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shadow walker


Joined: 11 Jan 2005
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Location: Virginia Beach
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:18 pm    Post subject: player deals/releases/nfl draft news/cowboy news Reply with quote

Dolphins release QB Fiedler, three others

NFL.com wire reports

MIAMI (Feb. 23, 2005) -- The Miami Dolphins released quarterback Jay Fiedler, ending his five-year run as the much-maligned successor to Dan Marino.

Last season, Fiedler started just seven games for the Dolphins (4-12), going 1-6 while throwing for 1,186 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Fiedler spent much of the 2004 season on the injured list with a herniated disc. Fiedler was due a $2 million roster bonus in March.

The Dolphins also released safeties Arturo Freeman and Shawn Wooden, and defensive end Jay Williams.

After Marino left before the 2000 season, Fiedler was the only starting quarterback for former Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt. But after Wannstedt's resignation in November, interim coach Jim Bates replaced Fielder with A.J. Feeley, who won three games the rest of the season.

A call to Fiedler's agent Brian Levy seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Fiedler started one game in six NFL seasons before he started 15 games in 2000 for Miami as the heir to Marino. He led the Dolphins to the first of two straight 11-5 seasons and playoff berths, going 1-2 in the postseason.

The Dolphins would miss the playoffs the next two seasons despite winning records as Fiedler missed nine starts in 2002-03 because of injuries. He missed five starts in 2002 because of a fractured thumb and missed four games in 2003 with a knee injury.

In five seasons with the Dolphins, Fiedler was 36-23 as a starter, throwing for 11,040 yards, 66 touchdown and 63 interceptions. He ranks as the franchise's third-leading passer behind Marino and Bob Griese.


any one think that their FS can play for the boys...how bout waiting for all qbs getting released b4 we sign one...what r yalls thoughts on jay fiedler
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Last edited by shadow walker on Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:46 pm; edited 3 times in total
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shadow walker


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SSS would it be ok if i started a thread to have all the players released on this topic so the forum doesnt get cluddered with the same subject
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

more news..this is from the dallascowboys.com:

By MICKEY SPAGNOLA
DallasCowboys.com Columnist
Feb. 22, 2004, 8:56 p.m. (CST)

IRVING, Texas - On a bright, beautiful, sunny Tuesday here at The Ranch, with the temp more in line with May than Feb a week before the start of NFL free agency, there is no panic in the air as seemingly has been the case for like 10 of the 12 years a salary cap has been in place.

For a change, the Cowboys do not have a salary-cap pistol to their heads, unlike Tennessee or Tampa Bay or Washington or any number of teams trying to clean house before the March 2 cap alarms are set off.

For a change, and this really has been a two-to-three-year trend, the Cowboys can do what they want or what they need. They don't have to cut productive starters because of roster bonuses due or escalating base salaries. They don't have to scurry restructuring contracts to duck under the projected $85.5 million salary cap.

They have like $20 million in cap space, minus what's needed to fund a draft, which could include two first-round draft choices, pay last year's performance bonuses, which does include Vinny's extra $1.9 million, and fund their rookie free agents. So it's not as exorbitant amount as you might think, but at least they aren't fighting to get their heads above water as they were, say back in 2001 and 2002.

That should speak to just how disgruntled they were with Marcellus Wiley, released on Tuesday along with veteran center Gennaro DiNapoli, who spent the entire season on PUP last year as a just in case for Al Johnson. There is no mystery there.

And frankly, there is no mystery to releasing Wiley on the first day NFL teams are allowed to officially dump unproductive players under contract or players whose salaries no longer are commensurate with their ability.

Wiley basically fits both categories. He was unproductive, and certainly did nothing to merit the $500,000 roster bonus he was due March 2 nor the $2 million base salary he was scheduled to make in 2005. Better to erase your mistakes than allow them to fester.

And even the most optimistic Cowboys official would have to tag Wiley a mistake. Looking for a pass rusher (raise your hand if you've heard that before), Wiley finished with just three sacks, matching his lowest total in the past seven seasons - and certainly not reminiscent of the 29� he compiled from 2000-2002 with Buffalo and San Diego.

