NFL Nation: Kahlil Bell

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Sometimes, NFL players outperform their contracts.

Without tearing up those deals, there is a way for players who fit that description to earn more money. It’s called the NFL's performance-based pay distribution in which each team can allot a total of $3.46 million in additional play to its players.

It typically benefits players in their first NFL contracts or minimum-salaried free-agent signings who become key contributors.

For example, Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, a fourth-round pick with a base salary of $405,000 last year, will receive an additional $256,882.22 in performance-based pay, according to documents obtained by Bakhtiari started every game last season as a rookie. He received the largest pay increases among Packers' players. According to the NFL, those payments will be made on April 1, 2016.

The smallest distribution to a Packers' player went to backup tackle Derek Sherrod, who will receive $2,154.55. He was active for seven games but only took six snaps on offense all season.

Here’s a list of the top-10 and bottom-10 performance-based bonuses on the Packers’ roster:

Top 10
Bottom 10
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Between now and the start of free agency in March, the Green Bay Packers have plenty of decisions to make about their roster.

Some may already have been made, but with 17 unrestricted free agents and two more that fall under the restricted category, there are bound to be both big-money signings and cost-saving departures.

Every one of the key free-agents-to-be who was in the locker on Monday when players packed up and headed home for the offseason expressed uncertainty about their situations.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with the guys playing,” center Evan Dietrich-Smith said. “I hope we can continue it, but at the same time I think everybody understands the business side of the game and we’ll just have to wait and see.”

For some players, like veteran receiver James Jones, this won’t be the first time going through free agency.

“Whatever may happen, happens,” Jones said. “I would love to be back here. I’ve been here for seven years and would love to be back. You know, you’ve got to go into the offseason, they make decisions up top, I’ll go into the offseason and talk with my agent and we’ll go from there.”

Here’s the list of the free-agents-to-be on offense (to be followed later by the defensive list):
  • Seneca Wallace, QB: Aaron Rodgers said he enjoyed having a veteran backup around, but at age 33 and coming off surgery to repair a torn groin muscle, Wallace is not expected to return. He finished the Nov. 4 game against the Bears after Rodgers broke his collarbone but then sustained his injury on the first series of his first start the following week. 2013 base salary: $662,118
  • Flynn
    Matt Flynn, QB: Back in the system where he’s most comfortable, Flynn has shown that he can be a short-term fill-in for Rodgers. After failed attempts to start in Seattle and Oakland, he might be content to come back as a backup. However, the Packers also have Scott Tolzien under contract and would like to continue to develop him. 2013 base salary: $715,000
  • John Kuhn, FB: If ever there was a question about his value, it should have been answered this season, when he made several big plays – including the key block on Rodgers’ game-winning touchdown pass in Week 17 against the Bears. The role of the fullback has diminished, but the position is far from extinct in Green Bay. 2013 base salary: $1.8 million
  • James Starks, RB: Playing the role of complementary back to Eddie Lacy suited the oft-injured Starks. He missed only three games this season and averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 89 regular-season attempts. He might seek a starting chance somewhere else but could return as a backup. 2013 base salary: $630,000
  • Kahlil Bell, RB: Signed on Dec. 3 after rookie Johnathan Franklin’s season-ending neck injury, the veteran backup played primarily on special teams. With Franklin and DuJuan Harris expected to be healthy by next season, Bell may not be re-signed. 201 3 base salary: $715,000
  • Jones
    James Jones, WR: Perhaps eager to test the free-agent market after receiving little interest the last time around in the post-lockout signing period of 2011, Jones fought through a knee injury to finish second on the team in receptions (59) and receiving yards (817). It will be interesting to see what the market will be like for a 29-year-old who has been mostly a No. 2 receiver – albeit a productive one. 2013 base salary: $2.95 million
  • Jermichael Finley, TE: This will be as much a medical decision as it is a financial one after he underwent surgery following his season-ending neck injury. Finley wants to keep playing, but he will have to be cleared by doctors first. It would have been a difficult negotiation even without the injury, but that has only complicated matters. 2013 base salary: $4.45 million
  • Quarless
    Andrew Quarless, TE: Replaced Finley in the starting lineup and despite a career-best 32 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns, he did not show the dynamic playmaking ability that Finley has. It doesn’t mean he won’t be back, but the Packers will probably address this position whether it’s by re-signing Finley or looking elsewhere. 2013 base salary: $1.32 million
  • Evan Dietrich-Smith, C: Played last season on a restricted free-agent tender and started all 16 games for the first time in his career. The Packers would like some continuity at the center position, so perhaps re-signing the dependable Dietrich-Smith will be a priority. 2013 base salary: $1.32 million
  • Marshall Newhouse, T: Reduced to a backup role after starting the previous two seasons at left tackle, Newhouse started two games at right tackle while Don Barclay was out because of a knee injury, but his days as a full-time starter in Green Bay appear to be over. 2013 base salary: $1.23 million

