spend big in free agency as is, preferring to
sign their own players before they hit the
market. Of course, they could not come to
an agreement with star OLG Alan Faneca,
who figures to become one of the highestpaid players at his position, whether it be in
Pittsburgh or elsewhere. Faneca will be
tough to retain. LOLB Clark Haggans is
likely to depart. He could help a 3-4 team
looking for a veteran pass-rushing presence.
In somewhat of a surprising move, the Steelers placed the transition tag on OL Max
Starks. Starks, a fourth-year pro who was
slated to become an unrestricted free agent,
lost his starting job at right tackle to Willie
Colon in 2007 but filled in well late in the
season at the OLT spot when Marvel Smith
was out with back problems. If another team
signs Starks and the Steelers decide not to
match the offer, they will receive no compensation. If no other team signs Starks, the
Steelers are required to pay him $6.895 mil-

SCOTT WALLEM

Miami and Buffalo, the Jets have considerable cap space to address glaring deficiencies. With coach Eric Mangini committed to
making the 3-4 defense work, look for a
revolving door of sorts throughout the front
seven. The only box defender who fits well
in the scheme is second-year ILB David
Harris, as former first-round picks NT
Dewayne Robertson, ILB Jonathan Vilma
and OLB Bryan Thomas have proven illequipped to handle their roles. Although
under contract for 2008, all could be suiting
up elsewhere in the fall. Likewise, OLB Victor Hobson is likely off to the highest bidder,
which only adds to their need. If Chad Pennington is traded, expect the Jets to bring in
a veteran quarterback to provide insurance
for (if not compete with) Kellen Clemens.
But the line is the neediest of the offensive
positions. The OLG and ORT spots are
almost certain to see new faces in 2008, and
it would come as no surprise if the Jets wind
up sinking more money into these positions
than anywhere else. While the Jets will be
hesitant to shell out top dollar to D-linemen
and linebackers unless theyre confident that
these players fit the system, all the marquee
free-agent names on the offensive line are
sure to be fawned over in New York.

Key player: Browns must decide whether to sign Derek Anderson to a long-term deal or one-year tender

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

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MARCH 2008

FREE AGENCY 2008

2008 franchise/transition formula

QUARTERBACKS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Carson Palmer / Bengals $13,480,000


Brett Favre / Packers
$11,800,000
Eli Manning / Giants
$10,046,666
Matt Hasselbeck / Seahawks $9,200,000
Marc Bulger / Rams
$9,123,000
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ............$10,730,000
Tony Romo / Cowboys
$8,916,666
Donovan McNabb / Eagles $8,553,911
Peyton Manning / Colts
$8,200,000
Matt Leinart / Cardinals
$8,110,000
Michael Vick / Falcons
$7,572,857
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$9,500,000
RUNNING BACKS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

LaDainian Tomlinson / Chargers $7,066,666


Edgerrin James / Cardinals $7,000,000
Fred Taylor / Jaguars
$6,600,000
Warrick Dunn / Falcons
$6,278,336
Deuce McAllister / Saints
$5,745,000
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$6,538,000
Shaun Alexander / Seahawks $5,700,000
LaMont Jordan / Raiders
$5,400,000
Rudi Johnson / Bengals
$4,550,000
Thomas Jones / Jets
$4,400,000
DeShaun Foster / Panthers $4,250,000
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$5,699,000
WIDE RECEIVERS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Terrell Owens / Cowboys


$9,666,666
Marvin Harrison / Colts
$8,400,000
Torry Holt / Rams
$7,604,714
Chad Johnson / Bengals
$7,165,370
Roy Williams / Lions
$6,403,334
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$7,848,000
Kevin Curtis / Eagles
$6,333,333
Deion Branch / Seahawks
$5,980,000
Reggie Wayne / Colts
$5,880,000
David Givens / Titans
$5,700,000
Hines Ward / Steelers
$5,585,000
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$6,872,000
TIGHT ENDS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Todd Heap / Ravens


$4,900,000
Alge Crumpler / Falcons
$4,708,333
Tony Gonzalez / Chiefs
$4,531,370
Jeremy Shockey / Giants
$4,371,667
Visanthe Shiancoe / Vikings $4,100,000
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$4,522,000
Antonio Gates / Chargers
$3,825,000
Jason Witten / Cowboys
$2,795,000
Jim Kleinsasser / Vikings
$2,750,000
Vernon Davis / 49ers
$2,700,000
Donald Lee / Packers
$2,645,000
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$3,733,000
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Walter Jones / Seahawks


$8,600,000
Willie Anderson / Bengals
$7,600,000
Orlando Pace / Rams
$7,075,000
Flozell Adams / Cowboys
$7,000,000
Al Johnson / Cardinals
$7,000,000
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$7,455,000
Derrick Dockery / Bills
$6,750,000
Marvel Smith / Steelers
$6,645,500
Chris Samuels / Redskins
$6,200,000
Jonas Jennings / 49ers
$6,042,000
Chad Clifton / Packers
$6,034,166
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$6,895,000
DEFENSIVE TACKLES
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Dewayne Robertson / Jets


Warren Sapp / Raiders

$7,391,369
$6,297,000

Cornelius Griffin / Redskins $6,166,333


Albert Haynesworth / Titans $6,041,669
Rod Coleman / Falcons
$5,917,500
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$6,363,000
Kevin Williams / Vikings
$5,709,249
Anthony McFarland / Colts $5,500,000
Kris Jenkins / Panthers
$4,539,618
Rocky Bernard / Seahawks $4,500,000
Pat Williams / Vikings
$4,477,208
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$5,654,000
DEFENSIVE ENDS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Julius Peppers / Panthers $12,437,500


Jason Taylor / Dolphins
$9,519,625
Justin Smith / Bengals
$8,644,000
Jevon Kearse / Eagles
$7,063,890
Michael Strahan / Giants
$6,728,285
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$8,879,000
Shaun Ellis / Jets
$6,725,000
Richard Seymour / Patriots $6,600,000
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila / Packers $6,571,428
John Abraham / Falcons
$6,500,000
Chris Kelsay / Bills
$6,000,000
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$7,679,000
LINEBACKERS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Ray Lewis / Ravens


$9,428,571
Zach Thomas / Dolphins
$7,987,000
Keith Brooking / Falcons
$7,692,226
Keith Bulluck / Titans
$7,608,668
Nick Barnett / Packers
$7,608,571
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$8,065,000
Lance Briggs / Bears
$7,206,000
Daryl Smith / Jaguars
$7,066,667
Rosevelt Colvin / Patriots
$6,428,000
Julian Peterson / Seahawks $6,300,000
Marcus Washington / Redskins $6,020,416
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$7,335,000
CORNERBACKS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Nate Clements / 49ers


$12,266,666
Chris McAlister / Ravens
$9,407,082
Patrick Surtain / Chiefs
$9,280,000
Quentin Jammer / Chargers $8,583,330
Asante Samuel / Patriots
$7,790,000
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$9,465,000
Shawn Springs / Redskins $7,358,333
Anthony Henry / Cowboys $5,600,000
Jason David / Saints
$5,525,000
Champ Bailey / Broncos
$5,411,575
Charles Tillman / Bears
$5,372,666
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$7,659,000
SAFETIES
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Adam Archuleta / Bears


$5,095,000
Michael Huff / Raiders
$4,800,000
Michael Lewis / 49ers
$4,095,000
Terrence Holt / Cardinals
$4,000,000
Adrian Wilson / Cardinals
$3,989,499
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$4,396,000
Greg Wesley / Chiefs
$3,847,916
Roy Williams / Cowboys
$3,507,379
Troy Polamalu / Steelers
$3,339,500
Darren Sharper / Vikings
$3,150,000
Mike Brown / Bears
$3,106,666
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$3,893,000
PUNTERS / PLACEKICKERS
P L AY E R / T E A M

2007 SALARY

Rian Lindell / Bills


$3,260,000
Jason Elam / Broncos
$3,030,000
Josh Scobee / Jaguars
$2,100,000
Nate Kaeding / Chargers
$2,100,000
Jason Hanson / Lions
$2,080,000
TOP-FIVE AVERAGE ..............$2,514,000
Josh Brown / Seahawks
$2,078,000
Adam Vinatieri / Colts
$2,070,000
Sebastian Janikowski / Raiders $1,952,835
John Kasay / Panthers
$1,900,000
Craig Hentrich / Titans
$1,883,750
TOP-10 AVERAGE ................$2,245,000

SPORTPICS

Franchise values are determined by calculating the average of the five highest-paid
players at that position in 2007. Transition values are determined by calculating the average of the 10 highest-paid players at that
position.

Franchised: Albert Haynesworth will eat up much of the Titans salary-cap cushion if he remains tagged

(Continued from Page 11)


contract ever for a safety. The downside to
that move is that the Colts already high
salary-cap number is that much closer to the
$116 million ceiling. To ensure they would
keep TE Dallas Clark, the Colts placed the
franchise tag on him, and then the two parties agreed to a six-year contract days later.
Even if handsomely paid stars like QB Peyton Manning and WR Marvin Harrison
restructure their deals, it will be difficult to
retain both starting OGs Ryan Lilja and Jake
Scott. Lilja signed a five-year deal prior to
the start of free agency, which means Scott
may be headed elsewhere. Modest tenders
are expected to be extended to a smattering
of restricted free agents, including OG
Dylan Gandy and S Matt Giordano, but its
conceivable they could wind up elsewhere if
another organization thinks it can nab them
at a bargain price. The Colts can ogle at the
leagues better free agents all they want, but
the team is in no position to make a play for
them.

Jacksonville Jaguars
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: TE Richard Angulo, CB Terry Cousin, CB
Aaron Glenn, QB Quinn Gray, DT Grady Jackson, S
Sammy Knight, DE Bobby McCray, OG Stockar
McDougle, LB Shantee Orr, RB LaBrandon Toefield,
WR Ernest Wilford, OT Maurice Williams.
RFAs: CB Chris Roberson, S Gerald Sensabaugh.

ANALYSIS: It stands to reason that a team


that made it to the divisional playoff round
with all its key players under contract could
be content keeping the roster status quo. But
the Jaguars appear in great shape only
superficially. An inadequate receiving corps
and an injury-marred defensive line highlight the areas that need bolstering. Luckily
for them, the Jags have plenty of cap space
to address the shortcomings, even after ink-

ing Pro Bowl alternate FB Greg Jones to a


new deal. Dont read too much into the fact
that three unrestricted free agents S
Sammy Knight, WR Ernest Wilford and
OG-OT Maurice Williams were starters.
None is important, and Knight and Williams
were even liabilities in certain situations. It
behooves the Jags to land a top-flight wide
receiver capable of stretching the field vertically, and you couldnt fault them if they
chose the free-agent route over the draft
after the way Reggie Williams and Matt
Jones have underachieved. New defensive
coordinator Gregg Williams brings his
aggressive brand of D to a club that has
previously been reluctant to experiment, but
his system mandates they reel in more speed
off the edge.

Tennessee Titans
2008 FREE AGENTS
FFA: DT Albert Haynesworth.
UFAs: OG Jacob Bell, RB Chris Brown, WR Justin
Gage, OLB Gilbert Gardner, TE Ben Hartsock, CB
Chidi Iwuoma DE Travis LaBoy, WR Eric Moulds, S
Donnie Nickey, DE Antwan Odom, ILB Robert
Reynolds, LB Rich Scanlon, DT Randy Starks, TE Ben
Troupe, CB Michael Waddell.
RFAs: PK Rob Bironas, FB Casey Cramer, S Vincent Fuller, CB Reynaldo Hill, OT Daniel Loper, TE Bo
Scaife, OT David Stewart.

ANALYSIS: The Titans are said to have more


than $30 million available under the salary
cap. But a good chunk of that will go toward
DT Albert Haynesworth, on whom theyve
placed the franchise tag. Were the Titans to resign promising DE Antwan Odom, that would
take some more of that cap space, but Odom
may prove too pricey for Tennessee. The
Titans are more likely to be able to bring back
Travis LaBoy than Odom. OLG Jacob Bell
may be a popular man at the outset of free
agency, and its unclear whether the Titans will
be able to afford him. Ben Troupe will likely
depart, but Bo Scaife one of Vince Youngs

MARCH 2008

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13

FREE AGENCY 2008

after learning Kiffin had shown interest in


vacant college jobs during 2007, getting the
offseason off to a turbulent start in Oakland. It
may be hard for the Raiders to lure free agents
with a seemingly unstable situation in the
clubs hierarchy. The Raiders placed the
exclusive franchise tag on CB Nnamdi Asomugha. The five-year veteran is the only player to be given the exclusive tag this year, and
the first since Colts DE Dwight Freeney was
given the designation in February 2007. The
exclusive franchise tag means Asomugha cant
even solicit offers from other teams, whereas
non-exclusive franchise players can. Outside
of working with Asomugha on a long-term
deal, the club will focus this offseason on getting help at defensive tackle, safety and offensive tackle. Oakland would be interested in resigning C Jeremy Newberry, but perhaps only
for one more season, and Kiffin is said to like
QB Josh McCown as a backup for JaMarcus
Russell, though McCown would rather compete for a starting job. Now that RB Justin Fargas has been re-signed, both LaMont Jordan
and Dominic Rhodes are potential salary-cap
casualties.

favorite targets could be back. Eric Moulds


might return, but only as a backup. There is
clamoring for Tennessee to sign a speedy
receiver (Dont Stallworth?) to open up a runfirst offense. The Titans want to sign PFW
Golden Toe winner Rob Bironas to a contract
extension. Nickel back Vincent Fuller and
ORT David Stewart are other restricted free
agents who could draw interest from other
teams.

Denver Broncos
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: TE Stephen Alexander, DE Ebenezer
Ekuban, PK Jason Elam, DE John Engelberger*, S
Nick Ferguson, TE Nate Jackson, FB Cecil Sapp.
RFAs: S Hamza Abdullah, CB Domonique Foxworth, C Chris Myers, CB Karl Paymah.

ANALYSIS: Denver may not be as active in


free agency this season, as they are projected
to be in the bottom third of the league in cap
space, with close to $17 million. That will
change if veterans like FS John Lynch and WR
Javon Walker are released, as has been
rumored. The Broncos have already patched
some holes, re-signing WR Brandon Stokley
and OLB Jamie Winborn before they hit the
market. DEs Ebenezer Ekuban and John
Engelberger would both be welcomed back, if
the price is right. Denver will be careful not to
overpay either of them, considering they both
would likely be involved in training-camp battles for a starting job. The Broncos would like
to re-sign PK Jason Elam, likely to a shortterm deal.

San Diego Chargers


2008 FREE AGENTS

ing to make noteworthy sacrifices along the


way. Not that the Chargers will be going about
their business this offseason with an eye strictly on 2008. QB Philip Rivers, CB Antonio
Cromartie and OLB Shawne Merriman are just
a few of the players whom the Bolts will be
making a concerted effort to extend in the next
year or two, so dont expect to see them gratuitously throw money at players this offseason
just because they can. The one marquee free
agent they wont make a play to re-sign in
actuality, the only marquee free agent they
have is RB Michael Turner, who will cash
in on a monster deal with one of the numerous
RB-needy teams. With LaDainian Tomlinson
already entrenched as the No. 1 guy in the
Bolts backfield, its a good bet Turner moves
on. The Chargers wont be active participants
in the bidding war for players currently outside
the organization, either, although they have
already signed ex-49er LB Derek Smith. Its a
safe bet that the majority of changes to the roster will come via the draft, and the secondary
is likely to earn the most attention.

Dallas Cowboys
2008 FREE AGENTS

UFAs: CB Drayton Florence, RB Michael Turner,


QB Billy Volek.
RFAs: DE Ryon Bingham, WLB Marques Harris,
OG Scott Mruczkowski.

ANALYSIS: Norv Turner has reason to be


smiling and strutting around San Diego these
days. Not only is his team among the most talented entering free agency, but ample cap
space allows it to fill in the cracks without hav-

FFA: S Ken Hamlin.


UFAs: OT Flozell Adams, S Keith Davis, RB Julius
Jones*, CB Nathan Jones, CB Jacques Reeves.
RFAs: RB Marion Barber, OG Joe Berger, DE Chris
Canty, RB Tyson Thompson.

ANALYSIS: The Cowboys have been fairly


proactive in terms of getting their key guys
signed for the long term. With QB Tony Romo,
WR Patrick Crayton and NT Jay Ratliff signing extensions during last season, they have

only a few key players to concern themselves


with this offseason. The highest priorities
appear to be Marion Barber and Chris Canty,
both of whom the team would like to lock up
long term. But because both are restricted free
agents, the team will tender both at the firstand third-round level at least, making it difficult for them to leave. Barber, agent Drew
Rosenhaus and the Cowboys have been talking
about an extension for several months, and
they continued their talks at the Combine in
Indianapolis. The highest-priority unrestricted
guys are, in order, Ken Hamlin and Flozell
Adams. Because they were unable to hammer
out a long-term deal with Hamlin, the club
franchised him. The Cowboys could picture
life without Adams, which might cause
Leonard Davis to move to left tackle, but it
would be a risk. Julius Jones is likely to sign
elsewhere. The team landed ex-Dolphin LB
Zach Thomas, signing him to a one-year
deal during the Combine.

New York Giants


2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: DT Russell Davis, DT William Joseph*, LS
Ryan Kuehl, WLB Kawika Mitchell, SLB Reggie Torbor,
PK Lawrence Tynes, RB Derrick Ward, S Gibril Wilson.
RFAs: DE Adrian Awasom, S James Butler, QB
Jared Lorenzen, CB Jeff Shoate.

ANALYSIS: The good news for the champs


is that they have very few crucial free agents
to re-up with. Topping the list would be Gibril Wilson, who had a nice season and could
be a fixture at the back of the secondary. An
interesting side note: The Eagles, in need of
safety help, are said to be hot for Wilson, so
the Giants would like to get something done
(Continued on Page 14)

Kansas City Chiefs


2008 FREE AGENTS
FFA: DE Jared Allen.
UFAs: RS Eddie Drummond, WLB Keyaron Fox,
WR Samie Parker, CB Benny Sapp, OT Kyle Turley, C
Casey Wiegmann, DE Jimmy Wilkerson, TE-FB Kris
Wilson.
RFAs: P Dustin Colquitt, FB Boomer Grigsby, OT
Will Svitek.

ANALYSIS: Just a couple of years ago, the


Chiefs O-line, led by potential Hall of Famers
Willie Roaf and Will Shields, was the envy of
every franchise. Now, its a beleaguered and
battered bunch, a group that will only have 12 starters from its 2007 unit constituting its 08
edition. Getting younger up front is of paramount importance, but the free-agent pool will
be just as important as the draft in achieving
that objective. While slapping standout DE
Jared Allen with the franchise tag ensures hell
continue wreaking havoc in Arrowhead in 08,
the inability to lock him into a long-term deal
makes next season likely his last in Chiefs
garb, as he has publicly stated his intention to
leave the organization if he had to play as a
franchised player. Coach Herm Edwards can
only wish his secondary were allowed one
year to play with a prime-time player. Starting
CBs Ty Law and Patrick Surtain have seen
their once-lauded coverage abilities diminish
with age, while the physical prowess of the
Chiefs young safeties is mitigated by their
still-developing coverage awareness.

Oakland Raiders

ANALYSIS: PFW reported that Raiders owner


Al Davis was livid with coach Lane Kiffin

JAMES D. SMITH

2008 FREE AGENTS


FFA: CB Nnamdi Asomugha.
UFAs: DE Tyler Brayton*, SLB Chris Clemons, S
Jarrod Cooper, QB Daunte Culpepper, WR Tim
Dwight, OT Cornell Green, DT Tommy Kelly, FB
ReShard Lee, QB Josh McCown, C Jeremy Newberry,
WR Jerry Porter*, DT Josh Shaw.
RFAs: CB Chris Carr, LB Isaiah Ekejiuba.

Top priority: The Cowboys want to lock up RB Marion Barber long term, but they may have to offer him a one-year tender if the two sides cant come to terms

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

14

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MARCH 2008

FREE AGENCY 2008

Philadelphia Eagles
2008 FREE AGENTS
FFA: TE L.J. Smith.
UFAs: CB William James, RS Reno Mahe, DE
Jerome McDougle*, DT Ian Scott, FB Thomas Tapeh,
DT Kimo von Oelhoffen.
RFAs: CB Joselio Hanson, S J.R. Reed.

ANALYSIS: The biggest move to date has

been the franchising of TE L.J. Smith,


who could sign an extension but at least
will be back for another year. The move
sends a clear indication to many that the
team is gearing up for one more run at a
title next season, which likely should end
those persistent Donovan McNabb
rumors. It also could stoke talk of the
Eagles going into the open market and
spending some money, as they have in the
past when they added DEs Jevon Kearse
and Darren Howard. The irony, of course,
is that Kearse and Howard are likely to be
hacked this offseason, which would provide the team with more cap space. The
positions the team may target include
safety, which is thin in the draft but decent
in free agency, especially with familiar
divisional names such as Giants S Gibril
Wilson; cornerback, which has one big
name the Patriots Asante Samuel
and some other intriguing ones; and wideout, though the team is said to be comfortable with the players it has at that spot.
None of the teams unrestricted free
agents is a lock to return, but a few could
stick, such as Thomas Tapeh.

