Hi everyone. Things are starting to heat up around the NFL. The CBA could be completed by the end of this week, and free agency could start as early as Monday! We've been talking about this for some time, but for whatever reason its proximity makes the issues fresh again. Let's get to it.
As strange as this sounds, do the Lions have the best team morale in the league right now? All I hear out of their camp is sunshine and roses. They legitimately seem to like each other, their coaches, think it's their time, and seem eager to put it all out on the field and shed their negative image. Right?
They certainly ended 2010 on a high note and have had some well-attended players-only practices. That said, all teams have high morale in late July. They're excited about the season and haven't faced any obstacles yet.
Help!!! living in broncos country! Adrian Peterson is one of my favorite players. Do you think if the vikings aren't at playoff/superbowl contention level when his contract is up, he will take his amazing talents elsewhere? I can't imagine him in anythijg but purple!!!
If he's still playing at a high level, I doubt the Vikings would let him go. The franchise tag should be available to them.
Read the article about Vincent Jackson wanting UFA. If he gets it would Minny or Chicago be a place he could land. I wouldn't mind if the Vikings let Rice go if they got Jackson (very similar style, but more proven over long term).
Well, the Vikings certainly wanted him last year. Definitely something to keep an eye on, but odds are against Jackson winning that UFA status.
The AFCN blogger ends his weekend mailbag with a 'Homer of the Week' and occasionally a 'Hater of the Week' post where he shares a ridiculous post that was left through the week. I appreciate what you do for us Kev, but do you think you could add this to your 'to-do list' for us? Seems like a fun way to close out the week.
I think there will be too many to choose from.
Could the Packers face any consequences for contacting their players about getting ready for the meeting on Sat? If so, do you see it being anything beyond a small fine?
A fine at most. I really don't see this as a big deal.
We know the lockout "rules" prevented "management" from having any direct contact with players, but how much "indirect" communication do you think was going on? For example, we know Christian Ponder was able to get a copy of the playbook during the brief window it was allowed a couple of months ago. We also know Ponder was training with/under Chris Weinke for a while. Obvioulsy, the Vikings coaches couldn't talk to Ponder. But, the question is, could they have talked with Weinke to try to get HIM to talk/coach Ponder up on the things the Vikings want to do?
Absolutely, they could talk to Weinke. It's the same concept that allowed the Lions' trainers to speak with trainers at Dr. James Andrews' rehab clinic about Matthew Stafford's progress. Direct communication is prohibited, but information flow can occur.
Schwartz is on Tulloch's doorstep at 12:01 AM the moment FA starts right?
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has been writing pretty strongly that the Lions won't go big in free agency, and Tulloch would qualify as big. Maybe they have too many defensive positions to use their cap money on one guy.
What non-kicking player in the NFCN do you consider yourself to be most alike athletically? This question is not designed to accomplish anything more than a laugh from your reading audience... because I'm hoping you say B.J. Raji.
B.J. Raji is a heck of athlete. I was going to go with Howard Green.
Assuming that you've seen the "Dream Team of the future" stuff on ESPN's NFL page - can you explain how they justify putting 2011's rookies (who have never played a single down in the NFL) on that list?
Just an added layer to the debate. Odds are that at least some players from this year's draft class will be stars three years from now.
Hey KS, What's up with the "Final Eight" Rule...are there any indications whether that will be a part of the new agreement? My Bears could be hurting if it remains. Thanks.
No indication that will happen this year. That was strictly a rule for the non-capped year.
Which teams will have the most money they are required to spend when the new CBA begins?
In the NFC North, it will be the Bears. According to John Clayton, they will be some $37 million under the cap.
John Harbaugh recently ripped the Bears for the botched draft day trade and claimed "It wasn't a mistake. They knew what they were doing." What are your thoughts on the situation? Could an incident like this influence the Ravens or other teams in dealing with the Bears?
Probably the Ravens. I'm not sure about anyone else. In the end, if a team wants to trade up or down to get a player, it's not going to worry too much about what a third party thinks of the Bears' ethics. That team will do what's best for it at the moment.
Joe Webb is in Hattiesburg training with Favre, what are the chances he gets a legitmate shot at the starting job
Only if Ponder holds out or flops. I think they want Webb to play multiple positions.
