Friday, March 30, 2012

Dolphins linebacker Misi arrested on battery charge


Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi has been arrested on a charge of battery with serious injury, according to the Broward County, FL sheriff's office.

An arrest warrant was issued in California, and Misi was arrested in his home in Weston, FL.

"We are aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering information," Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said in a statement, according to "As a result, we will refrain from any comment."

Misi is entering his third year after being a second round draft pick for the Dolphins. He played college ball at Utah.

Bell less likely to return to Bills as tackle adds visits


The free-agent bus for Demetrius Bell certainly has a lot of stops planned on its route for a new contract.

The third-year tackle was slated to meet with the Steelers Friday, on the heels of a meeting with the Packers, with a quick stop in Philadelphia planned, as well. That makes five teams Bell has met with since becoming a free agent (not counting the Bills), and any hopes of Bell returning to Buffalo next season may be dwindling.

Bell’s meeting with the Eagles may be the one to watch, especially given the news that Jason Peters, arguably the NFL’s most talented tackle, will not return this season due to surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles.

With the Eagles’ offensive attack relying mainly on quarterback Michael Vick’s scrambling ability, not to mention running back LeSean McCoy’s contribution, Philadelphia will need a strong replacement, and Bell is at the top of the list in terms of available tackles, although the Eagles will probably be looking at his health, as well.

'Phins offered Flynn half of what Seahawks proposed


New details have surfaced about the Dolphins' failure to sign free agent quarterback Matt Flynn.

Dolphins sources told's Jeff Darlington that Miami offered Flynn $4 million per year to sign with the Dolphins, which was about half of what the Seahawks offered.

Flynn signed with Seattle on March 18, which frustrated a fan base already disappointed by the fact that Peyton Manning chose to sign with the Broncos instead of Miami.

Embattled general manager Jeff Ireland has been blamed for failing to sign all of the free agents that the Miami fans have wanted signed. The public resentment toward Ireland culminated in a fan rally at the team facility on March 20.

It might simply be the case that head coach Joe Philbin, who was Flynn's offensive coordinator for four seasons, would not sign off on Flynn's potential to be the franchise quarterback. That fact would paint a different picture about Ireland than most fans are currently seeing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Five takeaways from Philbin's meeting with media


New Dolphins coach Joe Philbin spoke with the media on Tuesday and covered a wide range of football-related topics. Most of it was the positive, non-specific coach-speak that the media has grown accustomed to, but there were some interesting points made by the rookie head coach.

Here are five key things to take away from Philbin's interview:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bell's decision could affect Bills' No. 1 draft choice


Free agent left tackle Demetrius Bell is slated to meet with Green Bay later this week, and his visit may have a larger impact on the Bills than he thinks.

Bell, who was offered a contract by Buffalo before entering the free-agent market, has made it clear he isn't dead-set on staying with the Bills, already meeting with Washington last week. The 6-foot-5, 311-pounder has drawn interest from Arizona, as well.

Bills general manager Buddy Nix made it abundantly clear Monday that the team isn't dead-set on pursuing the third-year tackle either.

“Demetrius wanted to test the market I think and we told him to go ahead and do that,” Nix told SiriusXM NFL radio. “We made him an offer and didn’t hear anything back from him so I assume they’re looking for something else. Chris Hairston did a good job for us and we think he can handle it. We’re not concerned about it.”

Despite his lack of concern, losing Bell and moving Hairston to the starting role could affect how the Bills approach their No. 1 pick come draft day. writer Chris Brown, among others, has mentioned names such as Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathon Martin for the Bills top pick if Bell doesn't re-sign, and talks of a wide-receiver pick in Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame are out there as well if a competent tackle isn't available when the No. 10 pick comes around.

Nix again promises Bills will offer Jackson extension


The Bills and running back Fred Jackson want Jackson to be a Bill for life. Whether that will happen is still up in the air.

Bills general manager Buddy Nix says he'll do his part.

“Fred and I have visited a couple of times,” Nix said Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, according to ”Fred has been vocal some about wanting a new deal and that kind of thing so finally I called him in and we talked twice. I told him we’re going to offer you an extension. We had priorities with guys that were unrestricted that we didn’t want to lose."

Jackson was the Bills' best player last season before acquiring a season-ending injury past the midway point of the season. Nix has repeatedly said Buffalo plans on locking up Jackson, who still has a year remaining on his current contract, for the rest of his playing career.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tebow's prior Jet connections eased transition to NY


Tim Tebow is new to New York, but some of his surroundings are familiar.

