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Old 02-15-2012, 11:38 AM    (permalink
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Seahawks Franchise Lynch
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


The Skittles will flow in Seattle for another year.

The Seattle Seahawks have announced today that they will apply the franchise tag to RB Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch enjoyed a pro bowl season in 2011 and was easily the Seahawks best offensive player. The franchise tender for RBs will pay him around $8 million in 2012.
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:48 PM    (permalink
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Big Names Amongst the Cuts
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Freeney, Brown and Smith will be highly prized even after being cut.

Every offseason, a number of players typically end up getting cut from their original team only to be signed away by another team in a trash-for-treasure deal.

We've seen some quality players hit the free agent market simply because their original team needed to clear some cap space. And surely, they will have plenty of suitors elsewhere in the league.

OT Jammal Brown - Redskins - Brown was a surprise cut to many as the Redskins moved further underneath the salary cap. He has proven to be capable of playing both tackle positions and should be an effect upgrade for a team needing either.

S OJ Atogwe - Redskins - The Redskins signed Atogwe just last offseason but that did not make him immune from being cut. He started 8 games for the Redskins last season and would make for a decent starter on a lot of teams.

DE Will Smith - Saints - This long time Saint was a casualty of Drew Brees receiving the franchise tag. While not an elite sack artist, Smith is a well rounded DE who would make a great consolation prize for any team who misses out on someone like Mario Williams.

S Roman Harper - Saints - Harper is a quality in-the-box safety who excels at blitzing, but his coverage skills and salary made him expendable. Look for the Saints to try and bring him back at a cheaper deal, but if not, he could be a decent upgrade for some other teams out there.

DE Dwight Freeney - Colts - Freeney is a guy the Colts would have preferred to restructure, but the talks broke down and they were forced to cut him. Freeney is 32 but could still provide an excellent pass rushing threat to any team who needs one.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:43 PM    (permalink
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Special Note from the League Office:

Due to a squirrel on a power line, a transformer box blew causing a mistake in the submission of one' teams transaction statement.

TE Dallas Clark was NOT released by the Colts.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:01 PM    (permalink
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Jets Tender Maybin
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


From bust to tendered RFA.

The Jets have announced their first move of the offseason, applying the 2nd round tender to OLB Aaron Maybin.

Maybin was a notorious bust with the Bills but began to turn his career around last season in New York.

The Jets also tendered all other RFAs at the lowest level, meaning they will receive no compensation if another team signs them.

With the Jets fairly close to the salary cap, we expect some additional moves to be made in order to clear out some cap space.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:20 PM    (permalink
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Vikings Announce Moves
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Hutchinson has played his last game with the Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings announced the release of three players today, including OG Steve Hutchinson, OG Anthony Herrera and CB Cedric Griffin.

These moves clear about $14 million in cap space for the Vikings.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:50 PM    (permalink
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Tampa Franchises Barth
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


The Bucs franchise player is their kicker.

After much deliberation, the Bucs have decided to use the franchise tag on kicker Connor Barth, coming off of his career best year.

The franchise tender for kickers is a relatively low $3 million and the Bucs have plenty of cap space to justify the move.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:21 PM    (permalink
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49ers Announce Moves
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The 49ers announced a couple of minor moves today, applying the 2nd round level franchise tender to reserve LB Larry Grant and the original round tender to WR Brett Swain (7th.)

The team also announced the release of TE Nate Byham and WR John Matthews.

The moves have very little affect on the 49ers good salary cap situation.

No word yet on whether or not they will choose to use their franchise tag before tonight's deadline.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:43 PM    (permalink
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Titans Release Hasselbeck
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Veteran QB will be allowed to test the market.

Unable to work out a restructured deal, the Titans have released QB Matt Hasselbeck.

The team has noted that they would like Hasselbeck to return at a reduced deal. The QB is open to a return but will utilize his ability to test the market first. He may be an attractive veteran option to a team too wary of Peyton Manning's injury risk.

The move saves the Titans $5.5 million.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:57 PM    (permalink
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Jets Release Three
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


"Can't Wait!" for unemployment.

The Jets have announced the release of three players today. They are LB Bart Scott, OT Wayne Hunter and S Eric Smith.

The Jets were right up against the salary cap, and these moves will save them a total of around $10 million, giving them some wiggle room to make moves in free agency.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:06 PM    (permalink
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Lions Tender Five, Release One
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

It appears that the Detroit Lions will not be using the franchise tag this offseason. The team debated using it on DE Cliff Avril, but simply did not have the cap space to pull it off.

Instead, they looked to keep some of their younger players. They tendered five restricted free agents:

Sammie Lee Hill - original pick tender (4th)
DeAndre Levy - 2nd round tender
Ashlee Palmer - right to match
Corey Hiliard - Right to match
Stephan Logan - original pick tender (Undrafted, no pick)

The team also released reserve RB Joique Bell, saving about $500k.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:22 PM    (permalink
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Rice Franchised, Ravens Release Four
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Giants GM Incredibly Disappointed.