Worse, and a proud Wiley will say this was his biggest problem, the Cowboys didn't think his pass-rush skills were good enough for him to play on the nickel defense - when they knew other teams would be passing. Heavens to Betsy. No wonder he was bitter after that final game of the season, when he said in the Giants Stadium locker room, "But if everyone would have told me all this would have occurred, I would not have stepped foot in Texas."

He was barely here long enough to leave footprints.

This release suggests one of two things, and possibly both: For sure the Cowboys were dissatisfied with Wiley's performance, not only with his 37 tackles - fewer than part-time players Bradie James and Lance Frazier - but the fact he actually finished four of his 15 starts with no more than one tackle in those games.

This also might further signal a move to a 3-4 defense. Wiley, at 6-4, but just 278, certainly is not the ideal size to play end in a 3-4, and those ends have to be monsters against the run since many times they will be taking on double-team blocks from tackles and guards. Sure the Cowboys didn't want to pay a $500,000 roster bonus on a veteran who might not make the squad, but when you look at it, the Cowboys are heading into free agency and the draft with just three defensive ends under contract - Greg Ellis, Eric Ogbogu and Kenyon Coleman. Coleman would be the only one of the three considered a prototype 3-4 defensive end. And they still considered Wiley expendable.



So guaranteed, either way, 3-4 or 4-3, the Cowboys will be shopping for defensive ends in free agency and chasing defensive ends in the draft.

But the good thing about Tuesday's moves: These were not salary-cap mandated. Unlike Tennessee, forced to release such productive players as leading receiver Derrick Mason, top corner Samari Rolle, top-flight defensive tackle Kevin Carter, kicker Joe Nedney, starting offensive tackle Fred Miller and fullback Robert Holcombe, the Cowboys didn't have to do this. They chose, too.

Tennessee had no choice. The Titans were more than $20 million over the cap.

''It's a difficult day for us and a difficult day for the players,'' Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher said. ''For Kevin and his family, for Derrick and his family and of course Samari and his family, Fred, Joe and Robert.

''It's a difficult day, but . . . fortunately in a couple of weeks we'll be heading down the right path.''

Seattle was another team scrambling right up to Tuesday's 3 p.m. (CST) deadline to announce franchise players. The Seahawks managed to get quarterback Matt Hasselbeck signed, probably the top "potential" free-agent quarterback, and when doing so were able to tag running back Shaun Alexander the franchise player to reserve his rights.

There are some hard decisions having to be made in Tampa Bay, where the Bucs are fighting the cap, and considering parting ways with the likes of Brad Johnson or Brian Griese, Mike Alstott, Mario Edwards, Ian Gold and Shelton Quarles.

Same in our nation's capital. While Washington wide receiver Laveranues Coles might want out, he is due a $5 million deferred signing bonus payment on April 1, which can't be handled by the Redskins or any potential trade partner. If the Redskins trade Coles without him agreeing to forgo the deferred money, they will have $9.3 million accelerate into their 2005 cap.

Gosh remember those days of salary-cap hell?

You had better hope the Cowboys do, and from all indications last year, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and vice-president son Stephen Jones most certainly do. Because even though the Cowboys do have some free-agency stash to spend, the last thing they need to do is try to right this ship in one year by spending irresponsibly.

That will get you in trouble faster than anything else, especially if you are spending on older players, overbidding for their services and then in like two seasons they are making more than they are worth. That just creates a prorated signing bonus lunch, having to eat those charges.

So remember that when you inspect the free-agency market here over the next week. Don't be shortsighted, thinking, oh boy, sign this guy and this guy and this guy, and everything will be fixed in 2005. The Cowboys have to make sure whatever they are fixing, it stays fixed for 2006 and 2007, especially with the young base of talent they have assembled with the likes of Roy Williams, Terence Newman, Jason Witten, Julius Jones, Al Johnson, possibly Drew Henson and Patrick Crayton, and who knows, maybe even youngsters such as Bradie James, Quincy Morgan, Jacob Rogers, Stephen Peterman, Nate Jones, Bruce Thornton and Frazier if they ever turn the corner.

