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Volume 6, Issue 3 (Wednesday, March 23rd)

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This Email Update is brought to you by our friends at the World
Championship of Fantasy Football who are now taking reservations for
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please check out the WCOFF.com web site TODAY, before they sell out!

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. WR Burress: A Giant Now
2. QB Johnson: #2 and in Minnesota (Again)
3. Rams' OL: LT Orlando Pace Signs Long-Term Deal
4. RB Taylor: Raven's #2 Signs Offer Sheet with Browns but Retained By Ravens
5. TE Martin: #2 TE Re-signs with Packers
6. Rookie QBs Smith, Rodgers Being Evaluated by San Francisco
7. QB Frerotte: New #2 in Miami (For Now)
8. RB Johnson: Long-Term Deal, Smiles in Cincinnati
9. QB Fiedler: #2 Jet's QB
10. QB McMahon: An Eagle Now, Competing for #2
11. QB Garcia: A Lion Now
12. Bears: Grossman/Hutchinson #1-#2 QB
13. RB James: Signing Tender Just a Formality?
14. Packer's QB: Favre Back, but #2 Pederson is Likely Done
15. QB Flutie: Released by Bolts
16. RB Henry: "I'm Definitely Not Going Back to Buffalo"
17. Seahawks Release OT Terry
18. OG O'Dwyer: Agrees to Deal with Packers
19. IDP: LB Hartwell Goes to Falcons
20. IDP: LB Bruschi Needs Heart Surgery
21. IDP: Dolphins' Saban "no intention of moving or trading Jason Taylor"
22. IDP: Jets, DE Abraham: No Deal
23. IDP: LB Bell to K.C.
24. IDP: DE Okeafor to Arizona
25. IDP: Broncos Won't Match Offer Sheet for CB Herndon – A Seahawk Now

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

Hi Folks,

Here's our third update of the "off season". We're covering stories
that have appeared over the last couple of weeks to make sure you
don't miss anything. Thanks to our Mark Wimer and Clayton Gray for
rounding these up. Have a great week.

Joe


/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

1. WR Burress: A Giant Now

Clipped from: New York Daily News article by Gary Myers, 3/18/05

…things can change rapidly in free agency, and suddenly Burress is Eli
Manning's big-play receiver.

The Giants signed Burress last night to a six-year, $25 million
contract, including a two-tiered $8.25 million signing bonus. It was a
nominal increase over the offer Burress rejected last week, and fills
their desperate need for some firepower for Manning.

Not long after Burress, who played his first five seasons for the
Steelers, left town last week, he fired agent Michael Harrison and
hired Drew Rosenhaus, known around the NFL as a dealmaker. Rosenhaus
represents linebacker Antonio Pierce, the Giants' first free-agent
signing this offseason. It didn't take long for Rosenhaus to get the
Giants back into the Burress market. And with Accorsi leaving today
for the league meetings, there was a sense of urgency to get this
done.

After firing Harrison, Burress was required to wait five days before
he could hire Rosenhaus. It's believed Rosenhaus officially became
Burress' agent yesterday and immediately contacted the Giants to
reopen talks. Burress and Rosenhaus were at Giants Stadium to meet
with the team by yesterday afternoon.

Burress last week refused to take a Giants physical when they had a
six-year, $24 million offer on the table that included a two-tiered $8
million signing bonus. Two things changed yesterday: Burress took his
physical and the Giants slightly improved their offer. The Giants
never lost interest in Burress, but once he left last week, they
believed they had no shot at reopening talks.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

A lot of observers had pointed out that Burress wasn't even the #1 WR
on the Steelers, so his contract demands to be paid as one of the best
WRs (like Muhsin Muhammad's deal with Chicago) in the NFL were pretty
lofty. The shenanigans surrounding his scheduled visits with the
Giants last week angered the team (Burress refused to take a physical,
for example) – but ultimately, the need to ink a target for Eli
Manning outweighed the rough start to negotiations. There is a lot of
potential for Burress to be a high-impact fantasy player in New York –
if he can keep his attitude positive and avoid injuries. Keep an eye
on how the chemistry between Burress and Manning develops during
training camp. The word with him has always been "potential". If he
starts playing up that, he definitely offers a high upside.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

2. QB Johnson: #2 and in Minnesota (Again)

Clipped from: St. Paul Pioneer Press article by Don Seeholzer, 3/17/05

It took seven years, but Brad Johnson is back where it all began.

Culminating a whirlwind tour that included visits to Miami, Detroit,
Chicago and Seattle in addition to Winter Park, the former Vikings
starter accepted a position as their No. 2 quarterback Wednesday,
agreeing to terms on a four-year, $6 million contract.

Johnson's deal includes a $1.2 million signing bonus and $2.2 million in total
compensation for this season, but the man who quarterbacked the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title following the 2002 season said
money wasn't the deciding factor.

"At the end of the day, it wasn't about that," Johnson said. "It was
about where I felt most comfortable. If you go back in time, Minnesota
was one of my favorite places to live and play. There were just a lot
of things that fit."

