Most teams are starting to make some important decisions with the NFL's regular season on the horizon, but there are still plenty of unresolved issues generating drama.
Two weeks remain on the preseason slate, which means that time is running out for organizations to settle contract disputes and other potential distractions. If those types of things leak into the regular season, then there is no telling how much of an impact they might ultimately have.
With that in mind, one can only assume that teams will do everything within their power to have things figured out over the next couple weeks.
Here is a closer look at some of the biggest rumors that have football fans buzzing with the regular season approaching.
Niners Not Willing to Deal Alex Boone?
Perhaps no contract situation has made more headlines since the start of training camp than the one involving San Francisco 49ers guard Alex Boone. The 27-year-old Boone has gone from undrafted free agent to one of the NFL's top guards, so it comes as little surprise that he is in search of a bigger and better deal.
The Niners have yet to give in to his demands, but they don't plan on trading Boone away either, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
Boone is essentially in limbo right now, and there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding his status. The 49ers would clearly like to get something done; however, the two sides are clearly not on the same page. Per NFL.com's Gil Brandt, Boone turned down an offer from the Niners that would have paid him like a top guard:
Alex Boone has been offered a contract by @49ers that would make him a top 12-paid OG. He turned it down.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) August 18, 2014
If Boone is unwilling to accept that type of deal, then it may ultimately prove impossible for 49ers to secure him unless they offer a ridiculous overpayment. Trading Boone may not be viewed as a viable option within the organization right now, but it could look better and better as the regular season draws closer.
As pointed out by Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports, Boone's trade value is seemingly on the rise:
The longer #49ers OL Alex Boone holds out, the more valuable he becomes. Certainly a number of teams that could use him.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) August 18, 2014
It is unclear what the Niners might be able to get in return for Boone, but there are plenty of teams in the league that desperately need help along the offensive line. Also, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh claims he is comfortable with his team's line even without Boone, per Maiocco.
"We believe in Joe Looney," Harbaugh said. "We believe we can win with Joe Looney. Again, Joe Looney is working every day to improve his game and that’s what the unit is doing, all 11 and key backups."
If Harbaugh, the rest of the coaching staff and the front office truly believe that Looney can step in and be a starter this season, then it may only be a matter of time before the 49ers cave and attempt to broker some type of trade involving Boone.
Terry Pegula Leads Battle for Buffalo Bills Ownership
The race to own the Buffalo Bills is still far from over, but it looks as though one bidder has pulled away from the rest of the field. Unless the others up their bids significantly, one man may have a Buffalo sports empire on his hands.
According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula leads the pack with a current bid of $890 million. The Toronto group led by Jon Bon Jovi reportedly has a bid of $820 million on the table, while Donald Trump's offer is $809 million.
Pegula is way out in front if the reports are accurate, and that is music to the ears of Bills fans. Pegula has been absolutely fantastic for the city of Buffalo, and there is no question that he would keep the Bills where they are. Conversely, there is definite concern that Bon Jovi and Co. would move the Bills to Toronto.
The Toronto group isn't out of the running yet by any means, but John Wawrow of The Associated Press confirms that Pegula is the person to beat:
Be careful because there are people involved in sale process floating rumors in attempt to drive price up. Pegula still by far front-runner.— John Wawrow (@john_wawrow) August 22, 2014
This situation is one that will leak into the regular season, and it will probably be resolved at some point during the 2014 campaign. Bills fans obviously want to make the playoffs and end their excruciatingly long drought, but the No. 1 priority at this point is getting an owner who will stand behind Buffalo.
Pegula definitely fits the bill, and it looks like he will be very difficult to overtake.
Chiefs and Justin Houston Contract Negotiations Falter
Linebacker Justin Houston has developed into one of the NFL's top pass-rushers over the past couple seasons, but his future with the Kansas City Chiefs is very much in doubt.
The 25-year-old University of Georgia product is in search of a new contract, but Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com is reporting that the two sides are nowhere close to a deal:
Chiefs remain so far apart in negotiations w/Justin Houston that I'm told there is not a chance a deal gets done. He'll play out his deal— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 22, 2014
Which situation interests you most?
Houston has 22 sacks over the past two campaigns, including 11 in just 11 games last year. Houston was a driving force behind Kansas City's run from the worst team in the league in 2012 to a playoff team in 2013. The Chiefs' defense was among the best in the NFL last season, and Houston was a big part of that.
A consistent pass rush makes life so much easier for the rest of the defense, and that is precisely what Houston provides. The Chiefs certainly have to be mindful financially, but Houston is the type of player who is worth spending money on.
Houston will do his job and play for the Chiefs this season, but anything beyond that is a big question mark.
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