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Old 02-16-2012, 05:26 PM    (permalink
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Blackburn Makes the Rounds
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Superbowl champion looking for a long term deal.

Chase Blackburn's story is a good one. He was out of football until re-joining the Giants mid-season. He immediately became their MLB and made the on-field adjustments for the team.

In the Superbowl, he intercepted a pass helping the Giants to their victory over the Patriots.

And now, much like Mario Manningham, the Superbowl victory has propelled his free agent stock and he's been making the rounds with several teams.

He's visited with the Cowboys where he would join Sean Lee as the ILBs of the future for that defense. He also visited the Browns in his home state of Ohio where he would potentially play next to the franchise tagged D'Qwell Jackson.

He has another visit lined up with the Raiders where new GM Reggie McKenzie's good character policy already has Rolando McClain in the dog house. Blackburn would provide a sharp mind in the middle of the defense.

The Giants have also made a play to sign him long term, but Blackburn is doing his homework and checking all of his options before deciding.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:44 PM    (permalink
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Bengals Looking at the O-Line
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Carl Nicks finally getting some love.

The Bengals were one of the most surprising teams of 2011, with a quality defense ready to break out and some young talent in key positions on offense.

In an effort to continue building, the team is looking to spend some of their tremendous cap space on the o-line.

Former Saint Carl Nicks, widely considered the best o-lineman available in this free agent class, was one of several players seen at the team's facility today. Evan Mathis of the Eagles and Ben Grubbs of the Ravens were also seen at the facility.

It appears that protecting Andy Dalton and opening better holes in the run game are priorities for this year's Bengals team.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:11 PM    (permalink
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Carlson Quietly Popular
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Most well-rounded TE available?

John Carlson missed the entire 2011 season due to injury, but that hasn't hurt his popularity amongst teams looking for a TE in 2012.

Carlson has received no fewer than 6 offers from teams so far in the free agency period. He has been making the rounds today visiting each team and hearing what they have to offer.

Most recently, Carlson visited the Titans who are looking for a well-rounded TE to pair with the more pass-catching oriented Jared Cook.

So far, no team has distinguished itself with a big offer to Carlson. If this trend continues, Carlson will be picking the team that is the best fit rather than go for the money.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:15 PM    (permalink
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Meachem Visits Ravens
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Offensive addition in store?

The Ravens have gotten active in free agency and started off by making their pitch to WR Robert Meachem.

While Marques Colston is widely considered the better of New Orleans' two free agent WRs, Meachem brings plenty to the table himself as a deep threat.

The Ravens feel his vertical ability will do well in their offense with Flacco's arm strength.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:17 PM    (permalink
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Dolphins Cut Two
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Dolphins have announced two cuts to clear up some additional cap space. The players are DT Tony McDaniel and LB Jason Trusnik.

Combined, they save Miami $4 million.

*Update - The team has also released OT Ryan Cook, saving another $1 million.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:26 AM    (permalink
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Raiders Send McFadden to Rival Broncos
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


McFadden will move to Mile High.

In the days where Al Davis was in charge of the Raiders, trading a quality (though oft-injured) RB to the hated rival Denver Broncos would have never happened.

But as new Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie establishes himself with the team, no player is sacred and no team is too big of rival to trade with if the offer is right.

When healthy, McFadden is one of the most dangerous backs in the league. However, he is rarely healthy and Oakland's lack of draft picks made this proposition too good to pass up.

Oakland will receive Denver's first round pick, #25 overall, in return for McFadden. The Raiders feel that 2nd year player Taiwan Jones can be their speed threat in the backfield and will likely look for another back, possibly attempting to resign RB Michael Bush, to compliment him.

An accelerated cap hit from McFadden's signing bonus means that the Raiders only gain about $2 million towards the salary cap, but having a first round draft pick makes it well worth it.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:36 AM    (permalink
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Bears Release Four
by DC Insider Rick Bennett

The Chicago Bears have announced today that they've released four players, RB Marion Barber, OG/C Chris Spencer, DT Anthony Adams, and OG Mansfield Wrotto.

Barber and Adams in particular fell out of favor with the coaching staff last season, and their salary wasn't justified as backups.

This series of moves will save the Bears $6-7 million.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:44 AM    (permalink
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Bears Ready to Spend
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Dwayne Bowe is HIGH on the Bears wish list.

New Bears GM Phil Emery recent told the media that "money won't be an issue" for the Bears this offseason.

With a number of aging veterans on the roster, many believe that the Bears window is closing. Making a splash in this year's free agency period would go a long way towards helping the Bears get back into the championship hunt.

Target #1 on the Bears list? Former Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe.

Bowe was in town last night to speak with the Bears, and the Bears tried hard to keep him there. Much like they did with free agent WR Muhsin Muhammad years ago, the Bears did everything in their power to keep Bowe from leaving town without a contract.

