Plaxico Burress didn't go so far as to say that he planned to hold out of training camp if he didn't…
NFL Insider Blog-Will Birk Get a New Deal?
Updates 7/28-8/3 UPDATE FRIDAY 9:01 AM EST No New Talks With Birk Scout.com has confirmed there have been no new contract discussions with Matt Birk and the Minnesota Vikings in almost a year. The starting center is on the final year of his contract and is set to make $5.32 million in base salary. He has a roster bonus of $25,000 for each game he's active this season for a total of $400,000. Minnesota selected John Sullivan in the sixth round of April's draft in the hope that he'll be able to challenge for the center job next season should Birk not be re-signed. UPDATE FRIDAY 8:46 AM EST Bell Gets Another Chance When the Houston Texans signed free agent Mike Bell on Thursday, he became the sixth running back on their roster. Bell's experience in the zone rushing scheme that Houston runs gave him a better chance to sign with the team than the other backs that tried out on Thursday. David Washington, son of actor Denzel Washington, Jr., also tried out. "We've been doing it. We came in here and we were doing it and teaching it. The calls haven't changed a lick. We brought the expert in here to make sure we're doing it the right way. If anything, we've cut back but our players are familiar with it and getting more and more familiar with it every day. The thing we want to do with running the ball…we want to back off, get simpler, cut down on plays and get good at the one's we're going to run," head coach Gary Kubiak said about Bell's experience in their offensive zone scheme. A league source notes another reason why Bell signed with Houston is that he was promised that he wouldn't have to play fullback--a position he wasn't thrilled with playing last season with Denver. Scout.com has confirmed Baltimore Ravens also were interested in Bell and might have had him in for a tryout had he not signed with Houston. UPDATE THURSDAY 9:53 AM EST Lenon To Start Again? Detroit Lions president and CEO Matt Millen told Sirius NFL Radio on Wednesday that he expects Paris Lenon to win the starting middle linebacker job for the second year in a row. This may come to a surprise since the team selected Jordon Dizon in the second round who is expected to take over that job relatively soon. Former Arizona Cardinals third-round pick Buster Davis is also competing for playing time in the middle. Millen added recently signed LB Teddy Lehman will play on the strong-side. UPDATE THURSDAY 9:38 AM EST Schottenheimer Done Coaching? A league source who talked Marty Schottenheimer recently said the former NFL head coach is done coaching. Schottenheimer is looking toward a broadcasting career over the next few years with possibilities in radio or television. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:31 PM EST Second-Year Receiver Moving up Depth Chart The Minnesota Vikings finally have good depth at the receiver position and second-year pro Aundrae Allison is starting to turn some heads. The former East Carolina University receiver has always been known for his speed but he's starting to improve in other areas. Practice observers note that Allison has improved his hands and is showing the coaches that he can play in the slot as well as out wide. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell noted Wednesday that the one area where he's needing to improve is in route running and Bevell said Allison still freelances too much. Allison has moved ahead of veteran WR Robert Ferguson for the No. 4 role and he's also vying for the kick return job where he's considered to be the favorite. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 8:12 PM EST Light Finally Going on For Third-Year Receiver? The Cleveland Browns are desperately looking for one of their younger wide receivers to take up the slack since veteran Joe Jurevicius (knee-PUP) is out indefinitely. It appears they may have found that player. Third-year WR Travis Wilson contributed next to nothing in his first two seasons of play and as Scout.com noted earlier this year, Wilson was offered in part a deal to the Minnesota Vikings in return for Troy Williamson. Wilson, perhaps understanding the sense of urgency he has to have at this point based on his tenuous job with the team, has been one of the most improved players through Cleveland's OTAs and for the first week or so of training camp. While practice observers note Wilson will drop an occasional pass, he has shown major improvement with his route running and knowledge of the offense. Wilson, as Scout.com has noted in the past, was very impressive during 2006 Senior Bowl practices and it was there that he caught the eye of many scouts. Some thought he could develop into an excellent possession receiver at the next level--and he might just be scratching the surface in that role. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 8:09 PM EST No New Contract Talks Recently For Offensive Tackle A league source told Scout.com that there have been no recent contract talks between Pittsburgh Steelers LT Marvel Smith and the team. Smith is on the final year of his contract as is third-year OL Willie Colon and there have been no recent contract discussions with Colon either. Colon, who has has taken most of the snaps in training camp at right tackle with the first-team offense, is slated to become a restricted free agent after this season while Smith could receive a significant amount of interest should he hit the unrestricted free agent market. UPDATE TUESDAY 7:27 PM EST Rookie Giving Ravens Badly Needed Help at Receiver When the Baltimore Ravens selected Marcus Smith in the fourth round of this year's draft, the hope was that he could push for a roster spot. If the first week week or so of training camp is any kind of indication, the former University of New Mexico receiver could be a major contributor to the team's offense this season. Smith seems to have made at least one big play in every practice session but he also has made some tough catches in traffic. However, what possibly has been most impressive about the physical receiver has been something that could have been lost by the fans when watching him practice. "We like receivers with size who can not only catch but who also are willing to block down field," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told Scout.com after a recent practice. Smith has been the total package thus far and he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. As one league insider told us after watching practice, Smith reminded him of Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin--big, physical, and excellent run after the catch ability. Because of the lack of depth at the position, Smith could push for a significant role once the season starts if he continues to progress. UPDATE TUESDAY 7:17 PM EST Hunter on Comeback Trail When the New York Jets signed veteran OT Wayne Hunter off the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars late last season, the hope was that he could provide a role for the team in 2008. Hunter has performed well enough in OTA and training camp that he's currently the top backup at right and left tackle. The former third-round pick out of the 2003 draft from the Seattle Seahawks has shown enough versatility that the coaching staff feels comfortable with him at either position. UPDATE TUESDAY 7:03 PM EST No Talks Scheduled For Barnes Extension Jacksonville Jaguars starting LT Khalif Barnes is on the final year of his contract and a league source told Scout.com that there haven't been any recent developments in getting the former second-round pick signed to an extension. But the feeling is if Barnes gets off to a good start this season, he could get a new deal before the mid way point. One thing in Barnes' favor is that Jacksonville doesn't currently have a viable candidate to replace him. His backup, Richard Collier, is probably better off at right tackle and lacks enough upside to be a starter. UPDATE MONDAY 9:29 PM EST No Progress in Extension Talks For Ryan A league source told Scout.com that there's been no progress of late in getting Houston Texans MLB DeMeco Ryans signed to an extension. But it's not from a lack of interest on Ryans' part. According to the CBA that was revised in 2006, teams can't negotiate new deals for players until the third year of their rookie deal so neither side couldn't enter in talks last season. However, Ryans' side has been proactive according to the source and Houston doesn't seem to have the same sense of urgency at this point. But as the source adds, things could change as the months go by and Houston looks toward next season and beyond. The third-year pro is on the third year of his four-year rookie contract. UPDATE MONDAY 2:37 PM EST Bell Scheduled For Workout With Houston Free agent RB Mike Bell is scheduled for a workout later this week with the Houston Texans, Scout.com has confirmed. The former Denver Bronco worked out for the New England Patriots on Saturday but wasn't offered a contract. However, a league source notes the workout went well enough that if New England suffered an injury at the position, they could renew their interest in the back. Houston runs a similar zone blocking scheme to what Denver has used for years so the belief is they think Bell could fit in well. UPDATE MONDAY 2:27 PM EST Spencer Passes Physical New Carolina Panthers OL Charles Spencer passed the team physical over the weekend, Scout.com has confirmed. Spencer was claimed off of waivers from the Houston Texans last week after failing Houston's physical. Interestingly, Carolina was the only team to put a claim in for the mammoth lineman. Spencer is expected to compete for the backup left tackle job initially. He also could get a chance to back up at left guard. As Scout.com first noted several weeks ago, Spencer is in year three of his four year contract but he could void the final year if he completes 35% playing time on offense this season. Updates 7/21-7/27 UPDATE FRIDAY 9:13 AM EST All But One in For Tennessee The Tennessee Titans open camp on Friday and now have all but one of their 2008 draft class under contract. The team signed four out of their seven draft selections this week. Second-round pick Jason Jones, who the team is very excited about, signed a four-year deal with the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000. A league source notes the former Eastern Michigan defensive lineman will also receive a $1.1 million signing bonus. While Jones is capable of playing end or tackle, he's expected to play tackle this season. The hope is that he could push to be the first interior defensive lineman off of the bench. Third-round pick Craig Stevens also signed a four-year deal with the same base salaries. A league source notes the former University of California tight end will also receive a signing bonus of near $697,000. Stevens will be expected to compete for the No. 3 job at the position. However, there are three veterans listed ahead of him on the depth chart. But because the team will use a lot of two-tight end sets in offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger's scheme, Stevens could see more playing time than first expected. Fourth-round pick Williams Hayes signed a four-year deal as well with the same base salaries. The former Winston Salem