NFL Free Agent Notebook

While the Vikings have wrapped up their initial meeting between coaches and the personnel department regarding free agency, the situation is always fluid. A number of potential free agents around the NFL have been making news with their comments and their desires.

  • Bengals WR Chad Johnson's isn't a free agent, but his trade-me-if-I'm-the-problem tour of sports radio hit the ground running Jan. 11 with his appearance on ESPN's "Mike & Mike in the Morning."

    Asked what's going to happen in the future with the Bengals, the wide receiver said, "I'm not sure what's going to happen. ... I've been labeled as selfish, as the reason we're losing. I've been told I've been a cancer to my team."

    Johnson's campaign, anticipated as he grew more sullen during the season, could be the product of agent Drew Rosenhaus in an effort to get Johnson a new contract with another team. However, coach Marvin Lewis said Jan. 16 that Johnson would not be traded.

  • LB Terrell Suggs caused some controversy when he was asked by a Phoenix television station whether he would contemplate signing with his hometown Arizona Cardinals.

    "I'll go to anybody who wants me. I guess we wait until March 1 (near the start of free agency)," he said. "I'd love to be a Cardinal."

    Suggs, though, likely won't control his future. The Ravens are expected to keep him off the free agent market by either using the franchise tag or signing him to a long-term deal.

  • LB Dhani Jones, an unrestricted free agent, is expected to return to the Bengals.

  • Steelers G Alan Faneca, who becomes an unrestricted free agent, has a fan in QB Ben Roethlisberger.

    "I don't know what's going to happen," Roethlisberger said. "That's hard for me, there could be an outlying story, something here or there I don't know about. But they do know how I feel about it. They know how valuable he is."

  • LB Karlos Dansby's agent continues to have amicable, but unproductive, talks with the team about a new deal. The Cardinals would like to re-sign Dansby but likely will end up using the franchise tag on him.

  • DE Mike Rucker hasn't made up his mind on if he'll retire after the season.

    "I think when the time is right, it will be known to me," Rucker said. "I'll feel it one way or the other. But I just feel like I've been going for two years. To make a decision, boom, right now, it wouldn't be doing it justice. Just taking some time to rest I think is the best idea right now and I think it will be revealed to me what path we're going to take."

  • DE Marques Douglas had a big contract year. He ranked fourth on the 49ers with 100 tackles and was first among all NFL defensive linemen with 12 tackles for loss. Douglas makes his offseason home in Charlotte, N.C., but he said he does not want to leave the West Coast. The day after the season, he met with his coaches and expressed his desire to re-signed as a free agent.

    "I just wanted to let them know when I left (San Francisco for the offseason) that if they would have me, I'd love to be back," Douglas said. "I just wanted to put an end (to) any rumors that I was seeking other employment.

  • NT Isaac Sopoaga, scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, has expressed his desire to re-sign with the 49ers.

  • LB Tyjuan Hagler was re-signed to a one-year, $1.417 million contract. Hagler appeared in 13 games this season, including the playoffs, with eight starts. Hagler would have been a restricted free agent.

  • PK Rob Bironas could be in line for a long-term contract, as he is scheduled to become a restricted free agent.

  • RB Earnest Graham, 27, rushed for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns, tied for third in club history. He was scheduled to make $605,000 in 2008 but the team would like to extend his contract. Running backs Michael Pittman and Michael Bennett will be free agents and Cadillac Williams may not return from a torn patellar tendon next year, giving Graham some leverage.

  • Texans LB Zac Diles wasn't getting an opportunity to move outside and earn more playing time early in the season, and coach Gary Kubiak said Diles' 6-foot height was a concern. After the season, however, Kubiak said he is planning to give Diles a chance to compete for a job.

    With DeMeco Ryans a fixture at middle linebacker, Diles will have to move outside to see playing time. He will likely enter the offseason competing with Danny Clark and Charlie Anderson — both unrestricted free agents — for the starting job.

    "After watching the (last) game, I'm a little disappointed in myself that I didn't play Zac Diles more in the last month," Kubiak said. "Remember, Zac can play in DeMeco's spot. He can play for Charlie. He can play all three. He has worked at all three. I think Zac will be in the mix. We are talking about three starting linebackers next year, whether that's Morlon (Greenwood), DeMeco, Danny, Charlie. But I'll tell you right now, Zac Diles will be a part of that mix. He'll be a fine player."

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