Wednesday, 21 March 2012

NFL - Saints penalized for "bounty" violations

"The NFL announced Wednesday that New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton will be suspended for one season without pay for his involvement in the team's bounty program. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for eight games. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely.
The team has also been fined $500,000 and will have to give up its second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL Drafts.
The league said in a news release that the involvement of individual players in the program is still being reviewed, and that any discipline will be announced at a future time.
In addition, Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt has been suspended without pay for the first six games of the 2012 season.
Payton's suspension will begin April 1 and last for the entire 2012 season. Loomis' suspension, which is also without pay, will be for the first eight games of the 2012 season.
Williams, who was hired to be the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator earlier this year, will have his status reviewed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the 2012 regular season has ended, according to the release. Goodell will then decide if Williams should be reinstated.
Sources close to Williams told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that they were shocked by the news. The sources said they had been expecting a shorter suspension, something like a month or six games, and had been hoping for something that would last less than half a season.
The release spelled out Williams' involvement in the program, which was extensive. According to the release, he helped fund the pool that rewards came from, in addition to being the architect of the scheme.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees reacted very strongly to Payton's punishment.
"I am speechless," Brees wrote via his Twitter account. "Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor. The best there is. I need to hear an explanation for this punishment."
Williams and Vitt also "misled" the league in its attempts to investigate the program, and Williams kept the program going in 2010.
It had already been known that Brett Favre and Kurt Warner had been among the quarterbacks targeted by the program. On Wednesday, the league's release revealed that the Panthers' Cam Newton and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers had also been targeted.
The NFL also issued a news release in which it announced that the rest of the teams in the league have been told by Goodell that they must ensure bounty programs are not in place. Owners and head coaches are required to provide a written guarantee to Goodell by March 30.
"Bounty programs have no place in our game," Goodell said in that release. "They are incompatible with our efforts to promote sportsmanship, fair play, and player safety."
The NFL revealed March 2 the findings of a lengthy investigation into a Saints "bounty" program that gave thousands of dollars in payoffs to players for hits that knocked opponents out of games. The program, administered by Williams, reached its height in 2009, the season the Saints won the Super Bowl.
The program ran in violation of league rules, and the investigation showed that Saints players received $1,500 for a "knockout" hit and $1,000 for a "cart-off" hit, with payouts doubling or tripling during the team's three playoff appearances.
The NFL Players Association formally requested that the league not punish the 22 to 27 players it cited in the scandal until the union had completed its independent investigation, which is underway, an NFLPA source told's Steve Wyche." @

Monday, 19 March 2012

NFL - Peyton Manning chooses Broncos

Peyton Manning chooses Broncos over Titans, 49ers.

"Peyton Manning is finalizing a contract with the Denver Broncos, a league source told NFL Network's Michael Lombardi on Monday.

Manning called Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway on Monday to inform him of his decision.
The Broncos already have looked into a trade of quarterback Tim Tebow and currently are looking for a trade partner, a source told NFL Network's Albert Breer.
Broncos wideout Eric Decker, who had 44 receptions for 612 yards with eight touchdowns in 2011, told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that he expects the offense to change with Manning now under center and that Manning would run the system from the line of scrimmage.
"More of the offense will be in Peyton's hands," Decker said.

The Broncos were one of three finalists for the four-time NFL MVP, as the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers fell just short of the Broncos in the race to sign Manning. The Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins also were in the hunt and earned meetings with Manning but ultimately did not make the final three.
Manning and Titans head coach Mike Munchak hit it off during the quarterback's meeting with the team. It was very hard for Manning to call Munchak this morning and inform him of his decision to go to Denver, a source close to the situation told NFL Network's Michelle Beisner.
Manning personally called Titans owner Bud Adams, who had offered Manning a lifetime contract with the Titans, to let him know of his choice, according to The Tennessean. The newspaper reported that Adams was disappointed, but he was glad his team made a run at the quarterback.

"I was hoping we would win out," Adams told The Tennessean. "I thought we'd be ahead of Denver. I thought he'd want to stay in Tennessee."

Adams told the newspaper that he jokingly told Manning, "He was going into high altitude, so he better start getting in shape."

The Broncos flew to Durham, N.C., to watch Manning throw at nearby Duke University last Friday. The Broncos' contingent was led by Elway, coach John Fox, general manager Brian Xanders, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, quarterbacks coach Adam Gase and medical personnel.

"We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C.," Elway tweeted after the session. "He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there. Watching him throw today was the next step in this important process for our team and Peyton. It was a productive visit and went well."

The Indianapolis Colts released Manning on March 7, ending a 14-year relationship between the team and its franchise quarterback.

