NFL Insider Blog: Will Willis Remain a Raven?

Which rookie back made extra cash for his solid overall performance?...Will Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee return to the team in 2009?...What changes will the Houston Texans make on defense next year?...Will Willie Colon be signing a contract extension soon?...Did the Minnesota Vikings really get a bargain when they signed TE Visanthe Shiancoe?...Those stories and more inside.

Updates 12/22-12/28


Rookie Back Makes Extra Cash

When the Tennessee Titans selected Chris Johnson with their first-round pick in April's draft, the hope was that he could add some badly needed speed and explosiveness to their offense.

Not only did Johnson provide that, a league source points out he'll be rewarded for his outstanding performance this season.

Johnson, by being named to the Pro Bowl, made an extra $125,000. By rushing for at least 1,000 yards, Johnson will make an extra $200,000.

Johnson has statistical esclators that could reward him in each season of play for achieving certain levels of rushing yardage, receptions, receiving yardage, average per rush, total points, and combined yardage.


Houston May Make Significant Changes on Defense

The Houston Texans have a chance to finish with their second straight 8-8 record, but that achievement may not be enough to save defensive coordinator Richard Smith's job.

More than one league source told that significant changes will be made on defense next season and removing Smith could be one of them.

Houston currently ranks 23rd overall in total defense, 27th in points against, and 25th in total touchdowns given up.

Those numbers weren't improved upon much from 2007's performance where they finished 24th overall in total defense, 22nd in points against, and 23rd in total touchdowns given up.

Sources said that the team is expected to address their deficiencies on defense in next year's draft and also in free agency with a pass rusher to play opposite Mario Williams.

The team will likely also look to upgrade both safety positions and add depth at cornerback.


McGahee Likely Back in 2009

While Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee is going through arguably the worst season of his six-year career, it's almost a certainty that he'll be back with the team in 2009.

A league source notes  if the team decided to part ways with McGahee next season, they would be nailed with over $11 million in signing bonus and option bonus proration, making such a move prohibitive.

McGahee signed a seven-year deal  in 2007 which included a $7.5 signing bonus and $7.5 million in option bonuses which have been exercised.


No Deal Yet For Willie

Pittsburgh Steelers starting ORT Willie Colon is on the final year of his rookie contract and is set to become a restricted free agent

But if he's going to receive an extension, it's not going to happen until closer to the start of free agency.

A league source told that the team has less than $2 million available in salary cap space, which would make signing any key player to an extension prohibitive until the start of the new league year on February 27.

If both sides agree to an extension, he'll likely be looking at a deal similar to what Tennessee Titans starting ORT David Stewart received.

Stewart signed a seven-year deal back in June worth $38.5 million which included $10 million worth of guarantees ($6 million signing bonus and $4 million in roster bonuses).


Williams Achieves Rushing Yards Bonus

While Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams got snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting, the third-year pro still will be rewarded for his breakout season.

A league source told that the former first-round pick out of the 2006 draft earned a $450,000 bonus by rushing for at least 1,000 yards this season. Williams achieved that level of performance during the team's victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 8.

Williams currently has 1,337 yards on the ground and a whopping 20 total touchdowns (18 rushing/2 receiving).

Former former University of Memphis star is signed through 2010.


Pioli Could Draft Browns' Interest

On Sunday,'s Jay Glazer reported the Cleveland Browns could pursue New England Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli. By making such a move, that would give the veteran front office man full authority over personnel--something he doesn't have with the Patriots.

A league source who speaks to Pioli on a semi-regular basis and seems to know him well told that the one team that Pioli would strongly consider leaving New England for would be Cleveland.

Pioli was a player personnel assistant with the Browns for four seasons (1992-1995) and it's believed he still has relationships with various members of the organization.

The source adds Pioli would only leave if he received full control of personnel decisions (draft, free agency, roster) and the ability to make decisions on hiring a coaching staff--power that current Browns senior vice president and general manager, Phil Savage holds.

As an interesting aside, Pioli is a close friend of Cleveland Indians executive vice president/general manager Mark Shapiro. Shapiro is the brother-in-law of New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini, who also worked for the Browns in the early 1990's.

Updates 12/15-12/21


Status Quo For Warner

If Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is going to get a new contract, it won't happen until next year.

