April 5, 2006


by JJ Cameron

Of all the signs that you're close to being released, not being allowed into your team's training complex would rank along the top of the list. This is the obstacle that Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair recently ran into.

Steve McNair Deserves Better from Tennessee Along with Peyton Manning, McNair was the league's co-MVP in 2003. But that wasn't enough to permit entrance into the Titans' work out building for the 11-year veteran. The team's general counsel told McNair's agent they don't want him attending any offseason conditioning programs until his contract is reworked.

Doesn't exactly sound like the way you treat a player you'd like to bring back. So, if McNair is released, where might he end up? The Ravens are looking for a QB, but Kerry Collins is a more likely choice to be reunited with Jim Fassel in Baltimore. There's always Detroit. The Lions seems to be holding open auditions for their starting position.

As for Tennessee, look for the club to select a quarterback in this month's NFL Draft. Bringing in Matt Leinart to work with Norm Chow almost makes too much sense at this point. Plus, you never know, maybe he'll bring Nick Lachey with him.


March 21, 2006


by JJ Cameron

Returning to NY?With Terrell Owens in Dallas, there was no room for Keyshawn Johnson. As entertaining, absurd and completely selfish a pairing as this would have made, the Cowboys cut the former first overall draft pick a couple weeks ago.

Where is he headed now? How about the same home stadium where he started his mediocre career, but with a different helmet on his head? An anonymous team official said Johnson met with the Giants this week.

While a tandem of Plaxico Burress and Keyshawn would give New York two physical, imposing receivers, does the club really need such an outspoken presence? How would that affect Eli Manning the first time he bounces a pass Keyshawn’s way?

It seems unlikely that a team led by a solid citizen such as Tiki Barber would truly give thought to this kind of addition. But the Files will you keep posted as the rumor develops.


March 9, 2006


by JJ Cameron

Patrick Ramsey's Day in DC Appear OverJust because Chad Pennington renegotiated his deal with the Jets doesn’t mean New York is settled on its starting quarterback for next season. In a sign that the club may trade for back up help, Patrick Ramsey visited the team’s complex this week.

As Mark Brunell emerged as a solid option this year, the former Redskins’ QB became more expendable. Previously, Washington was asking for a second or third round pick in exchange for Ramsey, but the price is expected to be lower as the team currently lacks leverge.

Meanwhile, the Jets could still forego a trade and use the fourth pick in this April’s NFL draft on a quarterback. Vanderbilt’s Jay Cutler has wowed scouts in combines so far. Whoever is helming New York’s offensive attack, don’t waste a fantasy pick on him.


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 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.



by JJ Cameron

After a period of undecidedness over what to do about their starting quarterback, it appears as though the San Diego Chargers are likely to let Drew Brees test the open market as a free agent.

The deadline for tagging a player with the “franchise” label is this Thurday and San Diego general manager, A.J. Smith, said it was unlikely Brees would receive the team’s deignation. The club is afraid that the star QB’s injured shoulder makes it too much of a risk to guarantee as much as $10 million on the position.

The Chargers can - and might - still sign Brees to a long-term deal.Brees and LT Celebrate

“Our proposals have not been acceptable at this point and time, but we will continue to talk,” Smith said. “Drew Brees wants to be here, we want him to be here. Drew wants a long-term contract, we want him to have a long-term contract.”

If this doesn’t take place, the job falls to Philip Rivers. While there’s no question that he should be avoided at all costs by fantasy players, this decision would have an impact on a candidate for the number-one overall draft pick: LaDainian Tomlinson.

With an unproven starter under center, San Diego would face multiple run-stuffing defenses. This could curtail Tomlinson’s production. Meanwhile, Brees would join a long list of other solid quarterbacks on the market - all of whom are worth keeping your eye to see where they land.


February 20, 2006


by JJ Cameron

As Nick Saban curses him off, Ricky Williams should be expecting bouquets of flowers from grateful fantasy owners. Or perhaps some other type of paraphernalia as a gift.

Ricky Williams After spending the 2005 campaign rotating with fellow Miami running back, Ronnie Brown, Williams caused strife and confusion in fantasy leagues across the country. Which tailback should players start? Both? Neither? Would there be bonus points for late-night food binges?

According to reports in The Miami Herald, however, Williams has failed his FOURTH drug test. Evidently, off-season yoga and holistic medicine classes just haven’t been relaxing enough for this former Heisman Trophy winner. If these rumors are accurate, the back is in line for a one-year suspension from the league.

If that’s the case, Brown could become an early second round selection. The only remaining teams that would have alternating running back scenarios would be the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.


February 19, 2006


by JJ Cameron

As Brett Favre has wrestled with the decision of whether to call it a glorious career or not, he’s sought advice from other star quarterbacks that faced a similar decision at the end of their playing days. One of them has been Troy Aikman.

