Terrelle Pryor is likely headed to the NFL, not the UFL or CFL, and the agent process is getting started for the former Ohio State quarterback under heat from the NCAA. Plus, a little free-agent speculation in advance of whenever that player movement starts.
Pryor commitment: Although there seems to be considerable doubt about where former Ohio State
quarterback Terrelle Pryor
will continue his football career, it appears he will be able to rely on the advice of some professional counselors.
No deal for representation had yet been struck by Friday morning, but The Sports Xchange has confirmed that at least one agent has spoken directly to Pryor since the player announced he will bypass his final season of eligibility and leave the Buckeyes. Furthermore, The Sports Xchange has learned that Pryor has reached out, via text messages, to at least two other prominent agents, both of whom are still deciding whether or not they want to become involved with him. At least one more well-known agent has texted or left messages for Pryor, seeking an audience with him.
The word in the agent community is that Pryor could settle on representation within a week or two, and that current attorney Larry James will play only a small role in the decision.
The signs remain that Pryor will strongly consider petitioning the NFL for the supplemental draft. James said this week that Pryor has ruled out the CFL, and the going contract rate in the UFL is $40,000-$50,000, considerably less than the rookie minimum in the NFL. In fact, despite a report that "the money will be about the same" if Pryor opted for the CFL or UFL, that's hardly the case. And it's doubtful any NFL franchise would forfeit its corresponding choice in the 2011 draft unless it planned to retain Pryor as a developmental project.
Even practice squad money in the NFL would be more than the UFL is paying. Some observers disagree, but the consensus seems to be that Pryor – even though he has more experience than Cam Newton
, similar size and athleticism, and possesses some of the same skills-set – would be a fourth- or fifth-round choice in a supplemental draft.
There has not, by the way, been a quarterback chosen in the supplemental draft since 1992, when the New York Giants tabbed Dave Brown in the first round. In fact, the past five quarterbacks chosen - Brown, Steve Walsh (1989), Timm Rosenbach ('89), Bernie Kosar ('85), and Dave Wilson ('81) - were all first-rounders.
Teammates with whom he has practiced informally have been impressed by the work ethic, and obviously the physical potential, of Kansas City first-round wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin. The former Pitt standout had the reputation of being a bit of a diva before the draft, but veteran players haven't evidenced any of that with Baldwin so far.
There's always been a lot written about how Indianapolis seems to lose a linebacker in free agency almost every year. Less attention has been paid to the linebacker exodus in Atlanta, but if Stephen Nicholas exits the Falcons as an unrestricted free agent (think Detroit), it will leave the team with none of the veteran linebackers who were with the club in 2007, the year before coach Mike Smith arrived. Keith Brooking (2009), Michael Boley (2009), and Demorrio Williams (2008) all departed via free agency. Nicholas could be the next to depart, and Mike Peterson is also an unrestricted free agent, although the Falcons could re-sign him.
There have been at least two agent switches this week by players chosen in the draft only seven weeks ago. Cleveland wide receiver Greg Little, a second-round pick, has gone to Drew Rosenhaus after initially being represented by Octagon. And Buffalo third-round linebacker Kelvin Sheppard apparently has left SportsTrust Advisors, the firm recently created by the merger of veteran agents Pat Dye Jr. and Jimmy Sexton, to sign with a still-unidentified group.
Rams GM Bill Devaney is the latest general manager or personnel director to suggest to The Sports Xchange that his department , with the lockout continuing, is deep into work on the 2012 draft.
Although there's been plenty of chatter of late about the Chicago Bears adding a proven wide receiver, a team source insisted this week that there is no veteran pass-catcher "on the radar" right now.
A year or two ago, critics of Jeff Backus were lobbying for the Detroit Lions to dump the veteran left tackle. Now, with Backus having played well in 2010 and a dearth of potential replacements, the Lions' brass has made signing him to a contract extension a priority when the lockout ends. Backus, who will be 34 in September, is entering the final season of the six-year, $40 million deal he signed in 2006.
A couple personnel men whose teams could upgrade at linebacker in free agency this week noted the participation of Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis in drills with his teammates. The six-year veteran has blown out his ACL each of the past two seasons, and appeared in just seven games in that period, but apparently remains of interest to a few clubs.
Speaking of the Panthers, a few veteran players noted to The Sports Xchange after workouts this week that they are more impressed with Cam Newton's diligence and work ethic than with his accuracy and mechanics.