St. University defensive end will receive a signing bonus of near $498,000. Because the team is light at the position, Hayes could see as many as 15-20 snaps per game this season. Finally, seventh-round pick Cary Williams signed for the same four-year contract details as the previous three players. The former Washburn University cornerback will receive a signing bonus of just under $48,000. Williams is a likely practice squad candidate. The only player left to sign is first-round pick Chris Johnson. UPDATE THURSDAY 8:53 PM EST 49ers Finish Signing Draft Class The San Francisco 49ers reported for camp on Thursday and also got their first-round pick Kentwan Balmer under contract. The former University of North Carolina defensive lineman signed a five-year deal. A league source notes Balmer will receive the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $991,250 (10) 1,189,500 (11) $1,387,750 (12) $700,000. He'll receive $6 million guaranteed and can make up just over $11 million should he hit all of the incentives in his contract. Balmer got slightly more guaranteed money than the player selected one slot below him, Dustin Keller, who got $5.995 million. Balmer likely would have been selected than the 29th spot in the first round had he not gotten injured during Senior Bowl week. UPDATE THURSDAY 8:25 PM EST Lions Reel in First-Rounder The Detroit Lions opened up training camp on Wednesday and got their first-round pick signed a day later. A league source notes Gosder Cherilus signed a five-year deal with the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $1,600,000 (10) 1,920,000 (11) $2,240,000 (12) $855,000. The source adds Cherilus will receive $8.86 million guaranteed and he can make a maximum of just over $14.8 million. The former Boston College offensive lineman is expected to start at right tackle for Detroit. Left to sign still is second-round pick Jordon Dizon. If Cincinnati Bengals second-round pick Jerome Simpson agreed to a deal, that could get Dizon into camp soon since Simpson was selected one spot below the former University of Colorado linebacker. The player picked one spot above Dizon, Matt Forte, signed with the Chicago Bears several weeks ago. Seventh-round pick Caleb Campbell, a linebacker from Army, has been told has to return to the service to finish his military duty. UPDATE THURSDAY 1:23 PM EST One More to Go For Denver The Denver Broncos had nine selections in the 2008 draft and now have eight of them signed to contracts. The latest player to sign was second-round pick Eddie Royal. The former Virginia Tech University receiver signed a four-year deal with the following minimum base salaries: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000. The deal also includes a signing bonus of just over $1.5 million. Royal had an outstanding set of practices earlier this year during Senior Bowl week and it was there that scouts around the NFL felt he was starting to move up draft boards. Not only will Royal get to compete for one of the top backup receiver jobs with Denver, he'll also compete for a role on special teams returns. The only remaining player unsigned is first-round pick Ryan Clady. UPDATE THURSDAY 1:17 PM EST Kansas City Has Ten Under Contract The Kansas City Chiefs opened training camp on Thursday and now have just two more players to sign from their 2008 draft class. The latest to agree to deals were first-round pick Branden Albert and second-round pick Brandon Flowers. Albert, a former University of Virginia offensive lineman, agreed to a five-year deal and is expected to sign the deal within the next 24 hours. He's expected to start at left tackle this season with veteran OL Damion McIntosh moving to right tackle. Flowers, who played cornerback at Virginia Tech University, signed a four-year deal. A league source notes he'll receive the following minimum base salaries: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of just over $1.5 million. The expectation is that Flowers has a good shot at starting opposite veteran CB Patrick Surtain this season. The Chiefs have just Glenn Dorsey, the first of their two first-round picks, and seventh-round pick Mike Merritt, left unsigned of their 12 draft picks. UPDATE THURSDAY 9:07 AM EST Is Marshall Changing Positions? When the Carolina Panthers open up training camp on Friday, we could see a key player from the defensive side of the ball changing positions. A league source told Scout.com that third-year CB Richard Marshall could be moving over to free safety. Apparently the coaches want to get their best four secondary defenders on the field at the same time and they believe Marshall is clearly one of them based on his first two seasons of play. If Marshall winds up making the positional move to free safety, he'd compete for the starting job against Nate Salley, rookie Charles Godfrey, and veteran Terrence Holt. Salley was injured for most of last season but he has pretty good size for the position. Godfrey is expected to make the move from playing cornerback in college. Holt signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals last season but was viewed as a disappointment. If Marshall does make the move over to safety, that could leave the team thin on depth at the cornerback position. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 6:47 PM EST Lions Signed Prized Rookie The Detroit Lions drafted Kevin Smith in the third round with the belief that the former University of Central Florida running back will take over the starting job at that position this season. The coaching staff believes Smith is a perfect fit for new offensive coordinator Jim Colletto's power rushing scheme. Even though they expect him to be the starter for a long time to come, Smith only signed a three-year deal with base salaries of: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000. Smith will also receive a signing bonus of just under $650,000. Also signing a three-year deal was fifth-round pick Jerome Felton. The former Furman University fullback will receive the same minimum base salaries as Smith along with a signing bonus of just over $136,000. Because of the offensive scheme change, the fullback will be a bigger part of Colletto's offense which makes Felton's importance to the team greater. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 6:47 PM EST 49ers Sign All But One The San Francisco 49ers report to training camp on Thursday and how only have one more player left to sign from their 2008 rookie class. The latest to sign a deal was third-round pick Reggie Smith. The former University of Oklahoma corner back signed a four-year deal sign minimum base salaries of: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000. A league source notes he'll receive a signing bonus of about $784,000. The team is looking for a younger, developmental cornerback to play behind starters Walt Harris and Nate Clements and Smith fits that mold well. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 6:37 PM EST Colts Start Signing Rookie Class Indianapolis Colts team president Bill Polian seemed quite pessimistic earlier this week when discussing whether or not the team's rookie class would sign on time. However, his very public displeasure may have spurred on some further contract negotiations as three deals have now been completed. Signing first was sixth-round pick Pierre Garcon. The former Mount Union College receiver signed a four-year deal with minimum base salaries of: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000. According to a league source, he'll receive a signing bonus of around $71,500. Garcon is a likely practice squad candidate but the hope is that he push for the final receiver spot. The club also got fourth-round pick Jacob Tamme to sign a four-year deal. Tamme, an athletic tight end from the University of Kentucky, will receive a signing bonus of around $421,500. With the team losing TE Ben Utecht in free agency to the Cincinnati Bengals and with veteran TE Bryan Fletcher remaining unsigned, Tamme has an excellent shot to win the top backup job to starter Dallas Clark. Finally, fifth-round pick Marcus Howard signed a four-year deal as well. He'll receive a signing bonus of around $166,500. The former University of Georgia outside linebacker is expected to move to defensive end this season with the Colts. The club sees him as an undersized but fast edge rusher like starting DE Robert Mathis. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 2:08 PM EST New Orleans Gets Another Draft Selection in the Fold The New Orleans Saints had just six selections in the 2008 draft but have gotten four of them under contract. The latest to agree to a deal is third-round pick Carl Nicks. The former University of Nebraska offensive tackle agreed to a three-year deal with minimum base salaries. The contract also includes a signing bonus of close to $118,000. The developmental prospect projects to play left or right tackle. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11:01 AM EST Fifth-Rounder Agrees With Bills The Buffalo Bills got another player from their 2008 draft class under contract after fifth-round pick Alvin Bowen agreed to a four-year deal for a total package of $3.2 million. The former Iowa St. University linebacker projects to play on the weak-side. The weak-side linebacker position already is deep with newcomer Kawika Mitchell, who will likely start, and Keith Ellison. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:38 AM EST Green Bay Gets Started Signing Two Players The Green Bay Packers hadn't signed one of their nine selections in the 2008 draft until Wednesday when two players came under contract. Fourth-round pick Josh Sitton signed a four-year deal with minimum base salaries of: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of $384,000. The former University of Central Florida offensive lineman is capable of playing both guard spots and could also play right tackle if needed. He does project better to playing inside and he could push for a starting job at one of the guard spots since both positions aren't set. Also signing was seventh-round pick Matt Flynn. The former LSU signal caller also signed a four-year deal with the same minimum base salaries. He'll also receive a signing bonus of just over $64,000. Flynn will compete for the No.3 quarterback job. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:28 AM EST Detroit Signs Two More The Detroit Lions selected nine players in the 2008 draft and now have three under contract. The latest to sign were third-round pick Andre Fluellen and seventh-round pick Landon Cohen. Fluellen, a defensive tackle from Florida St. University, signed a three-year deal with the following minimum base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 along with a signing bonus of just over $511,000. Fluellen is seen as a good fit for head coach Rod Marinelli's cover-2 defensive scheme because of his ability to shed blocks and to disrupt plays. Cohen signed for the same base salaries over his three-year deal. He'll also get a signing bonus of just short of $44,000. The former Ohio University defensive tackle is seen as a developmental practice squad candidate. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:21 AM EST Spencer Update In Tuesday's transactions, it was noted that the Houston Texans waived Charles Spencer for failing his physical. But sources close to Spencer told Scout.com that the offensive lineman is healthy which suggests Spencer could have been released for other reasons. Even so, Spencer shouldn't have a problem finding other suitors based on his upside and talent. UPDATE TUESDAY 4:46 PM EST Spencer Waived In somewhat of a surprising move, Scout.com has confirmed the Houston Texans have waived OL Charles Spencer. Spencer, who was drafted in the third round in 2006, hasn't played since the second game of his rookie season after suffering a broken leg and damage to his knee. However, he made significant progress over the past several months and the feeling was that he was close to being able to play. In fact, Spencer moved around so well during the team's OTAs that the coaching staff held him out of team drills so he didn't over exert himself. Spencer was originally slated to challenge for the right guard spot against Mike Brisiel but because he said he's more comfortable on the left side, he was moved to left guard to compete against Chester Pitts for the starting job. Spencer was also told during the OTAs to be ready to play left tackle if first-round pick Duane Brown struggles. Veteran Ephraim Salaam will remain as Brown's backup with Spencer out of the picture. It's possible the transaction could show up as waived/failed physical but Spencer actually isn't believed to be injured. It's more than he probably could lose another 10 pounds in order to get to his playing weight. The former University of Pittsburgh offensive lineman should receive a decent amount of attention from other teams because of his ability to play guard and tackle. UPDATE TUESDAY 11:41 AM EST Still Four Teams That Haven't Signed a Draft Pick As of late Tuesday morning, there were still four teams that haven't signed one of their 2008 draft selections. The four teams are the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and Minnesota Vikings. Cleveland rookies and veterans report on Wednesday so look for most of their rookie class to be signed on time--especially considering they didn't own a selection in the first three rounds. Green Bay rookies don't report until Sunday so the sense of urgency to sign them likely won't come for at least a few more days. Minnesota rookies report along with the veterans on Thursday so expect most of their five selections to get signed over the next 24 hours or so. Indianapolis rookies report with the veterans on Thursday but team president Bill Polian didn't seem optimistic this week that any of their nine selections will be signed on time. UPDATE TUESDAY 9:01 AM EST Another Rookie Signs With San Francisco With just two days before training camp opens for the San Francisco 49ers, they're getting closer to signing all of their rookies. The latest to sign was fourth-round pick Cody Wallace. The former Texas A&M center signed a four-year deal and will receive the following minimum base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of over $488,000. The selection of Wallace is particularly important since starting C Eric Heitmann is on the final year of his contract. The team reports to camp on Thursday and first-round pick Kentwan Balmer and third-round pick Reggie Smith remain unsigned. UPDATE TUESDAY 8:47 AM EST Four More Left to Sign For Kansas City The Kansas City Chiefs had the most players drafted of any team and now have eight of those players under contract. The two latest players to sign deals were third-round picks Jamaal Charles and Brad Cottam. Both players signed three-year deals. Charles, a speedy running back from the University of Texas, will receive the following minimum base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 along with a signing bonus of around $600,000. Cottam, a tall tight end from the University of Tennessee, will receive the same minimum base salaries and a signing bonus of $584,000. Cottam has drawn the comparison to Ben Utecht (Cincinnati Bengals) who is also a tall but athletic tight end. The rookies, along with the veterans, must report to training camp on Thursday. UPDATE TUESDAY 8:47 AM EST Arizona Has Just One Left to Sign The Arizona Cardinals are just one of a few teams that are very close to getting all of their 2008 draft class under contract. The latest to sign on the dotted line was second-round pick Calais Campbell. The former University of Miami-Fla. defensive end signed a four-year deal with the following minimum base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000. A league source notes Campbell also will receive a signing bonus of $1.2 million. The tall defensive lineman is a solid fit for Arizona's 3-4 defensive scheme because of his size and he should see a decent amount of playing time in a reserve role this season. Arizona only has first-round pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left to sign who will eventually sign a five-year deal. The rookies and veterans report to camp on Wednesday. UPDATE MONDAY 10:01 PM EST 49ers Finally Get Second-Round Pick Signed The San Francisco 49ers thought they had signed second-round pick Chilo Rachal a few weeks ago only for the league to disapproval the contract. Scout.com has confirmed the former USC offensive lineman had the contract finally approved by the league. This time around it's a four-year deal with bases salaries of: (08) $295,000 (09) $460,000 (10) $552,000 (11) $644,000. The contract also includes a signing bonus of just under $1.5 million and a rare roster bonus for a second-round pick of $73,000. The base salaries are different from other rookies for years two, three, and four. Updates 7/14-7/20 UPDATE SUNDAY 2:17 PM EST Rams Getting Closer to Getting All Picks Signed The St. Louis Rams now have six of eight players from their 2008 draft class under contract. The team's first-round pick and second selection overall in the draft, Chris Long, signed a six-year deal. The former University of Virginia defensive end's contract terms weren't immediately available. Long is expected to come in and compete for a starting job right away. Also agreeing to a deal this weekend was seventh-round pick Chris Chamberlain. The former University of Tulsa safety signed a three-year deal with minimum base salaries of: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000. A league source notes he'll also receive a signing bonus of around $36,000. UPDATE SATURDAY 9:15 AM EST Four Teams Left That Haven't Signed a Draft Pick As of Saturday morning, there are still four teams that haven't signed a 2008 draft selections. Those teams are the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. UPDATE SATURDAY 9:15 AM EST Rookie Safety Signs With Chiefs The Kansas City Chiefs had a large draft class this year with 12 selections and they now have half of that class under contract. The latest to sign a deal is third-round pick DaJuan Morgan. The former North Carolina St. safety signed a three-year deal which includes the minimum base salaries along with a signing bonus of around $544,000. Morgan is expected to compete for a backup job at free safety. The team released veteran FS Greg Wesley one day before signing Morgan. UPDATE SATURDAY 9:01 AM EST Saints Reel in Two Picks The New Orleans Saints selected six players in this year's draft and now have three of those players under contract. The latest to sign this week were sixth-round pick PK Taylor Mehlhaff and seventh-round pick WR Adrian Arrington. Both players signed three-year deals and will receive minimum base salaries. Mehlhaff, a kicker from the University of Wisconsin will receive a signing bonus of just over $75,000. He'll compete for the starting job at that position against veteran Martin Gramatica. Arrington, a receiver from the University of Michigan, will receive a signing bonus of around $20,000. With at least four receiver jobs on the depth chart wide open, Arrington has a realistic chance to make the team despite his low draft position. UPDATE FRIDAY 5:11 PM EST Carolina Continues Strong Pace on Signings The Carolina Panthers are making a big push to get their rookies signed on time for the start of training camp which begins next Friday. As Scout.com reported earlier this week, Carolina signed seventh-round picks OL Mackenzy Bernadeau and DE Hilee Taylor, sixth-round pick DT Nick Hayden, and fifth-round pick TE Gary Barnidge to four-year deals. Late this week, they inked a pair of third-round picks to four-year deals as well. University of Iowa CB Charles Godfrey, the first of their two third-rounders, will receive minimum base salaries of: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000. He'll also receive a signing bonus of just over $854,000. The hope is that Godfrey will be able to find a role in Carolina's dime defense. Their other third-round pick, LB Dan Connor, will receive the same base salaries along with a signing bonus of just over $788,000. The defensive coaching staff hasn't decided yet whether Connor will play inside or on the weak-side. Currently, second-year pro Jon Beason is the starter inside. Carolina signed former Cincinnati Bengal LB Landon Johnson who is competing for the weak-side job against veteran Na'il Diggs. UPDATE FRIDAY 4:35 PM EST Baltimore Inks Two More After getting first-round pick Joe Flacco to agree to a deal earlier this week, the Baltimore Ravens got two more rookies under contract a few days later, this time with both of their fourth-round picks. Their first pick in the fourth round, Marcus Smith, signed a three-year deal. A league source notes he'll receive the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 along with a signing bonus of just over $369,000. The former University of New Mexico receiver has a good chance to not only make the final roster, but he could find a spot in the rotation at the position because there's a major lack of depth there. The next of their two fourth-rounders, David Hale, also signed a three-year deal with the same base salaries. He'll receive a signing bonus of over $294,000. The former Weber St. University offensive lineman projects to play right tackle. UPDATE FRIDAY 4:27 PM EST Dallas Gets First of Their Rookie Class Signed The Dallas Cowboys were one of five teams that hadn't signed a single player from their 2008 rookie class. That changed when they signed fifth-round pick Orlando Scandrick. A league source notes Scandrick signed a four-year deal with the following minimum base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000. He'll also receive a signing bonus of $185,000. The corner Boise St. University cornerback could have a hard time making the team due to the apparent improved depth at the position. UPDATE FRIDAY 10:31 AM EST Rachal's Deal Not Approved It was widely reported earlier this week that San Francisco 49ers second-round pick Chilo Rachal agreed a four-year deal with the team. On Thursday, the league didn't wind up approving the deal so he remains unsigned. Recently the league didn't approve Denver Broncos seventh-round pick Josh Barrett's contract. After some slight adjustments to the contract, the four-year deal was approved about a week later. UPDATE FRIDAY 9:43 AM EST Which Teams Still Haven't Signed a Draft Selection? As of Friday morning, there are still five teams that haven't signed any of their 2008 draft picks. Those teams are the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and Minnesota Vikings. UPDATE FRIDAY 9:31 AM EST Defensive