Washington Redskins
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: DT Ryan Boschetti, QB Mark Brunell*, WR
Reche Caldwell, ILB Khari Campbell*, RB Rock
Cartwright*, QB Todd Collins, OG Rick DeMulling, DE
Demetric Evans*, OT Jason Fabini, P Derrick Frost,
ILB Randall Godfrey, TE Brian Kozlowski, CB David
Macklin, WR Keenan McCardell, S Pierson Prioleau,
OG Mike Pucillo, S Omar Stoutmire, C Ross Tucker.
RFAs: None.

ANALYSIS: The team re-signed steady LS


Ethan Albright in mid-February, which
took care of one priority. It also reportedly
sent an offer to another specialist, P Derrick Frost, but has yet to contact KR Rock
Cartwright, who could land elsewhere. The
team has made overtures to QB Todd
Collins to return as the teams backup to
Jason Campbell, though Collins could
decide to go elsewhere for a possibility at
one last shot at starting. Either way, it
appears that Mark Brunells days are finished in Washington. The problem is that
the team cant make many moves in free
agency until it redoes the books and
restructures some contracts. The team

reworked TE Chris Cooleys contract, converting $11 million of a roster bonus he


was scheduled to receive into guaranteed
money, and letting Brunell go will knock
off more than $6 million, but it currently
sits at $7 million over the projected $116
million cap. So, expect a quiet offseason
for once, in terms of free agency. A few
players, such as Reche Caldwell, Demetric
Evans and one or two others, could return
from the UFA group. Pierson Prioleau and
Randall Godfrey, considered Gregg
Williams guys, may follow Williams to
Jacksonville and are not likely to return.

plans. The Lions also might need a right


tackle if Damien Woody tests the market, as
expected, and leaves. The LB depth will be
tested, especially if Teddy Lehman and Boss
Bailey walk. The team has already brought
in LB Al Wilson for a visit and almost certainly will add to the unit through free
agency and the draft. Theres a lot of work to
do, but the good news is that the team is in
good cap shape and will be even better with
a few contracts deleted.

Green Bay Packers


2008 FREE AGENTS

FFA: DT Corey Williams.


UFAs: LS Rob Davis, TE Ryan Krause, QB Craig
Nall, CB Frank Walker, OT Tyson Walter, WLB Tracy
White.
RFAs: DT Colin Cole, RB Vernand Morency.

Chicago Bears
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: SLB Brendon Ayanbadejo, WR Bernard
Berrian, WLB Lance Briggs, OG Ruben Brown, DT
Antonio Garay, TE John Gilmore, DT Jimmy Kennedy.
RFAs: WR Rashied Davis, S Brandon McGowan.

ANALYSIS: Expected to have about $25


million under the salary cap when the 08
free-agency period begins, the Packers certainly will have enough money to re-sign
their most attractive free agent, DT Corey
Williams, who received the teams franchise
tag. That means hes entitled to a one-year
deal worth $6.363 million once he signs the
tender. Assuming Williams signs the tender
or agrees to a long-term contract with the
Packers, Green Bay will remain very deep at
D-tackle, with Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly

ANALYSIS: One offseason issue was cleared

up prior to the start of the free-agent signing


period when QB Rex Grossman signed a
one-year deal worth $3 million, with $1.5
million guaranteed. Grossman is expected to
compete in training camp with Kyle Orton,
and possibly Brian Griese or a newcomer,
for the starting QB job. Team sources had
maintained for a long time that the Bears
two most attractive free agents OLB
Lance Briggs and WR Bernard Berrian
were destined for greener pastures in 2008.
But in team meetings just before the Combine, the word was that the Bears might be
rethinking their stance on Briggs and Berrian, in great part due to what they consider to
be slim pickings in the draft and free agency
at the LB and WR positions. The Bears are
expected to set their sights on at least one
relatively high-profile free agent an
offensive lineman or a running back are the
best bets and a few more minor freeagent additions. The Bears freed up $15.6
million in salary-cap space with the releases
of WR Muhsin Muhammad, ORT Fred
Miller and disappointing DT Darwin Walker and could free up even more money by
cutting CB Ricky Manning, FS Mike Brown
and SS Adam Archuleta, each of whom is
considered expendable.

and 2007 first-round pick Justin Harrell also


in the mix. None of the Packers other free
agents is considered a definite keeper. Rob
Davis, who hasnt missed a game since taking over as the teams long-snapper halfway
through the 1997 season, is expected to sign
a one-year contract extension soon. GM Ted
Thompson has proven to be much more
dependent on the draft than free agency, but
if the right kind of player is available in the
free-agent market (as was previously the
case with Pickett and CB Charles Woodson),
Thompson wouldnt hesitate to go after him.
The Packers have also shown a knack for reupping with ascending players they gave
TE Donald Lee a four-year contract extension during the 07 campaign and it
would hardly be a shock if they decided to
work out a new deal for Ryan Grant, who
burst out of the woodwork in the second half
of the 07 season to become one of the
leagues most productive running backs.

Minnesota Vikings
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: S Mike Doss, WR Robert Ferguson, DT
Spencer Johnson, RB Mewelde Moore, FB Tony
Richardson, DE Darrion Scott, ILB Dontarrious
Thomas, S Tank Williams.
RFAs: SLB Heath Farwell.

ANALYSIS: The Vikings, as much as any


team leaguewide, have done an excellent job

Detroit Lions
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: SLB Boss Bailey, S Idrees Bashir, RB Tatum
Bell*, RB Aveion Cason, RB T.J. Duckett, CB Travis
Fisher, OT George Foster*, ILB Teddy Lehman, TE
John Owens, QB J.T. OSullivan, DE Corey Smith, CB
Keith Smith, OL Barry Stokes, WR Troy Walters.
RFAs: DT Langston Moore, QB Dan Orlovsky, OG
Stephen Peterman, S Etric Pruitt, CB Stanley Wilson.

ANALYSIS: The team has not been in a


hurry, unlike other clubs, to release some of
its dead weight, but there will be some fat
trimming. Though head coach Rod
Marinelli downplayed talk that DT Shaun
Rogers being one of them, published reports
suggest that the Lions are willing to listen to
offers for Rogers and could deal him for
draft booty. Among those likely to be cut
eventually are DE Kalimba Edwards and CB
Fernando Bryant, but cutting Bryant would
leave the team dangerously thin at corner.
With Travis Fisher and Keith Smith due to
hit free agency, the team would have only
one veteran corner: RFA Stanley Wilson,
who has been inconsistent. Another area of
need is running back, where T.J. Duckett
could figure into a more run-heavy scheme,
but Kevin Jones health is a major concern.
Duckett and Tatum Bell are free agents, but
only Duckett would figure in the teams

SPORTPICS

(Continued from Page 13)


quickly, if possible. The team already has
solidified its kicking situation by doing new
deals for P Jeff Feagles and PK Lawrence
Tynes, although Tynes had yet to officially
sign a new contract as of this writing. The
players who are likely to leave include Reggie Torbor, Ryan Kuehl, William Joseph and
Russell Davis. Torbor could return as a bargain signing. Kawika Mitchell played his
best ball down the stretch and had himself a
fine Super Bowl, and team officials would
like to bring him back at the right price with
a deal in the three-year range. However, he
likely made himself a little money with his
good play and may shop around. Derrick
Ward is likely to be back, and he should be
healthy by the start of camp. Dont expect
the team to be very active in the open market, although like last season, they may cut a
few unneeded veterans such as Reuben
Droughns.

Done deal: Instead of hitting the open market, QB Rex Grossman signed a one-year deal to stay in Chicago

MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

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15

FREE AGENCY 2008

of getting their core players signed before


they hit free agency. Over the past two years,
the team has done deals with DTs Kevin
Williams and Pat Williams, LB E.J. Henderson, OT Bryant McKinnie, PK Ryan Longwell, P Chris Kluwe, OG Anthony Herrera
and others before other teams could get to
them. The front office, namely capologist
Rob Brzezinski, has been as smart as almost
any other in terms of keeping the teams
books in order, mostly through the use of the
likely to be earned incentives to create
future space. The result is that none of the
teams UFAs is an essential, must-keep
player though Robert Ferguson, Dontarrious Thomas and Tony Richardson could be
back at the right price. Most of the other
players, including Spencer Johnson, who is
stuck behind the two Williams, could seek
starting duty elsewhere. Special-teams ace
Heath Farwell is likely to be tendered at the
second-round level.

Atlanta Falcons
2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: PK Morten Andersen, TE Courtney Anderson, DT Tim Anderson, TE Dwayne Blakley, S Chris
Crocker, CB Omare Lowe, QB Chris Redman, WLB
Demorrio Williams.
RFAs: SLB Michael Boley, DE Chauncey Davis, P

Christian Fauria, FB Brad Hoover, S Marquand


Manuel, SLB Terrence Melton, DT Kindal Moorehead,
DE Mike Rucker, CB Dante Wesley.
RFAs: OG Geoff Hangartner, OG Evan Mathis, ILB
Adam Seward.

Michael Koenen, FB Corey McIntyre.

ANALYSIS: New Falcons GM Thomas Dim-

itroff started the offseason by cutting seven


veterans including TE Alge Crumpler,
DT Rod Coleman and QB Byron Leftwich
and team owner Arthur Blank said
Atlanta will target $23 million in cap space
to spend on free agents and draft picks. The
Falcons have no shortage of holes, but the
top priorities in the offseason will be to find
a quarterback, running back, offensive tackles and defensive tackles. There is just one
free agent from their roster whom the team
is intent on bringing back OLB Michael
Boley, who is restricted. In the first round of
cuts, Dimitroff trimmed the roster mostly of
players who had missed time with injuries in
2007, but highly paid veterans like RB Warrick Dunn and MLB Keith Brooking may be
the next to go. With new coach Mike
Smiths experience as defensive coordinator
in Jacksonville, and Dimitroffs as the Patriots director of college scouting, the emphasis could be on rebuilding the defense, starting with the D-line, although the offensive
line has to be a top priority as well.

ANALYSIS: The Panthers have been very

active, shoring up their roster from within


before the free-agency period started. They
cut veteran OG Mike Wahle but re-signed
OLT Travelle Wharton to a six-year deal
and placed the franchise tag on ORT Jordan Gross. On defense, the team inked DT
Damione Lewis to a three-year, $14 million deal and signed SS Chris Harris to an
extension, but they cut injury-prone Pro
Bowl MLB Dan Morgan. A potential
make-or-break offseason for GM Marty
Hurney and coach John Fox will likely
shift their focus to addressing needs at
wide receiver, defensive end and running
back. Hurney said he plans on retooling
the running game, and he began the
process by releasing 2007 starting RB
DeShaun Foster.

New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers

2008 FREE AGENTS


UFAs: S Jay Bellamy, C Jeff Faine*, S Steve Gleason, OG Jonathan Goodwin, WR Devery Henderson,
TE Eric Johnson, QB Jamie Martin, TE Billy Miller, OG
Jamar Nesbit, WR David Patten, MLB Mark Simoneau,
RB Aaron Stecker, CB Fred Thomas, DE Renaldo
Wynn, DT Brian Young.
RFA: LB Matt McCoy.

2008 FREE AGENTS


FFA: OT Jordan Gross.
UFAs: WR Drew Carter, WR Keary Colbert, S Deke
Cooper, LB Dont Curry, CB Curtis Deloatch, TE

ANALYSIS: The Saints figure to be major


players in negotiations with defensive free
agents at just about every position but defensive end. New Orleans will have around $30
million in cap space and will likely target
marquee players at cornerback and defensive tackle, where the team is in great need
of improvement. The franchise has shown a
willingness to pay top dollar for free agents
since coach Sean Payton took over in 2006,
and the top available players at their position, like CB Asante Samuel, could be on
New Orleans radar. The Saints high-powered offense would be bolstered by the addition of a pass-catching tight end and a No. 2
wide receiver to be paired with the squads
No. 1, Marques Colston. DE Will Smith
and Colston are both candidates for longterm extensions.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


2008 FREE AGENTS

HARRY SCULL, JR.

UFAs: TE Anthony Becht*, CB Sammy Davis, RS


Mark Jones, CB Brian Kelly*, OG Matt Lehr, RB
Michael Pittman*, DT Ryan Sims, TE Jerramy Stevens,
ILB Jeremiah Trotter, C John Wade*.
RFAs: WLB Antoine Cash, DT Jovan Haye, S
Kalvin Pearson.

Options limited: After a fine 2007 season, the Panthers used the franchise tag on OT Jordan Gross

ANALYSIS: Tampa Bay has never had


back-to-back winning seasons during
coach Jon Grudens six-year tenure, but
the team has a good chunk of money to
spend as it prepares to defend the NFC
South title. The Bucs could use improvement at a couple of key positions, particularly at wide receiver and defensive tackle, and they should have close to $25 million in cap space. CB Brian Kelly, who
has spent his entire 10-year career in
Tampa, said he would like to go elsewhere, and RB Michael Pittman reportedly has similar intentions. A recent rumor
is that the Bucs are interested in recently
released TE Alge Crumpler, formerly with
the Falcons, but his health is in question
as he battles ailing knees. The squad will
likely address its need for depth at running back as questions linger about Cadillac Williams future following a severe
knee injury. RB Earnest Graham, who
will be a free agent in 2009, could be

offered a contract extension.

Arizona Cardinals
2008 FREE AGENTS
FFA: WLB Karlos Dansby.
UFAs: DT Rodney Bailey, P Mitch Berger, CB Ralph
Brown, S Oliver Celestin, TE Tim Euhus, QB Tim Hasselbeck, LS Nathan Hodel, WR Bryant Johnson, S Bhawoh
Jue, DT Ross Kolodziej, SLB Calvin Pace, QB Tim Rattay,
DE Bo Schobel, DE Joe Tafoya, OG Keydrick Vincent, S
Matt Ware.
RFAs: SLB Darryl Blackstock, OT Elton Brown, CB
Eric Green, WR Ahmad Merritt, DE Antonio Smith, WR
Jerheme Urban.

ANALYSIS: Its unlikely the Cardinals will


make a substantial splash in free agency this
offseason. Keeping the teams core players
together is GM Rod Graves top priority, and
in order to do that, he must first restructure
the massive contract of star WR Larry
Fitzgerald, whos currently on the books for
$31 million in base salary over the next two
seasons. A new deal for Fitzgerald which
would very likely make him the leagues
highest-paid receiver will go a long way
toward determining the teams subsequent
moves. As expected, the Cardinals franchised LB Karlos Dansby, which eats up just
over $8 million of their roughly $30 million
in salary-cap space entering free agency.
The Cardinals arent giving up hope of striking a long-term deal with Dansby before
July 15, but once they take care of the situation with Fitzgerald, their next priority will
likely be to concentrate on re-signing fellow
LB Calvin Pace, who could attract more
interest on the open market than initially
expected after a strong 2007 season. The
team still plans on addressing two or three
positions in free agency at the mid-tier level.
Releasing disappointing S Terrence Holt
freed up $3.5 million of cap space. The
Cards also got some cap relief by cutting OT
Oliver Ross and DL Chris Cooper. The
restructuring of injury-prone OLB-DE
Bertrand Berrys contract ($4 million base
salary in 08) will also help increase their
spending budget.

St. Louis Rams


2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: OG Milford Brown, SLB Brandon Chillar, OG
Adam Goldberg, OT Brandon Gorin, DE Trevor Johnson,
C Andy McCollum, S Hanik Milligan, C Brett Romberg,
SLB Raonall Smith, OT Todd Steussie, TE Aaron Walker.
RFAs: S Oshiomogho Atogwe, S Jerome Carter.

ANALYSIS: Although the Rams were on


the low end in terms of cap money heading
into this years free-agency period, sources
expect the team to be relatively aggressive
in the free-agent market, with an eye
toward adding at least a couple of startingcaliber players. Its worth noting that
newly appointed executive vice president
of player personnel Billy Devaney previously was involved primarily with pro personnel in Atlanta. SLB Brandon Chillar
comes the closest to being a potential keeper among the teams UFAs, but the Rams
will re-sign Chillar only at the right price
and will monitor his market value closely.
One free agent the Rams will definitely
bring back is RFA FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, who led the NFC with eight interceptions in 2007. Look for Atogwe to receive
a first-round tender. The Rams could also
consider significantly restructuring the
contracts of some of their veteran players,
with DE Leonard Little, who is due a $7.17
million roster bonus before the start of the
08 season, at the top of the list. The Rams
(Continued on Page 16)

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MARCH 2008

FREE AGENCY 2008

ques Douglas, one of the leagues best run


stuffers but only at the right price.

(Continued from Page 15)


could save $4.5 million in cap money by
converting Littles roster bonus into a signing bonus.

Seattle Seahawks

2008 FREE AGENTS

San Francisco 49ers


2008 FREE AGENTS
UFAs: OG Larry Allen, DE Marques Douglas, WR
Bryan Gilmore, OLB Roderick Green, OT Kwame Harris*,
RB Maurice Hicks, RS-WR Michael Lewis, ILB Hannibal
Navies, OG Justin Smiley, DT Isaac Sopoaga, CB Donald
Strickland, QB Chris Weinke.
RFAs: TE Billy Bajema, CB B.J. Tucker.

ANALYSIS: Head coach Mike Holmgren


indicated not long after the 2007 season
ended that the Seahawks would not be as
aggressive in free agency this offseason as
they had been the last couple of seasons.
Instead, he said, they would concentrate on
re-signing key free agents such as CB Marcus Trufant their top priority after he
earned his first Pro Bowl berth PK Josh
Brown, who played under the franchise tag
last season, and starting ORT Sean Locklear. Seattle signed Locklear to a five-year
extension on Feb. 21. The team wasted no
time whatsoever signing former Pro Bowl
OG Mike Wahle to a five-year contract a
couple of weeks before the start of this
years free-agent period. Whats more, the
Seahawks probably arent through working
the market, even though they dont have as
much cap room as they had last season,
when they ended up making major
upgrades via free agency, signing the likes
of DE Patrick Kerney and safeties Deon
Grant and Brian Russell. The team is
expected to focus more on offensive players in both the draft and free agency, with
running back, tight end and the offensive

ANALYSIS: The Niners hit the free-agent


market as hard as any team in the league
last offseason. However, after the club
struggled through one of the toughest and
most disappointing seasons in recent
memory, newly promoted GM Scot
McCloughan has gone on record as saying
the team wont be involved nearly as much
in free agency this offseason, even though
it again has a fair amount of money under
the cap at its disposal (roughly $30 million). At least one high-profile free-agent
addition (LB Lance Briggs?) remains a
good possibility. The two UFAs most likely to follow in QB Shaun Hills footsteps
and re-sign with the team appear to be NT
Isaac Sopoaga, who is expected to again
join forces with 07 free-agent addition
Aubrayo Franklin at nose tackle and also
possibly play some defensive end on occasion, and Maurice Hicks, a good passcatching running back who could be an
intriguing fit in Mike Martzs revamped
offense. The Niners also wouldnt mind
holding on to undersized UFA DE Mar-

SPORTPICS

FFA: CB Marcus Trufant.


UFAs: SLB Kevin Bentley, PK Josh Brown, DT
Chuck Darby, WR D.J. Hackett, TE Bennie Joppru, ILB
Niko Koutouvides, TE Marcus Pollard, LS Jeff Robinson, RB Josh Scobey, DT Craig Terrill, OG Floyd Womack, DT Ellis Wyms.
RFAs: RB Alvin Pearman, FB Leonard Weaver.

On the rise: The Seahawks want to keep improving restricted free-agent FB Leonard Weaver

line the primary target areas. Besides Trufant (who received the teams franchise
tag) and Brown, WR D.J. Hackett would
appear to be the best bet to re-sign among
the teams UFAs, but the Seahawks are not
expected to break the bank to re-sign him.

Hackett has been a very productive player


when healthy, but that hasnt been the case
nearly enough to warrant a lucrative new
deal. RFA FB Leonard Weaver is an upand-coming player who will most likely
receive a second-round tender.

THE

BIBLE

Pro Football Weeklys


Draft Preview book has
earned a reputation
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The 2008 Draft Preview,
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are evaluated and the events
of Draft Day are forecast.
The book will be nearly 200 pages.

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SCOUTING REPORTS ON 500 PROSPECTS
HEIGHTS, WEIGHTS, 40-YARD-DASH TIMES
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MOCK DRAFT
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MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

17

2008 FREE-AGENT LIST


List by position
Editors note: Players denoted with an
asterisk are expected to become unrestricted
free agents after voiding their contracts by
reaching various incentives.

