February 28, 2006


by JJ Cameron

Now that Eric Moulds has rejected the Bills’ offer to restructure his contract, the receiver second in club history to Andre Reed in yards and catches could be on his way out.

“Based on what they’re proposing, I guess it’s not encouraging,” Moulds’ agent Harry Henderson told The Associated Press following a meeting with team officials. “We’re way off. … Our attitude has been optiIs Moulds Done in Buffalo?mistic, but realistically it may not happen.”

Moulds is a 10-year veteran and the team’s senior player, but he’s schedules to count $10.85 million agains the salary cap in 2006. Unless a new deal can be reached, the Bills would have little choice but to cut Moulds, which would save the team about $5.5 million in cap room … not to mention a handful of headaches after the wideout complained about his role in last season’s offense.

The release could come as early as this week, prior to the NFL’s free-agency period, scheduled to open March 3. Unlike Curtis Martin, Moulds appears unwilling to place the club’s interests above his own.

If he is let go, look for another team to sign this veteran. He could still be worthy of a third WR slot on your fantasy team - but, more importantly, this would leave the door open for Lee Evans and Josh Reed to have big years.


February 27, 2006


by JJ Cameron

As if fans in New England didn’t give themselves enough reasons to worry anyway, their two Super Bowl heroes find themselves in less than ideal shape these days.

First, the team chose not to place the franchise label on kicker Adam Vinatieri. He had been tagged for two consecutive years before this decision Another Adam Vinatieri Celebrationwas made and now the club will not be compensated if he signs elsewhere.

“It just didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” coach Bill Belichick said. “We considered all our options and decided not to tag anybody.”

The designation would’ve forced the Patriots to shell out $3 million this season for Vinatieri; certainly a great deal for a kicker, but is that truly too much for a city’s hero and one of the most clutch performers of all-time?

Meanwhile, New England joins other AFC East squads with quaterback questions. Granted, the Pats at least know who will be taking their starting snaps - some guy named Tom Brady - but he recently underwent hernia surgery. A full recovery is expected, however, and Brady should be one of the top three QBs taken in the 2006 fantasy draft.

Oh, New England also released Duane Starks.


February 25, 2006


by JJ Cameron

Alex Smith is a Bad QBFans of the 49ers aren’t sure how to react to the fact that the team won a coin toss over the Raiders for the sixth overall draft pick in April’s draft.

Last season, San Francisco had the top pick in the NFL Draft and made the enlightened decision to select Utah quarterback Alex Smith. He finished last season with a grand total of one touchdown pass amidst rumors that his hands were too small for the league. Seriously.

The Niners need help everywhere. They’d be lucky if Virgina lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson fell that far, but there’s a better chance the club looks to provide Smith with help on offense with a running back such as DeAngelo Williams.


February 24, 2006


by JJ Cameron

Daunte Culpepper has some advice for those firing up the NFL rumor mill with his possible trade talk: simmer down.

As controversy swirls that the Vikings will look to trade Culpepper if he demands a contract renegotiation, the quarterback tried to clarify the situation via an Email to the media:

Culpepper Hopes to Stay in Purple

“I want to update the fans of Minnesota and the NFL community on my status with the Vikings. Mr. Wilf and I spoke by phone on 2/21/2006, and we each shared our concerns about my present situation. He told me that the Vikings have not yet spoken to other teams about trading me.

In the meantime, I have made a good faith gesture toward the organization by offering to move my roster bonus around if it will help clear more cap space to sign free agents.”

Hmmmm … it’s hard not to focus on the word “yet” in there. Nevertheless, five Minnesota players told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that they’d hate to see Culpepper follow Randy Moss out the door. The quarterback’s knee appears to be healing nicely. This should be an intriguing situation for fantasy owners to follow.


February 23, 2006


by JJ Cameron

The fifth leading rusher in NFL history may be heading to the broadcast booth, but fans will be able to watch the back fourth on that list run wild on the field for at least one more season.

Martin Fights for YardsWhile terms and length were undisclosed, the Jets agreed to restructure the contract of Curtis Martin yesterday. He’ll be entering his 12th season in the league - ninth in New York. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum made the announcement:

“Curtis Martin is a special person and a player destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has confirmed through his actions that he is always seeking ways to help the New York Jets win football games and to lead the team both verbally and through his extremely high level of play.”