The three-time Super Bowl champion doubts Favre will return for another season behind center in Green Bay.

“I’d hate to see him retire,” Aikman told The Associated Press. “But I know that going out and having seasons like what he went through this past year is really frustrating and it just isn’t much fun. I think the fact that he is having a hard time making the decision, in some ways, to me, that kind of has made the decision for him.”

Brett Favre Mulls Retirement
The Packers are coming off an embarrassing 4-12 campaign, their only losing season with Favre taking the starting snaps. Injuries to stars such as Ahman Green and Javon Walker didn’t exactly help matters, but Favre led the league with 29 interceptions.

Aikman, a television analyst for Fox, hasn’t spoken with Favre since the end of the season. He relates the situation in Green Bay to the surroundings in Dallas when he ended his Hall of Fame career.

“Brett has drawn some comparisons to what he’s currently going through with what I went through at the end of my career - not from a health standpoint, but just kind of where the team is,” said Aikman. “I just didn’t think that we were doing what was necessary to be competitive any longer. And I know that Brett is dealing with that currently.”

If Favre does return, he can still be a solid starter for any fantasy team. The interception total may be high once again, but expect over 20 touchdown passes and close to 4,000 yards for a quarterback that would have to carry the bulk of his team’s offense.


February 17, 2006


by Michael Stephens

Will Colts According to the Indianapolis Star, the Colts have signed 16 free agents since the end of the season.

Not among them? Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne.

The Colts face big decisions as free agency looms for these two stars, and may begin next year without at least one of the two. James, a star running back who has gained 9,226 yards and scored 75 times in seven seasons in Indianapolis, reportedly thinks he is on the way out. Wayne has established himself as a solid #2 receiver alongside Marvin Harrison and would get big offers if the Colts let him become a free agent.

Indianapolis can only use the “franchise” tag — in which the player is considered signed, for one year, at the average salary of the five highest-paid players in the NFL at that position — on one of the two. Since G.M. Bill Polian isn’t afraid to let veterans go and start over with younger players, the Colts are not likely to offer a contract to whichever star they do not franchise.

Compounding the issue are other key areas the team must address following its 14-2 season, which ended in a disappointing home loss to Pittsburgh in the divisional playoffs.

If linebacker David Thornton is let go, they must acquire another playmaker at that position. Defensive end Robert Mathis is a restricted free agent (meaning the Colts can match any offer to keep him) but the demand for his services is high and could cost Indy a bundle. Another of their own free agent defensive linemen, Raheem Brock, has developed nicely and the Colts do not want to see him depart. Prolific, idiot kicker Mike Vanderjagt is also rumored to be out the door.

The Files thinks this means the end of James’ days in Indianapolis. He has clashed with the organization over his contract status before, and Wayne seems like the safer “franchise” option for the Colts at this point. If they can keep Peyton Manning’s receiving corps intact, they may be content to sign a lower-priced free agent to replace James. Failing that, they might opt for a committee approach, comprised of current backups Dominic Rhodes and James Mungro.

The Edge will be a hot free agent commodity if he leaves Indy. Rumors have him landing in Arizona, which just shelled out big bucks to keep Kurt Warner and badly needs a running back to improve its pathetic ground game. Warner may have been the moribund franchise’s biggest signing since Rod Tidwell, and if they want to build a contender in the Valley of the Sun, they may be willing to show James the money.


February 16, 2006


by JJ Cameron

It’s a scenario that seemed unimaginable less than two years ago. Following one of the greatest statisical seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, Daunte Culpepper was one of the most sought after players in the 2005 fantasy draft.

Then, the Vikings traded Randy Moss; then Culpepper severely injured his knee; then there was a well-publicized sex cruise; and then Culpepper’s replacement almost led the team to the playoffs.

Now? Minnesota seems open to dealing its 29-year old starting signal-caller. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports the Vikings are gauging Culpepper’s trade value around the NFL, with the team seeking a second-round draft pick.

The QB and the club are involved in a contract dispute, with the former claiming that he was promised an increase to the paltry $6 million roster bonus he’s due on March 14. Owner Zygi Wilf has denied this deal was ever discussed.

If Culpepper is truly on the market, there are many teams in need of a solid starting quarterback. Among them would be:

  1. Miami

  2. Oakland

Will Daunte Remain in Minny?Sources have also speculated that the Ravens might be interested in placing their franchise tag on running back Jamal Lewis and then trading him for Culpepper.

However, health remains a question mark for this former All-Pro. After suffering his injury last season, Culpepper won’t be able to practice until the summer at the earliest. A team acquiring him would have to view him as a starter for 2007, while considering any playing time in 2006 to be a welcome surprise.

So, should you take a risk and draft Culpepper in an early round? Approximately 67 million players that made that mistake this season would probably advise against it. Possible replacement, Brad Johnson, may make a solid back-up for a fantasy squad, however.


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