Quarterbacks
PLAYER
Derek Anderson
Mark Brunell
Todd Collins
Daunte Culpepper
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Quinn Gray
Trent Green
Tim Hasselbeck
Cleo Lemon
Jared Lorenzen
Jamie Martin
Josh McCown
Craig Nall
Dan Orlovsky
J.T. OSullivan
Tim Rattay
Chris Redman
Brian St. Pierre
Marques Tuiasosopo
Billy Volek
Chris Weinke

TEAM
FA TYPE
Cleveland
RFA
Washington
UFA*
Washington
UFA
Oakland
UFA
Cincinnati
RFA
Jacksonville
UFA
Miami
cut
Arizona
UFA
Miami
UFA
New York Giants RFA
New Orleans
UFA
Oakland
UFA
Green Bay
UFA
Detroit
RFA
Detroit
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Atlanta
UFA
Pittsburgh
UFA
New York Jets
UFA
San Diego
UFA
San Francisco
UFA

Fullbacks
PLAYER
Casey Cramer
Justin Green
Boomer Grigsby
Brad Hoover
Dan Kreider
ReShard Lee
Corey McIntyre
Tony Richardson
Cecil Sapp
Thomas Tapeh
Leonard Weaver
Kris Wilson

TEAM
Tennessee
Baltimore
Kansas City
Carolina
Pittsburgh
Oakland
Atlanta
Minnesota
Denver
Philadelphia
Seattle
Kansas City

FA TYPE
RFA
RFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA

Running backs
PLAYER
Marion Barber
Tatum Bell
Chris Brown
Rock Cartwright
Aveion Cason
Jesse Chatman
Ron Dayne
T.J. Duckett
DeShaun Foster
Samkon Gado
Verron Haynes
Maurice Hicks
Julius Jones
Mewelde Moore
Vernand Morency
Alvin Pearman
Artose Pinner
Michael Pittman
Josh Scobey
Musa Smith
Aaron Stecker
Tyson Thompson
LaBrandon Toefield
Michael Turner
Derrick Ward
Shaud Williams

TEAM
FA TYPE
Dallas
RFA
Detroit
UFA*
Tennessee
UFA
Washington
UFA*
Detroit
UFA
Miami
UFA
Houston
UFA
Detroit
UFA
Carolina
cut
Miami
RFA
Pittsburgh
UFA
San Francisco
UFA
Dallas
UFA*
Minnesota
UFA
Green Bay
RFA
Seattle
RFA
New Orleans
UFA
Tampa Bay
UFA*
Seattle
UFA
Baltimore
UFA
New Orleans
UFA
Dallas
RFA
Jacksonville
UFA
San Diego
UFA
New York Giants UFA
Buffalo
UFA

Tight ends
PLAYER
Stephen Alexander
Courtney Anderson
Richard Angulo
Billy Bajema
Anthony Becht
Dwayne Blakley
Mark Bruener
Tim Euhus
Christian Fauria
Bryan Fletcher
Bubba Franks
Michael Gaines
John Gilmore
Ben Hartsock
Nate Jackson
Eric Johnson
Bennie Joppru
Brian Kozlowski
Ryan Krause
Billy Miller
Matt Murphy
Ryan Neufeld
John Owens
Marcus Pollard
Jeb Putzier
Jeff Robinson
Sean Ryan
Bo Scaife

TEAM
Denver
Atlanta
Jacksonville
San Francisco
Tampa Bay
Atlanta
Houston
Arizona
Carolina
Indianapolis
Green Bay
Buffalo
Chicago
Tennessee
Denver
New Orleans
Seattle
Washington
Green Bay
New Orleans
Buffalo
Buffalo
Detroit
Seattle
Houston
Seattle
New York Jets
Tennessee

FA TYPE
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA*
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
cut
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
cut
UFA
UFA
UFA

Mike Seidman
L.J. Smith
Jerramy Stevens
Ben Troupe
Jerame Tuman
Ben Utecht
Aaron Walker

Indianapolis
Philadelphia
Tampa Bay
Tennessee
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis
St. Louis

UFA
FFA
UFA
UFA
cut
RFA
UFA

Wide receivers
PLAYER
TEAM
Sam Aiken
Buffalo
Bernard Berrian
Chicago
Marty Booker
Miami
Troy Brown
New England
Reche Caldwell
Washington
Drew Carter
Carolina
Tim Carter
Cleveland
Antonio Chatman Cincinnati
Keary Colbert
Carolina
Devard Darling
Baltimore
Andr Davis
Houston
Rashied Davis
Chicago
Tim Dwight
Oakland
Robert Ferguson
Minnesota
Jabar Gaffney
New England
Justin Gage
Tennessee
Bryan Gilmore
San Francisco
D.J. Hackett
Seattle
Devery Henderson New Orleans
Bryant Johnson
Arizona
Jerome Mathis
Houston
Keenan McCardell Washington
Ahmad Merritt
Arizona
Aaron Moorehead Indianapolis
Randy Moss
New England
Eric Moulds
Tennessee
Muhsin Muhammad Chicago
Samie Parker
Kansas City
David Patten
New Orleans
Tab Perry
Cincinnati
Jerry Porter
Oakland
Dont Stallworth
New England
Jerheme Urban
Arizona
Troy Walters
Detroit
Paris Warren
Tampa Bay
Nate Washington Pittsburgh
Ernest Wilford
Jacksonville

FA TYPE
UFA
UFA
cut
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
cut
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA*
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
RFA
UFA

Centers
PLAYER
Jeff Faine
Mike Flanagan
Lennie Friedman
Andy McCollum
Seth McKinney
Gene Mruczkowski
Chris Myers
Jeremy Newberry
Brett Romberg
Wade Smith
Alex Stepanovich
Ross Tucker
John Wade
Casey Wiegmann

TEAM
New Orleans
Houston
Cleveland
St. Louis
Cleveland
Miami
Denver
Oakland
St. Louis
New York Jets
Cincinnati
Washington
Tampa Bay
Kansas City

FA TYPE
UFA*
cut
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA*
UFA

Offensive guards
PLAYER
Larry Allen
Jacob Bell
Joe Berger
Jason Brown
Milford Brown
Ruben Brown
Rick DeMulling
Alan Faneca
Dylan Gandy
Adam Goldberg
Jonathan Goodwin
Rex Hadnot
Geoff Hangartner
Chris Kemoeatu
Matt Lehr
Chris Liwienski
Evan Mathis
Stockar McDougle
Scott Mruczkowski
Jamar Nesbit
Stephen Peterman
Mike Pucillo
Jake Scott
Justin Smiley
Keydrick Vincent
Fred Weary
Jason Whittle
Floyd Womack

TEAM
San Francisco
Tennessee
Dallas
Baltimore
St. Louis
Chicago
Washington
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis
St. Louis
New Orleans
Miami
Carolina
Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay
Miami
Carolina
Jacksonville
San Diego
New Orleans
Detroit
Washington
Indianapolis
San Francisco
Arizona
Houston
Buffalo
Seattle

FA TYPE
UFA
UFA
RFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA

Offensive tackles
PLAYER
Flozell Adams
Stacy Andrews
Elton Brown
Nat Dorsey
Trai Essex
Jason Fabini
George Foster

TEAM
Dallas
Cincinnati
Arizona
Cleveland
Pittsburgh
Washington
Detroit

FA TYPE
UFA
FFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA*

Brandon Gorin
Cornell Green
Jordan Gross
Kwame Harris
Scott Jackson
Adam Kieft
Cory Lekkerkerker
Daniel Loper
Fred Miller
Mike Rosenthal
Oliver Ross
L.J. Shelton
Max Starks
Todd Steussie
David Stewart
Barry Stokes
Will Svitek
Kyle Turley
Tyson Walter
Travelle Wharton
Maurice Williams

St. Louis
Oakland
Carolina
San Francisco
Houston
Cincinnati
Miami
Tennessee
Chicago
Miami
Arizona
Miami
Pittsburgh
St. Louis
Tennessee
Detroit
Kansas City
Kansas City
Green Bay
Carolina
Jacksonville

UFA
UFA
FFA
UFA*
RFA
RFA
RFA
RFA
cut
UFA
cut
cut
TFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA

Defensive ends
PLAYER
Jared Allen
Adrian Awasom
Tyler Brayton
Chris Canty
Chris Cooper
Chauncey Davis
Marques Douglas
Nick Eason
Ebenezer Ekuban
John Engelberger
Demetric Evans
Jonathan Fanene
Simon Fraser
Bobby Hamilton
Tony Hargrove
Spencer Johnson
Trevor Johnson
N.D. Kalu
Kenny King
Travis Kirschke
Ross Kolodziej
Travis LaBoy
Bobby McCray
Jerome McDougle
Antwan Odom
Bryan Robinson
Mike Rucker
Bo Schobel
Darrion Scott
Antonio Smith
Corey Smith
Justin Smith
Joe Tafoya
Josh Thomas
Al Wallace
Jimmy Wilkerson
Renaldo Wynn
Bryant Young

TEAM
FA TYPE
Kansas City
FFA
New York Giants RFA
Oakland
UFA*
Dallas
RFA
Arizona
cut
Atlanta
RFA
San Francisco
UFA
Pittsburgh
UFA
Denver
UFA
Denver
UFA*
Washington
UFA*
Cincinnati
RFA
Cleveland
RFA
Cleveland
UFA
Buffalo
UFA
Minnesota
UFA
St. Louis
RFA
Houston
UFA
Baltimore
UFA
Pittsburgh
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Tennessee
UFA
Jacksonville
UFA
Philadelphia
UFA*
Tennessee
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
Carolina
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Minnesota
UFA
Arizona
RFA
Detroit
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Indianapolis
UFA
Buffalo
UFA
Kansas City
UFA
New Orleans
UFA
San Francisco
UFA

Defensive tackles
PLAYER
Tim Anderson
Rodney Bailey
Ryan Boschetti
Colin Cole
Chuck Darby
Russell Davis
Antonio Garay
Amon Gordon
Jovan Haye
Albert Haynesworth
Grady Jackson
Jason Jefferson
Spencer Johnson
William Joseph
Ethan Kelley
Tommy Kelly
Jimmy Kennedy
Cedric Killings
Dan Klecko
Damione Lewis
Anthony Maddox
Langston Moore
Rashad Moore
Kindal Moorehead
Darrell Reid
Ian Scott
Josh Shaw
Ryan Sims
Isaac Sopoaga
Randy Starks
Keith Traylor
Kimo von Oelhoffen
Darwin Walker
Ted Washington
Corey Williams
Mike Wright
Ellis Wyms
Brian Young

TEAM
FA TYPE
Atlanta
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Washington
UFA
Green Bay
RFA
Seattle
UFA
New York Giants UFA
Chicago
UFA
Baltimore
RFA
Tampa Bay
RFA
Tennessee
FFA
Jacksonville
UFA
Buffalo
RFA
Minnesota
UFA
New York Giants UFA*
Cleveland
UFA
Oakland
UFA
Chicago
UFA
Houston
UFA
Indianapolis
UFA
Carolina
UFA
Houston
RFA
Detroit
RFA
New England
UFA
Carolina
UFA
Indianapolis
RFA
Philadelphia
UFA
Oakland
UFA
Tampa Bay
UFA
San Francisco
UFA
Tennessee
UFA
Miami
cut
Philadelphia
UFA
Chicao
UFA
Cleveland
UFA
Green Bay
FFA
New England
RFA
Seattle
UFA
New Orleans
UFA

Inside linebackers
PLAYER
Tedy Bruschi
Khari Campbell
Randall Godfrey
Larry Izzo
Leon Joe
Niko Koutouvides
Clint Kriewaldt
Teddy Lehman
Robert Reynolds
Junior Seau
Adam Seward
Mark Simoneau
Mike Smith
Dontarrious Thomas
Jeremiah Trotter

TEAM
New England
Washington
Washington
New England
Buffalo
Seattle
Pittsburgh
Detroit
Tennessee
New England
Carolina
New Orleans
Baltimore
Minnesota
Tampa Bay

FA TYPE
UFA
UFA*
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
cut
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA

Outside linebackers
PLAYER
Keith Adams
Charlie Anderson
Brendon Ayanbadejo
Boss Bailey
Shawn Barber
Kevin Bentley
Darryl Blackstock
Rocky Boiman
Michael Boley
Lance Briggs
Antoine Cash
Brandon Chillar
Danny Clark
Chris Clemons
Marquis Cooper
Donte Curry
Karlos Dansby
Isaiah Ekejiuba
Heath Farwell
Keyaron Fox
Andre Frazier
Gilbert Gardner
Roderick Green
Nick Greisen
Kris Griffin
Mario Haggan
Clark Haggans
Marques Harris
Victor Hobson
Landon Johnson
Dhani Jones
Lemar Marshall
Matt McCoy
Terrence Melton
Caleb Miller
Kawika Mitchell
Shante Orr
Calvin Pace
Derrick Pope
Rich Scanlon
Raonall Smith
Donnie Spragan
Josh Stamer
Matt Stewart
Terrell Suggs
Chaun Thompson
Reggie Torbor
Tracy White
Demorrio Williams

TEAM
FA TYPE
Cleveland
UFA
Houston
UFA
Chicago
UFA
Detroit
UFA
Houston
cut
Seattle
UFA
Arizona
RFA
Indianapolis
UFA
Atlanta
RFA
Chicago
UFA
Tampa Bay
RFA
St. Louis
UFA
Houston
UFA
Oakland
UFA
Pittsburgh
UFA
Carolina
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Oakland
RFA
Minnesota
RFA
Kansas City
UFA
Pittsburgh
RFA
Tennessee
UFA
San Francisco
UFA
Baltimore
UFA
Cleveland
RFA
Buffalo
UFA
Pittsburgh
UFA
San Diego
RFA
New York Jets
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
New Orleans
RFA
Carolina
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
New York Giants UFA
Jacksonville
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Miami
UFA
Tennessee
UFA
St. Louis
UFA
Miami
UFA
Buffalo
UFA
Cleveland
UFA
Baltimore
FFA
Cleveland
UFA
New York Giants UFA
Green Bay
UFA
Atlanta
UFA

Cornerbacks
PLAYER
Roc Alexander
Nnamdi Asomugha
Gary Baxter
Ralph Brown
Chris Carr
Ricardo Colclough
Terry Cousin
Sammy Davis
Curtis Deloatch
Travis Fisher
Drayton Florence
Domonique Foxworth
Randall Gay
Aaron Glenn
Eric Green
Joselio Hanson
Reynaldo Hill
Daven Holly
Chidi Iwuoma
William James
Nathan Jones
Brian Kelly
Omare Lowe
David Macklin
Karl Paymah
Hank Poteat
Jacques Reeves
Chris Roberson
Allen Rossum
Asante Samuel
Benny Sapp

TEAM
Houston
Oakland
Cleveland
Arizona
Oakland
Cleveland
Jacksonville
Tampa Bay
Carolina
Detroit
San Diego
Denver
New England
Jacksonville
Arizona
Philadelphia
Tennessee
Cleveland
Tennessee
Philadelphia
Dallas
Tampa Bay
Atlanta
Washington
Denver
New York Jets
Dallas
Jacksonville
Pittsburgh
New England
Kansas City

FA TYPE
UFA
FFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
RFA
RFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA*
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
cut
UFA
UFA

Chad Scott
Jeff Shoate
Keith Smith
Donald Strickland
Fred Thomas
Marcus Trufant
B.J. Tucker
Michael Waddell
Frank Walker
Jason Webster
Dante Wesley
Stanley Wilson
Dexter Wynn

New England
New York Giants
Detroit
San Francisco
New Orleans
Seattle
San Francisco
Tennessee
Green Bay
Buffalo
Carolina
Detroit
Houston

UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
FFA
RFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
RFA
UFA

Safeties
PLAYER
Hamza Abdullah
O.J. Atogwe
Idrees Bashir
Yeremiah Bell
Jay Bellamy
C.C. Brown
James Butler
Jerome Carter
Oliver Celestin
Erik Coleman
Deke Cooper
Jarrod Cooper
Chris Crocker
Keith Davis
Will Demps
Mike Doss
Glenn Earl
Nick Ferguson
Vincent Fuller
Matt Giordano
Steve Gleason
Ken Hamlin
Terrence Holt
Von Hutchins
Bhawoh Jue
Sammy Knight
Jim Leonhard
Marquand Manuel
Brandon McGowan
Hanik Milligan
Mel Mitchell
Donnie Nickey
Kalvin Pearson
Pierson Prioleau
Etric Pruitt
J.R. Reed
Gerome Sapp
Bryan Scott
Lance Schulters
Gerald Sensabaugh
Jason Simmons
Dwight Smith
Nick Sorensen
Omar Stoutmire
Travares Tillman
Matt Ware
Madieu Williams
Tank Williams
Eugene Wilson
Gibril Wilson

TEAM
FA TYPE
Denver
RFA
St. Louis
RFA
Detroit
UFA
Miami
UFA
New Orleans
UFA
Houston
RFA
New York Giants RFA
St. Louis
RFA
Arizona
UFA
New York Jets
UFA
Carolina
UFA
Oakland
UFA
Atlanta
UFA
Dallas
UFA
Houston
UFA
Minnesota
UFA
Houston
UFA
Denver
UFA
Tennessee
RFA
Indianapolis
RFA
New Orleans
UFA
Dallas
FFA
Arizona
cut
Houston
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Jacksonville
UFA
Buffalo
RFA
Carolina
UFA
Chicago
RFA
St. Louis
UFA
New England
UFA
Tennessee
UFA
Tampa Bay
RFA
Washington
UFA
Detroit
RFA
Philadelphia
RFA
Baltimore
UFA
Buffalo
UFA
Miami
UFA
Jacksonville
RFA
Houston
UFA
Minnesota
cut
Cleveland
UFA
Washington
UFA
Miami
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
Minnesota
UFA
New England
UFA
New York Giants UFA

Punters
PLAYER
Mitch Berger
Dustin Colquitt
Derrick Frost
Michael Koenen
Kyle Larson
Matt Turk

TEAM
Arizona
Kansas City
Washington
Atlanta
Cincinnati
Houston

FA TYPE
UFA
RFA
UFA
RFA
UFA
UFA

Placekickers
PLAYER
Morten Andersen
Rob Bironas
Josh Brown
John Carney
Jason Elam
Aaron Elling
Dave Rayner
Lawrence Tynes

TEAM
FA TYPE
Atlanta
UFA
Tennessee
RFA
Seattle
UFA
Kansas City
UFA
Denver
UFA
Cincinnati
UFA
San Diego
UFA
New York Giants UFA

Long-snappers
PLAYER
Rob Davis
Nathan Hodel
Matt Katula
Ryan Kuehl
Lonnie Paxton
Greg Warren

TEAM
FA TYPE
Green Bay
UFA
Arizona
UFA
Baltimore
RFA
New York Giants UFA
New England
UFA
Pittsburgh
RFA

Return specialists
PLAYER
Eddie Drummond
Mark Jones
Michael Lewis
Reno Mahe
B.J. Sams

TEAM
Kansas City
Tampa Bay
San Francisco
Philadelphia
Baltimore

FA TYPE
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA
UFA

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

18

http://www.profootballweekly.com

MARCH 2008

2008
NFL COMBINE
KEVIN TERRELL/NFL

Worth
another
look
By

DAN PARR

INDIANAPOLIS Put the stopwatches, cone drills and


high-jump bar away.
To analyze Boise State OT Ryan Clady who, according
to the NFL Network, suffered a pectoral injury 24 reps into
his first test, the bench press, at the Scouting Combine the
only tools pro evaluators could use were their eyes, ears and
a tape measure.
They saw a dreadlocked, 6-foot-6, 309-pound lumbering
blueprint for what any general manager would desire in an
anchor to protect a quarterbacks blind side. His legs looked
like they had the power to crush bricks in one stomp. With a
measurement of 36 inches, he had longer arms than the other
47 offensive linemen invited to Indianapolis.
Eyeball exams dont tell the whole story, but the prologue
to Cladys NFL career left them begging to turn the page and
find out more about one of the more mysterious prospects in
the draft.
He was a very impressive guy when he walked across the
stage yesterday, said Falcons head coach Mike Smith, whose
team owns the third overall pick.
Hawaii WR Davone Bess played his last conference game
against Clady, on Nov. 23, in a 39-27 Warriors win.
Actually seeing him without the pads, hes really massive, Bess said. I didnt know he was that big. (I thought)
pads make you look bigger. Hes a great athlete.
Before the pectoral injury, Clady was using that agility to
climb up draft boards, rising to No. 5, the Chiefs first-round

BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

After rising from obscurity


to anchor a strong OT group,
Boise States Ryan Clady
must answer more questions
following his Combine injury
Painful: Ryan Cladys Combine injury kept him from working out

pick, in PFWs latest mock draft. He might have to soothe the


minds of concerned league personnel at Boise States pro day
on March 18, when, if healthy, hell go through a workout
and try to prove that looks and three seasons worth of game
tape arent deceiving.
Combining a barn-door frame and athleticism is the stuff
NFL personnel mens dreams are made of. Though he didnt
face top competition every week of college, playing in the
Western Athletic Conference, Cladys collection of quickness, footwork and size at least momentarily could erase any
negatives on his scouting report, which include the observation that he plays with too much finesse.
Lingering doubts wouldnt be anything new to Clady.
I love playing the role of the underdog, he said. (Ive
worked) my butt off to try to get to where I am now.
Clady might stand out, but just a few years ago he couldnt
catch the eye of college coaches from major conferences. At
Eisenhower High School in Rialto, Calif., Clady played
defensive line and received scholarship offers from Boise
State, San Diego State, Idaho State and UTEP before he
decided to become a Bronco. For a kid growing up only 60
miles from Los Angeles, not getting calls from UCLA and
USC could have been devastating.
Not at all, Clady said. I wanted to experience something
new and get out of California for a while and see the world a
little bit.
I went on a recruiting trip (to Boise) and I fell in love with

the teammates. It felt like family up there.