But will Martin be taking the handoffs from a different starting quarterback? The team is still negotiating a new deal with Chad Pennington, but it appears unlikely the injured signal caller will accept a drastic pay cut.

While Martin missed four games last season with injuries, he’s only a year removed from leading the league in rushing. No longer an elite back worthy of a first or second round selection for any fantasy team, Martin could be a solid back-up or third stringer. New Yorkers should be proud to include him and Tiki Barber as their team’s respective starters.



by Michael Stephens

Everyone knows how much it meant for Jerome Bettis to win the Super Bowl in Detroit, where the future Hall of Fame running back was born and raised. But he’s not the only member of the champion Pittsburgh Steelers to be revered in his home town.

Findlay, Ohio, is a small city of about 39,000 people in the sparsely populated northwest corner of the Buckeye State. In other words, a quiet kind of place. One likely to immortalize one of its own on signs, plaques and such if he ever achieved fame. Or at least a giant billboard. Ben Roethlisberger, a Findlay native and high school football star, became more than just the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl earlier this month. He became a poster child.

This is Ben Roethlisberger

This picture comes to us courtesy of a FFFF (Fantasy Football Files Fan) who happens to attend the University of Findlay. One might even call this person a UFFFFF, if one harbored an unhealthy obsession with acronyms. But no matter. As you can see, some people have much bigger fan bases than we do. And for good reason.

Hideous high school uniform and all, Big Ben now towers over Main Street in Findlay. It’s quite glorious. This is Findlay, people. You have to love the collective pride a local hero will inspire — especially in a region that must be inhabited with die-hard fans of Pittsburgh’s AFC Central rivals, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Things like this really make you appreciate sports and small towns alike.

Roethlisberger, who turns 24 next week, starred at Miami University (Ohio) before being selected by the Steelers with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He has lost only four of the 32 NFL games he has started, including playoffs, and will be a key factor as Pittsburgh gears up for its title defense — and a shot at a record sixth Super Bowl title — next fall.

As a fantasy option, Roethlisberger is solid. He will probably not put up huge numbers, but you can count on efficiency. His numbers after two seasons in the NFL: 34 TDs, 20 INTs, a completion percentage of 64.7, a rating of 98.3, and a 5-1 playoff record. Certainly enough to warrant mid-round fantasy consideration in your league, as well as small-town pride in northwest Ohio.



by Michael Stephens

The Indianapolis Colts apparently don’t think Reggie Wayne deserves to be designated their “franchise player.” They think he deserves even better.Expect Much More of This in the Coming Years

The receiver signed six-year contract worth approximately $40 million, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Many football gurus, including those at the Files, expected Wayne to be slapped with the franchise tag, which would have kept him in Indianapolis for one year a salary commensurate with the league’s top receivers. But agent David Dunn announced that his client signed a six-year deal that includes bonuses of nearly $13.5 million.

The contract keeps Wayne with Colts through 2011 season and cements the elite receiving corps that Peyton Manning has used to power the team for years. Seven-time Pro Bowler Marvin Harrison and talented Brandon Stokley will also be back in 2006 and hopefully beyond.

A team can only use franchise designation on one free agent per season. Linebacker David Thornton (who would cost $7.169 million if tagged) or defensive end Raheem Brock ($8.332 million) are the top candidates, with the prevailing wisdom in Indy being that the team will let star running back Edgerrin James walk.

G.M. Bill Polian reiterated last week that it would be virtually impossible to use the tag once again on James, who was franchised a year ago and would set the Colts back $11 million next season under the same circumstances. He said that retaining James and Wayne would significant changes in the current roster — ones he may not wish to make — to get Indy under the $95 million salary cap.

Wayne, 27, led the Colts with a career-high 83 receptions in 2005, ending Harrison’s six-year run as the team’s leading receiver. He has registered 304 receptions for 4,164 yards and 28 touchdowns in five seasons. Even if he isn’t the first option on his own team, Wayne is good enough to be a third-round pick in any fantasy draft, and is probably one of the top 15 wideouts in the NFL.

The New Orleans native and former Miami Hurricane is also the favorite player of James A. Woodcock, a close friend of the Files. So bump his stock up another notch yet.


February 22, 2006


by JJ Cameron

Citizens of Detroit: we hope you enjoyed hosting the Super Bowl. Make sure you appreciate the success of native Jerome Bettis. Find something to keep you occupied on Sundays in the fall.

