NFL Rumors: Buying or Selling Every Rumor on the Market

Thomas GaliciaContributor IIFebruary 22, 2012

NFL Rumors: Buying or Selling Every Rumor on the Market

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    So many rumors, so little time.

    So goes the story of the 2012 NFL offseason. While we've only gone two weeks since Super Bowl XLVI, the rumor mill has been going at full speed with questions as to who's leaving his team via free agency, who's getting the franchise tag, who's going to hold out and, of course, who's being traded. 

    We also have coaches possibly leaking out offseason plans and a one-time franchise quarterback quibbling with his owner, which we're then told is no big deal and that the two still get along well.

    How do we decipher fact from fiction? Well, we can't, at least not yet. But we can speculate, which is about all we can do until Tuesday, March 13th at 4pm ET.

    So let's take a look at some of these rumors and decide whether we can buy them at face value or if we can "sell" them for now.

Adrian Peterson Plans to Be Back for Week 1 (Buying)

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    Though Adrian Peterson stated last week that he plans to start running by the end of the month, he already has his sights set on an ambitions return.

    In an interview on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday, Peterson stated that his goal is to be in the lineup and ready to go for Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season.

    Considering the severity of Peterson's injury, which was a torn ACL and torn MCL, this seems very highly optimistic. Usually the recovery time from such an injury can vary from six to 18 months. The season is about seven months away and Peterson injured himself about two months ago.

    However, if anyone knows Peterson's own body, it's Adrian Peterson. Peterson starting to run next week is a good sign for his chances. Will he be at 100 percent? Obviously not. There's still plenty of time to go in the recovery process, but he will be that much closer.

    I'm buying that Peterson will be in the starting lineup for Week 1. It's a huge gamble, but considering that Peterson is in great shape, it wouldn't surprise anyone if he is able to pull it off. Now this doesn't mean it's the smartest thing for him to do (there's still the chance that he won't be fully recovered and won't have his usual explosiveness), but he could be more ready now than any of us think he is.

Matt Light Could Retire (Selling)

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    One of the reasons for New England's success in the last decade has been their offensive line.

    The Patriots offensive line has not only been talented, but also deep. The cornerstone of that line has been left tackle Matt Light.

    In 2011 the Patriots drafted Nate Solder to be their left tackle of the future. While Solder played well in his appearances with the Patriots, Matt Light was their starting left tackle and had a stellar year protecting Brady.

    However, according to Boston Herald's Ian R. Rapoport, Light could consider retirement.

    You know this is a big deal because he mentioned it at the end of a blog post about Marcus Cannon, then needed another blog post to clarify what he said and give the reasons why it could be a possibility.

    Then he published a third article about it on Wednesday morning.

    Rapoport cites reasons like a reduced salary (he made $8 million in 2011 and is due $3.6 million next season) as well as Solder's selection in last year's draft (along with New England's desire to get younger on the offensive line) as reasons why Light would retire. While these seem like reasons in favor of Light retiring, I'm going to sell this rumor right now. Light has been too important to the Patriots in the last decade, and while Solder has had a season to develop, he's still a bit green.

    I wouldn't be too surprised to see Light back on the field next season, even if it's in a more limited role. I'm selling this for now and won't even comment on it again until Light himself states that he's retiring.

Broncos Bringing in QB Competition for Tim Tebow (Buying)

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    While Linsanity was raging last week, I decided to write an article detailing why Jeremy Lin shouldn't be compared to Tim Tebow.

    Beyond the main reason I cited (the fact that Lin has the skill set of a prototypical NBA point guard while Tebow doesn't have the skill set of a prototypical NFL quarterback), the other reason I cited was simply this: if the Broncos benched or traded Tebow, Broncos fans would be upset, but eventually get over it. In fact there would be many Broncos fans who would be happy about their team going in that direction. Knicks fans, however, would take to the streets over a proposed Lin trade quicker than you can tweet #OccupyMSG.

    The Broncos meanwhile will likely bring in competition for Tim Tebow. This comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, especially after Elway's remarks that Tebow will be his starting quarterback to start training camp.

    In this article by the Denver Post's Mike Klis, he predicts that the Broncos will sign a free agent quarterback even if they re-sign Brady Quinn. He then gives a list, and if you are a Miami Dolphins fan I'm sure you are chuckling at who he has at number one on the list.