End in the Fold For Cincinnati The Cincinnati Bengals signed another one of their 2008 draft class. Angelo Craig, a defensive end from nearby University of Cincinnati, signed a four-year deal. He'll receive minimum base salaries of: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) 555,000 along with a signing bonus of over $40,500. Craig is the fourth player out of Cincinnati's draft class to agree to a deal. Six other players remain unsigned. UPDATE THURSDAY 1:25 PM EST Rookie Receiver Signs With Rams After the St. Louis Rams decided to part ways with veteran WR Isaac Bruce earlier this year, the personnel evaluators of the team made the decision to get younger at the position. In doing so, they selected two receivers within the first four rounds of the draft. The first receiver selected, University of Houston's Donnie Avery, remains unsigned. But fourth-round pick Keenan Burton signed his deal this week after agreeing to it a few weeks ago. The former University of Kentucky Wildcat signed a four-year deal with the following minimum base salaries: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000. The deal also includes a signing bonus of around $309,000. UPDATE THURSDAY 9:31 AM EST Defensive Lineman In the Fold For Carolina The Carolina Panthers reached a four-year deal with seventh-round pick Hilee Taylor, Scout.com has confirmed. The former University of North Carolina defensive end will receive the following minimum base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of slightly more than $56,000. Because Carolina is light on depth at talent at defensive end, Taylor has a legitimate shot at making the team despite being selected quite low in the draft. Denver Gets Fullback Signed The Denver Broncos have signed seventh-round pick Peyton Hillis to a four-year deal, Scout.com has confirmed. The former University of Arkansas fullback will receive the following minimum base salaries:(08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of close to $50,000. Hillis could have a hard time making the team since veteran FBs Cecil Sapp and Mike Bell are already on the roster. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:39 PM EST Defensive Line Help on The Way For Seattle The Seattle Seahawks have gone through some injury problems over the last few years on the interior of their defensive line. On Wednesday, they signed fourth-round pick Red Bryant who could provide some badly needed depth at defensive tackle. The former Texas A&M Aggie signed a four-year deal with the following minimum base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000. He'll also receive a signing bonus of just over $441,000. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 8:07 PM EST Jets Reel in Two Draft Picks The New York Jets signed two more players from their 2008 draft class on Wednesday. Fourth-round pick Dwight Lowery signed a four-year deal with the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000. The former San Jose St. University cornerback also will receive a signing bonus of around $464,000. Lowery will likely vie for playing time in the team's dime defense. Also signing on Wednesday was fifth-round pick Erik Ainge. The former University of Tennessee signal caller signed for four years with the same base salaries that Lowery received. He'll also receive a signing bonus of around $165,000. Ainge was a late addition to the Senior Bowl but put in a set of inconsistent performances that week and he didn't do much better at the NFL combine the following month. Because of that, he dropped farther than most personnel evaluators thought he would. He's projected to hold the third-string quarterback job this season. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 1:51 PM EST Flacco Contract Negotiations Update A league source with knowledge of the contract negotiations with Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Joe Flacco told Scout.com that negotiations started up again yesterday evening ended around 1:00 AM Wednesday. Negotiations are ongoing today at this hour between the team's vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty and Flacco's agent Joe Linta. This is the fifth meeting between both sides since Flacco was selected with the 18th pick overall. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 1:21 PM EST Kansas City Reels in Two More of Their Twelve Draft Selections Scout.com has confirmed the Kansas City Chiefs have signed sixth-round pick Kevin Robinson and seventh-round pick Brian Johnston. Robinson, a former Utah St. University receiver, agreed to a three-year deal with a signing bonus for around $73,000 along with the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 The team believes Robinson will make an impact on special teams return while trying to make the roster also as a receiver. Johnston, a former Gardner-Webb defensive end, also agreed to a three-year deal with the same base salaries. He'll receive a signing bonus of just over $47,000. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:17 AM EST Carolina Gets Tight End Signed The Carolina Panthers have signed fifth-round pick Gary Barnidge, Scout.com has confirmed. He agreed to a four-year deal with minimum base salaries. The contract also includes a signing bonus of around $189,000. The former University of Louisville tight end could push for the No. 2 job at the position against second-year pro Dante Rosario. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:07 AM EST Houston Gets Third Draft Pick in The Fold The Houston Texans have reached a four-year contract agreement with fourth-round pick Xavier Adibi. A league source notes he'll receive a signing bonus for around $452,500 along with the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000. Adibi is the third draft selection of Houston's 2008 draft class to agree to a deal. The former Virginia Tech outside linebacker opened some eyes with his solid coverage skills during Senior Bowl week practices. UPDATE TUESDAY 7:11 PM EST Jacksonville Signs Another Williams The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed a third player from their 2008 draft class on Tuesday. Fifth-round pick Trae Williams signed a four-year deal, Scout.com has confirmed. The former University of South Florida cornerback will receive the following base salaries: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000 with a signing bonus of around $168,000. Williams will compete for the role in the team's dime defense this season with the hope that he could develop into their nickel back in future seasons. As Scout.com first reported a few days ago, the team also signed their other fifth-round pick, Thomas Williams, to a four-year deal. UPDATE TUESDAY 7:03 PM EST Arizona Signs Another Draft Selection The Arizona Cardinals signed another one of their 2008 draft selections on Tuesday. Third-round pick Early Doucet, as the other four players who signed deals, agreed to a three-year contract. The former LSU receiver will receive the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 He'll also receive a $550,000 signing bonus, Scout.com has confirmed. Doucet projects to be a slot receiver at the NFL level--a position which became open after the departure of Bryant Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year in free agency. Doucet put together a fine series of practices during Senior Bowl week which ended up helping his draft stock a bit. UPDATE TUESDAY 6:55 PM EST Raiders Reel In Second Pick The Oakland Raiders reached a four-year deal with fourth-round pick Tyvon Branch, Scout.com has confirmed. The former University of Connecticut safety will receive the following base salaries: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,000 (11) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of around $516,000. A league source notes Branch took a big jump up draft boards after an outstanding NFL combine performance. He was timed in the 40-yard dash on both runs around the 4.3 area which is amazing for a player at the safety position and for his size. Branch is the second player from Oakland's 2008 draft class to agree to a deal. UPDATE TUESDAY 9:51 AM EST Five Teams Still Haven't Signed a Draft Pick A league source notes that through Monday evening, there were still five teams that still haven't signed or reached a contract agreement with any of their rookie class. Those teams are: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and Minnesota Vikings. UPDATE TUESDAY 8:23 AM EST Pressley Signs Deal The New Orleans Saints have signed fifth-round pick DeMario Pressley to a three-year deal, Scout.com has confirmed. The former North Carolina St. University defensive lineman will receive minimum base salaries of: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 with a signing bonus of close to $139,000. Pressley will likely compete for playing time at defensive tackle in back of veterans Hollis Thomas, Brian Young, Kendrick Clancy, and Antwan Lake and fellow rookie Sedrick Ellis. UPDATE TUESDAY 7:59 AM EST Carolina Signs Another Draft Selection The Carolina Panthers have signed the second player from their 2008 draft class. Scout.com has confirmed the team signed seventh-round pick Mackenzy Bernadeau. The former Bentley College offensive lineman signed a four-year deal with minimum base salaries of: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000 He'll also receive a signing bonus of a little more than $36,000. Bernadeau is considered a likely practice squad candidate but will compete for a roster spot at guard. The team got things started last week when they signed sixth-round pick DT Nick Hayden. UPDATE MONDAY 9:03 PM EST Suggs Negotiations Continue; Flacco Next Despite reports to the contrary, a league source notes the Baltimore Ravens are still optimistic that they can sign DE/OLB Terrell Suggs to a new deal before Tuesday's 4:00 pm est deadline for reaching long-term extensions for franchise designated players. Should Suggs not sign an extension by tomorrow's deadline, neither side can enter into a long-term deal until after the season is over. Suggs reached a settlement with the team back in May which designates him as a franchise defensive end-linebacker instead of being the their franchise linebacker as previously designated. The updated designation raised his one-year franchise amount of $8.065 million to around $8.5 million. Once the team is done negotiating with Suggs' agent Gary Wichard, their focus will be on getting first-round pick Joe Flacco signed. Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, told Scout.com Monday evening that he plans to start contract negotiations in person Tuesday evening. It will be the fifth such meeting since the quarterback from the University of Delaware was selected in April's draft. UPDATE MONDAY 8:53 PM EST Atlanta Reels in Fifth-Round Pick The Atlanta Falcons have reached a four-year deal with fifth-round pick Robert James. The undersized former Arizona St. University linebacker will receive minimum base salaries of: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of close to $199,000. James projects to weak-side linebacker and will compete for playing time in back of starter Keith Brooking. UPDATE MONDAY 10:16 AM EST Smith Might Not Stick Around Much Longer While the San Francisco 49ers are still trying to figure out who their starting quarterback will be for this season, Alex Smith may be playing elsewhere in 2009. A league source notes the fourth-year signal caller had his contract restructured in March of this year. Smith's deal will now expire after 2010 and he has a cap number of around $9.9 million for 2008. But if he doesn't win the starting job this season, he's almost certain not to be with the team next season. Smith's base salary for 2009 is a staggering $9.625 million and he carries a very large cap number of over $12.2 million--that's quite a hefty number to pay for an underachieving quarterback. It's certainly possible that San Francisco's quarterback of the future isn't on their roster currently. UPDATE MONDAY 9:49 AM EST Stallworth Could be Around For Just One Season When the Cleveland Browns made some big moves during free agency, they did so with some protection should those moves not prove to be fruitful. The hope is that veteran WR Donte' Stallworth will give the team a badly needed depth threat opposite Braylon Edwards. But Stallworth is now with his fourth team in four seasons and should he not play well this season, it's almost certain he won't be back in 2009. The team smartly included a $4.75 million roster bonus in his contract which is believed to be due in March of next season. So unless he has a very productive season, his $6.4 million cap number for next season probably will be too much to handle. Updates 7/7-7/13 UPDATE FRIDAY 6:07 PM EST Flacco Talks to Pick up Next Week The agent for for Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Joe Flacco said Friday he expects to meet with the club for a fifth time tentatively this coming Wednesday. Veteran player agent Joe Linta told Scout.com the meeting will likely take place at the team's headquarters in Owings Mills, Maryland. Linta declined to discuss the status of the negotiations other than to say, "I have confidence that the deal can get done when I'm there in person next week." Linta last represented a first-round pick two years ago (Kamerion Wimbley-Cleveland Browns) and completed that deal at team headquarters in Berea, Ohio a few days before training camp started. UPDATE FRIDAY 10:02 AM EST Arizona Gets Two More Signed The Arizona Cardinals have signed two more players from their 2008 draft class. The latest players to sign are sixth-round pick Chris Harrington and seventh-round pick Brandon Keith. Both players signed three-year deals and will receive the following base salaries: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000. Harrington, who played end at Texas A&M, projects to outside linebacker. He'll receive a signing bonus of around $73,000. Keith, perhaps the biggest offensive lineman from the league's entire 2008 draft class, will receive a signing bonus of around $40,500. UPDATE FRIDAY 9:47 AM EST Jacksonville Gets Second Player Signed The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed fifth-round pick Thomas Williams to a four-year deal, Scout.com has confirmed. The former USC outside linebacker will receive the following base salaries: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of around $174,000. The undersized Williams will likely compete for playing time on the weak-side. Williams is the second of Jacksonville's 2008 draft class to sign a contract. UPDATE FRIDAY 9:39 AM EST Detroit Signs Third-Round Pick The Detroit Lions have signed third-round pick Cliff Avril to a three-year deal, Scout.com has confirmed. The former Purdue University defensive end will receive the following base salaries: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 along with a signing bonus of $484,000. Avril had a very good set of practices during Senior Bowl week and his performances then helped push him up the ladder on draft day. The hope is that Avril along with second-year DE Ikaika Alama-Francis will form a solid edge-rushing tandem for years to come. Avril is the first of Detroit's 2008 draft class to sign a contract. UPDATE THURSDAY 4:59 PM EST Duckett Likely to Hang Around For Just One Season Some league observers were quite surprised the Seattle Seahawks signed free agent RB T. J. Duckett to a five-year deal. But at closer inspection, he may only stick around for one season. Duckett, who will likely handle a short-yardage role for the team, has a roster bonus of $2 million believed to be due in March of 2009. He also has a cap value of close to $5 million in 2009. That's quite a price to pay for a projected backup who doesn't offer much versatility. It should be noted that Seattle has the option to convert the roster bonus to a signing bonus that could be spread over the final four years of the deal. UPDATE THURSDAY 4:29 PM EST Bennett Signs Deal; Could Compete For Starting Job Chicago Bears third-round pick Earl Bennett agreed to a four-year deal last week and signed this past Tuesday. He'll earn the following base salaries of: (2008) $295,000 (2009) $385,000 (2010) $470,000 (2011) $555,000 with a signing bonus of around $820,800. The former Vanderbilt University receiver was looked at by scouts as a physical player who isn't afraid to go over the middle. While he's not considered fast in any way, he's known for his run after the catch ability and his ability to make plays underneath in coverage. A team source believes Bennett, if he gets off to a good start in training camp, could challenge for a starting job right away or at worst, challenge for the very important No. 3/possession role. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:29 AM EST Hackett Going Through Adjustment Period There's a long list of veteran wide receivers who didn't do well after changing teams. There are various reasons for this issue. It could be that playing with a new quarterback is a big challenge or the change in scheme presents a more difficult challenge. New Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Hackett will be playing in a completely different passing game and is being asked to do some different things compared to what he went through with the Seattle Seahawks. A league source notes Hackett is being asked to run deeper routes and less timing based intermediate routes like in the West Coast system. His former team, the Seattle Seahawks, run the West Coast system and Hackett was rarely asked to beat his man deep. It's the deeper routes which Hackett will be concentrating on during training camp later this month. Hackett is known for his running after the catch skills but not so much as a speed receiver so he has a challenge on his hands. Hackett is competing for the No. 2 receiver job against veteran Muhsin Muhammad. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9:16 AM EST Carolina Gets First Draft Pick Signed The Carolina Panthers have signed sixth-round pick DT Nick Hayden to a four-year deal, Scout.com has confirmed. The former Wisconsin Badger will receive minimum base salaries of: (08) $295,000 (09) $385,000 (10) $470,00 (11) $555,000 along with a signing bonus of just above $98,000. Hayden, who is one of eight defensive tackles on Carolina's roster, is viewed as a long-shot to make the team because of the additions of veteran DTs Darwin Walker and Ian Scott who are slated to back up starters Damione Lewis and Ma'ake Kemoeatu. UPDATE TUESDAY 10:57 AM EST Jurevicius Could Save Team Money Cleveland Browns WR Joe Jurevicius, who turns 34 in December, had a fourth surgery on his right knee recently and his future is certainly in question. If he winds up deciding to retire than trying to come back from his latest medical procedure, his departure would clear up some badly needed cap space. A league source notes Cleveland is currently right up against their salary cap number of $129 million. According to a league source, if Jurevicius decides to retire the team would get hit with his prorated signing bonus money for the final two seasons of his contract which is $1.125 million ($562,500X2) . They would get credit for base salary of $1.9 million so they would actually have a savings of about $775,000. He was due a roster bonus of $500,000 which was believed to be paid earlier this year. His cap figure for 2008 is $3.06 million and has a cap value of $3.562 in 2009. Jurevicius is also due a roster bonus of $500,000 for next season. UPDATE TUESDAY 10:41 AM EST Henry Could be Done After 2008 Last year, the Dallas Cowboys were a team that seemed to have decent depth at the cornerback position. But after losing Jacques Reeves and Nathan Jones in free agency, the front office felt it was time to reload at the position. With Adam Jones added via a trade and Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick added through the draft, the team now has more depth probably than they need which brings us to Anthony Henry. A league source notes the veteran cornerback, who has two years left on his contract, has a $1 roster bonus due in March of 2009 and also has a cap value of $5.6 million. With Jenkins being a first-round pick and with the team locking up Terence Newman through 2014, Henry could be the odd man out. It's possible that Henry, because of his size, could be moved to safety this season should Jenkins develop rapidly and should the talented Jones show he can stay out of trouble. Updates 6/30-7/6 UPDATE THURSDAY 4:56 PM EST Forte Contract Details; First Second-Rounder to Sign When the Chicago Bears signed Matt Forte on Wednesday, he became the first second-round pick to sign a deal this year. The former Tulane University running back signed a four-year deal with a signing bonus of about $1.53 million. He'll receive minimum base salaries of $295,000 (2008), $385,000 (2009), $470,000 (2010), $555,000 (2011). Eleven Teams Still Haven't Signed a Draft Pick A league source notes about 11 teams, as of late Thursday afternoon, still haven't signed one of their 2008 draft picks. The teams that make up that list are the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans. As the source notes, the sense of urgency usually picks up right after the July 4th weekend when cap managers return to work. UPDATE THURSDAY 11:37 AM EST Cleveland's Future at Running Back? Veteran RB Jamal Lewis looked to be on the downside of his career after started to slide in his final three years with the Baltimore Ravens. However, after posting 1,304 yards on the ground and a 4.4 yards per carry average (highest since since 2003) with the Cleveland Browns last season, it seems that Lewis could stick around a few more years. But a league source pointed out to Scout.com that Lewis, who re-signed for three seasons with Cleveland earlier this year, has a $4 million roster bonus due in March of 2009. He also has a cap number of $6.5 million in 2009 (same cap value as 2008). He also has a roster bonus of $1.5 due in 2010. Lewis, who turns 29 next month, will likely have to post strong numbers again in 2008 if he's to play for Cleveland in the final two years of his deal. And for those believing the Browns will sign a veteran running back for insurance, league sources indicate Cleveland is right at their salary cap limit of $129 million. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 3:05 PM EST Minimum Salary Drops For Last Year in Some Rookie Deals A veteran player agents notes that there's one noticeable but minor difference in this year's rookie deals. The minimum salary in the final year of players selected in rounds 3-7 went from $565,000 that was projected under the old CBA to $555,000. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 2:35 PM EST Some Teams Including CBA Language in Contracts A league source told Scout.com that some teams are including language in some rookie deals that has provisions should the lack of a CBA heading continue to hold true heading into the 2010 and 2011 seasons. NFL owners had until November to opt out of the current labor agreement but chose to do so early (at the May meeting). If no new agreement is reached, the league could be without a salary cap in 2010 and a lockout possibly could take place in 2011. While several league sources believe a new deal will be reached before 2010, several teams have already started to include language regarding a possible lockout. The Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks have included lack of a CBA language in some of their rookie deals. UPDATE TUESDAY 10:39 PM EST Ratliff Could be Moved Despite having a standout season in 2007, Dallas Cowboys starting NT Jay Ratliff could be moved to end this season. Ratliff saw time at left end over inconsistent former first-round pick Marcus Spears during the team's OTAs which gave veteran NT Tank Johnson time with the starters inside. A league source notes it's not out of the question that Ratliff sees time at both positions this season or makes a permanent move outside since the team has depth at nose tackle. A decision could be determined by how Spears performs during training camp. Ratliff, a former 2005 seventh-round pick for Dallas, signed a five-year, $20.5 million extension last season. Spears is signed through 2010 and Johnson is on the final year of his two-year deal he signed in 2007. UPDATE TUESDAY 10:23 PM EST Flacco Talks to Resume Next Week Contract negotiations between the agent for Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Joe Flacco and the team's vice president of football administration Pat Moriarity are expected to resume next week, Scout.com has confirmed. Both sides have met three times since the former University of Delaware signal caller was selected 18th overall in April's draft. Updates 6/23-6/29 UPDATE SATURDAY 7:59 PM EST Indianapolis Adds Yet Another Center Despite having decent depth at the position, the Indianapolis Colts claimed C Doug Datish off of waivers from the Atlanta Falcons, Scout.com has confirmed. The former 2007 sixth-round pick for Atlanta joins a crowded group of centers including veteran starter Jeff Saturday and rookie sixth-round pick Steve Justice. The team also has rookie second-round pick Mike Pollak who can play center or guard. Pollak is expected to compete for the right guard job this season against Charlie Johnson. UPDATE FRIDAY 6:47 PM EST More Quality Depth at Defensive End For Philadelphia? When the Philadelphia Eagles selected McNeese St. DE Bryan Smith in the third round of this year's draft, some scouts thought the team reached for the small school defensive player. But as a practice observer noted during the team's off-season workouts, Smith looked faster than any of the defensive lineman on the field and he appears to be the kind of lineman that defensive coordinator Jim Johnson covets. Johnson generally prefers ends that are smaller in size but who can get off the edge quickly. One personnel evaluator compares Smith to Robert Mathis (Indianapolis Colts). Mathis was another edge pass rusher who came from a small school (Alabama St.) who is almost the same size as Smith (6'2"/235 range). The key for Smith, look most rookies, is to show the same speed once the pads go on in training camp. UPDATE FRIDAY 4:47 PM EST Colon's Position Not Decided While Pittsburgh Steelers third-year pro Willie Colon tries to solidify a starting job on the offensive line, it appears he'll head into training camp on the final year of his rookie deal. Colon started 16 games for Pittsburgh last season at right tackle but a team source notes the coaching staff hasn't totally decided where he'll play this season. There's a consideration to play Colon inside at left guard against fourth-year lineman Chris Kemoeatu. That job became open after Alan Faneca signed with the New York Jets. Where Colon winds up playing could be tied to where Max Starks lines up. The current plan is to play Starks at right tackle as long as left tackle Marvel Smith is healthy. Sources close to Smith say the back problems which caused him to miss four games last season aren't an issue. Colon signed a three-year rookie deal and is on the books with a base salary of $445,000 for 2008. In other news, the team released veteran RB Najeh Davenport on Friday and also waived three other backups. Davenport doesn't have to pass through waivers because he's a vested veteran. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 2:31 PM EST Cochran Pushing For More Playing Time Despite not having great depth at defensive end, the Houston Texans decided to pass on drafting help or signing a prominent free agent at that position. Instead, the front office decided to re-sign veteran end N.D. Kalu to a one-year contract. But one of the main reasons why the team decided against brining more ends into the fold was because of the development of Earl Cochran last season. Cochran, who signed as a street free agent during the 2006 season after being out of the league for two seasons, wound up playing around 35 percent of the defensive snaps. While he's slated to back up starting LDE Anthony Weaver again this season, Cochran may see some time inside as he did in 2007. Cochran was also told by his defensive coaches to expect to see more time this season. Cochran is slated to be a restricted free agent after this season so his performance on the field will go a long way to help decide what level he's tendered at. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 12:33 PM EST Barrett's Deal Finally Official Denver Broncos rookie S Josh Barrett's contract was approved by the NFL on Tuesday, Scout.com has confirmed. Barrett's deal was denied by the league last week. A league source notes the seventh-round pick signed a four-year deal. Barrett will compete for playing time in a backup role against veterans Marlon McCree and Marquand Manuel. UPDATE TUESDAY 1:37 PM EST Real Test For Carter Coming Up Much has been made about the performance during the team's OTAs of new Oakland Raiders WR Drew Carter. The former Carolina Panther by most accounts was terrific and caught almost everything thrown his way. But as a veteran personnel evaluator tells Scout.com, Carter hasn't been as consistent in pads. On coaching tape, Carter rarely went over the middle to catch passes, was an inconsistent route runner, and really looked to be more of a finesse receiver despite his tall stature. With training camp just four weeks away, Carter still has a lot to prove. Dansby Contract Negotiations Continuing The Arizona Cardinals are still dealing with a few contractual issues as the team gets closer to the start of training camp. While there hasn't been much progress with WR Anquan Boldin who wants his contract restructured, talks have continued with ILB Karlos Dansby. Dansby signed his one-year non-exclusive franchise tender of $8.065 million on April 17. Both sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal or by rules set in the CBA, they'll have to wait until after the 2008 season to resume negotiations. UPDATE MONDAY 11:41 AM EST When the Philadelphia Eagles made a draft day trade for RB Lorenzo Booker, the move opened some eyes around the league. But after the team's recent minicamp concluded, it became apparent there's a clear plan how the coaching staff plans to use the former Miami Dolphin. Practice observers noted there was a formation where Booker and starting RB Brian Westbrook were on the field together at the same time. Westbrook either lined up in the slot or out wide in a receiver position with Booker lined up in the backfield. What we didn't see is rookie WR DeSean Jackson in this formation but that could change during training camp. Getting those three speedy players on the field at the same time could give defensive coordinators fits. One of the big reasons why the team traded for Booker was because when Westbrook was off the field, there seemed to be a loss of speed in the backfield. And when Westbrook has been limited by knee problems in the past, Philadelphia didn't have a back to replace him. When the team selected RB Ryan Moats in the third round of the 2005 draft, the hope was that he would become Westbrook's main backup. Not only did he not take over that role, Moats has fallen to No. 5 on the depth chart. A team source notes the two-back formation with Booker and Westbrook on the field at the same time was rarely used if at all with Moats and Westbrook in previous years. UPDATE MONDAY 11:33 AM EST Undrafted Tight End Pushing For Roster Spot After the Atlanta Falcons released Alge Crumpler earlier this year, that left a big opening at the tight end position. While the team signed free agent TE Ben Hartsock, who is seen as the favorite to win the job, an undrafted free agent could push for a roster spot at the position. Before his final season at the University of Massachusetts, Brad Listorti was seen as one of the top-10 tight ends in the country. He also had a high National Scout/BLESTO grade prior to last season. But after suffering a lower back injury which caused him to miss most of the 2007 season, Listorti fell down draft boards. Listorti had tryouts with the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens before signing with Atlanta last month. The athletic tight end has been impressive enough during OTA workouts that there's a good chance he'll be going to training camp with Atlanta. And after Hartsock, Atlanta doesn't have any other tight ends with any meaningful playing experience. Updates 6/16-6/22 UPDATE SATURDAY 5:03 PM EST What's Next For Birk? There had been local speculation that Minnesota Vikings long-time starting C Matt Birk might miss the start of the team's recent mandatory minicamp since he missed all of the team's voluntary OTA sessions. Birk, who is on the final year of his contract, would like to sign a new deal or get his current contract extended but he showed up to the team's recent mandatory minicamp and seems content with his deal. Birk and his wife are expecting their fourth child very soon and he chose to stay around his family. "A lot has been made of the fact that I didn't receive a contract extension. That was just a part of my decision-making process in not coming to OTAs," Birk said. "I consider myself very lucky to be a part of this team and play football for a living. I feel more blessed with my family. It's a busy time. … " Birk hasn't said shown any discontent publically but he met with head coach Brad Childress twice earlier this year. It's not known exactly what both men talked about, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say his contractual situation was discussed. Still, Birk isn't complaining. "Was I upset about the contract situation? I'm very happy with my contract. I've never beefed about my contract and I'm very happy about this year. I just have a desire that I want to be here for as long as I play. I would think that if I didn't want to be here, that would be more troubling," the veteran offensive lineman said. The next situation coming up is training camp. Some veteran players who want new