But when - and if - they do, the last thing you want is for free agents signed next week to be on their way out the door. Can't do that.

Is there such a thing as being aggressively prudent in free agency? No sense buying today what you have to pay for tomorrow. And I know that is against the impulsive American way these days of buying today on credit or payment-free plans and worrying about paying tomorrow, tomorrow.

But do that, and the air is not so fresh this time of year. Ask Jeff Fisher.




well i'll do my best to try to update this...

all yall can do the same thing...just try to keep it in one place where everyone can make a reference to something in case of an argument or whatever......
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shadow walker


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rumor Mill
SportsLine.com staff and wire reports

Moss traded to Oakland
The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Randy Moss has been traded to the Oakland Raiders for LB Napoleon Harris, the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft and a 2005 late-round pick, according to his agent.


Team by Team
Buffalo Bills Updated:02/23/2005
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Bills are attempt to trade unhappy RB Travis Henry to the Cardinals in exchange for offensive tackle L.J. Shelton.

Dallas Cowboys Updated:02/23/2005
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys have reached an agreement with QB Drew Bledsoe, who was released by the Bills earlier this week. The two sides are expected to finalize the deal in the next day.

Detroit Lions Updated:02/22/2005
The Detroit News reports that QB Jeff Garcia may be interested in the Lions following his official release from the Browns. Garcia played for Lions coach Steve Mariucci in San Francisco.

Green Bay Packers Updated:02/22/2005
New GM Ted Thompson isn't pressing QB Brett Favre for a decision on whether he will continue to play or retire, according to the Green Bay News-Chronicle.

Indianapolis Colts Updated:02/23/2005
Edgerrin James has been tagged as the Colts' "franchise" player, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Minnesota Vikings Updated:02/23/2005
The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Randy Moss has been traded to the Oakland Raiders for LB Napoleon Harris, the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft and a 2005 late-round pick, according to his agent.

Oakland Raiders Updated:02/23/2005
The Raiders are expected to actively shop CB Charles Woodson in hopes of trading him before he becomes a free agent on March 2, accordng to a

San Francisco Chronicle source. Meanwhile, he's been tagged as the team's "franchise" player, according to the Oakland Tribune. ... Wide receiver Jerry Porter has re-signed with Oakland, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Porter was signed to a five-year deal, which kept him from exploring free agency.

Pittsburgh Steelers Updated:02/23/2005
Wide receiver Plaxico Burress will become a free agent on March 2 as the Steeler chose not to tag him as their "franchise" player. The Beaver County Times reports that the Ravens, Bucs, Falcons, Bears and Cowboys all need help at that position. ... The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that all indications point to RB Jerome Bettis returning for another season. He is reportedly working on a new deal with the Steelers.

San Francisco 49ers Updated:02/23/2005
Linebacker Julian Peterson was tagged as the 49ers' "franchise" player for the second consecutive season. The team made this decision based on the assurance that Peterson will make a complete recovery from an Achilles' tendon injury, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Seattle Seahawks Updated:02/22/2005
The Seattle Times reports that the Seahawks will slap the franchise tag on RB Shaun Alexander. Meanwhile, QB Matt Hasselbeck has reached an agreement with the team, according to Times sources.

Tennessee Titans Updated:02/22/2005
The Washington Times reports that the Redskins are interested in CB Samari Rolle, who was released by the Titans. WR Derrick Mason was also released in a cost-cutting move by the team. ... Steve McNair future status is unknown, but he is in the process of restructuring his contract in order to get the Titans under the salary cap, according to the Nashville Tennessean.

Washington Redskins Updated:02/23/2005
Wide receiver Laveranues Coles will not restructure his current deal, as the Redskins want him to, in order to facilitate a trade, according to the Washington Post. Coles said that he reached an understanding with the team that he would be released. The Jets are reportedly interested in his services.


i got this from a web site
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

more bledsoe news:

Bledsoe Arrives In Dallas Proclaiming Himself The Starter

Nick Eatman
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
Feb. 23, 2005, 8:27 p.m. (CST)

IRVING, Texas - One thing head coach Bill Parcells has shown in his two seasons here with the Cowboys is that he rarely tiptoes around a subject, usually getting straight to the point.