Though the feeling was right, the move wasnt without its
difficult moments.
It was hard for Clady to get used to the cold weather and a
lack of diversity on campus, but he made the transition from
defense to offense and, two seasons, later was on the field for
perhaps the most talked-about play in recent college football
history the game-winning Statue of Liberty play against
Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
I get goosebumps every time I see it, Clady said.
That game shot the Broncos program to new heights on
the national scene, and Clady is on the verge of bringing the
school another milestone.
The 21-year-old junior, who is already the first player to
leave Boise State a year early to enter the NFL draft, said hes
the best offensive tackle in the draft. Just about everyone else,
excluding the Clady family, would say that title goes to
Michigans Jake Long, who pounded out 37 bench-press
reps, a high for Combine O-linemen, and allowed only two
sacks in his four seasons as a starter for the Wolverines.
Pittsburghs Jeff Otah and Boston Colleges Gosder Cherilus, who come from far more established programs, are
breathing down Cladys gargantuan neck as they fight to
improve their stock, too.
Despite the injury and competition from a group of incoming offensive tackles that Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert calls the best hes seen in 24 years, Clady
will be the first Boise State player to be selected in the first
round, barring an unforeseen catastrophe.
Clady has perspective on the daunting task ahead after
spending a week working with a former Chiefs great, OG
Will Shields, in the offseason.
You have to stay tough, physical, try to be smart out there,
technique; those are all tools that can make me excel next
year, he said.
It wouldnt hurt to end up with a team that employs a similar offensive scheme to the one he became familiar with in
college. Clady has a handle on what squads might provide
him with a smoother introduction to the NFL.
We were primarily a zone team, and Im kind of like a
Denver Broncos-type offensive lineman, he said. We cut a
lot and position-block and stuff like that.
Its clear he can already envision himself in an NFL uniform, and Lions coach Rod Marinelli does too, before he
shakes the initial mesmerizing image out of his head. Clady,
the most dazzling question mark the league has seen in some
time, is playing with the minds of the guys who break down
film for a living.
You watch him on tape and you like the tape, and all of a
sudden you see him and you go, Woo, geez, this guy is a
pretty good-looking guy, Marinelli said. But then you
have the tendency to over-evaluate him in your mind. You get
back to reality and go watch the tape again.
Its tempting to yell Cladys name, shove a cap on his head,
shake his hand, fork over millions of dollars and call it day.
Judging by the failures of several top-10 picks in past years,
some evaluators have done just that. This time, though,
coaches and GMs are sure to take a second glance at Clady
before Draft Day.

MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

19

Cals DeSean Jackson


has world-class speed
and a first-rate work ethic,
but questions of strength
and size continue to dog him
By

MATT SOHN

INDIANAPOLIS For some, California WR DeSean Jacksons greatness was


first realized during the opening weekend
of the 2007 college football season. After
fielding a punt at the 23-yard line, Jackson
proceeded to make a mockery of the 11
Tennessee Volunteers trying in vain to tackle him en route to a 77-yard touchdown
return.
Others learned of Jacksons talent by
watching the nationally televised U.S.
Army All-American Bowl (featuring 80 of
the top high school seniors in the nation)
three years ago, when he won game MVP
honors by catching seven passes for 141
yards and throwing a 45-yard TD pass.
But by the time Jackson started dropping
jaws and breaking ankles on the fabled
Long Beach Polytechnic High School turf,
Travis Clark saw it as merely the next step
in the evolution of a talent he began cultivating far earlier. And he has the evidence
to prove it.
I started videotaping DeSean when he
was 4 years old, said Clark, a family
friend. We knew right away that he was
special.
Back then, Clark and DeSeans older
brother, Byron Jackson, were just beginning their own careers chronicling the
sports world behind the camera after years
of being in front of it. With Clark having
garnered All-Conference recognition at
Utah State and Byron having been on the
Kansas City Chiefs developmental squad
in 1992 and 93, they werent exactly football neophytes fawning over some fast, little kid. Rather, they were two young adults,
well-seasoned in football, who simply recognized that DeSean Jackson possessed
limitless potential.
Under the tutelage of Clark, Byron and
their friends Darrick Davis and Irbin
Booker both of whom played college
ball at Long Beach State DeSeans
potential manifested itself into production,
all while being captured on camera. Not
that the quartet pressured him into anything, a la Marv Marinovich.
DeSean would call me at 6 a.m. and say,
Lets go out there and play some ball,
Clark recalled. So wed go out to the high
school, or sometimes USCs practice field,
and work on the passing tree, going
through all the routes. He always had an
unbelievable drive to get better.
So, for the NFL brass that met with and
studied Jackson recently in Indianapolis,
they bore witness to the culmination of a
lifetimes body of work.
Im very blessed and I have a lot of
skills, Jackson said. Ive definitely
worked hard at a lot of the things I do.

And what he does best is run away from


the competition. Possibly the most explosive player in this draft class, Jacksons
ability to go the distance every time he
touches the ball has earned him favorable
comparisons to Bears dynamo Devin Hester. Perhaps not surprising from a player
who emanated star quality at age 4, Jackson announced his arrival on the college
scene in spectacular fashion. His first
career reception: touchdown, California.
Ditto for his first punt return.
Its that type of game-altering burst that
stands as the biggest reason Jackson will
almost certainly hear his
name called at some
Special needs:
point in the first round
DeSean Jacksons
this April.
ability as a kick
returner should
Its also the reason
boost his draft
Jackson will soon be
stock
cruising the streets in a
brand-new car free of
charge. According to Clark, Jackson and
fellow Cal WR Lavelle Hawkins a middle-round draft prospect made a bet that
whoever ran the faster 40-yard dash time at
the Combine gets his first set of wheels
paid for by the slower one. Last Sunday,
Jackson bested Hawkins, 4.31 seconds to
4.56.
The result wasnt surprising. Back in
California, the two speed merchants went
head-to-head in the 40 in a test run, with
their teammates surrounding them to
ensure the races legitimacy. Jackson
crossed in 4.29. Hawkins brought up the
rear with a time unbeknownst to those in
attendance.
He let Lavelle have it! cracked RB
Justin Forsett, another former Golden Bear
who soon will be earning his paycheck on
Sundays.
Although Jacksons dizzying speed has
scouts gushing, his diminutive size has
some wondering whether he can hold up as
an every-down receiver. Jackson checked
in at the Combine at 5-foot-9 and a waferthin 169 pounds.
If theres something I have to work on,
its getting stronger and putting on a little bulk, Jackson said. But heart, dedication and my will to be great (are things) I
have.
That drive isnt unlike another legendary
receiver from Californias Bay Area, who
flew down to Pensacola, Fla., for a week
and a half to work with Jackson at his training ground.
Jerry (Rice) is a great dude, said Jackson, whose agency, DeBartolo, the namesake of former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, facilitated the meeting. It was a great
opportunity for me to be able to work out
with him. Through this whole process I
was definitely in the books with him, talking to him, just hanging out with him.
Hanging with elite football players is
nothing new to Jackson. Brother Byron,
Bills RB Marshawn Lynch and Browns
OLB Willie McGinest are among his trusted confidants. But not even McGinest nor
former Long Beach Poly teammates Winston Justice, Manny Wright and Hershel
Dennis could convince Jackson to continue the Poly pipeline to USC, a decision

SPORTPICS

Blessed
and cursed

that was met with skepticism and resentment from much of a USC fan base that
believed he was a lock to don the cardinal
and gold.
I kind of wanted to make my own
mark, Jackson said. I wanted to get away
from home, bust out on my own and grow
up away from my parents. I just wanted to
leave. It was nothing against SC.
For a while, it appeared that there was a
chance Jackson wouldnt be playing college
football anywhere. A baseball prospect carrying a first-round grade, he attracted more
than a dozen Major League Baseball scouts
to a workout at Poly his senior season. Even
though Clark cautioned him about staging
the workout if he had no realistic thoughts
about leaving football for hardball, Jackson
went with his gut and welcomed the baseball representatives.
But at the end of the workout, when
they asked DeSean if he would walk away
from football, he finally realized that that
was something he couldnt do, said Clark,
who deep down never seriously entertained
the thought that Jackson would hang up the
pads for the cleats.
Of course, the smart money is on the
belief that Jackson would thrive in any
sport he chose. A couple of weeks ago, he
went bowling for the first time. Rolled a
212.
You should see him on NBA Live,
Clark added. Yeah, hes a wiz in virtual
sports, too.
But because Jackson decided to devote
his energy to football, his success at every
level of the sport suggests that he should
have a heck of a career ahead of him. All
the while Clark and Byron, who have since
founded the sports production company
Sports Rhythms, will be there to guide him
through it.

Draft Day Report


by Al Dupuy

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20

Michigans Long
leads strong OT class
No position was more heralded than the
offensive tackles coming into Indy, and
Michigans Jake Long set himself at the top,
leading all offensive linemen in bench-press
repetitions with 37.
However, the 6-7, 313-pound Long admitted that hard work, a big body and athletic
ability werent the only reasons he allowed
just two sacks in his four years as a starter.
Ill admit that I hold, he said. I get my
hands inside and hide it that Im holding. I
think its a skill to get away with it.
Six tackles Long, Boise States Ryan
Clady, Pittsburghs Jeff Otah, Boston Colleges Gosder Cherilus, USCs Sam Baker
and Vanderbilts Chris Williams are in the

http://www.profootballweekly.com

MARCH 2008

prospect. Measuring in at 6-0, 309 pounds,


Ellis weighed 12 pounds heavier than
Dorsey, his chief competition to be the first
defensive tackle selected.
Im not surprised (with my rising stock),
Ellis said. A lot of players in my position
would have left a year ago, but I chose to
stay at school and finish my classes and
also at the same time be a great football
player. We have a great system (at USC)
that puts a lot of players in the NFL.
Part of the fascination with Ellis is his ability to play the three-technique in a 4-3
scheme or the nose in a 3-4, having
excelled at both positions in college. Scouts
and Ellis seem to be in agreement that his
lack of prototypical NT size wont be a hindrance.
At 309, Im moving fast and very few of
those guys can keep up with me, Ellis said.
I have no problem playing through doubleteams, as you guys have seen in the Senior
Bowl and often in my career at SC.

otebook
n

Poised Ryan is
ready for anything
By

MIKE WILKENING, DAN PARR and MATT SOHN

Versatility of Viginias
Long still up in air

BRUCE L. SCHWARTZMAN

NDIANAPOLIS The coaches


will coach and the players will
play. That was the overriding
message of Boston College QB
Matt Ryan when he spoke at the
Scouting Combine. Instead of
enumerating his rookie goals,
Ryan opted to defer to the people who would ultimately determine his playing time.
There has been a bunch of
different ways for quarterbacks
to come into the league and
have success, Ryan said. Carson Palmer
sat for an entire year. Peyton Manning
played the first snap and played the first
year. I dont think theres a right or wrong
way to do it.
But in my opinion, and what Im going to
be trying to do next year is go in and compete and try to win that starting job and
make the decision as difficult as possible for
the organization. But ultimately you have to
respect their decision and do whats best for
the team.
For a player who operated with uncanny
composure throughout a dynamite senior
season in which he
pulled out miracle,
come-from-behind victories in the hostile
environments of Clemson, S.C., and Blacksburg, Va., it was a mild
surprise to hear Ryans
voice quaver as he
addressed the largest
gathering for any individual. Any trepidation
lasted only momentarily, however, as his
customary cool and humility soon took over.
Im just hoping somebody gives me the
opportunity to go in and compete and try to
help an organization become a winner,
Ryan said. It doesnt really matter what
number pick that is, as long as somebody
gives me that chance.
Its more than a mildly safe bet that some
team will be willing to invest in Ryan. Currently the Dolphins own the first selection
and the Falcons own the third. With both
teams having glaring deficiencies at quarterback, it seems unlikely that Ryan will drop
below the third slot, barring any potential
trades. Both situations suit Ryan just fine.
Itd be unbelievable (to play for Miami),
Ryan said. Ive spoken briefly with (Dolphins
GM) Jeff Ireland and (head coach) Tony
Sparano and gotten to know them a little bit.
For me itd be a lot of fun to play down at
Miami. Itd be a great situation for a quarterback, and it may end up working out.
Ryan heaped similar praise upon Atlanta,
but the coaches from the Falcons, Dolphins
and the other 30 teams have awhile longer
to wait to fully evaluate him. Ryan opted to
bypass the QB-specific drills at the Combine, instead deciding to wait until his Pro
Day on March 18 to toss the pigskin.

Future politician: Matt Ryan was careful not to say whether he preferred one team over another in Indy
mix as potential first-round picks.
Kansas Anthony Collins and UTEPs
Oniel Cousins could hear their names called
in Round Two.
Thats a really good group of offensive
tackles here, Lions head coach Rod
Marinelli said. I mean, theyre lean tall,
rangy and lean with really good bend. Thats
an impressive group.
Many scouts were looking forward to
seeing Clady, whom PFW projected to be
the second tackle taken before the Combine started, in a competitive environment
against elite competition, but his Combine
performance was cut short after he suffered a pectoral injury during the bench
press. Clady, a junior, is perceived to be
not as battle-tested as some of his draft
colleagues, having played in the WAC,
which does not receive an automatic BCS
bid.

Dorsey endures
thorough health inspection
LSU DT Glenn Dorsey, expected to be
one of the first players drafted, said he
arrived at the Combine on time but chose
not to work out because he lost time to prepare while attending services for his grandmother, who recently passed away.
Earlier in the weekend, the chatter in Indianapolis was that Dorsey would not show

up, but he said those rumors were false.


Im never surprised, he said. I always try
to set myself up to hear wild things. Sometimes I wonder where people get it from.
The reports saying I wasnt coming at all, I
dont know where they came from.
Teams zeroed in on Dorseys health,
investigating his past injuries, such as the
broken right tibia he suffered his junior year.
The 6-foot-1, 297-pound Dorsey, who said
he underwent a 912-hour hospital examination at the Combine, wasnt concerned
about the old ailments affecting where hes
picked.
I had teammates who talked to me about
(the process), he said. Theyre going to
twist and pull. If you werent hurt, youre
going to be sore after the examination.
Dorseys goal is to be the No.1 pick, but
when asked about playing for the Rams,
who have the second pick, or the Falcons,
who select third, he didnt cringe, and
seemed excited about the prospect of joining either club.
I know I have to go into (the NFL) like a
sponge, trying to absorb everything, he said.
I know there are some big-time guys out
there who are just ready to pound on me.

Ellis meteoric rise continues


Since a dominant showing at the Senior
Bowl, USC DT Sedrick Ellis has shot up the
draft boards as much as any defensive

Much like Ellis, Virginias Chris Long projects well at multiple positions. But Long
believes his perceived versatility is rooted
more in speculation than in evidence.
People talk about what a transition it
would be for me to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, Long said. But lets not forget that I
never played in a 4-3 in college, either. I was
a base defensive end in a 3-4. (Playing 3-4
outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end)
would be a fresh start for me.
Long was very measured with his words,
hesitant to divulge any information that
could be perceived as self promotion. But as
much as any prospect in Indy, Long had a
commanding presence at the podium, looking completely at ease with his celebrity.
Measuring in at 6-3, 272 pounds, Long
has been talked about as being the prototypical cornerstone of Bill Parcells restoration job in Miami, although the Dolphins
pressing needs at quarterback and along
the offensive line keep Matt Ryan and Michigan OT Jake Long in the mix to be the top
pick in April. But when it came to questions
directly about the prospect of playing for the
Dolphins as well as the Rams and Falcons, for that matter Long answered only
in generalities about playing for any NFL
team.
While Long credited his father, Hall of
Fame DE Howie Long, for much of his success, he gave even more credit to his college teammates.
I wouldnt be here if it werent for (current
Jets OLT) DBrickashaw (Ferguson) and
guys like (OG) Branden Albert, whos here
now, and (OT) Eugene Monroe, who will be
here next year, Long said. Its humbling
when you get beat every day in practice.

Mouth from the South


Reporters pens scribbled furiously and
tape recorders buzzed as they tried to keep
up with Central Florida RB Kevin Smith, who
would be a first-round pick if prospects were
ranked in order of most quotable.
Smith led the nation in rushing and scoring last season, carrying 450 times for 2,567
yards and 29 touchdowns, but is likely a
second- or third-round pick. He is slighted
for not having played in one of the six socalled power conferences.
To me, its not about what conference you
play in, he said. I single-handedly dominated my conference, hands down. You know
what I mean? I dominated. I think thats
what matters.
Smith said he did not consult with the
NFLs draft advisory committee, which
gauges the draft stock of underclassmen, to

http://www.profootballweekly.com

going to be pulled, Zorn said. Thats not


the way to go into any camp, and its not the
way to go into any football season.
Hes going to play 16 games. Hes going
to lead us into the playoffs, and thats that.
As of this writing, Collins, 36, was an
unrestricted free agent expected to sign
elsewhere if he were given a chance to
start. However, the Redskins would like to
re-sign him to be Collins backup.
Zorn, the Seahawks QB coach from
2001-07, will work to mesh Washingtons
personnel with a West Coast offensive philosophy that could be
termed Seattle East.
What our goal has
been, ever since Ive
been in Seattle, is to
have a balanced attack,
Zorn said. So that
when the ball is
snapped, the ball is just
not going to one guy.
That was the case even
in Seattle. (WR) Bobby
Engram may have
Jim Zorn
caught nine balls one
game, but we didnt try to throw it to him
nine times on that particular pattern. There
were other patterns where the ball was supposed to go to somebody else and it would
end up going to him.
Thats the beauty of whats going to happen here. Weve got a strong tight end in
Chris Cooley. Weve got (WR) Santana
Moss. And weve got Antwaan Randle El,
who I kind of picture like a Bobby Engram
an inside receiver with some real talent.
Were looking for the (receiver on the) other
side to be productive as well. That position
is a little open now as far as whos going to
take that role.

One on one: Sedrick Ellis (left) and Glenn Dorsey are battling it out for top DT honors in this draft

Competition committee
has had its fill of Spygate

HARRY SCULL, JR.

The NFLs competition committee is satisfied with commissioner Roger Goodells


response to the Spygate scandal.
What would really make the committee
happy is if everyone else would move on,
too.
In my mind, its yesterdays news, said
Falcons president Rich McKay, the co-chairman of the committee.
Goodell met with the committee for 90
minutes at the Scouting Combine and
detailed the leagues investigation into the
Patriots videotaping of opponents defensive
signals. The commissioner also explained
why the league made
the controversial decision to destroy the
tapes at the center of
the investigation.
Colts president Bill
Polian praised the commissioner for being
forthcoming.
That process was
fair, detailed, efficient,
Bill Polian
and what was on the
tapes was explained to us and what was in
the notes was explained to us, Polian said.
The reason that that information was done
away with was explained to us. From my
perspective, that was a thorough, fair, efficient process with lots of integrity.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has been one
of the most vocal critics of the NFLs handling of Spygate, finding fault with Goodells reasoning for destroying the tapes.
Specter is the leading Republican on the
Senate Judiciary Committee, and the threat
of a wider investigation looms.
Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara hopes this isnt the case.
Id like to think that maybe there are
other, more important things to worry about

in the world these days, he said.


As it stands, the competition committee is
more concerned with other league issues,
such as ensuring the final weeks of the regular season are meaningful even when
teams have clinched postseason berths. The
committee will consider to propose re-seeding the playoffs at the NFLs annual meeting
in March.
McKay laid out the case for and against
such a plan:
The pros are were at eight divisions of
four, and the concern is that some of those
divisions (of) only four teams (can) be weaker (than others) and accordingly, you could
have some really good football teams in the
same division that all of a sudden dont have
the opportunity for a home game, McKay
said. You could have a 12-4 (team) traveling
to a 9-7 (team) based on our current (playoff) configuration.
The cons are that weve always emphasized the importance of winning your division. Its always been important that you try
to achieve that task, and when you do under
the current system, you get a home game.
Theres a balancing act there. There certainly are some teams that seem to be on the
other side of the fence. We just want to walk
it all the way through before we decide if we
put a proposal on the table of the competition committee.
The committee will also consider allowing
one defensive player per team to communicate with the coaching staff via a wireless
device installed in the helmet.
One issue that the committee will not be
discussing is limiting a coachs ability to call
a timeout before an opponents field-goal
attempt. We cant legislate when you can
call timeouts and when you cannot call timeouts, Titans head coach and committee cochairman Jeff Fisher explained.