deals around the league for years choose to report late in order to send a message to the front office to jump start negotiations. So the logical question is, will Birk show up to camp on time? Two NFL sources who know Birk well told Scout.com that Birk won't be a holdout despite the lack of progress in getting a new deal. So barring something unforeseen, Birk will play out his 11th season as a Viking on the final year of his deal--and that could be his last in the yellow and purple. UPDATE FRIDAY 10:01 AM EST Ojinnaka Pushing For Starting Job Third-year OL Quinn Ojinnaka lined up as the starting left tackle during the team's first post-draft minicamp. However, a league source notes first-round pick Sam Baker has been moved to the first-team offense of late pushing Ojinnaka inside to guard where he's pushing second-year LG Justin Blalock for the starting job. UPDATE THURSDAY 10:37 PM EST Flacco Contract Negotiations Update; A Look Back at Previous Selections in Flacco's Spot Contract negotiations between the agent for Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Joe Flacco and Baltimore's vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty continued on Thursday. "Things are progressing nicely. I would say the negotiations are going like I expected and I'm confident we'll have a deal done well before he has to report (for training camp)," Joe Linta told Scout.com. Linta has now met with Moriarty four times since Flacco was selected as the 18th pick overall in April's NFL draft. Linta declined to discuss details of the negotiations but the 18th pick in the first-round of the 2007 draft, Leon Hall, received a five-year deal worth $13.6 million with $8.07 million guaranteed. The former University of Michigan cornerback started 10 games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season. Looking back to the 18th player selected in the 2006 draft, LB Bobby Carpenter (Dallas Cowboys), he received a five-year deal worth a total of $10.8 million with $7.77 million guaranteed. UPDATE THURSDAY 12:37 PM EST Will Peters Show Up? It's not a secret that Buffalo Bills OLT Jason Peters wants a new contract and he's missed all of the team's off-season program including Buffalo's mandatory mini-camp last week. Peters has three years left on his deal (2008-$3.25 million, 2009-$2.95 million, 2010-$3.4 million) but wants to paid in the higher echelon of left tackles in the NFL. A current teammate from the offensive side of the ball told Scout.com recently that unless Peters changes his mind, it's less than a 50-50 shot that he shows up for the start of training camp on July 25. Backup OT Kirk Chambers has been filling in for Peters with the first-team offense recently. UPDATE THURSDAY 11:33 AM EST Jackson Impressing If off-season workouts are any indication, the Philadelphia Eagles may have a special player in rookie WR DeSean Jackson. According a team source, Jackson looks to be the most explosive receiver the team has had in several years. In fact, the source adds Jackson is quite possibly the most explosive receiver in open space since Andy Reid took over as head coach in 1999. During the team's OTAs, before he suffered a hamstring injury which cut down his on-the-field time, Jackson easily got to open spaces and ran to daylight during several practices. The key now is for Jackson to show the same explosiveness in pads during training camp. UPDATE THURSDAY 11:21 AM EST Barrett Not Actually Signed? The Denver Broncos announced last week that they signed seventh-round pick S Josh Barrett. However, Scout.com has confirmed his four-year contract was disapproved this week. So Barrett remains unsigned. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 2:57 PM EST Ramsey Received Interest From Another Team While the San Francisco 49ers were able to claim DT LaJuan Ramsey off of waivers on Tuesday, another team also put in a claim for the former Philadelphia Eagle. Scout.com has confirmed the New York Giants were the other team that put in a claim which is interesting since they play a 4-3 defensive scheme and San Francisco runs a 3-4. San Francisco will inherit the last two years of Ramsey's original base salaries of $445,000 (2008) and $530,000 (2009). The former sixth-round pick from the 2006 draft got a $73,000 signing bonus from Philadelphia which they are responsible for. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11:43 AM EST Two Texans To Void Rookie Deals? A league source notes two key Houston Texans have will see the final season of their four-year rookie contract void at the end of the 2008 season. ORT Eric Winston and TE Owen Daniels met minimum playing time requirements in their deals thus voiding the final year (2009) of the contract. Because of stipulations in the CBA, teams can't begin to negotiate new deals for players on their first contract until at least two years have been completed. Both Winston and Daniels are firmly entrenched as starters so it's not out of the question that general manager Rick Smith looks to get both players signed long-term some time soon. Another third-year player, OL Charles Spencer, has similar language in his contract so if he wins a starting job this season, he would be able to void the final year of his deal as well. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11:13 AM EST Williams Release No Surprise When the Atlanta Falcons released former second-round pick Jimmy Williams on Monday, it shouldn't have come to a surprise. Shortly before the 2006 draft, several league sources believed Williams would drop out of the first round for two mains reasons. Williams' work ethic came under greater scrutiny the more teams checked his background. The other issue was his weight which got up to around 230 pounds recently. Both issues were at the forefront of why Atlanta released him this week. But sources also said Atlanta actually considered cutting Williams last season but they wanted to give him one more shot to prove his worth. Williams was moved to safety during his rookie season once the coaches saw he wasn't fast enough to stay at cornerback. Williams, who was the fifth pick overall in the second round of the 2006 draft, signed a four-year deal with a $1.56 million signing bonus, according to salary documents. If he's claimed off of waivers, he would be due base salaries of $445,000 (2008) and $530,000 (2009). UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11:03 AM EST Howard Still Playing End It was reported by several media outlets that veteran DE Darren Howard moved to inside to tackle this season for the Philadelphia Eagles. A league source notes Howard, who turns 32 in November, is still backing up at end on first and second downs. On third downs or in passing situations, Howard will be on the field playing inside as a nickel pass rusher. Howard's weight is down to between 270-275 which could help him stay healthier considering his knees have been a problem on and off during his eight seasons of play. Howard, as Scout.com first noted recently, has a $1 roster bonus due next year which seems unlikely that he'll receive since he's slated to be a backup again this season. UPDATE TUESDAY 11:59 AM EST Six Draftees Able to Void Final Year of Their Deal Teams often ask agents of first-round picks to get their players to sign for the maximum number of years allowable under the CBA. In return, clubs will offer minimum playing time incentives which usually only have to be met in one or two seasons over the length of the deal in order to void the final year of the contract. Scout.com has gotten a hold of a list from a league source of the players drafted in the first round in 2007 who have already been able to void the final year of their deal by hitting on minimum playing time levels (usually 35-45 percent of the snaps on the side of the ball that they play on): Joe Thomas/OLT/Cleveland Browns - He was able to void the final year of his six-year contract by easily hitting playing time incentives in his rookie season. LaRon Landry/SS/Washington Redskins - Like Thomas, he easily hit the playing time level in his rookie season. His deal was also cut down by a year (now has four years left). Adrian Peterson/RB/Minnesota Vikings - He easily voided the final year of his six-year deal by getting a lot of playing time in his rookie season. He also got $250,000 for winning the NFL rookie of the year award. Jamaal Anderson/DE/Atlanta Falcons - He didn't record a sack but started all 16 games as a rookie thus voiding the final year of his six-year contract. Marshawn Lynch/RB/Buffalo Bills - He wound up starting 13 games as a rookie which enabled him to void the final season of his six-year deal. Ted Ginn, Jr./WR/Miami Dolphins - His playing time was up and down as a rookie but it's believed the speedy wide receiver played in more than the required amount of snaps to void the final year of his six-year contract. UPDATE TUESDAY 2:37 PM EST Light Gets Reprieve Some fans of the New England Patriots were surprised that the team didn't draft a left tackle who could eventually challenge starter Matt Light for playing time. But there could be a reason why the front office decided not to make such a move despite Light not performing up to his usual high standard of play late last season. A league source notes Light apparently was suffering from an illness last season that caused him to lose a significant amount of weight and possibly a loss of strength. However, he was able to overcome the illness and has put all or most of the weight he lost back on. So the team likely feels confident that he'll be back to his old self this season. Light, who turns 30 later this month, has three years left on his deal. UPDATE TUESDAY 9:59 AM EST Scouting Moves in Dallas and Arizona Former Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Jason Licht is expected to be announced soon as the Arizona Cardinals new director of pro scouting. The position became open after Jim Stanley retired last month. The Dallas Cowboys hired Bill Dekraker, formerly with the Cardinals, as a Midwest scout. Dallas made a bunch of changes to their pro and college scouting departments earlier this month. Teams generally make their moves in scouting departments shortly after the draft. UPDATE TUESDAY 9:29 AM EST McNair and Ogden Making it Official Like Michael Strahan last week, two important players from the offensive side of the ball for the Baltimore Ravens made their retirement official with the NFL on Monday. Steve McNair and Jonathan Ogden filed their retirement papers with the league a move which makes the official with the league office. With McNair gone for good, the starting quarterback job remains open. The three-way race is between Kyle Boller, Troy Smith, and rookie Joe Flacco. According to a league source, some personnel evaluators within the organization believe Smith will wind up winning the No. 1 job to start the season based on his ability to move the ball more consistently down field than Boller. UPDATE TUESDAY 9:17 AM EST Edwards Looking Sharp According to a player source, Buffalo Bills second-year pro Trent Edwards put together a very solid run of practices during the team's OTAs and the young signal caller could be poised to have a very solid season. Edwards apparently looks very comfortable in new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert's timing based passing game. The source also