Packers' injuries to watch in Week 17

December, 23, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers still have a chance to make the playoffs.

Win Sunday’s game at the Chicago Bears, and they win the NFC North and get the home playoff game that goes with it.

But do they really have a chance at Soldier Field if they have to play without some of their key playmakers?

Here are the key injuries to watch this week:

RB Eddie Lacy: The Packers’ all-time rookie rushing leader -- he set that mark on Sunday with 84 yards to give him 1,112 for the season -- failed to finish Sunday's 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He missed the entire fourth quarter after he hobbled off the field, favoring his sprained right ankle. He first injured it on Dec. 8 against the Atlanta Falcons. Although he has not missed a start, he has spent most of the past two weeks wearing a walking boot while practicing only the last two Fridays. “It’s the same thing, reaggravated it,” Lacy said. Backup James Starks was effective in place of Lacy, rushing for 47 yards on 10 carries and catching one pass for 23 yards against the Steelers. Fullback John Kuhn also scored a fourth-quarter touchdown. The only other back on the roster is Kahlil Bell, who was signed on Dec. 3.

OLB Clay Matthews: It would seem unlikely the Packers would have Matthews this week and perhaps beyond if they make the playoffs. Matthews reinjured his broken right thumb on his second-quarter sack of Ben Roethlisberger. Matthews knew it was bad as soon as it happened. He ran off the field with his right arm hanging limp at his side. Just like when he broke it on Oct. 6, he couldn’t even use his right hand to unbuckle his chin strap. Matthews needed surgery to fix it the first time and missed four games. “I couldn’t give you a timeline but I think based off the history of what happened the first time, I’m told it’s similar to the [previous] injury," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday after the game. Adding to the concern is the fact fellow outside linebackers Nick Perry (foot) and Mike Neal (abdomen) are banged up. Neal came out for a portion of Sunday’s game but managed to return.

QB Aaron Rodgers: Need we say anything more about Rodgers? As of last Friday, he had not been cleared to return from his Nov. 4 broken collarbone, which means it will be another week of speculation about his status unless McCarthy says something definitive during his news conference Monday afternoon.

Other injuries to watch: LB Brad Jones (ankle), CB/KR Micah Hyde (shoulder), TE Ryan Taylor (ankle).
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Thanks to Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, we know that quarterback Aaron Rodgers took snaps with the starting offense Wednesday.

While Matt Flynn still took the majority of the starter's reps and at this point is planning to start Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, it represented a significant step for Rodgers in his recovery. How his collarbone feels Thursday will dictate his activities for the rest of the week.

"We'll see how he is tomorrow," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Wednesday's practice. "We'll set a plan for him again tomorrow."

Rodgers is expected to hold his weekly news conference Thursday.

Meanwhile, receiver Randall Cobb, who has been on the injured reserve/designated to return list since Oct. 15 because of his fractured tibia, still has not returned to practice. He is eligible to return to game action this week, but that appears unlikely.

"Randall is doing more, he's doing more in his rehab," McCarthy said. "He's progressing, looks good. He's starting to bounce around. He definitely took a step."

Running back Eddie Lacy won't practice until Friday at the earliest because of the sprained ankle he sustained Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Lacy finished the game after getting re-taped but if he can't play this week, James Starks would be the starter, and it could mean the recently signed Kahlil Bell would be the backup. Bell was inactive against the Falcons.