Johnson, 36, began his 13-year NFL career with the Vikings, who
selected him in the ninth round of the 1992 draft out of Florida
State, and he spent seven seasons with the team.

That included a 21-game run as starter in 1996-97, but a neck injury
late in that second season followed by leg and thumb injuries in 1998
cost Johnson his starting job and led the Vikings to trade him on Feb.
15, 1999 to Washington for first-, second- and third-round draft
choices.

The Vikings used the first-round pick to select quarterback Daunte
Culpepper, whom Johnson now will back up in Minnesota. Just don't make
the mistake of thinking he's resigned to being a No. 2 quarterback.

"I really don't feel that's my role," Johnson said. "I'm going to back
up and cheer as much as I can, but I also know that you're just one
play away in that position. I've been on both sides of that. I'm going
to be the biggest Daunte fan there is, but I feel like I have three or
four good years left in me."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Johnson has a championship ring and loads of experience, which will
make him a solid #2 for the Vikings. He has value for Culpepper owners
as insurance.  As Johnson pointed out, he's only one play away from
starting for the Vikings.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

3. Rams' OL: LT Orlando Pace Signs Long-Term Deal

Clipped from: St. Louis Today article by Jim Thomas, 3/15/05

The saga is over. Orlando Pace finally has a multi-year contract, one
that in all probability will see his career end as a St. Louis Ram.

Pace signed a seven-year, $52.9 million contract with the Rams on
Wednesday, in a deal that is believed to include a $15 million signing
bonus.

"It was our full intention to have Orlando's career end as a Ram,"
coach Mike Martz said Wednesday. "He's a great player, and it would
have been unfortunate to lose him. It's always been our intention to
keep him here. Orlando's patience in this and the patience of the
organization is much appreciated."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Pace is the anchor of the Ram's OL, and his signing is good news for
Marc Bulger and new starting RB Steven Jackson. Pace hasn't had the
benefit of a full training camp for a couple of years now, due to the
glacial contract negotiations that have stretched over seemingly every
summer – this year, though, he'll have plenty of time to get into
"game-shape" before the regular season begins. Jackson and Bulger will
benefit from his presence throughout training camp.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

4. RB Taylor: Raven's #2 Signs Offer Sheet with Browns but Retained By Ravens

Clipped from: BaltimoreRavens.com article by Adam H. Beasley, 3/21/05

The Ravens will open the 2005 season with a nationally-televised home
game against Colts.

They will do so with Chester Taylor on their roster.

Baltimore has matched the one-year contract Taylor, a restricted free
agent, signed with Cleveland last week, the team announced Monday. The
Ravens matched the deal well before Wednesday's deadline.

The signing capped a news-filled Monday for the Ravens, who also
announced that they will host a season-opening game for the first time
since 2001.

Baltimore will host Indianapolis on Sunday night, Sept. 11, at 8:30
p.m. on ESPN. The Colts and Ravens have met in three of the last four
seasons and five times in the team's nine-year history.

"That's going to be a magical night in Baltimore, for all of the
obvious reasons, not the least of which it's the Colts and all of the
history that carries with it," said Ravens coach Brian Billick. "It's
only the second home opener we've had since I've been here, the fact
that it's on a Sunday night. It's going to be very exciting night."

Billick is enthused just to be home for the season-opener. It is just
the second time in his seven-year tenure that the Ravens will not open
the year on the road. They have a 1-4 record in road openers under his
watch.

The last time Baltimore opened the season at home was in 2001,
following its Super Bowl season. The team has never opened the season
on national television.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

The Browns either tried to pluck Taylor from their division rivals or
they wanted the Ravens to use up some extra cap space by matching the
deal.  By keeping Taylor, Baltimore retains a valuable piece of
insurance for their backfield which currently consists of an All-Pro
in jail (Jamal Lewis) and a promising young back rehabbing a badly
broken leg (Musa Smith).

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

5. TE Martin: #2 TE Re-signs with Packers

Clipped from: Green Bay Press Gazette article by Pete Dougherty, 3/17/05

The Green Bay Packers outbid several teams to re-sign free agent David
Martin as a No. 2 tight end and fallback starter if they unexpectedly
lose starter Bubba Franks as a transition free agent.

Considering that Martin is a career-long backup coming off a 2004
season in which he missed the final seven games because of a knee
injury, he drew considerable interest on the free-agent market. He
also had offers from Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.

Details of his contract were unavailable, but Martin is believed to
have signed a multi-year deal that included a signing bonus around
$250,000.

"I'm delighted," said Joe Philbin, the Packers' tight ends coach. "It
looks like he's healthy and ready to go."

The Packers had brought in tight end Freddie Jones of Arizona for a
free-agent visit, but instead of trying to sign him, they pushed hard
to re-sign Martin.

