NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Niners Coach Says Smith Has Widened Lead Over Rookie Kaepernick

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 01:43 AM PDT

Based on his performance on the practice field the past two days, quarterback Alex Smith has widened his lead to be the 49ers’ starter, coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday.

Harbaugh has repeatedly stated that Smith is in the lead but he remains in competition with rookie Colin Kaepernick for the starting job. But after watching Smith practice on Monday and Tuesday, Harbaugh said the picture is coming into better focus.

“There’s some separation there,” Harbaugh said. “Alex has done a fine job. But Kaep is doing a phenomenal job. He is going to be one heck of a talent and one heck of a player.”

Bengals QB Palmer “Finally Got Fed Up” With Franchise’s Mistakes

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 10:48 PM PDT

Bengals pro bowl quarterback Carson Palmer is vowing to walk away from $46 million rather than work another day in owner Mike Brown’s prison stripes.

“Carson just finally got fed up,” says a close friend of Palmer. “He’s just sick of the same 5,000 mistakes the franchise repeats every year. He’s tired of wallowing in mediocrity. He won’t ever talk about it, but that’s how he feels. He’s a very tolerant guy, but when he gets pushed over the line, he gets mad and doesn’t go back. He’d love to play, he’s dying to play, but he’s never going to play there.”

Palmer has four years left on his nine-year, $118 million deal. “He gave his word. … He’s going to walk away from his commitment. We aren’t going to reward him for doing it,” Brown said. Palmer has left large portions of his body on the field for Brown.

His nasty ACL and MCL tear in a 2006 playoff game, his ripped elbow in ’08. He’s worked alongside fools and pretenders, and all under an owner who could make the ’72 Dolphins mediocre, and he’s done it all without a single discouraging word about an owner who invented discouragement.

Jets Make Offer To Aaron Maybin, 49ers Drop Out of Running

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 09:09 PM PDT

The New York Jets have made an offer to the free agent LB Aaron Maybin, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. He says there are 5-6 additional teams  that have given him offers. I’ve heard the 49ers – who, like the Bears, Maybin has been vocally interested in – are out of the running.

A lot of teams are interested in a guy with 0 sacks but he could help the right team out. Maybin should make his decision in the A.M.

49ers Kicker David Akers Lost $3.7 Million in Ponzi Scheme

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 07:42 PM PDT

49ers place kicker David Akers told a federal jury in Austin today that he lost $3.7 million investing with Austin's Triton Financial from 2007 to 2009.

He said he never would have made those investments if he had gotten the truth from former company chief executive Kurt Barton.

"I've had a lot of sleepless nights," said Akers, who told federal prosecutor Mark Lane that he considered Barton to be like a friend. "As I said, this is my family's future. I said that to Kurt a lot of times. I said, 'Man I'm trusting in you.' "

Akers and two other NFL players were among a string of witnesses who testified that they lost big money with Barton at Barton's federal fraud trial.

Prosecutors claim that Barton continuously lied to investors about where their money would go, how it would be used and about how he had a large amount of personal wealth to back the investments in building a $50 million Ponzi scheme.

Barton's lawyers contend that he did nothing illegal and simply made a series of bad business decisions.

Akers said that he invested in a series of deals with Triton, including real estate purchases and in a health club Triton was developing in San Antonio. Akers said he initially gave Triton $75,000 to purchase a plot of land that Barton called "Rundberg," which Barton said could be used to build a small stadium or an amphitheatre.

NFL Postpones Supplemental Draft

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 07:39 PM PDT

The NFL supplemental draft, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed, according to a league source. Teams will be told of a new date once it's determined.

The biggest question entering this year's draft has been the eligibility of Terrelle Pryor, who left Ohio State after his junior season. Pryor's camp remains hopeful that the QB will be included, but he hadn't been ruled eligible as of Tuesday.

Atari Bigby Signs With the Seahawks

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 05:11 PM PDT

Atari Bigby has signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Bigby is a stout, physical, productive strong safety who was made expendable last season by Charlie Peprah.

Bigby caught 10 interceptions and made 19 pass deflections in 46 games for Green Bay, starting 33 of them.

By adding 6’4″ CFL superstar Brandon Browner as well as Richard Sherman, Mark Legree, and Byron Maxwell in the draft, Seattle looks like they have some dynamic pieces alongside Marcus Trufant in the secondary. With Bigby, it looks like Pete Carroll will end up with another productive player – in his prime – unwanted by his last team (Chris Clemons, Raheem Brock, Marshawn Lynch, Mike Williams).

