Dansby's status could affect Boldin deal
• Arizona franchise player Karlos Dansby told the Arizona Republic on Tuesday that the Cardinals are no longer seeking a long-term extension with him. Wednesday is the last day teams can negotiate with players who have the franchise designation. Dansby is the best linebacker on the defending NFC champion and now seems set to become a free agent in 2010.
The reason this news is fantasy-worthy is that the Cardinals are only about $2 million under the cap, and a renegotiated contract for Dansby might've meant more cap room to do a new deal with disgruntled receiver Anquan Boldin. While there's no deadline for Arizona to negotiate a new agreement with Boldin, one wonders where it will get the cap room. Will the Ravens step up their pursuit of Boldin in the wake of Derrick Mason's maybe-retirement? Or is the Dansby move simply a way for the Cards to save money long-term that can be earmarked for a future Boldin contract?
• Mike Singletary reiterated to the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday that he won't select his starting quarterback until the 49ers' third preseason game. Alex Smith reportedly had a very nice minicamp, performing well after shoulder surgery, and may have closed the gap on presumptive starter Shaun Hill. Given Singletary's public stance on the matter, it's possible that Smith could take the job if he outperforms Hill in the team's first two preseason games. Still, I consider it far likelier that Hill gets first crack. He has proven he deserves the chance in the latter stages of each of the past two seasons.
• Leon Washington told the New York Daily News that he doesn't know if he'll report to Jets training camp at the end of the month. The Jets' third-down back, who scored nine total touchdowns last season, did report to the team's minicamp this summer, but he is still seeking a new deal in the range of $6 million per year. That's Maurice Jones-Drew money, and since the Jets took Shonn Greene in April's draft, it might not be realistic. New York is offering Washington an extension of about $2 million per season. Given Thomas Jones' unhappiness over having to play out the final season of his contract, there's a potential jumble in that Jets backfield, which will get a lot of help from one very good offensive line.
• The Chiefs signed their franchise player, quarterback Matt Cassel, to an extension Tuesday, meaning that Cassel won't be playing for a massive annual salary this season, but he also won't have to worry about playing for a new contract in his first year with the moribund Kansas City franchise.
Cassel gets a six-year contract for $63 million, with $28 million guaranteed. That's more guaranteed money, and a bigger total package, than Tom Brady earned on his current contract. (But don't cry for Tom: He'll be a free agent in 2011.) This is a massive investment in a guy who has started one season since high school, especially considering he doesn't look all that good when he's not operating out of the shotgun. But once the Chiefs traded for Cassel, they had to do this. There was no sense letting him play for upwards of $14 million this year with the possibility of his escaping to another city in 2010. Remember how Todd Haley said he's going to have an open competition at quarterback? Yeah, um, forget that.