Jason Cole

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Jason Cole is an award-winning writer who covered the Miami Dolphins for 15 years at The Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. A member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he also has experience covering the NBA. Jason graduated from Stanford with a degree in communication.

  • Plenty of cheaper options at cornerback if teams shy away from pursuing Darrelle Revis

    While six NFL team executives and coaches agreed that New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is the top player at his position and perhaps the top player available via trade or free agency this year, all of them said that there's enough depth at the position that getting by without Revis would be tolerable.

    "If you play this out the right way, you can get two guys this year for less than you'd pay for Revis," one coach said. "You normally can't say that about cornerbacks and let's not fool anybody, I'd rather have Revis than just about any two guys on the rest of the list.

    "But if I don't get him, we can probably survive OK."

    Aqib Talib had one of his two INTs for the Bucs last year before being traded to the Pats. (AP)The position this season features roughly 18 cornerbacks (including Nnamdi Asomugha, expected to soon part ways with the Philadelphia Eagles) who have the ability to start, such as Aqib Talib, or at least be a solid nickel player, such as Brice McCain.

    "Very deep, which is why you've seen some deals happen already that were probably

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  • Sources: Jets' lack of cooperation with Darrelle Revis' agents hurting trade talks

    Talk to enough NFL people about the trade market for cornerback Darrelle Revis and there is a recurring theme.

    If the New York Jets want to get this done quickly, they would be best served working with Revis' agents Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod.

    It would behoove the Jets to trade Darrelle Revis soon. (AP)

    "If I'm making this deal, there's a lot of stuff I need to know," an NFC team executive said. "I need to know if he's healthy. I need to know if he wants to play for us. I need to know if I'm going to get a long-term deal or is this one year and we'll see.

    "But I talk to the Jets and they're like, 'OK, what are you offering?' I can't begin to figure it out."

    Revis, who essentially has one year remaining on his contract, is scheduled to make $6 million next season. Following the 2013 season, the Jets can't use a franchise tag on him based on language in the contract.

    Because the Jets are about to begin a rebuilding process, they do not want to pay Revis what would likely be in excess of $13 million per year and

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  • NFL free-agency oddities: Poison pills, midnight strolling and unwanted QBs turned Hall of Famers

    Full-fledge NFL free agency has been in existence for 20 years. However, elements of free agency surfaced in the league well before Reggie White made his way to the Green Bay Packers in 1993.

    Here's a look back at some of the strange twists of free agency before and after '93:

    Steve Hutchinson was a four-time Pro Bowler for the Vikes. (USA TODAY)1. The poison pill – Technically, it's still not illegal, but the NFL quietly discourages clauses in restrictive free agents' contracts that make it nearly impossible for the current team to retain the player. It has resulted in some absurd moments. In 2006, Steve Hutchinson left Seattle for Minnesota, the Vikings getting him for a seven-year, $49 million contract that included a poison pill that the Seahawks unsuccessfully challenged. In return, Seattle then signed Minnesota wide receiver Nate Burleson later in March 2006 to a matching seven-year, $49 million deal that included two poison pills. Here is the description of the two poison pills from then-ESPN reporter Len Pasquarelli: "The first would

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  • NFL's new free-agency negotiating window making players, agents more tense

    The NFL may have found yet another way to make players and agents nervous about money.

    The league's new three-day negotiating period opens at midnight ET and lasts until the official start of free agency Tuesday. The new period, particularly when combined with free agency's later starting date (it began closer to March 1 prior to 2012) has had a chilling effect on the league.

    Steelers WR Mike Wallace is one of the top free agents. (USA TODAY Sports)Largely gone are the behind-the-scenes discussions between pending free agents and interested teams that commonly took place since free agency's inception in 1993. That early maneuvering, while rarely punished, made events like the NFL scouting combine a veritable circus of action.

    These days, agents and players are sitting by the phone and just wondering when some general manager will call to talk dollars.

    "Nobody is putting any real offers out there because everybody is afraid that if you do it too early, all that's going to happen is that their offer is going to get shopped," a high-profile

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  • Mike Wallace in, Percy Harvin out for Vikings?

    The Minnesota Vikings may have found a cure to the anticipated headache of re-signing wide receiver Percy Harvin.

    According to multiple reports, the Vikings are one of the lead suitors for free agent wideout Mike Wallace. While quarterback Christian Ponder would be armed with a pair of big-play threats, Minnesota could very well be preparing itself to part ways with Harvin.

    Percy Harvin battles Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant for a ball last season. (Getty Images)

    Harvin, who is set to be a free agent after the 2013 season, is itching for a new deal now. And if the Vikings don't give Harvin an extension this offseason, it's believed he may hold out just like Vincent Jackson did with San Diego in 2010, according to a team source.