Tebow signed with the Jets this past weekend to, as the team will adamently point out, back up quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez hosted Tebow during Tebow's recruiting visit to USC, New Jets offensive coordinator coached Tebow during the Senior Bowl, and Tebow also has the same agent as Rex Ryan. Tebow is also currently working with UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who was a receivers coach for the Jets a few years ago.

"... at my pro day we (Tebow and Ryan) spent some time together, and at the Super Bowl this year we had a great conversation," Tebow told reporters Monday, according to

There has been constant speculation surrounding Tebow's role with the Jets and whether or not he poses a threat to Sanchez's starting job. However, Tebow will work almost exclusively in the Jets' Wildcat packages, which will make for an interesting dynamic.

"We're adding another player. We're not replacing anybody. He's here to help us," Sanchez told reporters Monday. "I'm confident in my abilities. I know the team has the same belief.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Patriots add Fiammetta, release fullback Polite


More change has come to the Patriots' backfield.

New England signed Tony Fiammetta and released Lousaka Polite on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Fiammetta joins Spencer Larsen as new additions to the Patriots' fullback corps. Like Larsen, Fiammetta has been known as primarily a lead blocker in his career with the Panthers and Cowboys, having carried the ball only 11 times for 26 yards in three seasons.

Polite was known as a short yardage specialist during his time with the Dolphins but was picked up by New England as a free agent after Miami cut him prior to the 2011 regular season. He was on the field for just 24 offensive snaps last season.

Ochocinco takes pay cut to remain with Pats, for now


Chad Ochocinco is just happy to be employed at this point in his career.

Ochocinco, who caught just 15 passes in 15 games with the Patriots last season despite making $6 million, reduced his 2012 base salary to $1 million from $3 million, according to's Jason LaCanfora.

Smart move. Aside from inking veteran wideout Brandon Lloyd, the Patriots have been loading up on mid-level, mid-pay scale receivers since free agency began, and they're likely not going to overpay for a 34-year-old wideout who is past his prime.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bills retain Choice, RB will battle for reserve role


The Bills re-signed a running back Saturday, not that it should matter.

Buffalo, which already employs a stellar running back combo in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, retained Tashard Choice.

"It's official I'll be a Buffalo Bill this year," Choice announced on his Twitter account. "I wanna thank God, the organization, family,friends and fans. Hit the ground running."

Choice gained 152 rushing yards total the past two seasons with three teams -- the Cowboys, Redskins and Bills. He was waived by both the Cowboys and Redskins last season before the Bills picked him up in November.

Ochocinco likely to remain with Pats' stout WR group


ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Friday that Chad Ochocinco will 'absolutely' remain with the Patriots for the 2012 season.

Ochocinco is fourth among active players in both career receptions and career receiving yards

The Patriots have been busy this free agency period, especially in regard to their recieving corps. Matthew Slater and Deion Branch were re-signed, and Wes Welker was given the franchise tag. They will be joined by free agent aquisitions Brandon Lloyd, Anthony Gonzalez and Donte' Stallworth.

New England's current receivers have 12 Pro Bowl appearances between them. All Pro quarterback Tom Brady will have some quality options in addition to star tight end Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, even if not all of these players make the final roster.

Dolphins owner calls fan, attempts to give solace


The Dolphins' fan base is angry, confused generally frustrated with the state of its team.

Miami was unable to sign either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn, a popular team captain in Yeremiah Bell was cut, and Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall was traded for just two third round draft picks. There have been boycotts, banners flown on planes, and most recently protests calling for general manager Jeff Ireland to be fired.

The fact that the fans of the Dolphins are increasing disillusioned with their team's front office is apparently not lost on owner Stephen Ross. One of the participants in the Tuesday protest at the Dolphins' facility, Jason Lawrence, received an unexpected phone call from Ross on Thursday night.

Perhaps it was simply a PR stunt, or perhaps it was a genuine attempt to help ease the disappointment that the fans have. Either way, Ross offered answers.

Regarding the Brandon Marshall trade, Lawrence said that Ross told him, "They had been shopping [Marshall] for a couple weeks," According to the Sun-Sentinel. "Nobody would return their phone calls about getting him. If Chicago didn't take [Marshall] … they would have ended up cutting him very shortly after that, and got nothing."

