NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

Expect Seahawks To Be Extremely Active In Free Agency

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 08:15 PM PDT

Most of the time when you see a headline like that it's generally a statement of hope and optimism by some fan or reporter who wants to stir up interest and throw their own speculation into the blogosphere melting pot.

For now though, at least for Seattle Seahawks fans, a spending spree is actually going to be a requirement for their favorite team.

According to recent reports regarding proposed free agency rules and salary cap rules, the minimum a team is going to be required to spend (at least at this point) is $126 million.

It keeps getting better, much better.

To meet that figure, the Seahawks, at bare minimum, HAVE to spend $37 million on free agents; that's not how much they could potentially spend, just how much they have to spend.

The good news keeps on rolling, as last years free agency rules will not be in effect (and the Seahawks won't be nagged by the elite eight restrictions), and instead, four years of accrued service is the proposed figure for unrestricted free agency.

For the 12th Man, this is a ridiculously good combination, as this free agent class all of a sudden becomes loaded, saturated, and a buyers market at a time when the Seahawks have to spend money and by all means should be.

For those of you worried about Matt Hasselbeck leaving, he reportedly was offered $7 million, I am positive with the amount of money the Seahawks have to play with, that it will not be a factor in negotiations if both sides want him to remain in Seattle.

Sapp and Strahan Don’t Think All That Much of Barber’s Comeback Attempt

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 05:50 PM PDT

Two of Tiki Barber’s former NFL peers don’t think much of his current plan for a comeback after sitting out the past four seasons. “No, stop it. Enough is enough, brother, enough is enough. I didn’t think much of him when he did play,” said Warren Sapp, a longtime teammate of Barber’s twin brother Ronde Barber with the Buccaneers, on The Rich Eisen Podcast.

Sapp also panned Tiki Barber’s propensity for fumbling early in his career, his decision to announce his retirement midway through the 2006 season wth the Giants and his subsequent criticism of Giants QB Eli Manning and coach Tom Coughlin. “Sapp is 100% right,” chimed in former Giants DE Michael Strahan, who retired one year after Barber but won a Super Bowl ring in the process.

Strahan was complimentary of Barber’s abilities as a player and his work ethic but still not happy about his less-than-flattering remarks about Coughlin and Manning after Barber began his TV career with NBC. “If it comes to playing football — he can play,” said Strahan.

“Now on the other end of it, I do believe that his job did change — ok, whatever. But you don’t ever lose the respect that you earned as a player for a rating for a television show. His impact was to kind of throw some guys under the bus, including the coach who taught you how not to fumble, and a quarterback who was young and just needed to learn, and obviously a quarterback who’s quiet and not the rah-rah guy. … Why would you do that?”

Panthers QB Cam Newton Disagrees That He Has To Overcome Racial Stereotypes

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 03:45 PM PDT

Panthers rookie QB Cam Newton apparently disagrees with his mentor Warren Moon’s view that he has stereotypes to overcome was asked in the latest edition of GQ if negative reviews of his game go back to “that ugly old trope” about the black quarterback being a “natural athlete” and the white quarterback being a “student of the game.”

Newton said “Sir, it all comes down to whether a person wins or loses,” “I don’t bring race into the game, ’cause then you’re talking about excuses. I. Hate. Excuses. Excuses are a disease.”

Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who served as an unpaid advisor to Newton before February’s NFL Scouting Combine and April’s NFL draft, garnered headlines two months ago when he took exception to a publication’s unfavorable critique that labeled Newton as “selfish” and “immature,” among other pointed barbs. Moon said then that “a lot of the criticism (Newton) is receiving is unfortunate and racially based.”

Arizona Dealing CB Rodgers-Cromartie for Eagles QB Kolb Not a Likely Deal

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 11:37 AM PDT

It’s starting to sound more and more like a deal to get Eagles QB Kevin Kolb in a Cardinals uniform in 2011 is going to be tough to pull off.

The latest rumor was that the team was going to offer straight up CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kolb, but according to the Arizona Republic, that’s not going to happen either.

Each day seems to bring more speculation about what the Cardinals will be willing to give up in exchange for the Eagles Kevin Kolb. ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio recently said the Eagles want to get a player who contribute immediately, not a draft pick, in exchange for Kolb.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been inconsistent in Arizona, and there’s no question coaches’ patience will run out if DRC doesn’t mature and put in the necessary study time but great cover corners — and Rodgers-Cromartie has the potential to be great — are hard to find. If the Eagles are asking for Rodgers-Cromartie in exchange for Kolb, that’s a high price to pay but a good quarterback makes a bigger difference in a game than a good cornerback. It all comes down to how coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves evaluate Kolb.

