February 2008 - Football Wiretap
WR Bruce Signs 2-Year, $6M Deal With 49ers
In a move that reunites him with former Coach Mike Martz, free agent wide receiver Isaac Bruce, released by St. Louis this week after 14 seasons with the Rams, has signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. The contract, ESPN.com confirmed, is worth $6 million.
San Francisco's Candlestick Park Regains Its Name For Good
Candlestick Park finally got its good name back Friday, as reported by the Associated Press. After two much-criticized naming rights agreements with corporate sponsors over the past 12 years, the 49ers formally announced their aging stadium will be known as Candlestick Park for the rest of its days. The 48-year-old stadium was called Monster Park for the last 3 1/2 years although it seemed only the 49ers and their contractually obligated broadcasters actually used the name.
Volek Signs New Three-Year Deal With Chargers
Veteran quarterback Billy Volek will continue his role as the primary backup to Philip Rivers after signing a new three-year contract with the Chargers Friday. The new deal runs through the 2010 season. ?We are very excited to have Billy back,? Chargers' General Manager A.J. Smith said. ?It gives us continuity at the quarterback position. He is always prepared and ready. With his talent, experience and command of our offense, it?s just a great feeling to know he is in the wings.? Volek became an unrestricted free agent late Thursday evening but spurned interest from other teams to remain with the Chargers. In eight NFL seasons, Volek has played in 30 games and started 10. All 10 starts came with the Tennessee Titans. Since joining the Chargers via trade in October of 2006, Volek has appeared in six games. Volek?s most significant action as a Charger came in January?s Divisional Playoff win at Indianapolis. When Rivers was forced to the sideline with a knee injury, Volek came off the bench and led the Bolts on an eight-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. His one-yard quarterback sneak for the go-ahead touchdown with less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winning score.
Grading The Deal: Eagles Sign Asante
Three months ago Asante Samuel intercepted Philadelphia Eagles? quarterback A.J. Feeley and gave the New England Patriots a 7-0 lead just a few plays into the team?s Week Twelve battle. Samuel?s trip to the end zone, along with another key pick in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, proved to be the difference as New England remained undefeated with a tight 31-28 victory over Philadelphia. The two teams won?t play again for another few years, barring another Super Bowl meeting, but Samuel will be looking to perform several ?pick-six? plays for the very team he single-handedly defeated at the end of November. The Eagles agreed to a six-year deal with the cornerback on Friday afternoon, reportedly worth anywhere from $50 to $60 million. Philadelphia not only made the first big splash of the NFL?s free agent period with the move, but also fortified a defense that struggled mightily last season. Samuel is the ball-hawking corner that the Eagles desperately needed, but will serve well in coverage even when he?s not dashing towards the end zone. Asante tallied 44 tackles and six interceptions in New England last season, while Philadelphia?s top-line duo of Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard combined for just five picks in 2007. The newest member of the Eagles? secondary will likely force either Brown or Sheppard to shift positions or pack their bags. The most likely choice is Sheppard who has a history of injury, having missed fifteen games over the past four seasons. Paired in the secondary, Brown and Sheppard often played to each other?s strengths. Brown typically plays the role of enforcer, racking up tackles with the occasional forced fumble. Meanwhile, Sheppard, the lightning member of the duo, is the more athletic option. Sheppard is more likely to grab an interception, but Brown less likely to get burnt on a big play. Assuming the Eagles shift Lito to another position or deal him out of town, the combination of Brown and Samuel in the secondary will certainly provide the Eagles with a more dynamic defense in 2008. Samuel is a versatile defender, which will allow him to create turnovers while still keeping the likes of Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress from hurting Philadelphia in the uber-competitive NFC East. The Eagles sunk to the bottom of the league in takeaways last season, something Samuel should help them improve upon immediately. In addition, he?s a proven player when the game is on the line. The perfect evidence ? he has three interception returns for touchdowns in the playoffs, an NFL record. As strange as it sounds, Samuel?s play on the field may not be the most important aspect of this signing. The Eagles, stuck in a rut following their Super Bowl XXXIX loss to the Patriots and the departure of Owens to Dallas, have proven that they mean business as they head into what will undoubtedly be one of the most important seasons in team history. If they don?t make the playoffs for the second-straight season, we may have seen the last of Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid in Philadelphia. The management, and a majority of the roster, have quite a bit riding on the 2008 campaign. Grade for the Eagles: B+ The Patriots were able to keep Samuel around last season thanks to the franchise tag, but it appeared inevitable that the Pro Bowl corner would bolt for a big payday this offseason. However, losing Samuel to the Eagles could allow New England to replace their star corner with Sheppard, something that was rumored in the weeks prior to Friday?s opening of the free agent market. The only catch, pardon the pun, is that the Patriots will have to strike a deal with Philadelphia in order to obtain Sheppard. The cost won?t be astronomical, especially with the presence of Samuel, but the Eagles? brass would be smart not to give Sheppard away for peanuts either. That is, of course, assuming that the rumors of New England coveting Lito are truthful. With that said, there is no corner in the game that can replace Samuel in the secondary. The Patriots will have to replace him with someone worthy of a starting slot, but they won?t find anyone of his caliber this offseason. New England will have to pull the trigger on a trade (i.e. Lito from Philadelphia) or sort through free agents like Jason Webster, Andre Dyson and Terry Cousin. None of the above sounds too exciting, but I?m not sure a secondary of Ellis Hobbs and Randall Gay (another free agent) does either. Grade for the Patriots: C+ Andrew Perna is a Senior Writer for RealGM.com. Feel free to reach him via e-mail (Andrew.Perna@RealGM.com) with comments or questions.