2011 Free Agency: Grading The AFC West

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 02:34 PM PDT

Denver Broncos

Unsigned players: RB Kyle Eckel (UFA), RB Laurence Maroney (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Patriots DE Ty Warren, Aug. 2 (two years, $10 million); Ex-Panthers TE Dante Rosario, July 31; Ex-Rams TE Daniel Fells, July 31; Ex-Texans WR David Anderson, July 30; Ex-Ravens RB Willis McGahee, July 29 (three years, $7.5 million); Ex-Jaguars DE Derrick Harvery, July 29; Traded for ex-Redskins DL Jeremy Jarmon, July 29 (Broncos give up WR Jabar Gaffney).

Key departures: UFA OT Ryan Harris, Aug. 2 (to Eagles); UFA DT Ronald Fields, July 31 (to Dolphins); Traded WR Jabar Gaffney to Redskins, July 29 (Broncos get DL Jeremy Jarmon); Released RB Correll Buckhalter, July 28.

Key re-signings: UFA DT Marcus Thomas, July 31 (one year); RFA OLB Wesley Woodyard, July 29 (one year); RFA PK Matt Prater, July 29 (one year).

Grade: C

Comment: The team thought they would have a boost on the D-line with Ty Warren, but he tore his triceps and is out for the season. It’s going to be a wait and see approach with new coach John Fox, but the team really didn’t make any headline moves, outside of inking former Ravens RB Willis McGahee to backup Knshown Moreno. Losing OT Ryan Harris hurts, but overall this offseason free agency-wise was a yawner for the Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs

Unsigned players: OLB Charlie Anderson (UFA), FB Tim Castille (UFA), QB Brodie Croyle (UFA), WR Kevin Curtis (RFA), ILB Corey Mays (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Ravens OLT Jared Gaither, Aug. 11; Ex-Seahawks DL Amon Gordon, Aug. 6; Ex-Browns S Sabby Piscitelli, Aug. 4; Ex-Ravens FB LeRon McClain, Aug. 3; Ex-Chargers ILB Brandon Siler, July 31; Ex-Ravens DT Kelly Gregg, July 30; Ex-Cardinals UFA WR Steve Breaston, July 29 (five years).

Key departures: UFA C Rudy Niswanger, Aug 10 (to Lions); Released TE Brad Cottam, July 29; UFA DT Shaun Smith, July 29 (to Titans); UFA DT Ron Edwards, July 29 (to Panthers); Cut OG Brian Waters, July 28; UFA CB Maurice Leggett, July 28 (to Lions).

Key re-signings: RFA CB Brandon Carr, Aug. 4; FFA OLB Tamba Hali, Aug. 3 (five years, $60 million, $35 million guaranteed); RFA OT Barry Richardson, Aug. 1; RFA DE Wallace Gilberry, July 31 (one year); UFA RB Jackie Battle, July 29; UFA WR Terrance Copper, July 29; RFA FB Mike Cox, July 29; UFA CB Travis Daniels, July 29; UFA S John McGraw, July 29; UFA OT Ryan O’Callaghan, July 29; UFA TE Leonard Pope, July 29; UFA C Casey Wiegmann, July 29.

Grade: B

Comment: Good offseason for the Chiefs, who signed fullback LeRon McClain to open holes for Jamaal Charles, and also added speed at the WR spot with Steve Breaston. On defense, they inked another former Raven, Kelly Gregg, and ILB Brandon Siler from the Chargers. Many think that the Chiefs are going to take a step back in 2011, and they may, but it’s not because they were not active in trying to make the team better in free agency. The team did also make OLB Tamba Hali happy with a huge deal.

Oakland Raiders

Unsigned players: MLB Ricky Brown (UFA), QB Charlie Frye (UFA), OT Mario Henderson (UFA), QB J.T. O’Sullivan (UFA), OT Langston Walker (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Giants UFA WR Derek Hagan, Aug. 6; Ex-Giants UFA TE Kevin Boss, Aug. 5 (four years, $16 million); Ex-Jaguars OG Justin Smiley, Aug. 2; Ex-Redskins OT Stephon Heyer, Aug. 2; Ex-Jaguars UFA QB Trent Edwards, July 30 (one-year).

Key departures: UFA TE Zach Miller, Aug. 2 (to Seahawks); UFA CB Nnamdi Asomugha, July 29 (to Eagles); UFA QB Bruce Gradkowski, July 29 (to Bengals); UFA WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, July 29 (to Eagles); UFA OG Robert Gallery, July 29 (to Seahawks); UFA OLB Thomas Howard, July 28 (to Bengals).

Key re-signings: RFA RB Michael Bush, Aug. 6 (one year); UFA C Samson Satele, Aug. 2; UFA OLB Sam Williams, July 31; UFA S Michael Huff, July 31; UFA DE Jarvis Moss, July 31; UFA OT Khalif Barnes, July 30 (one year); UFA LS Jon Condo, July 28.

