League Insider Notes: Week 16

Adam Caplan takes a look at some key rookies who stand to make a lot of extra money based on their performance levels. He also fills you in on a possible head coach candidate, a rookie who could have a much bigger role next season, and a rookie who drew some interest from another team this week.

Cleveland Browns - As was the case with their first-round pick in 2006 (Kamerion Wimbley), a league source points out that OLT Joe Thomas has been able to void the final season of his six-year deal because he met minimum playing time requirements. And another interesting bonus Thomas can achieve is for the team to get 10 wins in any season over the length of his deal along with 85% playing time. If the team wins on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thomas will have achieved the bonus which is set for $500,000.

Indianapolis Colts - Rookie WR Anthony Gonzalez's recent success looks to have made him some extra money. According to a league source, the former Ohio St. University star is set to make an extra $230,000 if he catches at least 41 passes this season. Gonzalez, who has 35 receptions with two games remaining, has caught 13 passes in his last two games. And since WR Marvin Harrison (knee) will likely be out again, the rookie could ring the cash register by the end of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

Miami Dolphins - If new executive VP of football operations Bill Parcells decides to part ways with head coach Cam Cameron, one candidate who would be high on his list is Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano who also is in charge of the offensive line. As noted by Scout.com last year at this time, while Parcells declined to call him his offensive coordinator in 2006, Sparano called the plays on gameday while also coaching the offensive linemen. He also coached the tight ends previously for two seasons in his five years with Dallas.

Sparano has extensive coaching experience over the last 20 years or so on the collegiate and professional level and was a successful head coach at the University of New Haven (Division II).

Philadelphia Eagles - Rookie TE Brent Celek could be the starter at the position starting next season. Although his numbers don't show it, a league source notes that the former University of Cincinnati player has improved in most facets of his game, especially blocking. The fifth-round pick had three catches last week during Philadelphia's win at the Dallas Cowboys, including pivotal 29-yard grab.

Celek signed a four-year deal with base salaries of $285,000 (2007), $370,000 (2008), $460,000 (2009), $550,000 (2010) including a signing bonus of about $162,000.

With starting TE L.J. Smith set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season concludes, the next two games for Celek have become very important to him.

Washington Redskins - While the move went largely unnoticed, the team signed rookie DE Alex Buzbee off of the practice squad this week. They did it in part, sources say, because the Kansas City Chiefs showed serious interesting in signing him off of Washington's practice squad. By league rules, a player must stay on the active roster if signed from another team's practice squad. The athletic end had a very good preseason and was one of Washington's final roster cuts prior to the start of the regular season.

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