Martin, 26, a sixth-round draft pick in 2001, has been a player of
more promise than production in his four years with the Packers, but
has played regularly when healthy as part of the team's two tight-end
sets. He's also an experienced insurance policy for Franks and has
become an adequate blocker after making the transition from college
wide receiver to NFL tight end.

The Packers put their transition tag on Franks this offseason, which
gives them the right to match if he signs an offer sheet with another
team. Though there are no indications early in free agency that any
club is going to pursue Franks hard or offer him a deal so
front-loaded that the Packers wouldn't match it, there's always the
possibility someone will do so.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

This is an item to store in the back of your mind if your league
requires the TE position, or if Franks is on your dynasty squad.
Martin would take the reins in Green Bay in the event of an injury to
Franks or his departure to another team.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

6. Rookie QBs Smith, Rodgers being Evaluated by San Francisco

Clipped from: Contra Costa Times article by Dennis Georgatos, 3/17/05

It did not escape 49ers coach Mike Nolan's attention that Utah
quarterback Alex Smith drew a round of applause at the end of his
individual workout Wednesday in Salt Lake City.

"I think everyone appreciated the fact that he worked hard," said
Nolan. "The guy is a football player, and he appears very passionate
about playing the game."

Smith, who won 21 of his 22 career starts, threw about 80 passes
before NFL coaches, scouts and spectators, including a high-level
contingent from the 49ers, who have the first overall pick in the
draft April 23-24.

Nolan, vice president of player personnel Scot McCloughan, offensive
coordinator Mike McCarthy and quarterbacks coach Jim Hostler will
reconvene in Berkeley today for the workout of Cal's Aaron Rodgers,
who joins Smith as the two highest-rated quarterbacks in the draft.

"It's good we're seeing them back to back," Nolan said. "That's a lot
better than waiting a week or 10 days and trying to remember, 'Was
that like what the other guy did?'"

Smith, 20, demonstrated his arm strength and accuracy with an array of
short-, medium- and long-range throws in giving the 49ers and others a
firsthand look at his abilities.

Neither Smith nor Rodgers worked out at the NFL's scouting combine
last month, though
both were interviewed by 49ers officials.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

If the 49ers invest the #1 pick in either of these players, you can
expect the Tim Rattay/Ken Dorsey era to come to an end in a hurry. At
this point, most observers expect to see the 49ers pull the trigger on
one or the other of these 2 QBs. The 49ers were also enthusiastic over
Rodgers after his workout:
http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/sports/colleges/cal/11168721.htm

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

7. QB Frerotte: New #2 in Miami (For Now)

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by Barry Jackson, 3/16/05

On a day the Dolphins added two more veteran free agents (right tackle
Stockar McDougle and safety Tebucky Jones), coach Nick Saban
downplayed the chances of trading for Indianapolis running back
Edgerrin James and indicated there would be an open quarterback
competition between incumbent A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte.

On the quarterback battle, Saban said in a statement: ``Where anyone
is on the depth chart right now doesn't matter. . . . The starting
quarterback will be the person who can play winning football for us.
We will be supportive of A.J. Feeley and give him every opportunity to
succeed.''

Earlier in the day, Saban told 790's Joe Rose: ``There were two
quarterbacks we . . . targeted -- Brad Johnson and Gus Frerotte. . . .
Gus will make us a better team.''

Two sources said Saban was planning to attend Utah quarterback Alex
Smith's workout today in Salt Lake City, although the Dolphins would
not confirm that. But Miami, which has the second pick in the first
round, appears more likely to draft a running back with its top
choice.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Feeley had a tentative hold on the starting job last season, but
showed a lot of heart playing through pain when he got his chances.
However, he doesn't have a secure position atop the depth chart,
obviously. Keep an eye on how the entire Miami offense shapes up
during free agency and the college draft before getting too excited
about either QB – the Dolphins were pretty dreadful as a team on
offense last season.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

8. RB Johnson: Long-Term Deal, Smiles in Cincinnati

Clipped from: Cincinnati Post article by Kevin Goheen, 3/17/05

…the Bengals head coach was also wearing a smile as he spoke into the
microphone to announce that the team had signed running back Rudi
Johnson to a five-year contract.

"I'm excited that we have Rudi secured as a member of the Cincinnati
Bengals for the long haul," Lewis said. "I know there was a great
relief on his face today when he walked into my office and he was
excited about it."

There is more to Johnson's contract than its $26 million worth or the
$12 million in guarantees it includes. It signals a greater stability
for an organization that three years ago finished 2-14 and at the
bottom of the NFL prior to the arrival of Lewis as its head coach.

