Bucs likely to let Bryant test free-agent market

Posted Jan. 31, 2010 @ 11:48 a.m.
Posted By PFW staff

• Reports indicate the Buccaneers are going to allow WR Antonio Bryant, their franchise player in 2009, to hit the open market when free agency begins in March. The team could still re-sign him if he lowers his asking price, but there's a good chance Bryant, who was nagged by a bad knee during the season, will explore other options before coming back to Tampa Bay.

• Don't be surprised if the Buccaneers are aggressive in pursuing trades on Draft Day if they need to move up to pluck a player they've rated highly. Tampa Bay has five of the first 99 picks in this year's draft, which will give them some flexibility to make moves. "Obviously we can't control what everybody else is going to do, but we're going to try to be in control as much as we can," Bucs GM Mark Dominik told PFW at a Senior Bowl practice Jan. 26.

• Redskins coaches Mike and Kyle Shanahan are both known as quarterback gurus, but we hear that new QB coach Matt LaFleur, who worked with the quarterbacks along with Kyle last season in Houston, is an up-and-comer who could be a great benefit to the offensive staff. He ultimately will be working the closest with whoever lines up at QB for the team next season.

• Vikings GM Rick Spielman told PFW this week that the ACL injury to CB Cedric Griffin will not change the team's approach to the draft or free agency, but it's not clear if he can return by the start of next season. "It's tough because Cedric had a really good year for us," Spielman said. "He's very, very good. But he's a young corner, so he'll be back; he's just going to have a long rehab, and hopefully we'll have him ready to go before next season."

• Former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who recently was named the Chiefs' new offensive coordinator, told sources at the Senior Bowl that he had thought there was a chance he could fill the same role for the Bears before committing to join Kansas City head coach Todd Haley.

• In the wake of John Schneider's exit from Green Bay to become the Seahawks' new general manager, we hear Packers director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie will become more involved with college scouting leading up to the draft, while director of college scouting John Dorsey will contribute more to pro personnel and deal more with agents, which was one of Schneider's key duties.

• Keep a close eye on Cardinals CB Greg Toler, a fourth-round pick this year who team insiders think could give the disappointing Bryant McFadden a real run for his money as the starter on the right corner opposite Pro Bowler Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie next season. Toler improved as the season wore on, and we hear there are some in the organization who believe he could turn out to be as good as, if not better than, Rodgers-Cromartie.

• In the wake of the Rams' firing of trainers Jim Anderson and Dake Walden, who worked for the team for 26 and 17 years, respectively, we hear the tension at Rams Park is undeniable. Word is head coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney appear determined to bring in as many of their own hires as possible at the expense of the organization's so-called "old guard." There was some speculation that Anderson and Walden were let go because Spagnuolo and Devaney weren't happy with the way they handled the swine flu virus that struck the team in December.

• The consensus among our Niners sources is that new Niners offensive line coach Mike Solari was an excellent hire. Despite the Seahawks O-line's uneven play last year, Solari remains highly regarded in league circles. The Niners' coaching situation on the line could further improve if reports are accurate that the team has hired former Niners OG Ray Brown as an assistant O-line coach. Brown is in the mold of head coach Mike Singletary, according to team insiders, and his intelligence and personable demeanor would be considered major pluses.

• We hear Seahawks DE Patrick Kerney and S Deon Grant, who have both undergone offseason surgeries, are likely to be asked to accept restructured contracts. As for their surgeries, Kerney, who had a procedure done to remove cartilage and bone fragments in his left elbow, is expected to recover by the end of February, while Grant, who had a torn ligament reconstructed in his left wrist, is expected to be fully recovered by late April.

• The Dolphins are undecided on whether to bring back OLB Joey Porter for another season, according to head coach Tony Sparano. Porter recently said he hopes he doesn't have to return to Miami, and the Dolphins may grant him his wish before he's due a $1 million roster bonus in March. Porter, who had nine sacks last season, is signed through the 2011 season, and his base salary next season is $3.6 million.

• The Patriots have to be aware of Michigan DE-OLB Brandon Graham's interest in them. They have drafted and signed several Michigan defenders the past few years, and Graham has been asking those former Wolverines about how the Patriots do business, Graham told PFW this week. He said he has liked everything he has heard and that he'd be more than willing to play linebacker, which is where he would project in a 3-4 scheme.

• Will the Steelers add a tight end in the draft? A source close to the club says not to rule it out. The Steelers are set at one TE spot, with standout Heath Miller signed through 2014. Matt Spaeth, who's started 26 games in three seasons in Pittsburgh, is a restricted free agent who's expected to be retained by the Steelers, but we're told the prospect of Pittsburgh adding another option at the position isn't out of the question, especially with blocking a hot-button issue for the club.

• Chiefs QB Matt Cassel is excited at what the team's addition of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will mean for him personally. While Cassel was able to spend only limited time during games talking to head coach Todd Haley, who was also calling plays this past season, Weis will provide the QB with a resource with whom he can have constant communication on game day. It should help Cassel in breaking down defenses and making better in-game adjustments.

• Raiders head coach Tom Cable told PFW getting TE Zach Miller the ball more often in the red zone is still a top priority for the team. Miller has only four touchdowns in the past two seasons, as Oakland has struggled to score points. "I still believe (Miller) is more of a weapon than I think we were allowed to show in terms of the red zone, but he's a fine player," Cable said. "He just does nothing but get better and better."

 

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