The Colts' decision to part ways with the four-time MVP, who has thrown for over 54,000 career yards with 399 touchdowns, did not come as a surprise. Manning missed all of 2011 after undergoing neck surgery the week before the start of the regular season. He was due to receive a $28 million roster bonus if he had been with the Colts, a team currently in rebuilding mode with a new coach and general manager, at the start of the league year." @

Saturday, 17 March 2012

NFL - Salary Cap Situation

Here’s the remaining salary-cap room for all 32 NFL teams, as of Thursday, according to a league source:

Arizona: $448,961
Atlanta: $6,037,809
Baltimore: $4,789,971
Buffalo: $22,205,709
Carolina: $3,111,161
Chicago: $12,878,335
Cincinnati: $38,975,674
Cleveland: $21,664,952
Dallas: $5,524,189
Denver: $40,090,437
Detroit: $13,033,733
Green Bay: $7,254,316
Houston: $8,799,012
Indinapolis: $14,362,850
Jacksonville: $24,804,299
Kansas City: $21,432,242
Miami: $14,397,448
Minnesota: $18,887,159
New England: $13,667,715
New Orleans: $3,074,058
New York Giants: $2,367,050
New York Jets: $12,749,783
Oakland: $5,059,966
Philadelphia: $22,385,888
Pittsburgh: $5,887,988
San Diego: $14,522,352
Seattle: $28,638,554
San Francisco: $23,577,592
St. Louis: $14,684,655
Tampa Bay: $17,972,495
Tennessee: $26,268,185
Washington: $11,361,338

Total: $480,915,876
Team average: $15,028,621

Friday, 16 March 2012

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

NFL - Free Agents/Trades Tracker

Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler are back together again.
The Chicago Bears will send two third-round draft picks to the Miami Dolphins in a blockbuster trade for Marshall.

Bears reach terms with Campbell to back up Cutler.

Vincent Jackson agrees to five-year deal with Buccaneers.

Randy Moss landed with the 49ers.

Saints, WR Colston agree on new five-year deal.

Free-agent WR Garcon announces intent to sign with Redskins.

Former Saints WR Meachem agrees to four-year Chargers deal.

Reggie Wayne returns to Colts with three-year contract.

Rams, CB Finnegan agree on 5-year deal.

Eagles, WR Desean Jackson agree to terms on 5-year, $48.5M contract.

Laurent Robinson joining Jaguars on 5-year, $32.5M deal.

Chad Henne has agreed to a 2-year deal to join the Jaguars.

Peyton Hillis leaves Browns for fresh start with Chiefs.

Saints, OL Grubbs  agree on 5-year, $36M deal.

Bills sign Mario Williams to 6-year, $96M deal.

Titans, guard Steve Hutchinson agree on 3-year deal.

Falcons, DE Abraham agree on 3-year deal.

Free-Agent WR Brandon Lloyd has agreed to terms withe the New England Patriots.

Seahawks, QB Flynn agree to 3-year, $26M contract.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

NFL - Redskins trade for No. 2 pick

The Washington Redskins acquired the No. 2 overall pick in April's NFL Draft on Friday from the St. Louis Rams by sending first rounders in 2012, '13 and '14 and a second-round pick this year to the Rams.

RG3 could be a franchise quarterback, but the price, in my opinion, is too high. Let's see if the Redskins don't compromise there future with this pick. Even if RG3 will be up to the expectations, the Redskins won't be able to build there team with young talent.

This trade can be a great or bad, let's wait and see.

Friday, 9 March 2012

NFL - Free Agency

Position-by-position look at NFL's top free agents in 2012.


Peyton Manning: If his health checks out, he could make the Jets, Dolphins, Cardinals, Seahawks or Broncos immediate Super Bowl contenders. None of those team will get Manning without giving him everything he needs to do his thing.
Matt Flynn: Aaron Rodgers' backup could be the consolation prize for whoever doesn't get Manning, although some teams may opt to draft Robert Griffin III instead.
Alex Smith: He's staying in San Francisco. They like him and they can get him at a decent price because there's not a huge demand on the open market.
Jason Campbell: A perfect fit to back up Matt Cassel in Kansas City or Mark Sanchez in New York. He could step in and win if either gets hurt or falters.
Kyle Orton: Might he be Andrew Luck's backup in Indy? Could be a smart move for a franchise that got caught with its pants down when Manning was hurt.

Running Back

Michael Bush: Bush is a capable starter and might be a nice fit in Cincinnati, where Cedric Benson won't be re-signed.
Cedric Benson: Definitely a productive player who could best thrive in a rotational system. The Browns could be a good fit if they don't re-sign Peyton Hillis.
Mike Tolbert: A very reliable player who can do just about anything that's needed. He can't carry a running game, but he sure can enhance it.
Peyton Hillis: Injuries, flakiness and the inability to play through contract issues hurt him last season and really diminished his free-agent earning power. He went through more agents than tackles in the past year.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: He's an understated grinder who fits what the Patriots do well. He won't command a huge salary, but he's fairly young and could be around for a while.