Ravens looking for quarterbacks


Although stability is the operative term for
the Redskins offense, thats not the case for
the Ravens and new head coach John Harbaugh. Baltimore is expected to add at least
one quarterback in free agency or the draft.
Its an area we want to strengthen, no

question, Harbaugh said. That position


needs to be strengthened. I know were
going to use every resource at our disposal
to get that done. But were going to get that
done. There are lot of avenues between now
and then.
At present, Steve McNair, 35, is the
favorite to win the starting job. McNair
played only six games last season because
of a thigh injury and an injury to his nonthrowing shoulder. We have no one else,
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome
said, hardly a vote of confidence for Kyle
Boller and Troy Smith.
Hes the incumbent, Harbaugh said of
McNair. Hes had a tremendous career, and
a lot of guys whove been in his position at
his age have had pretty good seasons.

Hall wants out of Atlanta


Mike Smiths first Combine as Falcons
head coach was off to a great start. The Falcons won a coin toss giving them the third
pick in the draft, which
could result in a choice
between Boston College QB Matt Ryan and
Michigan OT Jake Long,
the two highest-rated
players at each of their
positions.
Then DeAngelo Hall
showed up.
In an impromptu
press conference in a
hallway of the Indiana
DeAngelo Hall
Convention Center, the
Falcons cornerback said he felt stabbed in
the back because the Falcons were listening to trade offers for him. Hall said the
chances of him being back with the team
were slim to none.
I heard the comments, and Im really
sorry DeAngelo feels that way, Smith said
the day after Hall sounded off. I think hes
an outstanding football player.
Smith, who served as the Jaguars defensive coordinator the previous five seasons,
would not speculate as to whether Hall
would be in Atlanta next season.

Zorn ends any talk


of Redskins QB controversy
QB Todd Collins impressive play in place
of the injured Jason Campbell propelled the
Redskins to the playoffs last season. But it
did not earn Collins a chance to compete for
the starting job. New Redskins head coach
Jim Zorn said Campbell, 26, will keep his
job.
I dont want Jason Campbell to feel like,
Oh my gosh, if I make one mistake, Im

SPORTPICS

try and narrow down where he would be


selected because there was no point.
If I recall, I led the nation in rushing and
scoring, he said. Thats the way I approach
the Combine.
I didnt come here feeling like a small fish
in a big pond and I dont think the guys look
at me like that.

21

HARRY SCULL, JR.

DON WRIGHT / THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

SPORTPICS (ELLIS) / BRUCE L. SCHWARTZMAN (DORSEY)

MARCH 2008

Future cornerstone: Dont rule out Chris Long being the top pick, but hes not the self-promoting type

http://www.profootballweekly.com

Risk
management
ASHBURN, Va.
The day he lost his
starting quarterback job
a quarter century ago,
Jim Zorn stewed about
his new status. And he mentally debated how he should handle the demotion, with negative thoughts raging in his
head. He could pout. He could
demand a trade. He could
make life tough for the new
starter, Dave Krieg.
After sleeping on it, Zorn
opted for another tactic, one
that shaped a coaching philosophy. He would be a team
player, throwing his support
behind Krieg for the betterment of the Seattle Seahawks.
That was probably the
most difficult time of my playing career, Zorn said. That
humiliation helped me (later)
as a coach. It helped me to
understand about backup players and what
they felt like. As a backup guy, when you get
your chance, youve got to make sure youre
ready.
When the Redskins asked him in early
February if he wanted to interview for their
head-coaching job, Zorn once he picked
his jaw off the floor was more than ready.
Even if almost no one else (read: Redskins
Nation) was ready for him to be named head
coach.
Nobody, not even the Redskins, had Zorn,
who spent the previous seven seasons as
Seattles QB coach, on their initial list of
coaching candidates. But other candidates
mentioned him as a potential offensive coordinator during their interviews. So they hired
him in that capacity. Eventually, the combination of other possible successors to Joe

Although Jim Zorn


might not appear
to be the ideal
head coach to many,
hes eager to prove
that he is the
right choice
to lead the Redskins
By

JOHN KEIM

Gibbs dropping out and a less-than-exciting


remaining pool prompted Washington to
consider Zorn.
Since his hiring, Zorn has been scrutinized
like never before, from his press-conference
gaffes (calling the team colors maroon and
black; praising the 10-man tribute to Sean
Taylor vs. Buffalo, perhaps not realizing it
was the fired Gregg Williams idea) to his
offbeat drills.
But this is a guy who, on occasion, goes
downhill biking in the mountains. Of course,
those rides might seem tame compared to the
ride hes embarked on in Washington, where
it can be debated as to who is under more
pressure: the president of the United States
or the Redskins coach. Or who is more popular. Hes gone from a place (Seattle) that
adored him from his playing days to a town

that will judge him on wins


and losses.
I heard on the radio that
there was already a poll out,
and I was at a 41-percent
approval rating, he said to
laughter during his introductory press conference. Thats
better than the president of the
United States.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder
harped on Zorns character
after the hiring. By all
accounts, hes a devoted Christian and family man, much like
the Hall of Fame coach hes
replacing. And Zorn comes
across as one of the nicer guys
in coaching, though he was
also known for being brutally
honest with his quarterbacks.
However, Zorn is also completely unproven as an offensive coordinator, let alone as a
head coach. Zorn supporters
point out that Andy Reid, another coach
from the Mike Holmgren tree, had a similar
rsum. But Reid was 40 years old not 54
like Zorn, though he was 34 when his playing career in the NFL ended.
I think hell be an outstanding coach,
ESPNs Monday Night Football analyst
Ron Jaworski said. But hes never been in a
full position of authority where he designed
the offense. You dont know how good hell
be until you have to do it. Anyone who says
theyre totally prepared to do a great job,
theyre giving you BS.
Those who have worked with Zorn,
played with him or been coached by him,
swear by him.
I wasnt surprised [by his hiring], said
Redskins special-teams coach Danny
Smith, who worked with Zorn for two years

MARCH 2008

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DON WRIGHT / THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

22

in Detroit. He has a great presence. Hell


do a great job. Hes a teacher and a communicator. Those two things are what you
need.
Hes the real deal, said Hall of Fame
WR Steve Largent, who played with Zorn in
Seattle and has remained close to him. He
speaks the truth and is
really straightforward. He
Rough start:
doesnt play games.
Jim Zorns initial
Thats the way he is with
press conference
his wife and friends, and
was shaky, but
Redskins Nation
hell be like that with the
will judge him on
Redskins.
wins
And he fits every bit
the left-handed stereotype as someone just a shade off-center, at
least when it comes to his drills. For now,
thats what most know about Zorns coaching career. But his coaching played a role in
Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbecks development into a Pro Bowl player. Former Seattle
QB Trent Dilfer once raved about Zorns
Monday film sessions. Zorn will work closely with Redskins QB Jason Campbell, transitioning him to a West Coast offense.
Hasselbeck once told the Seattle Times
that Zorn guided him through a tough first
year.
He was a perfect quarterback coach for
me at that point, Hasselbeck said. Had he
not been my coach, who knows? I dont
know if I would have made it through.
Zorns drills include teaching his quarterbacks how to slide by using what else?
a Slip n Slide. Initially, he would bring an
ex-major-league baseball player Frank
Tanana in Detroit; John Olerud in Seattle
to teach this fundamental.
Eventually, he turned to the backyard toy
designed to keep kids occupied, and cool, in
the summer.
Hell bring it out once or so per training
camp just to remind quarterbacks of something that seems rather basic. But, Zorn said,
Hasselbeck used to jam his shoulder on
occasion when trying to slide, using his hand
to brace his fall. When using the Slip n
Slide, the quarterback must squeeze the ball
to his chest with both hands. Other times, his
quarterbacks play dodgeball.
People think I have all these goofy drills,
but they really do mean something, said
Zorn, who is in the Seahawks Ring of
Honor. There are many times where were
[watching video] and we see what theyre
doing and say, Thats the drill right there.
Zorn wasnt even sure if coaching would
be for him initially. At the end of his playing
career, Zorn approached then-Seattle coach
Chuck Knox about joining his staff as an
assistant. Knox, he said, didnt want to have
a coach on his staff who was deciding if this
was a career for him. So, he suggested landing a college job. After stints at Boise State
and Utah State, Zorn returned to the NFL.
He was the Lions QB coach for two seasons
under Bobby Ross, whom he called a dramatic influence on his life.
What I learned most from him was how
to work, Zorn said. He paid attention to all
the details.
Zorn is an upbeat guy, unafraid to reveal
his emotions. So, when asked at his first
press conference his reaction to Snyders
asking him to interview, Zorns mouth shot
wide open and his eyes practically bugged
out. He also admitted to being a little intimidated by the three Super Bowl trophies sitting in front of him, a nod to the Gibbs I era.
Im very excited about being the Redskins head football coach, said Zorn, who
received a five-year, $15 million contract.
And that is quite miraculous for me to even
say.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the
Washington Examiner.

MARCH 2008

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23

ENJOY IT NOW:

Message to Coughlin: It might never get better than now

ERIC EDHOLM

didnt attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but I didnt need to in order to tell how
much difference a year makes for Tom Coughlin. A
world championship will do that for you, I suppose.
But it goes beyond that. The man really has changed.
One year ago, at the same Combine podium, Coughlin
came off as arrogant, short and difficult. It might have
been his lowest point as the Giants head coach.
Although he had just received a one-year extension following an 8-8 season and first-round playoff bow-out, his
contract was more reprieve than reward.
The armor wore down a bit as last offseason grew. One
Giants staffer said Coughlin perhaps did a little soulsearching and came back a little different. He opened
closed doors. He listened more. He talked to players in
the offseason, a rarity before. But he also buckled in for
what he knew would be a battle. He promoted a new
offensive coordinator and hired a new defensive coordinator. He gnashed his teeth and fought the title of lameduck coach, but he did so more inwardly.
Coughlin knew the only way hed end that talk was
with a big season. New York big. And when some media
members noticed that he was acting more civilly as training camp opened, most of them chalked it up to a man
knowing his job was on the line. But that was just the
faade he put up in front of the cameras.
Privately, Coughlin was as tenacious as ever to prove
himself. He worked even harder, but there was a subtle
adaptation to his ethic: He also delegated more, especially with Steve Spagnuolo a relative stranger
taking over the defense. Coughlin believed in offensive
coordinator Kevin Gilbride, and he believed in Eli Manning. Few others did.
What must be mentioned is that the 2007 season nearly
matched the soap-opera moments of the one before it,
and though the Giants had reached the playoffs again,
there was no guarantee that he would be back as coach.
The team had talked with Coughlin about an extension as
the team raced to a 9-4 record but backed off following

the brutal loss to the Redskins in Week 15.


On Jan. 5, before the kickoff of the Giants wild-card
game at Tampa, Coughlin was a coach wafting in the
wind. Lose that game and he probably is looking for a
job.
On Feb. 5, Coughlin and his Giants were riding
through the streets of New York, world champs, celebrating one of the more significant Super Bowl upsets ever.
Thats the margin an NFL coach must ride.
Just a few weeks later, the smile hasnt worn off.
I had it all mapped out, Coughlin said when asked in
Indy if he knew hed be back as a champ. I knew this
would be taking place.
Joking with reporters? Pish tosh. It still doesnt register with some of us.
Its easy to sit back and say that Coughlin deserved
this win, this fate, but there have been plenty of hardluck coaches in this league and many of them far
more welcoming than the old Coughlin who never felt
what he is experiencing now.
But its just as easy to mention that it might never get
any better for Coughlin. This could be the top. Yes, the
Giants are a terrific-looking, young football team, and
they could be better next season. But in this league, that
guarantees you nothing. There has been a recent trend in
sports of teams winning championships after strings of
near-misses and painful failures the Colts in Super
Bowl XLI, for one. I can guarantee that to a man, under
oath, no player who won a title with that team came back
hungrier this past season.
For the Giants, the pressure will be immense. Repeating, or even winning the Super Bowl again in two or
three years, will be very difficult. Not impossible, but
extremely hard. Plus, New Yorkers tend to like not staying happy for too long. All those good feelings from
winning the Super Bowl are likely to be balanced with
threefold the angst by fans the next few seasons. Just
watch.
So Coughlin must do what is alien and antithetical,

against the wiring of every coachs brain by nature: He


must seize the moment and cherish it. Really relish the
feeling. He has to wear that Combine grin from here
until July in Albany. Longer, even. Coaches who have
won a Super Bowl will tell you that they enjoy the win
for a few days and go back to work. They are already
behind on their draft and free-agency preparations. But I
wouldnt blame Coughlin one bit if he takes a tiny step
back this spring and summer and replays that game, that
stirring playoff run, through his head another two, three
hundred times.
Hes 61 years old. If Coughlin signs another extension
reports have been circulating for a few weeks that he
and the team are close to agreeing on a four- or five-year
deal it very well could be his last. Hes not old for the
game, but it might take another strong run (again, were
talking about New York strong) to get him to stay beyond
that. Heck, theres no guarantee in this city and in this
sport that he even makes it to the end of this deal.
My advice for him to enjoy himself now, knowing that
this could be his finest hour, has nothing to do with
whether the man can coach. He can. He proved it. He
and his staff came up with four excellent game plans,
one better than the next in the playoffs, and the players
executed them. The Cowboys, Packers and Patriots all
have more talent. The Giants, though, were focused, driven and dogged. If thats not the hallmark of a good
coach, then what is? I just dont know if he can stir
these boys again to that level. It would be miraculous if
he did.
Boy, does that sound good, Coughlin said when
asked at the Combine how a championship felt.
It should. He has reached the pinnacle of his sport, and
he looks to be enjoying every bit of it to date. Lets hope
the new Tom Coughlin keeps his head in the clouds a little longer. You never know if youre going to be back.
PFW associate editor Eric Edholm can be reached via
e-mail at eedholm@pfwmedia.com.

FREE AGENCY GONE WILD:

Teams prepared to throw around unreal money in market

JERRY MAGEE

ree agency in the NFL is about


money. All right? Am I going too
fast?
Money, I should note, is something
about which sportswriters know very little, but I can recognize it when I see it, as
I do now. It is stacked high in the treasuries of the teams that are preparing to
engage in the leagues annual auction.
There are gobs of it, with the franchises
sitting something like a composite $350
million under the per-team cap of $116
million and positioned to fling these riches in the direction of the athletes eligible
to rearrange their futures.
Some deserving people, and some not
so deserving, are about to become enormously wealthy. Its a buyers market,
said a man I know who meticulously
maintains an accounting on NFL contractual data. Half the teams can do whatever they want.
A couple of weeks ago, by my mans
arithmetic, only two of the 32 franchises
were over the cap. They were Washington, which is $7 million over, and Indianapolis, which is $4 million over. Carolina recently dropped below the cap after
making a few cuts. All the other clubs
were under the cap, many appreciably.
Tennessee, Cincinnati, Miami, San Fran-

cisco and Jacksonville as of this writing, all of those clubs were more than $30
million under.
These figures underscore that while the
playing fields in the NFL are level, what
occurs in the teams counting houses is
not. The Redskins have commitments to
players of about $125 million. At roughly
$38 million under, the Titans commitments come to $79 million. Tell me there
is equality there.
That Washington is the most over the
cap is not going to represent a burden to
the club. Cap dollars are not real dollars.
They are easily adjustable. All the Redskins have to do is rewrite a couple more
guys contracts, assigning them modest
salaries along with signing bonuses,
which for cap purposes can be apportioned through the length of a contract.
Simple.
Meantime, athletes such as Asante
Samuel, the very capable Patriots cornerback, and Michael Turner, the San Diego
running back, are about to become members of the landed gentry. Theyre entitled. What is going to be interesting concerning this procedure is how much players of lesser prowess are going to
receive. Football players already are
handsomely rewarded. Their status, one

can suspect, is about to ascend to another


level.
One cannot begrudge the athletes who,
through their efforts, have established
themselves as professionals. Where the
NFL system loses me is in its practice of
bestowing enormous sums on rookies who
have not demonstrated that they possess
the pro knack. The leagues salary structure is upside down. In no other form of
commerce do entry-level persons command rewards that exceed those of established employees.
In the draft, the first person selected is
likely to come away with a contract totaling as much as $30 million guaranteed. At
the Super Bowl, commissioner Roger
Goodell was asked if it might not be time
for the league to rethink how it is structured from a compensation standpoint.
Goodells response was that the matter
has been discussed with the Players Association.
We think it is an important thing, the
commissioner said. Were not trying in
this case to pay players less money. What
were trying to do is make sure that the
money that is allocated to the salary cap
goes to the players that have earned it,
that have done it over a period of time. I
think thats something that well continue

to engage in with the Players Association.


The players group would welcome
such an action. Rookies, after all, are not
members of the union. But for NFL teams
in concert to cut back on how they compensate rookies could be construed, I suspect, as collusion. Persons with more
legal expertise than mine have advised me
that it is difficult for any organization to
amend practices of long standing.
But free agency is the matter at hand.
Run through the list of unrestricted free
agents, and it is difficult to fix on many
who could have a profound influence on
the course of events in the NFL. Randy
Moss, certainly, but I cant see him taking
a hike on Bill Belichick. Can you?
Who else? Samuel. Turner. Not many
others. Many of the hearties who would
have been prizes in free agency have had
franchise tags affixed on them. But as
the fellow in the motion picture said,
Show me the money. There is a lot of
money available in this procedure, and
guys are going to be pocketing it.
Jerry Magee has covered pro football
for the San Diego Union-Tribune since
1961 and for PFW since its inception in
1967.

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MARCH 2008

BAY AREA BUMBLERS:

Raiders, 49ers situations should be a concern to Goodell, NFL

GLENN DICKEY

FL commissioner Roger Goodell has done a good job of


dealing with the out-of-control players who have been a
serious blemish on the leagues reputation. Now, he faces
another challenge with two owners in the San Francisco
Bay Area who are bringing once-proud franchises, the 49ers
and Oakland Raiders, to their knees.
Al Davis is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and deservedly
so, but his career with the Raiders can be divided into two
nearly equal but hugely contrasting eras.
From 1963 through 1985, Davis put together a team that had
the highest winning percentage in American professional sports
and played in four Super Bowls, winning the last three they
were in.
But from 1986 through the 2007 season, Davis Raiders are
27 games below .500 in regular-season play and have been to
just one Super Bowl, being routed by the Buccaneers in
XXXVII. And its getting worse. In the five years since that
Super Bowl, the Raiders are an NFL-worst 19-61.
Davis always has been in control of the Raiders, but in the
good years, he usually had somebody with contrarian ideas to
whom hed listen. In the early days, for instance, Ron Wolf
pushed him to draft Ken Stabler. As recently as 1999, thenhead coach Jon Gruden was able to persuade Davis to release
Jeff George and sign Rich Gannon. With Gannon at quarterback, the Raiders got to their last Super Bowl.
Davis traded Gruden to Tampa Bay, in exchange for draft
picks and money. As coach of the Bucs, Grudens strategy
destroyed the Raiders in the Super Bowl, a resounding 48-21
win for the Bucs. That started a decline for the Raiders, as they
crashed to 4-12 in the 2003 season.
There is nobody left in the Raiders organization who will
challenge Davis as Wolf and Gruden did. Employees know that
if Davis asks for their opinions, he only listens if they agree
with him. One employee who tired of that routine asked Davis,
Do you really want my opinion, or do you just want me to
agree with yours? Davis snarled at him, Get out of here,

which pretty much answered that question.


Lately, Davis actions have gone from bad to totally irrational, as in his attempt to get head coach Lane Kiffin to sign a
resignation letter. Had he done so, Kiffin would have forfeited
the $4 million hes owed over the next two years. Kiffin
declined to sign it. Surprise.
Kiffin was only 31 when he was hired to coach the Raiders
last spring. He had never been a head coach before, so he was
learning on the job. Overall, he did a good job and he seemed
on his way to changing the losing atmosphere surrounding the
Raiders.
Nobody knows exactly what will happen now, but it wont
be good. If Kiffin stays, his authority with the players will be
seriously undermined. If he leaves, who would Davis get to
replace him? A coach would have to be suicidal to go to Oakland.
The only way for this situation to improve is for Goodell to
appoint a good football man to step in and take operating control of the Raiders. There is precedent for this in baseball,
where Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott twice was removed
from active control in the 1990s.
Of course, Davis would sue, but Oakland Athletics owner
Charlie Finley also sued baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn
when Kuhn negated Finleys sale of star players in the late
70s. Finley lost, as a federal court judge ruled in 1978 that a
commissioner had the right to take action to protect the best
interests of his sport. Removing Davis from control of the
Raiders would certainly fit that description.
With the 49ers, the problem is not just operational control
though owner John York has made enough bad decisions that
the 49ers are only 25-55 over the past five years but also
with the effort to build a new stadium. Yorks people
announced last year that they had a plan to build a new stadium
in Santa Clara, in Great Americas parking lot. Amazingly, they
had not even asked anybody from Great America about it!
When Great America said, No way, the 49ers moved their

proposed site to another parking lot, adjacent to their practice


facility.
The 49ers have been trying to get Santa Clara to provide
them with more than $200 million to build the stadium. Good
luck with that. The last Bay Area team to try to get public
money for a new stadium was the Giants, who lost four elections in San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara. The 49ers
also reportedly plan to use PSLs (personal seat licenses) as part
of their financing plan, though theyre having trouble now selling season tickets without PSLs attached.
And speaking of season tickets, theyve just raised ticket
prices, coming off a season that they started talking playoffs
and ended at 5-11. This is truly The Gang That Cant Shoot
Straight.
Meanwhile, San Francisco has come up with its own plan
for the Hunters Point area. As part of an overall urban renewal
area, room for a bay-front stadium would be included. Lennar
Corp., which is handling the project, would put up $100 million to help finance a stadium project, according to former
49ers president Carmen Policy, who is working for San Francisco on the project.
If this proposal is approved by San Francisco voters on the
June 3 ballot, Policy plans to take it to the commissioner and
lobby for it. Goodell certainly would listen because Policy is
known as a dealmaker and York has the reputation of being
a bumbler. Policy could put a specific plan on the table; York
has only a pie-in-the-sky proposal to present.
Moving against owners is never as easy for a commissioner
as moving against players is, but what Goodell does with the
messy Raiders and 49ers situations will be an important factor
in defining his reign.
Your move, commissioner.
Glenn Dickey has been covering pro football since 1967 and
now has his own Web site, www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him
at glenndickey@hotmail.com.