A league source told that both sides are still far apart on agreeing to a new deal. Warner's contract will expire at the start of the new league year on February 27.

Signing Warner to an extension before the season ends would be difficult since another source notes the team only has around $3 million in salary cap space left.


Smith Might Return For Playoffs

Pittsburgh Steelers starting OLT Marvel Smith won't play in the team's final two games, but he has a decent chance to play if they make it deep into the playoffs, a league source told

Smith is dealing with a back issue which has caused him to miss the last nine games, but the source said he's doing better of late.

The former second-round pick out of the 2000 draft is on the final year of contract.


Will Boley Return to Atlanta in 2009?

At the beginning of the season, it was assumed that Atlanta Falcons starting SLB Michael Boley would be signed to a lucrative extension some time before the end of the year.

Boley, who was a restricted free agent this season, was given a first-round tender ($2.017 million).

The problem is that Boley was given that level of compensation by the previous front office regime and now he may have lost his starting job.

Coy Wire, a former third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills out of the 2002 draft, replaced Boley on first downs in last week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Boley played primarily in passing situations.

Boley is headed for his lowest tackle total since his rookie season in 2005 and his playing time has regressed in recent weeks.

A telltale sign that Boley's future with the team could be in jeopardy is because the team signed other starters such as WR Michael Jenkins and DT Jonathan Babineaux to extensions recently. Both players were set to become unrestricted free agents next year.


Punter to Become a Free Agent

Indianapolis Colts P Hunter Smith is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, a league source told

Smith, who is currently ranked ninth in net punting average (38.7), signed a seven-year deal back in 2003 which included the ability void the final year (2009) if he participated 15 percent of the special teams snaps in any season.

Smith was able to accomplish that level of playing time easily during previous season.


Shiancoe a Bargain?

When the Minnesota Vikings signed free agent TE Visanthe Shiancoe to a five-year, $18 million deal in 2007, the team was heavily criticized for giving a virtually unknown player a big contract.

And Shiancoe's detractors looked to be correct after his performance from last season.

In the first four years of his career with the New York Giants, the former third-round pick never caught more than 12 passes in any one season and Shiancoe only caught 27 passes in his first year with the Vikings.

So far in the 2008 season, Shiancoe has already set career highs in receptions (33), yards (446), and touchdowns (5).

While his statistics aren't eye-popping, Shiancoe should continue to get better and he should be able to build on this season's numbers.

But what makes Shiancoe's emergence this season more interesting is how the coaches are using him.

The former Morgan St. University star has been lined up outside of his normal tight end position. He's been lined up in the slot and even more recently out wide as a receiver. .

A further inspection of his contract details show that Shiancoe has very fair base salaries in the final three years of his contract ($2.1-2009, $2.1-2010, and $3.1-2011) and if he continues to progress, the contract could turn out to be undervalued.


Could Jansen be Jettisoned in 2009?

Washington Redskins veteran ORT Jon Jansen was beaten out for a starting job by second-year OT Stephon Heyer to begin the season.

Jansen was able to win the job back after the team's third game, but a league source said the 10-year pro is no lock to play in his 11th season in the league with the team in 2009.

Jansen is signed through 2011, but the source notes he has a roster bonus of $1 million for next season.

The former University of Michigan offensive lineman, who turns 33 in January, didn't play in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals and has missed 17 games in the last three seasons due to injury.

Jansen didn't miss a start in his first five seasons, but missed the entire 2004 season due to injury and has only played in one full season in his last five.


Cleveland Hasn't Spoken With Former Head Coaches...Yet

Despite rumors to the contrary, a league source told that the Cleveland Browns have not spoken to former NFL head coaches Marty Schottenheimer or Bill Cowher about replacing head coach Romeo Crennel after the regular season is over.

The source, who spoke to both men last week, said neither of them didn't come out and say they wouldn't coach again, but there was no indication that they would be coaching again in 2009.

Updates 12/9-12/14


Scaife Likely to Make it to Free Agency?

A league source told that Tennessee Titans TE Bo Scaife is likely to make it to free agency next year unless the team uses their "franchise" designation on him.

The "franchise" tag stipulates the team would have to pay the player the average of the top five player salaries at his position from the previous season.

