Super Bowl Week: NFL notebook

DETROIT - It was during Super Bowl Week 2005 where Scout.com reported exclusively two major stories. The first report was that then-Minnesota Vikings WR Randy Moss would be traded before the NFL draft. The second major story was that Seattle Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander was a low priority to re-sign. As it turned out, Moss was dealt to the Oakland Raiders and Seattle tried more than once to trade Alexander. Now it appears the 49ers are considering parting ways with injury-plagued TE Eric Johnson.

49ERS: If the team decides to release the oft-injured Johnson, who enters the 2006 season on the final year of his contract, it's possible they turn their attention to Denver Broncos tight end Jeb Putzier. Johnson has missed two out of the last three seasons entirely due to injury and has only played two full seasons in his five of NFL service. The athletic Putzier has a roster bonus due on his contract in early March, and if the Broncos don't pick it up and decide to part with him, a league source believes San Francisco could have serious interest in signing Putzier.

Bills: While many questioned the hiring of Dick Jauron as the new Buffalo head coach, Scout.com talked to a former Chicago Bears player at the Super Bowl this week that played under Jauron who felt otherwise. "Dick is very smart. He's organized and the players respect him. You can count on their defense making a major improvement just like it did after he took over in Chicago" the player said. "You have to understand (general manager) Jerry Angelo wasn't his guy, he didn't hire him. That's why Dick was fired."

Cardinals: It was around this time last year that Scout.com was the first to report that the Arizona Cardinals had targeted University of Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle with their first-round pick. At the Super Bowl this week, a league source told Scout.com that the Cardinals have USC running back Lendale White high on their list to select with their first-round pick in April's draft. While the team hasn't given up on second-year running back J.J. Arrington, the coaching staff isn't sure if he's a starting caliber back for the future.

Chiefs: The Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League has contacted wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who signed with the team last year as a free agent but then was later released. In fact, team president Ron Jaworski told Scout.com this week that he's contacted Mitchell six times to gauge what his interest would be to play for the team. League rules stipulate that non-kickers must play on offense and defense so that could be a stumbling block should Mitchell even be interested in playing in the league.

Patriots: According to a league source, there's a very good chance that the 2006 season will be running back Corey Dillon's last with the New England Patriots. Speculation several weeks ago was that the team would release him but Scout.com confirmed that his salary is fully guaranteed, making it almost a certainty that Dillon will be with the team again. Because the 31-year old back broke down so much physically during the 2005 season, those who know Dillon well feel he won't hold up more than one more season and there's a good chance he'll retire after the 2006 season.

Raiders: There's an interesting rumor floating around the Super Bowl that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could wind up coaching the team should the Raiders not be able to hire Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as Oakland's new head coach. While Ryan becoming the team's head coach is a real long shot, the Raiders have found it difficult to find a suitable head man who actually wants the job. Most head coaches want to pick their own coaches, but owner Al Davis already reached a three-year agreement to bring Ryan back and reached deals with two other assistant coaches to remain with the team. That kind of situation makes the job much less attractive.

Saints: According to league source, while the team says re-signing center LeCharles Bentley is a top priority, those close to the situation say they believe Bentley probably will be playing for a different team next season. It's not that the team doesn't want to bring him back, it's believed they won't offer him enough money to sign a long-term deal.

Seahawks: According to a source familiar with the negotiations surrounding running back Shaun Alexander's contract situation, both sides remain very far apart on what they believe he should be paid. Alexander's side has benchmarked San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson's mega contract extension (eight years/$60 million), which Tomlinson signed in August of 2004. The sides are said to be about $8 million to $9 million apart on the first three years of the deal, which is reflective of the offer which was made before Senior Bowl week. The latest offer still isn't close to what Alexander is looking for. However, the source also pointed out that in the end, Alexander could choose to accept less money to remain with the team than another team would offer because he and his wife are happy living in the Seattle area.


Niners Digest Top Stories