Intriguing Veterans Already On The Market

The June 1 cut date at the end of business Wednesday is always an intriguing time, as teams look to spread out the salary-cap ramifications of released big-buck veterans. However, there are already some solid veterans still on the market. Plus, find out what the receivers in Miami think of new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

As teams become more adept at handling the salary cap, there are fewer valuable free agents that become available each June 1 — the date teams can let players go and absorb the salary cap hit over two seasons instead of one.

But there are already several intriguing veterans on the market to help pick up the intrigue level this year. Former All-Pro cornerback Ty Law was let go by the Patriots as he recovers from a foot injury, former Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware by the Ravens as he recovers from knee and toe injuries, and seven-year underachieving offensive tackle L.J. Shelton was jettisoned by Arizona.

While Shelton is generating a decent amount of interest among teams simply because of his size (6-feet-6, 330 pounds) and position, it's Law and Boulware who are the sexier names fans can identify with.

Especially those fans in Cleveland, since new Browns coach Romeo Crennel has expressed an interest in both. The Browns desperately need to upgrade their defense as they make the switch to a 3-4, and Law and/or Boulware would provide that if they sign and can stay healthy.

Law played for Crennel, the former Patriots defensive coordinator.

"Ty knows how I feel about him and I don't think there's any question how he feels about me," Crennel said. "His injury situation is one that has to be resolved."

Boulware, meanwhile, would provide the pass-rushing outside linebacker that is so essential to a successful 3-4.

"He has experience in the 3-4 so he's familiar with the system," Crennel said. "Plus he's been productive in the NFL, particularly in the pass rush. If you think he'd be a good fit on the field and in the locker room, you go ahead and make that move. I think he could bring a proven dimension. He'd be a plus."

Of course, there are still a few cash strapped teams that won't play a role in any names of note on the market.

When asked who the Chiefs might be looking at post-June 1, Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said, "For anybody who wants to play for free. We've spent all our money."

Maybe Shelton has a soft spot for teams in need, since the Chiefs are one of four teams reportedly on his short list of possible new destinations to call home.

CHAMBERS EXCITED ABOUT LINEHAN

After watching the big-play capability of Minnesota's offense the past two years, it's understandable why Dolphins wide receiver Chris Chambers is so excited about playing his first season in new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's system.

Linehan is installing a scheme that will include a deep passing game, something the Dolphins have sorely lacked since making Chambers a 2001 second-round draft choice.

"Me and the other receivers get a chance to spread the field a little bit and go down the field," Chambers said after a recent minicamp. "We have a lot of options throughout the offense. Once we get it going, I think we'll be pretty successful with it."

During his four-year career, Chambers has flashed the potential to become one of the NFL's most productive wide receivers. But in what was a run-heavy offense under ex-coach Dave Wannstedt, Chambers has yet to post a 1,000-yard season or catch more than 69 passes in a given year.

Chambers may ready to take that next step under Linehan, who has helped in the development of wide receivers Randy Moss and Nate Burleson while coaching in Minnesota. But what also excited Chambers is the versatility in Linehan's offense to spread the football to a host of different receivers.

"It'll mean a lot because everybody got the opportunity to get the ball with Minnesota," Chambers said. "I think that's encouraging for our receivers just knowing when we go out there its not just one guy getting all the balls."

Chambers also is excited by what he perceives as a new attitude among Dolphins players coming off last season's 4-12 campaign.

"We had a horrible season," said Chambers, who finished with 69 catches for 898 yards and seven touchdowns. "The best thing for us to get back on the field. No one's complaining about the extra time we've spent out here (in offseason practices). Everybody's fresh and enthused and ready to go. It's definitely going to be a new look for the Miami Dolphins."


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