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Volume 6, Issue 20 (Sunday, May 8th)

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Hi Folks,

Hope you're ready for a great week. We'll be bringing you all the news and notes you need to stay ahead of your competition. Thanks to our Mike Brown for rounding up these stories tonight. Let's jump to it.

Joe

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Site News:

Top 200 Released One of our most popular features is our Top 200 list. This is how we see the overall rankings currently and we'll also include the ADP (Average Draft Position) from Antsports so you can see where our list varies from where the player is being drafted in other leagues. That's valuable information as you compare our rankings with "conventional wisdom" to highlight both what we feel are undervalued and overvalued players. Enjoy.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. CLE - Doctors Worried About TE Winslow's Internal Injuries 2. SD - TE Gates Has No Intention Of Skipping Practice 3. SF - TE Johnson Strains Knee In Workout 4. ARZ - WR Boldin To Report Monday 5. PIT - WR Randle El Ready To Illuminate 6. MIN - QB Johnson Security For Vikings 7. NE - Unlikely To Name Successor To OC Weis 8. MIA - IDP: CB Poole May Miss Season 9. MIA - IDP: Dolphins May Be The Team For CB Law

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1. CLE - Doctors Worried About TE Winslow's Internal Injuries

Clipped from: Beacon Journal Article by Patrick McManamon 5/8/05

Internal injuries from a motorcycle accident have kept Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. in the Cleveland Clinic for six days.

Though the team has not specified the injuries, several sources have detailed them. Winslow apparently suffered a bruised kidney and lacerated liver when he flew off his motorcycle Sunday night, and he might have punctured a lung as well.

Winslow also injured his right knee and shoulder, but the doctors at the Cleveland Clinic are more concerned with the internal injuries.

All the injuries were caused by the force of the trauma to Winslow's body when he was thrown from his bike.

The liver usually heals itself but requires close monitoring with regular blood tests, which could partly explain why Winslow has remained in the hospital. The lung and liver injuries could have been caused by broken ribs, but the Browns have not said Winslow broke any bones.

The Browns have not confirmed any injuries except to say that the concern is with Winslow's right knee.

Winslow's family and his agents are letting the team comment.

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

As we reported days ago, the severity of Winslow's injuries could very well be much worse than what the team is letting on. At some point, everyone will know for certain exactly what happened to Winslow and what his recovery time is expected to be. Just don't expect to hear much good news out of this situation. Until we hear something different, he's off our draft boards. Fortunately, most folks aren't drafting this weekend. Expect to hear something official from the team on this soon.

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2. SD - TE Gates Has No Intention Of Skipping Practice

Clipped from: Associated Press Article 5/8/05

One player who could grouse about contract issues, but didn't, was All-Pro Antonio Gates, who set an NFL record for tight ends with 13 touchdown catches in just his second season. While sounding a bit disappointed that hasn't received a long-term deal, Gates said he had no intention of skipping practice.

``I'm more of a team guy and I play an imperative role in this offense and I want to make sure that my teammates know that I am going to be there for them,'' Gates said. ``And I think that is more important than anything to me.''

Gates' agent and the Chargers have been discussing a long-term deal but neither side has been forthcoming with details. Gates said his agent has asked for ``market value,'' which could mean something similar to the just more than $4 million a year Tony Gonzalez averages in his deal with Kansas City.

As an exclusive rights free agent, Gates has no leverage. If they can't agree on a long-term deal, the Chargers can tender him a one-year contract for $380,000.

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

This runs contrary to what was heard in the early offseason, and that was that Gates would likely sit out if he didn't receive a new deal. While it's great to hear Gates say he'll show up for everything, a lot can change between now and July, and any player can reverse field and decide to hold out. Still, expect the Chargers to get a new deal done for their superstar tight end. He's far too valuable to not take care of him sooner rather than later.

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3. SF - TE Johnson Strains Knee In Workout

Clipped from SF Chronicle article by Kevin Lynch, 5/6/06

Tight end Eric Johnson strained his left knee working out recently in Arizona, but Johnson is expected to return for the team's final minicamp next month.

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

Not much detail here, obviously, but anytime a top player at his position is injured, it shouldn't go unnoticed. After the big two tight ends, there is a logjam of available players. Often times, seemingly insignificant things like this can push one player past another on your cheatsheets. For now, don't panic, but keep note of any news about Johnson's knee next month. We'll be watching for you.

