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Volume 6, Issue 85 (Tuesday, July 12th)

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Hi Folks,

It's still that calm before the storm of Training Camps but there are a few stories out there. Thanks to our Mark Wimer for rounding these up tonight. Let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Footballguys Player Pages
Most of you have seen this already but I wanted to call it out for the folks that hadn't. PLEASE check out these Player Pages if you haven't already. From Outlook to Stats to Latest News, we have it all covered for you all in one place. And of course, it's all completely searchable. This is the tool we wanted for ourselves but couldn't find anywhere. So we built it. Spend some time and knock yourself out.

B. Antonio Gates Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, David Yudkin and Message Board Gurus

C. J.J. Arrington Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Cecil Lammey and Message Board Gurus

D. Reche Caldwell Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Maurile Tremblay and Message Board Gurus

E. Byron Leftwich Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Mark Wimer and Message Board Gurus

F. Keenan McCardell Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Maurile Tremblay and Message Board Gurus

G. Donovan McNabb Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Chase Stuart and Message Board Gurus

H. Steve McNair Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Bob Henry and Message Board Gurus

I. Eric Parker Player Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Maurile and Message Board Gurus

J. Michael Bennett Face Off
by Aaron Rudnicki and Chris Smith

K. Chris Chambers Face Off
by Cecil Lammey and Jason Wood

L. Priest Holmes Face Off
by Mark Wimer and Mike Brown

M. Heath Miller Face Off
by Will Grant and Cathy Fazio

N. Patrick Ramsey Face Off
by Marc Levin and Jason Wood

O. Chad Pennington Face Off
by Andy Hicks and David Yudkin

P. Eric Shelton Face Off
by David Yudkin and Mike Herman

Q Javon Walker Face Off
by Mark Wimer and David Shick


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. TEN: No Progress on RB Henry Trade
2. SF:49ers Hopeful Rookie QB Smith Will Be in Camp
3. Players In A Contract Year
4. BUF - RB McGahee Won't Ask For New Deal
5. IDP: WAS DB Taylor's Friend Considering Turning State's Evidence
6. IDP: CAR LB Wants Long-Term Deal (MLB Morgan)
7. IDP: WAS - DB Taylor Can Travel For Camp

1. TEN: No Progress on RB Henry Trade

Clipped from: Nashville City Paper article by Terry McCormick, 7/12/05

All remains quiet on the Travis Henry front as far as the Tennessee Titans are concerned.

The Buffalo Bills running back remains a possible target for the Titans in a trade, but of late, no discussions have been held, according to general manager Floyd Reese.

The Titans reportedly were willing to surrender a fourth-round pick for Henry earlier in the offseason, but the Bills have been said to be holding out in hopes of finding a taker in more of a need situation that would give them a third-round pick for the running back. Division rivals Jacksonville and Houston have been mentioned as possibilities.

In terms of need, Reese says his preference is to find someone, likely a veteran, to fill the role held by Antowain Smith last season. Smith signed with New Orleans as a free agent after backing up Chris Brown in 2004.

It is Brown's injury woes that have the Titans in the market for someone to fill that No. 2 role. He tore a hamstring in 2003, missed time with ankle and toe problems last year and broke his hand in mini-camps back in May.

"It's a little bit unknown right now, because Chris' status is a little bit unknown," Reese said. "When all is said and done and we get to the opener, we'd certainly feel better if we had somebody who could come in and be productive if something does happen to Chris."

With Henry's asking price perhaps too steep for Reese, expect the GM to scour the waiver wire in search for a backup running back.

"Year after year, there are running backs out there that come on the waiver wire that can come in and help you," Reese said. "We're hoping Chris can be the starter and we can find somebody to take the pressure off him.

"It's not like we're out looking for a starter. Look at what Antowain did for us last year. Those people are out there. You've just got to get the right one that can come in and be productive."

As for Henry, a former 1,400-yard rusher as a starter in Buffalo, he would likely expect to be the feature back wherever he lands.

If that is Tennessee, then the competition between Henry and Brown would likely be on.

"I'm sure that's the way [Henry] would look at it. That would be one of those issues that would have to be determined on the field," Reese said.

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

Two things to note here: 1) Chris Brown hasn't exactly earned the team's confidence as of July and 2) the Titans are not overly enthusiastic about the Henry trade with Buffalo (as of today). Stay Tuned...

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2. SF:49ers Hopeful Rookie QB Smith Will Be in Camp

Clipped from: InsideBayArea.com article by Roger Phillips, 7/12/05

One of the first questions posed to Alex Smith after he was chosen first overall in April's draft was whether he anticipated any problems in negotiating a contract that would cause him to miss part of his first NFL training camp.

