Around the NFL: 10 Nuggets Heading into Free Agency

1. How about Roger Goodell pouring a big cup of antifreeze on everyone’s fun this past weekend? Due to a rule change that allowed teams to gauge the interest of prospective free agents, football fans hovered around Adam Schefter’s Twitter page thinking that free agency was essentially going to start at Midnight on Saturday morning. But Goodell’s memo to teams earlier that day killed everyone’s buzz. Here’s part of the memo, tweeted by Schefter that night: “Clubs are advised that prior to the beginning of the new League Year it is impermissible for a club to enter into an agreement of any kind, express or implied, oral or written, or promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent or understandings of any kind concerning the terms or conditions of employment offered to, or to be offered to, any prospective Unrestricted Free Agent for inclusion in a Player Contract after the start of the new League Year.” Deathly afraid of tampering, can you imagine how those conversations went on Friday night between teams and free agents? “Hi Mike Wallace, this is Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. I just wanted to call and see if you liked the color teal in combination with white and a splash of orange. Yeah, no, I’m not asking you if you want to be a member of the Dolphins. That would be tampering. I’m specifically asking you about color scheme. You do like that color scheme? How about Joe Philbin? Do you like Joe Philbin’s face? Maybe you’d like to see more of Philbin, say, on a daily basis in the fall? Grrrrrrrrreat. Do you also hate purple and the entire state of Minnesota like most reasonable human beings do? Excellent. I’ll see you and your agent at 4:00PM ET on Tuesday then…”

2. People are getting caught up in whether or not the Chiefs should draft Luke Joeckel with the first overall pick when they just placed their franchise tag on Branden Albert. While it would be unprecedented for a team to draft a right tackle with the first overall pick, it doesn’t mean that Kansas City will shy away from arguably the safest prospect in this year’s class. Albert was one of the best pass-blocking offensive tackles in the league last year, but he also missed three games due to a back injury and who knows if the Chiefs will be able to lock him up long term. They could draft Joeckel, play him at right tackle and then re-asses the situation a year from now. If Albert’s back once again becomes an issue or the two sides can’t agree on a long-term deal, then the Chiefs have their left tackle of the future in Joeckel. If they lock Albert up long-term, then at worst they have two book-end tackles for the next six-plus years. Considering defensive coordinators constantly move pass rushers around in effort to create mismatches, that’s not exactly a worst-case scenario. And with no true No. 1 overall talent in this year’s draft, there’s no reason to bypass Joeckel with the top pick just because he could wind up playing right tackle.

3. The best thing for both the Jets and Darrelle Revis is if the cornerback drops off the map and shows up to OTAs healthy and in shape. Owner Woody Johnson isn’t being cheap – he just can’t pay Revis what he wants long-term because his former GM put the team in cap hell by handing out ridiculous contracts to players like Mark Sanchez. And since the Jets can’t afford him, Revis could help himself by not destroying his own trade value. This includes avoiding telling the media that it would be “awesome” to play for the 49ers and reiterating how you want to be the highest paid defensive player in the league. Potential trade partners are already leery about Revis’ knee, parting with premium draft picks, and clearing the necessary cap space to sign him long term. He doesn’t need to provide teams with more reasons to tell the Jets ‘thanks but no thanks.’

4. Percy Harvin’s situation in Minnesota seems combustible, but GM Rick Spielman has wisely suggested that the disgruntled wide receiver isn’t going anywhere. Some fans have opined that Spielman should trade Harvin and then sign a free agent receiver like Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings. But the Vikings are on the rise and thus, parting ways with a playmaker makes little sense. He’s already under contract and the team could potentially line up next year with Harvin, Jennings, Jarius Wright, Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph, as opposed to some combination of Peterson, Rudolph, Jennings, Wright and an unproven rookie. And maybe a veteran like Jennings could have a profound impact on Harvin, who has seemingly alienating himself from coaches and teammates. While the defense and offensive line proved to be underrated, the Vikings made the playoffs last year almost solely riding Peterson’s coattails. Unless the situation is so bad that the team needs to wash its hands completely of Harvin as soon as possible, addition is key – not subtraction.

