Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com NFL columnist Ashley Fox stops by to chat.
Fox joined ESPN.com in 2011 after 11 years as a writer and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers. She also has worked at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated. A North Carolina native, Fox lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and son.
Send your questions now and join Fox on Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (1:01 PM)
Good afternoon. It was a quiet weekend in the NFL, huh? Peyton Manning, the huge Redskins trade, Mark Sanchez. This off season has been a blast and free agency hasn't even started yet. So let's get started...
Steven B. (New York City)
Ashley, after what the Jets saved 6 mil by extending Sanchez, what should they do now?
Ashley Fox (1:03 PM)
Steven, they did the most important thing today by signing Sione Pouha. That had to get done. He started 16 games in 2011 at nose tackle for a unit that ranked fifth in the league in defense. I don't expect the Jets to be overly active in free agency. They just don't have that much money to spend, even with the extension of Sanchez and the money they saved.
Derrick K. (Atlantic City)
Can you give me a list of your top 10 fanbases in the NFL? Thanks.
Ashley Fox (1:05 PM)
I could, Derrick, but I won't. That is a thankless task. There are places opposing players don't like to play, which is an indication of the strength of a fan base. New York, Dallas, Washington, Philly, New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, New England, Kansas City, just to name a few and in no certain order. There certainly are better fan bases than others. Just check the teams who have had blackouts in recent years or struggled to sell season tickets. It is pretty obvious.
Seeings as the Saints are likely losing draftpicks from Bountygate and are losing a chunk of their offense (Colston and Nicks likely gone, Brees is holding out), the Saints will likely need to make a move in free agency. Who do they pick up?
Ashley Fox (1:07 PM)
I think the two biggest signings they could make are guys on their own team: Carl Nicks and Marques Colston. Nicks sounds like he is intent on going where the money takes him, and he will get it. Tracy Porter and Robert Meachem are likely gone. They Saints have about $5 million in cap room. That is not a lot.
Hi Ashley - What do You expect the Ravens to do this offseason - specifically on the offensive line, with the wideouts & the linebackers
Ashley Fox (1:09 PM)
They need help with the interior of their line, either through the draft or free agency (I would think the draft). The linebacker market is okay, with Curtis Lofton, Stephen Tulloch, London Fletcher and David Hawthorn atop that list. My colleague James Walker wrote in a recent blog post that he thinks the Ravens could go after Eddie Royal as their No. 3 receiver. That would help. Reggie Wayne would too, but he likely will command more money than the Ravens would like to spend.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Since the Redskins Traded their #6 Pick Overall to the Rams for the 2nd Pick Overall, Will that mean that the Robert Griffin III or RG3 will be playing for the Redskins?
Ashley Fox (1:11 PM)
Yes, unless the Colts don't take Andrew Luck, which would be a shocker. I actually like the Redskins move. They gave up a ton to St. Louis, but they didn't have much choice. They've been looking for a legit starting quarterback for the better part of two decades. From what everyone says, RG3 will be a legit starting quarterback. He's a really sharp kid, too. It would be a nice addition to the NFC East: Eli Manning, Vick, Romo and RG3. That would be pretty fun.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Ashley: How much would Dan Connor help the Eagles if they sign him?
Ashley Fox (1:12 PM)
Hi Matthew. Connor, as you probably know, is a Pennsylvania guy who went to Penn State. But the Eagles need difference makers at that position. I don't expect them to be super active in free agency but I would like to see them go after one of the linebackers I named previously before Connor.
Markos from California [via mobile]
Will the Broncos trade Tebow to Jacksonville if they sign Peyton Manning?
Ashley Fox (1:15 PM)
This apparently is a hot topic down in Jax. I don't think so, but who knows. It would be popular. And who knows where Peyton is going to sign. I doubt he knows at this point. I do know it probably was a disconcerting weekend for Tebow and for Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. It is understandable that Denver and Arizona are taking a hard look at Manning, but had to sting for the QBs already in those towns.
Should I read anything into the fact that the 49ers are working out Randy Moss? I can't imagine Moss wants to come back and play with a guy like Alex Smith at this point in his career. Any chance they (49ers) are telling Moss that Peyton is a possibility for them?
Ashley Fox (1:16 PM)
I think Randy Moss just wants to play. I doubt at this point, after sitting home all of last season, that he really cares where. San Francisco would be a good option. They went to the NFC title game for crying out loud. And no, I don't think Peyton is a possibility for them.
I'm excited for free agency to start tomorrow. Which free agent will most likely come to Chicago: Mario Williams, Jeremy Mincey, Vincent Jackson, or Marques Colston? Could one or two of these guys come too?
