• Don't buy the recent rumors that the Patriots could bring back LB Adalius Thomas. If they can't find a taker by trade for Thomas, they most likely will cut the veteran at some point during the free-agent period.
• Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum didn't rule out re-signing UFA PK Jay Feely, even though the team just signed PK Nick Folk, at the Combine Feb. 26. "What happens with Jay, we'll see," Tannenbaum said. "He's going to make it to the free-agent market, and we'll keep the lines of communication open. ... He was a big reason for our success. I don't know if he will be back. The opportunity to meet with Nick Folk presented itself, and we felt like it was best to handle that situation proactively. But by no means does that mean Jay will not be back."
• Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland said he was very happy with the three quarterbacks — Chad Henne, Pat White and Tyler Thigpen — on Miami's roster, but he also said he's held discussions with UFA QB Chad Pennington about returning in some capacity in 2010. "We've talked to Chad on a number of different avenues," Ireland said. "Obviously, that's a decision that would show you my cards on where we're going in our offseason plan. I like Chad a lot. I think he's tremendous for the team, a tremendous leader. But those decisions will be coming later."
• One of the interesting decisions facing the Browns this offseason, the way we hear it, is whether they make room for Ahtyba Rubin to slide into the starting lineup at nose tackle by sliding Shaun Rogers to defensive end. Rubin filled in for the injured Rogers late last season and proved a capable starter. Rogers is talented enough to play anywhere on the defensive line and could be a very intriguing 3-4 end.
• Two young offensive linemen on the spot for the Steelers in 2010, the way we hear it, are second-year OG Kraig Urbik and third-year OT Tony Hills. Neither has taken a snap in an NFL game to date, and the Steelers' O-line depth is no small area of worry entering the offseason.
• The way we hear it, don't read too much into the fact that the Titans considered signing ex-Jaguars WR Matt Jones in February. Jones, who landed with the WR-needy Bengals, will compete for a reserve's role in Cincinnati — precisely the job he would have had to fight for in Tennessee, which has significantly improved its WR depth and talent in the past year after signing Nate Washington and drafting Kenny Britt. Wide receiver, which was a major area of worry entering last offseason, isn't as pressing a concern as free agency looms, especially with a defense that surrendered the third-most yards in the AFC in 2009 being an area that could see personnel changes at all three levels (defensive line, linebacker, secondary).
• The way we hear it, the re-signing of Ernest Wilford symbolizes offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's desire to feature the TE position more in the offense. Wilford adds nice depth, and with Kennedy Pola and Mike Tice, two of Jack Del Rio's more trusted assistants, out of the picture, Koetter should have more freedom to run his offense.
• Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said his staff will work on finding larger roles for RB Peyton Hillis and WR Eddie Royal next season. In McDaniels' first year at the helm, both players failed to match the production of their rookie seasons. "We want those players to continue to work and try to get better at what they do, and we need to find a way to integrate them in because they're all skillful players," McDaniels said. "... We need to try to meet in the middle on that and try to create a role and find some things that we can do more often."
• We hear the reason the Chargers have decided to allow RB Darren Sproles to become an unrestricted free agent has more to do with money than anything else. Faced with the option of having to dole out nearly $7.3 million to the restricted free agent under a one-year tender offer a year after having placed the franchise tag on him, San Diego decided it would let the return ace test the open market. Although the Bolts would still like to get Sproles locked up long term, they weren't willing to pay him top dollar for a second straight season. Coupled with LaDainian Tomlinson's recent release, the potential departure of Sproles threatens to leave the club with a bare cupboard in the backfield.
• Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley made it a point to stress the versatility of the team's offensive line, singling out both OLT Branden Albert and OLG Brian Waters as players who can line up at multiple positions. That could mean Kansas City is strongly considering taking a left tackle with its first-round pick in April, which would cause Albert and possibly Waters to shift spots. The decision would make sense, as the draft is strong at tackle, a position of need for the Chiefs.
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