Wide Receiver

Vincent Jackson: He's a threat at all levels and can make a quarterback's life much easier with his size. If he leaves San Diego, we'll see the difference in the Chargers' offense. He'll be one of the highest-paid free agents on the market.
Reggie Wayne: At 33, he's not a long-term answer, but he's someone who can help a contender that needs a sure-handed red-zone threat and someone who never seems to drop a pass near the sideline.
Marques Colston: There are questions whether this highly productive possession receiver is a product of the Saints' offense. That's his best fit. If he leaves, he should not be counted on to be an elite No. 1 target. Still, he's one of the most underrated players in the NFL.
Brandon Lloyd: A big-play threat who has really come into his own the past few seasons. He can work in just about any system.
Mario Manningham: The Super Bowl hero has made some huge catches, but he's also dropped his share of balls. A nice No. 2, but not a player teams will pay big money. He's never eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season, and his career high in catches is 60 (in 2010).

Tight End

Visanthe Shiancoe: The former Vikings standout is a little long in the tooth, but he's the best in a group of situational tight ends.
Martellus Bennett: Bennett is loaded with talent, but he failed to distinguish himself in Dallas. He could have the chance to join his brother Michael in Tampa Bay.
Joel Dreessen: Dreessen is a nice fit with the multi-tight end/H-back sets the Texans use. Sticking in Houston seems like a win-win.
Jeremy Shockey: With 13 starts and four TDs last season in Carolina, Shockey had to be accounted for. But the 10-year vet only managed 37 receptions. He's a luxury, but still has some game left.

Offensive Line

Carl Nicks: Nicks is a man and guards have become increasingly valuable in this free-agent group that is light on dominant tackles. He'll be one of the highest-paid players in free agency, and he's an immediate upgrade for any offense.
Chris Myers: The Texans center is one of the best in the NFL and there are some teams in serious need. Houston will miss him big time if it fails to re-sign him.
Jared Gaither: The mercurial tackle really played well with the Chargers. A lot of questions could limit his market appeal, which is good for San Diego because it needs to re-sign him to its banged-up offensive line.
Scott Wells: The Packers center is a very solid player whom Green Bay wants to retain, but not at a high price. The Pack could favor Myers should it lose Wells.
Ben Grubbs: The Ravens guard is a very nice player who could be a casualty of Baltimore investing sizeable bucks in fellow guard Marshal Yanda. Losing Grubbs would be a big blow.

Defensive Line

Mario Williams: The cream of the defensive free-agent crop. The Texans don't want to lose the pass rusher they chose first overall in 2006, but they might not be able to compete if a big-spending team with boatloads of cap space targets Williams.
Paul Soliai: The Dolphins nose tackle is a solid player who could get snapped up quickly by a team like Kansas City, which has cap space to burn and could use a big plugger like Soliai.
Red Bryant: A combo end-tackle, Bryant is a huge part of a nice defensive front in Seattle. He is a very good player few people recognize.
John Abraham: Abraham will be 34 when the season starts and he's primarily a situational pass rusher, but he's a good one. The Falcons will see what the market dictates then come at him if the price isn't too high. Abraham's salary hopes could limit his options.
Jason Jones: The Titans defensive end/tackle will only be 26 when the season starts, and quickly he's developed into a solid player who could earn a surprisingly nice payday on the open market.


Curtis Lofton: Lofton has been a rock in the middle for the Falcons, who would like to re-sign him if his price-tag doesn't get too high. Not great in coverage, but adequate enough for a nice run stuffer.
Stephen Tulloch: The stocky leader was solid last season with Detroit -- a strong leader whose fearlessness fits the Lions way of doing things. If he doesn't stay in Detroit, he could be good for a younger front seven.
London Fletcher: The ageless Fletcher has shown he can play the Mike in a 4-3 or in a 3-4. He's a key cog in Washington's solid defense, but could be a nice short-term fix for a team like Tampa Bay, which needs some leadership.
David Hawthorne: He's been productive and solid for the Seahawks as their defense has really come together. Hawthorne probably won't command top dollar, which is why Seattle should be able to retain him. 

Defensive Back

Cortland Finnegan: The Titans' feisty corner could be bound for Dallas or Tampa Bay and finally receive the payday he's been seeking. Finnegan plays with an edge and a fresh start could be good for him, even though he seems like a fixture in Tennessee.
Brandon Carr: There are mixed feelings on Carr, but he had a nice season for the Chiefs, who signed Stanford Routt after he was released by Oakland. Carr is a solid starter and plays a well-paying position. He could land a lucrative deal.
LaRon Landry: Injuries have limited the hard-hitting safety the past two seasons, which will limit his ability to get a lot of guaranteed money. He could be a steal for a team like the Vikings.
Carlos Rogers: The talented cornerback finally put it together and had a Pro Bowl season after signing a one-year deal with San Francisco. The Niners are his best fit, but they won't break the bank to retain him.
Aaron Ross: The Giants cornerback played well in the Super Bowl season. New York is thin at CB and familiarity with Ross could prompt the team to work something out. Ross won't command a ton of loot, but if the Giants don't re-sign him, he is a starter that could help a lot of teams in need.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012