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4. ARZ - WR Boldin To Report Monday

Clipped from Arizona Republic article by Kent Somers 5/6/06

Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin, absent during the team's recent mandatory minicamp, plans to begin working out at the team's facility Monday, said his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

Boldin is seeking a new contract and has not participated in any off-season workouts or practices.

While Boldin's return is a positive sign, the two sides are not close to a new agreement. The parameters of a deal may have come this week when two prominent NFL receivers agreed to contract extensions.

Washington's Santana Moss and New Orleans' Joe Horn each agreed to six-year extensions. Moss reportedly will receive $11million in combined bonuses, while Horn will receive about $8million.

Both of those players had just one year left on their contracts, while Boldin has two years remaining. It's clear the Cardinals aren't going to pay Boldin as if he's about to enter unrestricted free agency.

"We're very concerned about the timing and if the deal is favorable for the club, given the fact we're doing it this far in advance," said Rod Graves, the team's vice president for football operations.

Boldin, a second-round pick in 2003, is due to make $380,000 and $460,000 in salaries in the next two years.

The Cardinals and Rosenhaus have discussed extensions from four to six years. The team has reportedly offered Boldin a contract that includes guaranteed bonuses of between $8 million to $10 million in signing bonuses.

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

Boldin is trying to jump the gun a bit here, seeking a new contract when his old one still has more than two years remaining. Still, given the state of the Arizona offense and the importance of Boldin in it, it would not be shocking to see the team cave to him. The fact that Drew Rosenhaus is prominently involved should make things interesting as well. While it is rare for a player's holdout to extend into the season, Boldin missing time in training camp could severely hurt him. He's got a new QB to work with in Kurt Warner, and second-year man Larry Fitzgerald would be getting all of the reps as the team's #1 guy if Boldin were to miss any time. Point is, neither side has much to gain by not getting everything worked out in time. The fact that Arizona has already reportedly offered Boldin a long-term deal with a large signing bonus demonstrates their desire to get him into camp, even if it means they have to do something they'd rather not. Stay tuned.

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5. PIT - WR Randle-El Ready To Shine As Potential Successor To Burress

Clipped from Tribune-Review article by Joe Bendel 5/8/05

Antwaan Randle El is ready to illuminate a Steelers receiving corps that lost Plaxico Burress to the New York Giants in free agency this offseason.

This is his time in the sun.

"Waited a long time for this," Randle El said yesterday, sitting in front of his locker. "In the past, it was always written in stone who the two starting wide receivers were going to be. Now, it's open and I want to go out and get it -- and keep it. That was my motivation in the offseason. It's my motivation now."

Although Cowher and wide receivers coach Bruce Arians have Randle El penciled in as the starter at Burress' split end spot, the four-year vet from Riverdale, Ill., is leaving nothing to chance. He is keenly aware of the fact that the Steelers signed former San Francisco 49ers wideout Cedrick Wilson (47 catches, 13.6-yard average in '04) in free agency and drafted a Burress clone in 6-foot-4 Fred Gibson of Georgia, where the latter caught 49 passes for 801 yards with seven TDs last season and was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick.

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

The diminutive Randle-El certainly possesses game breaking explosiveness, and could very well be an adequate replacement for Burress as the team's primary deep threat. Then again, Burress has nearly a foot in height on Randle-El, so don't go out expecting Randle-El to have the same type game. The fact that he's not resting on his laurels having been named the starter opposite Hines Ward is obviously going to help his cause, and he needs only to beat out Cedrick Wilson and rookie Fred Gibson to retain his starting spot. If Randle-El is able to hold onto the job (a good probability), then he'll be worth a late pick based on the productivity that the Steelers' #2 receiver spot has turned in in recent years.

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6. MIN - QB Johnson Is Security For Vikings

Clipped from St. Paul Pioneer Press article by Bob Sansevere 5/7/05

The most crucial addition of all, though, is Brad Johnson.

As Daunte Culpepper's backup, Johnson is just one mangled body part away from being responsible for the success of the Vikings' offense.

If Culpepper goes down with an injury, the team's record, as well as coach Mike Tice's fate, could be in Johnson's hands - or, more specifically, his right arm.

"We have a physical quarterback and, I hate to say it, he could go down at any time because of the physical nature of his play,'' Tice said.

