Question: Concerning Joe Flacco's contract negotiations - have they at least gotten past the initial big picture stage and moved on to working out the details? I assume they would start by agreeing on a ballpark figure and then work out structure and language.
Answer: It's my understanding that they're close in several areas so a deal should be completed soon. I believe both sides are in the process of setting up another meeting (No. 5 I believe) for this week or next week.
Question: Do you think the new CBA will include a rookie pay scale and if so any thoughts as to what form it would take?
Answer: Probably not because the issues with rookie salaries are only for top-5-10 players. It's not as out of control as what went on with the NBA for several years.
Question: What options do the Ravens have to shore up the Tight end position?
Answer: There's not much out there. What they may do is wait for teams to adjust their rosters at the end of August and then see what veterans are let go.
The expectation is that Heap, Wilcox, and Lee Vickers will be the top-three. So they need one more veteran for depth/insurance.
Question: What's your opinion on Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg as far as where they rank compared to other defensive tackle tandems in the NFL?
Answer: Gregg's an interesting story considering the Philadelphia Eagles, in his two years with them, didn't think he was good enough to play for them despite their problems stopping the run for several years.
He has turned out to be one of the NFL's better run defenders from the interior spot on the defensive line.
It's hard to rank defensive tackle tandems, but they would make my top-10.
Question: How do you see the AFC North shaking out? Do you think the Steelers and the Browns will both make the playoffs?
Answer: I have it: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati. I see Pittsburgh getting a wild card spot.
If the quarterback play is decent, the Ravens should be at least 8-8.
Question: Which Ravens' players do you see as primed for breakthrough seasons and which ones do you think are past their primes?
Answer: You would have to define breakthrough but Demetrius Williams could have a nice year considering the scheme that they're now using on offense puts an emphasis on deep passing.
I see Ben Grubbs starting to prove that he's one of the best young guards in the NFL.
Question: How long until Brady Quinn is starting in Cleveland?
Answer: Depends how Derek Anderson does this season. Anderson was 10-5 as a starter last season and while he didn't finish well, it would take a lot for him not to start this season. But it should be noted that Anderson has $5 million roster bonus due this March so if he doesn't play well this season, Quinn will likely take over in 2009 and beyond.
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