The only other key starter that would make sense to secure for the future that is not signed past this season is DT Albert Haynesworth. However, the team is prohibited from from using their franchise tag on him if he participated in 60 percent of the defensive snaps this season. Haynesworth achieved that level last month.

Veteran TE Alge Crumpler signed a two-year deal with Tennessee earlier this year and they also spent a third-round pick on TE Craig Stevens.


Decisions on Henry and Williams Looming

The Dallas Cowboys selected two cornerbacks in this year's draft and traded for CB Adam Jones.

Because of that, conventional wisdom says that veteran CB Anthony Henry could be in danger of losing his starting job next season and first-round pick Mike Jenkins was thought to be drafted to eventually be Henry's successor.

As a league source points out, Henry's contract will expire after the 2009 season. However, he has a $1 million roster bonus believed to be due close to the start of free agency.

So Dallas' decision is not just based on their secondary depth chart, it also comes down to money.

There also have been rumblings of moving Henry to strong safety next season so the 33-year old defensive back could extend his career.

However, SS Roy L. Williams, who is out for the season, still has two years left on his contract. The somewhat disappointing former first-round pick out of the 2002 draft is set to make $4.4 million in base salary next season. Williams came out in passing situations this season and his base salary for 2009 is probably too high for a part-time player.


Orton Extension Not Likely This Season?

Chicago Bears QB Kyle Orton signed a two-year, $3.3 million deal earlier this year with the team that will take him through the 2009 season.

A league source notes that Chicago has less than $500,000 left under their salary cap so signing Orton to an extension before the regular season ends is prohibitive. They would be unable to handle the prorated portion of a signing bonus since that would put them over the cap.

Still, Orton has put together a solid season so signing him to an extension some time during 2009 is a strong possibility.

Updates 12/1-12/7


Burress Stands to Lose More Than Just Playing Time

If the New York Giants decide not to exercise Plaxico Burress' roster bonus of $2.925 million next year, the enigmatic receiver stands to lose over $26 million.

Burress signed an extension with the team back in September that will take him through the 2012 season.

A league source notes Burress has over $15 million in bonus money (roster, reporting, and workout bonuses) and $11.5 million left in base salary.

Burress was placed on the team's reserve/non-football injury list, which will end his season. Burress was also fined and was suspended four games for conduct detrimental to the team for multiple and repeated violations of club rules.

Burress suffered a gun shot wound to his right thigh in an accidental shooting last Saturday.


Firing Crennel Would be Costly

If Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel is fired after the season is over, the team will still owe him quite a bit of money.

Crennel signed a two-year extension earlier this year valued at around $3.8 per season. It's believed Crennel could make up to $4.2 million in seasons 2010 and 2011 depending on how many regular season and playoff wins the team achieved.

A league source notes his original deal would have expired after the 2009 season with a salary of more than $2 million.

So it's believed the team would still owe Crennel over $9 million if he's let go.

Updates 11/24-11/30


Robinson To Become a Free Agent?

A  league source told that the final year of Houston Texans CB Dunta Robinson's contract will void after this season, thus making him an unrestricted free agent.

The former 10th overall selection in the 2004 draft originally signed a six-year deal.

Robinson, who is coming off of major knee and hamstring surgeries, met minimum playing time levels earlier in his career which enabled him to void the final season.

Robinson started his first game of the season last week against the Cleveland Browns.


Revis Could Void Final Two Years of Deal?

A  league source told that New York Jets second-year defender Darrelle Revis could void the last two seasons of his six-year deal because he reached minimum playing levels in his contract.

Despite missing all of training camp last year, the former first-round pick won a starting job almost immediately and has become one of the best cover cornerbacks in the league.

The source adds the team could buy back the final two years for a substantially higher salary. If the final two years void and the team doesn't exercise their buyback option, then they can't use the franchise tag on him in either of those two seasons.


Hasselbeck's Future Replacement Coming Next Season?

Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck turned 33 recently and his contract expires after the 2010 season.

While the team doesn't have his projected replacement currently on their roster, a league source points out to us that Seattle worked out a bunch of quarterbacks prior to the draft including Joe Flacco.