Smith, the Utah quarterback selected by the San Francisco 49ers, has invariably expressed optimism for a timely deal ever since.

Monday afternoon, 49ers director of football operations Paraag Marathe, the team's chief negotiator, said he remains optimistic, though an agreement still has not been reached with the start of camp only 17 days away.

"I'm operating under the assumption he'll be there for the first day of camp," Marathe said during a telephone interview Monday.

A spokesman for Smith's agent, Tom Condon, declined comment other than to say "nothing is new" with the negotiations.

Marathe said that he and Condon have been in contact 3-4 times a week, by phone, fax and e-mail, and characterized communication as "cooperative and productive." At some point in the next week or two, Marathe said Condon will visit the Bay Area for face-to-face meetings, but nothing has been scheduled.

Most of what ultimately will be a 60- or 70-page document has been written, Marathe said, which will speed the finalizing of a deal once all issues are resolved, foremost of which is the size of Smith's signing bonus.

Marathe acknowledged that the failure to this point of the NFL and the NFL Players' Association to agree on an extension of the collective bargaining agreement has complicated the negotiations.

One year ago, when Condon was negotiating 2004 No. 1 overall pick Eli Manning's contract, the New York Giants were allowed under the CBA to spread the salary-cap hit from Manning's $20 million signing bonus over six years - $3.3 million a year.

But if a new CBA is not reached before then, there will be no salary cap in 2007, and this year, teams are only permitted to spread the salary-cap hit from a signing bonus over five years. Thus, for instance, if Smith receives a $22 million bonus, the 49ers' annual cap hit would be $4.4 million.

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

The league needs to sort out the CBA. Before the owners do their work on the CBA, the new players are likely to hold off on signing contracts. If you are enthralled with a rookie prospect heading into 2005, you would do well to remember the current situation - some holdouts are likely to materialize in the current climate.

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3. Players In A Contract Year

Clipped from: Gregg Rosenthal article 7/12/05

In 2004, Edgerrin James and Shaun Alexander both tore up fantasy leagues with their best seasons in years. Both players were playing in contract years. We don't think it's a coincidence.

NFL players might argue that every year is a contract year with non-guaranteed contracts. But players hoping to enter free agency naturally do what they can to secure the only guaranteed money they might ever see: a huge signing bonus.

Here's a list of some players in their contract year:

Quarterback

Drew Brees, SD, Ken Dorsey, SF, Jeff Garcia, DET, Jon Kitna, CIN, Kurt Warner, AZ

Running Back

Shaun Alexander, SEA, Michael Bennett, MN, Shawn Bryson, DET, Jesse Chatman, SD, Najeh Davenport, GB, Domanick Davis, HOU, DeShaun Foster, CAR, Ahman Green, GB, Quentin Griffin, DEN, Travis Henry, BUF, Edgerrin James, IND, Jamal Lewis, BAL, Deuce McAllister, NO, Maurice Morris, SEA, Onterrio Smith, MIN, Chester Taylor, BAL, Anthony Thomas, DAL, Moe Williams, MIN

Wide Receiver

Arnaz Battle, SF, Antonio Bryant, CLE, Nate Burleson, MIN, Reche Caldwell, SD, Jabar Gaffney, HOU, Rod Gardner, WAS, David Givens, NE, Brandon Lloyd, SF, Hines Ward, PIT, Reggie Wayne, IND

Tight End

Randy McMichael, MIA, Todd Heap, BAL, Freddie Jones, CAR

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

The "Contract Year" effect gets a good bit of attention from owners looking for an edge in predicting performance. I'm honestly of the opinion that it doesn't make a huge difference. But it's fun to talk about and it's still something to keep an eye on.

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4. BUF - RB McGahee Won't Ask For New Deal

Clipped from: http://www.billsdaily.com/news/index.shtml#071205

NFL.com is reporting that the agent for Willis McGahee will not ask for the Bills to re-do his client's contract this season. Drew Rosenhaus did say that after this season he may approach the Bills about a new longterm deal. The report also says that the team will not let the Travis Henry situation dictate how they handle a potential new deal for McGahee.

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

This is what it's come to: It's news when a Drew Rosenhaus client will not try to renegotiate his contract...

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5. IDP: WAS DB Taylor's Friend Considering Turning State's Evidence

Clipped from: Washington Post article by Amy Shipley, 7/12/05

The co-defendant in the criminal case involving Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor planned to decide by today whether to testify against Taylor as part of a plea deal with the Miami-Dade state attorney's office, according to his attorney.

Ongoing discussions about a possible plea deal necessitated the second postponement of a preliminary hearing for Charles Elwood Caughman yesterday in Miami. The hearing was moved to this morning, and is expected to take place shortly before a preliminary hearing for Taylor in a separate courtroom of the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building.