Bowe was reportedly flattered and very impressed by the Bears offer, but he is going to take a look at every offer before accepting one.

The Bears will be right back to work today interviewing other free agents.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:51 AM    (permalink
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McNeill Visits Lions
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Protecting Stafford's blindside in 2012?

Marcus McNeill's season ended last year due to concerns about his neck. The injury was apparently concerning enough that it was thought that McNeill's career might be in jeopardy.

But he's still making the free agent rounds and today's stop was in Detroit. Long time starter Jeff Backus is an aging free agent who may not return to the team, so the Lions are doing their homework on alternatives.

McNeill's history of neck issues makes him a risky signing, but when healthy, he is one of the league's better blindside protectors.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:56 AM    (permalink
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Lloyd Visits Patriots
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Will he reunite with McDaniels?

From the very moment Josh McDaniels rejoined the Patriots staff, soon-to-be free agent WR Brandon Lloyd was immediately linked with the team.

This link was well grounded in reality, particularly after the WR visited the Patriots today.

While Lloyd has gotten some high level interest elsewhere in free agency, players have taken less money in the past to sign with perennial Superbowl contender New England.

Lloyd has said that he feels that he and McDaniels are "connected" in the past, and has enjoyed the greatest success of his career when McDaniels was calling the plays.

Lloyd will reportedly consider all offers, but put a star next the Patriots if you're keeping track at home.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:00 AM    (permalink
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Dolphins Host Flynn
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Are two starts enough to justify signing him?

A day after showing free agent QB Peyton Manning around town, the Dolphins flew in another highly rated free agent QB in Green Bay's Matt Flynn.

Flynn has only made two starts in his career, but performed extremely well in both of them. He made his first confirmed free agent visit to Miami today.

The Dolphins pretty clearly have Manning as their first choice, but appear to be doing their due diligence on Matt Flynn as a possible plan B. If signed, Flynn would likely come in and compete with incumbent Matt Moore for the starting job in Miami.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:09 AM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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Vikings Host Thomas
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Will he be in purple next season?

CB Terrell Thomas missed the entire 2011 season due to a knee injury, but that hasn't stopped several teams from expressing high levels of interest on the open market.

Prior to the injury, Thomas was considered the Giants top CB, intercepting 10 passes in the previous two seasons.

The Vikings are one of the teams interested in Thomas. Thomas was apparently very interested by the Vikings offer and where they see him fitting into the defense.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:24 AM    (permalink
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Orton Visits Seahawks
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Seattle is that uh-way.

QB Kyle Orton enjoyed a career year in Denver two seasons ago, but found himself pushed out by Tim Tebow and finished the season with the Chiefs. Orton started the final weeks of the season with the Chiefs and defeated the playoff bound Packers and Broncos in that time.

Now, the Seahawks have an interest in the journeyman QB. Many feel that Seattle is a good QB away from being a competitive team, and Seattle thinks that Orton may be the man for that job.

Orton was reportedly intrigued by Seattle's offer, capped off with the team essentially guaranteeing him the starting job.

Orton will wait to hear other offers, but it sounds as though "neckbeard" has a good chance of winding up in the Emerald City in 2012.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:28 AM    (permalink
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Jackson Heads North, Visits 49ers
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


VJax to the Bay Area?

A day after a good visit with the Philadelphia Eagles, WR Vincent Jackson headed back across the country to visit with the 49ers in San Francisco.

The 49ers are highly expected to resign QB Alex Smith, and if they do, he'll need some additional weapons on offense.

Jackson would provide an elite #1 type presence at WR and would really open the 49ers passing attack which struggled at times in 2011.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:48 AM    (permalink
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Peyton Tour Hits Washington
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Manning given the presidential treatment in the nation's capital.

Things were fairly quiet on the Peyton Manning front after his highly publicized visits to Miami, Arizona and possibly (don't tell the Tebow fanatics) Denver. But Manning resurfaced in Washington today as part of his visit to the Redskins HQ.

The welcoming party was out in full force, as owner Dan Snyder spared no expense in making sure the prize free agent QB got the best experience in Washington possible.

Manning met with the front office staff and coaches as the parties made their best pitches possible the QB.

Washington is in desperate need of help at the position, as they cannot possibly go into another season with the likes of Rex Grossman and John Beck at QB.

The Redskins have done well to clear out cap space the last few years after a decade of constantly living in cap hell, but Manning will be the first to point out that money is less of a big deal than the team's situation.

Currently, the Redskins don't have a Larry Fitzgerald or Brandon Marshall to offer Manning at WR, but the Redskins have the cap space to bring one in.

Manning has also said before that he may wait until after the first free agents have signed to see which team creates the best situation.