The Bengals now have four offensive linchpins signed up through at
least the 2008 season -- quarterback Carson Palmer ('08), wide
receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh ('08), wide receiver Chad Johnson ('09)
and now Rudi Johnson ('09), who set single-season franchise records
for yards gained and carries last season. Palmer and Rudi Johnson are
both 25-year-olds, while Chad Johnson and Houshmandzadeh are 27.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

As long as Palmer and Johnson continue to develop as pros, the Bengals
could field one of the more potent offenses in the league in coming
years. You've got to like the combination of youth and talent that is
found on the Bengals roster among the skill position players. The long
term deal will help Rudi Johnson concentrate on football and forget
contract squabbles – which means the first team offense will have
plenty of practice time to get on the same page before the regular
season begins.  There have been unconfirmed reports that backup RB
Chris Perry needs another surgery for a new sports hernia (he was kept
off the field by a similar injury and hamstring problems for most of
2004) – he is not a serious threat to Johnson's playing time at this
point.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

9. QB Fiedler: #2 Jet's QB

Clipped from: New York Daily News article by Rich Cimini, 3/12/05

…the Jets have anointed Fiedler their VIIP - Very Important Insurance
Policy. He signed a five-year contract yesterday to become Chad
Pennington's primary backup, which is no small deal.

With Pennington still recovering from shoulder surgery - he won't
begin throwing until June at the earliest - the Jets needed an
experienced No. 2 quarterback. The job starts immediately. New
coordinator Mike Heimerdinger will hand Fiedler the keys to the
offense as it learns his system this offseason. Pennington will be
limited to classroom study.

Fiedler has the credentials (a 37-23 starting record in five seasons
with the Dolphins) and the right attitude to handle the
responsibility. You're talking about the guy who succeeded Dan Marino
in Miami. Here, he's willing to accept a reserve role.
"Once the season starts up, when Chad gets back, I know he's the guy,"
Fiedler said on a conference call with reporters.

Fiedler, released by the Dolphins in a salary-cap dump, will make at
least $1.3 million this season - a $500,000 signing bonus and an
$800,000 base salary. Because his contract is laden with playing-time
incentives, it's difficult to place an exact value on the entire
package.

Fiedler, who picked the Jets over the Bears and Giants, joins Brooks
Bollinger and Ricky Ray on the quarterback depth chart. Quincy Carter,
last year's top backup, is a free agent. Carter, who entered drug
rehab near the end of the season, isn't expected back.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

This is a deal that Pennington owners should pay attention to – if his
shoulder doesn't heal as expected, Fiedler would be the guy in the
drivers seat for the Jets in 2005. With Laveranues Coles and Justin
McCareins to throw at and Curtis Martin at RB, whoever plays QB for
the Jets will have quality receivers hauling in passes during 2005.
One snag for the starting offense popped up when the Broncos matched
the Jets' offer to TE Jeb Putzier (and Anthony Becht departed for
Tampa Bay), leaving the team with a void at TE right now.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

10. QB McMahon: An Eagle Now, Competing for #2

Clipped from: Times article by John Nalbone, 3/12/05

The team announced yesterday it has signed former Rutgers University
standout Mike McMahon to a two-year contract, one day after the free
agent Detroit Lions' quarterback left the NovaCare Complex so
impressed with what had transpired during his brief stay in
Philadelphia that he was willing to cancel his two remaining visits in
order to get a deal done as soon as possible. Terms were not
disclosed.

McMahon, 26, played each of his four NFL seasons with Detroit before
becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of last season.

"I always said to myself that if I was going to be a backup, I wanted
to be one for a team that had a chance to win the Super Bowl, and I
have that chance here behind one of the best quarterbacks in the
league," said McMahon, expected to push Detmer for the No. 2 job when
training camp begins in July at Lehigh University. "It's a great
offense, very explosive. I like this scheme and the things a
quarterback can do with it. I think it's going to work out very well
for me here."

Listening to McMahon, it almost sounds as if the backup job is his to
lose despite starting only seven career games with 10 career
touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a passer-efficiency rating of 55.0 in
four years with the Lions.

"They talked about what an opportunity it would be for me to come in
and back up Donovan," McMahon said. "There is always that possibility
of having a chance to play a lot in the preseason. If something were
to happen to Donovan, then I would have the chance to get some playing
time. They expressed confidence in me to go out and win games if I'm
on the field. The main thing they said was that this would be a great
place to take a step forward in my career."

McMahon has passed for 1,709 yards and is regarded as very mobile,
with 291 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 48 carries. He appeared
in only one game last season.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

McMahon has a great shot at winning the #2 job from Koy Detmer – if he
does, he'll be only one injury to Donovan McNabb away from running the
Eagle's high-octane passing attack.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

11. QB Garcia: A Lion Now

Clipped from: Detroit News article by Mike O'Hara, 3/16/05

The Lions got backup quarterback Jeff Garcia's name on a contract and
filled out their coaching staff Tuesday, but they lost free-agent
offensive tackle Stockar McDougle to the Dolphins.

McDougle, the Lions' first-round draft pick from Oklahoma in 2000,
signed a one-year contract with Miami. His hometown is Deerfield
Beach, near Miami. He also had visited the Steelers.

McDougle started all 16 games at right tackle the last two seasons.
During his career, he has played in 61 games and started 54.