According to Lawrence, who has been a season ticket holder for over 20 seasons, Ross also expressed his disappointment in not signing Manning. He had an opportunity to meet with the free agent quarterback for an hour and a half, where Manning told Ross he was not comfortable with the Dolphins.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jets trade backup QB Stanton after brief employment


Drew Stanton's career as a Jet lasted a grand total of seven days.

One week after signing a one-year, $1.25 million contract on March 16, Stanton was traded to the Colts for a sixth round pick. Stanton was brought in to replace 41-year-old Mark Brunell as the backup to starter Mark Sanchez.

Much to his chagrin, he was demoted to third string when the Jets made a controversial move by trading for the polarizing Tim Tebow. Stanton then reportedly desired to be traded or released from the team. He will now get an opportunity to back up presumed No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck.

The unique dynamic between Tebow and Sanchez, who is polarizing in his own right, was probably not an environment Stanton wanted to be a part of. Since the trade for Tebow was announced, the national media has been speculating how the players will coexist. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum has been adamant that Sanchez is the starter and the Tebow is a situational player, but the media pressure in the Big Apple may be a factor as the season goes on.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Green-Ellis departure opens door for Patriots' Ridley


With BenJarvus Green-Ellis signing a three-year deal with the Bengals, second-year Patriots running back Stevan Ridley will see an expanded role in the high-powered New England offense.

Ridley averaged a team-best 5.1 yards per carry and scored one touchdown in his rookie season, mostly in a reserve role. One of the notable differences between the former LSU Tiger and Green-Ellis is ball security, with fumbles being a concern with Ridley and Green-Ellis having never fumbled in 510 career carries.

The Patriots will hope that Ridley can help adequately replace the 667 yards and 11 touchdowns that Green-Ellis provided in the pass heavy New England attack. Veteran Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen, who was drafted one round ahead of Ridley in the 2011 draft, fill out the Patriots' depth chart at the tailback position.

Pats' Brady restructures contract to make cap room

Photo: Keith Allison, Flickr 


Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has restructured his contract (again) to give New England more cap room. $7.2 million worth of cap room, according to the Boston Globe.

The future Hall of Fame quarterback, who will be heading into his 13th NFL season this year, worked with the Patriots to streamline his payday more efficiently, allowing the Patriots to have more money to work with free agents and other acquisitions throughout the offseason.

After signing a four-year, $72 million contract extension in September 2010, Brady was slated to earn $5.75 million in salary this season, along with $6 million roster bonus and workout bonuses worth $250,000.

Now, Brady’s base salary has been reduced to $950,000 in guaranteed money, with the remainder (nearly $5 million) and the original roster bonus translating into a $10.8 million signing bonus that will be paid throughout the rest of his contract.

“I think we’re blessed to have the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Thursday, according to ESPN. “But let’s also remember that when he restructures his deal, he’s getting a big bundle of cash up-front. But it is helping us create cap room.”

Jets' Tannenbaum: Sanchez, Tebow know their roles


Tim Tebow is a Jet. A backup Jet.

Gang Green acquired Tebow via a trade with the Broncos Wednesday night. He'll take over the No. 2 signal-caller position on the Jets' depth chart behind Mark Sanchez.

"Mark is, has been and will be our starting quarterback," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said, according to the team's website. "We're adding Tim to be our backup quarterback. We've talked to both Mark and Tim. Tim knows about that and Mark knows about that. They're both very clear in what their roles will be."

Tebow will help new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano add his version of a Wildcat wrinkle in New York's offense. Sparano made the Wildcat mainstream in 2008 when he was head coach of the Dolphins. The Jets have also had success in the past with the "option" thanks to the services of all-purpose player Brad Smith, who is now a Bill.

"To run a successful Wildcat is not a pipe dream — we've done it for a few years here," Tannenbaum said. "To see what Coach Sparano has done with it is not a projection. To see what Tim Tebow has done with the ball in his hands is not a projection. We have a vision for the player and a role for the player.

Pats no longer clients of Law Firm, Bengals sign RB


The Patriots and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis have gone their separate ways.

The free-agent tailback, who carried most of the team’s workload out of the backfield over the past two seasons, is being introduced as the newest member of the Bengals Thursday.

The Patriots and Green-Ellis worked on contract negotiations at the start of free agency, but the two sides were unable to come to an agreement and the 27-year-old running back decided to sign with Cincinnati, where he is expected to be the featured back.

