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Recent posts by Eric Edholm
It has been a flurry of activity this weekend, with cutdowns, trades, signings and other personnel moves.
I would say it has been a little more crazy than your typical cutdown weekend.
We had a former franchise QB (Matt Leinart) get released and change teams. We had a Pro Bowl player (Darrelle Revis) end his major holdout. We have a few well-known players still deciding where they will end up.
This is an important weekend for NFL teams. How they shape their initial roster is crucial for each team's structure for the first part of the season. Making tough decisions on roster spots and injuries has a domino effect on other positions later in the season.
The Vikings curently have three cornerbacks, as do the Cowboys. The Raiders have seven receivers. The Seahawks have five linebackers. The Panthers need reserve OL help. The Redskins could use some defensive backs and perhaps a wideout.
With those things in mind, here are a few observations on what happened this past weekend and what still is in store as we enter Week One:
- I like two subtle moves by the Lions, trading for CB Alphonso Smith and signing TE-LB Spencer Havner. Smith, a bust in Denver, is too young to give up on. Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham could find a way to use him at a position of need. Havner could be a two-way player for a team that could use his contributions on both sides of the ball. He caught only seven passes last season, but seven went for TDs. And he was a good linebacker in college, so I could see the Lions using him at a spot that currently is shorthanded. Day by day, move by move, the Lions are becoming a better football team. Next year, they will be contenders.
- T.J. Houshmandzadeh just signed with the Ravens. Surprising move, but a good one. He clearly wants to win, with money being a secondary factor. The Raiders and Redskins had a bigger need at receiver, but the Ravens will be happy they got a good short-to-intermediate receiver. Yes, that also fits the description of Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, but that's a nice trio there. And once Donté Stallworth is back, they'll have a deep element. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Housh gets to play his former Bengals team twice this season; I think it played into the decision.
- The Jets won in the Revis battle. He signed a deal at more than $3 million less per season than what he was asking. He caved under the pressure of his team, so it seems like a win-win for the Jets and his teammates. This team got a lot better today, and I am not worried about his conditioning. Revis will be ready to go next Monday night.
- It has been quiet on the Jarvis Green front today. I expect him to sign with a 3-4 team, with the Patriots and Browns the most obvious choices. Don't just hand this one to the Patriots, though. I had heard before he left that the team thought he was replaceable, although the injury to Ty Warren has changed that landscape.
- Can Matt Leinart revive his career in Houston? Well, he won't play unless Matt Schaub gets hurt, clearly, but the Texans have to like their QB situation better now. Gary Kubiak is one of the best QB coaches around. He should be good for Leinart, a player the Texans never really considered in the 2006 draft, it should be noted, when they picked second overall. It was Reggie Bush or Mario Williams back then, and they made the right call. As I noted a few weeks ago, a number of teams could be looking for QB help at season's end, so Leinart really could help himself with another year of learning from one of the best.
- I was surprised the Giants let RB Andre Brown go. The Broncos might have stolen a player here. Keep an eye on this kid, although he might be better a year from now, fully recovered from his Achilles injury last year. Still, Brown might be a surprise.
- C Justin Hartwig can play in the NFL and help someone. I could see the Raiders, scheduled to start third-rounder Jared Veldheer in the opener, come calling.
- The Jets would be smart to bring back WR Laveranues Coles and FB Tony Richardson, two well-respected veterans who can play a little, too. It would be a big lift for a locker room lacking leadership right now. I could see both being added prior to the Week Two game against the Patriots, saving the Jets from paying both vested veterans their guaranteed salaries for the entire season.
- Still haven't figured out some of the Vikings' moves, especially at receiver and punt returner. We might know more this week. But they kept TE Mickey Shuler, who very likely would have made it through waivers, over those other positions. Four tight ends? They also could use a cornerback, with only three healthy ones until Cedric Griffin comes back. Interesting to note that Griffin was not placed on PUP, though; that means they expect him back prior to Week Six, perhaps after only a few games missed.
- I don't know a lot about the Buccaneers' seven wide receivers, collectively, but I am interested to find out if any of them can play. Based on the preseason, rookies Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams appear to be nice finds, and I have always been a Sammie Stroughter fan since his Oregon State days. The rest? We'll see.
- As for what effect the Revis deal might have on other holdouts, such as the Patriots' Logan Mankins, head coach Bill Belichick isn't giving much indication. "I'm coaching the players that are here," he said tersely today. And there you have it.
- I am not sure what will happen with WR Vincent Jackson. The fact the Chargers nixed a trade that was fairly far along in the discussions tells me that the team still wants him on their roster. Unlike the Revis situation, with the Jets winning that battle, it appears the Chargers are losing this tug of war currently and might not get the best end with this situation. I do expect OLT Marcus McNeill to return soon, though Week One is looking dicey at best.