McCarthy said he did not have major concerns about inside linebackers Brad Jones (ankle) and Jamari Lattimore (knee) despite the fact that neither practiced Wednesday.

Receiver Myles White, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday, said he injured his knee on his third-quarter catch against the Falcons. White said he has a partially torn meniscus but will not need surgery.

Here's the full injury report:
  • C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee/ankle, limited participation in practice)
  • LB Brad Jones (ankle, did not practice)
  • RB Eddie Lacy (ankle, did not practice)
  • LB Jamari Lattimore (knee, did not practice)
  • OLB Mike Neal (abdomen, did not practice)
  • OLB Nick Perry (foot, limited participation)
  • QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone, limited participation)
  • DE C.J. Wilson (ankle, did not practice).
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers won’t have to shuffle their offensive line because center Evan Dietrich-Smith is going to give it a go on his sprained ankle.

Dietrich-Smith was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report after he sprained his ankle in practice on Wednesday. That, combined with the knee injury he sustained in the Thanksgiving game at the Detroit Lions, left his status in doubt for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

It means that the Packers won’t have to move right guard T.J. Lang to center and find a replacement for Lang.

Against the Lions, Lang played center after Dietrich-Smith left in the second quarter. It was only the second time in Lang’s career that he played center. Marshall Newhouse and Lane Taylor split playing time at right guard after Lang moved against the Lions.

Newhouse was a surprise inactive after coming down with flu-like symptoms. Running back Kahlil Bell, signed on Monday, also will not play.

Here’s the Packers’ full inactive list:

Cutting McMillian not a major shakeup

December, 3, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. – As far as major shakeups go, cutting a second-year safety who had been phased out of the defense probably doesn’t qualify.

But that’s about as far as the struggling Green Bay Packers went upon returning Tuesday from their extended time off following last Thursday’s 40-10 loss at the Detroit Lions. They cut Jerron McMillian, a fourth-round draft pick in 2012, to make room for veteran running back Kahlil Bell, who agreed to a one-year deal a day earlier.

[+] EnlargeJerron McMillian
AP Photo/Duane BurlesonJerron McMillian fell out of the Packers' defensive plans.
McMillian lost a training-camp battle with M.D. Jennings for the starting free safety job but then started the first two games at strong safety while Morgan Burnett was out because of a hamstring injury. However, McMillian lost that starting spot even before Burnett returned. Rookie Chris Banjo started in Week 3, and McMillian was reduced to a part-time role as the dime (sixth) defensive back.

By the Packers’ sixth game, McMillian was out of the defensive plans all together. After playing 184 snaps on defense in the first five games, McMillian played just seven defensive snaps in the last seven games. Even McMillian’s role on special teams was reduced. He played just six of 27 special-teams plays against the Lions.

“Any time you have a young player you bring into your program, you obviously have expectations,” coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. “But this is something that we felt we needed to do from a roster standpoint. I think our roster distribution reflects that, and as far as his individual performance, it just wasn’t quite what it needed to be this year.”

McCarthy wouldn’t commit to any other changes for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, a virtual must-win game if the Packers want to stay in the playoff hunt. He said the newly signed Bell might factor in on special teams right away but wouldn't say if that would be in a kick-return capacity.

McCarthy said the film review of the Lions game did not produce many positive grades. The offense, he said, had none. The defense, other than the four takeaways, also was all negative. He said they had 20 missed tackles on defense and special teams combined.

“We’re staying true to who we are,” McCarthy said. “We study the film. We correct the things that we’ve done [and] maybe get some people healthier. Coming back, there’ll be more competition for playing time in certain packages. So some of that’s going to change, but I’m not going to get into specifics on that.”

While the Packers don’t have to file an official injury report until Wednesday, McCarthy indicated that the knee injury that center Evan Dietrich-Smith sustained in the second quarter against the Lions was not serious. Dietrich-Smith, who did not return to the game, may be able to practice on Wednesday. He also said receiver Randall Cobb, who is eligible to come off the injured reserve/designed to return list next week, has not been cleared to return from his leg injury.

Packers sign running back Kahlil Bell

December, 2, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers signed veteran running back Kahlil Bell on Monday, according to an NFL source.