Some were surprised the Patriots didn’t try harder to bring back Green-Ellis, who has never fumbled in his NFL career, since the former undrafted free agent made a splash in New England over his three years there, including a 1,000-plus-yard season in 2010.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bills add Anderson, bolster already stout D-line


Former Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson signed a four-year contract worth $27.5 million with the Bills, according to the Boston Herald. The deal includes $8 million in guarantees.

Anderson revived his career in 2011, recording 10 sacks. Originally drafted by the Bears in 2006, his production tailed off in recent years after his 12-sack rookie season.

Adding Anderson enhances an already formidable defensive front with Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams, who signed a six-year contract worth up to $100 million last Thursday.

Combined with a good secondary and middle linebacker Nick Barnett, defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt's defense is shaping into one of the better ones in the NFL, at least on paper.

Jets acquire "quarterback" Tim Tebow via trade

Photo: Jefferey Beall, Flickr 


Tebowmania will be heading to the Big Apple.

The Broncos traded quarterback Tim Tebow and a seventh round draft pick to the Jets for a fourth and sixth round pick, according to Jay Glazer of

The polarizing quarterback will join recently-signed backup Drew Stanton and starter Mark Sanchez on the Jets' quarterback depth chart. Sanchez was just given a five-year, $58 million extension.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the negotiations were primarily between the Jets and the Jaguars, with the Rams making a late push. Green Bay were in preliminary discussions but did not want to give up a mid-round draft pick for Tebow.

Cromartie: Jets "don't need Tebow ... We straight'


The Jets are reportedly interested in quarterback Tim Tebow, who is for the taking after the Broncos signed Peyton Manning this week.

But Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has been very vocal on Twitter this offseason, doesn't think Tebow can help the Jets.

"We don't need Tebow," Cromartie wrote on Twitter. "We sell out every home game let him go to Jacksonville Tampa or Miami. Our wildcat offense can b ran by J. Kerley or Joe McKnight we straight."

A source close to the situation told the New York Daily News that what Tebow can add to the locker room in terms of character and leadership is the main selling point for those in favor of bringing Tebow to New York.

Dolphins fans hold small protest outside team facility


A small protest was held by a group of disgruntled fans in front of the Dolphins' training facility in Davie on Tuesday, and it looks like the small event may have gotten the attention of the organization.

It was reported that about 25 fans bearing signs and bags on their heads attended the rally, which started around 1 p.m.

Some signs read, "Stop the circus, Ireland must go," "Fins Down," "No to Tebow," and perhaps most creatively, "Fireland" over an Irish flag.

The fans have become increasingly frustrated with the team's ongoing quarterback search and inability to field a winning product for such a long stretch. general manager Jeff Ireland was unable attract coach Jeff Fisher or to sign either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn during the free agency period.

The Dolphins have only had one winning record since Ireland took over before the 2008 season. The team recently cut longtime Dolphin Yeremiah Bell and signed veteran quarterback David Garrard, two moves that have so far been very unpopular with the fans.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bills' organization capitalizing on Mario Mania


Former No. 1 overall draft pack Mario Williams has brought the Bills more than just a daunting defensive end to round out a scary defensive front. He’s also brought an economic boost to Orchard Park’s team, most notably in the form of booming ticket sales.

The former Texans standout, selected first overall by Houston in 2006, inked a monster contract with Buffalo last week reportedly for $100 million over six years. Soon after, Buffalo had a jump in ticket sales, jersey sales and hits on both its official web site and mobile app.

Bills CEO Russ Brandon announced significant increases in ticket sales that were already faring well.

“We’ve been pacing very well going into the offseason with our season ticket renewals,” Brandon said, according to the Bills' website. “We were up about 15 percent year over year, but over the last 48 hours after the (Williams) signing we did about 1400 new season tickets and renewed about 4,000 season tickets. I think the marker there is we’re about two weeks away from our first deposit on season tickets. So it’s certainly picked up.

“The demand for season tickets increased to a point where the Bills held extended hours for ticket sales last Saturday with a steady stream of ticket buyers at One Bills Drive.”

For now, Dolphins settle for free agent QB Garrard


The Dolphins might not have found their quarterback, but they found a quarterback.

After failing to land free agent signal-callers Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn and Alex Smith, Miami signed former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard Monday to a one-year deal.