One thing we do know is that Washington is going to do whatever it has to in order to provide the best possible situation for Manning to sign.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:08 AM    (permalink
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Skins Surprise Manning, Bring in Bowe for visit


Who wouldn't want to catch throws from Peyton Manning? One guy that definitely seems intrigued is wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe. The Redskins recently hosted Peyton Manning and in pulling out all the stops, Dan Snyder sent his private jet to pick up Dwayne Bowe and bring him in to meet with Peyton and the coaching staff.

The Redskins front office is on a mission to prove to Peyton that they are willing and able to bring the necessary surrounding talent to Washington to bring the Nations Capital back to prominence. The Redskins have the money, the resources, and the wherewithal to successfully recruit top tier free agents like Dwayne Bowe. The focus of this offseason is clear and this front office is focused on continuing the success of the last few offseasons bringing the right talent into the equation.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:40 PM    (permalink
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Soliai Spotted in San Diego
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


The Chargers have need of a big nose tackle.

After playing the 2011 season as Miami's franchise player, Soliai was allowed to hit the market this offseason.

There haven't been many credible reports of Soliai visiting teams thus far, but he did spend this afternoon visiting with the Chargers.

The Chargers have a need at the position as their former NT, Antonio Garay, is a free agent and seems unlikely to return to the team.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:59 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: JETS RESIGN POUHA
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


The big NT will remain a Jet.

The first signing of the free agency period was a no brainer for both parties involved.

The NY Jets have resigned DT Sione Pouha to a long-term, Quality level deal.

Pouha played the 2011 season the the team's franchise tag and the Jets chose not to tag him this year. They made him the best offer on the market and Pouha is reportedly ecstatic to be back in town.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:29 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: PATRIOTS SIGN GRIFFIN
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


The Pats weak secondary gets a major boost.

The Patriots made a splash on the free agent market early during the signing period by landing former Titan safety Michael Griffin.

The Pats offered Griffin an Elite level deal and Griffin gladly accepted. He immediately becomes the best player in the New England secondary and will hopefully go a long way towards making that defense respectable once again.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:35 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: RAVENS KEEP GRUBBS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Ravens keep the interior o-line strong.

Ben Grubbs was a popular man on the free agent market, but he stayed at home after resigning with the Ravens.

Grubbs signed an Elite level deal to stay in Baltimore.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:42 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: 49ers KEEP ROGERS, SMITH
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


49ers keep two important pieces from their playoff run.

The 49ers have succeeded in keeping two key free agent players, signing both CB Carlos Rogers and QB Alex Smith to long term deals.

The team wanted both players back, the players both wanted to be back, and the money was fair for both. Rogers signed an Elite deal while Smith signed a Quality deal.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:51 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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SIGNING: BUCS LAND FINNEGAN
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Bringing the fight to the Bay.

Though the Bucs are still holding out hope that they land prize free agent Mario Williams, they'll certainly take the news that Cortland Finnegan has agreed to sign with the team.

Finnegan likes where he'll fit in Greg Schiano's defense and the money the Bucs offered him was too much to pass up, an Elite level deal.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:59 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: BENGALS LAND FREENEY
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Freeney hops one state over.

Released by the Colts to clear cap room, DE Dwight Freeney used the opportunity to cash in with a team less strapped for money: The Cincinnati Bengals.

Freeney liked the young talent on the Bengals and felt that his presence there would make them more of a championship contender than the rebuilding Colts. Freeney also reportedly wasn't interest in converting to OLB at this point in his career, preferring to stay as an end in the 4-3.

Freeney signed an Elite level deal with Cincy.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:14 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: COLTS BRING BACK MATHIS, GARCON
by DC Insider Rick Bennett



Colts keep two key free agents.

Moments after it was announced that the Colts had lost free agent DE Dwight Freeney to the Bengals, they announced some positive news.

The team had managed to resign free agent DE Robert Mathis and WR Pierre Garcon. Both players had previously expressed interest in staying in Indy despite the team rebuilding, and the Colts ponied up the cash to keep them in town.

Garcon was also heavily pursued by the Redskins, but the Colts made a similar monetary offer and convinced Garcon to stay when they convinced him that he could play Marvin Harrison to Andrew Luck's Peyton Manning.

Mathis, unlike his former line-mate Freeney, was willing and excited to move to OLB in new head coach Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense.

Both players signed Elite deals.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:25 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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SIGNING: REDSKINS LAND BRANCH, RESIGN FLETCHER
by DC Insider Rick Bennett



Redskins defense bolstered.

Though the Redskins have not heard any word from Peyton Manning, they have heard from two defensive free agents.

First, they signed former Raiders safety Tyvon Branch to an Elite level deal. Branch is an excellent in-the-box safety and will add some much needed punch to the Redskins defense.

Also, the Redskins resigned veteran defensive leader LB London Fletcher. Despite his age, Fletcher is coming off of one of his best seasons and was the field general of the Redskins defense. He signed a Quality level deal, likely keeping him in Washington for the rest of his career.
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