The Lions did not make a strong push to re-sign McDougle. Coach Steve
Mariucci has indicated that Victor Rogers, a seventh-round choice in
2002, and Kelly Butler, a sixth-round pick in 2004, will compete for
the starting job at right tackle.

Garcia's signing was a formality. He agreed to a one-year, $2 million
contract Saturday.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Garcia was brought in to push Joey Harrington (and to be his
replacement if Harrington stumbles out of the blocks this year).
Garcia had a lot of success playing for coach Mariucci in San
Francisco, and knows the Lions' offense well – he'll be breathing down
Harrington's neck during 2005.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

12. Bears: Grossman/Hutchinson #1-#2 QB

Clipped from: Sun-Times article by Brad Biggs, 3/17/05

Rex Grossman or bust.

That's the way things look on the Bears' depth chart at quarterback
after Brad Johnson agreed Wednesday to a four-year, $6 million
contract with the Minnesota Vikings that includes a $1.2 million
signing bonus. Johnson was the third of three free-agent passers to
visit Halas Hall this month in what turned out to be nothing more than
a series of dog-and-pony shows.

The Bears don't want to pay for an accomplished backup and might not
acquire one. They did not get into negotiations with any of the three
veterans, including Kurt Warner and Jay Fiedler, and still lack a
proven backup to Grossman, who has six career starts.

Chad Hutchinson and Craig Krenzel are the only quarterbacks behind
Grossman, and it's evident general manager Jerry Angelo feels
Hutchinson can be a competent No. 2. Angelo vowed last season not to
repeat the mistake of not having a capable backup.

Warner got a $4 million deal from the Arizona Cardinals, and Fiedler
will pocket $1.3 million in guaranteed money from the New York Jets.
Gus Frerotte, another quarterback targeted by the Bears, signed this
week with the Miami Dolphins.

The next player the Bears might target is Jeff Blake, who spent last
season with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears brought in Blake for a
visit in 2003 before signing Kordell Stewart.

''We'd certainly be interested in speaking with them,'' said Ralph
Cindrich, Blake's agent. "It would make sense. We've discussed it in
the past.''

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Given Grossman's track record of season-ending injuries, the Bears are
skating on some thin ice at the QB position. Hutchinson was the "best"
of a bad bunch of back-ups last year (92/161 for 903 yards, 4 TDs and
3 interceptions in 5 games), and Blake is past his prime. The Bears
are crossing their fingers that Grossman can stay healthy…

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

13. RB James: Signing Tender Just a Formality?

Clipped from: Indianapolis Star article by Mike Chappell, 3/17/05

Edgerrin James has taken the next step in his role as the Indianapolis
Colts' "franchise" player, signing the one-year, $8.08 million tender
Wednesday.

It was, in effect, a formality and an insurance policy, and nothing
resembling a resolution for the team's star running back.

"The bottom line is nothing has changed," Drew Rosenhaus, James'
agent, said. "We have always stated our desire to do a long-term
contract with the Colts, or work out a trade."

The Colts confirmed the transaction, but team president Bill Polian
was unavailable for comment. He is in Maui for the annual NFL owners'
meetings, which open this weekend.

While James has been steadfast in his desire for a long-term contract
from either the Colts or another team, he has provided himself with a
safety net. By signing the franchise tender, he is guaranteed the
$8.08 million from the Colts in the absence of a multiyear deal.

Had James not signed the tender, the team could have withdrawn it at
any time. That would have made James an unrestricted free agent but
exposed him to what has been a less-than-attractive market for
high-priced running backs.

James is now under contract and obligated to attend all mandatory
offseason team functions. Those include minicamp and training camp. He
will be subject to a fine if he boycotts any mandatory event.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

While James may desire a long-term deal, it is unclear if he'll get
his wish. The Colts can't afford to sign him to one, and they aren't
getting their doors broken down by teams looking to trade for James.
Time will tell where James will play in 2005 – it is still very much
up in the air as of now.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

14. Packer's QB: Favre Back, but #2 Pederson is Likely Done

Clipped from: Green Bay Press Gazette article by Rob Demovsky, 3/11/05

Veteran quarterback Doug Pederson, Brett Favre's backup and close
friend, almost certainly won't return to the Green Bay Packers and
likely is done playing in the NFL.

On the day it was learned that Favre will return for the 2005 season,
Pederson, 37, said he's close to accepting a job as a high school
football coach in his native Louisiana.

"I've got an offer on the table from a small high school in Shreveport
to be their head coach," Pederson said Thursday.

"It's an opportunity for me with where I'm at in my career that's hard
to pass up."
Pederson spent all but the first four games of last season on injured
reserve after he sustained a rib and back injury.

Though he was traveling to Green Bay to attend the team's Fan Fest
this weekend, Pederson said he has not been given any indication that
General Manager Ted Thompson is interested in bringing him back for
another season.