And maybe that's why he's always liked quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who signed a three-year deal Wednesday with the Cowboys here at Valley Ranch, reuniting with Parcells, who drafted him to New England nearly 12 years ago as the No. 1 overall pick in 1993.

Because in his first press conference as the newest member of the Dallas Cowboys, Bledsoe wasted little time revealing his intentions of becoming the next starting quarterback of these Dallas Cowboys.

"Yes, that's what I anticipate," said Bledsoe when asked if he will be the starter. "That's the way I foresee it going. I've been with Bill before. And he did tell me that I'm going to be the starting quarterback.

"But if we get into training camp, and there is a better option, he'll do it. And that's one of the things that is really appealing about playing for Bill, is that he's going to play the best guys on Sunday. I anticipate being the best guy. I anticipate being on the field and I anticipate helping this team win a lot of football games."

Bledsoe's three-year contract includes a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $2 million, with a first-year base salary of nearly another $2 million. Overall, Bledsoe's contract is roughly $14 million, although much of that is back-loaded into the final year of the contract. But there is some guaranteed money in the second-year of the contract, making it likely Bledsoe will at least be around for two years.



And with Bledsoe, it seems apparent the Cowboys are thinking of getting better right away, and owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the veteran quarterback gives his team that opportunity.

"I think we're better than we were an hour ago," Jones said, referring to signing Bledsoe minutes before the press conference. "I think Drew will make us better.

"We never deviated at any point in the latter part of last year or at any time in the off-season that we could not risk going into the season with an inexperienced quarterback such as Drew (Henson) or Tony (Romo). We always had in mind a veteran quarterback. I'm completely, by the way, buying into that and a part of that plan."

The signing of Bledsoe just about extinguishes any notion of a quarterback competition in training camp. While both Henson and Romo will remain here this off-season instead of playing in NFL Europe, the addition of Bledsoe and his contract heavily suggests just who the starter will be - at least from the start.

While Jones said he spoke with Henson about this signing and reiterated to the second-year quarterback the Cowboys are still excited about his long-term potential, the owner also said he sees more advantages to going with a veteran such as Bledsoe.

Now Jones realizes that's not the way every team thinks, including the Bills, who cut Bledsoe Tuesday with the intention of playing second-year quarterback J.P. Losman. Ironically enough, Losman was the player the Bills drafted after trading for the Cowboys first-round pick (22nd overall) last April. The Cowboys, in return received a second-round pick last year and took Julius Jones, along with Buffalo's first-round pick (20th overall) this year.

And as excited as Jones has been about acquiring Buffalo's 2005 first-round pick, he seems rather thrilled about obtaining the Bills starting quarterback for the past three years as well.

"I like our side of the ledger," Jones said. "I think that a veteran quarterback, one with the skills that Drew has, one with frankly the pedigree that he's got, because we're spending real serious money and we're making an even more serious commitment, we obviously think that's a way for us to get to the Super Bowl faster than Buffalo. I think that's a good comparison.

"Their decision is our gain."

And while Bledsoe said he was rather "angry" over the Bills' decision to play the younger Losman, he said the opportunity to play in Dallas, for several reasons, certainly softened the blow.

"After I got through all the emotions of leaving one organization, I started to look around at the other possibilities that were out there and the team that was immediately the most appealing was the Dallas Cowboys," Bledsoe said. "The big story is because it's Bill Parcells and that's part of it. But this organization is committed to winning and that's something that is very exciting."

And although the Cowboys finished just 6-10 a year ago, Bledsoe said the offensive firepower also played a major role in his decision to sign in Dallas.

"It's an offense, that, when I looked at it, it was very enticing," Bledsoe said. "With the offensive line, and two really good receivers in Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, two good tight ends and a very good young running back, I'm excited about what we've got here. I can't wait to go home and dress my kids in little stars and get rid of the other team's stuff."