With Mike Holmgren's tenure as head coach coming to an end after the regular season is over, Hassebeck's biggest supporter will no longer be around.


Could Spencer Start Seeing Playing Time Soon?

The Jacksonville Jaguars aren't mathematically eliminated from the playoff race yet, but they're dangerously close to doing so.

The team released veteran OL Milford Brown earlier this week and only have three backup offensive lineman left on their active roster and one of them, rookie Drew Miller, was signed as an undrafted free agent.

With that in mind, the team could start to begin looking at some of their younger players.

When free agent OL Charles Spencer was signed earlier this season, a league source notes that the thought was for him to get in game shape and then let him compete for playing time.

Spencer has gotten in much better shape and has been backing up starting LT Khalif Barnes of late.

After spending the first few games on the inactive list, Spencer has been on the active game day roster for the past few games.

Barnes hasn't played at a high level this season and is almost certain not to be re-signed next year, so it's not out of the question that Spencer starts to see playing time soon.


Updates 11/17-11/23


One and Done For Robertson?

When the Denver Broncos signed free agent DT Dwayne Robertson to a five-year deal earlier this year, the hope was that he could provide an immediate impact to their struggling run defense.

One might say that the jury is still out in that regard, but a league source notes that Robertson has a whopping $17 million roster bonus due next year so his stay with the club will likely be just for one season.


Leinart Likely to Stick?

A league source told that even if the Arizona Cardinals extend QB Kurt Warner's contract past this season, Matt Leinart's contract isn't prohibitive from him coming back in 2009.

Leinart's cap figure is just over $2.6 million for 2009, which is a reasonable number. It does jump to $4 million in 2010 and then to a whopping $14 million plus in 2011.

But it's certainly possible that the team looks to trade Leinart if they get a deal done for Warner. Leinart, a former first-round pick out of the 2006 draft, could attract a decent amount of interest since there are at least a half dozen teams with unresolved quarterback situations in the future.


Evans' Contract Eats Up Cap Space

When Buffalo Bills WR Lee Evans signed a five-year, $35-plus million contract extension, a league source told the deal resulted in eating up over an additional $7 million in cap space for this season.

Evans will be paid just shy of $12 million in base salary for this season, a jump of nearly $9.5 million over his former base salary in the previous contract.

Evans' previous contract would have voided after 2008 since he achieved certain performance levels in the deal.


Gregory Back This Week?

A league source told that the San Diego Chargers backup S Steve Gregory  is expected to play Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts.

The third-year pro, and a key member of San Diego's special teams, missed last week's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a neck strain.


No Tapeh in Philly?

A league source told that the Philadelphia Eagles have no interest in re-signing FB Thomas Tapeh, who was recently released by the Minnesota Vikings.

Tapeh signed a five-year deal with Minnesota earlier this year and was supposed to be the replacement for Tony Richardson, but he never panned out.

The former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher had offseason knee surgery which he failed to initially disclose to the team, which prompted the coaches to eventually go in a different direction.

Philadelphia declined to offer Tapeh a contract to re-sign with the team back in March at the time he became an unrestricted free agent.

Instead, Philadelphia has gone through a plethora of fullback candidates including Jason Davis, Luke Lawton, Tony Hunt, and now Dan Klecko. Only Klecko remains on their roster.

Tapeh was selected by Philadelphia in the fifth round of the 2004 draft.

Updates 11/12-11/16


Will Pace Return in 2009?

OLB Calvin Pace has put together a quiet season in his first year as a New York Jet.

The former Arizona Cardinal signed a five-year deal worth over $34 million earlier this year and the thought was that he would give the team a badly needed boost in sacks.

Pace has only posted four sacks thus far and a league source told that he has a whopping $9 million roster bonus due next season along with a cap number of close to $12 million.

Compounding the issue is first-round pick OLB Vernon Gholston has struggled to adapt to New York's 3-4 defensive scheme from playing defensive end in college.

Gholston, should he meet playing time and certain statistical achievements in his contract, could void the final two years of six-year deal. But judged by his performance so far, he's a long way from being able to do that.


More Raiders on the Rocks for 2009?

Last week in this space, noted that several Oakland Raiders had sizeable cap numbers or roster bonuses due next next year which could prevent them to return to the team in 2009.

