- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner49 mins ago
The Philadelphia Eagles are a fascinating team this offseason, and their big trade this week makes them even more interesting.
Let’s assume Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants to draft University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. That’s a reasonable assumption, considering all that has been said about it. What that ultimately means is that if the Eagles have any chance of moving up to draft Mariota, they have to give up draft picks, and likely draft picks from this season. A team positioned high enough in the draft for the Eagles to take Mariota will want to get better right away.
So if we assume that’s what the Eagles want to do (that's not to say it's a guarantee to happen, of course), the Eagles can’t get better through the draft because they’ll have to give away so many picks. So what do the Eagles have to do? They have to cut cap. And they just got rid of about $10 million of cap charges by trading running back LeSean McCoy.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell was on his way from Atlanta to New York to sign his exclusive rights free-agent contract when the plane he was on skidded off the runway.
Thankfully, everyone was OK. The runway at LaGuardia Airport was snowy and the Delta commercial flight skidded upon landing at about 11 a.m. No injuries were reported, according to the New York Daily News. Donnell was OK, his agent confirmed to the Daily News, and he posted a picture from the scene on his Instagram account. New York Newsday reportedhe was flying to New York to sign his contract tender offer.
Donnell released a statement through the Giants:
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
The Chicago Bears are reportedly trying to trade wide receiver Brandon Marshall, according to Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs.
The Bears are "exploring trade options" for Marshall less than a week before the start of free agency, and they would clear about $4 million off the books if they're successful moving him.
But coaches from the Bears' former staff, most of which was let go after last season's disaster, have told Shutdown Corner this offseason that Marshall was a toxic element in the team's locker room last season, that he often refused to take direction from former head coach Marc Trestman and that his Tuesday ritual of flying to New York on Tuesdays during the season to tape "Inside the NFL" show irked some members of the organization.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
It's becoming pretty clear that things might not end well between Troy Polamalu and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers want Polamalu to retire so it saves them the indignity of having to cut one of their most popular players of the past quarter century. They took a hit when it happened with Hines Ward, and the Polamalu public-relations hit would be even bigger.
A former teammate of Polamalu's told Shutdown Corner early Tuesday that he spoke with the soon-to-be-34-year-old safety recently, who indicated that he still would prefer to play another year in the NFL.
It just doesn't feel like that's going to happen in Pittsburgh. Ed Bouchette of the Post Gazette does a pretty good job of explaining the awkward situation here.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork found out Tuesday night that the only NFL team he has known will not pick up his option, making him a free agent. He tweeted out a statement Wednesday morning, marking the end of an era.
Morning guys ... Please read below this will be my only statement pic.twitter.com/gClv03hqet
"I'm in a good place [and] I have a great relationship with the Patriots organization," Wilfork wrote.
The Patriots selected Wilfork in the first round in the 2004 NFL draft, and he has been the anchor of a defense that made four Super Bowls in his time, winning two.
Wilfork will turn 34 this season and was slated to hit $8.9 million against the salary cap this season. On the one hand, Wilfork's play leveled off last season coming off a season-ending Achilles injury in 2013. On the other, he played a massive number of snaps last season — 910, tied for second-most in the NFL among nose tackles, per Pro Football Focus — and will leave a huge void in the middle of the Patriots' defense that improved markedly last season in a championship year.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
Even when Peyton Manning loses $4 million, he doesn't really lose.
The reworked contract is done, and Manning made it official that he'll be back, telling the Denver Post's Mike Klis he's excited to return for another season with the Denver Broncos. Manning's base salary was reduced from $19 million to $15 million, but it's not that bad for Manning.
The Broncos asked for a " far more severe pay cut " when negotiations started, Klis reported. The Broncos need cash for signing bonuses, not necessarily salary-cap relief, Klis said. The team and Manning settled on the $4 million cut. But that's not even too bad, potentially. Manning can make the $4 million back through team incentives, the Post said.
So the Broncos came to Manning hoping for a pay cut of larger than $4 million, and Manning ended up taking a $4 million cut that he can make back. Not a bad negotiation.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
We admit that when we heard Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was training in a log cabin "in the middle of nowhere" this offseason to train for next season, we got excited.
We thought of Rocky IV in Siberia.
We pictured him wrestling elk just for folly.
Living off nothing but raw deer meat and tundra salads.
Visions of barren wasteland danced in our heads.
Frankly, we got ahead of ourselves.
Oh, Watt is living in a log cabin all right. We've seen the pictures (posted on
Instead, he's training in a house with framed Brett Favre jerseys and NASCAR doormats, close to a Whole Foods in some tony-looking suburb. Let's put it this way: Watt could go throw out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewers game, leave Miller Park and be back at Watt Cabin before the bottom of the third inning.
We feel a bit duped.
But maybe this was a bit of a brilliant stroke by Watt. Think about it ...
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
Since last season ended and Peyton Manning couldn't say if he'd retire, we've heard that Manning felt good and wanted to come back, and the Denver Broncos have repeatedly said they wanted him back. Yet, weeks have passed with no official "He's back!" word from Manning or the Broncos.
Like most situations such as this, the final holdup appears to be money, but that's almost cleared too.
Manning is close to taking a fairly significant pay cut, according to an ESPN report. ESPN said Manning is close to reducing his 2015 salary from $19 million to $15 million.
There will be two thoughts on this news. Those who love Manning will laud him for helping the team by taking $4 million less this season. Those who hate Manning will call him greedy for taking $15 million when he has already made so much. He's a divisive guy that way, for some reason.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
It took Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly two years to figure out one simple truth in today's NFL: You don't pay running backs big money, not even a really good one.
LeSean McCoy is a really good back and it's shocking for most people to see a guy drafted in the first few picks of their fantasy league traded to the Buffalo Bills for a linebacker coming off an ACL injury. There are theories that Kelly wants to run off vocal locker room leaders, or that he's collecting Oregon players like Kiko Alonso, who will come over in the McCoy trade when it's official (Yahoo Sports' Eric Adelson had a great read on the Kelly-centric angles to the big trade). Maybe there's something to that, but I think it's much simpler. I think Kelly trusts his system to produce a back who can come somewhat close to replicating what McCoy could do, at less than 10 percent of the cost.
And that's why I think the Eagles won the McCoy-Alonso trade. It made too much sense for them not to do it.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
Shutdown Corner has compiled information from teams, watched college tape and gathered our notes from the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine to assemble our top 50 overall prospects available in the 2015 NFL draft.
We'll roll our list out 10 players at a time this week, counting backward from 50 (along with those who just missed the cut). Please note: These are the best players available — and not where we think the prospects will be drafted.
21. Kentucky OLB-DE Alvin "Bud" Dupree 6-4, 269