notes Edwards has excellent field vision and seems to know where everyone is on the field. Edwards also is more willing to dump the ball off than former starting QB J.P. Losman who took too many chances with the football. UPDATE MONDAY 10:51 AM EST Ellis off to Good Start If the OTAs are any indication, the New Orleans Saints could have an emerging force on their defense in first-round pick Sedrick Ellis. According to a player source, the defensive tackle showed to have two really good pass rush moves and showed tremendous quickness during practice drills. Ellis showed to be very coachable and the current plan is for him to play behind veteran DTs Brian Young and Hollis Thomas going into training camp. The key for Ellis is to show the same talent in pads during August that he did in shorts in June. UPDATE MONDAY 10:34 AM EST Spencer on the Mend Houston Texans OL Charles Spencer was selected in the third round of the 2006 draft but has only played in two games since his rookie season following a devastating left knee and ankle injury. But Spencer is getting closer to 100 percent. The mammoth offensive lineman has his weight under control to around 340 pounds (his playing weight is between 330-340). In limited practice time during the team's OTAs, Spencer moved around well. So well that he's expected to compete for the left guard job in training camp against incumbent starter Chester Pitts. Spencer was originally moved to right guard but he requested a move to the left side since he hasn't ever played on the right side going back to his collegiate days at the University of Pittsburgh. Spencer also could be moved left tackle if first-round pick Duane Brown struggles. Spencer won the left tackle job during training camp of 2006. Veteran OT Ephraim Salaam is currently backing up Brown. It's was originally thought that Spencer was going to play guard because of his size but he has amazingly good feet (he was a very good high school basketball player). This was evident during 2006 Senior Bowl week practices. The first test during this year's training camp is to see how well he moves in pads. The hope is that he'll be able to practice once a day. UPDATE MONDAY 10:13 AM EST Clearing Up the Henry Situation All 32 NFL teams were notified on Friday that free agent WR Chris Henry was suspended by the league for an indefinite period of time for violating the personal conduct policy. According to the notice that was sent to all teams, Henry is permitted to sign with or work out for any team but he's not permitted to participate in any club related activities after signing a contract or to have contact with any club officials, except to arrange for off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation. Henry's suspension stems from an April 2 arrest where he allegedly punched a man and threw a bottle at his car. Henry's former team, the Cincinnati Bengals, released him on April 3. It's believed that if Henry is cleared of the incident entirely (the case is scheduled to be heard on June 24), he could have his suspension repealed. Updates 6/11-6/13 UPDATE FRIDAY 12:59 PM EST The light might finally be going on for Jacksonville Jaguars fifth-year receiver Reggie Williams. Williams' first two years as a pro were disappointing for the team and according to a team source, he didn't show the kind of maturity that's needed to compete at a high level. In his fourth season, despite only starting six games, he scored 10 touchdowns while posting 16.6 yards per catch--both categories are career highs. Williams is said to be taking his job very seriously and the coaches believe he could be on the verge of a breakout season. UPDATE FRIDAY 12:29 PM EST The Philadelphia Eagles waived nine players on Thursday but one name fans who follow the team closely might have been surprised to see. Third-year DT LaJuan Ramsey was a developmental player who some close to the team thought might break into the rotation at the position this season. Instead, the team re-signed veteran DT Kimo von Oelhoffen on Friday who performed well in limited playing time late last season. Another reason why Ramsey was let go was because the coaches decided to move Dan Klecko back to defensive tackle after spending his first few weeks with the team at full back. The team also moved veteran DE Darren Howard inside to tackle earlier this year. UPDATE FRIDAY 12:19 PM EST Veteran DE Michael Strahan announced his retirement earlier this week. On Thursday, he made it official by filing his retirements papers, Scout.com has confirmed. So if anyone was wondering it he planned to change his mind, forget it. Because of Strahan is so personable, it's not out of the question that he'll make more money off the field this season than he would have on it. Also by making it official, the process of starting Strahan's pension can proceed. UPDATE THURSDAY 9:59 AM EST Here are some teams that could have interest in free agent C LeCharles Bentley: Cincinnati Bengals - They could be looking for someone to compete against starter Eric Ghiaciuc who was inconsistent last season. Kansas City Chiefs - Projected starter Rudy Niswanger hasn't ever started a regular season game. New Orleans Saints - The projected starter is Jonathan Goodwin who has played mostly at guard in his career. Based on that, they could bring in some competition. But would they be interested in Bentley who left New Orleans for a big money contract just three years ago? St. Louis Rams - They have depth at the position but projected starter Brett Romberg is on a one-year deal and St. Louis could use an upgrade at the position. UPDATE THURSDAY 9:34 AM EST It looks like NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is continuing his hard stance on off-the-field player conduct. Scout.com has confirmed All 32 NFL teams were notified Wednesday that free agents: (RB) Lionel Gates, (LB) Robert Reynolds, and (OT) Chris Terry have been suspended by Goodell for a period of at least one year. These players are eligible to sign; however, they are not permitted to participate in any club related activities or to have contact with any club officials, except to arrange for off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation. Free agent DE Adrian Awasom has been suspended by Goodell for the first four games of the 2008 season. He is eligible to sign and participate in all off-season and preseason activities, including games. His suspension will take effect as of week one of the regular season. UPDATE THURSDAY 9:23 AM EST For a guy who didn't start a single game as a rookie, Cleveland Browns QB Brady Quinn did quite well off the field. According to the Sports Business Journal, Quinn finished seventh overall in royalty payments by the NFLPA. These payments are generally based on marketing and licensing deals. Quinn received an estimated total of $1.02 million. That number doesn't include any marketing deals his representatives got on their own for Quinn. Finishing first was Peyton Manning ($2.45 million) followed by Reggie Bush ($1.8 million), LaDainian Tomlinson ($1.49 million), Eli Manning ($1.31 million), Tony Romo (1.07 million), Brian Urlacher ($1.06 million), Quinn, Adrian Peterson ($973,189), Brett Favre ($938,335), and JaMarcus Russell ($738,611). UPDATE WEDNESDAY 8:16 PM EST Negotiations are continuing between the Baltimore Ravens and the agent for first-round pick Joe Flacco. Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, confirmed both sides met late last week--for the third time since Flacco was selected by Baltimore. Linta expressed optimism that the two sides should come to an agreement well before the start of Baltimore's training camp in late July. Linta told Scout.com that he plans to meet again with Baltimore's vice president of football administration, Pat Moriarty, again within the next two weeks. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 8:01 PM EST Former Pittsburgh Steelers WR Cedrick Wilson has been suspended by the NFL for one game, Scout.com has confirmed. All 32 teams were made aware of the decision on Monday, according to league sources. Wilson was released by Pittsburgh back on March 20 after he was charged with simple assault, harassment, and disorderly conduct after allegedly hitting his former girlfriend. Wilson can still sign with a team and can participate in all off-season and pre-season activities, including games. The one-game suspension will start at the beginning of the regular season. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 7:31 PM EST Although he didn't play a down last season and was inactive for all 16 games for the New Orleans Saints, second-year pro Andy Alleman is pushing veteran Jamar Nesbit for the starting job at left guard. Alleman, a former third-round pick out of the University of Akron, has made tremendous strides during OTA practices and is said to have a legitimate shot to start if he continues to progress. Nesbit re-signed with New Orleans earlier this year through 2010. Alleman is signed through 2009. UPDATE WEDNESDAY 6:47 PM EST Much has been made locally about the release of veteran C LeCharles Bentley by the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday. While the move might be a surprise to some, it really shouldn't surprise anyone at all. Bentley asked for his release because he wasn't going to get a shot to start at center. In fact, league sources believe Bentley would not be given a chance to compete against incumbent starter Hank Fraley in training camp no matter how well he performed. In fact, that's a belief that's been around for several months. The only thing Bentley was promised was that he would be given a chance to earn a roster spot. That's it. While it's not clear if Bentley was told specifically that he wouldn't be given a chance to start, Bentley got the immediate vibe during this week's mandatory minicamp he was projected to be a backup by the coaches and he wasn't totally set to compete for playing time at center--the position he desperately wanted to play for his home town team. Bentley also might have seen time at guard as well had he not been released. But Bentley never played a down for the team and hasn't played since the 2005 season--for the New Orleans Saints. While Fraley has done a decent job since taking over for Bentley, league sources indicate the front office and coaches put a very high premium on Fraley's leadership. Sources believe Fraley is very well respected inside the locker room and it would have been hard to envision Bentley, a player who never played a down for the team, taking over a leadership role. But these questions beg to be asked. Leadership aside, why not give Bentley a shot to at least compete against Fraley? Doesn't competition bring out the best of players? While those questions are certainly fair to ask, we'll probably never get the answers. As an interesting aside to all of this, Fraley lost his starting job with the Philadelphia Eagles to the guy who filled in for him during the 2005 season--Jamaal Jackson who is another undrafted free agent center like Fraley who got a chance to play and never looked back. Jackson didn't start a game for the team before that season. And going back even further, Fraley took over the starting job in 2001 for then injured starter and Bubba Miller after not starting a game the previous season.
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