2008 NFL Mini Camps and Offseason Thread

The Draft is passed and rookies and agents are working on getting contracts signed. Teams are starting to think about their Depth Charts and will be signing and releasing veteran players as salary cap cuts are made. Players will be in the news for off-the-field incidents as the Summer heats up around the country and they get their signing bonus money. Reports of injuries and rehabbing players will become critical for teams and fantasy players. Before long Training Camp will be underway across the league and things will start to boil.

In short, it’s time for a new thread since the Draft recaps and grades are finished and that thread has fallen to page 3. More importantly there’s drama with the Bears that I need to bitch about.

Bears RB Cedric Benson arrested and maced in a drunken boating incident.

Now, everyone here knows that I’ve loathed this waste of flesh since before the Bears drafted him and he’s simply done nothing but drag this team down. This incident is pretty ugly and it’s still pretty unclear exactly what happened or what the final verdict will be from the league, but from a football standpoint I think the Bears are ready to make a move.

I think the Bears need to cut the guy before camp. No one on the team likes him or believes in him. We are horribly thin in the backfield which hurts and he’ll be a pretty big cap hit because of his signing bonus money, but the team needs to end this. Without him the Bears will have Forte, Peterson and Wolfe as their running backs, a group with very little history. That’s probably not good enough but there will be RBs available in FA after cuts.

An interesting possibility is signing Shaun Alexander to a couple year contract that’s incentive laden to be the starting RB for the team. The biggest issue will be finding a way to pay the guy since he won’t be cheap and Benson will still be on our cap, but I think he’s worth the risk and I have to think he’d be happy to come into a situation as the defacto starter in a run happy offense like this.

Hope springs eternal and the Lions training camp starts. There’s depth, but only so far as having a lot of bodies are concerned. Here are gory details if you want them.

I admit to being excited about the Panthers’ draft. I know many people think they gave up too much to get Otah as a 2nd first round pick, but they addressed two of their glaring needs with a top-tier RB prospect and the O-line. Godfrey will help in the secondary and Connor was a solid late round value.

Stewart and Otah were both held out of mini because of healing injuries, but Delhomme looks like he’ll be 100% by training camp, which is huge.

This story in the Trib reports:

So financially it seems that it could be advantageous to cut Benson after the deadline and that they probably have the money to sign Alexander and still be able to add depth elsewhere. Good riddance.

Omni, you’re crazy to want Alexander. Just cut Benson and keep the other three; they’ll be fine. You of all people should know that a successful running game does NOT depend on having premiere guys. Hell, that’s often a hindrance. You don’t think it’s possible that you already have a Ryan Grant or Ahmad Bradshaw on the roster?

As far as general news, who would have guessed that Marvin Harrison was a thug? I don’t really think he pulled the trigger; none of the victims identified him. But Jesus Christ, what the fuck, Marvin?

On Mike & Mike this morning, Sal Palantonio said that in crime-ridden North Philly, Marvin Harrison not only owns a not-particularly-highbrow bar, but he actually physically pats patrons down and confiscates their weapons when they come in.

What the fuck is Marvin doing working as a bouncer in an area where people bring guns to the bar? I understand and applaud the desire to give back ala Magic Johnson, but good god man, there’s got to be a better way!

I’m not a Panthers fan but this is the second year they’ve caught my attention with their draft at least in the early rounds. I was hoping my team would get Conner, I think they did a good job.

I’m a Steelers fan and I’m quite pleased with the draft despite the fact they didn’t fill some needs. We need O-Line and D-Line depth but the value wasn’t there at pick 23, I’m very happy with Mendenhall and Sweed. Some fans were upset at selecting Davis a LB in the third but a lot of people were upset when Joey Porter was taken in the third years ago and that turned out to be a great pick. The biggest disappointment for me was their failure to take Owen Schmitt in the fifth. The offensive co-ordinator is minimizing the use of a fullback in the offense and I don’t care for that strategy much. I think the Seahawks wound up with Schmitt, crap!

Good news, Giants fans: Giants pay Diehl for successfully tackling new role

David Diehl – a 5th round draft choice in 2003 – was the first Giant since Mark Bavaro to start every game as a rookie. He has started at RG, RT, LG, and now LT, for at least a full season at each position.

This was a fantastic resigning for a guy who absolutely deserves it. And as an added bonus, the braces did a great job fixing his teeth.

I hear ya. I’m not in love with Alexander, hopefully it didn’t come across that way, and he and Benson have a lot of similarities in their often flawed running styles. Alexander does have a knack for slipping through smallish creases and hitting the proper hole as a play is designed which Benson can’t seem to do, but he’s not particularly fast or durable and goes down easy on first contact.

One thing I do like about the idea of getting him on the team is that he’s a classy guy that stays out of trouble and seems like he’s been a pretty good locker room presence in Seattle which we could use on offense. He’s a veteran and should be able to add something to the development of the youth at all our skill positions. Also, and most importantly, I don’t think he’ll be angling for a long term contract with a monster bonus ala Edge James in Arizona. If we can get him on a short term deal with incentives he should help the team now and be easy to jettison when and if Forte, Peterson or someone else becomes a breakout star.