Ray Rice will remain in Baltimore for another year. The Baltimore Ravens ensured that by applying the franchise tag to him. The RB tender will pay him in the $8 million range.

Additionally, the Ravens opted to place a 1st Round tender on RFA CB Lardarius Webb.

To offset these moves and create some additional cap space, the Ravens announced the release of 4 players. They are WR Lee Evans, OT Bryant McKinnie, CB Dominique Foxworth and CB Chris Carr.

These cuts will save the Ravens close to $18 million.

To offset this move and create more space, the Ravens
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:38 PM    (permalink
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Packers Release Peprah
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Green Bay Packers have announced that they've released safety Charlie Peprah. The move saves around $1 million in salary.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:39 PM    (permalink
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49ers Franchise Goldson
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Goldson had a career year in 2011.

In the 11th hour of the time span to apply the franchise tag, the 49ers have opted to apply the tag to S Dashon Goldson.

Goldson is coming off of a career year in 2011, one of the many 49ers to break out last year in the team's first year under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The franchise tender for safeties is around $6.5 million.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:00 PM    (permalink
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Pre-Free Agency Cap Situations
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

Here is one last review of each team's salary cap situation on the even of free agency.

These are the teams in the best cap situations. They have enough cap space to sign multiple high quality free agents and still have money left over. Expect them to be highly competitive on the free agent market:

- Denver Broncos
- Tampa Bay Bucs
- Washington Redskins
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Buffalo Bills
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Tennessee Titans

These are the teams who are in good cap shape. They will be able to compete for the top free agents, but may not be able to sign as many of them as the teams listed above. These teams are also expected to be competitive in the market:

- Cleveland Browns
- San Francisco 49ers
- San Diego Chargers
- Indy Colts
- Arizona Cardinals
- New England Patriots
- Seattle Seahawks
- Minnesota Vikings
- Baltimore Ravens
- Chicago Bears
- Miami Dolphins
- Green Bay Packers

The following teams have enough cap space to make one big move and some smaller ones, or a few mid-level moves. They'll likely lose out on the highest quality free agents in a bidding war with the above teams, but should still be players in free agency.

- Atlanta Falcons
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Dallas Cowboys
- New Orleans Saints
- Oakland Raiders
- NY Jets

Finally, these teams have relatively little cap space and will be limited to lower end deals.

- NY Giants
- Houston Texans
- St. Louis Rams
- Detroit Lions
- Carolina Panthers
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:05 AM    (permalink
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Bears Acquire Umenyiora
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Bolster pass rush.

One of the Bears bigger needs headed into the offseason was depth at the DE position. With Israel Idonije hitting free agency, Julius Peppers was the only proven player at the position.

That changes now that they've acquired DE Osi Umenyiora from the Giants. Despite missing 7 games due to injury in 2011, the 30 year old Umenyiora still came away with 9 sacks on the season.

In return, the Bears sent their 2nd and 3rd round picks to the Giants. Osi will sign new deal with the Bears which will pay him a multi-year, high-end Quality level deal.*


* - I did say players who were traded with usually receive new contracts. (Check the trades section of the discussion thread.) This is the only "restructures" will happen.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:20 AM    (permalink
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Peyton Manning Tour Kicks Off in South Beach
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Former Dolphin and Future Dolphin?

Peyton Manning's tour of the league has officially begun today, with his first visit being to the Miami Dolphins.

Owner Stephen Ross has spared no expense in attempting to woo the top QB on the free agent market.

The day began with Manning being introduced to new head coach Joe Philbin and the rest of the coaching staff, as well as meeting with some of the Dolphins current star players including WR Brandon Marshall, LT Jake Long and RB Reggie Bush.

Ross and Manning then spent the evening in a luxury box at the Heat game where he got to rub elbows with stars LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

Manning was reportedly impressed by the extents the Dolphins went to in welcoming him, but he is in no rush to make a decision.

"I'm grateful for everything Stephen and the team has done for me to day," Manning said. "But I'm going to take some time to look at all of my options and pick the best one."

Manning may even wait to see where some of the league's other top free agents end up before deciding on his own team.

He is expected to make several other stops but the teams involved have not yet been identified.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:30 AM    (permalink
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Mario Williams Visits Florida Teams
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Will he be playing his home games in the Sunshine State?

On the same day Peyton Manning was visiting with the Miami Dolphins, the guy who spent years trying to sack Manning was visiting two teams in the same state.

Mario Williams met with both the Buccaneers and Jaguars today. Both teams are highly interested in signing the player many have called the best free agent ever available.

Williams began the day in Jacksonville meeting with new owner Shahid Kahn, GM Gene Smith and head coach Mike Mularkey. The meeting reportedly went well.