And Bledsoe likely wouldn't mind getting rid of some of the criticism that has followed him over the latter part of his career, including his lack of mobility.

While many of today's top quarterbacks are also some of the NFL's best athletes, players such as Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb, Bledsoe said Wednesday that his style can still be as effective.

"I don't choose to run very much - that's not going to be my forte, scrambling around," Bledsoe said, "but I do feel that I can be very effective moving within the pocket. That's something that I worked on and have worked on throughout my career, and it's something that I can buy myself a little bit of time to get the ball to the true athletes on the field.

"But when one of these running quarterbacks wins the Super Bowl, then I think that'll be a lot more valid."

Clearly, Bledsoe still has the confidence to perform at a high level. He ranks ninth among the NFL's all-time passing leaders with 39,808 yards. In fact, before midway through next season, Bledsoe should pass both Johnny Unitas (40,239) and Joe Montana (40,551) to move into seventh place.

But while it appears Bledsoe has no doubts in his own ability, he is fully aware of how hot this quarterback issue is in Dallas and that there is some prevailing criticism being leveled against him. That, though, seems fine with him, as long as he has the opportunity to prove his critics wrong.

"I know that there's criticism and skepticism and all that stuff out there about this deal, and I'm not going to sit up here and try and defend myself or do any of that," Bledsoe said. "The one thing that I will say is that when my time as a Dallas Cowboy is done, then the story will be written. I think it'll be a story that will have a lot of success involved and that will be the answer to all of those kinds of questions."
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bledsoe Buries Bitter Divorce With Buffalo

Rob Phillips
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
Feb. 23, 2005, 8:01 p.m. (CST)

IRVING, Texas -- Drew Bledsoe didn't mince words when discussing his last career stop during Wednesday's new conference at Valley Ranch, his formal introduction as the Cowboys' likely newest starting quarterback.

Bledsoe tossed around words like "disappointed" and "angry" when asked about the Buffalo Bills' decision to officially release him after three seasons Tuesday so they could forge ahead with last year's first-round pick, J.P. Losman, as their quarterback of the future.

"The sense that I got from talking to (Bills head coach) Mike Mularkey and (Bills president/general manager) Tom Donahoe was that the move was more that they felt like they needed to get the other kid on the field," said Bledsoe, who signed a three-year deal with Dallas on Wednesday. "I suppose I can understand that. It wasn't something that I agreed with, but I've moved on and moved on to something that I believe is better."

Bledsoe hopes he's landed on his feet in Dallas by reuniting with the coach he enjoyed the most success with during his nine-year stint in New England. Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells has already promised Bledsoe the starting job next season and sold him on a potentially formidable offensive cast that includes Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, wide receivers Terry Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson and running back Julius Jones.

But the Bills' youth movement at quarterback must seem like d�j� vu to the 33-year-old Bledsoe, who spent the first nine years of his career with the New England Patriots before a chest injury sidelined him for most of the 2001 season. Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick in 2000, replaced Bledsoe in the starting lineup and led New England to a surprising 11-5 record.

After upsetting the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI with a healthy Bledsoe watching from the sidelines, New England tagged Brady as its new franchise quarterback and dealt Bledsoe to Buffalo prior to the 2002 season for a first-round pick.

Bledsoe failed to lead Buffalo to the playoffs over the next three years. But instead of losing his job to a Super Bowl champion, the Bills pushed Bledsoe out the door in favor of Losman, who appeared in only three games last season while Bledsoe helped drag the club out of a 0-4 quagmire to finish 9-7, narrowly missing out on the AFC's final wild-card berth.

"What happened last week was the Bills made a decision without a competition," Bledsoe said. "They just made a decision, and that's their decision to make. Coming down here, going into this situation, I'm going in as the starter and I anticipate that being the case. But going into a situation where they tell me going in, 'This guy's going to play and you're not' and there's nothing to do about it, I couldn't reconcile myself with that kind of a situation."