Garrard missed all of last season with back issues, but's Jeff Darlington reported that Garrard will get an opportunity to earn the starting job, though he'll have to do it via a training camp competition with Matt Moore.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pats continue to add depth with Stallworth, Gallery


The Patriots continue to add depth via free agency.

Monday, New England inked guard Robert Gallery, receiver Donte Stallworth, cornerback Marquice Cole and tight end Daniel Fells.

Gallery, formerly of the Raiders, missed a dozen and a half games over the past three years to injury, though Patriots coach Bill Belichick is reportedly fond of the former second round draft pick, so we could see him take on a starting role.

Stallworth was a Patriot in 2007, so he's familiar with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' system.

Cole was a former Jets' reserve but could play a role in New England's not-so-good secondary, and Fells will take on occasional blocking duties, though he has the best tight end tandem in the league in front of him on the depth chart.

Longtime Dolphins safety Bell a salary cap casualty


The Dolphins have cut ties with longtime safety Yeremiah Bell, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The release will create $4.35 million in cap space, putting Miami between $8-10 million below the salary cap.

This comes as a surprise to the fan base, as Bell was one of the most popular and longest tenured Dolphins. Its presumed that Bell was simply a cap casualty, as he was still producing despite getting older.

Bell, 34, was Miami's second leading tackler in 2011. In his eight-year career with the Dolphins, Bell recorded 11 sacks and six interceptions. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009.

Jets sign former 'Skins safety Landry to 1-year deal


The Jets needed help at safety, and they got it Monday.

New York signed former Redskins free agent LaRon Landry to a one-year deal worth $4 million, according to Michael Lombardi of

“After spending time with the organization as a whole, I just felt that signing with the Jets was the right thing to do,” Landry said, according to “When you factor in that Rex coached my brother and the family-oriented demeanor, it just felt like home. It made the decision real easy for me.

"They have a top-notch support staff and facility and I really feel that I can prosper here.”

Landry has 383 combined tackles, 31 passes defensed, four interceptons, 5.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in five seasons with the Redskins.

Jets CB Cromartie says he's moving to free safety


Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie said he's making a move.

"I guess I'm moving to FS (free safety)," Cromartie tweeted Sunday night, hinting that he had just finished up a discussion with someone in the Jets organization about a switch.

"The reason I say I'm moving to FS is because Kyle (Wilson) is becoming a good corner and I don't mind the move."

The tweet was curious on two levels: Cromartie couldn't have been advised to make that sort of declaration himself, and the move doesn't seem to make a ton of sense.

Cromartie is a pretty good cornerback and does his job well across star defender Darrelle Revis. Wilson, on the other hand, hasn't yet proven to be anything more than a third cornerback used against slot receivers.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dolphins negotiating with Smith, missed on Flynn


The Dolphins are negotiating a contract with free agent quarterback Alex Smith, according to the Denver Post. The team is reportedly prepared to offer a deal worth around $8 million annually.

Miami failed to sign quarterback Matt Flynn, who visited South Beach on Saturday. Flynn chose to sign a three-year, $26 million contract with the Seahawks.

Missing out on Flynn was another tough break for Miami, as Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was Flynn's coordinator in Green Bay and owner Stephen Ross is as willing to spend as any NFL owner.

Smith had by far his best season in 2011 after being selected by the 49ers No. 1 overall in 2005. He led San Francisco, which is currently in pursuit of Peyton Manning, to a 13-3 record and the NFC Championship game.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Report: Patriots ink veteran wideout Brandon Lloyd

Photo: Jeffrey Beall, Flickr   


The Patriots' receiving corps didn't get younger Saturday, but it got better.

New England signed veteran wideout Brandon Lloyd, formerly of the Rams and Broncos, to a three-year, $12 million deal, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Lloyd fills the Patriots' need for a true deep threat. While slot receiver Wes Welker will be quarterback Tom Brady's go-to target, Lloyd will draw plenty of attention over the top.

Lloyd caught five touchdowns in 10 starts for the Rams last season. He was traded from Denver to St. Louis in the middle of October after grabbing a career-high 12 touchdowns for the Broncos in 2010.

Flynn visits Dolphins, should decide 'this weekend'


With a name like Matt Flynn, you'd expect the free agent quarterback to be somewhere celebrating St. Patricks Day on March 17.

But Flynn is spending his Saturday visiting the Dolphins, one of the teams looking to sign him. He paid the Seahawks a visit on Thursday and Friday, and apparently he was happy with how it went.