"I know the Packers are probably going to go in another direction,"
Pederson said. "I'm just making myself prepared for what's after
(playing) football."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Pederson was ineffective in his chances during 2004 (11/23 for 120
yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions in 2 appearances), and almost any
other pro QB would be an upgrade at #2 for the Packers at this point.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

15. QB Flutie: Released by Bolts

Clipped from: Union-Tribune article by Jim Trotter, 3/12/05

Flutie, 42, was released yesterday after four seasons in San Diego.
The move probably wasn't a surprise to him considering he acknowledged
last year that the end of his playing career was near.

A veteran of 20 pro seasons, he said at the time he probably would
call it a career if the Chargers released him. The primary reason was
that he did not want to relocate his family because his oldest
daughter is to graduate from La Jolla High in June 2006.

Even before his release was made public, Flutie appeared to be looking
ahead to a second career. His agent, Kristen Kuliga, phoned at least
one television executive yesterday to gauge his interest in Flutie as
a broadcaster.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Flutie was fun to watch, and a fan favorite. Good luck in your next
career, Mr. Flutie.

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16. RB Henry: "I'm Definitely Not Going Back to Buffalo"

Clipped from: NFL.com wire reports 3/22/05

Travis Henry is through playing for the Buffalo Bills, intent to sit
out as long as it takes the team to trade him.

"I'm definitely not going back to Buffalo if that's what you want to
hear," the running back told The Associated Press from his home in
Orlando, Fla. "No minicamps. No training camp. No nothing. ... I
packed my stuff and left. As soon as the season was over, I was out of
there and I didn't have any plans of coming back."

Henry, who started during his first three seasons in Buffalo, has one
year left on his contract and is unwilling to spend another year as
Willis McGahee's backup.

The Bills granted Henry permission in January to speak to other teams
about a potential trade. Of the teams that expressed interest, Henry
said the Arizona Cardinals have offered to trade starting left tackle
L.J. Shelton in a player-for-player deal.

Henry doesn't understand why the Bills -- in need of offensive line
help -- haven't accepted the offer. Henry added he's willing to play
for Arizona, a team in need of a starting running back since Emmitt
Smith's retirement last month.

"The whole situation, it's really frustrating," Henry said. "I just
want to move on with my life and my career."

Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold declined comment.

Cardinals officials were at the NFL owners meetings in Hawaii, and
unavailable for comment.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Comments from players in March definitely need to be taken with a
grain of salt, but it is obvious Henry isn't too pleased at the
moment.  He feels he is one of the top 32 backs in the league and
should be starting somewhere.  We'll see if some other teams agree
with him.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

17. Seahawks Release OT Terry

Clipped from: Seahawks.net article by Doug Farrar 3/19/05

When the Seattle Seahawks claimed Chris Terry off the waiver wire on
November 19, 2002, it was hoped that the talented tackle would provide
a solid answer as Walter Jones' bookend on the offensive line. After
two full seasons in Seahawk blue, the team has decided to end the
commitment. As first reported by Seahawks.com, Terry was released on
Friday.

Terry, who came to the Seahawks after being released by the Carolina
Panthers in the wake of a misdemeanor charge of assaulting his wife
and a subsequent missed court date, started 23 of the 25 games he
played for Seattle. But he also served a four-game suspension in 2003
for violations of the NFL's substance abuse and personal conduct
policies, and missed the last seven games of 2004 with a shoulder
injury. When he was in the lineup in 2004, Terry struggled more than
in the past and seemed to be a more frequent victim of false start
penalties.

Signed by the Seahawks one day after the Panthers released him and
re-signed to a 5-year, $19 million contract in January on 2003, Terry
will count for $3 million against the salary cap this year. He will be
off the books in 2006 and beyond.

The Seahawks would seem to have two current options in replacing Terry
– 2004 third-round draft pick Sean Locklear, who impressed last season
in spot duty, and 2003 draftee Wayne Hunter, who has not done as much
to distinguish himself.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Terry has all of the physical tools, but he seems to be regressing due
to poor decisions off the field.  If he fails another drug test, he'll
likely be looking at a year-long suspension from the NFL.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

18. OG O'Dwyer: Agrees to Deal with Packers

Clipped from: AP article from PackersNews.com 3/22/05

Guard Matt O'Dwyer agreed to a contract with the Green Bay Packers
after missing all but the final four games last season with Tampa Bay
because of a chest injury, his agent said Tuesday.

Mark Bartelstein said O'Dwyer will sign a one-year deal for the
veteran minimum of $765,000.

"He's healthy, he's ready to go," Bartelstein said.

O'Dwyer played for the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals from
1996-03. The 32-year-old guard had been expected to start for the
Buccaneers last year before tearing a pectoral muscle lifting weights.

O'Dwyer will receive a $25,000 signing bonus, but his entire deal will
count just $455,000 against the salary cap because of a veteran's
exemption, Bartelstein said.