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Migraines could sideline Harvin for NFC title game

Vikings’ rookie receiver Percy Harvin missed practice for the second straight day due to migraine headaches and now there’s some question about whether or not he’ll be able to play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

Migraines are no joke, which is why Harvin hasn’t even been able to go through a light practice. They almost feel like someone is repeatedly driving a stake through one of your eyes, while any noise or light adds to the pain. In extreme cases, some people even have to be on suicide watch because the pain is so intense. (I’m not an expert on the subject, but I suffer from migraines myself and have gained some knowledge on them throughout the years from multiple doctors.)

This isn’t a situation in which Harvin would be able to tough out the pain. Migraines can affect your vision, focus and concentration, and therefore if Harvin wakes up with pain on Sunday then there’s zero chance that he will play.

This of course, is bad news for the Vikings. Harvin has game-changing speed and would be a viable asset on a fast track like the Superdome. Here’s hoping for Minnesota’s sake that he’s able to go and is pain free.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Harvin named Offensive Rookie of the Year

Vikings’ receiver Percy Harvin was voted Offensive Rookie of the Year according to

The Minnesota Vikings wide receiver/kick returner ran away with the balloting the same way he outran defenses and special teams this season. Harvin received 41 votes Wednesday from the nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. Baltimore tackle Michael Oher was second with six votes.

The 22nd overall draft pick out of Florida, Harvin had 60 receptions for 790 yards and six touchdowns; rushed 15 times for 135 yards; and returned 42 kickoffs for 1,156 yards (27.5 per) and two touchdowns, one covering 101 yards.

He tied with the Colts’ Austin Collie for most catches by a rookie and set Minnesota’s single-season franchise record for all-purpose yardage with 2,081.

If you remember correctly, this is the same Percy Harvin that had plenty of question marks surrounding him last April. But Brad Childress and the Vikings took a chance on him in the first round when they arguably had greater needs and it obviously worked out well.

I thought Bernard Berrian paid a great compliment to Harvin when I interviewed him back in October:

TSR: Can Percy Harvin be the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2009?

Berrian: I can definitely see that. The way things are going right now, he’s off to a great start and I only see him getting better. So yeah, that’s definitely a possibility for him.

TSR: Have you taken him under wing? Has he learned a lot so far?

Berrian: I think he has learned a lot just being out there and I think another thing that has helped him is having Brett out there. We’re always having conversations about what he should do and where he should be. He knows a lot of stuff on his own, which is kind of surprising when you sit down and look at things. He knows a lot himself.

Harvin has the skill set and the football I.Q. to take him very far. It’ll be fun watching him in the playoffs.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Percy Harvin is going to be a quote machine

There’s still a lot of time yet before we find out whether or not Vikings rookie wideout Percy Harvin can hang in the NFL. But as With Leather points out, he’s already turning out to be one of the league’s better sound bites.

If I could trade places for a day with anyone, it would be my old (Florida) teammate, Tim Tebow. Some of the stuff and some of the girls and things that were thrown at him. We saw all kind of actors and news reporters just kind of blatantly say, “Tebow, I want you.” And he turned them down. I’m looking at him, like, “Man, you are crazy.

Although that seems to fly in the face of this gem, uttered immediately beforehand:

The worst advice? My friends always said, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” That wasn’t always the case with women. Some of the shoes fit, but I shouldn’t have worn it. (Laughs.)

C’mon Percy, you’re either putting that shoe on or you’re not. And you weren’t complaining about Tebow’s style when he gave you that free circumcision. And at least give us some names, sucka. Although I know who my money’s on…Nick Lachey. If that guy was any bigger of a douche, he’d have vinegar in his bloodstream.

I’m sure the women Harvin banged at Florida will appreciate the fact that the former Gator is referring to them as shoes. Well done, Percy.

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