There has been plenty of talk surrounding LB Karlos Dansby. He and his agent have been trying to negotiate a long-term deal for two seasons now, and he will be entering his second straight season as a franchise player. Last season, Dansby recorded 119 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions with the Cardinals.
On Thursday, the Falcons signed fourth-round pick Lawrence Sidbury to a four-year deal worth $4.4 million. The defensive end from Richmond recorded 11.5 sacks for the Spiders last season. The signing leaves the Falcons with only two draft picks who have yet to be signed—Peria Jerry and William Moore.
The Ravens made Terrell Suggs the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history by signing him to a six-year deal worth $63 million. The contract gives Suggs, who had eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions last season, $38 million in guaranteed money.
CBs Cary Harris, a sixth-round pick out of Southern California, and Ellis Lankster, a seventh-round pick out of West Virginia, are the Bills' only two draft picks to sign with the team. This leaves the team with six unsigned draft picks, including defensive end Aaron Maybin (Penn State) and center Eric Wood (Louisville).
Looks like defensive end Julius Peppers will play the 2009 season with a franchise tag since a long-term deal wasn't negotiated before the deadline on Wednesday. Peppers was looking for a long-term deal with the Panthers, but the two failed to reach an agreement, meaning he will play under the one-year deal worth $16.7 million.
Besides the arrival of QB Jay Cutler, one of the popular topics of conversation surrounding the Bears this offseason is their wide receiver corps. The team hopes Devin Hester can emerge as a true No. 1 wide receiver, but the team is still in need of weapons for Cutler to throw to. Earl Bennett, who played with Cutler at Vanderbilt, is expected to be the team's No. 2 wide receiver.
The Bengals signed fifth-round draft pick Kevin Huber to a four-year deal worth around $1.95 million. The former punter from Cincinnati should have no problem competing for the starting job considering the Bengals released Kyle Larson shortly after the draft in April.
QB Derek Anderson is healthy and ready to compete with Brady Quinn for the starting job. Anderson suffered a calf injury during minicamp but is fully recovered thanks to rest and rehab. Anderson hopes to bounce back after a disappointing 2008 season in which he only threw for nine touchdowns in the 10 games he started.
QB Tony Romo continues to be the talk of the town for the Dallas Cowboys after his recent breakup with Jessica Simpson. On top of the breakup, 2009 may be the year that decides Romo's future as a Cowboy. He has a combined 5-8 record in the month of December and is 0-2 in the playoffs.
As the Broncos close in on the rookies reporting to training camp, Denver still has nine rookies who have yet to be signed, including five that were selected in the first two rounds. Some of the unsigned draft picks include RB Knowshon Moreno and LB Robert Ayers. The only draft pick signed by the Broncos is C Blake Schlueter.
There is plenty of excitement in Detroit about seventh-round draft pick Zack Follett. The 6'1" linebacker signed a three-year deal with the team on Monday and hopes to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster. Follett garnered first team All-Pac-10 honors during his senior season at California.
Green Bay Packers
LB Nick Barnett looks to bounce back in 2009 after suffering an ACL injury last season. He only played in nine games in 2008 before reconstructive surgery on his knee. After OTA workouts and minicamp, Barnett hopes to practice during training camp, but his time may be limited depending on how much his knee can handle.
Last week, the Texans signed fourth-round draft pick Glover Quin. The cornerback out of New Mexico is expected to compete for playing time in the team's nickel package after impressive workouts in the offseason.
During his senior season, he had 16 passes deflected (first in the Mountain West Conference) and a career-high five interceptions.
For the first time in 13 seasons, the Colts will have to adjust to life without WR Marvin Harrison. The release left Reggie Wayne to officially take over the No. 1 receiver slot and Anthony Gonzalez to fill in the void left by Harrison at No. 2 receiver.
Now that RB Fred Taylor is playing in New England, Maurice Jones-Drew will receive the opportunity to be the Jags' full-time starter this upcoming season.
The 6'1" Jones-Drew has split carries with Taylor the first three seasons of his career. He may have only rushed for 824 yards last season, but he did finish with 12 touchdowns.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have been criticized for giving QB Matt Cassel a contract extension for six years and $63 million ($28 million guaranteed) before even playing a single game with the team. Many believe he should prove himself before receiving that type of deal and prove that last year's run in New England was not a fluke.
Cassel threw for 3,693 yards last season and 21 touchdowns after QB Tom Brady went down in Week One.
Word around Dolphins camp is that RB Ronnie Brown is in the best shape of his career. Last season, he rushed for 916 yards and 10 touchdowns while splitting carries with Ricky Williams. Now that the Dolphins know he can play a full 16-game season without ACL issues, look for Brown to return to his playing level we saw in 2007 before his ACL injury.
