We've been hearing the following whispers around the NFC:
• Although TE Visanthe Shiancoe still has two years left on his contract, which runs through 2011, his camp and the Vikings have been talking extension, a source close to the situation told PFW. Shiancoe switched agents from Tony Agnone, who got him a five-year deal in Minnesota in 2007, to Drew Rosenhaus, who also represents high-paid TEs Kellen Winslow and Jeremy Shockey. Although a new deal is not imminent, the sides have talked, and we hear Shiancoe would like to be paid among the top five tight ends in the league, which would put him in the $5 million to $7 million range per season.
• Eagles TE Brent Celek, speaking with PFW last week, said he thinks his rapport with QB Kevin Kolb has gotten even better now that Kolb has been named the full-time starter. Celek and Kolb are close friends, and Celek believes that Kolb's style and the kind of offense the Eagles want to run with him under center fit the fourth-year tight end's game perfectly. "I really feel like I am in a great position with Kevin," Celek said. "Donovan (McNabb) helped me catch (76) passes last season, and I think Kevin is capable of playing just as great right now."
• The Redskins toyed with the idea of moving rookie Trent Williams to right tackle and installing newly acquired Jammal Brown at his familiar OLT spot before sticking with Williams on the left side. The team thinks Williams' best long-term potential is on the left side. Brown has said he still considers himself a left tackle, but he appears willing to move to the right side with Washington.
• Our Bears sources believe it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the team will try to land a veteran backup quarterback. Said one team insider, "Unless they can find a guy who has played for (offensive coordinator Mike) Martz, it would really be tough at this point for someone to fully grasp his system just in training camp." That said, we hear current No. 2 QB Caleb Hanie has not looked good at all so far this offseason. We hear two former NFL signalcallers who played under Martz and remain on the Bears' radar screen are Josh McCown and Trent Green.
• Some draft evaluators flagged Buccaneers rookie WR Mike Williams as a player with suspect character due to some issues that developed while he was in college. He quit the Syracuse football team in November and was academically ineligible in the previous season. When asked if he had any concerns about Williams' attitude or commitment, Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman said no. "Obviously, coming in, you can hear things about a bunch of different people, but I've spent a lot of time with Mike," Freeman said. "Me, him and (rookie WR Arrelious Benn) have done a lot of things off the field, just hanging out and getting to know those guys. As far as I'm concerned, Mike is a stand-up guy."
• Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman is trying to balance being asked to lead his team in just his second season while still being respectful to veteran teammates. Team sources say Freeman has taken on more of a leadership role in the offseason, but veterans, like C Jeff Faine, are still very vocal, as well.
• Don't underestimate QB J.P. Losman, the former first-rounder who signed with the Seahawks in May and almost immediately made his presence felt. "He just blew Pete Carroll away in his first tryout," said one team insider. "He has a real presence; you can tell he has been a starter. I think Charlie Whitehurst, who is supposed to be pushing Matt Hasselbeck, could end up looking a lot more over his shoulder at J.P." It should be noted that Whitehurst finished the Seahawks' OTAs with a flourish, looking extremely sharp in the final session.
• The Giants' release of Australian P Jy Bond appeared to clear the way for seventh-round pick Matt Dodge to win the punting job. But we hear there might be another veteran added before training camp to put a little pressure on Dodge.
• We hear nobody on the Packers has shown more improvement than third-year OT Breno Giacomini, who was given more of an opportunity to join in the mix at right tackle with the team deciding to relegate Allen Barbre to the left side and T.J. Lang being sidelined during OTAs due to offseason wrist surgery. Giacomini's size (6-7, 311) and competitiveness were never an issue, but word is his quickness, knee bend and improved foot speed were pleasant surprises, to say the least.
• Our sources in the desert agree that underachieving second-year S Rashad Johnson could be in danger of not making the team, in great part due to the emergence of Hamza Abdullah, a pickup late last December who was one of the team's more impressive defenders and harder workers in OTAs. "It would be awful hard to cut a third-round pick, but this really is a critical year for Rashad," said one team insider. "How many safeties can you keep? He needs to play a lot better."
• Speculation is growing in San Francisco that OLB Travis LaBoy, a free agent who signed a one-year contract with the Niners for $1.6 million, could find it very difficult to make the final roster. Same goes for veteran reserve OL Barry Sims, who we hear could get beaten out for a back-end roster spot by the younger, more versatile Alex Boone.
• Rams WR Donnie Avery recently told PFW that he is "feeling good" after gaining just over 10 pounds this offseason and is hoping to keep his weight right around 194 pounds.
Related link: AFC Whispers
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