The Packers were down to just two halfbacks -- Eddie Lacy and James Starks -- after they placed rookie Johnathan Franklin on injured reserve last Wednesday because of a neck injury.

Bell worked out for the Packers once last season, but they did not sign him. They brought him back in for a workout on Monday, according to the source, and signed him to a contract for the remainder of this season shortly after his session. Bell would be a free agent after this season.

The 5-foot-11, 219-pound Bell had the best game of his career against the Packers on Christmas Day 2011. As a member of the Chicago Bears, Bell rushed for 121 yards on 23 carries. It remains Bell’s only 100-yard rushing performance in 26 career regular-season games. He also had four catches for 38 yards in that game.

He also has some experience as a kick returner. Most of it came during preseason with the Bears.

Bell went to training camp with the New York Jets this past summer but was released during the final cuts. He played in three games for the Jets last season, sandwiched around two different stints with the Bears. Of his 26 career games, he played in 23 of those with the Bears.

He has a career rushing average of 4.3 yards in limited work. He has a total of 148 carries in his career.

The Packers will have to make a corresponding roster move to clear a spot for Bell. It was not immediately known what that move was. When they placed Franklin on injured reserve last week, they promoted practice squad linebacker Victor Aiyewa.
As expected, the New York Jets were busy on The Day After, acquiring three players on waivers. The newest name is former Colts left tackle Ben Ijalana.

Ijalana, a native of New Brunswick, N.J., was a second-round pick out of Villanova in 2011. He suffered a torn ACL in each of his first two seasons, causing the Colts to give up on him. He has played in only four games. It's a logical move for the Jets, who need depth at tackle. They figured veteran Jason Smith would be the answer, but he was woefully inept in the final preseason game.

An AFC scout said of Ijalana, "He's a smooth athlete. Good feet, not real physical. He's an undersized tackle [6-foot-4, 322 pounds], but has long arms."

The Jets have 10 offensive linemen on the roster.

To make room for the three waiver claims -- Ijalana, running back Alex Green and outside linebacker Scott Solomon -- the Jets released running back Kahlil Bell and linebacker Danny Lansanah and placed linebacker Josh Mauga (back) on injured reserve.

Bell and Lansanah enjoyed solid preseasons. In fact, Bell rushed for a team-high 114 yards and scored four touchdowns. Lansanah spent four years out of the NFL and thought he had made the team, but cut-down weekend is unpredictable. Shortly before the move was announced, Lansanah tweeted one word: "Wow!!!!!"

Rapid Reaction: Jets 37, Jaguars 13

August, 17, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rookie QB Geno Smith didn't play because of a sprained ankle, leaving Saturday night to Mark Sanchez & Co. Much like he was in the preseason opener, Sanchez was sharp except for one horrendous interception. Despite a terrible night by the first-team defense, the New York Jets won 37-13 over the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium.

What it means: The burning question is, will Rex Ryan put an end to the quarterback competition? Sanchez could've made it an easy call by playing a clean game, but he was intercepted in the end zone on a third-and-goal from the 3. Ryan hates red zone interceptions. He might start Smith next week against the Giants, which would prolong the Jets' QB competition.

Oh, no, not again: For some reason, Sanchez can't avoid disaster. He came out on fire, hitting six of his first eight passes, including a 23-yard TD to Jeff Cumberland. He was actually cheered by the home crowd, but he reverted to 2012 Sanchez with the red zone pick. The crowd turned on him quickly. A week ago, he gave six points to the Lions with an interception for a touchdown. This time, he took away at least three points from the Jets. Actually, make that six. On the final play of the first half, Sanchez held the ball too long on a third-down incompletion, eliminating a field goal chance -- an inexcusable brain lock.

Surprisingly, Sanchez (13-for-23, 169 yards) played three quarters, the last of which behind the second-team line -- always a risky proposition. With Smith out and with Greg McElroy (ankle) limited to emergency duty, Ryan didn't want to use Matt Simms until the fourth quarter.

Dead zone: Sanchez's interception wasn't the only blunder in the red zone. The starting offense went 0-for-3 inside the 20. It ran five plays inside the 10 and came away with no points on those two drives.