Coach Brad Childress told the media that QB Brett Favre's throwing arm "looked fine" in a workout video he saw. Whether or not Favre will join Childress and the Vikings this upcoming season should be determined by next week.
Favre told the team he would give them a decision by July 30 after he did more testing on his surgically repaired throwing arm.
New England Patriots
While Tom Brady's return from an ACL injury will be the main topic discussed for the Patriots this upcoming season, expect talk to surround the team's running game.
As of now, Laurence Maroney is the No. 1 running back, but if he can't bounce back from his disappointing 2008 season, he could be replaced by backups Sammy Morris or Fred Taylor.
New Orleans Saints
After a successful offseason, Saints QB Drew Brees is showing confidence in his team's chances this upcoming season, recently stating that he believes they are the team to beat in 2009. Last season, Brees led the league with 5,016 yards passing, which was 16 yards short of Dan Marino's record.
New York Giants
The main question concerning the Giants as training camp approaches is who will fill the void left by Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer at the starting wide receiver positions. As of now, third-year WRs Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon are expected to be named the starters on Opening Day.
However, scouts have noticed that four other receivers—Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, Hakeem Nicks, and Ramses Barden—had an impressive minicamp and could all compete for a starting job.
New York Jets
As of now, Kellen Clemens is the starting quarterback for the Jets over Mark Sanchez because of experience. Clemens is the only quarterback on the Jets roster who has started a game at the NFL level.
However, Sanchez still has a chance to be named the starter come August, depending on how well he performs during training camp and preseason.
The Raiders signed the first of their draft picks by signing sixth-rounder Brandon Myers to a four-year contract. The team hopes to utilize the former Iowa standout as a blocking tight end to allow Zach Miller to be used more as a receiving weapon.
Jeremy Maclin is the only unsigned draft pick for the Eagles, as the rookies are expected to report to training camp next week. However, Maclin's agent, Jim Steiner, reported that the two sides are expected to discuss a contract later this week.
The wide receiver from Missouri was selected by the team with the 19th overall pick in April and is expected to compete for valuable playing time this season.
If the Steelers want QB Ben Roethlisberger to remain healthy this season, they will need to do a better job protecting him with the offensive line, considering he has been sacked 133 times over the last three seasons.
Last season, four of the five Steelers offensive linemen started for the first time in their career. They should also improve leading the way for RBs Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall, who could be splitting carries come September.
San Diego Chargers
All eyes will be on LB Shawne Merriman at the start of training camp last week as he returns from a knee injury that almost ended his career.
Also, the pressure may be on LaDainian Tomlinson, as he ran for a career-low 1,110 yards last season. Those numbers may not seem all that bad, but Tomlinson's career average of more than 1,500 yards before last season and the emergence of RB Darren Sproles have many of us wondering how much gas L.T. has left in the tank.
San Francisco 49ers
WR Michael Crabtree remains unsigned but is expected to be ready to go for training camp after offseason surgery on his left foot. Crabtree discovered a stress fracture in his left foot at the scouting combine back in February. He was selected as the 10th pick in April's draft.
The team's top three draft picks—Aaron Curry, Max Unger, and Deon Butler—remain unsigned as training camp is expected to begin next week. Curry—the fourth pick in this year's draft out of Wake Forest—was brought in at linebacker to help improve the Seahawks' run defense.
St. Louis Rams
Earlier this week, the team signed fifth-round draft pick Brooks Foster to a contract. He may not be competing for a starting position, but look for him to compete against WRs Chad Lucas, Derek Stanley, Nate Jones, and Tim Carter for playing time. The Rams still have five more draft picks to sign before rookies report to training camp next week, including tackle Jason Smith and LB James Laurinaitis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Since the Bucs have to experience life without veteran leadership in WRs Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard, there are many questions surrounding who will step up at the wide receiver position in Tampa Bay.
The Bucs hope to see improvements in the play of Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton but are also keeping their eye on fourth-year receiver Brian Clark. Clark has played a role in special teams over his career but could be a good fit for the Bucs at the No. 3 spot at wide receiver.
TE Bo Scaife will be playing as a franchise player for the Titans in 2009 in hopes of receiving a long-term deal afterwards. Scaife is coming off of his best season in his three-year career, where he caught 58 passes for 561 yards and two touchdowns. He will play again alongside Alge Crumpler, who signed with the Titans last season as a free agent.
The team hopes Jeremy Jarmon will improve the defensive line for the 2009 season. The defensive end from Kentucky was selected by the Redskins in the supplemental draft on July 16. He started 31 of 39 games for the Wildcats and recorded 13.5 total sacks from 2007-08.
This article was originally posted on FantasyPros911.com.
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