While plans are sketchy, the NFL is still expected to hold a supplemental draft at some point this offseason. Plus, we have plenty of notes about the highest paid coaches in the league, allegations of team-player conduct, UFL contracts, Herschel Walker statements and more.
The names certainly aren't set, and neither is the exact date, but the NFL plans on having a supplemental draft this summer.
There have been some question about the legality of the special-cases draft, which has produced just one player taken in the top three rounds — Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon
by Washington in the third round in 2009 — since 2006. But league vice president Greg Aiello confirmed to The Sports Xchange that the supplemental draft is covered explicitly in the expired collective bargaining agreement, the same way the regular-phase draft last month was directly addressed.
As previously reported here, the supplemental draft lost a potential big-name player when former University of Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins
opted to transfer and continue his college career elsewhere. There have been unsubstantiated rumors that Michael Floyd
of Notre Dame might opt for the supplemental draft, but sources close to the wide receiver contend that isn't the case.
There have been numerous reports over the past two weeks of contact between coaches and players, forbidden under terms of the lockout, and it would probably be naive to think there's isn't some sort of communication occurring in some cases. But league officials said Thursday that, after investigating some of the reports, they have unearthed no violations. From a personal standpoint, we can report that several teams where The Sports Xchange sought interviews with coaches politely declined the requests because of lack of clarity with lockout rules.
With the presumptive retirement of Phil Jackson from the Los Angeles Lakers, Forbes Magazine has tabbed Belichick as the highest paid coach in any of the four North American professional leagues. Coaching salaries in the NFL are notoriously tough to pinpoint, and New England is particularly cryptic about Belichick's deal, but Forbes pegs his contract at about $7.5 million per year. There are six other NFL coaches — Mike Shanahan, Pete Carroll, Lovie Smith, Ken Whisenhunt, Tom Coughlin, and Mike Tomlin — in the top 10. The other three are NBA coaches.
Last week in this spot, we noted that Philadelphia will jettison veteran kicker David Akers after the lockout, not only for age and salary, but because some in the organization have grown weary of what they perceive as attitude problems. Eagles special teams coach Bobby April all but confirmed Akers' pending departure when he said that rookie Alex Henery of Nebraska, the club's fourth-round pick in last month's draft, could be the club's leading scorer for many years.
Contracts from the UFL began landing in the mailboxes of players and agents this week, and the fledgling, five-team league has made some notable cuts: The salary for the season has been reduced to $40,000, from $50,000 a year ago. Training camp per diem payments went from $55 to $50. Most notable was the reduction for the title game. Last year, the league champion received $20,000 and the runner-up bagged $10,000. For 2011, the payments are $6,000 and $5,000, respectively.
As noted this week in several spots, Oakland defensive lineman Richard Seymour, who early in the year signed a new two-year, $30 million contract that makes him the NFL's priciest defensive player on a per-year average basis, will foot the bill for a four-day session with teammates in Atlanta Tuesday through Friday. Agent Eugene Parker told The Sports Xchange he has not spoken to his client about the price, and could not confirm it is six figures, but said: "The one thing about Richard is that he does everything first-class, so he's not going to cut corners, believe me. He feels like this is important for the team and he's going to do it right."
According to the plan, Seymour will supervise the defensive workouts and Campbell will run the offensive practices. The sessions will be at Competitive Edge Sports in suburban Atlanta, and will be monitored by noted trainer Chip Smith.
The Palm Beach Post had an interesting Friday column in which it noted that some front office employees, whose salaries have been reduced because of the lockout, are actually rooting for the players to prevail. We don't know about that, but we can attest there are some assistant coaches, who are about to go stir-crazy, who privately wish the players would cave, so they can get back to work.
Notable leftover from the draft is that Dallas owner Jerry Jones, who made 58 draft-day trades since acquiring the franchise in 1989, made none this year.
Although they have yet to see first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan on the practice field, some Washington coaches remain borderline skeptical that the former Purdue star will make a seamless transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. Kerrigan has a great motor, but has struggled at times in space. Of course, the Kerrigan supporters note that, under coordinator Jim Haslett, the Redskins' linebackers don't drop and cover much anyway.
The last word: "I could play today and help a team out. There is no doubt in my mind. … I know I couldn't play a whole game, but I could contribute a lot." — Former NFL tailback Herschel Walker, who is 49 and hasn't played since 1997, per The Dallas Morning News