Kevin, I am sure we will get deeper into this as the game approches, but as of today, do you believe the Saints hold a decided advantage over the Packers as a direct result of the Saints player only workouts?
Absolutely not. I could be proved wrong, but while I don't think anyone was harmed by working out together, I also don't think there was tremendous benefit to be gained, either.
Kevin, last week when asked if the Bears might replace Lovie with Cowher or Gruden (should they miss the playoffs), you thought that they would probably look in-house for a cheaper option. In what order (of probability) would you rank Martz, Marinelli, Tice, and Toub? I think Toub could be higher on the list that one would assume.
Toub could definitely be a compromise candidate if they had to choose from that four. But we're just shooting the breeze here. I don't think this is something we'll be talking about in seven months.
Hey Kevin,So, How come no one of these "analysts" and "experts" are talking about Andy Fantuz yet ?I know his chances are limited. But it's not impossible that he will make an impact as a big target for Cutler.He wasn't the best receiver in the CFL by chance or luck. He didn't even have the greatest Quarterback in the CFL and still pulled it of twice.I actually think he will make great impact. Otherwise the bears wouldn't have taken a chance on him.
There wasn't much risk in signing him. I was sitting at Lovie Smith's table at the owners meeting when someone asked him about Fanutz. Smith didn't exactly profess intimate knowledge of him. I don't think he's considered a candidate for significant playing time at this point.
Do you feel the Redskins will release McNabb prior to training camp? He is due a big payday beginning week 1. Would the Vikings consider him and give Ponder a learning curve?
They're going to have to do something with him given how they apparently have moved on. Would it be worth the Vikings' time to bring in McNabb to keep Ponder's seat warm? Or do they just throw him in the fire? I'm thinking the latter, but who knows.
i see every1 has db as lions biggest need. i see them spending on lb more. teams do not have enough time to throw deep. they need to take away the qucik pass? whats your thoughts? thanks
In a 4-3 scheme, I think it's easier to cover for sub-par linebackers than it is sub-par cornerbacks. I'd focus on cornerbacks, personally.
KS-any free agents I should look forward to seeing in a Bears uniform next month?
How about Seahawks DT Brandon Mebane? Ruskell drafted him and the Bears' new DL coach, Mike Phair, just came from the Seahawks staff.
Will I get to see the bears play at Wembley? And would you take the over or under on the Bears winning 10 games this year?
If the lockout is resolved by Aug. 1, which is almost two weeks from now, then yes, the game will be played in London. Seems likely at this point. I'd take the under for the Bears winning 10 games, but what do I know.
Are you expecting to do overtime the next month?
It's going to be wild, but fun wild. Like a college girlfriend.
Like I would know about that.
Kevin, Could you please break down the NFC North cap room positions based on the proposed 2011 cap number. I keep hearing that the Vikings would be over but without Favre's 20+ mil I find it hard to believe. Thanks!
The Vikings would be about $5 million over, according to Clayton. They have a lot of well-paid players.
Clay Matthews, great hair or greatest hair?
After years, decades... I'm exhausted from drinking the Lions koolaid, and stopped about 3 years ago. But some reason this year feels different. Is it safe to drink again, or I am setting them up to fail?
It's shaping up to be the most interesting Lions season in a decade. Let's leave it at that for now.
What are the chances both Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice stay with the VIkings in 2011?
The Packers never called to tell me that I needed to show up Saturday. But now that word is leaked that they want to get going, I may as well book a flight back to Titletown. Assuming nobody was directly contacted, this seems like a brilliant move.
So you're suggesting they planted the story as a way of letting players know? The Packers do a lot of things well, but I'm not sure if anyone could execute that one.
If you had the entire NFL to choose from, not just the NFC North, would your 2014 dominant team change?
Nope. The Packers had more people on that nominations list than any other team. It's a testament to the youth and skill of their roster.
Heard you on ESPN radio for the first time. You don't sound like I thought you would (to be said a la Denny Green).
So who did you think you thought I was? (Garble intentional.)
Lots of talk about Santana Moss and the Bears. Is there any chance that Washington doesn't re-sign him?