    The Vikings fear that the strong-willed Harvin may play the absolute minimum required to get to free agency and that he'll create such a stink that the last thing the Vikings will consider is franchising him. Moreover, this is not as simple as giving Harvin a contract in line with what Jackson received a year ago (five

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  • Jake Long looks 'great', possibly makes Dolphins' free agency decisions tougher

    Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long got a clean bill of health from Dr. James Andrews this week. The same can't be said for a proposal Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is trying to get through the Florida legislature to raise $200 million for improvements to his stadium so as to make it Super Bowl-worthy.

    The link between Long and the legislature is whether the Dolphins can afford to let their former No. 1 overall pick walk away at such a vital time?

    Jake Long missed four games last season.(Getty)Long is one of four starting players the Dolphins have coming up for free agency. In addition to Long, who made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons before suffering with injuries the past two, Miami could lose its leading receiver (Brian Hartline), leading rusher (Reggie Bush) and top cornerback (Sean Smith). That's a huge drain at a time when the Dolphins have the money to re-sign at least two of those four and still get top free agent target, wide receiver Mike Wallace.

    "Theoretically, none of those guys

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  • Wes Welker risks legacy if he leaves Patriots

    As Wes Welker continues difficult negotiations with the New England Patriots, according to a source and published reports, the wide receiver has an important equation to consider:

    Does he go for a contract that's worth every possible dollar with a team that is likely not the Patriots? Or does he go for a contract with New England that likely earns him most of the money and increases his chances of creating a legacy?

    Wes Welker attempts to get away from a Ravens defender in the AFC title game. (USA TODAY Sports)Or as one source with a passing understanding of Welker's situation explained: "You can sign a $40 million contract, but you might only make 70 percent of it. Is that better than signing a $30 million contract that you make 100 percent of?"

    In other words, is Welker better off leaving New England for potentially a couple or few million dollars more on one contract (let's say three years, $33 million) vs. staying with the Patriots for slightly less (let's say three years and $30 million)?

    What's important to consider is Welker's somewhat mild disdain

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  • Sources: AEG's downtown L.A. stadium proposal looks like a no-go for the NFL

    As people in Los Angeles await word on the sale of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, the NFL doesn't sound too enthusiastic about the firm's plan to build a downtown stadium.

    Less than six months after the L.A. city council voted unanimously to support AEG's plan, the concept is essentially dead to the NFL, according to two sources. The problems with the plan are numerous, but the most essential one is the economics.

    AEG's proposed NFL football stadium, to be named Farmers Field, is depicted next to Staples Center in Los Angeles. (AP)"The numbers just don't work, no matter how you look at the deal," a league source said in February. "It's either too hard for AEG to make money [and pay the debt on the stadium] or too hard for the team. I just can't see a way for it to work."

    Officially, a league spokesman said Monday that the NFL is still tracking what AEG is trying to do.

    "We continue to monitor the AEG situation and remain interested in multiple sites in the Los Angeles area," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.

    Unofficially, the NFL believes that the cost of the AEG

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  • Sources: Niners in pursuit of Darrelle Revis

    What will a San Francisco 49ers team already loaded with young talent do with more 2013 draft picks than can possibly make their roster?

    Three words: Pursue Darrelle Revis.

    The 49ers are among a handful of teams that have discussed making a run at Revis this offseason, according to two sources. In fact, the 49ers are poised to make a run at Revis even if it’s just for one season (although that could be problematic from Revis’ standpoint).

    The bottom line is that if the New York Jets are serious about retooling their roster as quickly as possible, getting a fistful of picks from the 49ers could be a fine answer.

    And if history is any indicator, the 49ers will be more than willing.

    Darrelle Revis missed most of the past season after suffering a knee injury in Week 3. (AP)From a pragmatic standpoint, the 49ers would be silly not to think about dealing most of their draft picks this year, even if only to get future selections. San Francisco, which already has 11 selections in April's draft, are expected to get another one in the trade that reportedly will

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  • Time for Patriots to ditch low-ball approach and give Wes Welker his deserved big payday

    Quarterback Tom Brady unquestionably took less money long-term in a contract extension this week with hopes that the New England Patriots would re-sign numerous key players. The question is whether that becomes a reality.

    On Monday, a source close to Brady said the quarterback was under the belief the Patriots were in talks to keep veteran wide receiver Wes Welker. In addition, Brady was led to believe New England might also bring in another wide receiver who is more of a classic deep threat along the lines of what Randy Moss was for the Patriots over three-plus seasons.

    Wes Welker fails to pull in a pass vs. the Ravens in the AFC title game. (AP)On Tuesday, when a source close to Welker was contacted about the supposed talks and how Brady believed he had lent a helping hand, the source responded via text message, "How sweet."

    In other words, don't count on that fairy tale coming true, particularly when it comes to Welker. Though the Boston Herald reported Tuesday that the two sides were in negotiations,

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