The NFL is back into full swing, and the after the first full week of purgatory for four and half months due to the lockout, the breath of fresh air never felt so good.
Many parts of the country were hot, where to many felt the heat was unbearable. However, football fans across the continent took relief from the sun’s heat by way of the NFL—anticipating where their favorite players would land and in what direction their favorite team was going to go.
The first full week of the NFL appeared to be abnormal as it went as fast as a blink of an eye due to quick decisions made by players and organizations. But the football world is back to normal.
After a frenzy of player movement due to big splashes and team cuts to get under the salary cap, normality of the NFL is returning for the second full week.
And while some of the previous developments from the first week came to past with some unresolved, the second week’s developments could be just as intriguing as the first.
Umenyiora To The Seahawks, Jets Or Better Yet, The Ravens?
Osi Umenyiora has been a dominating defensive end for the New York Giants since day one and the nine-year veteran wants to be shown some appreciation—through compensation.
Umenyiora is one of the league’s premier pass-rushers, but has been on the underrated side throughout his brilliant NFL career because he’s not a talker who shows off for the cameras as he goes out and handles his business.
The Super Bowl champion, who is one of three British-born players to win a NFL title, is requesting a trade from the Giants if he not granted a much-deserved contract extension. After holding out for a short period, Umenyiora reported to training camp as an unhappy camper.
It’s not the fact that Umenyiora does not want to play for the Giants, he feels that he has performed well enough to get his contract renegotiated, which he is owe a little more than $7 million over the next two years.
“I hope there is a chance,” said Umenyiora when about being a Giant. “But who knows?”
What the 29-year old, does not like is being portrayed as a “bad guy” and according to the Associated Press on Monday, the two-time Pro Bowler voiced his feelings about his dissatisfaction toward the media labeling him and his situation as a NFL player.
“It’s just frustrating to see how people react to one thing, and not the other,” said Umenyiora via email, according the Associated Press. “Just be fair. “What really annoys me is the hypocrisy of people clamoring for my head for asking for a new deal or to be traded. Saying I have 2 years left on my deal. These contracts only mean something to us? Where is O’Hara? Where is Seubert? True inspirational football players.”
“They were cut after being injured,” he continued. “They have years left on their deal. Why is Jacobs asked to take a pay cut? He has years left on his deal. The fact is in the business we are in, if you get injured, or they feel like you underperformed, they cut you without hesitation. But if you clearly outplay your contract, and ask for something to be done, you’re a bad guy and not a team player. It’s ridiculous.”
“How does a guy who had one good year (no disrespect to Charles Johnson) sign a deal and make more than both me and (Justin) Tuck combined?,” he continued in the email. “It’s not right. Everyone in this business understands that is exactly what it is. Business. And just like none of us get upset when our teammates are released due to business decisions, the teams also don’t get upset when something like this happens.”
Who could be the takers?
The Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, or the New York Jets could make a run for him in a trade according to reports. Only one problem—the Giants want a first-round pick for the pass-rusher.
The Ravens would make the most sense to pull the trigger and they could afford the Giants demands. The Ravens are a playoff team, but are short of being a Super Bowl team, due to their struggles against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the postseason.
Umenyiora, who registered 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles last season, could help them get over the hump to assist defensive end Terrell Suggs to put consistent pressure on quarterbacks—better yet Ben Roethlisberger.
As being a consistent playoff squad, the Ravens will gain a late first-rounder, which they could afford knowing that Umenyiora is a sure thing.
If the Jets and Eagles can work their numbers to sign top free agents to stay within the cap, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome can master the funds to give Umenyiora a good contract without risk losing defensive tackle Hatoli Ngata, quarterback Joe Flacco, or running back Ray Rice.
Besides, the Ravens’ organization wants to win one more time for safety Ed Reed and the future first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis which Umenyiora could help.
“We’ll continue to pursue a trade,” said Umenyiora Tuesday morning, according the CBSSports.com, “but at that high level I find it a rather dubious situation.”
Whether a trade or not, Umenyiora’s situation will be resolved soon.
Asante Samuel (Or Cromartie) Being Dealt To: Panthers or Falcons
The Eagles should not trade Samuel simply because he’s a proven winner. If Ed Reed had not missed the team’s first six games due to being on the PUP list for having hip surgery during the offseason, Samuel would have led the NFL in interceptions as he finished with seven (Reed finished with eight).
Samuel is now the prize, along with Umenyiora, in the NFL traded market.