I think he wants to go back there, and the Redskins will have a three-day period to get that done next week. Who knows what the Redskins could be up to.
Your thoughts on the insider article stating that Forte=AP?
Haven't read it closely but I always admire KC for his contrary views.
think i still got "it" ?
Didn't look like it last year.
Instead of choosing one post for Hater/Homer of the week, you could make a list...
It would be extensive.
I just saw Chris Kluwe tweeted that the Vikings are probably moving. Do you know any more details?
He's being sarcastic but reacting to the news that Minnesota Gov. Dayton expressing doubt he will call a special session this fall to approve a stadium. That means the Vikings will go into the season in the final year of their lease and be franchise free agents in February. They'll be within their rights to relocate if the NFL approved it.
But we're a long way away from that right now.
Hope Solo is done chatting...I guess I'm here now
It sure was strange logging in for my chat. We go to a page that lists all of the Tuesday chats and click ours. First name I saw: Solo, Hope. Guessing she got a little more traffic than we NFCN bums.
In your opinion, at what point is loyalty trumped by practicality in the NFL? Real life scenario, Dave Rayner is the kicker with more upside this year, and is obviously younger and cheaper than Hanson...but Hanson has literally been the Lions kicker my entire life. What to do?
If the Lions choose anyone other than the best kicker for 2011, then they're making the wrong decision. It's a cold business. If Rayner is better than Hanson, he'll win the job. If he is better and doesn't win it, then shame on the Lions.
Seifert, everybody keeps talking about which free agent DT the Bears will try to land. But it seems like the Bears are pretty content with their DT rotation with Paea, Melton, Toeina, and (hopefully/probably) Adams. Shouldnt everybody be talking about which free agent DE the Bears will try to grab since the only DEs they have are Peppers, Izzy, and the untested Cory Wooten? Got any in mind?
Defensive tackles are easier to find. Unless you want to pay huge money and/or take on a character risk, there aren't many legitimate 4-3 pass rushers available in a given year.
Kevin, has ESPN compiled a list/ranking of unrestricted free agents anywhere? Keep hearing about these hundreds of guys but not sure who they are.
We are working on a list but we don't have all of the eligibility rules yet, so we haven't published. As soon as we get the green light, I'll post a link to it on the blog.
Good afternoon Kevin, What moves do you think Ted thompson will make once he is able to do so?
I'm thinking one of his first things will be to re-sign Mason Crosby. After that, I'm not sure.
A lot of people talk about Packers' weaknesses but few mention WR. If Driver continues to decline and Cobb needs to develop and Jones leaves, that just leaves Finley Jennings and Nelson to carry the load in a very pass happy offense. Could this be a problem?
A lot of teams would be thrilled to have Jennings, Nelson and Finley as their top three pass threats. Even a watered-down Donald Driver can still contribute. And I think they'll find a way to get Cobb up to speed pretty quickly.
what is the likely minimum for the salary cap? 100 million?
The formula apparently will be very complicated but it's designed to make teams pay players close to the cap number, which this year is expected to be $120 million.
jus a fun question for the fans do you think you could run a lap around a track?
All at one time?
Suh and Fairley on the field together or rotated?
I'm thinking both. The idea, if it works out, is to use all four guys -- Corey Williams and Sammie Hill -- in different ways to keep people fresh and throw different looks at the offense.
Kevin, with 15 injured players returning to play in 2011, it would seem that the Packers might have to cut some of their later-round draft picks (given that they can only keep so many players on their team). Do you agree?
It will be harder for those guys to make the team, but remember it's unlikely the Packers will have any veteran free agents of note to work into the roster.
Odds I return to the Green & Gold?
Not likely. If you consider Jennings-Driver-Nelson your top three receivers, would you pay much money to retain a player who is at best your co-No. 3 receiver?
Indiana Jones Trilogy or Star Wars original Trilogy?
P-UH-LEASE... The force is with us. Always.
hey kevin, with all the lockout stuff getting down to the end, and the few players kind of holding things up, could the owners enforce some sort of penalty on these players at a later date for being a problem?
Doubtful. But I wonder if some players who habor resentment toward the guys that stepped forward to take care of themselves at the end of this. I've already seen a tweet or two to that effect.