    Would Elway signing any of the guys on this list be surprising? Not at all. These are quarterbacks who could provide competition to Tebow and even take his starting job, while at the same time not get paid starter money (at least in their first year).

    I'm buying this one simply because you never got the feeling that Broncos coach John Fox and GM John Elway were 100 percent behind Tebow.

Ben Roethlisberger Not Speaking to Todd Haley Will Affect Team (Selling)

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    The Steelers very recently hired former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator.

    While Haley of course had to interview with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of Pittsburgh's brain trust, one person he hasn't spoken to is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    This could be seen as a problem considering that Roethlisberger had a great relationship with Arians and when Haley was first hired, he didn't seem to enthusiastic about it.

    However, considering it's February, I don't see this as that big of a deal. Haley is adjusting to a new city and already has to get to work when it comes to scouting the team. He will be leaving to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine this week. I can't blame him for not reaching out to Roethlisberger now. What counts is that the two are on the same page this summer, which they should be as both are professionals.

    I'm selling this one.

    UPDATE: According to this story, Roethlisberger and Haley have reportedly had a face to face meeting already. Again, talk about an overblown story.

Ray Rice Wants to Be Paid Like Adrian Peterson (Buying)

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    After the past three seasons, it should come as a surprise to no one that Ray Rice would like a contract in the ballpark of star running back Adrian Peterson, who last season signed a seven year, $100 million extension with the Vikings. 

    I'm obviously buying that Rice deserves that kind of money. He's been one of the best backs in the NFL the last few years and is also Baltimore's MVP.

    But whether he will get that kind of long-term deal from Baltimore is the bigger question.

    Running backs are fairly fragile and have a short shelf life—especially the ones who have as large of a workload as Ray Rice. Every carry he has is one carry closer to an injury. Just ask the Vikings, who saw Peterson himself tear up his knee firsthand this season.

    While I could see Rice getting the big money he deserves, I also see the contract being for about five years instead of seven, with the majority of the guaranteed money coming in the first two years of the deal. Rice is way too important to Baltimore's offense to let the Ravens get outbid, and considering that the trend in the NFL is towards a more wide-open passing game, backs like Rice won't be in as much demand as one would think.

Brandon Lloyd Interested in New England Patriots (Buying)

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    Here's something that makes too much sense to not happen.

    You have the New England Patriots, who need a speedy wide receiver in order to balance out their attack of Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

    You have Brandon Lloyd, a speedy wide receiver and possible deep threat, who's had the most success with new Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

    So who was surprised when the soon to be free agent Lloyd hinted at signing with New England and heaped nothing but praise on his former coach and offensive coordinator McDaniels, followed by stating that he admired Tom Brady?

    In the same interview, Lloyd did say that he would be open to contract talks with St. Louis. However, that just screamed of him trying to get a bidding war between the two teams.

    Lloyd to the Patriots is an easy one for me to buy. He's already comfortable with their offensive coordinator and is exactly what New England needs for their offense.

Mike Wallace Leaving Pittsburgh (Selling)

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    Everything tells me I should buy Mike Wallace leaving Pittsburgh.

    The Steelers are over the cap and will have to release some players just to squeeze in enough money to sign Wallace—even though he's a restricted free agent.

    Any team that signs Wallace will have to give up a first-round pick to Pittsburgh, and the Steelers would likely prefer another first-round pick to replace Wallace as inexpensively as possible.

    Antonio Brown will be a free agent next season, and they would love to hold on to him, which would be harder if Wallace gets the huge deal he would deserve. 

    Despite all of this, I can't buy Wallace leaving Pittsburgh.

    The teams most likely to sign him are teams that would be very hesitant to give up a first-round pick to the Steelers. Yes, Cincinnati and New England are two of the teams that could go after him and both have two first-round picks, but first-round picks are so valuable because of the new rookie scale that makes draft picks cost-effective.

    My gut tells me Wallace will be back in Pittsburgh in 2012. He's too important to their offense to just let go for a first-round pick. He would likely only sign a one-year deal, but it will be for more than enough money to entice him to stay on.

    Then next offseason, the Steelers will have both of their top receivers as free agents. From there, they could make a decision as to which one to keep.