Initial reports regarding Owens' contract indicate that he will earn a $5 million bonus in 2006, along with $5 million in base salary. He can earn as much as $25 million over the next three years if he stays with the team. Roster bonuses ion 2007 and 2008 would round out the deal.
Owens' agent. Drew Rosenhaus, said that up seven teams were interested in the receiver. Head coach Bill Parcells was not at the press conference announcing Owens' signing, but team owner Jerry Jones said that Parcells is on board with the signing.
--- The NFL has filed a grievance concerning the Minnesota Vikings' offer sheet to Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson. It will be heard Monday morning, extending the Sunday deadline for Seattle to match the offer or let Hutchinson cash in with the Vikings.
If you thought that Hutchinson's arrival in Minnesota was going to be decided in seven days, guess again. The matter will be decided on Monday, as a special master determines whether the much-discussed "poison pill" put in the Vikes' offer sheet meets contract standards.
The arbitration hearing will question whether the Seahawks merely have to match the "relative terms" of the contract - seven years, $49 million with $16 million in guaranteed money and $13 million against the 2006 salary cap - or the "principal terms" of the offer sheet. The latter involves being the highest paid offensive lineman with his team in 2006. Last April, the Seahawks signed left tackle Walter Jones to a seven-year, $52.5 million deal, which eclipses the Vikings' offer to Hutchinson. Should the Seahawks match the offer sheet and Hutchinson is not the highest-paid offensive lineman in the first year of the deal, the entire $49 million would be guaranteed, as mandated by the offer sheet.
At the behest of the NFL, the case will be heard Monday by Stephen Burbank, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Our friends at VikingUpdate.com report that the reason the Vikings organization isn't being taken to task over the issue is that the clauses in question were proposed by Hutchinson's agent Tom Condon, according to sources.
What a source told Seahawks.NET on February 26, during the Scouting Combine, was that if the Philadelphia Eagles were to tender an offer to Hutchinson, some manner of "poison pill" would be included. In Philly's case, the roadblock would probably have been some manner of Machiavellian front-loading. However, when the new CBA was approved on March 8, the idea of merely front-loading a contract to eliminate competitors for a player's services lost a great deal of steam - the new agreement added over $7 million to every NFL squad's salary cap. This would seem to lend credence to the notion that the Vikings didn't put this together on their own - rather, that the idea was presented to them. It would seem, however, that the guaranteed portion of the offer sheet originated somewhere near the shores of Lake Minnetonka, on or around March 12th.
The Players' Association with argue in favor of the Vikings, citing precedent in 1993 when offensive lineman Will Wolford signed an offer sheet with the Colts. To show how far the NFL has come since then, the offer sheet was for three years and $7.65 million. Under the terms of the deal, it guaranteed that Wolford would be the highest-paid offensive player on the team. At the time, that was no problem for the Colts. But the Bills had QB Jim Kelly, who was earning twice that much. The NFL lost that case, which has NFLPA General Counsel Richard Berthelson convinced the Vikings will win.
For those expecting a final decision by Sunday, get used to the NFL of 2006 - it's going to be delayed.
--- The Seattle Seahawks have reached a contract agreement with unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Russell Davis. Davis will add to an already stellar interior rotation, which was reinforced when Rocky Bernard re-signed wiht the team on March 15.
Davis visited earlier in the week with Seattle officials. He is a seven-year veteran who played the last six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals after beginning his career with the Chicago Bears. He missed all but three games in 2005 with a torn biceps, but missed only one game in the four years prior to last season.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com confirmed that the contract is for three years, but financial details are not yet available at this time.
In his career, Davis has amassed 246 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 11 passes defensed. He is regarded as a steady defender, solid at the point of attack, and very consistent when healthy.
--- Aaron Wilson of RavensInsider.com reports that tight end Darnell Dinkins is joining the Cleveland Browns after agreeing in
principle on a three-year contract worth $2.1 million, including a $200,000
signing bonus. The contract includes incentive clauses that could raise the
total value of the deal. Dinkins, 29, is a strong blocking tight end and a special-teams standout. The Ravens monitored the situation, but never submitted a competing offer sheet.
"Darnell is excited to be in Cleveland where they certainly have shown this offseason that they want to win and want to win now," said Andrew Benedict, Dinkins' agent. "Darnell feels good about being close to home in Pittsburgh."
--- LB LaVar Arrington has interviewed with the Giants and his agents has begun negotiations. But one of his agents, Carl Poston, was recently suspended for two years for behavior unbecoming an agent by the NFL Players Association. That might cause Arrington to drop Poston and his brother, Kevin, as agents. Arrington wants a $10 million signing bonus and the Giants are not prepared to do that. Arrington has threatened to use interest from Miami and Cleveland to get the Giants to move, but they have refused thus far.
--- QB Joey Harrington, who expressed reservations at the end of the 2005 season regarding his future in Detroit, apparently decided it was time to move on. Lions president Matt Millen, a longtime Harrington supporter, agreed to trade or release him, just weeks after the Lions declared their commitment to the former first-round draft choice as the No. 1 quarterback. The Lions did not immediately indicate how they will handle the Harrington situation but it appears they will make a move to free him from the final two years of his original contract by the start of the April 29 draft or by June 15, the day he is due a $4 million roster bonus.
--- Turmoil appears to be the word of the day in Green Bay. QB Brett Favre has purposely put off making a decision on his playing future in part because he wants to know if the Packers, coming off a horrendous 4-12 season, are playing to win now or later. A report circulated in the past week that Favre explicitly told Packers general manager Ted Thompson to be very aggressive in free agency or Favre would be more inclined to retire. Thompson, though, said no such mandate came from Favre.
