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NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Don’t Expect FA WR Sidney Rice to Land with Seahawks

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 04:38 AM PDT

John Clayton of ESPN doesn’t expect the Seahawks to sign wide receiver Sidney Rice, who despite a hip injury that limited his production last season is considered one of the game’s best young receivers.

The 24-year-old decided he wouldn’t re-sign with the Vikings before testing free agency. When he does, Clayton expects him to be too expensive for the Seahawks.

“If they want Sidney Rice they’re going to have to pay anywhere between eight and $10 million and I just don’t see them doing that; they have other needs,” Clayton said Thursday on the Kevin Calabro Show by way of Brady Henderson of “I think it’d be nice to get another receiver but I think they’ve addressed the receiving corps pretty well.

“Financially, they have enough dollars to do it. They’re $39 million under a $120 million cap but the one thing is, going for a wide receiver prevents them pretty much from going for the other positions that I think they need more dramatically.”

QB Coach George Whitfield to Tutor Terrelle Pryor

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 09:24 PM PDT

Quarterback coach George Whitfield is headed to South Florida to tutor former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

“It is my understanding I am heading (to Miami),” said Whitfield. “I look forward to working with him. From a kid that grew up in Ohio and knows how important the Buckeyes are and my relationship with coach Tressel and his relationship with coach Tressel … on top of the fact he's talented and a big competitor. It's a challenge to me. I know Terrelle wants to be as good as he can be.”

Earlier this year, Whitfield worked as the quarterback coach for Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton, who was chosen by the Carolina Panthers with the first overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Pryor was suspended for the first five games of his senior season before deciding to forego his final year of eligibility. Pryor has signed with Miami Beach-based Drew Rosenhaus and intends on entering the 2011 NFL Supplemental draft.

During his three-year career with the Buckeyes, the 6-6, 233-pound Pryor has completed 62.2% of his pass attempts for 6,177 yards with 57 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. Pryor has added 2,164 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground.

Viking Ben Leber Talks About Pending Free Agency

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 08:29 PM PDT

I recently mentioned an article in which Pro Football Focus pins Ben Leber as the best pass rushing linebacker in the league over the last three years.  So, it is only fitting that Leber's name surfaced shortly thereafter in a quick interview with Access Vikings.

After signing with the Vikings in 2006, Leber has been a starting linebacker ever since, but now stands a very realistic shot of moving on via free agency once the CBA situation is settled.

"The reality is if they were really, really wanting me back then maybe something would have been said before the lockout," said Leber. "I had a good meeting with Coach [Leslie] Frazier and [vice president of player personnel Rick] Spielman at the end of the year. Each side expressed how much I'd like to be here and finish my career here. I am hopeful and hope that I can come back and be a Viking again. But I'm also a realist and I've been through this process before. It's not always up to you and you have to be willing to move on."

"I get a little anxiety about it," said Leber. "I do wonder how it's all going to play out, and I'm a little worried about how crazy it's going to be. Thinking about it from a family perspective. Having a newborn at home [a 3-month old son] and how is that going to play out? Am I going to be gone traveling maybe team-to-team looking for a potential place to play?

"Is it going to be one of those things where you sign on the dotted line and you go to training camp the next day and be gone for another month? All those things my wife and I have talked about and at the end of the conversation we're just like, 'Well, we don't know. We can't sit here and waste time speculating.' So I guess whatever happens, happens and we'll roll with it when we get there."

I've long thought that Leber was an underrated contributor to the Vikings defense and now it appears that he might be willing to give the team a hometown discount to bring him back.  As Judd Zulgad points out, Leber is a veteran leader whose familiarity and talent potentially becomes even more valuable as the lockout continues to eat away at what would normally be the time of year in which new players would be introduced to the scheme.

It makes sense, but there is no denying that Leber saw a dramatic drop off in productivity in 2010 and one has to wonder if the 31 year old is on the decline.  However, my personal assessment is that E.J. Henderson's return to health and opposing offenses' tendency to spread out the defense meant there was just less opportunity for Leber to get on the field, let alone make a play.  I called this exact issue into question back in November.

I'm not sure the Vikings are interested in paying a premium for a nickel linebacker, especially with young guys like Erin Henderson and Jasper Brinkley looking for more playing time, but if the Vikings can get Leber to re-sign with a manageable contract then I am one hack blogger that wouldn't hesitate to vote "yes."

Roger Goodell and DeMarcus Smith to Meet in Florida

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 08:21 PM PDT

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are en route to Bradenton, Florida, a vacationing Peter King of Sports Illustrated reports.

Both men are leading negotiating teams in talks in Minneapolis, but Smith asked Goodell to speak at the NFLPA’s substitute rookie symposium, entitled “The Business of Football: Rookie Edition”, which is being held at IMG Academies in Bradenton.

According to King, the plan is for Goodell to address the reported 154 rookies in attendance at 8am before he and Smith board a flight back to the Twin Cities to resume talks towards a new labor deal. The NFL and NFLPA have four days of talks planned for this week.

Smith seems optimistic that an agreement will be reached. "We know we're talking about the right issues, and we're working hard to get it done. It's extremely complicated. It requires a lot of hard work by a lot of people. But we're committed to getting something done. And we're going to keep working at it."

NFL Shopping Around Eight-Game Thursday Night Package

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 07:32 PM PDT

Last week, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that one of the ways the NFL planned to generate new revenue was to have a 16-game Thursday night primetime package, which would begin in 2012.

The NFL already broadcasts eight Thursday night games in the second half of the season on the NFL Network, and John Ourand and Daniel Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal report that the league is shopping an eight-game package to other networks.

According to the report, the package could be worth up to $700 million.

Turner, which had NFL broadcasting rights from 1990-97, and Comcast have emerged as the early favorites for the primetime broadcasts, with Comcast looking to air the games on Versus. FOX and ESPN may also inquire about a bid.

Could the Giants Be Targeting Bills LB Paul Posluszny in Free Agency?

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 03:13 PM PDT

The Giants have a big need at linebacker that they will likely try to address through free agency. They have been in need of a starting middle linebacker since Antonio Pierce retired.

The guy they will likely target via free agency is Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny. Posluszny led the Bills in tackles last season with 103. They also need to either find a linebacker via free agency or hope that someone will step up to play outside linebacker on the opposite side of Michael Boley.

In Buffalo, Poslusnzy is a team leader, not only on the field but in the locker room, and while it would be the Giants gain, it would be a loss for the Bills to lose him. It could come down to where he wants to play more, and if the offer from outside Buffalo is a better one.

Rosenhaus Says Terrell Owens Will Be Back and Ready for 2011

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 01:06 PM PDT

Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Bengals WR Terrell Owens stated on Tuesday that the wide out had surgery to repair a torn ACL this offseason but said his client will be ready for the 2011 season and is not considering retirement.

Rosenhaus called into ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Tuesday to clarify the reports on Owens’ injury and said the receiver had the surgery in April and will be ready to hit the football field in August.

“He’s many, many months into his recovery now. He’s doing fantastic,” Rosenhaus told ESPN. He said Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery on Owens, was confident the 37-year-old receiver had a chance to play as soon as August. Rosenhaus called speculation that Owens was contemplating retirement “nonsense.” “He is a legendary healer. He comes back from injury faster than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Rosenhaus said.

The agent didn’t say exactly how Owens injured the knee but said it did not happen while the receiver was taping a TV show for VH1, as one source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

Rosenhaus said he’s confident Owens will be playing in the NFL this season and that the only criteria the receiver is looking for is to join a winning organization. “The most important thing to him is he would like to win,” Rosenhaus said.

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