Flynn wanted to visit with the Dolphins before making a decision, which, according to his father, should be coming sooner than later.

"Logic would tell me he would do something this weekend or thereabouts," Flynn's father, Alvin Flynn, told the Palm Beach Post. "He doesn't want to drag this out." In regard to the Seattle visit, Alvin Flynn added, "He said it was a really nice place, and he enjoyed it, but he wanted to look at both of them. That was the way he felt going in."

Jets finally have Sanchez's true backup in Stanton


Less than a week after the Jets handed quarterback Mark Sanchez a $40 million contract extension, Gang Green signed up for his insurance policy.

The Jets signed Drew Stanton, formerly of the Lions, Friday to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million.

Stanton will take on the task of Sanchez's backup, a position held the last two years by Mark Brunell. Stanton most recently was the Lions' third-stringer, sitting behind Matthew Stafford and backup quarterback Shaun Hill.

"The nice thing is, we're all going to be learning Tony Sparano's offense together," Stanton said, according to "My goal is to help Mark produce on the field and to help this organization win football games."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Jackson's value to Bills' offense can't be overlooked


Bills general manager Buddy Nix told ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio Friday that the No. 1 running back job will essentially be up for grabs between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller this offseason.

Nix also promised that the organization would make an offer for a contract extension that would make Jackson a Bill for the remainder of his career, and it will be up to Jackson whether or not he'll take what Buffalo is willing to give.

Fair enough. Spiller should get every chance to be the primary back, as he was drafted No. 9 overall in the 2010 draft and put together a solid finish to the 2011 season in taking over Jackson's job. But if Jackson can get back anywhere in the vicinity of his level of play from a year ago, he's the guy. He was the team's best player in 2011, and the Bills' offense was actually legitimate with him on the field.

Patriots free agent Anderson to visit rival Dolphins


Free agent defensive end Mark Anderson has scheduled a visit with the Dolphins, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Anderson had a breakout season for the Patriots in 2011, recording 10 sacks in a reserve role. His career has been rejuvenated after plateauing since his 12 sack performance for the Bears as a rookie in 2006.

The former fifth round pick out of Alabama was in talks with the Patriots to return, but those negotiations have reportedly stalled. It is possible that Anderson is only planning to use Miami as leverage to help his cause in those contract talks, but Miami's interest is genuine.

Bills to use Williams strictly as a left defensive end


The money was important, but the role was too.

The Bills made defensive end Mario Williams the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history Thursday when they signed him to a deal worth $100 million with $50 million guaranteed.

And while the money was a big sell for Williams, so was the job description.

“We knew that he liked to play on the left side,” Bills general manager Buddy Nix told WGR Sportsradio 550, according to ”He was used on both sides at Houston, but he was a left defensive end at N.C. State so that was important to him."

Nix added that "it is important to him (Williams) that he his a pass rusher, not an outside backer that's going to drop two out of every five or six plays."

Free agent Manning officially out of Dolphins' reach


Peyton Manning personally called the Dolphins to tell them that he would not be signing in Miami, according to a report on This officially removes a team from a race many thought was the favorite when it all started.

Manning was released from the Colts earlier this month after 13 seasons and four MVP awards. He has reduced his choices to Tennessee and Denver, according to the report.

Miami's front office is dedicated to the search for a quality starting quarterback and is running out of options.

The Dolphins are expected to meet with free agent quarterback Matt Flynn this weekend, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Before he speaks with the Dolphins, Flynn is visiting the Seahawks. Provided he leaves Seattle without a contract, the Dolphins should have a chance to persuade the former Packer to play in South Beach.

Pats retain all-purpose offensive lineman Connelly


The Patriots have been re-signing key all-purpose players all week, and they continued to do so Thursday.

Greg Bedard of reported that the Patriots have reached an agreement with offensive lineman Dan Connelly, who has played up and down the Patriots' often-shifting offensive line the past two years.

Connelly will return to the team to start at center, which, as Bedard noted, could end offensive lineman Dan Koppen's stint with the Patriots at nine years.

Connelly missed three games last season to a groin injury but started every other game, including New England's postseason contests.

'Phins re-sign Slaton, add OL Hicks, LB Westerman


The Dolphins agreed to terms with a trio of reserves on Thursday. Offensive lineman Artis Hicks, linebacker Jamaal Westerman and running back Steve Slaton are the Dolphins' latest free agent signings.