Bartelstein said O'Dwyer saw a chance to start at Green Bay, which
lost guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera to free agency. The Packers
signed New England free agent Adrian Klemm to play left guard last
week.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

While O'Dwyer is not as talented as the former Packers Wahle and
Rivera, he is a veteran presence that should help stabilize the Packer
offensive line that seemed to be hemorrhaging this off-season.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

19. IDP: LB Hartwell Goes to Falcons

Clipped from: Review-Journal article by Mark Anderson 3/21/05

Linebacker Ed Hartwell did not panic when seemingly every other NFL
free agent had signed.

"I think I wanted to wait, and patience is a virtue," he said. "I
wanted the right situation and the right team."

Hartwell, who went to Cheyenne High School and lives in Las Vegas in
the offseason, said he found that fit Sunday. He said he has signed a
six-year, $26.24 million guaranteed contract with the Atlanta Falcons
that includes an $8 million signing bonus.

Guaranteed NFL contracts are virtually unheard of anymore because of
the risk of injuries.

"It's a great agent," Hartwell said of Harold Lewis. "Other than the
money, I'm excited to go to Atlanta. It's a great organization. Arthur
Blank, the owner, is a great guy, and the head coach (Jim Mora) and
defensive coordinator (Ed Donatell) on down. It's a great team on the
verge of a Super Bowl run."

The Falcons went to the NFC Championship Game last season before
losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.

They are most noted for an offense led by quarterback Michael Vick and
running back Warrick Dunn. Atlanta's defense ranked in about the
middle of the league.

"We never had the offense in Baltimore like they've had in Atlanta,"
said Hartwell, who spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Ravens.
"They definitely have a lot of great players. If you put together that
great offense with a great defense and play together as a team, it
could be an unbelievably good future."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Hartwell will take over the Falcons MLB spot and upgrades Atlanta's
linebacker corps.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

20. IDP: LB Bruschi Needs Heart Surgery

Clipped from: Boston Globe article by Scott Thurston, 3/16/05

Patriots Pro Bowl linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a mild stroke
Feb. 16, is scheduled to undergo a procedure to repair a hole in his
heart, according to television station KOLD of Tucson.

Scott Kilbury, the station's sports director, told the Globe last
night that he received the information from a "friend of the family"
who has been close to the Bruschi situation. Kilbury added that the
procedure was to take place this week in Boston, and may already have
been done yesterday.

Bruschi played for the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1992-95,
and with family in the area, he maintains strong ties there.

The Patriots would neither confirm nor deny the report last night.
Team spokesman Stacey James said all information would have to come
from the Bruschi family.
Last month, Bruschi was taken from his North Attleboro home by
ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering persistent
headaches, and, according to a 911 call from his wife, Heidi, blurred
vision, and numbness on his right side. He was released two days
later.

A team source told the Globe then that Bruschi was found to have a
leaking blood vessel in his brain, which is one type of stroke, and
that his football future was uncertain.

When he was released, the 31-year-old Bruschi -- who helped the
Patriots win their third Super Bowl in four years just two weeks
earlier -- appeared wobbly as he walked out of the hospital, but said
he felt fine.

Neurologists not involved with Bruschi's treatment have said that
young stroke patients could look forward to a healthy, active life,
but not necessarily resume a career in the NFL.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Right now, all we can hope for is that Bruschi regains his health –
his future on the field is a secondary concern which isn't a priority
for anyone right now. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to
this fine player.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

21. IDP: Dolphins' Saban "no intention of moving or trading Jason Taylor"

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post article by Greg A. Bedard, 3/10/05

Dolphins coach Nick Saban sought to end speculation about the future
of Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Taylor with a strongly worded
statement Wednesday.

"We have no intention of moving or trading Jason Taylor," Saban said.
"Everything we have done is to build our defense around what Jason
does best. He's an outstanding player."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

No wishy-washy coach-speak here – it sounds like Taylor isn't going anywhere.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

22. IDP: Jets, DE Abraham: No Deal

Clipped from: New York Post article by Mark Cannizzaro, 3/18/05

Fewer than three months ago, Abraham, the Jets' talented DE, was on
record in saying that he had "no problem" with the Jets putting a
"franchise" tag on him, noting that he was going to make more money in
2005 than he'd ever made in his career even without a new long-term
deal.

By tagging Abraham, the Jets are scheduled to pay him $6.7 million in
2005, which is the average salary of the top five players at his
position.

Now suddenly Abraham, through his agents, is crying foul, supposedly
angry that the Jets have not given him a long-term deal yet.

Through his agents, Abraham is threatening to not sign that one-year
"franchise" contract and thus hold out of the team's offseason workout
program, which starts at the beginning of next month.

This from a player who's managed to play a full 16-game schedule
exactly once in his five-year career because of various injuries.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Contract negotiations that cost a player practice time and workout
sessions are never a good thing – and Abraham needs to keep his body
in top condition if he is to play all 16 games during 2005. If Abraham
is on your IDP squad or on your list of potential DL to draft, keep an
eye on how much friction builds up between Abraham and the Jets due to
these negotiations.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

23. IDP: LB Bell to K.C.

Clipped from: Topeka Capital Journal, 3/9/05

Did the Chiefs get a great deal on a slick-looking newer used car with
some fixable mechanical problems, or did they overspend on a potential
lemon?

