|02.17.10 at 12:02 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Ravens have signed wide receiver Donte Stallworth. Stallworth, who spent 2007 with the Patriots before signing a free agent deal with the Browns, was suspended for the 2009 season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after he pleaded guilty to killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida. He spent 24 days in jail, but was reinstated earlier this month by Goodell. Stallworth played one season for the Browns, catching 17 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown in 2008.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Stallworth’s signed a one-year, $900,000 deal with Baltimore, with an additional $300,000 to be made in incentives.
The 28-year-old Stallworth served as the No. 3 receiver in the New England offense in 2007, catching 46 passes for 697 yards and three touchdowns that season for the Patriots. With New England’s receiving corps thin, it was rumored the Patriots might have been in the mix for his services this time around, but the talks between Stallworth’s camp and the Patriots apparently never reached a substantive stage.
|02.16.10 at 10:28 pm ET|
WEEI.com isn’t batting an eye when it comes to the 2010 NFL Draft. From interviews with experts to original mock drafts to on-location coverage of the scouting combine, this is the place to be leading up to draft weekend, April 22-24.
The weeks leading up to the combine, personal workouts, and team visits feature some of the more interesting mock drafts, as nothing is set in stone. Unlike the mock drafts days before the Draft itself that feature already signed players (e.g. Jake Long in 2008), the early installments of mock drafts are based almost entirely on someone’s projection and less on whether a team is in negotiations with the player.
WEEI.com’s first mock of 2010 features a dead even five players apiece on the offensive and defensive side going in the Top 10, which should come as a surprise considering that this is a class that could ultimately remembered for its defensive depth.
1. St. Louis (1-15) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska Depending on what happens with Sam Bradford’s stock, the Rams could consider moving down and finding Marc Bulger’s successor. If they keep the pick, Suh is the obvious choice, though Clifton Ryan was hardly the cause for the 1-15 record. You’ve got to start somewhere, however, and building from the line out makes perfect sense.
2. Detroit (2-14) Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma Much like in 2007 (Calvin Johnson), the Lions are in a situation where they really can’t go wrong at No. 2 overall. If Suh goes first, McCoy is the pick. If both are there, pick one and start the long process of rebuilding the defense around them.
3. Tampa Bay (3-13) Joe Haden, CB, Florida The Buccaneers have been treated to 13 seasons of Ronde Barber, but Aqib Talib won’t be able to take the reins by himself once Barber is gone. Third overall is insanely high for a cornerback and the Bucs might find better value by trading down and targeting a receiver or running back.
4. Washington (4-12) Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma Jason Campbell didn’t deserve his fate in Washington, but if Mike Shanahan wants to start anew with the offense, he can’t go wrong with Bradford. The 2008 Heisman winner is just one of the potential first-rounders that barely played in ’09 (shoulder surgery).
5. Kansas City (4-12) Eric Berry, S, Tennessee The league’s 30th-ranked defense desperately needs a boost, and there is no defensive playmaker in this draft like Berry. The Chiefs have enough holes that they should be comfortable taking the best available player.
|02.16.10 at 5:46 pm ET|
Longtime NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan said the Patriots are the team that’s most likely to land potential free agent defensive end Julius Peppers.
“I still think the Patriots are the team that had the most interest in him, and they struggled in the pass rush last season,” Kirwan said during a live chat Monday on NFL.com. “Bill Belichick has had great success with the hybrid players, like Willie McGinest, who can play in both three- and four-man fronts. The Redskins are notorious for spending money. But I think Peppers wants to play for a playoff contender, along with making a ton of money.”
Peppers, who has played for Carolina since he entered the league in 2002, has already expressed an interest in not signing a long-term deal with the Panthers, telling Charlotte radio station WFNZ, “Last year, at the time, that was the option that I wanted most. Now it’s not.” If Carolina does not hit him with the franchise tag between now and Feb. 25 (the franchise tag deadline), the 30-year-old Peppers would become a free agent.
Peppers, who turned 30 last month, has been one of the premier pass rushers over the last decade, compiling 81 sacks, including 10 1/2 sacks or more in five of the last six seasons.
|02.16.10 at 5:22 pm ET|
As the window to place the franchise tag on Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork starts to close (the team has until Feb. 25 to assign either the franchise tag or the transition tag to the nose tackle), it’s clear his family is paying close attention to the market.
