Evan Silva

Offseason Low Down

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What to Expect on Wednesday

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Monday's lifting of the NFL lockout didn't quite foreshadow the madness that ensued on Tuesday. Though the league's July 26-29 schedule disallows free agent "signings" before Friday, there were a host of "agreements in principle." The Panthers gave defensive end Charles Johnson a Julius Peppers-like deal, the Rams spent $27 million on safety Quintin Mikell, the Jags stole top inside linebacker Paul Posluszny from the Bills, and Ravens No. 1 priority Marshal Yanda re-upped with Baltimore. The Seahawks' new starting quarterback is Tarvaris Jackson.

For real.

We did our best to outline what would unfold Tuesday morning, but no one really knew how it'd all play out. The NFL has never experienced anything like this. There were reports of hysteria at team facilities, front office members running around club headquarters like chickens with their heads cut off. "I went up there," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford told the Detroit Free Press. "They're running around. It's pretty wild. It's going to be a crazy week; everybody knows it."

We know a bit more now. We think. So let's take another shot at previewing Wednesday's NFL action:

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1. Ten Training Camps Open.

The ten teams whose first preseason game is set for Thursday, August 11 open training camp on Wednesday. They are the Broncos, Cardinals, Chargers, Cowboys, Eagles, Jaguars, Patriots, Raiders, Ravens, and Seahawks. For most of these teams, practice doesn't begin until Thursday.

But one major storyline as camps open Wednesday will be whether Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson shows up on time. Quarterback Michael Vick suggested yesterday morning that Jackson might hold out, and Profootballtalk.com followed with a report that Jackson is indeed "considering his options." It's no secret that Jackson, who is in a contract year, wants a new deal that pays him like a top-ten NFL wideout. Jackson's base salary is a meager $565,000 this season.

2. Drafted Rookie Signings Pick Up.

Teams were more focused on reaching agreements with free agent veterans Tuesday, and those will certainly continue. But the day ended with only a handful of rookie draft picks signed. We'll see lots more of them today.

Again, teams typically focus on signing later-round picks before targeting first- and second-rounders. But all rookies need to learn their new defensive and offensive systems, so expect the ten teams opening camp Wednesday to be most active signing their picks.

3. Releases and Free Agent Agreements Continue.

NFL teams can't formally cut players until Thursday, but they are informing veterans of their intent. Teams can't formally sign free agents until Friday, but they are wrapping up contract agreements. These informal transactions are binding, and in many cases are even being announced by teams.

One free agent player-team union that appears all but certain to occur is quarterback Matt Hasselbeck going to Tennessee. This agreement could be completed on Wednesday. Update: The Titans have agreed to terms with Hasselbeck on a multi-year deal.

4. Trade Talks Heat Up.

Per the NFL calendar, the trading period began Tuesday. But there were no trades on the first day. Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton appears headed to Miami, and Kevin Kolb's most likely destination remains Arizona. Since teams want their starting quarterbacks in camp as soon as possible, these moves need to take place promptly. Both trades may happen today.

Five Predictions for Wednesday:

1. In the interest of not arousing boredom, we're going bold with these predictions. So bear with us. Broncos camp opens today, and Brandon Lloyd is arguably the most underpaid receiver in football. He led the NFL in receiving yards last season and is due a $1.395 million salary. Our prediction isn't that Lloyd fails to show, but that he lets reporters on hand know he wants a raise. Lloyd needs to strike while the iron is hot. He simply isn't going to repeat last year's numbers in Denver's new run-first offense.

2. Marcedes Lewis of the Jaguars does hold out. Coming off a career year, Lewis wants a long-term contract to replace his one-year, $7.285 million franchise tag. The Florida Times Union reported Tuesday that Lewis is considering a holdout, and late last night the 27-year-old tight end tweeted, "Decisions ... decisions ... decisions." Wonder what he's trying to decide?

3. Free agent Bruce Gradkowski reaches a contract agreement with the Bengals. Gradkowski isn't a big name, but he might just be the favorite to start at quarterback for Cincinnati. ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that the sides are in contract talks, and Gradkowski has experience in the same offense Bengals coordinator Jay Gruden has implemented in Cincinnati. (He got it under Jay's brother, Jon, in Tampa Bay.) As a Bengal, Gradkowski would battle rookie Andy Dalton for the job.

4. Just as the Jets lock in free agent wide receiver Santonio Holmes, they emerge as the favorites to sign cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. No matter what you've read elsewhere, the Jets can fit Asomugha under their salary cap if they really want to.

5. Free agent wide receiver Sidney Rice takes a big step toward agreeing to re-sign with the Vikings, citing the team's pending -- but suddenly likely -- acquisition of Donovan McNabb.


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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