Elvis Dumervil is rumored to have a couple of AFC North teams after his services, while Jake Long reportedly found himself at a crossroads this past weekend.
The NFL is full of misdirection and carefully planned statements during this time of year, as free agency is a brutal test of wits and guts for players, their agents and general managers.
The latest news may not always have much substance. With that in mind, we've got the scoop on what to expect regarding these two stars and one other player you've surely heard of.
Jake Long Signs with Rams, Received Interest from Pittsburgh Steelers
After what felt like an eternity in the land of free agency, Jake Long has reportedly signed with the St. Louis Rams, according to NFL's Dan Hanzus.
NFL.com's Albert Breer reported late Sunday night that Long and the Rams have agreed to a new deal, according to a team source. The contract is for four years and $34 million, with incentives that could push it to $36 million, according to the source. Breer also reports that $16 million is guaranteed at signing, with another $4 million guaranteed if he is on the roster at the start of the 2014 league year.
There was some speculation over the weekend that he could return to the Dolphins, per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and CBS' Jason La Canfora, but he is indeed headed to St. Louis to protect another No. 1 overall pick in Sam Bradford:
After spending parts of 3 days in St. Louis league sources say Jake Long scheduled to leave town his afternoon. At this point still no deal.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 15, 2013
Buzz I am hearing among GMs is that Jake Long will end up back in Miami. Rams still in the hunt but this isn't wreaking of a bidding war— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 17, 2013
The former No. 1 pick of the 2008 season is only two years removed from being widely considered an elite offensive tackle, but health problems have slowed him down the past two years. He was placed on IR last season with a torn triceps, and it's not yet known if he'll ever return to the form he displayed in his early career.
It is now being reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter that Long actually snubbed the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in favor of the Rams in what many will consider a shocking move on Long's part.
Just before OT Jake Long agreed to a four-year deal worth up to $36 million with Rams, Steelers made a play to try to get him to Pittsburgh.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2013
Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Steelers are a perennial playoff and even Super Bowl contender under the guidance and leadership of both head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Given the report, many will look back to the crossroads presented to Long and wonder 'what if?' should the Rams fail to show improvement during Long's tenure with the team.
Elvis Dumervil Would Be an Intriguing Addition for Steelers or Ravens
After his agent reportedly didn't get a fax sent in time to agree with the Denver Broncos about a salary reduction, Dumervil is now a free agent who is being pursued by two AFC North powerhouses.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun:
The...Ravens, who hope to meet with Dumervil later this week after the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, could face competition for the Pro Bowl defender from within their own division...the Pittsburgh Steelers, are also interested in Dumervil...according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.
Would Dumervil be effective as an outside linebacker?
Dumervil has spent his entire NFL career as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme with the Broncos. He's always been a bit undersized, at 6'0" and 255 pounds, so it's no surprise to see two teams that feature a 3-4 scheme looking at him to become an outside linebacker.
In six seasons, Dumervil has totaled 63.5 sacks and 16 forced fumbles. In his past three seasons he's logged 37.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles, and he has the potential to be a terror off the edge in a 3-4 defense.
Both the Steelers and Ravens need the help, too, and it will be interesting to see what kind of deal he ends up getting, wherever he lands.
Ahmad Bradshaw Reportedly Being Pursued By Two Legendary Franchises
After being released by the New York Giants back in early February, there hasn't been a single peep about where the veteran running could end up in 2013...until now.
ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that two high-profile teams "have expressed interest" in Bradshaw:
Packers and Steelers have expressed interest in former Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2013
Both teams are in desperate need of running back talent, and both feature elite quarterbacks. That said, both teams also feature poor offensive lines, which isn't a plus for attracting running backs.
But given the level of apparent disinterest about Bradshaw around the league, a chance to play for a contender in 2013 could be enough to cause him to sign on the dotted line.
Highly productive when healthy, Bradshaw would be an upgrade for either team. It remains to be seen just how interested both teams actually are, though, so we'll continue tracking this story as it develops.
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