Grade: C-

Comment: The big position for the Raiders this offseason was tight end, as the team lost Zach Miller to the Seahawks, but hope that former Giants TE Kevin Boss will step up and have a big season. There was some hope that CB Nnamdi Asomugha would come back, but really the team was never in the running. They did also grab former Giants WR Derek Hagan, and brought back safety Michael Huff, which was a head shaker. The Raiders will look to build on the 8-8 finish of the season ago.

San Diego Chargers

Unsigned players: S Tyrone Carter (UFA), LS James Dearth (UFA), DT Travis Johnson (UFA), FB Billy Latsko (UFA), ILB Brandon Moore (UFA), LS Ryan Neill (UFA), S Pat Watkins (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Rams UFA WR Laurent Robinson, Aug. 3; Ex-49ers UFA OLB Travis LaBoy, July 29 (two years); Ex-49ers UFA LB Takeo Spikes, July 29; Ex-Colts UFA S Bob Sanders, July 29 (one year).

Key departures: UFA WR Legedu Naanee, Aug. 4 (to Panthers); UFA CB Paul Olier, Aug. 2 (to Saints); UFA ILB Brandon Siler, July 31 (to Chiefs); RFA OLB Antwan Applewhite, July 31 (to 49ers); UFA ILB Kevin Burnett, July 29 (to Dolphins); UFA RB Darren Sproles, July 29 (to Saints); Cut WR Craig “Buster” Davis, July 28; Cut LB Brandon Lang, July 28; Cut CB Donald Strickland, July 28; Cut TE Kris Wilson, July 28; Cut LB Jyles Tucker, July 28.

Key re-signings: UFA ILB Stephen Cooper, Aug. 13; UFA WR Malcom Floyd, Aug. 5 (two years); UFA QB Billy Volek, July 30 (two years); FFA WR Vincent Jackson, July 29 (one year); UFA OT Jeromey Clary, July 29 (four years, $20 million); UFA TE Randy McMichael, July 29 (one year); UFA S Eric Weddle, July 29 (five years, $40 million, $19 million guaranteed); UFA OLB Antwan Barnes, July 29 (two years, $3.2 million); UFA DE Jacques Cesaire, July 29 (two years); RFA FB Mike Tolbert, July 29 (one year); UFA OG-C Scott Mruczkowski, July 29 (one year); UFA CB Dante Hughes, July 29 (two years). UFA WR Kelley Washington, July 29 (one year).

Grade: C+

Comment: The club lost RB RB Darren Sproles to the Saints, but seem to be Ok going with the two-back set of Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert. They also lost ILB Kevin Burnett to the Fins, and got OLB Travis LaBoy from San Fran. Getting back Malcom Floyd was a good signing, and along with Vincent Jackson it’s a good 1-2 punch at WR. They overpaid for safety Eric Weddle, but he’s a solid safety that the team needed to have back. They also gave $20 mil to OT Jeromey Clary, but again, felt he’s a solid piece on the O-line. Overall, the Chargers are favored for the most part to take back the West in 2011.

Former Bills LB Maybin Wants to Play for Chicago

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 09:24 AM PDT

According to multiple sources, the team has had discussions about Aaron Maybin, who was waived by the Bills on Monday. All indications are the 11th pick of the 2009 draft wants to play for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and the Bears.

The Bears and 30 other teams have until 3 p.m. Tuesday to consider placing a claim for Maybin. His contract for the next three years is affordable. He’s owed $757,500 this season and $3.36 million through 2013. The question is whether anyone believes he’ll produce if he’s moved to defensive end from outside linebacker, where he lacked instincts.

The Bears could use another body at defensive end. Promising second-year player Corey Wootton suffered meniscus damage in his right knee Saturday. He is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery Tuesday and is expected to be out four weeks.

Sanchez and Ryan Laugh Off Comments About Jets QB Wanting to Fight Coach

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 09:18 AM PDT

Last night before the Jets first preseason game, Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan laughed off the GQ quotes about Sanchez wanting to fight Rex Ryan after he considered benching him last season.

“Was I gonna fight Rex? Obviously not,” Sanchez told Kevin Armstrong of the New York Daily News when asked about his comments to GQ in a cover story for this month’s issue. “It would be like George Foreman and (Oscar) De La Hoya. He’s way out of my weight class.”

“I heard he wants to fight me, but that’s a long line,” Ryan said. “Just stay right there. I think he’s still behind Channing Crowder. But that’s what you want. You want that guy who’s competitive. I wanted to send a message that we can bench anybody on this team – with the exception of (Darrelle) Revis obviously.”

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