However, Samuel may not be the Eagles’ only cornerback on the trading block.
“We are open and in fact engaged with conversation with people that are interested in acquiring one of our cornerback,” said Eagles president Joe Banner, according to NFL.com. “Teams that need a corner have inquired about the depth at the position and we’re listening to them. In the end as we’ve tried to do in every situation, we’ll make an evaluation as to what leaves us with the best team.”
Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t going to be traded after signing last week, so Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the next option. The 25-year-old cornerback was a part of the Kevin Kolb trade with the Arizona Cardinals and Cromartie was the perhaps the Cards’ best defender.
According to reports, the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are interested in the Samuel’ sweepstakes.
The Panthers are stockpiling talent to be competitive and the Falcons desperately need help in the secondary.
One of these Eagles’ corners will be dealt soon, but to be completely solidified defensively in the secondary and not risk injury, either should not be traded.
The Hall of Fame weekend is upon the NFL and on Aug. 6, seven men will be immortalized—running back Marshall Faulk, founder of NFL Films Ed Sabol, defensive end Richard Dent and linebackers Les Richter and Chris Hanburger.
Other than Faulk and Sabol, the prizes of this class are tight end Shannon Sharpe and safety Deion Sanders. Not only for their big names, but their expected speeches will set the tone and cap this Hall of Fame weekend—since there’s no football game. Thanks lockout!
Sanders’ speech will be entertaining, while Sharpe’s will be heart-felt and emotional, but they will both be great.
Randy Moss Will Return To The NFL and Actually Try to Play
153 touchdown receptions (second-best in NFL history next to Jerry Rice), 14,858 receiving yards (fifth all-time) and 954 catches (eighth all-time) are great numbers, but to achieve these stats without really trying is mind-blowing.
These are the numbers of Randy Moss, who retired on Aug. 1 after reports of the newly acquired wide receiver Plaxico Burress signed with the New York Jets. One of the two places, reportedly, he wanted to land, with the New England Patriots being the other.
Throughout this offseason, Moss trained hard for the upcoming season to help a team to win a Super Bowl, according to his agent.
Moss is clearly one of the best receivers to have ever played the game. However, Moss did accomplish this feat without really trying as his natural abilities guided him pass defenders who tried their hardest to catch him.
Without a doubt, Moss gave up on plays and displayed a lack of passion from time to time.
Nevertheless, he does not want to be remembered as such.
Moss has too much left in the tank and despite some of his antics and questionable lack of competitiveness, his talent alone will force a general manager to make that phone call because this 6’4” offensive machine is just too great to pass up.
After training camp and the preseason is over, the Moss’ talks will resurface and the 34-year-old receiver will listen, especially when the right team is at the center of the conversation.
Frank Gore Will Be Shown The Money, While Jackson and Johnson Wait
The heart and soul of the San Francisco 49ers, running back Frank Gore, ended his holdout on Monday and joined the Niners’ training camp on Tuesday. The 49ers are working on a new deal for Gore, who is in his final year of his contract, which he will earn $5 million with bonuses.
“Frank’s a 49er and we want Frank here,” said 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh who also stated that “diligent” contract negotiations continue. “We want Frank happy, too.”
This will be Gore’s third contract with the team as he signed an extension in 2007 worth four-year, $28 million.
However, the 49ers handled deals for Gore with a careful eye due to his injured past dating back to his college days as a Miami Hurricane. In spring practice while at Miami, Gore sustained a torn ACL in his left leg in 2002 and spent the following year in recovery. There were whispers as to the two-time Pro Bowler would have a career in the NFL.
Although Gore sustained several minor injuries in the NFL that kept him off the field, he delivered huge numbers on the field as the 49ers’ workhorse. And the 49ers are preparing to show Gore the real money, despite returning to the field for the first time since sustaining a hip injury in last season’s win over the Cardinals in week 12, missing the team’s final five contests.
“I almost hugged him and gave him a kiss, but I tried to play it cool,” said wide receiver Josh Morgan. “It was really exciting to see him.”
While Gore is being handled, Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson continue to wait for a much-deserved deal and watch other star players get theirs. Johnson is expected to receive $800,000 this season, despite just having his deal reworked last year.
But it may be extremely difficult for Jackson as he waits for a deal when the Eagles are on a shopping spree in the free agent market. Jackson is due $555,000 this season and because of his low salary, he continues to holdout. Jackson will join the team in the coming days, not only because he wants to, but $30,000 comes out of his pocket daily each time he doesn’t show. That adds up.