NFL Nation: release
First, it was ESPN's Chris Mortensen's report Saturday night that it is a "virtual certainty" Tebow will land in Jacksonville. Next, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Sunday morning that a Jaguars team source said Tebow "will be a Jaguar" next season.
There is enough smoke here to believe something will happen.
The Jaguars wanted Tebow a year ago, and it appears the organization's thinking hasn't changed. The Jets could be willing to dump Tebow altogether for nothing or trade for a low-round draft pick, if possible. New York just wants to end this failed experiment sooner than later. The Jaguars reportedly are willing to take Tebow in.
As we mentioned earlier Sunday, this move makes a lot of sense. Tebow is a Jacksonville native and former University of Florida star who can sell tickets. Jacksonville also has a vacant quarterback job next year that Tebow can compete for. He never got that chance in New York.
Miami head coach Joe Philbin provided his explanation for cutting Johnson following charges of misdemeanor domestic abuse. According to Philbin, the decision was not "reactive" or based on one incident.
"It was more of a body of evidence from June 11 forward," Philbin explained. "When he came in on June 11, we sat down and we talked. I was very clear the expectations of the program, and it just didn’t work out. It’s more about the fit. In my gut, I didn’t feel the fit was going to be benificial for either party in the short-term or long-term."
The feeling around the Dolphins is Philbin played a huge role in cutting Johnson so swiftly. Philbin is a first-year head coach trying to establish his program in Miami. His personality is very different from Johnson, and the two already butted heads (no pun intended) over Johnson's offensive language during a news conference. The Dolphins and Philbin sent a stern message that the new head coach won't tolerate off-the-field distractions.
Besides, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has put up with off-the-field issues in the past, particularly with Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall. Ireland never acted so swift with Marshall, leading many to believe Philbin's fingerprints are all over cutting Johnson. It is also not a coincidence Miami traded Marshall after hiring Philbin, who is putting a ton of focus on character, regardless of what teammates think.
"I hate that we didn't stand behind him," Dansby said on WMEN-AM in Florida Monday morning. "I know the guys in the locker room would. But the organization felt a totally different way about the situation, and they probably had more information than we know. And they had to do what they had to do.
"It's going to be an even bigger distraction right now, I think, because of the simple fact we let him go. I think if we were going to be with the guy, if he was going to be our guy, we have to stand behind him -- even though the situation came about. He didn't get that third strike."
Dansby stood behind his comments after practice, but didn't want to elaborate. Philbin shrugged off Dansby's comments.
“Let’s be honest: You have a boss, I have a boss and I don’t always agree with what the boss says every single time,” Philbin said. “I’m of the opinion that you should keep things in-house in that regard.”
An interesting development was Johnson's agent -- Drew Rosenhaus -- attending Monday's practice. Rosenhaus even had a chat brief chat with Ireland after practice, although it's not known if they were discussing Johnson. Rosenhaus also represents other Dolphins such as defensive lineman Jared Odrick, receiver Brian Hartline and rookies Lamar Miller and Olivier Vernon.
It's also worth pointing out Rosenhaus represents free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress. Philbin didn't rule out the Dolphins looking outside the organization to bolster the receiving corps. Burress worked out for the New England Patriots on Sunday.
But whether the Dolphins sign another player or stick with the group they have, it's clear the Philbin regime wants a clean locker room void of distractions.
"I think we have a strong locker room," Philbin said. "I believe in the character of these individuals, and the men we have on this football team. We’re going to move forward."
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
|Howard Smith/US Presswire|
|The new United Football League remains an option for Michael Vick.|
Keep in mind, Vick still has to finish the home-confinement portion of his legal sentence. Also, he has not been reinstated by the NFL.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear he won't reinstate Vick unless he believes the quarterback is truly remorseful. Even if Goodell reinstates Vick, that doesn't mean there will be a large parade of teams lining up for him.
We'll tell you right now Vick won't end up in the NFC South. The Falcons are glad he's finally behind them. Carolina owner Jerry Richardson wouldn't touch a player with Vick's past. Despite speculation the Saints might view Vick in a Wildcat role, they don't. They've got a real quarterback in Drew Brees and aren't going to take the ball out of his hands. Tampa Bay just spent a first-round pick on Josh Freeman and has declared him the franchise quarterback.
Look around the rest of the league and the options may be limited for Vick. Go ahead and speculate about Dallas and Oakland because the Cowboys and Raiders always seem to be willing to take chances on guys with a troubled past. There might be another team or two out there willing to take a chance on Vick.
But I also think, even if Vick is reinstated, NFL teams may take a collective pass in part because they might not want to deal with the controversy and protests that are sure to follow Vick.
That's why I'm going to say the most likely landing spot for Vick is the new United Football League. Officials and coaches in that league have been hinting Vick is welcome. Makes sense. The league needs a name and Vick needs a place to play.
I'll say Vick ends up with the Orlando franchise. First, Orlando has geographic first rights to any player cut by an NFC South or AFC South team. Second, Jim Haslett is the coach of the Orlando team. Haslett's on record saying he'd be interested in Vick and that Orlando would be a good place for him to restart his career. Haslett's also very familiar with Vick from their days playing against each other in the NFC South.
I say Vick spends this season in Orlando and returns to the NFL in 2010.