Bledsoe also expressed frustration over Buffalo's philosophical changes on offense, which slowly placed a greater emphasis on running and defense. After throwing for 4,359 yards his first season in Buffalo, Bledsoe failed to reach the 3,000-yard mark in either of his final two years.

But if his last stint with Parcells is any indication, Bledsoe will have plenty of chances to air it out in Dallas. In four seasons under Parcells (1993-96), Bledsoe threw for a combined 14,642 yards and 80 touchdowns, culminating in the Patriots' Super Bowl berth following the 1996 season.

Apparently Parcells and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones believe Bledsoe can recapture that same magic nearly a decade later. And Bledsoe admits he has something to prove after being forced out of Buffalo before he could turn the Bills into a title contender.

"There's no question that's a motivating factor," Bledsoe said. "It's not the motivating factor. The motivating factor is that I want to stand on the field and hold up that trophy at the end of the season, but there's no doubt that when a team elects to go with somebody else, you certainly want to prove that they did the wrong thing and that's part of the motivation down here. But the ultimate motivation is simply winning, and that always will be the case."

And that's exactly what Parcells is banking on - an eventual return to the Super Bowl with Bledsoe under center.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Win, Win Now At Quarterback Email Story Print Story

By MICKEY SPAGNOLA
DallasCowboys.com Columnist
Feb. 23, 2005, 7:56 p.m. (CST)

IRVING, Texas - This you should know: Jerry Jones is not treating this off-season as if he has a poor, pitiful team coming off a 6-10 season with no chance of winning next year.

This you should know, too: Jerry Jones is not inclined to totally forfeiting a season in this day and age by playing a quarterback who is not ready to play in the NFL.

So, if we accept these premises, then the Dallas Cowboys needed to sign a veteran quarterback capable of starting, but at a price not financially precluding the team from addressing the quarterback position for the future or grooming the guy(s) on hand.

Who you gonna call?

Matt Hasselbeck? Re-signed.

Drew Brees? Franchised.

Kurt Warner? Please.

Kelly Holcombe? Browns must re-sign.

Jeff Garcia? Oh please.

Gus Frerotte? Get serious.

Kordell Stewart. Tell me another one.

Vinny? Would cause a riot.

Well, the Cowboys, in this business of being caught without a young quarterback ready to assume the controls - still - signed what appears to be the lesser of about 15 available evils. They inked, as expected, Drew Bledsoe to a three-year deal here Wednesday afternoon.

The Cowboys were not forthcoming on the financial details, and Collins' agent David Dunn said the deal was close to what Kerry Collins signed last year with the Raiders - three years, $16 million.

But sources insist the total package is closer to $14 million and that the signing bonus is roughly $2 million. Which means, first of all, Bledsoe's first-year cap hit of $2.5 million is not out of whack for a starting quarterback - plus a guy who has started 48 of his last 48 games. And, with that $2 million signing bonus, if this doesn't work out, then basically the Cowboys can erase the decision without jeopardizing their salary cap for years to come.

This is not like Washington handing Scott Brunell an $8.6 million signing bonus last year.

From Bledsoe's standpoint, he will make like $3.8 million this year, which is nearly what he was to make in the fourth year of his deal in Buffalo.

How'd the Cowboys get so lucky, because, and seemingly especially with a 33-year-old quarterback, isn't it always about the money at this stage?

"Dallas was a place that really excited him," Dunn said. "He and Bill really enjoy each other."

That really must be the case. Bledsoe, after 12 years in the league, the first nine in New England and the past three in Buffalo, is not na�ve. He knows what is being said about him in these parts - that's he's done; that he's been sacked 140 times these past three years in Buffalo; that he has fumbled 35 times and lost 19 the past three years; that he doesn't stand tall in the pocket; that his quarterback rating for a 9-7 Buffalo team (76.6) was barely better than that of Vinny Testaverde (76.4), eight years his elder.

He knows he will be playing before a tough, likely split jury at Texas Stadium.

