Wide receiver Bernard Berrian was considered one of the top receivers in free agency this year. Before he signed a six-year, $42 million deal with the Vikings, the Bears made a $5 million-a-year offer to keep him, but now that the Bears lost him it appears they are trying to forget him … and maybe disrespect him.
Has Bears wide receivers coach Darryl Drake ever heard the phrase "bulletin board material?"
Drake was asked about the Chicago wide receiver corps and said he sees the group as being better now than it was last year when it had Bernard Berrian
and Muhsin Muhammad
. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times published Monday, Drake said of his receivers, "There's a lot more explosion out here right now."
That's an interesting statement that likely isn't shared by the entire organization. Considering that the Bears were willing to pay Berrian $5 million a year after stepping up their efforts in the days leading up to free agency – a move that proved to be too little, too late – it seems like a comment that borders somewhere between the optimistic and the absurd.
As it stands now, the starters for Chicago entering training camp are going to be Devin Hester
– although he is explosive, he is also a converted defensive back – and Brandon Lloyd
, who is one more NFL team away from being viewed as a journeyman. Drake also talked up Rashied Davis
as if he is the second coming of Jerry Rice.
It would seem impossible to believe that the Bears are actually better without Berrian (or Muhammad for that matter) than they are with him. But, then again, this is the same Chicago team that hasn't been able to make up its mind about a starting quarterback and doesn't look to be any closer to a concrete decision on that heading into the 2008 season.
Keep on believing, Coach Drake. Eventually, you may actually start to believe what you're saying is true.
The NFL used to hate fantasy football because for years it carried with it the stigma of gambling. That changed a few years ago and now the league embraces fantasy football. On the league's website it has its initial fantasy rankings up and has Adrian Peterson listed as the No. 2 overall fantasy player – behind only San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson.
The Cowboys may be one of the first teams looking at the potential of an uncapped season coming if there isn't a new collective bargaining agreement. That's probably about the only way to explain the team's willingness to give Terrell Owens a $27 million contract extension that will include a $13 million signing bonus.
The June 1 NFL deadline used to have a lot of a significance, because, prior to the last collective bargaining, it was an opportunity for team's looking to off-load expensive veteran contracts to spread the salary-cap implications over two years. But with the additional money to spend and a pair of pre-June 1 exemptions, the date now holds much less significance. It is, however, still a date that has some impact because traded players can have their salary cap hit spread over two seasons. Before the last CBA, any veteran that was traded had his unused bonus money rolled up and immediately counted against that year's cap. Now that hit can be spread out farther and makes disgruntled veterans easier to send packing.
June 1 is also a date that is used by the league in the process of determining compensatory picks – which weigh the numbers of free agents lost to those signed by a team. It is safe to assume that the Vikings aren't going to receive anything in the way of compensatory picks in next year's draft.
The Bears have signed seven of their rookie draft picks already. Most teams haven't even begun the process of negotiating with there rookie class. This is one of the annual headaches the Vikings will largely be able to avoid thanks to the Jared Allen trade. The Vikings ended up with only five draft picks in April.
A couple of national sources reported that the Buccaneers' release of QB Bruce Gradkowski could have been a move similar to what the Vikings have been credited with doing in the "cut or not cut" deal with Erasmus James. However, while James, a former first-round pick who was reunited with his college line coach, had more than one team interested in getting a shot at him prior to him being made available to other teams on the waiver wire, it doesn't appear as though such a bull market exists for former sixth-round pick Gradkowski.