Dallas Trades Ferguson To Miami
The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to trade nose tackle Jason Ferguson to the Miami Dolphins, according to the Star-Telegram. In exchange for Ferguson, the Cowboys will swap sixth-round picks with the Dolphins this April and have acquired Miami's sixth-round pick in 2009.
Bills Reach Agreement With Kawika Mitchell
The Buffalo Bills admitted to the Democrat and Chronicle on Friday afternoon that they have reached a verbal agreement with Giants' linebacker Kawika Mitchell. He is expected to sign a deal with the Bills by the end of the day.
Eagles Add Samuel To Secondary
Asante Samuel signed a six-year contract with the Eagles on Friday, according to WPVI. Samuel has led the NFL with 16 interceptions over the past two years. He was drafted in the fourth round in 2003 out of Central Florida.
Raiders Re-Sign Tommy Kelly
Oakland re-signed Tommy Kelly to a seven-year contract worth $50 million on Thursday. Kelly is coming off season-ending knee surgery.
Wilkins Announces Retirement
Jeff Wilkins has retired from the NFL, the Rams announced on Friday. Wilkins was the Rams' kicker for the past 11 seasons. "Throughout my 11 years with the Rams, everybody in the organization has been fantastic -- from the top to the bottom," Wilkins said in a statement. "But my retirement is best for me, my family, and the Rams."
Bengals Acquire Shaun Rogers From Detroit
The Detroit Lions have dealt Shaun Rogers to the Bengals in exchange for a third and fifth round draft picks. The Bengals also signed linebacker Dhani Jones to a three-year deal.
Broncos Cut Walker, Dallas And Philly Interested
Javon Walker has been waived by the Denver Broncos, according to a report from ESPN's Michael Smith.
Browns Acquire DT Corey Williams
The Browns will acquire Green Bay DT Corey Williams in exchange for their second round pick in 2008.
Jaguars Sign Jerry Porter And Lemon
WR Jerry Porter is now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Asante Close To Deal With Eagles?
Asante Samuel and the Eagles are close to agreeing to a six-year deal that could pay him as much as $60 million.
Vilma Dealt To New Orleans
The Jets have traded Jonathan Vilma to the Saints for a conditional draft pick.
Jenkins Traded To Jets
The Jets and Panthers have agreed to a trade that will send Kris Jenkins to New York in exchange for third and fifth round picks.
Madieu Williams Leaves Cincy For Minnesota With $33 Million Deal
Madieu Williams has agreed to a six-year, $33 million with the Minnesota Vikings, making him one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL.
Could Carr Be The Answer In Miami?
Could David Carr be the answer for the Miami Dolphins at quarterback this summer?
Cowboys Re-Sign Adams, Tender Barber
The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed left tackle Flozell Adams to a multi-year deal and tendered an offer to Marion Barber.
Report: Anderson To Stay In Cleveland
Derek Anderson has reportedly agreed to terms on a multi-year deal with the Cleveland Browns.
Report: DL Kelly Re-Signs With Oakland For More Than $50M
The Raiders re-signed DL Tommy Kelly on Thursday to a 7-year deal that reportedly could be worth more than $50M.
Bruschi Agrees To Multi-Year Deal With Pats
A person within the NFL, speaking Thursday night on condition of anonymity, said Tedy Bruschi's new deal with the Pats is expected to be signed on Friday.
WR Davis Signs Deal To Stay With Houston
Andre Davis signed a deal to remain with the Houston Texans on Thursday just a day before he would have hit the free agent market.
Vikings Looking To Land Berrian
Because Minnesota has $30 million in cap space, they are likely to find the wide receiver they covet.
Fitzgerald And Arizona Not Close On New Deal
Larry Fitzgerald's $14.6 million salary will restrict the Cardinals' movement in free agency if they can't come to terms on restructuring his contract.
49ers And Redskins Courting Briggs?
The Redskins and 49ers are believed to be most interested in linebacker Lance Briggs.
Bears, Lions And Saints Intereted In Turner
Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans are the teams most heavily interested in San Diego running back Michael Turner.
Eagles Release Jevon Kearse
The Philadelphia Eagles released DE Jevon Kearse, the former NFL Rookie of the Year on Thursday.