Friday, March 30, 2007

Colin Cole re-signs with Green Bay

March 29, 2007

MILWAUKEE (AP) -The Green Bay Packers have re-signed defensive tackle Colin Cole to a one-year deal, agent Neil Cornrich said Thursday.

Cole played in 15 games for the Packers last season, making 53 tackles with one sack and one forced fumble. Cornrich said the Packers like the 6-foot-1, 315-pound Cole's combination of size and strength.

"As his confidence has increased with playing time, he's got a great future in this league," Cornrich said.

Cornrich said Cole is participating in the Packers' offseason workouts in Green Bay, a voluntary program encouraged by Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

Terms were not released.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Johnson's Contract Turning Heads

March 12, 2007

Tennessee general manager Mike Reinfeldt sits in Nashville with $26.5 million in cap room not burning a hole in his pocket. Green Bay GM Ted Thompson does the same with $21.8 million to spend in northeast Wisconsin. And through the mayhem of the first 10 days of free agency, the two guys who run the football side of those teams -- coincidentally, former roommates with the Houston Oilers -- are gritting their teeth, watching money get spent foolishly in some cases, and waiting for the market to simmer down.

Bully for them. I mean that, wholeheartedly. NFL teams entered the free agency market on March 2 with an average of $14.95 million per club to spend. As of Sunday evening, team spending had reduced that number to $10.80 million per franchise. Tennessee and Green Bay have the second- and fourth-most cap money left, but what makes them different is that, unlike their peers in the high-cap-money neighborhood, they haven't signed a sole free agent from another team since the market's been open.

The other day, the front-office mentor of both Reinfeldt and Thompson, former Packers GM Ron Wolf, was in Green Bay for the team's annual Fan Fest. Wolf, sitting in Thompson's office discussing the state of the game, playfully chided him for his inaction.

"I can't get him to do a deal!" Wolf told me. "I just want him to do something."

Then Wolf made it plain he wasn't serious. "This market's amazing," he said. "Al Johnson, what did he play last year? Seven plays? And he gets $7 million ... No, he didn't just play seven plays, but he didn't start."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ginn a Game-Changer

March 2007

Special Delivery

“I’m sure game-changers like that, if they have that ability, are going to rise up those charts a little bit more, regardless of how much production he has on offense or defense,” Linehan said. “We certainly are in the market for that kind of a player if there is such a person.”

Linehan is in luck. Ohio State’s Ted Ginn Jr. is being billed as this year’s Hester. Ginn, who possesses blazing track speed and is the son of a renowned high-school football coach, returned six punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns in his three years with the Buckeyes.

“He’s an outstanding returner,” Jaguars V.P. of player personnel James Harris said. “He’s made some big plays doing that, and I’m pretty sure wherever he does he’s going to be a threat doing that.”

Because of Hester’s rookie exploits, Ginn says he is also confident that he can make a smooth and quick transition to the NFL.

“Well, yeah. If he can do it, I can do it,” Ginn said. “I’m not trying to be cocky or anything like that, but we do have the same vision and the same type of speed, so if he can go out there and do it, I can too.”

But there is one significant difference between Ginn and Hester. In addition to being a sensational return specialist, Ginn is also a quality wide receiver.

Of the 37 games he played at Ohio State, Ginn started 30 at wide receiver. He increased his reception and touchdown-catch totals every year.

He could go as high as the top 10 with Minnesota at No. 7 and Atlanta at No. 10 having glaring needs at the position. (Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson is regarded as the top receiving prospect and likely will not get past the Buccaneers at No. 4.)

David Hester is a special guy. Those kinds of guys don’t come around very often,” Loomis said. “It doesn’t matter how you get them, if you can find one, (he is) going to impact your team. You can’t manufacture them. You can’t manufacture a guy with that kind of ablitity.”

Ginn has Hester-like speed. But will he have a Hester-like impact?

Bears head coach Lovie Smith thinks he will.

“He will bring excitement to our league similar to Devin Hester bringing excitement to our league,” Smith said.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Al Johnson Becomes a Top-Paid Center

Cardinals cautious in free agency

By Darren Urban
March 6, 2007

The Cardinals went through another quiet day during free agency Tuesday, but they are paying close attention to the manic NFL free agent market that developed over the first five days. That's a big part of the reason things have been relatively quiet at the team's Tempe complex.

The massive money parceled out around the league - $49 million contracts to linemen like Eric Steinbach, Derrick Dockery and the Cards' own refugee Leonard Davis, $23 million to aging running back Ahman Green, $18 million to a fullback (with 12 career carries) named Ovie Mughelli - has given many NFL teams pause.

The Cardinals are one of them.

"There have seemed to be some good deals," vice president of football operations Rod Graves said. "But I have also seen some panic moves."

Some crazy contracts are to be expected. That's what happens when the NFL, thanks to teams becoming smarter in re-signing their best players before they ever get to free agency, provides possibly its weakest free agent class ever in a season when the salary cap jumped $7 million per team.

Some good (and some average) players are now getting star salaries. But Graves noted plenty of teams (the New York Giants, Philadelphia, Carolina, Chicago, Green Bay, Baltimore and San Diego among them) have not reached into the free agent pool for anything but re-signing their own players.

"I am not convinced the market has changed by majority opinion," Graves said. "I think (teams) are sitting back and refusing to join in when it comes to overpaying players that they don't think are worth it."

The Cardinals took a couple of days before signing their first free agent, center Al Johnson.

Johnson's four-year deal could be worth $24 million if all the incentives are maxed out, but for practical purposes it gives Johnson $7 million in the first season, helped by $3.5 million salaries each year - for a total of $17.5 million.

The deal was for more money than one would have expected given that he was a backup in 2006, but it isn't that surprising in the current market that Johnson is now among the four top-paid centers in the league.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ted Ginn Jr.: Fastest Player at Ohio State

Varsity "O" Newsletter
Winter 2006

Q and A: Butch Reynolds

Who is the fastest player on the team?

Butch Reynolds: “Oh, Teddy (Ginn) is, by far. Teddy could have been in the Olympics in 2004 but he chose to come here. If we would have started training, I could have got him on that 4-by-400 relay team for sure (in 2004).”

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