SPYGATE II:

Does Goodell want to know what Walsh has on tape?

RON BORGES

ounding not at all like Franklin D. Roosevelt, they all say they have nothing to
fear but fear itself. If thats the case,
then why is it so difficult to agree not to
sue a former low-level employee of the Patriots in exchange for taking a peek at his video
collection and possibly listening to his audio
collection?
Commissioner Roger Goodell kept saying
for weeks that no one wants to talk with
Matt Walsh more than we do, after which he
sent a guy from NFL security former FBI
agent Dick Farley to investigate him at his
former places of employment. Way to open a
guy up to a chat.
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has
become more than an interested spectator in
what has become the embarrassing mess
called Spygate II, which might morph into
Audiogate I, as well, if Walsh has any of the
tape recordings of conversations between
himself and Patriots vice president of player
personnel Scott Pioli that Walsh has been
accused of making. Specter was so interested
in the matter that he forced Goodell to come
to his office in Washington. The senator was
told the commissioner knew Farley worked
for him but claimed he didnt know Farley
was investigating anybody.
That admission came after Goodell had
insisted that destroying the evidence in Spygate I before hed even seen it wasnt all that
unusual. He sounded like he could move right
into management with the LAPD.
Goodell has unwisely treated this as the
NFL treats most things as a public-rela-

tions problem. He says he acted swiftly when


the first charges were leveled at Bill Belichick
for cheating, although we now have learned
he acted so swiftly he fined Belichick four
days before the Patriots produced the notes
and tapes he sought. How do you punish
someone before you know what he did?
Then, it turns out, Goodell had his minions,
including an attorney named Jeff Pash, who
should have known better, destroy the evidence while they were in Foxborough, a move
Goodell defends as the right thing to do.
How is destroying evidence the right thing to
do?
That action now calls into question the
alleged leaking of a portion of one of those
tapes to Fox-TV news maven Jay Glazer. At
the time, Goodell was supposedly outraged,
yet now we have learned that the tapes were
destroyed by Pash and NFL vice president
Ray Anderson while they were in Foxborough
at the instruction of Goodell. What that
means, if Goodell is to be believed, is that
either the Patriots leaked it to make themselves look bad or Goodells office did it
because if they destroyed the tapes in Foxborough, no one else would have ever had access
to them.
No wonder Sen. Specter said of Goodells
explanations, The words absurd and
ridiculous keep coming to my mind because
he says it with a straight face.
Belichick himself came out with a forceful
denial of ever having seen a tape of the Rams
pre-Super Bowl XXXVI walk-through or of
any practice of any opponent at any time, for

that matter. He didnt mention, or his inquisitor never asked, if anyone in his employ had
ever seen such a thing, broke it down and
delivered him the information. That is, in fact,
how it most often works for the head coach.
Others break down the film, run the computer
analysis and then deliver the information.
No one is saying thats what happened in
this case because no one yet knows if a tape
of the Rams final practice before Super Bowl
XXXVI existed, but a head coach denying he
ever saw it means only that. Why would he?
Thats why he employs a Boy Scout troop full
of wide-eyed men like Walsh was when he
first came to New England as a P.R. intern.
Denials by Belichick and the Patriots mean
very little, as do claims by Goodell about how
badly the NFL wants to speak with Walsh, the
former Patriots videographer who is now a
golf pro in Hawaii.
The fact is that if the Patriots have nothing
more to hide they already were caught redhanded running an illegal taping operation of
opposing coaches flashing sideline signals
despite having been specifically reminded by
a league memo to all head coaches and general managers not to do it and then tried to
weasel out of it by claiming a loophole in the
rule that didnt exist all they had to do
from the start is release Walsh from the
unusual non-disclosure agreement they forced
him to sign when they fired him.
The same is true for Goodell and the
league. If they wanted to talk with Walsh as
badly as they say, they could have given him
blanket indemnity from any lawsuit filed by

the Patriots and been done with it. They also


could have picked up the phone and called
anyone he once worked for and asked if he
had worked there, if all they were doing was
confirming his employment, as Goodell
claimed. They didnt have to send a former
FBI agent to those employers in an effort to
intimidate Walsh.
Where Spygate II and Audiogate I end up
is anyones guess. All football fans should
hope it ends up where the Patriots say it will,
which is with nothing to fear but fear itself.
But theres a nagging feeling that theres
more to this. Why would you say youve kept
videotapes for years that you say you can use
against your old employer if you dont have
them? Why would you feel the need to audiotape phone conversations with an ex-boss, in
this case Pioli, unless he was saying things
that worried you?
Its unlikely that the Collected Tapes of
Scott Pioli will ever win a Grammy, so what
was being said on them? Even more alarming:
Why, when Matt Walsh was fired five years
ago, did the Patriots feel compelled to force a
kid whom Belichick claimed he couldnt
identify in a lineup to sign a non-disclosure
agreement before he left? Disclose what?
One has to wonder just how badly Roger
Goodell really wants to know the answer to
that question.
Longtime Boston Globe football columnist
Ron Borges now writes for Pro Football
Weekly, ESPN.com and on his own Web site,
www.ronborges.com.

MARCH 2008

WWHI
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4

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More dedicated: RB Reggie Bush is


expected to spend more time around the
Saints this offseason
first time since the season ended
as he hosted a charity event during the recent NBA All-Star weekend in the Crescent City. Word is
he showed some signs of maturity.
Bush appeared humbled by a trying sophomore season, in
which he missed the final
four games because of a
knee injury and averaged
just 3.7 yards per carry and
5.7 per catch. Our source
said Bush wants to spend more
time in New Orleans this offseason
than he did last year, which could
help his relationship with teammates. Some Saints players were
less than sympathetic when Bush
struggled in his second season out
of USC. Last offseason, Bush
spent a lot of time away from the
team, working out with a private
trainer. Other good news for the
Saints is that Bush does not need
surgery to repair the torn posterior
cruciate ligament in his left knee.

DETROIT LIONS

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Were told that the Lions havent


ruled out signing former Broncos
MLB Al Wilson, who made his first
free-agent stop in Detroit, but he
isnt high on the teams priority list.
Expect Wilson to make
other visits, and then the
Lions might re-evaluate
their interest. At this point,
though, despite the positive
words from head coach
Rod Marinelli he said the
team had high interest in Wilson
and the teams need for
improvement at linebacker, especially in the middle, dont expect a
match any day now. We also hear
that the team might have had a little concern about Wilsons physical, the results of which it did not
release.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Not unexpectedly, the Vikings
parted ways with S Dwight Smith,
cutting him late Wednesday.
Although Smith had marijuana
possession charges against him
dropped last month, Smith had
enough controversy in his two
years in Minnesota for the
team to want to go in a different direction, as head
coach Brad Childress
said. Smith argued with
teammates and coaches
and was benched twice by Childress for breaking team rules.
Although Smith clearly was a benefit to the team, registering eight
interceptions the past two seasons, and although teammates
recognized him as an on-field
leader, the club believed his offfield indiscretions and distractions
were enough to let him go. Now,
there is a big hole at safety, where
only Darren Sharper is under contract. Veterans Tank Williams and
Mike Doss both are scheduled for
free agency and might not return.

N F C lS O U T H
Humbled RB Bush
looking for fresh start
in New Orleans
Saints RB Reggie Bush spoke
with New Orleans media for the

Just a few months ago, a Tampa


source told PFW that DT Jovan
Haye was playing the three-technique in the Tampa-2 defense as
well as any Buccaneer since Warren Sapp. Recent reports, however, indicate the franchise could be
searching for his replacement.
Hayes performance weakened late
in the season, and he will be a
restricted free agent this offseason. We hear Tampa has
interest in former Falcons
DT Rod Coleman, who
was recently released after
suffering through an injuryplagued season. Coleman
had surgery last April to repair a
ruptured right quadriceps that
occurred in a jet-ski accident. He
underwent arthroscopic knee
surgery less than six months later,
after having sustained a broken
right kneecap in training camp. He
played just five games last season
before being placed on injured
reserve with hand and triceps
injuries. Clearly, the Bucs would be
taking a risk by making an investment in Colemans battered body,
but with more than $30 million in
cap space, they have the flexibility
to do so. Its possible that even if
Haye is re-signed, Coleman or
another veteran free-agent defensive tackle could be added to the
mix.

CAROLINA PANTHERS
The Panthers will approach offseason dealings with disgruntled
DT Kris Jenkins much like they
did last year, were told. Carolina
GM Marty Hurney will listen to
offers, but he and head coach
John Fox dont feel forced to
make a swap and will
demand a high-value draft
pick in return. Jenkins has
expressed a desire to be
dealt multiple times in the
past couple of seasons,
and recent published reports say
he is trying to sell his house in
South Charlotte. He would like to
play for a team closer to his home
state of Maryland, which would
leave the Redskins and Ravens as
his two ideal destinations. The
Panthers recently re-signed DT

HARRY SCULL, JR.

their disposal to keep Williams


around about $20 million under
the cap after the Franks and
Williams maneuvers, to be specific. After getting nowhere in talks
with Williams agent on a long-term
deal, it now appears Packers management is willing to take the risk
that Williams, who has been a
quality inside pass rusher the last
couple of seasons, wont be turned
off and, consequently, turn into a
less productive player the same
way as Franks did. We thought it
was a simple decision, Packers
GM Ted Thompson told PFW at
the Combine. Corey is a good,
young, durable player who has lots
of versatility and is real good in the
locker room. Its a device that
allows us to have some control as
far as keeping him around. We just
thought it was the right thing to
do. Another possible scenario, we
hear, is that the Packers could sign
Williams to the one-year tender
and then trade him.

Damione Lewis to a three-year,


$14 million deal, which seemed to
give the club some depth at the
position and increased speculation
that Jenkins was on his way out.
However, that depth would be
short-lived if Jenkins were to go
elsewhere. It would leave Carolina
with Lewis; the highly paid, underachieving Maake Kemoeatu; Kindal Moorehead, who is set to
become a free agent; and Gary
Gibson none of whom can
match Jenkins playmaking ability.

ATLANTA FALCONS
Our source in Atlanta says that
even after releasing seven players,
including TE Alge Crumpler, on
Feb. 15, the Falcons have plenty
more cuts planned. We
hear the Falcons didnt
clear a considerable
amount of cap space with
the first round of cuts and
will need to do more trimming to get to the $23 million mark
owner Arthur Blank said he wants
the team to have to spend. The

most likely cap casualties are veterans RB Warrick Dunn, ORG


Kynan Forney and WR Joe
Horn, along with FS Jimmy
Williams. In another cost-saving
measure, word is MLB Keith
Brooking could have his contract
restructured, if hes not released.
Surprisingly, it looks like QB Joey
Harrington will be kept as insurance for next season. If Chris
Redman is not re-signed by Feb.
29, Harrington will be the only
quarterback on Atlantas roster.
Word is that much of the newly
created cap flexibility will be used
on the squads nine draft picks and
that its unlikely GM Thomas Dimitroff will get involved in bidding
wars for high-priced free agents.

N F C lW E S T
Rams extreme
makeover has
happened quickly
While there are still plenty of
cynics in Rams Nation who arent

all that excited about the apparent


increase in power that GM Jay
Zygmunt has gained in the organization with team president
John Shaw looking more and
more like hes ready to quietly
slide into the background there
is no denying the genuine buzz in
the air in response to the
aggressive moves that have
been made recently on
both the front-office and
coaching fronts. There
have been a lot more
changes than anyone realized, a
longtime team insider told PFW at
the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. All of a sudden, theyve
remade the whole offensive coaching staff. (WR coach) Henry Ellard
is the only guy in the same place.
And, of course, theres a great
deal of excitement from both the
fans and players about (new offensive coordinator) Al Saunders,
who has done well coaching in St.
Louis before. As for newly hired

CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

26

http://www.profootballweekly.com

MARCH 2008

happen, but it would require considerable concessions from both


Johnson and the Fins front office
to make it happen. At age 35,
Johnson has reportedly kept himself in top shape and wants another chance to finish his career on
his terms, instead of having
been unceremoniously
canned by the Panthers.
According to a report in the
South Florida Sun-Sentinel,
Miami hasnt extended an
offer yet, although we hear it would
be Johnsons for the taking if he
told executive vice president of
football operations Bill Parcells
that hes committed to returning.
Parcells coached Johnson with the
Jets and the Cowboys and later
worked with him as a studio analyst with ESPN, establishing a
close relationship with the former
No. 1 overall draft pick. However,
Parcells decision to sever ties with
popular MLB Zach Thomas could
make it difficult to justify a decision
to bring Johnson aboard. Thomas
was shepherded out of town in
part because of an effort to make
the team younger, and Johnsons
a year older than him. But because
Thomas hefty price tag also
played a part in his release, Parcells would have to make sure he
didnt offer Johnson a contract that
could be construed as being above
market value or leave himself open
to attacks of having played
favorites.

Has a role: The Cardinals expect RB


Edgerrin James to contribute in 2008
a draft pick acquired in the third
through fifth round team insiders believe the Cardinals will steer
clear of running backs such as Illinois Rashard Mendenhall and
Oregons Jonathan Stewart in the
first round and concentrate on
shoring up what they consider
more pressing areas or a midlevel free agent who can add a
more explosive element to the
Cardinals ground attack. As to
whether such an addition might
signal the possible departures of
holdovers Marcel Shipp and J.J.
Arrington, our sources wouldnt
be shocked if at least one of them
is shown the door.

SPORTPICS

A F C lE A S T
Sutton defies
premonitions, sticks
as Jets D-coordinator

executive vice president of player


personnel Billy Devaney the
teams designated point man on
everything football-related the
early reviews have been strong.
Devaney has been very aggressive and has hit the streets running, the insider said. Hes done
some interviews already, and it
looks like he is wasting no time
attempting to become the new
public face of the franchise.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Our sources in Seattle will be
very surprised if the aggressive
signing of former Pro Bowl OG
Mike Wahle to a five-year contract
is the only offseason move the
Seahawks make to fortify an offensive line that still could stand some
help at every position. The consensus in league circles is that
the 30-year-old Wahle, who
was cut by Carolina in a
salary-cap move, figures to
be a very serviceable addition quite capable of providing the consistent play at left guard
that has been missing since Steve
Hutchinson split the scene for
Minnesota after the 2005 season.
The 6-foot-6, 304-pound Wahle
has started every regular-season
game six of the past seven years
and as is the case with just
about all of the free agents that
GM Tim Ruskell has added to the
organization is a high-character
grinder who figures to fortify an

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS


Will two heads be better than
one when it comes to resurrecting
a porous offensive line that team
insiders believe, more than any
other factor, was responsible for
the 49ers nightmarish 2007 campaign? According to our sources,
thats exactly what prompted the
Niners specifically new
offensive coordinator Mike
Martz to hire veteran
NFL assistant Chris Foerster to share the task of
coaching the teams offensive line with incumbent George
Warhop, who had widely been
rumored to be on thin ice. We hear
Martz liked and respected Warhop
enough to keep him on the payroll,
but believes that Foerster the
Ravens O-line coach from 200507 who, like Warhop, has a strong
reputation as a pass-blocking spe-

cialist can only help improve the


teams pass protection, which was
pathetic much of last season. All
indications point toward 2007 firstround pick Joe Staley moving
from right tackle to left tackle, with
either OLT Jonas Jennings (or
somebody not currently on the roster) taking over at right tackle. Its
possible, we hear, that Foerster
could be asked to spend extra time
working with Jennings, whose relationship with Warhop has greatly
deteriorated. Team insiders tell us
it should also be interesting to see
how well Warhop is able to share
the O-line coaching role. I wonder
just how well its going to work,
one team insider told PFW.
Warhop really has a strong personality.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS


When the Patriots bid for former
Dolphins LB Zach Thomas fell
through, the teams need for linebacker help was kicked up that
much more. Thomas agent Drew
Rosenhaus held an impromptu
press conference Friday at the
Combine, and stated the
Patriots were narrowly
edged by the Cowboys for
Thomas mainly because
the prospect of playing in
his home state was too
enticing to pass up. To make up for
the loss, the word were hearing
now is that the Patriots are growing on the idea of spending their
first-round pick, No. 7 overall, on
Ohio States Vernon Gholston.
The Patriots have typically avoided
taking linebackers with their first
pick, but their dire need this year
should be enough to convince
coach Bill Belichick to break that
trend. The Pats are banking on the
assumption Golston can make a
smooth transition from defensive
end to outside linebacker, even
though Golston stated that hed
prefer to play on the line.

MIAMI DOLPHINS
Could Keyshawn Johnson be
suiting up for the Dolphins next
season? The short answer is yes.
The longer answer is that it could

ARIZONA CARDINALS
It didnt take Ken Whisenhunt
long into his first season as head
coach in 2007 to let it be known
that Edgerrin James was far from
the the ideal featured back in
Whisenhunts preferred offensive
system because of James lack of
big-play ability. But, contrary to recent gossip in
league circles, that doesnt
mean the Cardinals are
ready to cut the cord with
James, who is scheduled in
2008 to make $5 million in base
salary that could be put to good
use in other areas. The way we
hear it, the Cardinals are more
likely to stick with James, who
remains a reliable yet unspectacular performer at this stage of his
career, and try to team him up with

BUFFALO BILLS

HARRY SCULL, JR.

WWHI
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

already cohesive locker room.


Wahles local roots were a key factor in choosing the Seahawks over
what were told were a number of
suitors. The team still has major
concerns at the guard position,
however, with incumbent ORG
Chris Gray considered a very
large question mark heading into
what would be his 16th pro season. Look for a couple more challengers via free agency and the
draft to challenge Rob Sims
last years inconsistent starter at
left guard massive fourth-year
pro Ray Willis and 07 fourthround rookie Mansfield Wrotto at
right guard in what figures to be a
wide-open battle in training camp.

Perhaps the most surprising


Jets development since the end of
the season was the absence of an
anticipated action. Namely, Bob
Sutton remains defensive coordinator. It was widely believed that
Sutton would be shown the door
upon the conclusion of the
Jets miserable 4-12 campaign, a record partially
facilitated by the defenses
difficulties stopping the run
and rushing the passer.
However, the D quietly rounded
into form over the final stretch of
the season, and word out of New
York is that head coach Eric
Mangini would have had too difficult a time justifying the canning of
Sutton, given the marked improvement. Additionally, Mangini has the
ultimate say over the defense, and
there remains some lingering suspicion that he realized it would be
a copout to fire somebody for a
performance that was more a
result of his own doing.

Coming back? Keyshawn Johnson


has contemplated a return to the NFL

Buffalo Sabres owner Tom


Golisano quelled a lot of fears in
Buffalo recently when he insinuated he would buy the Bills franchise and keep it in Buffalo whenever owner Ralph Wilson, 89,
dies. For years there has
been speculation that the
Bills will be moved from
small-market Buffalo upon
Wilsons death, and the
recent announcement that
the team will be playing eight
games in Toronto over the next
five years has only added to the
fire. But the way we hear it,
Golisanos words carry little substance. Its a bunch of hot air,
one Bills insider told PFW. Hes

MARCH 2008

A F C lN O R T H
Newsome: McNair
is Ravens starting
QB at the moment
General manager Ozzie Newsome said Steve McNair is the
favorite to win the starting QB job
among the passers currently on
the roster. McNair, 35, played in
only six games last season
because of injuries to his groin and
left shoulder, but Newsome,
speaking at the Scouting
Combine, said the quarterbacks recovery from
surgery on that non-throwing shoulder has gone well.
Its still in February, and (if
you) asked who would be our
starting quarterback, you would
have to say right now it would be
Steve McNair, Newsome said. We
have no one else. It would not be
a surprise if the Ravens added
one or more quarterbacks in free
agency or the draft, so this could
be a QB depth chart in flux. But its
clear the Ravens see Kyle Boller,
who started eight games in place
of an injured McNair last season,
as a backup at best.

