Around the League: Chiefs find bargains late in free agency
By Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange
is the time of the offseason when teams get some bargains in veterans
left in the unrestricted pool, and the Kansas City Chiefs seem to have
done just that with their recent signing of safety Abram Elam.
seven-year pro, who started all 16 games in Dallas last season and has
47 starts the past three years with Cleveland (2009-2010) and the
Cowboys, offers some insurance for emerging star Eric Berry, who is
rehabbing from an ACL injury sustained in the '11 opener.
Elam could push third-year veteran Kendrick Lewis for a starting job,
provides the Chiefs an excellent No. 3 safety option at worst, and has
looked very good in workouts, Kansas City coaches say.
No Word For First Rounders
case anyone's interested, and most teams don't appear to be, there are
still 23 former first-round draft picks still unemployed.
noted earlier this week by The Sports Xchange, the 121 officials from
the 2011 NFL season averaged 11.4 seasons of NFL tenure. The average
for the league's 17 referees was 14.9 years. There were only four
officials with fewer than 10 seasons of NFL experience, but a like
number with 20 or more years in the league. That's a lot of tenure to
attempt to replace in a short period.
Less Of A Load For Turner
tailback Michael Turner conceded some skepticism about the club's plan
to reduce his attempts in 2012 -- after all, the Falcons insist that
every year, it seems, and Turner has averaged 337.0 carries in the
three seasons he's been healthy with the team and played all 16 games
-- but new offensive coordinator Dick Koetter does seem intent on
cutting back the workload.
No To-Ocho In Big D
is seeking a No. 3 receiver, but for now at least, neither Terrell Owens nor Chad Ochocinco seems to be the answer. A Cowboys scout said
on Thursday night that the club's personnel people had previously
looked at tape of Owens, and then broke out video of Ochocinco after he
was released by New England earlier in the day, and were "fairly
Sanu a Steal
--Third-round draft choice
Mohamed Sanu of Cincinnati continues to look like a mid-round heist.
The former Rutgers standout could end up starting opposite 2011 rookie
standout A.J. Green in a passing attack that hopes to have slot
receiver Jordan Shipley back healthy after an ACL injury last season.
Osi and his Agent
much of his lengthy time as an agent, Tony Agnone has fudged a bit when
reporting contract values to the media. That's why there's some irony
in the fact Agnone was dismissed, albeit temporarily, for leveling with
defensive end Osi Umenyiora about his reworked contract with the
Giants. Agnone counseled Umenyiora that the proposal wasn't a
particularly good one and, as it turns out, it wasn't.
signed a deal that will raise his 2012 salary, but to only $6 million,
a bargain for a proven pass-rusher. And it appears the contract does
not preclude the Giants from using the franchise tag on Umenyiora next
spring when the deal expires.
The Return Game
--This could be a very good
season for rookie return men in the league. In addition to Brandon Boykin in Philadelphia, Joe Adams (Carolina, fourth round), Ryan Broyles (Detroit, second round) and Josh Robinson (Minnesota, third
round) are among the first-year specialists expected to improve the
return games of their respective clubs as rookies.
No More Violations For New Orleans
one New Orleans official insisted this week, is apt to unearth no
evidence of OTA violations against the club when it reviews video from
recent practices. Feeling burned and perhaps picked upon already by the
NFL this offseason, coaches have been particularly careful in practice
to heed the non-contact provisions outlined in the CBA, the official
said. Maybe it's a self-serving assessment, and probably biased, but
the official dismissed the incident this week involving middle
linebacker Curtis Lofton and quarterback Chase Daniel as "nothing
Behind The Steel Curtain
--Fourth-year veteran Keenan Lewis suggested earlier in
the spring that he might have a Pro Bowl season in 2012 if he wins the
left cornerback spot in Pittsburgh that was vacated when William Gay
signed as a free agent with Arizona. But it's actually been a pair of
2011 draft picks, Cortez Allen (No. 4) and Curtis Brown (No. 5), who
have been more impressive in the Steelers' OTA sessions.
with the Steelers, the organization has no plans, at least for now, of
reducing its one-year restricted tender to unsigned wide receiver Mike Wallace. The three-year veteran, who has boycotted offseason workouts
but does have a playbook, was tendered at $2.7 million. Pittsburgh has
the right to lower that to $577,500 if Wallace hasn't signed by June 15
(which he almost certainly won't), but will not take the reduction
option. The Steelers still want to work out a long-term contract with
Wallace and don't want to create any more acrimony.
Bad Drafting Decision
Carolina wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, a second-round pick in 2007, has
washed out in his attempt to resurrect his career in the CFL. Jarrett,
one of the biggest mistakes in Carolina draft history, has opted to
retire at age 25. In four NFL seasons, the former Southern California
star registered only 35 receptions for 428 yards and one touchdown.
to reports, Detroit veteran left offensive tackle Jeff Backus has been
an impressive mentor for Lions' first-round choice Riley Reiff, who
make someday take his job. Detroit officials noted to The Sports
Xchange the efforts of some veterans to counsel 2011 first-round
defensive tackle Nick Fairley on his off-field behavior.
Where Will He Play?
coaches have begun to work in first-round defensive end Quinton Coples
as a stand-up rush linebacker in some of their defensive fronts.
are some reports that arena league players may strike, maybe as early
as Friday, and league officials are closely monitoring the perceived
unrest among its rank-and-file.
Holmes Not Doing Much To clear His Rep
--Wide receiver Santonio Holmes
has been a model citizen of sorts off the field for the New York Jets.
But the veteran wideout continues to be a bit of a pain on the field,
as exemplified by his actions at an OTA this week, when he felt he was
overworked by coaches, and that could be an issue. The Steelers, who
dealt Holmes to New York for a bargain basement fifth-round pick in
2010, privately contend it was more than the wide receiver's marijuana
problems that prompted the trade of the former Super Bowl most valuable
player. The Jets might be dealing with some of those "other" problems,
Working His Way Up the Ladder
--For much of his previous four seasons in Miami,
Kendall Langford played end in a 3-4 defense. But Langford has been
playing mostly inside in offseason workouts with St. Louis, which
signed him as a free agent this spring, coaches seem to like what
they've seen of him there, and he could be an important part of the
Rams' revamped line
ATL: Ochocinco Not Wanted In Dallas?
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