"Listen, I know that there is criticism and skepticism and all that stuff out there about this deal, and I'm not going to sit up here and try to defend myself or do any of that," Bledsoe said. "The one thing that I will say is when my time as a Dallas Cowboy is done, the story will be written."

So while Bledsoe certainly isn't the Cowboys' franchise quarterback of the future, and because of a second-year guarantee might be here no more than just two years, his presence - and Jones hopes his ability - buys the Cowboys time to further develop that franchise guy or actually draft that guy if the opportunity arises.

See, I get the feeling the expected forthcoming criticism of Bledsoe will be similar to that of what Testaverde faced: Not so much born out of performance, but more of a Drew Henson backlash. For some reason, just because the Cowboys traded a third-round pick for a guy who entered the league as a sixth-round pick after not playing any football at all for three years, he just had to be the franchise's quarterback of the future.

Who said?

Just as it was assumed about Quincy Carter and just as it was assumed about Chad Hutchinson.

Balderdash. Those guys are no more than inexpensive stabs by a club which at the time either did not have the salary cap resources or a high enough draft choice to properly compensate for Troy Aikman's departure. Shortcuts, all of them, and not every team ends up with Tom Brady, you know, when doing so.

Look, if Henson isn't the guy, all the Cowboys have wasted is a third-round pick and $3.5 million guaranteed. That's all. That's not like missing with a first-round pick who gets a $15 million signing bonus. Remember, always follow the money, and Henson's money suggests he is a possible guy, but not the guy.

So why should the Cowboys rush Henson into the starting lineup if he's not ready, and obviously, head coach Bill Parcells does not think he's ready and nor does Jones, who said of Henson, "The thing we all should understand is his evolution into being what he wants to be and what we want him to do has to do with Drew and his ability to perform and his ability to be comfortable. And it really, in my view, has very little to do with the situation he's competing with."

Remember, Henson signed a seven-year deal. The Cowboys are not running out of time seasoning him, and however long it takes does not bankrupt their salary cap, not as it would if he was a first-round draft choice. Does it not make sense to the skeptics Henson, as a rookie, is not in the same boat as an Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, or even J.P. Losman, the reason the Bills sent Bledsoe packing on Tuesday?

Hey, the Bills need to get on with it, having made that kind of investment. The Cowboys, they can buy themselves some time, and that's what they have done.

So don't fall into all the rhetoric, that Parcells only wants to play his former players; that Parcells doesn't have the patience anymore to suffer through the growing pains of a young quarterback; that Parcells is wanting to win now, and hit the Jersey Shore; and that Parcells only cares about his legacy, not the future of the Dallas Cowboys.

Oh the Shallow Hals.

If all that was the case, he wouldn't have wasted a year with Carter as his starting quarterback, guarantee you.

Now I know the counterpoint: The Cowboys are just wasting time with Bledsoe when they could be grooming Henson. But what if they were ruining Henson? What if you years of grooming does for him what it evidently did for Chad Pennington?

Plus, listen to Jones when it comes to wasting. In his mind, playing a Henson before his time would be wasting.

"What we really want to do, is we really want to win the next time we go on the football field, but as the same time we'd like to be doing some things that will help us win a year from now, two years from now, three years from now," Jones said. "But the focus we have for our organization and our plan is how we'll be playing in September and October, for the most part.

"I think we're better than we were an hour ago."

That would be hard to argue with.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2005 Opponents

HOME

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AWAY

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gifted but idled Williams to bring mystery to combine (part I)


If you want to know what's up with former USC wide receiver Mike Williams, here's a suggestion: Don't ask an NFL coach or general manager. They haven't seen him in over a year, and they're not sure what they'll find when they dissect Williams at this week's scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Mike Williams is going to impress some scouts, in former coach Pete Carroll's estimation.
"The key," said San Diego executive vice president and general manager A.J. Smith, "is what kind of shape he's in after a year off. Everyone knows who he is and what he's capable of doing. We just haven't seen it for a year."

Williams disappeared last year when a court ruling denied him admission to the 2004 NFL Draft and sabotaged his eligibility for another collegiate season. So Williams sat while others played, and among the others was Michigan's Braylon Edwards -- widely considered the best wide receiver in this year's draft.