Williams then moved on to Tampa Bay where he was greeted by head coach Greg Schiano. The Bucs are one of the teams in the best shape salary cap-wise, so money will be no object here. Williams reportedly like where he would fit in on a talented young defensive line in Schiano's aggressive scheme.

Williams will continue his tour of the league with more visits lined up throughout the rest of the week. When he finally does choose a team, he is expected to be made one of, if not THEE, highest paid defensive players in the history of the league.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:35 AM    (permalink
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Bears Release Frank Omiyale
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


No longer a Bear.

The Bears have announced today that they've released OL Frank Omiyale. Omiyale played multiple positions along the offensive line the last few seasons after being a "prized" free agent signing of former GM Jerry Angelo a few years back.

The move came after the Bears acquired DE Osi Umenyiora in a trade. His release will save the Bears just under $2 million in cap space. The team is reportedly going all in to sign free agent WR Dwayne Bowe and will need some additional cap space in order to better their chances.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:51 AM    (permalink
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Brandon Lloyd Visits Jaguars
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Circus catches coming to Jacksonville soon?

WR Brandon Lloyd isn't one of the biggest names on the free agent market, but the Jacksonville Jaguars apparently believe in him.

Lloyd visited the Jaguars facilities early on the first day of free agency and reported came away very impressed by what the team had to offer him.

"I talked to coach Mularkey and really like some of his ideas for me in his offense," Lloyd was quoted as saying.

The 30 year old WR is coming off of two straight solid seasons in Denver and then last year in St. Louis after he was traded there.

The Jaguars are in excellent cap shape and are reportedly interested in adding additional WRs even if they get Lloyd.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:58 AM    (permalink
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Packers Host Gaither
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Could he end up protecting Rodgers blindside?

OT Jared Gaither bounced around the league in 2011, primarily due to injury concerns. However, he was given an opportunity to start in San Diego and finished the season very strong.

This has made him an attractive free agent in the eyes of many teams, including the Green Bay Packers who are notorious for rarely dipping into the free agent pool.

Gaither may prove to be an exception however, as the Packers released long time though oft-injured LT Chad Clifton earlier in the offseason.

"Protecting Aaron is very important to us, as the team will go as far as he can take us," said team president Ted Thompson.

This may be doubly important as Green Bay's quality backup QB, Matt Flynn, is a free agent and is not expected to return to the team.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:10 AM    (permalink
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Cowboys Release Spears
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Dumped by "America's Team."

The Cowboys announced today that they've released veteran DE Marcus Spears. Spears was a former first round pick who resigned last offseason, but has never lived up to his first round billing and was no longer worth his nearly $3 million salary.

The move frees up some space for the Cowboys to use on some of the free agents they plan on hosting later on today. Rumor has it that they are very interested in adding a top quality pass rusher to play opposite DeMarcus Ware on defense.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:36 AM    (permalink
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Texans Release Three
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Houston Texans have announced today that they've released three players in order to free up some additional cap space. The players are:

QB Matt Leinart
WR Jacoby Jones
WR Kevin Walter

Their release will free up an additoinal $10 million in cap space.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:44 AM    (permalink
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Foster Signs Long Term Deal
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Foster will be a Texan for a long time to come.

RB Arian Foster has burst onto the scene as one of the league's most explosive backs in the last few seasons. His presence has catapulted the Texans into one of the league's top offenses.

Already tendered by the team at the first round level as a restricted free agent, the team made him an Elite level long term offer to lock him up.

The Texans feared that another team with a low first round pick may try to steal Foster as a restricted free agent. This move ensures that cannot happen.

Foster is reportedly ecstatic to remain a Texan for the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:02 AM    (permalink
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Vernon Carey Visits Steelers
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Future protector of Big Ben?

The Steelers started the offseason in the worst salary cap situation of any team in the league. Judicious cuts and restructurings allowed the team to get far enough under the cap in order to compete for some free agents.

The free agent at the top of their list is apparently former Dolphin Vernon Carey who was in the Steel City today visiting the team facilities.

Carey isn't the biggest name on the market, but is an experienced NFL lineman and fits what the Steelers like to do offensively.

The o-line has been an area of serious need for the Steelers in recent years. Carey figures to be the immediate starter at RG if he signs with the team.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:10 AM    (permalink
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Grubbs Visits Colts
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Ravens connection at work?

Ben Grubbs is one of the top free agent offensive lineman on the market, and he's making his first known visit to a team today in Indy.

The Colts seem all but certain to take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April's draft, and protecting him is a huge concern. Grubbs would solidify the interior of the Colts o-line and also help to improve their sub-par rushing attack.

It also doesn't hurt that new Colts head coach Chuck Pagano also comes from the Ravens, a connection that he is sure to use to try and lure Grubbs to his new team.

The Colts are also expected to host several of Pagano's former defenders from Baltimore, including linebackers Jarret Johnson and Jameel McClain.
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