Hicks is expected to be a versatile backup and spot starter for a Miami offensive line that lacked both depth and consistency in 2011. He has started 71 games for four different teams in his nine-year career, most recently in Cleveland.

Coming over from the division rival Jets, Westerman will provide depth at outside linebacker. He has played in 3-4 throughout his career, and his signing may hint that Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle may not completely switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme after all.

Veteran running back Steve Slaton spent the latter part of last season in Miami and has been brought back to back up Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas. He saw limited action in 2011 for the Dolphins, only running for 64 yards and one touchdown.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

After 3-day visit, Williams signs huge deal with Bills


A few days spent in Buffalo turned into half a dozen years for Mario Williams.

Williams signed a six-year deal with the Bills Thursday. The contract will reportedly make the two-time All Pro defensive end the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported that Williams can make up to $100 million in the new deal with $50 million guaranteed.

If he can stay healthy, Williams should be just what Buffalo needs to bolster what was a porous pass rush last season. The Bills certainly pulled all the stops in getting Williams, whether it was offering him an incredible amount of money to including former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly in the recruiting process.

"The endless possibilities and the great guys upstairs in the front office just sold me immediately," Williams told reporters Thursday. "It’s one of those things that you don’t get many chances and opportunities like this to be the guy who can help the team get over the hump and that is definitely what I am here for."

Jets' Folk will get another offseason to keep his job


Nick Folk has made some critical kicks over the past two seasons. So despite his less-than-stellar 76 percent conversion rate last season, Folk will be around for at least one more offseason.

The Jets announced Wednesday that they have re-signed Folk to a one-year contract.

Folk led the Jets in scoring the last two seasons, tallying point totals of 127 and 101. Last season, Folk broke Pat Leahy and Jay Feely's season-opening record of 10 consecutive field goals (1986 and 2009, respectively), by hitting his first 11.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

After getting rid of one Marshall, 'Phins sign another


Free agent cornerback Richard Marshall, formerly of the Cardinals, announced via his Twitter account that he signed a three-year deal with the Dolphins Wednesday night. ESPN's Adam Schefter later reported that the deal was worth $16 million with $6 million guaranteed.

Marshall will be a solid addition to a secondary that was the weakness of an otherwise good Dolphins defense. He is versatile enough to play either nickel back or free safety.

Veteran Will Allen, who played nickel back in 2011, is a free agent and likely will not be back.

Marshall was drafted by the Panthers in the second round of the 2006 draft. The former Fresno State Bulldog has recorded 17 interceptions and seven sacks in his six-year NFL career.

Patriots lock up key special teamers, solidify D-line


It's been business as usual for the Patriots since the start of free agency Tuesday.

New England has put a focus on depth the past two days, solidifying important pieces to its special teams arsenal and shoring up the defensive line.

The Patriots re-signed special teams ace Matt Slater, who is listed as a wide receiver. They also retained special-teamer linebackers Tracy White and Niko Koutouvides to one-year contracts. Both 'backers are in their 30s.

More importantly, New England added a likely starter in Jonathan Fanene to its defensive line, signing the defensive end to a $12 million three-year deal that includes a $3.85 million in bonuses, according to Aaron Wilson of

Fanene recorded 6.5 sacks in 16 games for the Bengals last season.

The Patriots also made sure to hang on to defensive lineman Kyle Love, who is only 25 years old and could have an extended relationship with New England if he builds on his 33 tackles and three sacks from a season ago.

Ex-Dolphins' Marshall accused of punching woman


After it was announced Tuesday that the Dolphins had traded star receiver Brandon Marshall to the Bears for two draft picks, details of yet another extracurricular incident involving Marshall came to light.

According to, a woman accused Marshall of punching her in the face at a nightclub in Manhattan. The alleged incident occurred at 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Marshall had spoken at a charity event earlier in the night.

This is the latest in a career of off-the-field issues for the three-time Pro Bowler and might have pushed Miami's hand in accepting a trade offer. Fans and front offices alike have grown weary of Marshall's baggage.

The Bears announced that they were aware of the incident before completing the deal. Chicago had reportedly been inquiring about a possible trade since the NFL Combine in late February. Chicago gave up two third round draft picks in the deal.

