Around The NFL: News, Notes & Rumors
Eagles' Jackson: Don't compare me to Fitzgerald
According to a report on NFL.com, DeSean Jackson doesn't want to be compared to Larry Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald has been in the news of late for becoming the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history. Fitzgerald's new deal is reportedly worth $120 million over the next eight years.
Jackson, who is friends with Fitzgerald, passed along congratulations through his Twitter account earlier this week.
"Congrats to my Big bro @LarryFitzgerald!! Well deserved.. Wideouts ballin!!," he tweeted.
Jackson, meanwhile, is searching for a new contract himself, as the fourth-year wideout has severely outplayed his original deal as a second-round draft pick. That doesn't mean Jackson wants to be compared to Fitzgerald, as the two receivers have contrasting styles of play.
"As far as him being a different player than myself, comparing the type of receivers we are, he's a totally different type of receiver than I am. So we don't compare as far as receiver wise," Jackson added.
Fitzgerald's hefty contract should only help Jackson's ongoing negotiations with the Eagles, who have stated they're committed to reaching a new agreement.
Analysis: If I were Jackson, I wouldn't want to be compared to Fitzgerald either – unless contract numbers were being discussed. The two receivers are different in many ways as Fitzgerald is arguably the most balanced wideout in the league while Jackson can easily be considered a one-trick pony at this point in his career.
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Timmons latest to ink extension with Steelers
Multiple outlets are reporting that LB Lawrence Timmons has agreed to a five-year, $50 million extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Timmons led Pittsburgh with 135 tackles a year ago and is widely regarded as one of the top inside linebackers in the league.
Earlier this offseason, the Steelers extended the contract of LaMarr Woodley to the tune of six years for $61 million. With both Timmons and Woodley locked up for the foreseeable future, look for the team's dominance on the defensive side of the ball to continue.
Analysis: Pittsburgh is known for taking care of its core players and Timmons is a perfect example. The Steelers' 3-4 defense puts an even higher premium on productive linebackers, making this move a no brainer.
Browns lock up Thomas for long haul
LT Joe Thomas has agreed to a seven-year, $84 million contract with the Browns, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The deal includes $44 million in guaranteed money. Thomas had been set to enter the final year of his five-year, $42.5 million rookie contract.
Analysis: Thomas has proven to be a top-shelf left tackle, something extremely difficult to find at the NFL level. Unlike many of his predecessors at the position, Thomas has lived up to his billing after being selected with a top-five draft pick.
Giants' CB Thomas out for season
CB Terrell Thomas suffered a torn ACL in Monday's preseason game, according to TSX's Patti Traina, and will miss the 2011 season.
Thomas had a strong second half of last season, and once again finished as the team leader in interceptions with five. An above-average form tackler who routinely wrapped up his man -- he finished as the team leader in total tackles with 101 -- Thomas' biggest issue is that he continued to play too far off receivers, and many cleanly beat him for receptions.
Analysis: The loss of Thomas further depletes the Giants' secondary as rookie CB Prince Amukamara is already out for an extended period of time. New York is left with Corey Webster and Aaron Ross at the position but might need to make a move in free agency or the trade market.
Gore, 49ers contract talks going slow
RB Frank Gore said "things aren't going well right now" in talks with the 49ers about a contract extension, according to CSNBayArea.com.
Gore briefly held out of training camp, but reported to the team with the expectation that a new contract would be worked out in time for the regular season.
"Things aren't going well right now -- kind of slow. But I'd like for it to get done before the season, so I can put all my focus on having a good year and trying to get to the playoffs," Gore told the website. "I want to remain a 49er for my career. If it don't happen, hopefully I have a great year and test the market."
He declined to say whether he'd request a trade if an extension isn't agreed to before the Sept. 11 season opener.
Gore rushed for 853 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns, last year despite missing the final five games due to a fractured hip. He rehabbed on his own in Miami during the lockout.
Gore, 28, is the third-leading rusher in 49ers history with 6,414 yards through his first six seasons.
"I'd be upset, but I'm still a football player," Gore said when asked how he'd feel if he didn't get an extension. "I want to be here for my whole career. That's up to upstairs, the team. If they want me here, I want to be here. I'm just going to come out every day and practice hard."
Analysis: Gore wants a new deal and it's hard to blame him given the short lifespan of NFL running backs. Gore wants to remain a 49er but it's uncertain whether the franchise wants to invest more resources in the powerful runner.
Bucs' Talib to meet with Goodell
CB Aqib Talib is scheduled to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his assault charge during the lockout, according to ESPN. Talib is scheduled to stand trial on charges of assault with a deadly weapon in March 2012.
Analysis: Talib is still innocent until proven guilty, so the punished doled out by the commissioner isn't expected to be harsh at this point. Once the official verdict comes down, however, it could be a different story.
Britt also set to receive punishment
WR Kenny Britt is expected to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday to discuss his off-field incidents during the lockout.
"I guess they finally found me," Britt said Monday, laughing. "But yeah, I heard from coach (Mike) Munchak, and we'll meet tomorrow and see what happens."
Britt had three off-field run-ins with police during the lockout, but because there was no CBA at the time, might be able to avoid league punishment that would normally come his way.
Analysis: Britt has experienced a rash of offseason issues and probably shouldn't be laughing about his upcoming meetings with Goodell and Munchak.
Cooley working hard to return
TE Chris Cooley is doing everything he can to get his sore knee better in time for the regular season.