Top 10 Undrafted Free Agents That the Browns Should Consider

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 11:14 AM PDT

By Browns Gab Columnist Derek McQuaid

Not every player gets to hear their name called on draft day, but that doesn't mean they won't find themselves on an NFL roster. When the draft is over, teams usually get to work right away finding and signing the undrafted rookies. Every once in a while, it pays off for both the team – and the player.

The NFL Hall of Fame is filled with undrafted talent. Dick "Night Train" Lane (14 seasons), Warren Moon (17 seasons) and Lou "The Toe" Groza (21 seasons) all went undrafted and found themselves in Canton. Antonio Gates (Chargers), Tony Romo (Cowboys) and Jeff Saturday (Colts) all received phone calls well after the draft and have all been named Pro-Bowlers for their current teams.

The Browns even have an undrafted star on their roster in Josh Cribbs. So here's a list of potential stars the Cleveland Browns should extend phone calls too once the lockout is lifted…

1. Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College

Everyone knows this kid's story: Former ACC Defensive Player of the Year, who missed the entire 2009 season while battling cancer. He returned for the 2010 season, and finished the season with 65 tackles – 50 of those solo. The Browns need help at linebacker on the inside and the outside. Herzlich is a top 10 talent, who is only going to get better. He leaves Boston College with 314 tackles, 7 forced fumbles and 11 career INTs. The former All-American would at least provide depth to the Browns line backing unit, but has the potential to be a star.

2. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, WR, Iowa

Koulianos has the talent to play in the NFL, but trouble off the field raised big concerns about drafting the former Iowa star. DJK was suspended for the Hawkeyes bowl game, when he was arrested on drug charges. However, his stats on the field are certainly worth a look. He leaves Iowa with 2616 receiving yards with 173 receptions and 17 TDs. He's only 5'11", but with Cleveland's transition to the west coast offense, he could contend for playing time among the current Cleveland receivers. If the Browns were willing to take a fly on Greg Little, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is definitely worth a look and has played the game more recently. Even if it's just for depth, Holmgren and Heckert should consider signing Koulianos.

3. Nick Bellore, LB, Central Michigan

Again, the Cleveland Browns need depth at linebacker. Nick Bellore started the first 51 games of his career, and his 472 total tackles for the Chippewas ranks third in school history. Bellore plays the game with a certain toughness that could translate well into the NFL. He also earned All-MAC first team honors in three different years while in college. Bellore would bring a nice toughness to the Browns backing core, and has a worth ethic that could eventually find himself in the starting line-up.

4. Pierre Allen, DE, Nebraska

The Browns drafted Pitt DE Jabaal Sheard in the 2nd Rd. of this year's draft, but they could still use a playmaker to add depth along the defensive line. Allen was pivotal in helping the Nebraska D return to glory over the pass two years, and tallied 65 total tackles with 11 of those tackles for a loss. The former First-Team All Big-12 selection has decent size (6'5" 265 lbs) but has a high motor when it comes to disrupting opposing backfields. Allen will most likely provide depth for his first few years in the league, but has the will and desire to be a star. He's certainly worth a look.

Click HERE to read the rest

Packers: Raji, Matthews, Wells & Bishop News

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 10:20 AM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi profiles Raji, Matthews, Wells, & Bishop.

Raji & Matthews news: Packers defensive stars DT Raji and OLB Matthews are among the featured athletes in the 2011 ESPYs ad campaign.  The ESPYs are hosted by “Saturday Night Live” writer Seth Meyers.  The 2011 ESPYs will be televised live, Wednesday, July 13, at 9 p.m. EST featuring best sports stories from the past year and leading fans through the best plays, biggest upsets and unforgettable performances.




Wells profile: At a ceremony honoring Green Bay's Super Bowl XLV win over the Steelers, Wells was awarded a sparkling piece of jewelry he said he would treasure for the rest of his life. The ring inspired him even more for the 2011 season. "Once you have tasted greatness and feel it, and you win a championship, that makes you want it more because you see how real it is, you see it is attainable," Wells said. "When you hold that Lombardi Trophy, you celebrate with your family and friends and get that Super Bowl ring and put it on, that only drives me to do it again. After seven NFL seasons, the Super Bowl win marked the high point of his athletic career. He took his family to Disneyworld, had a Super Bowl celebration party with another former Vol, Packers tackle Chad Clifton, and last week traveled to Green Bay to receive the ring. He was invited to the ESPY Awards next month in Los Angeles. He has his ring. And he wants another one. "What we went through as a team this year, to be able to persevere and to win the championship, that was huge," Wells said. "But now that we have received our rings, that chapter is closed and we're ready to move onto the next chapter. We want to defend our title now, and hopefully we can repeat and celebrate again."


