Latest NFL Draft, Trade and Free-Agency Rumor Roundup
It may seem as though the NFL is in a relatively quiet period between free agency and April's draft, but the news cycle never truly slows down.
Trade rumors, free-agent acquisitions and draft-related news keeps things in a perpetual state of flux.
Most of the big news currently involves quarterbacks. With Carson Palmer not budging on his $13 million contract, his potential release from the Oakland Raiders could have a league-wide effect.
And while this year's crop of rookies is not seen as being as talented as last year's, defensive backs are making some noise.
Here are all the latest NFL-related rumors.
QB Swap on the Way in Oakland
The Oakland Raiders have parted ways with plenty of big names this offseason, including Michael Huff, Richard Seymour, Desmond Bryant and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Quarterback Carson Palmer reportedly has no interest in reworking his $13 million contract for next season. This puts the Raiders in the tough position of either working around that mammoth salary or finding a replacement for the 33-year-old signal-caller.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Oakland is close to completing a trade for Seattle Seahawks backup QB Matt Flynn. If the trade goes through, Pro Football Talk suggests that Oakland would then cut Palmer.
The Raiders would get younger at the game's most important position and have a less expensive player with more upside. Sounds like a smart move.
This tweet from Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is pretty telling:
Wishing Flynn the best on his endeavors in Oakland. Sad to see a friend leave, but excited for his opportunity. Great QB, even better man.— Dbfresh (@DougBaldwinJr) March 29, 2013
If the Trade Happens, Where Does Palmer Go?
Should Matt Flynn end up in the Silver and Black and Carson Palmer gets released, there will undoubtedly be a number of teams that attempt to strike quickly on the former Pro Bowl QB.
USA Today's Mike Garafolo is reporting that the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers are the top two teams on Palmer's list of potential landing spots. These are two interesting franchises because they present two very different situations.
In Arizona, Palmer would have little competition for a starting position that was treated like a merry-go-round last season. He could step in on day one and be the leader and center of the Cardinals offense.
However, the 49ers clearly have a franchise QB in place in Colin Kaepernick and would therefore not have a real need for a player like Palmer. Garafolo attributes this desire to play with the 49ers as a veteran potentially wanting to just play for a contender.
The Buffalo Bills and Kevin Kolb
As we continue down the line of potential QB jersey swaps, our next contestant is Kevin Kolb. The Arizona Cardinals cut Kolb earlier this offseason, and the market thus far has been rather dry for the 28-year-old.
Kolb is an interesting case because he has not yet been given a true chance to prove himself. He impressed in minimal action for the Philadelphia Eagles before getting a chance to start with Arizona in 2012, but he was stuck behind one of the league's worst sets of pass-protecting offensive linemen.
Kolb should not be completely absolved of blame for his tepid play last season, but there is a fair argument in favor of him deserving another shot in this league. That shot may come courtesy of the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo released Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier this offseason, and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reports that the Bills have interest in Kolb. If signed, there would immediately be a competition between Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson.
Update: According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, "the Bills have agreed to a two-year deal worth a maximum of $13 million with quarterback Kevin Kolb."
The Patriots Show Interest in the Honey Badger
We now transition away from the NFL's never-ending QB carousel and look at an intriguing bit of information surrounding the NFL draft. One of the biggest names in April's proceedings is going to be the "Honey Badger," Tyrann Mathieu.
The defensive back made a name for himself as one of the best players in college football while at LSU. He then made an even bigger name for himself when he was kicked out of school because of drug issues.
Well, if there is one NFL team that has never shied away from a project player with talent, it is the New England Patriots. That notion appears to be ringing even truer, with Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reporting that Mathieu will work out for New England on April 5.
The Patriots ranked 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game last season. Trying to bring in talent to the secondary by any means necessary appears to be a wise approach heading into the 2013 season.
The Giants Are Looking at Ways to Counteract RG3
There was a time, just a few seasons ago, when Pat White was considered one of the most electric college football players in the country—a dual-threat QB who could find ways to make an impact at the NFL level.
He subsequently was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the NFL draft in 2009 and fizzled out of the league shortly thereafter.
However, there is still talent in White, and the New York Giants may be interested in his services.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Giants will be working out White. This makes sense because the Giants have the unenviable task of dealing with Robert Griffin III twice a year. They will also have to contend with a Chip Kelly/Michael Vick pairing from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The shape of the NFC East division is changing, and the Giants are exploring ways to diversify their playbook and add wrinkles on offense.
Is White going to ultimately be the answer?
Who knows, but bringing in a player with his skill set at least shows that New York is willing to try new things to complement Eli Manning and the offense.
At Least 1 First-Round Pick May Be Easy to Predict
Fans rarely have any true idea what is going to happen when the NFL draft gets underway. Sure, predicting Andrew Luck to the Colts or Robert Griffin III to the Washington Redskins was easy, but the middle of the first round becomes murky and convoluted.
Things may be a little clearer in 2013, at least in regard to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the No. 13 overall pick. Tampa Bay ranked dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game last season, so it makes sense that the secondary needs to be upgraded in every way possible.
The Buccaneers already added Dashon Goldson in free agency, and rumors have been swirling around a Darrelle Revis trade for weeks. But Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times believes it is a near certainty that Tampa Bay goes with a cornerback with its first pick of the draft.
There is a bevy of cornerback talent near the top of the first round, with Alabama's Dee Milliner, Florida State's Xavier Rhodes and Washington's Desmond Trufant all being quality prospects.
Jason Hanson and the Detroit Lions Are Being Stubborn
Jason Hanson has played 21 years in the NFL, and every single one of them has come with the Detroit Lions. Now, the 42-year-old kicker is a free agent, yet a deal between the two sides is not imminent—or even close.
Hanson is the team's all-time leader in points and games played, but the Lions are still planning to bring in kicker David Akers for a visit next week, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. This may just be a tactic to show Hanson that the team is prepared to move on without him, but the kicker has already said that he only wants to play in Detroit.
There should be enough goodwill on both sides here to reach an agreement, even if Hanson's agent is saying that there has been no acceptable offer on the table so far. There is plenty of time left in free agency for these two sides to settle their differences, but it is hard to see Akers or any other kicker taking Hanson's spot if he does in fact play in 2013.
Ahmad Bradshaw Remains on the Open Market
Ahmad Bradshaw is one of the best free-agent running backs still available. He is only 27 years old, he runs with a purpose, and he has two 1,000-yard rushing seasons already under his belt.
The problem is that Bradshaw has a knack for getting injured, and that is clearly scaring away potential suitors this offseason. He visited the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday but left town without a contract, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A Steelers team source had the following to say on the situation, per Mike Freeman of CBS Sports: "You could get a Pro Bowler for the next two or three years, or a guy who is going to be hurt a lot. It's a risk. You just don't know."
Bradshaw has missed six games over the last two seasons, but his field vision and ability to be a viable threat in the passing game should ensure he eventually finds a landing spot, even if it is not for an extravagant amount of money.