A league source notes as many as six key players from both sides of the ball might be out of a job before the 2009 draft.

Here's an updated look even more players that could be jettisoned and their cap numbers for next season.


Javon Walker/WR-$5 million roster bonus-cap number close to $11 million. However, Walker, who will miss the rest of the season due to ankle surgery, reportedly has an injury guarantee for next season which could be worth close to the total of his roster bonus.

Robert Gallery/G-$5.3 million roster bonus-cap number of close to $9 million

Kwame Harris/LT-$6 million roster bonus-cap number of close to $9 million


Tommy Kelly/DT-$4.5 million roster bonus-cap number of over $9 million

Derrick Burgess/DE-$1.5 million roster bonus-cap number $4.5 million

Gibril Wilson/SS -$4.5 million roster bonus-cap number of over $8 million


Williams' Future Clouded?

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just activated RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams off the Physically Unable to Perform list this week, some put his future with the team in question.

Williams suffered a major knee injury (patellar tendon) in late September of 2007 and he hasn't played since then.

In his absence, Earnest Graham has filled in well and signed a four-year, $11.1 million deal with the team earlier this year presumably to keep the starting role.

With Williams slated to be a backup once he starts playing again, the team will have a decision to make on his future.

A league source notes the former first-round pick has a cap value of over $4.5 million for 2009--an amount probably too high for a projected backup.

His final season, 2010, will void because he met minimum playing time requirements earlier in his career.

Graham's backup, Warrick Dunn, has played well this season and it seems like a safe bet that the team will pay his $500,000 roster bonus for the 2009 season (believed to be due in March).

Updates 11/4-11/9


Flacco To Make Extra Cash?

Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Joe Flacco is on a roll of late and the quarterback could make more money than expected this season if he and the team continue to play well.

A league source notes Flacco will earn $500,000 this season if he plays in 60 percent of the offensive snaps, which he's getting close to achieving. He would earn $750,000 for playing in 80 percent of the snaps.

Flacco can also earn more money if he starts a playoff game and for each playoff win.


No Extension For Marshall?

Carolina Panthers third-year CB Richard Marshall is arguably the best nickel back in the league. Because of that, a league source notes that the team is trying to pay him like one.

The team has shown interest in extending his contract but Marshall, who is in the third year of his four-year rookie deal, is likely to play out the final year of the deal.

Marshall could command a huge free agent contract after the 2009 season so unless the team steps up their interest to get him signed to an extension, he could be playing elsewhere in 2010 and beyond.


Carney Continues to Get Paid

Veteran John Carney continues to start over Lawrence Tynes for the kicking job with the New York Giants.

A league source notes that Carney will get paid this week even if he gets cut before Sunday night's game at the Philadelphia Eagles.

After the close of league business on Tuesday, any player on the active roster gets paid for the the week even if they get cut before the game that week.

Carney signed a one-year deal worth $830,000 without a signing bonus.

Tynes signed a contract extension earlier this year through 2012. He has a roster believed to be due in March of $130,000.


Hardy's Struggles Apparent

While Buffalo Bills rookie WR James Hardy has started the past few games for injured veteran Josh Reed, Hardy's stay in the lineup could be short lived.

A league source notes on coaching tape that Hardy looks slow out of his breaks and looks relatively lost running routes.

A team source said the coaching staff was well aware that Hardy was a raw prospect and needed a lot of work so they planned to be patient with him.

But with the struggles of their offense of late, the coaches could look to get backup WRs Steve Johnson and Justin Jenkins more playing time in place of Hardy.


Other Raiders Not Safe?

When the Oakland Raiders decided to release starting CB DeAngelo Hall on Wednesday, it came to many as a surprise.

Hall received $1 million in base salary this season along with an $8 million signing bonus. A league source notes that Hall's deal didn't include any roster bonuses over the life of the seven-year deal but he had an option bonus of $9.05 million due in March.

As it turns out, he may not be the only high-priced player who may not be with the team in 2009.

As first noted in this space a few weeks ago, WR Javon Walker has a roster bonus due of $5 million due in March.

