The Jets released veteran wide receiver Laveranues Coles this afternoon — but both sides left open the possibility of his return to the team.
Coles, who was scheduled to earn a guaranteed $6 million salary for the 2009-10 season, wanted a long-term deal with the team. But when the two sides could not reach an agreement, they reached a compromise, giving Coles the right to find his own deal on the open market on the eve of free agency.
Considering the market for wide receivers, which is pretty much T.J. Houshmandzadeh at this point, Coles could still get a decent contract from another team. If he doesn’t get the long-term deal he covets, a reunion with the Jets seems more than likely.
The Rams will have a new backup quarterback in 2009. The team released Trent Green, who was one year into his second tour of duty with the team on Wednesday in a move that saves the team $1.3 million of salary cap space.
The departure of Green, a two-time Pro Bowler who was with the Rams previously in 1999 and 2000, means the Rams will have a new No. 2 quarterback in 2009. One possibility is Tampa Bay free agent Jeff Garcia, who played for Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in Philadelphia in 2006.
The team also released wide receiver Drew Bennett, who had been a major disappointment since signing a $30 million free-agent contract two years ago. Bennett’s relieve is a wash, saving the team only $50,000 in cap space.
The Rams didn’t save much cap space by cutting Bennett, but there was no reason to hang onto him either. He was a gigantic bust since he arrived in St. Louis and could wind up back with Tennessee under coordinator Mike Heimerdinger.
The Bears might wait until 90 minutes before kickoff Sunday to make it official, but quarterback Kyle Orton showed what he needed to while running the first-team offense in practice Thursday to get the start at Green Bay.
Orton jogged off the field on his taped-up right ankle, proof that even if he was limited in the workout, he felt just fine.
”He’s a lot better today than he was [Wednesday],” coach Lovie Smith said. ”If he continues to make the same type of progress, hopefully we’ll have him available.”
This is amazing considering how bad the injury looked on replays. Orton’s leg bent backwards in a way that usually signifies that a player will be lost for the season. Hopefully the Bears aren’t rushing him back onto the field, although they obviously need him to play with their postseason hopes hanging in the balance over the final seven weeks of the season.
The 2008 NFL Season is only a quarter of the way finished, but it already looks like it could be one of the craziest years in some time. And as if anyone needed a reason to tune in this year, I’ve gone ahead and listed 32 of them below.
In no particular order:
1. Parity still rules. Who would have thought that the Bills and Titans would have better records at this point than the Colts, Patriots and Jaguars?
2. The Giants. The G-Men are the best team in the league and nobody is talking about them.
3. Aaron Rodgers is holding his own. The Packers have dropped three straight after starting the year 2-0, but that’s hardly Rodgers’ fault. The young man has gone through a lot this year and he continues to impress, including playing with an injured shoulder and throwing nine touchdown passes in five games.
4. The Colts 17-point fourth quarter comeback against the Texans in Week 5.
5. Preseason predictions still mean nothing. There’s no greater feeling than checking out who the pundits predict will be the best teams in the NFL in preseason…then realizing how wrong they were after the first couple weeks of the season.
6. Jason Campbell’s development. People in the know say that it usually takes a quarterback 2-3 years to fully learn the West Coast Offense but so far this year, Campbell has thrown for over 1,000 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. And oh-by-the-way, he also has the Redskins at 4-1. First-year head coach Jim Zorn has done a remarkable job in Washington so far.
7. The Titans. There’s not a defense in the league that has been more clutch late in games than Tennessee has.
8. Ronnie Brown. No offense to Ricky Williams, but it’s nice to see that the guy who didn’t quit on the game because he wanted more time to smoke weed is having more success than the guy who did.
9. The balance of power is starting to shift between the two conferences. The AFC has long dominated the NFC in terms of teams and quality of play, but so far this year those roles have been reversed. Four of the top five or six teams in the league belong to the NFC.
10. Brett Favre. Through five weeks, no signal caller in the league has a better QB rating than Favre. And his six-touchdown performance against the Cardinals in Week 4 was vintage Brett.
11. Baltimore’s defense. They might be aging unit, but Ray Lewis and Co. can still lay the wood can’t they?
12. Rookie quarterbacks playing well. Matt Ryan just went into Lambeau and knocked off the Packers, while Joe Flacco almost pulled off upsets against top defenses in Pittsburgh and against Tennessee. These first round signal callers have been impressive to say the least.
13. Adrian Peterson. Forget the sophomore slump – the 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year is proving that he’s no fluke.
14. The Bears finally have a quarterback. Kyle Orton is nowhere close to being the best quarterback in the league, but watch him play – he has a little gunslinger mentality in him. And hey, he’s no Rex Grossman, which is a great thing (just ask Bear fans).
15. Kurt Warner. Some groaned when the veteran unseated youngster Matt Leinart in preseason, but so far head coach Ken Whisenhunt’s decision to go with Warner has paid off.
16. The Dolphins. They might be all hype right now, but who cares? The Fins’ fan base saw only one win last year – let them enjoy the ride.
17. Ben Roethlisberger’s toughness. This is arguably the worst offensive line the Steelers have produced in years, yet Big Ben continues to show how underrated he really is. His performance against Jacksonville in Week 5 was simply amazing.
18. The Bills. It’s easy to pull for a young team and most of their wins this year have been nail bitters. Hopefully QB Trent Edwards is okay from the hit he took against Arizona last Sunday and he’ll get back on the field soon.
