• The Vikings are looking like a team that is prepared to move on without RB Chester Taylor. Although they appreciate Taylor quite a bit and would like to retain him, they know they probably can't afford to keep him at the salary and opportunity he's likely to get elsewhere.
• The word out of Halas Hall is that the Bears' front-office reshuffling might continue, with director of college scouting Greg Gabriel heavily rumored to be a good bet to follow in the footsteps of fired pro personnel director Bobby DePaul — although probably not until after the draft. If Gabriel does indeed split the scene, and the Bears, as expected, replace DePaul with former Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell, there is speculation that Ruskell could become the head personnel director at both the pro and college levels, answering directly to Bears GM and longtime pal Jerry Angelo. We also hear there's a possibility Southwest area scout Chris Ballard, a Lovie Smith favorite, could move up the ladder to replace Gabriel.
• We hear Bears DL Henry Melton, a fourth-round pick in 2009 who was drafted as an end and spent the year on injured reserve with a minor ankle sprain, is likely to be moved inside this offseason. According to one team insider, Rod Marinelli, who was recently promoted from assistant head coach/D-line coach to defensive coordinator, believes Melton will be more effective lining up closer to the ball.
• All signs point now to the Redskins keeping QB Jason Campbell another year. Mike Shanahan reportedly was impressed with Campbell's toughness last season, when he took a lot of hits behind a poor offensive line. Bringing Campbell back, it should be noted, also might come along with the team drafting a quarterback, perhaps even with the No. 4 overall pick.
• With Kurt Warner having retired and UFA Brian St. Pierre coming off a season full of back problems, we hear it's likely the Cardinals will seriously look at veteran signalcallers in the free-agent market who could conceivably back up Matt Leinart in 2010, as well as spending at least of one of their 2010 draft picks on a QB, probably in the middle rounds.
• While Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh continues to be rumored as one of the best bets to become the first overall selection in the 2010 draft by the Rams, St. Louis head coach Steve Spagnuolo has yet to really sit down and look into Suh. "I have seen clips of him here and there, and he's an impressive football player," Spagnuolo said in a pre-Combine press briefing with the local media. "But to say that I have sat there and studied him, I can't do that."
• The Rams have continued to take a lot of heat for firing longtime trainer Jim Anderson, but head coach Steve Spagnuolo is singing the praises of newly hired trainer Reggie Scott, previously the assistant athletic trainer for the Panthers. "We went through an extensive interview process, and Reggie kind of surfaced as the guy at the end," Spagnuolo said of Scott. "The thing that stuck out were the unsolicited recommendations from players that he had actually worked with, which I think says it all."
• The Bills were definitely caught off guard by the decision of starting ORT Brad Butler to retire after just four seasons in the NFL. Butler, 26, started 31 of the 33 games he played in, but a torn ACL in September limited him to just two contests in 2009. The departure of the Virginia product, who has strong political interests and is expected to pursue a career in that field, leaves Buffalo very thin at the tackle position, making it an even bigger need on Draft Day.
• Can the Ravens retain both Justin Bannan and Dwan Edwards, their top two UFA defensive linemen? It's one of the major questions facing the Ravens entering free agency. It would be something of a surprise if Baltimore didn't re-sign one of the linemen. Edwards, 28, who has 22 starts in the last two seasons, is more likely to be a priority to be brought back than Bannan, a valuable reserve who has started 19 games in four seasons with the Ravens. Bannan, 30, played well when replacing the injured Kelly Gregg in 2008 and could get a starting job elsewhere.
• The Bengals' signing of PK Dave Rayner signals there will be a competition for the kicking job. Shayne Graham will likely test free agency, and though he could return, he could garner offers elsewhere for more money than the Bengals are willing to offer.
• Owner Bob McNair has said safety is a position is need for the Texans. With SS Bernard Pollard coming off a fine season, the Texans would seem likely to be looking at free safeties. In an uncapped year, Pollard will be a restricted free agent, and the Texans would likely be able to retain him with one of the higher RFA tenders.
• We hear the prognosis is optimistic for three Colts starters who suffered season-ending injuries last season — SS Bob Sanders (biceps), OLB Tyjuan Hagler (biceps) and WR Anthony Gonzalez (knee). We hear Sanders and Hagler should be fully recovered in time for this year's OTAs, but it's a little less certain Gonzalez will be 100 percent healthy by that time.
• The Broncos are under no obligation to offer him a long-term deal and could probably re-sign him by tendering him at the highest level ($3.168 million), but sources say there's a chance the team will agree to a contract extension with OLB Elvis Dumervil before he becomes a restricted free agent March 5. Dumervil had a league-high 17 sacks last season, and the club wants to keep him in town for many years to come.
• While OLB Thomas Howard was replaced in the starting lineup at weak-side linebacker for one game last season — it was the first game he didn't start since his rookie year in 2006 — word is the Raiders will tender him when he becomes a restricted free agent March 5. The team still thinks the 26-year-old has playmaking potential, particularly against the pass, and he will likely re-sign after receiving a relatively low tender of $1.176 million or $1.759 million.
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