If i decided to go to green bay, could that potentially be the best defense ever?
You might have a hard time earning a starting job. ... Seriously, Charles Woodson said it this winter. Lineups would be trickly for sure. Which player among Woodson, Tramon Williams and you would come out in the base set?
Kevin, if Clayton is right with the financials after the CBA, the Bears have to make an offer on a FA WR right?
No, they could (and arguably should) spend it on offensive linemen. But yeah, they would have to make a play on a few significant players.
Brats or polish sausage?
You've had two questions about cap room so far and have given it out by team. Before you get two more questions, why don't you just give the Lions and Packers numbers.
I thought maybe you guys saw the post I did on it. Sorry. According to Clayton, the Lions will be $16M under and the Packers will be less than $100,000 over.
The Packers would get at least $7 million back if Mark Tauscher and Nick Barnett aren't on the team this year.
Bears fans and Kevin, remember the Moose signing...ain't gonna happen!
I do think the Bears are scarred by that. They haven't really addressed their receivers in a meaningful way since.
Is Spielman a good talent evaulator or average
His job includes more than talent evaluation, but I would say overall he's had more hits than misses in Minnesota. Ultimately he'll be judged on the Ponder decision, I think.
Does Charles Woodson move over to safety?, I love the idea of shields in the backfield 24/7
I wouldn't move him there until he's can't play cornerback anymore.
Why do the Lions like Levy so much? When you look at his stats he seems to have a ton of tackles broken. Am I missing something?
I have felt the same way. He's young and has speed and is by all accounts smart. Those are important traits. But beyond the stats, you can see him missing more tackles than he should just by watching. They say that fast players miss more tackles because they get in position for more than slow guys, but still....
Wheres the love man? What do you see out of J Best this season?
I think the Lions will work to find the right kind of situations to use him in. If he's healthy, it could be a really, really efficient year for him.
Heard two things about the Lions ...they want ONE LB because they believe like you said in a 4-3 you only need two because the third is going out in the nickle anyway ( Urlacher and Briggs are the model),They like James Anderson of carolinaand they wont spend a bunch on a corner...What say you?
I agree, naturally, with the first part. As far as not spending a bunch on a corner, that could be true. If it is, it means they won't have many good cornerbacks this year. That's how the thing works...
Kevin, if the Vikings relocated, would you relocate NFCN HQ?
Good question, and one I prefer not to think about yet. But I do think it would require a corporate apartment on Malibu Beach for a year or two.
Is the backup QB position something the Bears need to address, or is Todd Collins long gone? Caleb Hanie is very decent...
I think they'll keep Hanie, and they should. Nathan Enderle will be the No. 3 if they keep one around.
Where am I going to put my next SB ring Tat?
Yeesh. You're running out of space.
Ok I wanted to pick your brain on the Lions defense a little. Lets say they re-sign Chris Houston and pick up another "OK" corner back in free agency, where do you think the lions defense will rank because of that huge push from the defensive front?
They should be better than last year, perhaps middle of the NFL pack. With a high-scoring offense, that might be all the Lions need.
More return touchdowns this year, Percy Harvin or Randall Cobb?
I'll say Cobb because I'm not sure if Leslie Frazier plans to use Harvin as his kick returner. Lorenzo Booker could be that guy.
Ok, a few more here.
The Bears starting WRs are Knox and Bennett? With Hester in the slot?
Put it this way: The Bears don't want Hester to take as many snaps as Knox and Bennett. Where they line up on the field on any given play is less clear.
Have you heard anything about the Lions and James Anderson of Carolina?
At this point, just a lot of people mentioning his name on this chat.
Will Ryan Longwell be in a Vikings uniform come week one?
Good question. If not, the Vikings must have some other free agent plan, because they didn't draft anyone and don't have an obvious successor on their roster.
I thought you'd sound like John Clayton.
There is only one Professor.
Thanks for not answering my 3 questions but decided to answer ones about brats, movies, and running a lap...
peprah or burnett starting SS for the packers on opening day?
I'm going to say Peprah because of the way he finished last season, and the fact that Burnett is coming off an ACL.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week!