The initial reaction pertaining to the Todd Bouman trade to the Saints has been questioning why the team would give up a potential starter for a sixth-round pick? The bottom line speaks volumes.
VU has been told Bouman adjusted his deal to eliminate the $1 million he was due in April. VU was also told by a Ravens source that Brian Billick wanted Bouman but was told to wait until he was cut – nobody would trade a draft pick. Guess what? The Saints did. While persisting talk about Bouman centers on his non-role in last month's incident at the team's Arctic Blast event, VU can confirm for the record that his trade had nothing to do with that.
From what VU has been told, Bouman eliminated his roster bonus clause as part of the deal and signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Saints. There has been a lot of speculation about the condition of the throwing shoulder of Aaron Brooks. The Saints are interested in Bouman as an insurance policy that the Vikes aren't concerned with – Daunte's throwing shoulder is just fine, thank you.
As reported earlier this week, VU broke the gig that Shane Matthews has a two-year deal on the table. It is hard for us to believe that the Vikings would let Bouman go without having a replacement in the house. Whether the Vikes sign Matthews or Gus Frerotte, a final deal has been struck with someone, because Bouman was the team's ace in the hole. If all else failed, the team had a contingency plan. While a sixth-round pick is 50-50 at best to make the team, it was clear that the Vikings wouldn't have Bouman after this year. Here's hoping the flier they take as compensation works out.
* In the good news department comes this: Push came to shove and the Vikes upped the ante on Moe Williams to keep him. The Vikes announced Thursday that "All-Pro Moe" (according to VU consigliere Tony Parker) signed a three-year deal worth $2.7 million, with $800,000 up front. The Bills were hot on the trail of Williams, which brought his re-signing number up. Moe had expressed a question as to whether he would return to the Vikes, even though he wanted back. That done. That said.
* Orlando Brown – a coveted Vikes free agent choice – signed with the Ravens. From what VU has been told, Brown was offered three separate deals by the Vikes – a three-year contract worth up to $10 million (with playing time incentives), a two-year deal worth as much as $5.6 million and a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Apparently home cooking means more to the one-eyed fugitive (can you smell the bitterness on our part?), who signed a one-year deal with the Ravens for $1 million. VU has been told that Brown has to kick half of his first contract back to the NFL as part of his settlement for a ref damaging his vision with the toss of a flag. Instead of taking a deal that would kiss Paul Tagliabue full on the lips with an open mouth ($1.25 back to the league would be sweet – much less than he'll make with his Ravens deal), Brown opted for a one-year deal.
* In other news, VU has been told Cris Carter is done with football and will slide back into his HBO television contract. Call us crazy, but when C.C. dropped a game-winning TD vs. the Vikes last December (which kept the ‘Fins out of the playoffs), announcing he's done seems a bit redundant.
* The Bears are close to signing a two-year, $5 million deal with Kordell Stewart – likely a done deal today. This could be viewed as great news for the Vikings. With Stewart's signing, the Bears are much less likely to draft Byron Leftwich. In that case, a team may snap at the Vikings first-round pick at No. 7 to get a shot at him. The fact any team won a bidding war for Kordell is funny, much less a team in the same division as Brett Favre and Daunte Culpepper. With Detroit killing free agency by overspending for Dre' Bly and the Bears signing Stewart to helm what passes for an offense in Chicago, the Vikes are in a two-team race for the NFC North title in 2003 – and it's only March.
* The Vikings didn't complete a deal with Jim Kleinsasser, which means, barring an all-night session tonight, the team can't talk to him until July 15 – or else any deal he signs will deprive the Vikes of the franchise tag for the duration of his contract. Seeing as the Vikes made it clear that they covet Kleinsasser and a deal still hasn't been orchestrated, don't be shocked to see the team let him slide away via free agency after this season. The offer for a long-team deal was fair (from what VU has been told). Jimmy Sexson (Kleinsasser's agent) held out for more. While he may get it eventually, VU believes the team is overspending at $3.05 million and this will be the last year for Sass as a Viking – barring an 11th hour move.
* VU remains the only on-line, off-line and no-line outlet that refuses to buy into the hype associated with Rien Long of Washington State. Many – if not most – of the "Internet smarts" of the draft world have the Vikes taking Long. Nah. We remain adamant it won't happen. Washington State had its workout day Thursday, except for Long. The only way the Vikes end up with him is if they trade down to the middle stages of the first round.
Bouman, Brown Gone, Moe Back
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