The source notes the following players also have roster bonuses due in March:

DT/DE Tommy Kelly-$4.5 million

OT Kwame Harris-$6 million

A roster bonus is a mechanism for teams to have security for players who underperform over the course of the contract. As a veteran personnel evaluator tells us, teams often put roster bonuses in the second year of the deal. The thinking there is if the player doesn't perform well in the first year of the deal, why pay him in the second season.


Gholston Still a Non-Factor

A league source notes New York Jets first-round pick OLB Vernon Gholston still isn't getting on the field much this season.

In fact, he's not evening playing in the role that most thought he'd be in by now.

Gholston was in for a total of five plays in last week's game against the Buffalo Bills and the former Ohio St. University defensive end played on early downs only--not in pass-rushing situations.


Hightower's success Not All That Surprising?

When the Arizona Cardinals selected Tim Hightower with a fifth-round pick in this year's draft, the move was largely unnoticed.

However, a team source notes the team targeted the former University of Richmond back to possibly be a starter some time down the road--little did anyone know that he would take over that role in his first season as a pro.

Hightower had no less than 10 pre-draft visits--a total that's unheard of for a projected late round selection.

The team source adds Hightower was terrific during training camp and he created a buzz among the players and coaches. Some within the organization started to believe that it was only a matter of time before he took the starting job from veteran Edgerrin James.

Starting a few weeks ago, Hightower started to see more work with the first-team offense, which made it clear his role was going to be increased. In last week's game, Hightower started and James never entered the game for even one play.

Speaking of James, his contract expires after the 2009 season. In 2009, his base salary is $5 million--an amount the team is surely not going to pay for a backup.

Hightower signed a three-year, $1.285 million deal with the team. We have a feeling that deal will have to be redone after year two. Teams have to wait at least two years to renegotiate deals for drafted players who are still on their rookie deals.


Brooking's Deal to Void

According to a league source, Atlanta Falcons starting WLB Keith Brooking's contract will void after this season because he reached playing time levels in his contract.

Brooking signed a four-year extension in 2006. The 11th-year pro had to play in 35 percent of the defensive snaps in anyone year of the contract, which he did easily in season one.

Updates 10/28-11/2


Warner Still Far From Getting Extension?

As noted recently, Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner wasn't close to a contract extension.

A league source notes the team continues to want pay the veteran signal caller what is being deemed as backup money.

Apparently, the team is concerned with paying an aging player, who turns 38 in April, top dollar at his position.

However, as a team source notes, the coaching staff is fully behind Warner and they feel strongly that he'll be the starter at the position for the next few years.

Warner is on the last year of a three-year deal. He has a base salary of $4 million.

Former first-round pick Matt Leinart's contract expires after the 2011 season. But as another league source notes, his contract includes bonuses for that season that bring his cap number to over $14 million. So barring anything unforeseen, he'll be gone after 2010.


Could Addai and Sanders have Played Last Week?

A league source notes had the Indianapolis Colts been involved in a playoff game last week, injured starters such as RB Joseph Addai (hamstring) and SS Bob Sanders (knee/ankle) might have been able to play.

Both players went through strong rehab sessions last week and seemed to be moving well.

The team erred to the side of caution which clearly paid off since both players have practiced fully this week.


One and Done for Florence?

When the Jacksonville Jaguars signed CB Drayton Florence to a six-year, $35 million deal earlier this year, the move was expected to help boost their pass coverage.

That move hasn't proven to be fruitful and the former second-round pick of the San Diego Chargers could be moving on after just one season.

Florence has been demoted to the team's nickel role and a league source notes his contract includes a $2.5 roster bonus for 2009. So unless he can regain a starting role, his salary cap number of over $4 million for next season may be deemed too much to pay.

Florence already pocketed $6.5 million this season ($1 million in base salary/$5 million roster bonus/$5 million in signing bonus proration).


Chiefs Get To Minimum Spending Limit; Tampa Bay Still Under?

A league source said the Kansas City Chiefs finally got to the league's minimum salary cap spending limit recently.

By adjusting at least one contract, the source adds Kansas City got to or exceeded the 86.4% minimum team salary spending limit set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

As of earlier this week, league sources indicate Kansas City still had around $23 million left in salary cap space.

It's possible the team signs starting SLB Derrick Johnson to an extension.

Estimates have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still under the minimum spending limit with around $26 million of salary cap space remaining.


