News and Notes from around the NFL, including another look at the Asante Samuel situation with the Patriots and the Franchise Tag.
QB David Carr signed a two-year deal with the Panthers on Friday. Financial terms were undisclosed but later reported to be for $6 million, including a $3 million signing bonus. Carr is expected to start the season as the backup to Jake Delhomme. While some might view this as a quarterback controversy, the Panthers instead view it as quarterback security. General manager Marty Hurney reiterated Friday that Delhomme will be the starting quarterback.
However, Carr isn't your average backup quarterback and he will give the team a solid alternative if Jake Delhomme struggles this season or gets hurt again. Delhomme missed three games last year with a sprained right thumb and the Panthers lost two of three games down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs. "Jake's track record speaks for itself -- what he's done to take us to a Super Bowl and two NFC Championship games," Hurney said. "I think that what he has done speaks for itself. He's our starting quarterback and one of the leaders of our team and David knows that. With that said, David is a young quarterback with a tool set of skills that you need for that position in this league. He's gone through some of the growing process over the past five years. So he's a perfect fit for us because we're looking for somebody to come in and be the backup quarterback. We like Brett Basanez too and right now we feel like our quarterback position from top to bottom is very good."
CB Asante Samuel told the NFL Network that he isn't happy with the way negotiations have been going regarding a long-term contract with the Patriots and if things don't change soon, he wants to be traded. Samuel tied for the NFL lead with 10 interceptions last year and added two more that he returned for touchdowns in the playoffs. The Patriots assigned the franchise tag to Samuel on Feb. 16 and at the time both parties appeared to be happy.
"We don't look at it as a bad thing," Samuel's agent Alonzo Shavers said shortly after his client received the franchise tag. "This is a step in the process in working toward a long-term deal."
However, after two months of negotiations, Samuel has changed his tune. "This is to let everybody know that I'm not happy anymore and things are not going well," Samuel told the NFL Network's Adam Schefter. "At first I thought it was going well, but it's not."
Samuel is set to receive a one-year salary worth $7.79 million under the franchise tag. However, since he was franchised, Nate Clements signed an eight-year deal with the 49ers that includes $22 million in bonuses and guarantees, while Dre' Bly agreed to terms with the Broncos for a five-year deal worth $16 million in bonuses and guarantees.
QB Matt Schaub has already spoken with the coaching staff at length about the offense. He's also started speaking to many of his teammates about what to expect and where they will fit into the scheme.
"He knows this offense," running back Ahman Green said. "He's the type of quarterback, he told me, that when he's in trouble, he doesn't have the deep ball. He definitely goes out to the running back on the check down routes. That's good to know, and it saves his body too. Gets the ball out of the way and let's the running backs take the punishment that we know how to take."
OG Jake Scott is currently an unrestricted free agent and has yet to come to an agreement with the team. He was issued a one-year, $1.3 million tender early last month that would provide Indianapolis with second-round compensation if he signs with another team. Both OG Ryan Lilja, who signed a one-year deal with the Colts a couple of weeks ago, and Scott could become unrestricted free agents after the 2007 season.
OL Chris Liewenski, an experienced, versatile, veteran lineman, signed with Miami as an unrestricted free agent. Liewenski was a valuable rotation player as the line made late-season progress over the closing five games and enabled Edgerrin James to reach 1,000 rushing yards after a slow start.
CB Jerametrius Butler has not attended the off-season program. Butler played in just six games last season and was inactive for nine as he became buried on the team's depth chart. It was expected that Butler would be released at the start of the league year, but he hasn't been and is believed the Rams are hoping they can acquire a draft pick for him. Butler's agent, Robert Fayne, said Butler has not asked to be traded. As for being away from Rams park, Fayne said, "He's working out diligently twice a day in Dallas to prepare for the 2007 season. I expect him to be with the Rams in '07."
OL Chris Gray signed a two-year deal to remain in Seattle. Financial terms were unavailable.
WR Tab Perry, the Bengals' top kickoff return specialist and an emerging player offensively, said Monday that doctors had cleared him medically for 100 percent activity. "I'm not going to do anything stupid, but I am cleared," he said. He played in two games in 2006 with five receptions for 81 yards. He had a 17.3-yard average on four kickoff returns before suffering what he called a bruised hip bone in Week 2 against Cleveland.
DT Justin Bannan (toe) has started Baltimore's offseason conditioning program after undergoing season-ending surgery last season. He hopes to be ready for training camp.