Playing Fact or Fiction with All the Latest NFL Free Agency Rumors
When you combine today's fast-paced media world in which stories are updated to the second with the free-agent market of the most popular sport in America, you are going to get a lot of misinformation and false rumors spread around.
Sometimes, teams or agents will leak information to gain leverage in negotiations or even to gain a public relations advantage. Other time, reporters will neglect to double-check their information for the sake of being the first to report something.
Here is a breakdown of the biggest rumors swirling around the NFL.
Jets Not Shopping Revis: Fact
It seems as if reports emerge daily about the Jets inching closer to trading their best player, but perhaps the media has jumped the gun in assuming new GM John Idzik is willing to go through with such a franchise-defining move.
However, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports that the Jets are not "actively shopping" Revis and they are not committed to trading, which is contrary to just about every report on the situation over the past week.
This report comes out just one week after Adam Schefter reported that the Jets are "determined to shop Darrelle Revis."
What has been largely forgotten in this saga is that all of the trade rumors have been strictly media-based. The Jets have never publicly stated that they were looking into trading him. John Idzik is not likely in any hurry to make a career-defining move just a few weeks into the job.
Revis may very well be traded, but Idzik and the Jets are going to take their time and make sure they get it right, if in fact they do decide to go that route.
Jake Long to St. Louis Rams: Fact
With their multiple needs along their offensive line, the Rams are looking to add the first pick of the 2008 draft to play on Sam Bradford's blindside.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that Long, who dealt with injuries in a disappointing final 2012 season in Miami, is okay medically and that he is "hammering out" a deal with the Rams.
The biggest question now is exactly how much Long will get. In the first few years of his career, Long lived up to his billing as the top pick in the draft and was regarded as the best tackle in football. However, he suffered through injuries last season, which is likely the primary reason why the Dolphins were not interested in retaining him.
For the Rams, bringing in Long makes plenty of sense; Sam Bradford has regressed every season working behind a horrendous offensive line. If Bradford is going to be salvaged as the Rams' franchise quarterback, they will need to provide him with some adequate protection.
Roger Saffold Will Demand Trade: Fiction
With the Rams adding Jake Long to play left tackle, incumbent starter Rodger Saffold is not happy about the news and will reportedly ask for a trade:
Potential fallout in event Rams sign Jake Long as left tackle: Incumbent LT Rodger Saffold likely will ask for trade.
— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) March 13, 2013
Saffold's agent has quickly come out to dispute Glauber's report, as he tells Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he has not brought up the idea of a trade to the Rams.
However, he did not dispute the fact that Saffold is unhappy with the move to the less prestigious right tackle position:
I’m sure if you would ask Rodger what position he’d want to play, he’d want to be a left tackle...That’s his position. It’s a paying position in the league. He’s played left tackle his whole life since he was a little kid. Why would he want to move to the other side?
Of course Saffold would like to play left tackle, but if he was doing such a stellar job at the position, the Rams would not be willing to break the bank on arguably the top offensive lineman on the free-agent market to replace him.
Ultimately, the Rams are going to need Saffold to play right tackle, and Saffold does himself no favors complaining about a job change.
Kevin Kolb to New York Jets: Fiction
With Kevin Kolb seemingly on his way out of Arizona, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the Jets may be interested in Kolb to compete for the starting job in New York.
Due a $5 million roster bonus on Saturday, the Cardinals are likely to release Kolb, whom they had hoped would become their quarterback of the future. Meanwhile, the Jets have a connection with Kolb, as Kolb played his best football in Philadelphia under offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
While this makes some sense on the surface, the Jets simply don't have the room or resources to justify bringing Kolb in. They added David Garrard earlier in the week to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting job. Adding Kolb into the mix would give them five quarterbacks on the roster—making it more difficult to fit a draft pick to develop on the roster.
Kolb to the Jets is a possibility, but the odds Kolb winds up a Jet are much lower than this report would indicate.
Adrian Wilson to the New England Patriots: Fact
Given their relatively large amount of cap room to play with, the Patriots have been pretty quiet in free agency outside of signing Danny Amendola to replace Wes Welker.
