ColtPower Quick Hits
The NFL's new labor deal with the players' union will have a beneficial impact on both veterans and rookies alike.
The minimum salary for a rookie will be $275,000, an increase of $40,000 over last year. The minimum for veterans, which increases based on years of service up through their 10th season, also increased across the board by $40,000. So even while teams got more cap money to work with, their players will be compensated at higher minimums, eating into some of that additional money.
A veteran with ten or more years of service will have to find a team willing to pay him $810,000 instead of $770,000 this year. For veterans who only command the NFL minimum, this can be a two-edged sword as they try to keep their NFL careers active, but are not able to accept an offer at less than the minimum for their years of service.
Another aspect of the league's new deal impacts the length of contracts for rookies who are drafted below the first round. Under terms of the new agreement, players drafted in rounds two or lower can't sign a deal for longer than four years. This will accelerate the cap hit of any large signing bonuses for players in those rounds, so it's going to be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out with this year's draft picks versus what their counterparts received last year.
If the Colts follow last year's plan, they won't feel any ill effects from this policy. First-round pick Marlin Jackson was the only player to get a five-year deal while second-rounder Kelvin Hayden received a four-year deal.
Tough love for "PacMan":: Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain was recently interviewed by Jeff Fuqua at GoTitans.com. And he didn't hold anything back on his opinion of Adam "Pacman" Jones dividing the Titans last year with his behavior. He said he would have brought back hard-working RB Eddie George and given him responsibility for mentoring the brash rookie.
"And if I were Jeff Fisher, I would have told Eddie that if he had to, just go ahead and beat the crap out of Pacman to get his attention," McClain said. "Pacman can play, and I wouldn't cut him. I'd just have a player to beat the hell out of him every time he screwed up."
Colts will benefit from slide: In a recent article at Yahoo!Sports by Charles Robinson, he noted that Arizona's signing of Edgerrin James and Baltimore re-signing with Jamal Lewis could create a huge slide for the draft's running backs not named Reggie Bush. He says "Now it looks like USC's LenDale White and Memphis' DeAngelo Williams could fall beyond the 20th pick in the draft."
If he's right, that should have a ripple effect that could put the Colts in a position where they have their pick of a number of high quality backs which could include White, Williams, LSU's Joseph Addai and Minnesota's Laurence Maroney.
In Robinson's latest mock draft, he predicts the Colts will choose Maroney.
"Like James, he is a very tough runner who can get it done between the tackles and be a grinder when needed," he writes. "He still hasn't run his 40-yard dash due to a pulled hamstring, and it's conceivable that a poor time could knock him out of the first round."
Leinart to Tennessee?: If you thought the Colts were free and clear of having the nation's top-rated rookie quarterback land in the AFC South, think again. Although the Texans appear poised to select USC RB Reggie Bush, the Saints' signing of former San Diego quarterback Drew Brees has changed the draft landscape for the Titans, who pick third.
It was widely anticipated that the Saints would add USC quarterback Matt Leinart, but now they could opt to trade down one spot with the Titans, ensuring they still get whichever player they now covet, while giving the Titans the opportunity to grab Leinart.
If the compensation to move up a spot isn't too costly, look for Tennessee to make that move. Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow was Leinart's coach up until the USC quarterback's senior year when Chow moved on to the NFL. That pairing would help Tennessee accelerate the learning curve of the rookie so that he'd be ready to take over the reigns when Steve McNair's contract expires at the end of this season – if not before then.
Saints-Colts Mississippi Matchup?:The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that a Mississippi state officials are working with the NFL to bring a pre-season exhibition game to Mississippi's Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson in late August. They'd love to host the Saints' preseason matchup with the Colts.
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