Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Waiting for the onslaught
By Bill Williamson
While the news has been cranking up in the past hour or so, the first day of NFL movement has been slower than expected.
None of the AFC West teams have even sent out their list of signed undrafted free agents. I spoke to several agents Monday and they expected Tuesday to be overrun with agreements. Teams can agree to terms with free agents from other teams, but they can’t sign them until Friday. Teams can make trades and agree to terms with their own free agents as well as adding undrafted free agents.
Yet, teams have so far spent of Tuesday planning. Many teams are cutting players as they prepare for free agency. Both Baltimore and Dallas have cut several veterans and there’s speculation they are both trying to make room to make a run at Oakland free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who’ll be the free agent prize. Several agents I spoke to Tuesday said they were surprised by the lack of agreements. But they said they sensed teams were trying to adjust to the new $120 million salary cap and that more deals will start happening, in earnest, Wednesday and Thursday.
There is also a sense of caution, several agents said. They feel teams don’t want to get spurned by players who they make agreements with now. So, teams all may be waiting to finalize agreements closer to Friday to avoid being left at the altar.
The quarterback domino is worth watching. It started when it was reported Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck will not return to the Seahawks. ESPN’s John Clayton reports Tennessee may be the frontrunner to land Hasselbeck. That could affect Denver’s attempt to trade Kyle Orton. Clayton reports Orton could be reunited with Brandon Marshall in Miami.
Yet, Clayton also said if the Broncos don’t receive a third-round pick for Orton, he could be kept in Denver and the Broncos could wait to see if a quarterback gets hurt later in training camp before trying to trade him again. I think that would not be smart. If the Broncos are comfortable with handing the keys to Tim Tebow now, they should just do it and see what happens. Keeping Orton around and having him take valuable repetitions from Tebow would be a waste.
Denver has to make a decision now. The Arizona Republic thinks the Cardinals could decide to pursue Orton over the Eagles’ Kevin Kolb. The paper reasons that the Cardinals think that Orton is not far off Kolb in terms of talent, and Orton could be enticing because he’d be cheaper. The quarterback market could start to move soon.
Meanwhile, I hear Seattle is working to bring back defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. Denver has been interested in him. Still, Denver could go after Green Bay’s Cullen Jenkins or San Francisco’s Aubrayo Franklin.
There was some talk Baltimore offensive lineman Marshal Yanda could end up in the AFC West. He is heading back to the Ravens, though.
By the way, Seattle is picking up quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Leinart. Boy, that trade with San Diego for Charlie Whitehurst is looking even worse than it did last season. The Chargers moved up 20 spots in the second round last year and received a third-rounder for Whitehurst in 2011. The Seahawks then thought Whitehurst was the quarterback of the future. Clearly, that idea has changed.