The NFL is ablaze with rumors, reports and more, thanks to the "legal tampering" period that was instituted by the league in an effort to, well, embrace tampering.
So yes, teams have begun conversing with soon-to-be free agents on the open market, but no ink can meet paper until March 11 at 4 p.m. ET. Until then, it is a wink-and-nod gesture since the players' contracts have not technically expired.
In other words, things are a bit hectic, as anyone can hear just about anything from "sources," and just like smokescreens to hide intentions in the draft, plenty of info can turn out to be a farce.
Rather than sift through the waves of rumors, here are the latest updates in the infancy of the strange, three-day window of formerly illegal-turned-legal activities.
Osi Umenyiora to Reunite with the Giants?
This is rich.
Osi Umenyiora signed a two-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons last offseason worth $8.5 million, according to Spotrac. He went on to record 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles as a quality veteran presence.
But now the Falcons want out. The report comes from Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports:
Falcons are asking DE Osi Umenyiora to take a pay cut, source tells @FOXSports1. Slated to make $3.5m in '14. We'll see how this resolves.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 6, 2014
It is a strange move, especially since Umenyiora is about a month removed from telling Vaughn McClure of ESPN that he wants to stay: "I would love to stay, and I think I am. But you really never know what's going to happen."
Even stranger? He would be intrigued by a return to New York, where the Giants may be waiting with open arms if the Falcons cut him free, according to Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger: "Umenyiora would entertain an offer to return to the Giants -- and the Giants would at least investigate -- if his situation in Atlanta came to an end, according to two people familiar with the situation. The people requested anonymity in order to speak freely on the matter."
It makes sense New York would be interested, especially with Justin Tuck on his way to free agency. Umenyiora clearly still has something to offer, even if only on a rotational basis. Perhaps most important of all, his production would come at a relatively cheap price.
Jon Asamoah's Name Heats Up
Let's stick with New York for a moment but switch to the Jets, where the front office apparently has plans to upgrade the offensive line in front of second-year quarterback Geno Smith.
Guard Jon Asamoah is quietly one of the biggest steals that is set to hit the market thanks to his prowess as a run-blocker at just 25 years old. The Kansas City Chiefs do not seem set on bringing him back, which has opened the door for the Jets to make a move, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:
The Jets’ pressing needs at the skill positions have been well-documented, but general manager John Idzik is fully aware that he’ll also have to solidify his offensive line for the team to build off an unexpected but promising 2013 season.
To that end, the Daily News has learned that the Jets will make a play for Chiefs guard Jon Asamoah when the league’s three-day negotiating window with impending free agents begins Saturday.
Mehta goes on to report that the Jets are still working hard to retain guard Austin Howard before the market opens, but the outcome of those negotiations does not impact the team's interest in Asamoah, as the Jets need as many quality linemen as possible.
They are far from the only team that will have an interest in Asamoah's services, which works in his favor because he can potentially incite a bidding war. Just how desperate the Jets are remains to be seen.
The Race for...Matt Schaub?
With a new head coach in town and their choice of the top quarterback prospects in the 2014 draft class with the No. 1 pick, the Houston Texans are surely moving on from veteran Matt Schaub.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans are actually thinking about keeping him:
Texans have been thinking bout keeping Matt Schaub but I'll be stunned if they do.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) March 6, 2014
Perhaps the Texans are on to something in regard to Schaub's value as a veteran presence to help mentor a young quarterback. If Houston does not use him in this role, Cleveland, Oakland and New York just might, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
The Browns and Raiders appear to be in the market for a new rookie signal-caller as well, while the Jets continue to look for ways to help the aforementioned Smith.
Remember, this is Schaub, who threw his way out of a starting job last year thanks to 14 interceptions in 10 games.
The NFL still views the veteran as a stopgap solution or a quality backup, and to that end, it appears the race is just beginning to heat up. The ball remains in Houston's court.