In the wake of Tuesday’s news that Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski received a four-year, $16 million deal with the Raiders — with $9 million guaranteed — Wilfork’s wife Bianca Tweeted the following: “4 yr 16 mil 9 guarent for yall kicker largest in history.” Later, she added “Wow oakland kicker.”
It’s the third time this offseason the Wilfork’s have been heard from. The Pro Bowl nose tackle did conduct an exclusive interview with WEEI shortly before the Pro Bowl where he mde it clear he wanted no part of the franchise tag.
“I want a long-term deal, or I want to be free. Point blank. And that’s how I’m looking at it,” he said. “That’s how my family is looking at it. It’s a short window of opportunity for me to go and make the type of money that I want to make. And hey, like I said, family comes first.
“Yeah, [the franchise tag is] decent money for most people out there. What I do, it’s OK,” he added. “But I don’t look at myself as an OK player. Like I said, it’s just basically a slap in my face and it’s insulting to me to tell me I’m an OK player.”
He also talked about the possibility of playing in South Florida, telling the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that if things didn’t work out with the Patriots, he wouldn’t reject a return to his Florida roots.
“I love great weather. I love football. It doesn’t matter where I play. I just want to have security for my family,” he said. “I would love to stay in New England if I had the chance. I love New England because of my teammates, my family. My son, the friends and connections we’ve made up there, it’s some great people up there. But if it doesn’t work out I’ll weigh my options, I tell you that.”
|02.16.10 at 12:59 am ET|
WEEI.com isn’t batting an eye when it comes to the 2010 NFL Draft. From interviews with experts to original mock drafts to on-location coverage of the scouting combine, this is the place to be leading up to draft weekend, April 22-24. Before our first mock draft drops on Wednesday, let’s take a look at what draftniks around the web are saying about the Patriots.
CBS Sportsline/NFL Draft Scout‘s Rob Rang has the Patriots preparing for life without Vince Wilfork by taking Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick at No. 22. FootballsFuture.com’s Robert Davis agrees with Rang, adding that “upgrading the front seven is a must” for the Patriots.
Rang’s colleague Chad Reuter, follows history by projecting the Patriots take Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham. Rueter elaborates by adding that the Patriots could also take a look at Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski, which would seem to make more sense than Gresham considering he likely wouldn’t cost them a first-round pick.
WalterFootball.com thinks similarly to Reuter, listing Gresham as a possibility in the first round along with Texas Christian DE/OLB Jerry Hughes. Frank Coyle of DraftInsiders.com also views Hughes as a fit for the Patriots at No. 22, while Draft Zoo rounds out the trio of sites that feel Bill Belichick will be drawn to the sackmaster.
Todd McShay’s most recent mock draft has the Patriots taking undersized-but-driven end Brandon Graham out of Michigan and sticking him at outside linebacker. McShay describes Graham’s work ethic as being “in Bill Belichick’s wheelhouse.” Matt Falk at Draft Season also projects Graham to New England, pointing out that “nobody has seen themselves rise as much as Graham lately.” DraftTek.com analyst Joe Mays also views Graham as pass-rushing outside linebacker for the Patriots and Sideline Scouting agrees.
|02.15.10 at 9:54 pm ET|
Former Patriots fullback Patrick Pass will formally retire from the NFL, according to a report in the Boston Herald. Pass, a seventh-round pick out of Georgia in 2000, had remarkable staying power around Foxborough, excelling mostly on special teams and helping New England win three Super Bowl titles in his seven years with the Patriots. (He last played in an NFL game with the Giants in 2007, and attempted a brief comeback last summer with New England.) In 79 career games, Pass ran for 526 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 66 receptions for 570 yards and one touchdown as a receiver.
|02.15.10 at 9:43 pm ET|
The NFL has created a new web site to help fans and media understand the labor uncertainty that surrounds the league. NFLLabor.com is a site created by the NFL — so it should be taken with a grain of salt — but it is an easy to read layout of the issues regarding the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, as well as frequently asked questions, updated labor news, quotes from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, links to new articles and other information.
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