Ashley Fox (1:19 PM)
It should be a fun opening 72 hours. The Bears have deep pockets and there is no doubt they could use another target for Jay Cutler. Jackson is going to be very expensive. Colston would fit. After what they gave Julius Peppers a couple years ago, I don't see the Bears opening the bank for Williams.
Michael (Burlington VT)
If you had to guess the biggest surprise free agent signing to occur, what would it be?
Ashley Fox (1:20 PM)
That's a good question, Michael. The Peyton Manning derby has been fun. If someone comes out of nowhere to sign him, i.e. a team other than Denver, Arizona or even Miami, that would be a shock. I'm also interested to see where Matt Flynn ends up. It should be a good market for him to make some money.
GBK (Lincoln Park)
Is Andrew Luck already set up to fail in Indy? When Peyton came to the team, he at least had Marshall Faulk/Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison to get him through the early years. Based on the departures, the Colts offense is going to be terrible. If you're Luck, do you pull an Eli?
Ashley Fox (1:23 PM)
Well, you are right. The Colts are cleaning house. They are in total rebuild mode. I don't think that sets Luck up to fail at all, although from his standpoint it has to be disconcerting to watch the names walk out of the building. It just means that Colts fans are going to have to be patient. This isn't a one or two-year turnaround.
Who are the quarterback options for the Browns? Could they trade down and select Tannehill? Or maybe sign a QB
Ashley Fox (1:24 PM)
They could. I would think they will take a run at Flynn. They have to do something. I'd rather go with Flynn and see what happens.
Can anyone blame the Browns for not wanting to trade that many draft picks for an untested athlete? I don't feel this is striving for mediocrity as some ESPN analysts have said but a rationalized choice.
Ashley Fox (1:25 PM)
I think more than anything RG3 isn't a good fit for the offense the Browns want to run. But they need a quarterback. I don't agree, either, that they are striving for mediocrity; the men in that front office aren't like that. But, let me say this again, they need a quarterback.
What are the chances Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark go wherever Peyton goes?
Ashley Fox (1:26 PM)
If I were them, I would. I'm sure Peyton will make his pitch to them and to the team he chooses to try to make that happen. It makes a lot of sense.
Still not sure why Sanchez got the deal he did just to placate him...
Ashley Fox (1:27 PM)
The numbers aren't that outrageous. I thought it was silly for him to say that the contract extension just shows again that he is the leader of the team. Money doesn't make you a leader. That locker room was a fractured mess by the end of last season.
Brad (Beverly, Ma)
If Peyton doesn't choose Miami it is only for 1 reason. he is scared to face Brady twice a year. You agree?
Ashley Fox (1:28 PM)
No. He isn't scared of Tom Brady or anybody else for that matter. But I think the easier path to the playoffs and beyond is in the AFC West. That could be a factor.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Do you think there is a good chance Manning signs in Denver? Will the Tebowmaniacs revolt if this happens? Would another team look to Tebow as their starter?
Ashley Fox (1:30 PM)
Yes, I do think there is a good chance he signs in Denver, but it is early yet. I think Tebow fans would be disappointed, but it is not like the Broncos would be turning to just anybody. This is a four-time MVP and a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. Imagine the conversations Manning and Elway could have.
Do you think that the Texans are going to be able to convince Mario Williams to stay?
Ashley Fox (1:34 PM)
Sorry about that. Had momentary technical difficulties... That's a good question, Roger. I don't think it's out of the question. You know they would love to have him, but someone will be willing to throw major coin his way. Money talks.
Ashley of Denver, Arizona, or Miami which situation would be the best fit for Manning?
Ashley Fox (1:37 PM)
I think Arizona. They play inside, on grass (bonus). I think they have something like 11 games indoors in 2012. Although they started 1-6 last season, they finished strong winning seven of their last nine. And there is a guy there named Larry Fitzgerald who is pretty good.
Travis Brummer (Indiana)
Ashley, who would you rather have on your team? Andrew Luck or RG3?
Ashley Fox (1:38 PM)
Luck. But I like RG3 too.
Don't understand the Jets. Sanchez is no better than an average QB. Other than for salary cap reasons, why would you give Sanchez an extension? The got to those championship games based on their defense, not on Sanchez.
Ashley Fox (1:39 PM)
I'm with you, Keith. I don't see him ever breaking into the top 10 of QBs in the league. Maybe not top 15.