19. The young Titans’ secondary. Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin share the league lead for interceptions. And they play in the same defensive backfield.
20. Marty Booker’s catch against the Lions.
21. Jay Cutler. The kid is cocky but it’s hard not to like his swagger.
22. Michael Turner’s running style.
23. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. The Packers’ wideouts are just two example of why teams don’t need to spend first round picks on receivers.
24. Fresh starts in Oakland, Detroit and St. Louis. Yes these three franchises are a mess. But maybe there is a silver lining now that Lane Kiffin, Matt Millen and Scott Linehan all received their walking papers. Maybe…
25. Eli Manning. The former first overall pick is proving that last year’s postseason performance wasn’t a fluke and he really has taken the next step as a NFL quarterback.
26. The Panthers. Jake Delhomme is healthy and playing well again, rookie Jonathan Stewart has been a great complement to DeAngelo Williams and the run defense has been fantastic so far. Carolina is a legitimate contender in the NFC.
27. Monte Kiffin’s defense. The Bucs don’t even rank in the top 10 in any major defensive category except for points allowed, but ask Matt Ryan, Kyle Orton and Aaron Rodgers if they would want to face Kiffin’s unit on a weekly basis.
28. The Patriots are still finding ways to win. It hasn’t been pretty, but Bill Belichick and New England are still finding ways to win despite not having Tom Brady under center. Even after being blown out by Miami at home in Week 3, the Pats are still a team to watch out for in the AFC.
29. Reggie Bush. He might not be able to run consistently between the tackles but he sure as hell can run outside of them.
30. Terrell Owens…when he shuts up and just plays. And Tony Romo…when he can hang on to the football.
31. The Bengals. For providing the casual football fan with plenty of entertainment off the field.
32. Al Davis. For providing the casual football fan with plenty of entertainment off the filed.
– The New York Giants have suspended WR Plaxico Burress one game because of insubordination. Burress didn’t show up for a team meeting on Monday and then wouldn’t answer his phone Tuesday. The Giants are on a bye this week and Burress will not play next Sunday in Seattle. (FoxSports.com)
Update: Burress has filed a grievance against the Giants for docking him two weeks of pay.
– The Rams released starting CB Fakhir Brown. Less than a week ago Brown had replaced Tye Hill in the starting lineup, so the news of his release is surprising. Although at this point, nothing should surprise any of us about the Rams. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
– The Bears cut former second round draft pick, Mark Bradley. The former Oklahoma product was productive early in his career but after tearing his ACL, Bradley just never recovered. (ChicagoBears.com)
– It’s official: Browns’ head coach Romeo Crennel will stick with QB Derek Anderson this week when the team travels to Cincinnati. Anderson lit up the Bengals last year, but he’ll be on a short leash this week. Brady Quinn is warming up as I type. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
– After stumbling to a 0-3 start and looking atrocious while doing so, the St. Louis Rams have decided to make a change. Veteran Trent Green will reportedly start at quarterback this weekend against the undefeated Buffalo Bills as the Rams have decided to bench Marc Bulger. (NFL.com)
– Willie Parker will miss Monday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens after spraining his knee in last week’s loss to the Eagles. Rookie Rashard Mendenhall is expected to make his first NFL start. (NFL.com)
– Packers’ CB Al Harris could be lost for the entire season with a ruptured spleen, which was the same injury that knocked out former Bucs’ QB Chris Simms for the entire 2006 season. Tramon Williams, a second-year undrafted free agent, is currently Harris’s backup at left corner. (National Football Post)
– RB Brian Westbrook reportedly suffered a high ankle sprain during the Eagles’ win over the Steelers Sunday, a game in which “Westy” had to leave the game in the first half. His status for this Sunday’s game is still up in the air, but Westbrook expects to play. (Rotoworld.com)
– Struggling quarterback Derek Anderson is expected to start in Week 4 for the Cleveland Browns, but the team is prepping second-year backup Brady Quinn to play. Anderson could have a quick hook if he struggles Sunday against Cincinnati. (ESPN’s Chris Mortensen)
– Despite his poor performance in Tennessee last Sunday, Matt Schuab will reportedly keep the starting quarterback job in Houston. Unfortunately for Schaub, things don’t get any easier against Jacksonville this Sunday. (Houston Chronicle)
– After destroying the Patriots with it last Sunday, the Miami Dolphins will keep the ‘Wildcat’ package in their offensive. RB Ronnie Brown shredded New England for over 100 yards and four touchdowns while lining up predominately in that formation last Sunday. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
Obviously, the Bulger news is big, but I doubt there were too many owners starting him last week. His numbers are down and I think most of us were expecting him to eventually turn it around and finish somewhere in the top 15. Scott Linehan is apparently desperate and feels like he’s on the verge of getting fired. Trent Green is old, but STL has some weapons so he could be a decent spot starter if he can get in the groove…As for Westy, Correll Buckhalter looks like the primary backup despite all the preseason talk about Lorenzo Booker…Rashard Mendenhall will be a hot pickup this week, but don’t break the bank in Blind Bidding leagues. He faces a tough Ravens defense and Parker could be back as early as next week. But if you can add him cheaply, do so, as you never know with knee sprains…Brady Quinn is a guy to target in larger leagues. The “Bench Derek Anderson” talk seems to be getting louder and louder and Quinn has a chance to be good with all the weapons in the Browns’ offense.