Those are the questions surrounding Kansas City's first free agent
signing Tuesday, Pittsburgh linebacker Kendrell Bell.

The NFL's defensive rookie of the year and a Pro Bowl selection after
recording nine sacks in 2001, Bell's potential as one of the league's
top sideline-to-sideline linebackers has been limited by an ankle
injury that knocked him out of four games in 2002 and a groin/hernia
injury that limited him to just three games last season.

Even so, the Chiefs felt good enough about Bell's health that they
signed the 26-year-old Georgia product to a seven-year contract. ESPN
reported that Bell received $10 million in guaranteed money.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Bell has all the tools to be a dominant LB when he's healthy, and he's
still young enough to bounce back from his past injuries – but does he
still have "it"? Time will tell, but one thing is for sure – the
Chiefs need as much help on defense as they can get, and Bell will
have a good shot at quality fantasy numbers if he can stay healthy.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

24. IDP: DE Okeafor to Arizona

Clipped from: East Valley Tribune article by Darren Urban, 3/10/05

Chike Okeafor's full first name — Chikezie — means "well made by God."
The Cardinals and Okeafor hope their new relationship is equally divine.

The defensive end officially signed his new five-year, $25 million
contract Wednesday. He had a similar offer on the table from his
former team, Seattle, but he "finally felt the love" when Arizona
recruited him, and the Cards definitely loved his 16 1/2 sacks the
past two seasons for the Seahawks.

"I'll just say one thing, over there (in Seattle) on a day-today
basis, I felt alone," Okeafor said. "Not surrounded by enough people
that thought like me, felt like me, played like me on a day-to-day
basis and loved the game like me. So I was in search for that from my
teammates and I felt that here."

Okeafor wasn't short of confidence Wednesday. Asked to do a scouting
report on himself, he paused briefly and said, "This man has no
weaknesses."

And there was little question he had done his homework heading into
free agency, searching for a team that was like-minded in his drive to
do well.

"I know what I am dedicating to that team, the next five years of my
life, so I wanted to feel the same respect back," Okeafor said.

Coach Dennis Green said Okeafor will be the perfect complement to the
other starting defensive end, Bertrand Berry. Berry was the free agent
defensive end signed last year that impressed as much off the field as
on, and he apparently did the same to Okeafor.

"He's just like me, man," Okeafor said of Berry. "He's a person, I can
look in his eye and I can trust him, just like I can look in Denny's
eye. I was very glad to meet him. It helped make this decision easy."

Green said Okeafor will be used — much like Berry — in a variety of
ways to maximize his production.

"We use a lot of five-man lines, we flop sides, we stunt inside, we
drop them (into coverage). Chike can do all those things," Green said.
"And many times in a turnaround program, the defense has to improve
first."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Berry was 12th in fantasy points among fantasy DL last year, and
Okeafor was 32nd with Seattle. It sounds like Okeafor will be on the
field a lot, and the potential for him to land in the top 20 among DL
in 2005 definitely exists. He should be a solid choice for IDP
leaguers.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

25. IDP: Broncos Won't Match Offer Sheet For CB Herndon – Will Soon Be a Seahawk

Clipped from: Mercury News article by Frank Schwab 3/22/05

The Denver Broncos won't match the offer sheet signed by restricted
free agent cornerback Kelly Herndon, allowing him to go to the Seattle
Seahawks with no draft pick compensation in return.

ESPN.com reported that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, at the league
meetings in Hawaii, said the team will not match Herndon's offer
sheet. Herndon's agent Peter Schaffer said he had not heard from the
Broncos.

Herndon, a starter the past two seasons for Denver, signed the
five-year, $15million offer sheet last Thursday and the Broncos have
until Thursday to officially make the decision. Herndon would have
been a backup behind Champ Bailey and Lenny Walls had the Broncos
matched the offer.

Seattle does not have to give up a draft pick since Herndon was undrafted.

The decision to let Herndon go leaves the Broncos thin at cornerback.
Willie Middlebrooks is coming off a leg injury, Jeremy LeSueur spent
his rookie season last year on injured reserve and Roc Alexander and
Jeff Shoate are inexperienced.

"I was playing nickel (third cornerback) and goal line and different
positions," Herndon said earlier this week. "That's just the
situation. That is up for grabs now.

"They got some good corners and they'll have to step it up."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Herndon is not yet officially a Seahawk as the Broncos still have
until Thursday to match this offer.  Seattle needed to add a corner to
off-set the loss of Ken Lucas to Carolina, and Herndon should be able
to fill the void with his 6-year #37 million deal.  According to Stats
Inc., Herndon led the NFL with 23 pass defenses last season.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

That'll do it for this week, Folks. Hope everyone has a great Easter
Weekend and we'll catch you next week with another update.

Joe
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