There is never any shortage of NFL drama this time of year, so let's take a look at what's been happening around the league this past week.
Fans and analysts are doing their best to keep up with the latest rumors buzzing around on the web as we all speculate on who's going where and who's drafting whom.
Teams are trimming rosters for the impending free agency signing period, scouting future talent for the 2012 NFL draft, debating whom to franchise and trying to hang onto players who are set to become free agents in less than a month's time.
Basically, there is a lot going on. Check it out.
The thought of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints not getting a deal done seems preposterous, but contracts are tricky things.
Both sides have repeatedly stressed that there isn't any danger of the deal not getting done in due time. That in no way turns it into an easy task, however.
The latest reports out of Nola.com find Brees "very optimistic" that a deal will get done:
There's no doubt in my mind we'll get a deal done. I wouldn't say we're 'very far' apart. I think there's been progress made. But just like everything, it's a process. It takes time. It's not something that happens overnight.
This is going to happen, but unfortunately for Saints fans, Brees isn't the only high-priced free agent on last year's roster whom they would like to re-sign.
It's been an emotional week for Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
Mike Wallace is one of the brightest young stars in the NFL at the wide-receiver position. He's also a restricted free agent, and the Steelers aren't exactly loaded with extra cash.
Early in the week, there were reports that the Steelers were worried they might end up losing their young playmaker to a richer team in free agency.
Most definitely. Those are two playoff-caliber teams. Super Bowl-caliber teams. I think that the right person or the right piece for those guys could put them over the top. All they need is one more piece...
The latest news has general manager Kevin Colbert confident that the team will retain their young receiver, news every Steelers fan is glad to hear.
Ray Rice hasn't been shy about wanting to get paid in 2012.
The Baltimore Ravens have recently stated that they could possibly franchise Rice if a long-term contract wasn't able to be reached.
Jason La Canfora of NFL.com has recently reported that Rice would be willing to "wait quite some time before signing or reporting" if the team did try and franchise him.
That doesn't sound good.
It sounds even worse with the latest news that Rice wants a "Peterson type of contract."
Unfortunately for Rice and possibly Ravens fans, Peterson isn't worth a "Peterson type of contract," and neither is Rice.
We certainly haven't heard the last of this tale.
Lovie Smith recently gave Chicago Bears fans something to cheer about.
Knowing that Matt is going to play his football for the Chicago Bears—so you start with that. In time, hopefully we can get an agreement that suits Matt and [the Bears]. And I think it’s a matter of time, and that’ll happen eventually.
Even if a long-term deal isn't reached between the two parties, you can be sure the Bears won't hesitate to use the franchise tag on Forte to ensure his presence on their 2012 roster.
All the San Francisco 49ers fans hoping to land Vincent Jackson in free agency need to calm down. Jackson isn't going anywhere.
According to Jason La Canfora of NFL.com, the team will likely franchise their star receiver.
This is contrary to a previous report from NBC San Diego that said A.J. Smith was "extremely uncomfortable" with paying one player $13.7 million.
Rest easy, San Diego. I'm betting La Canfora's got the inside scoop on this one.
There are a couple of young soon-to-be free agents who are likely going to be moving residences this summer.
Stevie Johnson and Cortland Finnegan are both at odds with their respective teams over potential long-term deals.
The Tennessee Titans are reportedly not going to franchise Finnegan. According to his agent, Terry Watson, Finnegan wants to be paid like one of the top corners in the league.
The Buffalo Bills and Johnson are also at an impasse. Like the Titans, the Bills aren't expected to use the franchise tag on their young star.
The two sides have exchanged contract proposals, but according to an unnamed source, the two sides are "far apart."
Sounds like both players are looking to abandon ship and see if they can find a better deal on the open market.
I'm betting they will.
There's not much to this story.
The Miami Dolphins aren't going to be re-signing Chad Henne for 2012.
In 31 starts for the Dolphins, Henne went 13-18. During that time, his passer rating was a paltry 75.7.
Matt Moore, while certainly not a star in the NFL, proved to be more than capable of assuming the role of mediocre starting quarterback after Henne's injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
The Dolphins have bigger fish to fry...
After tearing his ACL and MCL in his left knee in Week 16, Adrian Peterson is making a strong recovery and hopes to play in Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season.
Right now my goal is to be back by the first, the regular-season opener, Peterson said on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday. That's my goal...right now, I am ahead of schedule. Ultimately, I've got to make sure I am 100 percent before I get back out there. It's going good so far.
Good news for Vikings fans. Bad news for opposing middle linebackers.
Beast mode isn't going anywhere, according to Nick Eaton of seattlepi.com.
Eaton spoke with Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider recently, who told him: "We’re having great discussions. There’s no animosity at all. It’s good dialogue. Things are going well."
There’s no panic...We want Marshawn back. If they decide to go somewhere else, that’s a bummer, Schneider said, according to Seahawks.com. But they know how we feel about them and they know we’ve been busting our tails trying to get them signed.
If a long-term deal can't be reached, expect the Seahawks to slap the ol' franchise tag on Lynch.
Either way, it's a win for the city of Seattle.
Matt Flynn is likely going to be this year's version of Kevin Kolb.
You think people would have learned by now.
Things have gotten so hot and heavy that the latest reports suggest the Green Bay Packers are thinking about franchising Flynn so they can cash in on a trade.
The two teams that have been linked to him lately have been the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns.
According to cbssports.com, the Dolphins are the most logical destination for Flynn's abilities.
Another report has the Browns making a strong play for Flynn (via: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com).
In the end, the one thing you can be sure of is that some team is going to severely overpay for a quarterback that NFL Films guru Greg Cosell calls "an efficient passer in a multi-dimensional passing game in which the scheme rules, not the quarterback."
The St. Louis Rams are a team with options.
New head coach Jeff Fisher and the Rams will be fielding offers from the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks unless one of them lands either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn before the draft.
Cleveland has a fantastic chance to move up two spots. Head coach Pat Shurmur is excited about the possibility, saying:
I think you evaluate everything. I wouldn't say we're hesitant...We're excited about the fact that we're going to make our team better with this draft...With two first-round picks, we have flexibility...I wish I had better information for you, but we're still in the phase of deciding if we like some of the players that people are projecting that we're going to pick. It's kind of a fun thing.
In my book, the Browns are the favorites to move up for RG3.
You can't go anywhere without Manning's name overshadowing whatever's actually going on.
First, Peyton Manning was the talk of Super Bowl XLVI. Now, Manning is taking over yet another event he has no part in: the 2012 NFL combine.
Manning has been seriously linked to at least six different teams lately: The Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle via Rotoworld: "The popular sentiment at the Combine is that the Dolphins, Cardinals and Redskins are the top three possibilities, in that order."
Folks down in Miami are getting into the action by paying good money for a huge billboard aimed at getting him to come down and quarterback for the Dolphins in 2012.
There's even one rumor that Reggie Wayne could follow Manning wherever he ends up going next season, making them a package deal.
Don't expect an answer any time soon, though, as Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay isn't planning on making a decision on his star quarterback until at least after the combine is over. He still hasn't ruled out the possibility of having Manning return to the team in 2012.
I guess that means we get to speculate on rumors for at least one more week.