Bishop making his mark: Part of the reason the Packers were able to win the Super Bowl was their ability to overcome injuries. While the Packers found replacements at each position that allowed them to win, Bishop truly showed he could be a star. Bishop was rewarded with a new contract and a starting job in 2011. Exactly how good is he after just one year as a starter? Only he and James Farrior had ratings above +4.0 in each defensive category: run defense, pass rush, and pass coverage. His play has pushed Nick Barnett to the backup spot heading into 2011, despite Barnett being one of the league's best inside linebackers in 2009. Season–In all his starts and the playoffs, he had an overall positive rating and throughout the season, he was a triple threat. In the run game, he ended with a +13.6 rating, 12th best in the league. He was able to bring pressure on one in every four of his pass rushes, an astounding rate. In coverage, he allowed 63.8% of passes thrown his way to be caught, fourth best for all inside linebackers thrown at 10 times or more. He allowed 9.2 yards per catch which was in the upper half of all inside linebackers. Usually a defender has a low catch rate allowed and high yards per catch or vice versa, but Bishop is a rare case. While Bishop seemed to decline at the end of the regular season, he picked his game up for the playoffs. In addition to a positive rating in run defense in all four playoff games, Bishop managed to sack Michael Vick, get three pressures on the Bears' quarterbacks, and his fumble recovery will go down as one of the memorable plays in Super Bowl XLV. Ahead–Bishop will remain one of the Packers' inside linebackers for years to come. He will be teamed up with Clay Matthews, ether A.J. Hawk or Nick Barnett, and whoever wins the ROLB job as the Packers try to defend their title in 2011. If Bishop continues his great play, he'l get the recognition he deserves. With Patrick Willis a virtual lock for the Pro Bowl, it's not out of the question for Bishop to take the other spot.

COMMENTARY: Four great Packers players. In the case of LB Bishop, he was always that rare player with the right intangible qualities who simply needed playing experience to blossom becoming an all-star.  Fans had been saying it for years.  The fans, along with us, were right.

Labor Talks To Continue Next Week

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 08:30 AM PDT

With training camps set to open in another month, NFL owners and players will resume negotiations next week, hoping to build on recent talks, two people familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press on Friday.

While each side has acknowledged progress in the four-month-old lockout, a new collective bargaining agreement isn’t imminent. One of the two people who spoke on condition of anonymity said conference calls are being set up to discuss various issues, but not the major one of splitting revenues.

The person said that was being negotiated “face to face.”

The two people declined to be identified because the meetings were confidential.

The sides completed two days of talks at a beachfront resort in Hull, Mass., on Thursday. On hand were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, owners John Mara of the New York Giants, Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers, Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Dean Spanos of the San Diego Chargers.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith also was present along with several players, including Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Richardson of the New York Jets and Domonique Foxworth of the Baltimore Ravens.

Ravens LB Suggs Shoots Back at Steelers LB Woodley

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 08:28 AM PDT

The back and forth between the Steelers and Ravens which started over the slam that LaMarr Woodley made a Joe Flacco a few weeks back is heating up to now the Ravens defensive side of the ball.

It all began when Woodley told NFL Network that the Ravens wouldn't win a Super Bowl "in this lifetime" with Joe Flacco at quarterback. Flacco was not happy about the comments, saying that Woodley "doesn't know what he's talking about,” to WBAL-AM in Baltimore.

Now Ravens LB Terrell Suggs is getting in on the action, coming to the defense of the QB that got schooled in the 2nd half of the playoff loss to the Steelers in January. Suggs got fired up on the topic during an interview with "Sports with Coleman" on WVIE-AM.

"Well, you know, LaMarr Woodley is one of the guys who likes to talk out of his ass," Suggs said. "So I'm not too much concerned what people say about my quarterback. We know what our quarterback can do. He's just going to have to prove his naysayers wrong."

Two times in Flacco’s three seasons of leading the Ravens to the playoffs have ended with playoff losses to the Steelers, but Suggs seems to think that it’s a maturity process that will take time.

"I like that Joe is maturing," Suggs recently told "He was expected to do that because of his success in the first year anyways. I just love that he's been winning some playoff games, won more than he's lost. He's at the head of it, but as a team we just need to get over that rivalry hump to compete for a Lombardi."

That getting over the hump will start with the AFC Champs in their way on September 11th in Baltimore, in a game that will be more like a heavyweight fight than a regular season opener at this rate.

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