Now, it's possible Culpepper will stay healthy and upright all season. Which is what happened last year. Gus Frerotte, who signed with Miami this offseason, threw just one pass. All it takes, though, is one debilitating injury to Culpepper and . starting for the Vikings at quarterback, No. 14, Brad Johnson.

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

Johnson didn't fit into Tampa Bay's plans, and would prefer to be starting somewhere. In reality, he's probably a better option than several starting QBs currently out there. What this means is that Minnesota is in great shape with their backup QB spot, because Johnson is a very capable player, knows the offense well, knows Minnesota having played (and played well) there before, and should probably be handcuffed to Culpepper when drafting. Should something happen to Culpepper, Johnson would likely be a hot commodity off a waiver wire.

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7. NE - Unlikely To Name Successor To OC Weis

Clipped from Boston Herald article by Michael Felger 5/8/05

The Patriots sent out a press release yesterday announcing a change to their coaching staff. The notice was noteworthy not for the words it contained - Pete Mangurian is the new tight ends coach - but for the two that it didn't:

Offensive coordinator.

In listing their 2005 coaching roster, that position was conspicuously absent from the release. A team spokesman said last night that barring any unforeseen circumstances, that was the way the Patriots will go into the 2005 season.

That confirmed the belief that rather than naming a successor to Charlie Weis, coach Bill Belichick will handle the duties in conjunction with his assistants.

Belichick always maintained he had no desire to bring in a coordinator from another system. He intended to keep the playbook and the language of the offense the same as it was under Weis. In taking over the offense, those objectives would be met.

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

Belichick is obviously hoping to maintain a semblance of uniformity and continuity with the offense, and that transition will be eased by keeping the play-calling as close to last year's as possible. If any coach can handle such multi-tasking and thrive, it's Belichick. The loss of a coordinator can often mean big changes (both positive and negative) for an offense. If you're looking to find a positive in this story (and you have to look hard to find a positive when you're talking about the loss of Weis) it's that at least the players won't have to deal with a new OC thrown into the mix trying to bring a new philosophy.

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8. MIA - IDP: CB Poole May Be Lost For The Season

Clipped from Miami Sun-Sentinel article by Alex Marvez 5/8/05

Cornerback Will Poole suffered a knee injury during a minicamp practice last week that could cause him to miss the entire season, a source said Saturday.

Although details of how the injury occurred are unknown, Poole is believed to have torn an anterior cruciate ligament during a session Wednesday that was closed to the media and public.

Recovery times for ACL injuries vary, but an extensive rehabilitation period would likely force the Dolphins to place Poole on injured reserve in September rather than carry him on the 53-man roster until he could return.

A Dolphins spokesman declined to comment on the situation. Agent Drew Rosenhaus did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Poole was considered a strong candidate to win the left cornerback position that became vacant last month when Patrick Surtain was traded to Kansas City.

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

Poole was performing well to this point and was making a good impression on teammates. At this point, the injury status of Poole is still unconfirmed but it obviously isn't looking too promising. Read on to find out what the Dolphins may do as far as finding a replacement for Poole.

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9. MIA - IDP: Dolphins May Be The Team For CB Law

Clipped from Boston Globe article 5/8/05

Ty Law can all but count out Kansas City as a possible landing place. The Chiefs were interested in the free agent cornerback before acquiring Patrick Surtain, but with what the Postons are asking for Law, they've lost interest. Many believe he'll end up in Pittsburgh or with the Jets, but don't count out Miami, where he'd only have to drive a few minutes to practice. One AFC personnel man with knowledge of Law's health and demands predicted that the four-time Pro Bowl selection will fare well after June 1 but not as well as he hopes. "There will be a lot of demand for a player like Ty," he said. "He's still one of the best corners in football when he's healthy and there's no reason to believe he won't be healthy. If he thinks he'll get a contract like Surtain's, he's wrong, but what's wrong with Ken Lucas money [about $6.5 million]? What else is he going to do in life to get paid like that?"

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

There is a lot of interest for IDP guys as to where Law will end up. With the possible season-ending injury to Will Poole in Miami, and the fact that Law is in the Miami area already, there is at least a better than average chance that Law will be visiting the Dolphins on his tour this summer.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great Monday and we'll see you with the update tomorrow.

J

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