CINCINNATI BENGALS
Why would the Bengals give
OT-OG Stacy Andrews a player whos started only 17 games in
his first four seasons the franchise tag? Several reasons. ORT
Willie Anderson turns 33 in July
and played only seven games last
season because of foot and knee
injuries. Anderson will play
in 2008, but hes nearing
the end of a long, distinguished run with the Bengals. Andrews can also fill
in for Levi Jones at left
tackle should Jones knee problems resurface. Andrews may
begin the 08 season as a reserve,
but his ability to play inside or outside is very valuable to the Bengals. In short, they could not afford
to let him hit the free-agent market. The Bengals will now work to
sign him to a contract extension
that could lower his 08 salary-cap
figure (the Bengals extended a
one-year, $7.455 million tender to
him upon designating him their
franchise player) and likely keep

him in the fold for several more


seasons.

http://www.profootballweekly.com

27

Stuck: OT Stacy Andrews had his movement limited by Cincys franchise tag

CLEVELAND BROWNS
At the Scouting Combine,
Browns general manager Phil
Savage said a three-year contract
for restricted free-agent QB Derek
Anderson could work for both
sides, and he was hopeful a deal
could be struck before the beginning of free agency. Savage said a
three-year deal would help
both the Browns, who
would keep their enviable
QB depth intact, as well as
Anderson, who will be only
25 at the start of next season. Given the market for young,
talented quarterbacks, Savage surmised that Anderson, were he to
play well in the years to come,
could be looking at a $70 or $80
million contract the next time he
became a free agent. At present,
Anderson would prefer a six-year
contract. If a multiyear deal isnt
hammered out before the end of
February, the Browns will give
Anderson the highest tender offer.
At that point, the Browns ability to
strike a multiyear deal could be
somewhat compromised, as the
Browns are likely to use some
salary-cap space in free agency,
Savage noted.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
With OLG Alan Faneca expected to depart in free agency, the
Steelers moved to keep reserve
OT Max Starks in the fold, giving
him the transition tag a little more
than a week before the start of the
signing period. Starks, 26,
received a one-year tender for
$6.895 million; player and
team would prefer to strike
a longer deal. Starks role
on the offensive line is
unclear; he could fit in at
left tackle if Marvel Smiths
back continues to give him problems or at right tackle if Willie
Colon moves inside to guard.
Starks began the 07 season on
the bench but played well when he
replaced the injured Smith at the
end of last season. Max was our
sixth lineman this year, so hes
probably going to factor in more so
than he did last year when he did
lose his (ORT) job to Willie Colon,
said Steelers director of football
operations Kevin Colbert. How
much he plays, that will be up to
Coach (Mike) Tomlin, but I think it
shows the organizations commitment to keeping that player in the
mix, so we have a decision to
make. Wed rather have a decision
to make with more guys than less.

A F C lS O U T H
McFarlands imminent
departure allows
Colts to afford Clark
When the Colts re-signed TE
Dallas Clark to the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history,
the question that was raised
throughout league circles
was: How did they possibly
afford it? After all, the
Colts had very little cap
space even before inking S
Bob Sanders to a record
deal late last season. A backloaded contract with a hefty signing bonus that is spread out over
the duration of the deal is likely

part of it, as is the likelihood that a


few of the Colts priciest players
agreed to restructure their current
deals. But according to team insiders, one of the biggest reasons the
Colts are able to afford Clark is the
imminent release of DT Anthony
Booger McFarland. McFarland
carries a cap number of approximately $7 million, and after the
way then-rookie Ed Johnson
stepped seamlessly into a starting
role with McFarland (knee) sitting
out 2007, McFarland is deemed
expendable.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
When the Jaguars coaches and
front office sit down for their freeagent and draft talks, the titles of
the decision makers will remain
mostly the same as they were at
this time last year. Jack Del Rio is
still head coach, and James
Shack Harris is still vice
president of player personnel. The one significant figure whose title did change
is Gene Smith, who was
promoted from director of
college scouting to executive director of college and pro personnel.
While Smiths increased jurisdiction is fairly obvious, we hear that
Del Rio will be given more say in
personnel matters at the expense
of Harris. The catalyst for the
change in roles was Del Rios preseason decision to go ahead with
QB David Garrard and cut Byron
Leftwich, a decision that was hotly

SPORTPICS

an owner whos been MIA with his


own team (the Sabres). He just
said that to score points in Western New York. According to the
source, its a foregone conclusion
the Bills will move out of Buffalo
upon Wilsons death, and Toronto
is the overwhelming favorite to be
their new home. Its not difficult to
see why Buffalo is not a suitable
home for an NFL franchise.
Despite one of the leagues most
passionate fan bases the Bills
have sold out every game in three
of the past five seasons, even
though they failed to make a single postseason appearance during
that span Buffalos sagging
economy has mandated the average ticket price rest at a reported
$51.24, even following a recently
announced price increase for
2008. The leaguewide average
ticket price is $67. Only the
Jaguars rival the Bills for such a
low ticket cost. By comparison,
tickets to see the Bills in Torontos
Rogers Centre are being sold at
an average of $250 (Canadian).

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

contested by Harris. After Garrards standout season validated


Del Rios personnel acumen, it
appears that Harris clout is beginning to slide. Del Rio and Harris
have often stood in opposition to
each other, and giving one party
the clear upper hand in disputes

would help alleviate future power


struggles.

HOUSTON TEXANS
As it stands, the Texans secondary is the most pressing issue

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

WWHI
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27
facing the club in the offseason,
what with CB Dunta Robinson to
miss the start of the season and
four safeties eligible to depart. But
Houstons offensive line is also a
position group to watch.
The addition of assistant
head coach Alex Gibbs
underscores the Texans
dedication to continually
improving the long-scrutinized line, which, by all accounts,
played better in 2007 than it had
in some time. But work still needs
to be done. A left tackle to challenge starter Ephraim Salaam
might be signed in free agency or
found in the draft. Center is also a
position of intrigue, with the Texans lacking a clear-cut starter.
Also, it appears the Texans will let
relatively untested Mike Brisiel
and Kasey Studdard compete at
right guard. So while there is a

sense of urgency when it comes


to putting together the secondary,
the offensive line is another area
that could get some new faces in
the offseason.

http://www.profootballweekly.com

Mile-high runner: Travis Henry will


stick in Denver after re-doing his contract

unclear whom the Titans are considering as Smiths replacement.

TENNESSEE TITANS
In the end, Titans assistant head
coach/RB coach Sherman Smith
couldnt turn down a chance to be
the Redskins offensive coordinator, a role he was unlikely to play
in Tennessee any time soon. The
departure of Smith, who
coached Tennessees running backs for 13 seasons,
is no insignificant loss.
Smith was a well-liked and
respected assistant who
helped Eddie George develop into
a star and was charged with molding young LenDale White and
Chris Henry into professionals.
And he was having success on
that front: White was a dependable
starter last season, and Henry
flashed intriguing ability as the
Titans change-of-pace back. Its

A F C lW E S T
Controversial RB Henry
restructures contract
with Broncos
Broncos RB Travis Henry has
agreed to a restructured contract
after a turbulent first season in
Denver. Many expected the Broncos to offer Henry a new deal in an
attempt to avoid paying the $6 million bonus he was due Feb. 29, but
whether Henry would accept the
terms was less clear. He
did, and the decision
appears to mean that Henry
is committed to making it
work in Denver following an
up-and-down 2007 season.
Its an important sign of maturity
from the 29-year-old, who failed a
drug test in October, though he
won an appeal almost two months
later. He missed four games and
battled knee and rib injuries, but he
finished with respectable marks of
4.1 yards per carry, 691 rushing
yards and four touchdowns. Denver
may be set in the backfield with a
trio of Henry, Selvin Young and
Andre Hall and will shift its attention to solidifying other areas in
need of retooling, such as wide
receiver, linebacker and safety.

they dont see his value. Rather,


they believe they have the makings
of a budding star in third-year pro
Charlie Whitehurst. Although he
has yet to throw an NFL pass, the
former Clemson star has a strong
arm and prototypical body at 6-4,
227 pounds, and he could possibly
represent a prime piece of trade
bait in the future.

becomes a free agent. Recent


talks about a longer-term contract
for Asomugha never picked up
steam, possibly signaling that he
wasnt interested in remaining in
Oakland for many more years.
Stopping him from even negotiating
with other teams probably wont
help matters when the next round
of bargaining begins.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Chargers have a rather


pleasant situation on their hands
when it comes to their backup
quarterback. With Philip Rivers
firmly entrenched as the quarterback of the future even though
hes spending the offseason
rehabbing his torn ACL the
Bolts have to decide
whether its worth it to pony
up the cash to No. 2 passer
Billy Volek, a free agent.
Volek proved a capable
passer during a brief stint
as the Titans triggerman, and he
was instrumental in rallying the
Chargers to an improbable triumph
over the Colts in the postseason
when Rivers was sidelined. The
word were hearing is that San
Diego is leaning toward not resigning Volek, but not because

The Raiders placed an exclusive


franchise tag on CB Nnamdi Asomugha, which will keep him in
Oakland for the 2008 season. They
were the only team in the league to
utilize the exclusive designation.
Asomugha is set to earn at least
$9.465 million this year, the average salary of the five highest-paid cornerbacks in the
league. The exclusive tag is
different from the non-exclusive designation because it
prevents the player from
negotiating with other teams. If
Asomugha had been given the
non-exclusive tag, he could have
taken offers from other teams, and
the Raiders would have had the
option to either match the contract
or receive two first-round picks as
compensation for losing him. It
wasnt surprising that Oakland
used the franchise tag on Asomugha, but using the exclusive version could have implications for the
next time the five-year veteran

When Chiefs coach Herm


Edwards addressed the media in
Indy, he was surprisingly specific
about what the team is looking for
the offseason. Were probably
looking for eight new starters,
Edwards said. Not that all
eight players will be coming
from the draft. Edwards
specifically stated that both
the draft and free agency
will produce its share of
future Chiefs, but that with the
Chiefs emphasis on getting
younger, only those free agents
whose best football is ahead of
them will be targeted. Edwards
also said that hell take all that
transpired over the Combine week
with a grain of salt. They run
around, they jump, they touch the
ground, they flip, they do all the
cartwheels, but at the end, to me,
the beauty pageant is how they
play football, Edwards said. And
you have to get back to the
(game) tape.

backers coach. And to top it off, they


might yank a few players in free
agency. (Jones) is not going to do any
deals with them.
This is a one-quarterback draft.
Theres not much there after Matt
Ryan.
The Saints have a big hole to fill
at cornerback. I think they feel better
about finding one in the draft.
The Carolina Panthers have to get
back to playing smashmouth football.
They lost their identity last year. It
starts up front. They need to be more
physical on the offensive line. And they
have got to have a power back. They
didnt have power last year. DeShaun
Foster is a slasher. DeAngelo
Williams is not that kind of guy either.
He could pick up some tough yards,
but he is more of a complementary
back. They need a workhorse like

Stephen Davis so they can ram it


again.
The best time to enter the freeagent market is after the first wave.You
get in early and youre going to pay
through the roof. The market always
pushes up the price tag. Im not interested in overpaying anyone. To me,
you can find good value after the first
wave every year. You just have to go
back to the tape and look hard for it. A
lot of money every year goes to the
guys with big names the Jevon
Kearses. He was done when the
Eagles signed him. What has he done
since? But his name was a big draw.
There are few guards or centers
in this draft. As a result, youre going to
see the best in free agency get overpaid. Guys like Alan Faneca, Jeff
Faine they will have a lot of value on
the open market.

HARRY SCULL, JR.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Rehabbing: QB Philip Rivers is recovering from January knee surgery

MARCH 2008

SPORTPICS

28

The following quotes are from NFL


scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on condition of anonymity.
(Giants defensive coordinator)
Steve Spagnuolo created four-man
pressure and blitzed from all over the
place. The last one to do that and win
the Super Bowl was Buddy Ryan.
When Baltimore won it, they were not a
great blitz team. What Spags did was
unbelievable.
The Browns need to get better on
defense. Their front seven is getting old.
Their inside linebackers are average.
When you look at what the Falcons and Chiefs have at offensive tackle, I dont know how they have any
other choice but to draft one early.
Youre talking about two very depleted
offensive lines.
This years receiver class

reminds me of the group that came out


a few years ago when Santonio
Holmes was the first receiver drafted.
Theres really not a first-rounder in the
class.
(Rams executive vice president
of player personnel) Billy Devaney
will be on his own for the first time. He
has always had someones coattails to
ride. He was always behind Bobby
Beathard or Terry Donahue or
Rich McKay. Hes never been on the
front line and had to take the heat when
things dont go right.
Jerry Jones loves Darren
McFadden. He is the type of guy who
will go after what he wants. ... But he is
not going to trade with the Dolphins.
Why would he after they raided (the
Cowboys) staff. (The Dolphins) took
his player personnel director, his offensive line coach, his DB coach, his line-

SPORTPICS

A U D I B L E S

Darren McFadden

MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

29

Nash eyes elusive title in Dallas


By

MARK ANDERSON

After becoming one of the Arena Football


Leagues top wide receivers, Marcus Nash
would seem to be welcome in any locker
room especially one where his best friend
was the star quarterback.
But Nash made no such assumptions
when he joined the Dallas Desperados
before last season.
No matter what kinds of awards he had
won or what kinds of numbers he had put up,
Nash considered the move to Dallas, which
opens the 2008 season on March 1 at the
Georgia Force, as a place where he had to fit
in rather than come in and take over.
Before I got there, they were a good team
anyway, Nash said about the Desperados,
who posted a 15-1 record in 07.
It wasnt like they needed help
or me to be the guy because
they had those guys. It was my
opportunity to come in and
make it a better team, so thats
what I tried to do. At the same time, it was a
tightly knit group that believed in what it
was doing.
Nash showed he could meld with his new
teammates, finishing second on the Desperados with 77 receptions for 1,080 yards and
20 touchdowns. AFL Ironman of the Year
Will Pettis led the club with 130 catches for
1,471 yards and 40 TDs.
Pettis posted the kind of statistics Nash
was accustomed to compiling with the thenLas Vegas Gladiators from 2004 to 06.
Maybe Nash is ready to return to his previous form after dropping 10 pounds to get
down to 210 on his 6-foot-4 frame. He also
said this is the healthiest and strongest he
has entered any season in five or six years.
Desperados coach Will McClay said
Nash, who turned 32 on Feb. 1, should
remain at the top of his game for another two
or three years.
The guy takes care of his body, McClay
said. He works extremely hard.
Nashs ability seldom has been questioned.
He is tall, strong, quick and tough a difficult

matchup for just about any defensive back.


After becoming an All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection as Peyton Mannings top target at the University of Tennessee, Nash was selected in the first round
(30th overall) of the 1998 NFL draft by the
Denver Broncos.
But despite winning Super Bowl rings with
the Broncos (1998 season) and Baltimore
Ravens (2000), Nash never lived up to expectations as a first-round pick and soon was out
of the NFL, with critics having questions
about how hard he worked.
That reputation changed when he got to the
AFL. Nash is the consummate professional
and has the results to prove it.
After catching 69 passes for 866 yards and
12 touchdowns in 2003 with the then-Detroit
Fury, Nash signed with Las
Vegas, where his career really
took off.
He became the AFLs Offensive Player of the Year in 2004,
setting a league record with 154
receptions and a record-tying 46 touchdown
catches. Nash also had 1,771 yards receiving.
Nash finished with similar numbers the
following two seasons 131 catches for
1,769 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2005; 123
receptions for 1,317 yards and 28 TDs in 06.
Though there was a little drop-off in 06,
Nash played without Clint Dolezel, his current quarterback in Dallas. The Gladiators,
who moved to Cleveland after last season,
unsuccessfully used two quarterbacks to try
to replace Dolezel.
No matter who was or wasnt on the field,
though, Nash made sure he was there. He
made it a routine to practice little during the
week and produce a lot on the weekend. The
amount of pain mattered little.
One time, though, it almost was too much
for Nash. After injuring his right knee before
a game at Arizona in 2004, he looked done
for the week. No Nash, no chance for the
Gladiators.
Then-coach Frank Haege went to Nash
before the game and asked if he could go.

ARENA
FOOTBALL

Knowing the Gladiators were hurting


throughout the lineup, Nash told Haege he
was ready, and then went out and caught 15
passes for 145 yards and an AFL-recordtying seven touchdowns. Las Vegas defense
failed to show, however, and the Gladiators
lost 80-63.
His body is probably 70 years old, but
come game time, hes a spring chicken,
Dolezel said.
Although the Gladiators, who were
mediocre during Nashs three seasons, needed
him on the field, that isnt the case in Dallas,
which has more of a luxury to wait for a more
healthy and rested Nash. The Desperados set
a league record with 63.5 points per outing
last season even with Nash missing six games.
I couldnt do that in Vegas, Nash said.
But it was in Vegas that Nash and Dolezel
became best friends and perhaps the AFLs
most dangerous tandem.
Dolezel left after the 2005 season to sign
with Dallas and immediately led the Desperados to a 13-3 record. Then Nash became a
free agent a year later, and Dolezel wanted
his buddy back in the same huddle.
Everybodys always looking for a big
receiver, Dolezel said. Im OK with a big
receiver who can run good routes and has
speed.
The chemistry between the golf partners
didnt hurt, either. Dolezel drove 312 hours
from Dallas to Austin, Texas, to catch Nash
and the Gladiators in the 2006 season opener. Nash then rode with Dolezel back to Dallas to watch the Desperados first game
before flying back to Las Vegas.
That friendship carries over to the field,
where they seldom are out of sync.
Our friendship, first of all, is the most
important thing, Dolezel said. We have a
great relationship. I can tell him what I
think, and I know what hes feeling.
Nash has been around Dolezel long
enough to know the quarterback isnt afraid
to show his anger over a route not run properly, but nothing is personal once the game is
over. Though mostly quiet, Nash sometimes
flares up, and Dolezel loves to see that com-

petitiveness.
Having Dolezel in Dallas made the transition to a new club easier for Nash.
Dallas has been a familiar opponent for
years, and I did a good job against them,
Nash said. But they hadnt seen me play for
16 games or been around me in practices. It
was a challenge, and having the quarterback
who knows what I do helped.
McClay said that closeness helps Dolezel
because he doesnt have to worry whether
Nash will show up prepared.
Thats key, and how I look at it, I like
older, veteran players because they know
what it takes, McClay said. If they get better as a player, others will follow.
The Desperados followed and accepted
Nash and the club flourished.
Nash went past 1,000 yards receiving for
the fourth consecutive season, and Pettis finished with big numbers. Dolezel completed
70.4 percent of his passes for 4,474 yards and
107 touchdowns with only nine interceptions.
The Desperados cruised to the playoffs.
That is where the good feelings about
2007 ended, however. Just like the year
before, a strong regular season ended before
the ArenaBowl.
In 06, Dallas advanced to the National
Conference championship game before losing 45-28 to the Orlando Predators. Then
last season, the Desperados followed a firstround bye with a stunning 66-59 defeat to a
Columbus Destroyers club that went 7-9 in
the regular season.
A great regular season isnt good enough
this year. The Desperados want to be the best
team at the end of July, not just at the end of
June.
Getting there has given Nash and his
teammates an added sense of determination.
Everybodys approaching that its about
the postseason, and we dont care what happens on the way, Nash said. If you go 151 and lose in the first round, it doesnt mean
anything.
Mark Anderson covers football for the Las
Vegas Review-Journal and is executive
director of the AFL Writers Association.

Coming in March!
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
P r o F o o t b a l l W e e k l y s 2 0 0 8 D r a f t G u i d e g i v e s
you an early look at the upcoming NFL draft.