Team Likely To Pay Rogers' Roster Bonus?

When the Cleveland Browns acquired DT Shaun Rogers from the Detroit Lions for CB Leigh Bodden along with third-round pick, many around the league scoffed at the deal.

Cleveland traded for a perennial underachiever who rarely put together a string of good performances.

His tape showed that he could be dominant at times but he just couldn't be consistent from game to game and some times, even quarter to quarter.

For whatever reason, that all has changed with Cleveland.

The former second-round pick has not only been consistent, he's been mostly dominant each game and one could say he's been the most improved defensive player in the league.

With that being the case, a league source who has studied exclusive coaching tape of Rogers recently said to expect the team to pay the mammoth defensive lineman his $2.8 roster bonus believed due in March.

The source said not only has Rogers been the main reason why Cleveland's front seven has played at a much higher level of late, he's keeping the linebackers "clean" so they can get a good shot at opposing ball carriers.

Jacksonville's usually strong running game of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew was held to just 2.65 yards per carry last week with Rogers at the forefront of that.

In a related note, another league source the contract extension Bodden signed with Detroit back in July was not approved by the league and it was reworked earlier this month.

Bodden has $8.6 million option bonus due in March, which was in the first contract, will remain. However, a $2 million signing bonus has been reworked with two roster bonuses due in the last two years of the contract.

Updates 10/22-10/26


Hackett No Lock To Return For Second Season With Carolina

A league source notes that Carolina Panthers often-injured WR D.J. Hackett is far from a lock to return for the final season of his two-year deal. Hackett signed a two-year, $2.65 million deal earlier this year.

Hackett, the source notes, has a roster bonus due near the start of free agency of $500,000. However, if Hackett is on the active roster for at least 13 games this season, the roster bonus goes away and he'll receive the $500,000 in the form of an escalator.

The source also notes that it's uncommon for a team to put a roster bonus on a short deal for a player that isn't considered old. Carolina likely put the roster bonus in the contract because of Hackett's injury history.


Boldin Update

A team source told that Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin (head) is expected to play roughly about half of the offensive snaps in Sunday's game at the Carolina Panthers.

Boldin hasn't played since he was injured during a violent collision late in the September 28 game at the New York Jets.

While Boldin has been medically cleared to play, there are a few concerns still lingering.

He hasn't flown since late last month and the team is leaving for a long flight to Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday. So the coaches want to see how he feels after that.

The second issue, and probably most important, is how his body will respond after getting hit in the game.

Should Boldin have any issues in the game, second-year WR Steve Breaston would replace him.


Scaife Contract Negotiations Update

A league source told that the Tennessee Titans remain far apart in extending TE Bo Scaife's contract.

Scaife, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted  free agent in March, could attract strong interest since many around the league rate him as the top tight end that is slated to become free.

The issue that the team is having is that they don't want to pay Scaife more than veteran TE Alge Crumpler is schedule to make next season (over $2.8 in camp number).


When the Oakland Raiders signed free agent WR Javon Walker to a six-year, $55 million contract earlier this year, the move caused shockwaves around the league.

But a league source notes the only real guaranteed portion of the deal is the $11 million signing bonus Walker received. The key to the deal is a $5 million roster bonus which is believed to be due in March of 2009.

Should Oakland decide to pick up the roster bonus, Walker's cap number for 2009 would be close to $11 million.

The source adds the deal doesn't include any more roster bonuses over the rest of the contract.


The Denver Broncos reached a one-year contract agreement with free agent WR Chad Jackson, has confirmed. Jackson worked out for Denver last week.

The former second-round pick of the New England Patriots agreed to the deal on Tuesday and is expected to sign the deal over the weekend. first reported the agreement on Wednesday.

Jackson had workouts previously with the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, and Tennessee Titans.

The Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks also expressed interest in Jackson.


It's not a secret that when the Philadelphia Eagles have reached their bye week in previous years, they've looked to lock up their younger players to contract extensions.

According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams are forbidden to enter into agreements with their own players until they've played at least two seasons.

With that in mind, the team could be targeting three starters on the defensive side the ball who have completed two years of play.

