Calais Campbell had many things on his side heading into contract negotiations with the Arizona Cardinals.
Campbell is young (25 years old). His career appears to be ascending. He can rush the passer. He can play the run effectively. He's smart and, by all accounts, a good teammate.
Those qualities added up to $31 million in guaranteed money. Update: Thanks to Diehard49er for pointing me toward a PFT item noting that Campbell's deal could work out to $17 million over one year. I'm not sure of it, but that sounds even better than $31 million guaranteed for an ascending young player.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic made me chuckle by noting that Campbell's new contract "is front-loaded and back-loaded." Can there be any better kind of contract than that? Somers: "I noted the salaries defensive end Calais Campbell is due to receive over the five years of his new contract ($2 million, $3 million, $5.5 million, $9 million, $9.5 million). Here are the bonuses Campbell will earn: $15 million signing bonus and a $10 million option bonus that's due to be paid in 2013. Campbell's base salaries in his first two years are fully guaranteed. In year three, $1 million is guaranteed. The total deal is worth $55 million with $31 million guaranteed -- $25 million in bonuses, plus $6 million of guaranteed salary."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Campbell was happy to rejoin his teammates for offseason workouts.
Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says new Rams quarterback Austin Davis worked with Brett Favre during the offseason. Davis: "Just to have the opportunity to meet him and for him to almost mentor me after the season was a huge plus. He lives there, so the connection just kind of happened. The biggest thing is that he was with coach (Brian) Schottenheimer, so he knew the system and helped me out with that as soon as I figured out I was coming (to St. Louis)."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains why he thinks the Rams' stadium proposal is reasonable.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chats about the Rams with team executive Kevin Demoff, who has this to say about stadium funding: "The new G-4 provision allows for funds to go to renovations, which is a positive change for all clubs looking to upgrade their stadiums. However, NFL owners must approve all G-4 requests, so it's impossible to predict whether those funds would be available."
Also from Thomas: The Rams hope Mario Haggan can help their run defense. General manager Les Snead: "We targeted him earlier in free agency, but we went with Jo-Lonn (Dunbar) and then we were just going to see how the draft went. Obviously, in the draft we didn't take a linebacker early, so we felt like we needed veteran help."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looks at possible ramifications if Dashon Goldson waits til the last minute before signing his one-year franchise offer. Maiocco: "The 49ers have had two protracted holdouts from franchise players in the past eight years. And neither ended well. In 2004, linebacker Julian Peterson reported to camp on Aug. 26 with the 49ers set to open the regular season Sept. 12. He started the first five games of the regular season before sustaining a season-ending ruptured Achilles' tendon. And two years ago, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin signed his franchise tender on Aug. 28 -- just two weeks before the 49ers' season opener. Franklin did not play well. The 49ers did not want him back last season, and he signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. He struggled with the Saints, and remains a free agent and looking for work." Noted: The 49ers could always withdraw the franchise tag, then attempt to re-sign Goldson for less. They would risk losing Goldson to another team in that scenario, and depth at safety might not allow them to go that route comfortably. It is an option, however.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com passes along thoughts from newly signed offensive lineman Alex Barron: "I just wanted to get somewhere. I’m pretty confident in my play. I’ve made some mistakes in the past, also. But I’ve gotten to the point where after last season, and coming into the offseason as a free agent, all I want to do is come in and just show that I can play. Because it can’t be talked about, it always has to be shown."
Also from Farnsworth: Korey Toomer wasn't invited to the combine, but the Seahawks liked the linebacker enough to draft him. Coach Pete Carroll: "Korey Toomer did very well, probably more comfortable than we thought. We thought he might be a little bit more raw and it would be a process where he could show that he could fit in. But we played him at the SAM (strong side) spot, played him at WILL (weak side) and nickel, and he had some very good rushes. He looked like we had hoped, so we’re excited about him getting into it."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune sizes up the Seahawks' offensive line after Barron's addition.