Dan (Bloomington, MN) [via mobile]
Would it be smart for the Vikings to trade with St. Louis for the #6 pick and a second round pick if the Rams want Blackmon? Or should they stay where they're at and take Kalil?
Ashley Fox (1:40 PM)
Stay where they're at and take Kalil.
Do the cowboys get Finnegan or draft a young promising CB? What are their chances of getting a big name receiver like Vincent Jackson or Wes Welker?
Ashley Fox (1:42 PM)
There aren't a lot of good CBs in free agency. Finnegan. Brandon Carr. Carlos Rogers. I would think they would look to the draft. It is one of their biggest needs.
If the Dolphins dont get Manning signs point to Matt Flynn. How realistic is that and is he that good? He started 2 games and sounds like he will be paid very well.
Ashley Fox (1:44 PM)
Yes it does. I think Joe Philbin has as good an idea as anyone just how good Matt Flynn is or isn't. In the season finale he was terrific. It would be a gamble, sure, but there isn't anyone more qualified to make a decision on Flynn than the man coaching the Dolphins. For what that's worth.
How much influence can players recruiting other players have in free agency? Buffalo is not a glamorous spot, but they have money to spend and Merriman and Stevie have been doing some recruiting via Twitter.
Ashley Fox (1:46 PM)
Sure, players have influence. Everyone was recruiting Nnamdi Asomugha at the Pro Bowl last year, including DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick. Asomugha chose the Eagles for a variety of reasons. I don't think he was swayed by the recruiting. Good players want to play on good teams. But the Twitter recruiting is entertaining, if nothing else.
Skins now need to find a number one receiver for RG3. Obviously VJax will be a target, but what other free agent receivers could come in and fill that role for the Skins this year?
Ashley Fox (1:47 PM)
Yes they do. Jackson. Pierre Garcon. Marques Colston. But obviously Jackson would a home run, if he is willing to go to a place that will be breaking in a rookie QB.
Is Andy Dalton the Bengals Franchise QB or do they need to acquire one during Free Agency
Ashley Fox (1:49 PM)
He is their franchise QB. Please tell me you watched last season. That was a solid first year.
What will happen to Tebow if the Broncos get Peyton?
Ashley Fox (1:51 PM)
A lot of you are asking this question. It is an excellent question. I don't know if there is another franchise that would take him as a starting quarterback. We saw in Denver how crazy the buzz around him became. Obviously he wants to play, and play quarterback. But he has a lot of work to do to be a starter, and most football people don't think he's got the talent. Phenomenal athlete and competitor. Not a starting QB in the NFL.
Who you got in the Final Four?
Ashley Fox (1:52 PM)
Ah, college hoops, my first love. I couldn't resist. But I haven't done my bracket yet. My Hoosiers have a tough road. That South bracket is loaded.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
If a team has QB & Pass Rushing issues, and assuming they have the money for 1 but not both - who do they take, Mario Williams or Peyton Manning?
Ashley Fox (1:53 PM)
Peyton, with the understanding that this is a short-term solution to a greater problem. Gotta be in to win immediately.
Do you think a team will pull a "suck for Barkley" this season?
Ashley Fox (1:53 PM)
Come on, Drew. Be more creative than that. And no. No one likes to lose.
Who's in a better position to win over the next three years. RG3 in DC with no first round picks, but a good defense and running game, or Luck in Indy with picks but many more holes to fill after the recent bloodletting...
Ashley Fox (1:55 PM)
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Redskins are in better position. They will miss those future first-round picks for sure, but with smart choices in the second round and smart moves in free agency, the hit can be tolerated. Smart, being the operative word. We will see if Washington can do that.
Jamie (Reading, PA)
The Eagles haven't drafted a LB in the first round since the 70's. All these mock drafts have them taking the BC guy. Do you think this will really happen?
Ashley Fox (1:57 PM)
Jamie, I would be shocked if they do. Shocked. That is clearly the biggest need for them in the draft, but they don't draft linebackers, they draft offensive and defensive linemen. If they get one of the LBs in free agency, I think we will have our answer.
Will Brady end his career as a Patriot or will he pull a Peyton and go somewhere else
Ashley Fox (1:58 PM)
Will he pull a Peyton? I'm pretty sure Peyton would have preferred to end his career in Indy. Wasn't exactly his decision. If Peyton Manning can get cut and Joe Montana can get traded, no QB is safe. Not even Brady.
Ashley Fox (1:59 PM)
Alright guys, I've got to head out. Doing OTL at 3:30 p.m. EST today, if you are near your TV. Guess what we'll be talking about? And I'll be back here next week. Enjoy free agency and the hoops. Should be a great week.