He hopes to be putting full weight on his left knee on the team's antigravity treadmill by the end of the week. He said the machine feels like "you're walking on the moon" when you take it down to about 20 percent of your weight.
"I'm extremely hopeful to practice pre-Week 1, and to play Week 1," Cooley said. "I would love to guarantee that I was going to play in Week 1, but I'm going to do everything I can to push for that date."
Cooley has seen a specialist for the knee, which he underwent surgery on at the end of last season to fix torn cartilage. He has also had the knee drained and had two rounds of blood platelet treatments to help reduce swelling.
"My knee's down, like, a half-an-inch," said Cooley when explaining that he had to be refitted for his brace. "I'm, like, 'Ah, sweet."'
Fred Davis, who played well when Cooley was out during the second half of 2009, has just two catches for 22 yards through two preseason games. Holdover third-stringer Logan Paulsen has two catches for 26 yards.
Former starting fullback Mike Sellers helped his case to stick at 36 years old with two catches for 28 yards against the Colts not to mention being tripped in the end zone on a potential touchdown grab.
Veteran pickups Derek Schouman and Tony Curtis and rookie free agent Joe Torchia have yet to catch a pass.
Analysis: Cooley's injury issues appear to be dragging on, making his status for the regular-season opener uncertain. The Redskins' offense could use all the help it could get and the presence of Cooley would certainly be a boost.
In need of depth at RB, Dolphins sign Johnson
RB Larry Johnson signed with the Dolphins, who are looking for backfield depth behind Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas.
The former Kansas City Chiefs star was released by the Redskins before last season and didn't play in the NFL during the regular season despite drawing some interest from the Rams.
Johnson, 6-feet-1 and 235 pounds, played for Cincinnati in 2009. The 2003 first-round pick of the Chiefs has 6,221 career rushing yards on 1,426 carries with 55 touchdowns.
The Dolphins released Kory Sheets.
Analysis: Johnson was once one of the top running backs in the NFL but don't expect a rejuvenation in South Beach. Bush and Thomas will share the bulk of the workload with Johnson contributing in spot duty.
Chiefs' Baldwin to miss time after altercation
WR Jon Baldwin is likely to miss the rest of the preseason after injuring his wrist/thumb in a fight with RB Thomas Jones, according to KCSP 610.
Jones is a veteran who has been in altercations with teammates before, including punching Cedric Benson while the two were with the Bears. But Baldwin, a first-round pick, left Pittsburgh a year early with a reputation for having off-field issues.
Baldwin was charged with misdemeanor indecent assault, harassment and disorderly conduct in May 2009 after an incident involved a female student on a campus shuttle bus. The charges were eventually dropped, but some within the Panthers' program questioned his maturity.
The Chiefs drafted Baldwin the 6-foot-4 Baldwin with the goal of playing him opposite Dwayne Bowe. But despite his size, Baldwin isn't a very physical receiver and struggles against press coverage, according to NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang.
Analysis: Much has been made about the altercation between Baldwin and Jones but only a select few know what really happened. Jones has a track record for incidents like this, so it's hard to write off Baldwin as a prima donna just yet.
Cardinals' rookie RB Williams out for season
RB Ryan Williams is out for the season after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee in Friday night's loss to the Packers. Williams, the Cardinals' second-round pick in 2011, was injured on his first carry in the game early in the second half. Williams left Virginia Tech after his redshirt sophomore season and missed four games in 2010 because of a torn right hamstring.
Analysis: Williams was expected to play a major role in the Cardinals' offense this year, perhaps even overtaking Beanie Wells as the starter. Williams had already established a reputation for being a team and fan favorite, making his absence even harder to swallow.
Carolina makes Kalil highest paid center in NFL history
C Ryan Kalil and the Panthers agreed to a five-year contract extension; terms weren't available but ESPN's Chris Mortensen said it makes him the highest-paid center in NFL history. Kalil was scheduled to play the 2011 season under the franchise designation worth $10.116 million.
Analysis: It's good to see Carolina investing along the offensive line after taking Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft. Newton should be in good hands with Kalil anchoring the Panthers' offensive line for years to come.
Free agent Portis works out for New England
RB Clinton Portis had a workout for the Patriots on Friday. Portis wasn't signed and according to the Boston Herald, the workout was "due diligence" by the Patriots in the event they suffer an injury at the position and want to sign a veteran immediately.
Analysis: Portis is still in the unemployment line for now, but at the rate running backs go down with injury, it's only a matter of time before he finds a new home.
Manning, Favre both on the Colts' roster?
QB Peyton Manning is recovering from offseason neck surgery, and owner Jim Irsay tweeted there's concern he won't be ready for Week 1.
Irsay tweeted over the weekend: "We r evaluating the QB sitch,#18 healing but we got 2 b prepared 4 early season possibility without him,defense has 2 pick it up,big time!"
He followed that up by writing the Colts weren't interested in selecting former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Monday's supplemental draft. The Colts' current backups to Manning are Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, who have struggled during the preseason.
Irsay went as far to speculate about being in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, home of legendary QB Brett Favre.
Manning is currently on the physically unable to perform list. He's expected to be activated before the start of the season. If he begins the regular season on the PUP list, he'd be sidelined for at least the first six weeks.
Analysis: Irsay has hinted at bringing in Favre to backup Manning, but those rumors are far-fetched – at least for now. Having Favre and Manning on the same roster would be monumental but don't expect it to happen anytime soon.
Information from the Sports Xchange was used in this report
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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