I really like what has been reported about Forte in Mini Camp and I think Peterson is talented enough to be a regular contributor in a RBBC but I don’t think we have a guy like Grant or Bradshaw on this roster. There isn’t a guy stashed on our practice squad or any UDFAs that have been brought in that have anyone optimistic. The Bears simply are clueless when it comes to RBs and I think we need to add one more set of legs if we dump Benson.

That whole thing is a shocker, no? Will be interested to hear exactly what the full story is because I just bring myself to believe that Marvin Fucking Harrison is caught up in something like this. Just amazing.

I love Marvin Harrison. Of all the current players in the NFL, he’s one of my favorites. He’s an outstanding player, even though he doesn’t have jaw dropping speed or incredible height. He’s not a showboat, yet still has the ability to make amazing plays.

It would surprise and severely disappoint me, if he ended up being a headcase thug.


Anyone see on the crawl abut the witness on the boat where Cedric Benson was arrested? It said that she called 911 to get help for Benson, since she was worried for his safety at the hands of the cops. She also disputes that he was intoxicated, or that he resisted.

That was the gist of it, at least. And Omni, you make a compelling case for Alexander to the Bears, regardless of how the Benson thing shakes out.

I saw it, however the “friend” is the fiance of Aaron Harris, Benson’s former teammate. Not that that makes it false, just that it’s not some complete stranger supporting his story.

As a fan, I really feel for you for this weird situation. Us Giants fans had to deal with Ron Dayne for far too long; if he’d been caught up in something similar, it would definitely have caused mixed feelings.

Eh, I’m not too conflicted. I’ve never held any misguided delusions that Benson would be anything other than a complete and total disaster. If anything this issue, regardless of how out of line the cops may or may not be, should help to speed along the conclusion so we can move on sooner instead of later.

Catch you all on the flip side.

In AFC North basement news:

From PFT:

And from CBS

God I hate post-draft/pre-training camp part of offseason.
The Packers recently signed Philip Caldwell and Sue Zernicke to positions in the ticket office and Tom Fanning in the public relations department.

Fuck! Now Sue can really sell those tickets, and her work in the office is outstanding, but Caldwell was overrated in college, and has a serious injury issues with paper cuts.

Fanning will fill a void, but I don’t expect him to be much more than adding depth to the PR department.

Omni’s favorite running back got arrested for DUI.

Man, what is it with guys who are making millions of dollars living out their dream doing really stupid shit to risk it all? It’s staggering.

I guess Omni is out celebrating with the news that Benson got cut.

Wonder if anyone will pick him up. Guessing not on waivers with his salary, but someone will give him a contract if he clears them.
WSEX.com came out with the over/under wins bets for this year. If anyone is curious:

ARI 7.5
ATL 4.5
CAR 7.5
CIN 7.5
DAL 10.5
DEN 7.5
DET 6.5
GB 8
HOU 7.5
IND 11
JAX 10
KC 6
MIA 5.5
MIN 8.5
NE 12.5
NOR 8.5
OAK 6.5
SD 10.5
SF 6.5
SEA 8.5
STL 6.5
TB 8
WAS 7.5

None of those look like great bets either way to me yet without examining the schedule. I’m not too tempted to make bets like this anyway… even if you win, it’s 6+ months till you get your money.

It warms my heart to see that the under for Bal is -130 while the over is even - people who are putting their money on the line say Baltimore sucks horribly. The action is fairly unbalanced, actually - lots of Dallas fans made their over pricey at -160. Denver’s over is actually at -160 too. I’m surprised to see that Indy at 11 is +140 over, -170 under - quite a bit of action on Indy having a sub-par year.

As far as I know, there is no “waivers.” In the NFL, if you’re cut, your contract is torn to shreds. He’ll have to sign a whole new deal whether it’s ten minutes from now or in week 4.

NFL players who wouldn’t qualify for free agency (in terms of number of years in the league) are subject to waivers upon being cut. I remember that Jacksonville picked up Kevin Johnson off waivers back in 2003 when Cleveland cut him. I think they pick up the contract as is, but I’m not sure.

In my continued quest to pimp Josh Cribbs, pro football reference did an article about the best return games of all time. The methodology is somewhat flawed, but:

“Finally, you might notice that Cleveland’s 2007 team ranks really high. The Browns happened to have the same kick and punt returner last year, and his name was Josh Cribbs. He averaged 13.83 AY/PR and 31.00 AY/KR, thereby adding an astounding 622 return yards over average last year. (That’s higher than the Cle 2007 score, because the Browns had thirteen ineffective kickoff returns by other players.) That season is the Single Greatest Return Season since 1970, and probably of all time.”

It’s interesting how you can have probably the greatest return season of all time, and yet most people wouldn’t name you when asked who the best returner in the league is.