Green Bay Packers
REILLY TO REPLACE BROHM?: When second-year QB Brian Brohm was waived prior to the start of the regular season, it caught some league observers by surprise. He wound up not being clamed and landed on Green Bay's practice squad. The former second-round pick's future is still murky, however, and he's no lock to come back next season.
A source said the team was impressed enough with the recent workout that undrafted rookie free-agent QB Mike Reilly had back on Sept. 15 that he could eventually replace Brohm, should he be signed off the practice squad by another team, or should he not progress during his practice time over the coming weeks.
The 6-foot-3, 213-pound quarterback was the only Division II signal-caller invited to the NFL Combine earlier this year. He began his collegiate career at Washington State, but transferred to Central Washington State after his redshirt freshman season. The move paid off for Reilly, who was a four-year starter for the Wildcats, passing for more than 12,000 yards and completing 64 percent of his throws.
Scouts liked Reilly's quick feet and quick decision-making while reading defenses and the route progress of his receivers. He spent training camp with Pittsburgh, completing 10-of-15 passes for 65 yards in the preseason.
WARE TURNED DOWN BIG OFFER?: Starting OLB DeMarcus Ware is not off to a great start this season and he's yet to agree on a lucrative contract extension. But it's not as though the team hasn't made a strong offer to secure their best defensive player.
According to a league source, Ware turned down the team's latest contract proposal which would be a better deal than the one DE/OLB Terrell Suggs got from the Baltimore Ravens back in July.
Suggs signed a six-year deal with $38 million guaranteed. Dallas' offer, according to the source, was six-year deal with $40 million guaranteed at an average of $12 million per season.
Ware signed a six-year deal as a rookie, but the final year will void because he met minimum playing time requirements.
TEAM HAS WORKED OUT THE MOST PLAYERS: Bad teams usually work out a lot of players, that's no secret. The Lions, who have only 22 players on their current 53-man roster that spent time on their roster in 2008, have worked out an NFC high 38 free-agents so far this season.
The team has worked out running backs (4), wide receivers (6), offensive linemen (4), defensive linemen (8), linebackers (5), and defensive backs (11).
HARVIN ON HIS WAY TO MAKING EXTRA DOUGH: If rookie Percy Harvin stays healthy this season, he'll likely be rewarded for it. A league source indicated if former University of Florida receiver posts at least 41 receptions or at least 801 yards, he'll make $250,000 in incentives. If he does better than that and posts at least 55 receptions or at least 1,001 receiving yards, he would earn an extra $350,000. He also would earn an extra $25,000 for winning the NFL offensive rookie of the year award.
CURTIS LIKELY GONE?: With veteran WR Kevin Curtis still struggling with a knee problem that he's been dealing with since early August, the team has turned to rookie WR Jeremy Maclin to fill in. While he's only carrying a base salary of $3.4 million for next year, a league source indicated Curtis has a $1 million roster bonus due in June 1. Curtis turns 32 in July and it would be hard to pay him that bonus knowing that he's suffered through two consecutive injury riddled seasons.
MACLIN ON HIS WAY TO EXTRA CASH?: With Kevin Curtis possibly missing the rest of the season or most of it, Jeremy Maclin is likely to hit some of the incentives in his contract. A league source said that Maclin can make an additional $350,000 each season if he catches at least 50 passes. Those reception totals are a reasonable expectation if he starts the rest of the season.
BRANCH LIKELY GONE WITHOUT CAP NEXT YEAR?: There was a lot of speculation that Seattle was going to trade veteran WR Deion Branch when the final rosters were set coming out of the preseason. That never happened and he wasn't moved at the trade deadline earlier this week. But just because he's still on their roster doesn't mean he will be next year. Because the league may have an uncapped year in 2010, the $3.8 million in option and signing bonus proration would go away. What would remain is his base salary of $5.47 million. It would be reasonable to expect him to take a large cut in pay if he's to return for a fifth year with the team.
St. Louis Rams
NEW RECEIVER COULD START SOON?: When the Rams acquired Brandon Gibson earlier this week from the Philadelphia Eagles, some thought he was just going to be developmental receiver for his new team. Various league sources said not only should Gibson push for a spot in the receiver rotation right away, he should be able to push Keenan Burton for a starting job in a few weeks. Philadelphia and St. Louis both run a West Coast offense, so Gibson's learning curve won't be steep. What he gives their receiver corps is size, which is something they've been missing since veteran Laurent Robinson was lost for the season with a broken leg.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TEAM HAS MOST CAP ROOM: Even after taking a salary cap hit of over $7 million based on bonus proration when trading disappointing DE Gaines Adams to the Chicago Bears recently, a league source said the Buccaneers still own the league's most cap room with roughly $22 million left. One of the biggest reasons for the big cap surplus was a result of over $25 million in salary cap credits brought over from last season. The Philadelphia Eagles got the second most in cap credits from 2008 with roughly $20 million.
League sources said the only player that makes a lot of sense to have his contract extended is OLT Donald Penn. Penn signed a one-year restricted free agent tender earlier this year at $2.792 million and he'll be an unrestricted free agent next year if the league and the players can agree on a new collective bargaining agreement before free agency starts in early March.
ORAKPO LIKELY TO VOID FINAL YEAR?: While some personnel evaluators would argue SLB Brian Orakpo would be better off playing defensive end, Washington's first round pick is slowly making an impact on defense.
The former University of Texas defender signed a six-year deal, but a league source indicated it's almost certain that he'll be able to void the final year. It's believed Orakpo only has to play in a minimum of 45 percent of the defensive snaps in any of the first five seasons of contract in order to void the sixth season.