Now that Mike Martz is your offensive coordinator and Joey Harrington is apparently STILL your starting quarterback, you should already be looking ahead to the 2007 NFL Draft.

Stoked that fans were chanting his name last season - and unaware that they preceded it with the command “fire!” - Detroit President Matt Millen has decided to stick with Harrington, the complete bust of a former third overall pick. He told the Detroit Free Press this week:

“I think we have our starter, wouldn’t you say?” asked Millen, turning to new coach, Rod Marinelli.

Joey Harrington Think It'll be OkayDuring the offseason, Millen added, the Lions will seek the best backup quarterback they can get by trade, free agency or the draft. The backup would compete with Harrington, but the job is Harrington’s to lose. Somehow, a lifetime QB rating of 68.1 and 62 interceptions against only 60 touchdowns has not been enough to guarantee this loss already.

“We’re going to approach it that Harrington’s our starter,” Millen said. “We move forward on that, and we coach the heck out of him, and we get him into the system, and we start the process.”

Harrington is 18-37 as a starter. While Martz may have won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 1999, turning Kurt Warner into an MVP in the process, he’s still an arrogant jerk. And wasn’t Steve Mariucci brought in to rescue Harrington already? That sure went well.



by Michael Stephens

Mo Clarett Sure Can Run... From the Law!Former Ohio State star tailback and Denver Broncos reject Maurice Clarett pleaded not guilty to robbery charges Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio.

Prosecutors allowed Clarett, who is accused of brandishing a gun at two people at a bar on New Year’s Day and taking a cell phone, to enter his plea with the clerk’s office and avoid his scheduled arraignment Friday. The 22-year old left the scene in an SUV with two men after he was identified by the bar owner. No one was injured.

Clarett, who led Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, was sought by police for almost two days before he turned himself in. He was indicted on two counts of aggravated robbery, four lesser robbery charges and a concealed weapons charge, then released on his own recognizance.

The running back gained 1,237 yards and scored 16 touchdowns for Ohio State as a freshman in 2002. He was suspended for the 2003 season for filing a false police report claiming that more than $10,000 in belongings were stolen from him. He then attempted to enter the NFL Draft, challenging the league rule that players must be three years removed from high school. Multiple hearings and hundreds of thousands in legal fees later, his request was denied by appellate courts.

After finally meeting the age requirement, Clarett declared for the 2005 Draft and was taken with the 101st pick by the Denver Broncos. His NFL career consisted of him turning down a signing bonus of more than $400,000 in favor of an incentive-laden deal, then being waived in August after several run-ins with coaches and drinking alcohol in the team’s weight room.

This guy will not be resurfacing in the NFL anytime soon. But if there is a strike or something, or if a team loses its top six rushers (a la Green Bay, 2005) and he gets another shot, don’t even contemplate wasting your last roster spot on him. Unless your league has mid-season arrests as a statistical category.


February 21, 2006


by Michael Stephens

Pennington Done in N.Y.The sticky situation regarding Chad Pennington could be resolved later this week as the NFL scouting combine commences, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. But it’s not looking like the former Marshall star will remain with Gang Green.

Pennington’s refusal to accept the Jets’ proposal to cut his salary from $8 million to $1 million (while having him make up difference through incentives) means the quarterback is likely on the way out, according to the New York Daily News.

The Jets have the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft and new coach Eric Mangini is reportedly targeting Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler, who turned in an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. Another good showing at the combine could mean Cutler is the guy… and Pennington is officially done in New York.

Chadwick Pennington signed an eight-year, $64 million contract in 2004, but two major shoulder surgeries later, the Jets are concerned that he will ever regain starting-caliber form. He is due to make $9 million in 2006 (a $3 million roster bonus due March 3, plus $6 million in base salary). He is scheduled to count $15 million against the 2006 salary cap, so by cutting him, the Jets would get stuck with $12 million in “dead” money — but would net $3 million in savings.

If Pennington gets released, he will surely end up somewhere at a lower salary. While he may not be guaranteed a starting job, he’s got the talent to thrive when he’s healthy, so don’t cross him off the fantasy board just yet. As for Cutler, it’s hard to see the Jets turning over their offense to a guy from Vanderbilt. Have they had a winning season since Reconstruction? Then again, if you look at their current list of signal-callers, it doesn’t seem like you could do any worse.


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