"Brutal" defense: The first-team defense looked as bad as it ever has under Ryan, who probably would use the word "brutal" (or worse) to describe it. The Jets were ill-prepared and confused, diced up by Blaine Gabbert, who killed them with quick throws out of the hurry-up offense. The book is out on the Jets defense: pick up the tempo, get the ball to the receivers and backs and let them make plays. The Jaguars went 80 yards on seven plays for a touchdown on their first drive. On their second possession, it was 18 plays, 75 yards and a field goal.

LB David Harris, who dropped weight to improve his coverage ability, was exposed. So was rookie CB Dee Milliner, who allowed two completions and got an earful from Antonio Cromartie on the sideline. Cromartie wasn't great, either, missing an open-field tackle. Later, he made a nice tackle behind the line. Gabbert (13-for-16, 165 yards, one TD) left the game with a sprained right thumb; that saved the Jets defense more than any adjustments it made.

Coples hurt: OLB Quinton Coples suffered a right leg injury in the second quarter and limped to the locker room for a likely X-ray. He was hurt while batting down a pass in the face of QB Chad Henne. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Jets can't afford to lose Coples, whom the defensive coaches believe is the key to the defense. He was replaced by Antwan Barnes.

Here's Ivory: RB Chris Ivory, finally recovered from a hamstring injury, made his Jets debut. He didn't start, but he came in early and finished with 13 yards on six carries. No, it wasn't a great night, but he showed his potential on an 8-yard run by plowing through a couple of defenders. Ivory lacked burst on outside runs, probably because he's still working his way back into football shape. All told, the running game was much improved. The Jets rushed for 176 yards, including a 37-yard run by Bilal Powell. Backup Kahlil Bell provided a late spark, scoring two TDs.

Audition for Braylon: WR Braylon Edwards, hardly a lock to make the team, played only one snap in the first half. That usually doesn't bode well for a veteran. Edwards saw significant action in the second half and showed he's still capable of being a useful possession receiver, finishing with three catches for 49 yards.

What's ahead: The Jets play the Giants in their annual summer bash.
You don't have to go any further than last Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers to understand how valuable tailback Michael Bush was to the Chicago Bears this season.

Unable to play because of a rib injury that officially ended his season Tuesday, Bush could only watch as starter Matt Forte failed on three attempts to score from the Packers' 5-yard line in the third quarter. Forte gained 4 yards on his first carry, was stopped for no gain on his next two and the Bears were forced to kick a field goal in what became a 21-13 loss.

The Bears signed Bush in part to help them in the goal-to-go situations that Forte has routinely failed in during his career. This season, Bush got the carry on 11 such situations and scored five touchdowns, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Forte has one touchdown on eight such carries this season, giving him just 10 touchdowns in 94 career goal-to-go carries. Bush, on the other hand, has 22 touchdowns on 68 goal-to-go carries.

The Bears' decision to give the ball to Forte on those three consecutive carries was one of the most predictable failures of their season. Bush said during training camp that he preferred not to be pigeon-holed in such a role, but on this team it made perfect sense to use him that way.

Note: The Bears re-signed running back Kahlil Bell to replace Bush on the roster. It's likely that Armando Allen will serve as Forte's backup Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

No surprise: Bears rule out Matt Forte

September, 21, 2012
I tried to spare you minute-by-minute updates this week on the condition of Chicago Bears tailback Matt Forte. As we discussed, Forte's status for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams seemed in doubt from the moment the Bears re-signed veteran Kahlil Bell last weekend. Forte's injured ankle might not be of the high-sprain variety, but there never seemed a realistic chance he would play Sunday.

So it's not surprising that Smith moments ago declared Forte out for Sunday's game. Michael Bush will start against the Rams, with Bell and Armando Allen in reserve.

The real question is whether Forte can get back, with one extra day of rest, in time for the Bears' game next Monday night (Oct. 1) against the Dallas Cowboys. Stay tuned on that one.

Matt Forte's right ankle injury might not be of the more severe "high" sprain, as Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said Monday morning. But to me the team already revealed its concerns about Forte's short-term availability by re-signing veteran Kahlil Bell over the weekend.