Dolphins, nose tackle Soliai decide to stick together


The Dolphins have retained Pro Bowl nose tackle Paul Soliai, according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Soliai was planning visits to the Broncos, Chiefs and 49ers but cancelled those trips and decided to re-sign with the Dolphins. Miami drafted Soliai in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2011.

Soliai was expected to be expendable after the Dolphins announced they were switching from a 3-4 defensive scheme to the 4-3. He is a prototypical 3-4 nose tackle, but this signing could signify that Miami plans to run more of a hybrid of the two schemes.

Flynn contact, Winston visit among Dolphins' activity


The league year started Tuesday, and teams were allowed to begin contacting available free agents. With that, the Dolphins made a few transactions and had some contact with high profile free agents.

Miami still awaits the decision of free agent quarterback Peyton Manning, who met with the Dolphins' coaching staff on Monday.

Team contacts Matt Flynn

The Dolphins and Browns appear to be going head-to-head to sign free agent quarterback Matt Flynn, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The two teams are expected to exchange contract offers with Flynn's agent today or tomorrow. Miami will negotiate with Flynn while still in pursuit of Manning, though it's believed that their chances to sign Manning took a hit when their best receiving weapon, Brandon Marshall, was traded to the Bears.

'Resources are not an issue' for high-striving Bills


The Bills were very clear about their intentions and goals this offseason, particularly during the free agency period. They proved they weren't kidding Tuesday, taking big steps in an attempt to improve their porous run defense and solidify a No. 2 receiver.

Step No. 1 was defense, as Bills general manager Buddy Nix, coach Chan Gailey, defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, CEO Russ Brandon and even defensive tackle Kyle Williams met with free agent linebacker Mario Williams, accompanying the two-time pro-bowler on his private jet flight to Buffalo.

Williams could be a huge improvement for the Bills in the middle of the field if he can stay healthy, as he ended up on IR the past two seasons.

Despite the injuries, Williams has amassed 53 sacks in his career, a stat the Bills definitely need to improve on after last season when they finished dead last in the league. Buffalo will likely have to write a big check to bring in Williams, an issue that doesn't seem to bother Brandon.

"We plan to be aggressive in free agency, and resources will not be an issue," Brandon told Buffalo's WGR-Radio.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jets re-sign linebacker Thomas to one-year deal


Bryan Thomas has been a Jet for a decade, so what's another year?

Thomas, Gang Green's longest-tenured player, signed a one-year contract Tuesday to remain in New York.

"Bryan has meant a lot to this organization over his 10 seasons and we are excited that he will continue his career here," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said, according to the team's website.

The 32-year-old outside linebacker missed three quarters of the 2011 season due to a torn Achilles' tendon, but when healthy, Thomas is quietly consistent. He has 418 career tackles, 31 sacks, 10 passes defensed and seven forced fumbles.

Ochocinco buys dinner for 200 strangers in Harlem


With the NFL just hours into this offseason’s official free-agency period, we can’t forget the other crazy stories that help make the NFL the roller coaster that it is. Those are the ones that usually happen off the field.

And leave it up to one of the game’s biggest faces off the field, Chad Ochocinco, to grab those headlines. It was a nice gesture by the Patriots wide receiver that was found in newspapers throughout New York and New England this morning after he invited 200 of his Twitter followers to free dinner at Harlem’s soul food spot Sylvia’s Restaurant.

“Dinner in NY tonight –> 1st 200 people at Sylvia’s Restaurant by 7 pm in Harlem. Leave ya money/credit cards at home. I got you this time,” he tweeted at 4:13 p.m. Monday.

It wasn’t the first time Ochocinco invited his followers — who are presumably all complete strangers — out for a night on the town. In October 2010 he treated 85 fans to a Cleveland steakhouse. He’s also notorious for random Twitter invites to movies or dinner with a select few as he travels to different cities throughout the country.

'Phins deal Marshall to Bears for two third-rounders


The Dolphins traded Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Bears Tuesday for 2012 and 2013 third-round draft picks.

Marshall will be reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler, who Marshall played with in Denver. Marshall had hinted in the past that he would like to play with Cutler again.

Miami traded for Marshall in April 2010 for two second round draft picks. In two seasons with the Dolphins, Marshall caught 167 passes for 2,228 yards and nine touchdowns. He was the MVP of this years Pro Bowl after catching a record four touchdowns for the AFC.

Losing their number one receiver could have implications in the Dolphins' pursuit of free agent quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, as either quarterback would not have a premier player to throw to.