Evan Hoffman , Caughman's attorney, said his client was considering all options, including going to trial and accepting a plea deal that would not involve being added to the prosecution's witness list in the Taylor case. Miami-Dade assistant state attorney Mike Grieco is prosecuting both cases.

"There are a lot of issues," Hoffman said moments after a brief appearance in front of Miami-Dade circuit judge Peter Adrien . "We could theoretically close our case [today].

We have to figure out if we can do things on our terms."

Hoffman said by cell phone that, at the end of the business day, his client remained undecided. "It's going to be an 11th-hour decision," he said.

Caughman's decision could have a significant impact on Taylor's case in front of judge Mary Barzee . Taylor, 22, faces a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm and a misdemeanor charge of simple battery stemming from a June 1 altercation in Miami over Taylor's two stolen all-terrain vehicles. According to police reports, a violent confrontation took place after Taylor accused two men of stealing the vehicles.

Taylor, who entered a written not-guilty plea to the charges, is required to appear at today's hearing with his attorney, Edward Carhart.

Caughman, 19, of Baltimore, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly wielding a bat during the incident.

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

More on this below. Whatever the outcome of the trial, Taylor has harmed his NFL career by being involved in this situation. He looks like a very risky pick for those owners whose leagues draft early in the pre-season. Problems like this are why NFL coaches hate the gap between OTA's and training camp.

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6. IDP: CAR LB Wants Long-Term Deal (MLB Morgan)

Clipped from: Charlotte Observer article by Stan Olson, 7/12/05

With training camp less than three weeks away, negotiations on a contract extension for Carolina linebacker Dan Morgan have made little headway.

"I'm not all that thrilled with where we are now," said Drew Rosenhaus, Morgan's agent. "We're pretty far apart; there's a big difference of opinion in respect to what the two sides think this contract should be."

Morgan is entering the last year of his contract, and Rosenhaus implied Monday that if a deal can't be reached by the start of camp July 29, Morgan could test free agency after the season.

"Once camp begins, if we don't have a deal in place, the odds start to diminish on getting one done," Rosenhaus said. "We've had some negotiations but we're still pretty far apart."

Don't expect Morgan to hold out; he's excited about this season and plans to be in camp.

But he doesn't want to be bothered with negotiations once the season begins.

"I don't think he's a big fan of the negotiation process," Rosenhaus said.

Morgan, the team's top draft choice in 2001, has said he would like to remain with the Panthers. He has struggled through injuries in recent seasons, but at middle linebacker is a key member of the defense and was named to the Pro Bowl last season.

Combining base salary and his workout bonus, Morgan will make $919,000 this season. He will count more than $2 million against the salary cap. The latter figure is higher because his original signing bonus is spread over the length of the contract.

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

Keep an eye on this but we expect it to resolve itself positively. Morgan wants a long term deal and to cash in some. The Panthers don't seem overly anxious to give it to them. Same story, different team. In the end, we don't think this will affect his 2005 numbers barring something unusual.

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7. IDP: WAS - DB Taylor Can Travel For Camp

Clipped from: NFL.com / Wire story 7/12/05

A judge allowed Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor to travel to training camp, and state prosecutors did not offer a plea deal at a court hearing to discuss charges the player pointed a gun during a dispute over an all-terrain vehicle.

Taylor and his father appeared at a court hearing during which prosecutors restated they were charging him with a single felony count of aggravated assault with a firearm and a misdemeanor count of simple battery.

Taylor was allegedly among a group of people who got into a June 1 armed confrontation over an ATV that Taylor and his associates believed had been stolen. He has filed a written plea of not guilty and could face a maximum of 16 years if convicted on both charges.

At the July 12 hearing, prosecutors informed Taylor he could plead guilty to the firearm charge for a mandatory minimum sentence of three years - no change from what already had been stated, said Ed Griffith, spokesman for state attorney's office in Miami-Dade County. Taylor declined.

Circuit Judge Mary Barzee allowed Taylor to travel outside of Florida, with no objection from the state. The Redskins' website says the first training camp practice is Aug. 1.

"He'll be allowed to go to work," Taylor's attorney, Edward Carhart, said.

The next step would be trial, and a tentative date is set for Sept. 12 -- the day after the Redskins open their season. There remains a possibility that the trial could be continued beyond that date.

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

This is a good ways from being settled but at least Taylor won't be missing camp. Taylor's only a second year player but he's off to a rocky start off the field. Here's hoping he can turn it around. He's obviously a talented player as shown by his 89 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles from last season.

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

J

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