Third-year pros DT Brodrick Bunkley (signed a six-year rookie deal), SLB Chris Gocong (signed a four-year rookie deal), and WLB Omar Gaither (signed a four-year rookie deal) make the most sense for the team to target for extensions.

A league source notes the team has around $10 million in salary cap space remaining.

Updates 10/13-10/17


Baskett Could Draw Attention in Free Agency

When the Philadelphia Eagles traded WR Billy McMullen for WR Hank Baskett back in 2006, many around the NFL were surprised that a team would trade for an undrafted free agent.

Baskett actually won a starting job in his rookie season and he's been in the top four of the receiver rotation most of the time since then. The former University of New Mexico product has also been one of Philadelphia's best special teams players.

McMullen has bounced around and is now with his fourth team (Philadelphia, Minnesota, Washington Redskins, and Seattle Seahawks).

A league source believes Baskett, who will be a restricted free agent after the season ends, could receive a decent amount of attention because of the lack of overall talent that's projected to be available.


One and Done For Smith?

The San Francisco 49ers have struggled on defense this season and the team could revamp that side of the ball again next season.

One of their prized free agent signings was DE Justin Smith, who signed a six-year deal.

Smith has three sacks through six games but hasn't made a visible impact on defense thus far.

A league source told that Smith has a cap number of over $10.5 million for next season which includes a roster bonus of over $4.7 million.

Interestingly, the source adds Smith's cap number is just over $3 million for this season.


Two More Players Off Suspension

The NFL has reinstated DB Jimmy Williams and TE Dominique Byrd from their suspensions, has confirmed.

Williams, a former second-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons, was suspended for five games for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Williams was a major disappointment for Atlanta and the team gave up on him just after two seasons.

Byrd, a former third-round pick of the St. Louis Rams, was also released after two seasons. It's believed Byrd's suspension was for five games for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy.


Was Schaub in Danger of Losing Starting Job?

Sources said that had Matt Schaub not played well in his last two games, he could have been in danger of losing his starting job.

The Houston Texans signal caller struggled in his first two starts throwing one TD and five INTs.

Schaub rebounded well against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins, but his inconsistency and lack of pocket awareness has some concerned within the organization.

The team is very comfortable in using backup QB Sage Rosenfels who they decided against trading away for a third-round pick earlier this year.


Anderson's Job More Secure Than Most Think?

While various media reports had Cleveland Browns QB Derek Anderson on the verge of losing his starting job prior to the Week Four game at the Cincinnati Bengals, a league source said that's far from the truth.

Second-year QB Brady Quinn, according to the source, only got a few first-team snaps in practice that week. And leading up to last week's game against the New York Giants, Quinn didn't get any first-team snaps in practice.

In fact, the source adds the coaching staff doesn't feel they can adequately evaluate Anderson until their key injured players on offense are back in the lineup (RG Ryan Tucker, WR Donte' Stallworth, TE Kellen Winslow, and RT Kevin Shaffer).

Evaluating Anderson over the course of the season, however, is key.

As first noted several months ago, Anderson is due a $5 million roster bonus around March 15, 2009.


Philadelphia Pushed for Gonzo?

It's not a secret that the Green Bay Packers pushed to trade for TE Tony Gonzalez, but what some might find surprising is that another team actually would have offered the Kansas City Chiefs more had they gotten the chance to do so.

Green Bay, as the story goes, offered a third-round pick for Gonzalez, but not only were the Philadelphia Eagles ready to join the fray, league sources said they could have offered more.

Instead, Kansas City president/general manager and chief executive officer Carl Peterson shut down negotiations before Tuesday's 4:00 PM ET deadline leaving many to wonder if the veteran executive really wanted to deal Gonzalez in the first place.

Philadelphia's interest in the nine-time Pro Bowler isn't that surprising.

Starting TE L.J. Smith is playing on a one-year franchise tender and league sources indicate that neither side was close to agreeing to an extension at any time this season.

While the team likes second-year TE Brent Celek, he's still developing in several areas and might not be ready to take over the starting job next season.

Green Bay's interest might be a bit more surprising since they agreed to a contract extension with starting TE Donald Lee last year and selected Jermichael Finley in the third round of April's draft.

But as another league source notes, Lee didn't get a signing bonus in his deal and has low cap numbers for the final three years of the contract.

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