If the Bears thought Forte would be ready for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, they probably would not have felt compelled to make a roster move. Backups Michael Bush and Armando Allen are healthy and available for extended duty if necessary, but it's reasonable to think Forte might not play. Smith, in fact, acknowledged Forte was still "sore" Monday morning.

The Bears are scheduled to resume practicing Monday afternoon after a three-day layoff following last Thursday's 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The Chicago Bears aren't scheduled to hold media availability until Monday, so we haven't gotten any official word on the status of running back Matt Forte -- who did not return to Thursday night's 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers after suffering a right ankle injury.

But we can tell you this much: The Bears appear set to fortify their depth over the weekend, an indication that Forte is unlikely to make an immediate return. Former Bears running back Kahlil Bell, waived last month, tweeted Saturday afternoon: "I'm taking my talents back to Chicago. So happy to be back. Never wanted to leave."

Bell would join Michael Bush and Armando Allen in the Bears' backfield this week.

Update: The Bears officially signed Bell to a one-year contract and waived safety Jeremy Jones this afternoon.
Norv Turner made the right call.

Yes, Philip Rivers needs the work to prepare for the regular season but, most importantly, Rivers needs to be upright when the Chargers visit Oakland on Sept. 10 for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Turner changed course and decided that backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst will start Friday night against Minnesota. This is the pivotal third preseason game. Starters usually play up to three quarters.

However, the Chargers are without starting offensive linemen Nick Hardwick, Jared Gaither and Tyronne Green because of injuries. Having their star quarterback play in a preseason game with 60 percent of his offensive line missing proved to be too risky.

Again, bravo, Norv.

Yes, Rivers will miss the valuable action. Maybe he can play a quarter or so in the preseason finale next Thursday. Early in the regular season, Rivers will find his groove despite missing Friday night’s game. And he will be healthy. His health wasn’t guaranteed if he was thrown into Friday night’s game.

Star San Diego tight end Antonio Gates is also a healthy scratch. Gates has dealt with injuries for the past four years. He looks great this summer. There is no need risking injury now.

In other AFC West news:

Oakland coach Dennis Allen said receiver Jacoby Ford does not have structural damage in his sprained left foot. That is good news for Ford, who missed several games last season due to a similar injury on the same foot.

Chicago reportedly cut backup running back Kahlil Bell. He could perhaps interest the Chargers and Raiders. Both teams have a need at the position.

NFC North Quick Hits: Monday

March, 12, 2012
I have no idea if this is our last post of the day or if we'll have five more before we call it a night. That's how crazy the NFL news cycle is at the moment. But we've had a collection of newsbits hit the wire in the past few hours, so let's bring them all together while we have a moment — in quick-hitting fashion, of course.

Item: The NFL has taken $36 million in salary cap space from the Washington Redskins and $10 million from the Dallas Cowboys for two-year-old contract violations.
Comment: Each NFC North team will receive $1.6 million in additional cap space as a result. Yee-haw!

Item: The Detroit Lions released tight end Will Heller.
Comment: Heller was due a roster bonus of $200,000 and would have received a base salary of just under $1 million in 2012. As cold as it sounds, you don't need to pay your third tight end that kind of money.

Item: The Chicago Bears issued a low tender of $1.26 million to running back Kahlil Bell, a restricted free agent.
Comment: The Bears have the right to match any contract offer Bell might receive, but they would get no compensation if he departs. At this moment, he appears in line to be Matt Forte's primary backup in 2012. Marion Barber isn't expected back.

Item: The Vikings aren't expected to tender linebacker/special teams ace Kenny Onatolu, according to Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Comment: The fate of the Vikings' other restricted free agent, running back Lorenzo Booker, has yet to be learned.

Item: The Green Bay Packers are entering into their final hours of exclusive negotiating with center Scott Wells, a pending free agent.
Comment: The Packers have a history of last-minute agreements, but Wells might feel compelled to test his market value before being satisfied with what the Packers have offered.

Item: I can't count how many people have asked for updates on the status of Packers left tackle Chad Clifton and receiver Donald Driver.
Comment: If either player has restructured his contract and/or been informed of his release, it hasn't been made public. That's all I can tell you at this moment.