Meanwhile, Javon Walker has vowed to not suit up for the Packers again unless his contract is renegotiated. He recently declared that he would "retire" before returning to Green Bay. Packers general manager Ted Thompson has made it clear he will hold his ground and not give in to Walker's demand for a new contract because the talented wideout has to prove his worth all over again after missing all but the season opener last year with a knee injury.
--- RB Mike Anderson expressed no regrets about coming to the Ravens, saying he was assured by team officials that he will have the opportunity to compete against Jamal Lewis for the starting running back job. It was assumed the former Denver Broncos back would be the Ravens' featured runner when he reached a four-year, $8 million agreement Sunday night. Just a few hours later, he didn't know what to think after the Ravens re-signed Lewis.
--- RB Jamal Lewis is being prodded, it seems, by the Ravens, who restructured Lewis' contract and added former Broncos RB Mike Anderson. Lewis's rushing totals have declined every season since he gained 2,066 yards in 2003 - the second-highest total in NFL history. Lewis' three-year, $26 million contract is essentially a one-year commitment. After receiving $6 million this season ($5 million signing bonus plus $1 million salary), Lewis is scheduled to earn $10 million in the final two years of the deal. Before he is due a $5 million bonus next March, the Ravens must decide whether to pay him (which is considered unlikely), renegotiate a new contract or cut him. It was a surprise that Lewis agreed to this deal - turning down a longer-term contract from the Denver Broncos - only a few hours after Anderson accepted a four-year, $8 million contract.
--- Dallas Cowboys G Larry Allen's tenure in Dallas could be over after the Cowboys signed G Kyle Kosier to a contract that includes a $5 million signing bonus. Allen is the longest tenured Cowboy and is the last remaining player with a Super Bowl ring from the 1990s. He has a $2 million roster bonus due April 1 along with an $8 million cap number for next season. There is no way the Cowboys are going to pay Kosier, Allen and G Marco Rivera - last year's high-priced free agent - those high salaries and have one of them sit on the bench. Allen is likely the odd man out because of his declining play and Kosier's upside.
--- Tampa Bay QB Chris Simms said the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback job was promised to him before he agreed to sign a first-round tender for $2.1 million. The Bucs need to finally discover what they have in the 26-year-old quarterback who went 5-1 against the NFC South and led the Bucs to a division title. But the player he took over for wanted his old job back. That's why it's unlikely Brian Griese will accept a proposal to return to the Bucs. Because of this, Brian Griese is not likely to accept a proposal to return to the Buccaneers. Griese, who was 5-1 when he suffered two torn ligaments in his left knee against the Dolphins. It's believed the Bucs' offer to Griese does not exceed what Simms will earn next season. Agent Ralph Cindrich indicated Griese probably wouldn't return to Tampa Bay. He visited the Bengals and Bears last week.
--- Former New Orleans QB Aaron Brooks might be under consideration by the Raiders to replace Kerry Collins. According to one NFL source, owner Al Davis has a high opinion of Brooks, the deposed Saints starter who is available after being waived after the free agent acquisition of Drew Brees. Brooks, who turns 30 on March 24, has 82 career starts, all with New Orleans, and has passed for 19,156 yards and 120 touchdowns (a New Orleans record) with 84 interceptions. The Raiders could represent Brooks' best chance to remain a starter, given the vote-of-no-confidence the franchise issued Marques Tuiasosopo last season and the lack of experience to 2005 third-round draft pick Andrew Walter.
--- QB Patrick Ramsey opened last season as the Redskins' No. 1 quarterback, but on Mar. 17, Ramsey was so diminished in value that he was traded to the New York Jets for a sixth-round selection in next month's draft. Ramsey's departure was a foregone conclusion after the Redskins gave him permission to shop his services following a 2005 season in which his starting tenure lasted less than two quarters and Mark Brunell quarterbacked Washington to the playoffs for the first time in six years. Ramsey, who has one year left on his rookie contract, will compete with holdover Chad Pennington to start for the Jets, who changed coaches after slumping to 4-12 last season.
--- DE Anthony Weaver signed a five-year, $26.5 million deal that included a $12 million signing bonus. The Texans won't say it, but that move likely ruled out the possibility that they will trade down in the NFL draft. There were suggestions that the Texans would trade down from the No. 1 pick if the price was right so that they could then acquire Mario Williams. With Weaver, the Texans have their starting ends now. The former Raven will start at right end for the Texans, which means Jason Babin will move to left end to compete with Antwan Peek. While the Texans can still use depth at end, they do not need another multi-million dollar starter.
--- QB Carson Palmer's recovery is worrying the Bengals, who told Ralph Cindrich, Brian Griese's agent, that they are concerned Palmer won't be ready to start the season. Palmer underwent surgery Jan. 10 to replace two knee ligaments (the anterior cruciate and medial collateral, ACL and MCL) and has returned to Cincinnati to continue rehab and meet with coaches. Palmer is believed to be wearing a knee brace and walking without crutches in his street clothes.
--- K Adam Vinatieri was in Green Bay for a free-agent visit Friday. The ante for wooing Vinatieri, one of the most accurate kickers in league history with New England, was raised some after Minnesota landed Longwell on March 11 with a five-year, $10 million deal that included a $3 million signing bonus. The Packers, despite having ample room under the salary cap, weren't inclined to throw that type of money at Longwell, Green Bay's all-time leading scorer.