I t s n e v e r t o o e a r l y t o g e t s t a r t e d !
HERES WHATS INSIDE:

DRAFT PROSPECTS RANKED BY POSITION


SCOUTING REPORTS ON OVER 350 PLAYERS
DRAFT ANALYSES FOR ALL 32 NFL TEAMS
AN EARLY MOCK DRAFT
UPDATED HEIGHTS, WEIGHTS, 40-TIMES
AND PLAYER STATS
AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

30

http://www.profootballweekly.com

NFL DRAFT ORDER

NFL TRANSACTIONS

The first-round draft order as of


Feb. 24 is as follows:

(As reported, Feb. 4-22)

07
STRENGTH OF
RECORD SCHEDULE

1. Miami

1-15

.539

2. St. Louis

3-13

.512

3. Atlanta

4-12

.516

4. Oakland

4-12

.516

5. Kansas City

4-12

.516

6. New York Jets

4-12

.523

7. New England (FROM S.F.)

5-11

.465

8. Baltimore

5-11

.516

9. Cincinnati

7-9

.461

10. New Orleans

7-9

.480

11. Buffalo

7-9

.516

12. Denver

7-9

.516

13. Carolina

7-9

.523

14. Chicago

7-9

.543

15. Detroit

7-9

.543

16. Arizona

8-8

.434

17. Minnesota

8-8

.504

18. Houston

8-8

.516

19. Philadelphia

8-8

.563

20. Tampa Bay

9-7

.469

21. Washington

9-7

.555

22. Dallas (FROM CLEVELAND.)

10-6

.430

23. Pittsburgh

10-6

.453

24. Tennessee

10-6

.500

25. Seattle

10-6

.414

26. Jacksonville

11-5

.516

27. San Diego

11-5

.500

28. Dallas

13-3

.496

29. San Francisco (FROM IND..) 13-3

.516

30. Green Bay

.469

13-3

31. New England*


32. New York Giants

MARCH 2008

10-6

.516

* Will forfeit first-round pick as punishment


for illegal videotaping.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE


BALTIMORE Feb. 5: Named: Hue Jackson (Falcons
07), QB coach; Andy Moeller (Michigan 07), assistant OL
coach. Feb. 8: Named: Jim Hostler (49ers 07), WR coach;
Craig Ver Steeg (Rutgers 07), offensive quality-control
coach. Feb. 12: Named: Bob Rogucki (Eagles 07),
strength-and-conditioning coach); John Dunn (Redskins
05), assistant strength-and-conditioning coach; Marwan
Maalouf (Browns 06), assistant special-teams coach; Greg
Mattison (University of Florida 07), LB coach; Chuck
Pagano (University of North Carolina 07, Raiders 06), DB
coach. Feb. 18: Designated franchise player: LB Terrell
Suggs. Feb. 19: Contract terminated: DT Kenny King
(failed physical).
BUFFALO Feb. 5: Named: Ray Brown (Redskins
player 05), assistant OL coach. Feb. 11: Named: Adrian
White (NFL Europe 07), defensive quality-control coach.
Feb. 14: Contract terminated: WR Peerless Price. Placed
on waivers: LB Kevin Harrison; CB E.J. Underwood.
CINCINNATI Feb. 5: Roster addition: P Danny
Baugher (released by Patriots 8/31). Feb. 11: Placed on
waivers: LB Roy Manning. Feb. 13: Key re-signing: Potential ERFA S Herana-Daze Jones. Feb. 18: Designated franchise player: OT-OG Stacy Andrews.
DENVER Feb. 8: Named: Scout Jeff Goodman, assistant general manager. Feb. 11: Roster addition: WR Derrick Hamilton (ended 07 season on Texans practice squad).
Contract terminated: LB Warrick Holdman. Feb. 12:
Assigned on waivers: LB Brandon Archer from Colts. Roster addition: LB William Kershaw (released by Chiefs 9/19,
by Texans 12/18, ended 07 season on Eagles practice
squad). Reserve/retired: OT Matt Lepsis. Placed on
waivers: WR Carlton Brewster. Feb. 15: Reserve/retired:
WR Rod Smith.
HOUSTON Feb. 20: Contracts terminated: LB
Shawn Barber; C Mike Flanagan; TE Jeb Putzier. Placed on
waivers: C Drew Hodgdon.
INDIANAPOLIS Feb. 11: Placed on waivers: LB
Brandon Archer. Feb. 14: Assigned on waivers: PK Shane
Andrus from Giants. Feb. 18: Designated franchise player:
TE Dallas Clark.
JACKSONVILLE Feb. 8: Named: Thom Kaumeyer
(Tulane 07), DB coach; assistant special-teams coach Tom
Williams, defensive assistant; assistant DL coach Ted
Monachino, DL coach. Feb. 13: Roster addition: TE Charles
Davis (ended 07 season on Jaguars practice squad).
KANSAS CITY Feb. 12: Assigned on waivers: OT
Anthony Alabi from Dolphins. Placed on waivers: RB
Gilbert Harris; DE Khreem Smith. Feb. 13: Contract terminated: OG John Welbourn. Feb. 15: Reserve/retired: RB
Priest Holmes. Feb. 18: Designated franchise player: DE
Jared Allen.
MIAMI Feb. 4: Named: Dan Henning (Panthers 06),
offensive coordinator. Feb. 6: Roster addition: CB Joey
Thomas (released by Cowboys 9/2). Feb. 11: Contracts terminated: WR Marty Booker; QB Trent Green; OT L.J. Shelton; NT Keith Traylor. Placed on waivers: OT Anthony Alabi,
OT Marion Dukes (from reserve/left squad), OT Joe Toledo;
DT Anthony Bryant, DT Marquay Love. Feb. 15: Contract
terminated: LB Zach Thomas.
NEW ENGLAND Feb. 5: Roster additions: C-OG
Dan Connolly; WR C.J. Jones; CB Tim Mixon (all ended season on Patriots practice squad). Feb. 11: Roster addition:

LB T.J. Slaughter (not tendered as UFA by 49ers 6/4). Practice-squad contracts expired: LB Kyle Bissinger; WR
Brandon Childress; TE Jason Rader; CB Gemara Williams.
Feb. 21: Named: Dom Capers (Dolphins defensive coordinator 07) special assistant/secondary; coaching assistant
Bill OBrien, WR coach. Appointed: WR coach Nick Caserio, director of player personnel.
NEW YORK JETS Feb. 19: Roster addition: S Artrell
Hawkins (released by Patriots 8/18/07). Named: assistant
offensive-line coach Mike Devlin, tight ends/assistant offensive line coach; assistant defensive backs coach Jerome
Henderson, defensive backs coach. Feb. 20: Named: Kevin
ODea (Bears 07), special-teams coach.
OAKLAND Feb. 6: Named: James Lofton (Chargers
07), WR coach. Feb. 13: Key re-signing: Potential UFA RB
Justin Fargas. Assigned on waivers: WR Todd Watkins
from Falcons. Feb. 20: Designated exclusive franchise
player: CB Nnamdi Asomugha.
PITTSBURGH Feb. 6: Roster addition: QB Jared
Zabransky (released by Texans 9/2, from Texans practice
squad 9/18). Feb. 19: Key signing: Potential UFA DE Travis
Kirschke. Feb. 20: Designated transition player: OT Max
Starks. Feb. 22: Contracts terminated: LB Clint Kriewaldt
(failed physical); CB-KR Allen Rossum; TE Jerame Tuman.
TENNESSEE Feb. 13: Placed on waivers: WR
Richie Ross. Feb. 15: Resigned: Assistant head
coach/offense Sherman Smith (Redskins). Feb. 20: Designated franchise player: DT Albert Haynesworth.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE


ARIZONA Feb. 21: Contracts terminated: DT Chris
Cooper; S Terrence Holt; OT Oliver Ross.
ATLANTA Feb. 4: Named: Joe Danna (James Madison 07), defensive quality-control coach. Feb. 5: Roster
addition: TE George Cooper (ended season on Falcons
practice squad). Feb. 6: Named: Alvin Reynolds (Jaguars
07), DB coach. Feb. 9: Resigned: Assistant general manager Billy Devaney (Rams). Feb. 12: Placed on waivers:
WR Todd Watkins. Feb. 13: Named: Glenn Pires (Dolphins
07), LB coach. Retained: Assistant strength and conditioning coach Billy White Shoes Johnson. Feb. 19: Contracts
terminated: DT Rod Coleman; TE Alge Crumpler; OT
Wayne Gandy (failed physical); QB Byron Leftwich; CB
Lewis Sanders; LB Marcus Wilkins. Placed on waivers: WR
Jamin Elliott (failed physical).
CAROLINA Feb. 11: Contracts terminated: LB Dan
Morgan; OG Mike Wahle (both post-June 1 designation).
Feb. 20: Designated franchise player: OT Jordan Gross.
Feb. 21: Contract terminated: RB DeShaun Foster.
CHICAGO Feb. 19: Contracts terminated: OT Fred
Miller (failed physical); WR Muhsin Muhammad; DT Darwin
Walker.
DALLAS Feb. 7: Named: Reggie Herring (Arkansas
07), LB coach. Feb. 21: Designated franchise player: S
Ken Hamlin.
DETROIT Feb. 11: Contract terminated: S Etric
Pruitt (failed physical). Placed on waivers: DE Matthew
Rice (failed physical).
GREEN BAY Feb. 7: Practice-squad contract
expired: LB Carl-Johan Bjork (1/28). Feb. 13: Named: Russ
Ball
(Saints
07),
vice
president
of
football
administration/finance. Feb. 20: Designated franchise
player: DT Corey Williams. Contract terminated: TE Bubba
Franks.
MINNESOTA Feb. 20: Contract terminated: S

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Amazing statistics, cu

Dwight Smith.
NEW ORLEANS Feb. 12: Named: Aaron Kromer
(Buccaneers 07), RB coach; Travis Jones (Dolphins 07),
assistant DL coach; assistant special-teams coach Greg
McMahon, special-teams coach; assistant DL coach Dennis
Allen, DB coach. Fired: RB coach George Henshaw; DB
coach Tom Hayes. Feb. 13: Resigned: Vice president of
football administration Russ Ball (Packers). Feb. 20: Roster
addition: WR Carlton Brewster (released by Broncos 2/13).
N.Y. GIANTS Feb. 6: Roster additions: CB Darren
Barnett; OT NaShan Goddard; RB Kay-Jay Harris; WR
Brandon London; S Andrew Shanle (all ended season on
Giants practice squad); TE Marcus Freeman (ended regular
season on Panthers practice squad, ended season on
Giants practice squad); OT Brandon Torrey (ended regular
season on Cardinals practice squad, ended season on
Giants practice squad). Feb. 7: Roster addition: WR Todd
Lowber (released by Vikings 8/28, from Giants practice
squad 10/5, 1/8). Feb. 11: Practice-squad contract
expired: CB Jeff Shoate. Feb. 13: Key re-signing: Potential
UFA P Jeff Feagles (2/11). Contract terminated: FB Jim
Finn (failed physical). Placed on waivers: PK Shane
Andrus. Feb. 19: Roster addition: LB Keith ONeil (released
from reserve/injured with injury settlement by Colts 9/7/07).
Feb. 20: Placed on waivers: DT Dek Bake; S Craig Dahl
(failed physical); C Todd Londot.
PHILADELPHIA Feb. 12: Resigned: Assistant
strength-and-conditioning coach Bob Rogucki (Ravens).
Feb. 13: Named: Strength-and-conditioning assistant Greg
Merlino, assistant strength-and-conditioning coach. Feb. 22:
Roster addition: WR Bam Childress (ended 07 season on
Patriots practice squad).
ST. LOUIS Feb. 9: Named: Billy Devaney (Falcons
07), executive vice president of player personnel; assistant
DB coach Ron Milus, DB coach. Feb. 11: Roster addition:
PK Justin Medlock (released by Chiefs 9/12). Feb. 15:
Named: Assistant OL coach Jim Chaney, TE coach; Bob
Saunders (Redskins 07), offensive assistant. Granted paid
leave: TE coach Judd Garrett.
SAN FRANCISCO Feb. 4: Named: Scout Trent
Baalke, director of player personnel; Tony Nathan (Ravens
07), RB coach. Feb. 14: Roster addition: P Ricky Schmitt
(released by Cardinals 8/28/). Feb. 15: Named: Chris Foerster (Ravens '07), OL coach. Feb. 19: Contract terminated:
LB Derek Smith.
SEATTLE Feb. 8: Named: Bill Lazor (Redskins 07),
QB coach. Feb. 12: Resigned: RB coach Stump Mitchell
(Seahawks). Feb. 15: Roster addition: OG Mike Wahle
(released by Panthers 2/11). Feb. 21: Designated franchise player: CB Marcus Trufant.
TAMPA BAY Feb. 12: Resigned: Senior assistant/OL
Aaron Kromer (Saints). Feb. 15: Named: Special-teams
coordinator Richard Bisaccia, RB coach.
WASHINGTON Feb. 7: Fired: Offensive assistant
Jack Burns; assistant coach/special projects Bob Saunders.
Feb. 8: Resigned: QB coach Bill Lazor (Seahawks). Feb. 9:
Named: Jim Zorn (Seahawks 07), head coach. Feb. 11:
Named: Chris Meidt (St. Olafs 07), offensive assistant. Feb.
12: Named: Stump Mitchell (Seahawks 07), assistant head
coach/RB coach; John Palermo (Tennessee Tech 07), DL
coach. Fired: RB coach Earnest Byner. Feb. 15: Named:
Sherman Smith (Titans 07), offensive coordinator. Feb. 19:
Key signing: Potential UFA LS Ethan Albright.
ONLINE TRANSACTION UPDATES AT:
www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFL+Zone/Transactions/default.htm

MARCH 2008

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

http://www.profootballweekly.com

31

INSIDE COMBINE STORY:

Scouting opportunity provides intriguing change of pace


EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Standing in front of the Sirius Radio broadcast booth


in the lobby adjacent to the national medias Scouting
Combine work room with 30 or so fellow pro football
writers, I aimed my binoculars down the giant hallway.
Clearly, something pretty big was in the offing the
chance to actually get inside the RCA Dome to watch the
all-important Combine workouts that annually help
determine the drafting directions of the NFLs 32 teams.
For roughly 90 minutes, I peered intently through my
binoculars, focusing on lanky Iowa State WR Todd
Blythe, whom I had been assigned to write a scouting
report on for the Pro Football Writers of America pool
report that would be compiled later that evening by
PFWA president Alex Marvez.
In the grand scheme of things, maybe it wasnt all that
big a deal, not with the nonstop Combine coverage by
NFL Network that has become such a staple for this
annual industry event.
But for an old-school guy like me who vividly
remembers a time when any attempt to get inside the

another lucrative cash cow.


Not too far down the road, I can actually see something like that happening. Theres no reason for the information inside the building to be considered so privileged.

Giant transformation

ELSA / GETTY IMAGES

THE SLANT

DAN ARKUSH

dome for just a peek of the action was considered a major


sin I have to say it was a very refreshing experience.
Make no mistake. The veil of secrecy associated with
the Combine is still very much intact. Gathered just outside a stadium suite in comfortable 20-yard-line seats,
we were told in somber tones by the NFL P.R. guys
monitoring the scene that any attempt to chronicle anything specifically going on in the stands would probably
put an end to a media opportunity that is now in its second year of existence.
But the increase in media access is indeed a welcome
development for the Combine, which has grown significantly in scope, with pro footballs popularity at what
seems like an all-time high.
Beyond that, pretending to be a scout for a brief period
of time was, put simply, pretty cool. Especially since a
few days earlier, I coincidentally was assigned to record
Blythes media interview by the outfit that provides fullscale Combine transcriptions of most of the draft-eligible
players media exchanges, as well as those for the 30 or
so NFL head coaches and GMs on hand.
As a result, I find myself particularly drawn to Blythe,
who seemed to be a really good kid with his head on
straight when I talked to him up close and personal a few
days earlier.
Projected as a middle-round draft choice at best,
Blythes 6-foot-5 size and natural athleticism just might
give him a shot at cracking an NFL roster as a decent redzone receiver. During the hour and a half that I recorded
every move he made, I thought he accounted himself well
enough, a few dropped passes notwithstanding.
And I will be very interested to see to what extent the
actual NFL personnel types agree with that assessment.
Maybe next year theyll allow us to spend more than
90 minutes inside the dome. If the NFL were smart, itd
open up the event to the general public and create yet

Of all the NFL talking heads who graced the national


media with their presence at the podium during this
years Combine, the one who by far left the most noteworthy impression was Tom Coughlin.
Unlike a year ago, when he couldnt have looked more
on edge, the head coach of the Super Bowl-champion
New York Giants was a picture of serenity.
Not only did he look really great physically a far
cry from the painfully frozen-faced figure on the sideline
during the NFC title game in Green Bay this past season.
Coughlin also went out of his way to be accommodating, answering every question with a warm, genuine
smile. The often-biting sarcasm that was so evident last
year when it looked like he would snap in half
because he was wound so tightly was replaced by an
actual sense of humor.
Trust me, longtime Coughlin observers. Im not kidding around like the Giants head coach was doing
more than a little at this years Combine.
Like his response to the second question he fielded in
his scheduled interview with the media, when he was
asked if he had any idea one year earlier in Indy that the
Giants would end up being this years most unlikely
Super Bowl champions.
I had it all mapped out, he said,
Never happier:
smiling. I knew this would be takGiants coach Tom
Coughlin has undering place.
gone a personality
A little later on, while holding
makeover
court in the lobby of the Indiana
Convention Center, Coughlin was
asked if he had watched any replays of what turned out
to be one of the most stunning upsets in league history.
My wife actually had a tape of it on the next night,
Coughlin said.
And what was that like?
I was very concerned at the end, he replied with a
smirk.
Clearly, Tom Coughlin looks like a changed man a
perception that was verified by the guy as responsible as
anyone for his dramatic metamorphosis, second-year
Giants GM Jerry Reese.
Theres no doubt he has changed for the better, said
Reese, who added that a contract extension for Coughlin
could be finalized any day now. They say you cant
teach an old dog new tricks, but that doesnt apply in
Toms case. It was he who set the pace for our total team
mentality by intentionally making subtle changes.
He created much more of a human element. Before,
he was strictly business. An example is when he decided
to take the team on a bowling outing during the season.
You cant imagine how much that meant to the players.
Coughlin was equally complimentary toward Reese,
who hit a tape-measure home run with his cumulative
drafting effort in 2007, with all eight of the rookies the
Giants selected each of whom attended last years
Combine, by the way making this years roster, most
of them offering significant contributions.
Jerry came into that position with both feet on the
ground, running full speed ahead, Coughlin said.
Because of the position that he held as director of college scouting, he certainly had a great feel for the organization, for the players, for the coaching staff, if you will.
The thing that Jerry brings to the table is great energy, great passion. He was very positive, very aggressive
with the roster, very supportive. So the idea that we both
work together was something that we did from Day One.
Hes certainly been an excellent guy to work with.
Certainly, the steady praise both Coughlin and Reese
have been receiving from their peers is responsible for
their perpetually good moods these days.
Everybody is happy for us, said Reese. Some guys
can work for 30 years and never get a chance. I come in
the first year, and were lucky enough to win it. Its just
how it goes sometimes.
But this is a new team, Reese cautioned. You have
to re-evaluate everything and move forward and put the

pieces together to win this season.


Whatever path the Giants travel down in 2008, heres
hoping the peace of mind that made Coughlin one of the
Combines best feel-good stories this year continues.
Arguably one of the leagues biggest pains in the butt
in his prior life, Coughlin has all of a sudden become an
absolute pleasure to deal with.

Combine quotebook

Bears head coach Lovie Smith on whether he now


considers Alex Brown, who recently received a welldeserved contract extension, the new starter at right end
ahead of Mark Anderson: Right now, Id just rather not
talk about a lot of the starting positions. Whenever you
sign a player and make a commitment like that, youre
saying that you really like that guy a lot. Alex Brown finished the season off strong. Hes a good football player.
But even last year, even though Mark Anderson started,
we talked about having three starters. Our three ends all
played about the same amount. I think nowadays instead
of four linemen, teams would like to see seven to eight
linemen that you can put in the rotation, and you feel
like theyre all starters.
Bills head coach Dick Jauron on his team playing
games in Toronto beginning next season: As a coach of
a football team, it will be an interesting opportunity. It
will be an opportunity for us to get in front of some of
our fans from the north in their home. In order for us to
keep our franchise strong in Buffalo, we need to regionalize. Thats the place to go, the fifth-largest area in
North America. So theres a lot of opportunity there. We
have a lot of fans there already. We hope to attract more.
Jets head coach Eric Mangini on WR Laveranues
Coles, who has made it clear that hes far from happy
with his current contract: Laveranues and I have a very
good relationship. I sent him a text recently, which I
think he was shocked by, the fact that I know how to
text. And then he called me back, and we spent a long
time talking. What we were really talking about is I
wanted to get his feedback on the season. He was one of
the most impressive guys that Ive been around, who has
transitioned into that captains role. I thought he
embraced it. I thought he did a great job representing the
players, while also working to move the organization forward and to look at things objectively and critically. And
thats what he and I are going to do. Sit down and get his
feedback on things that we can do better, things that I
can do better. Because I appreciate that insight, and I
know that when he gives it, it is looking at the big picture and not just isolated on his view of things.
Niners head coach Mike Nolan, confirming that
newly promoted GM Scot McCloughan now has the
final say on all football decisions: Yes, thats correct.
The final say right now, if it comes down to that, if
theres a disagreement, Scot would have the final say. The
important thing about running the top of your organization correctly is there arent a lot of disagreements, and to
this point there have not been, and I do not foresee any
going down the road. But it is important, and when there
is a difference, its about coming together, its not about
winning the argument, its about coming together and
finding the best player, and thats what weve done thus
far and what well continue to do. Im very much in favor
of Scot having that. Weve worked extremely well together. Our relationship has a lot to do with why its been
successful so far, and I dont see any of that changing.
Vikings head coach Brad Childress on whether he
knew a year ago at this time that RB Adrian Peterson
would end up having such a sensational rookie campaign: Do you want me to be honest? He had me ...
Whats the movie where they said you had me from
hello? He was just a bright-eyed guy. When you saw
him jump in, based on what had happened with a death
in the family, and knock off that 40-time, he sets his bar
very high. Hes a joy to have in the room. Hes a guy you
didnt want to leave from your interview because hes
practically jumping out of his seat. Thats exactly the
way he approached his rookie year. If you watched the
Pro Bowl at the end of his rookie year, he was the same
way. ... Hes a million-mile-an-hour guy, and Id much
prefer that as opposed to somebody that youve got to
put a blowtorch underneath their rear end.

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