Now, the Patriots are back to their old ways of adding veterans on their last legs to fill out their roster, starting with former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson:
Former #Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson is set to visit with the Patriots, according to a source. Interesting...— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2013
Wilson is a big-time hitter that loves to play up in the box. In fact, you could argue that he plays as much as a linebacker as he does as a safety.
On the other hand, Wilson is known for being too aggressive in coverage and being a liability to give up big plays.
Still, this makes sense for the Pats, who have found their free safety in Devin McCourty. Despite his issues in coverage, he should still be a significant upgrade over Gregory at strong safety.
John Abraham to the New England Patriots: Fact
Of course, the Patriots would not be satisfied with just one veteran addition to their defense. They will host former Falcon John Abraham tomorrow, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer:
In addition to Adrian Wilson, Patriots will host ex-Falcons DE John Abraham on a visit tomorrow.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 15, 2013
The Patriots appear to have a solid pairing of defensive ends in Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, but they lacked depth at the position. Jones seemed to hit a rookie wall down the stretch of last season.
Abraham is no longer an every-down player, but he could be a very effective situational rusher—he can stay fresh and healthy with more time on the sideline.
Matt Shaughnessy to Arizona Cardinals: Fact
The Arizona Cardinals have made a few head-scratching changes to their already solid defense, releasing both of their starting safeties.
However, they are at least trying to upgrade their defensive line, as they are scheduled to host former Raider defensive lineman Matt Shaughnessy, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.
Shaughnessy, a former third-round pick, is entering his fifth year and coming off his second straight season in which he started all 16 games and notched four sacks.
Shaughnessy would be an ideal fit as a 5-technique defensive end, providing depth behind Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell. He could also be used as a 3-technique interior rusher on passing downs.
As Florio predicts in his report, it would make sense for Matt to take a short-term deal and see if he can put together a good enough season to warrant a big-time extension in 2014.
Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings: Fiction
While most of the top free agents are off the market, it has been ominously quiet on the Greg Jennings front. While he missed significant time last season battling injuries, he is still at least the second-best receiver in this free-agent class, behind only the younger Mike Wallace.
Rumors about Jennings "pulling a Favre" and going to Eden Prairie began when his agent confirmed that Jennings was visiting the Vikings.
However, the two sides are not nearly as close as some have been led to believe, as Bob McGinn reports:
Not only has there been no negotiations, Greg Jennings' reps have given the #Vikings no sense of what $$ range or years the WR is seeking.
— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) March 14, 2013
Obviously, Jennings would instantly be the best receiver on the team as soon as he walked on the Vikings' practice field, but this makes little sense for a team that just got rid of its own homegrown star receiver in Percy Harvin.
The Vikings need to make some upgrades at the position, but Jennings is likely more interested in going to a contender than a rebuilding team, assuming all money is equal.
Dustin Keller to Miami Dolphins: Fact
Coming off a season in which he missed half the season from ankle and hamstring injuries, there has been a rather soft market for Dustin Keller.
The Dolphins, who lost Anthony Fasano in free agency, had Keller in for a visit on Thursday, but they failed to see eye-to-eye when making a contract, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:
Sounds like Dolphins aren't willing to give TE Dustin Keller a multi-year deal at this point. #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 14, 2013
The former first-round pick led the team in receptions in 2011, but he is already 29 years old and has not developed into an adequate blocker.
Update: Keller has signed with the Miami Dolphins, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Ed Reed to Houston Texans: Fact
With each passing day, it is becoming clear that Ed Reed's days as a Raven are over.
As they watch Glover Quin sign with the Lions, the Texans have spent all of their energy trying to "woo" the future Hall of Fame safety, and it is starting to appear as if they will get what they want.
Reed has called the Texans "classy" and that the interest between the two side is "mutual."
Still, this is a bit of a head-scratching move for the Texans, who have elected to let their young, versatile safety in Glover Quin walk in favor of a older Ed Reed who only has a year or two left in the tank.
Yes, he can still make an occasional game-changing interception, but asking him to run with tight ends and slot receivers—a job that used to be reserved for Glover Quin—is asking for trouble.