Williams isn't far behind, but NFL types don't know where to place him until seeing him at this week's combine and attending his pro workout, scheduled for March 10 in Tampa. Until then ...

"You're making a leap from last year to looking at someone who's taken a year off," said an AFC player personnel director. "Plus, where does he fit in with this year's class? There's a lot of gray there."

It's not Williams' abilities that pro scouts question. He has sure hands. He has great size. He's physical. He's aggressive. He makes tough catches. He's a monster in the red zone. And he produces big plays.

Study the videotapes of Williams' sophomore season at USC, and you find an impact player who hauled down 95 passes for 1,314 yards and 16 touchdowns. But don't stop there. Keep the footage rolling, and watch Williams run for 26 yards, complete both passes he attempted, block a kick and make a tackle.

"When you go back and review the tape," said Smith, "you see someone who was dominant. He's a legitimate first-round talent."

But this isn't about talent. It's about potential. Specifically, it's about Williams' speed and weight, and what those numbers convey to prospective suitors.

A year ago when Williams thought he was entering the draft he turned up for a pro workout in great shape, only to run a 4.6 40 on a track. That would have pushed him down in last year's draft, and it will push him down again if the time doesn't improve.

I'm not talking about sending him to the bottom of the first round. I'm talking about pushing him to the middle of the round instead of the top 10 where some thought he belonged last year at this time.

"What you want to know is: Has he put on weight? Is he a step slower? Does he still have quickness?" said an NFC scout. "And we're not going to know that until we see him."

It's uncertain if Williams will run at the combine or participate in drills. A list of questions was submitted to his agent, Mitch Frankel, but they were not answered.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(part II)

However, USC coach Pete Carroll said he believed Williams had been working "very hard" on his speed in workouts in Atlanta and pro scouts would be impressed with what they see.




"He looked like he was in great shape the last time I saw him," said Carroll, "and that was about three weeks ago."

One general manager said he was interested in Williams' physical condition because it would signal "what kind of worker he is." OK, I can buy that. The guy had the year off, and coaches want to see how he improved himself -- if, in fact, he did -- for this year's draft.

They already know what he can do, and they have videotapes of the 2003 season as evidence. What they don't know is what he can do better, which is why speed becomes an issue. If he can't improve on a 4.6 and hasn't controlled his weight, you might be looking at a 6-foot-5 receiver with a future as a tight end or H-back.

"You've got to look at the record," said Carroll. "This is an outstanding player who produces numbers, scores touchdowns and makes plays. He's an unusually gifted athlete."

Now he has to prove it. All over again.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Report: Bills' Henry could soon be on way to Arizona
Feb. 23, 2005
Compiled From Wire Reports

The Arizona Cardinals are reportedly closing in on a deal for Buffalo Bills running back Travis Henry.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Journal the Bills would send the disgruntled Henry to Arizona in exchange for left tackle L.J. Shelton.

Henry, who topped 1,300 yards in 2002 and 2003, lost his starting job last season to up-and-coming Willis McGahee and made his feelings known that he had no desire to be a back up in 2005. He has one year left on his current contract.

Shelton was the Cardinals' 1999 first-round draft pick, but he fell out of favor with coach Dennis Green last season. He's under contract through 2008 at $3 million per season
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top 32: As draft season begins, here's the best to start
Feb. 22, 2005
By Pete Prisco
SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!


It's paralysis-by-analysis time again.

With the NFL scouting combine scheduled to start Thursday in Indianapolis, it's the official opening to the draft season. That means until the actual draft arrives in late April, we have two months filled with indecision and almost an entire league forgetting the one axiom it should live by:


Alex Smith built a strong case in a great junior season.
You're looking for football players, not workout warriors.

Months of research on a player, as well as well-chronicled reports by a legion of scouts, can go out the window with one slow 40 time at the combine or at a player's Pro Day workout.

By contrast, a player can vault up the board with a great workout, including a fast 40 time. There's a term for that: Mike Mamula Syndrome, defined as falling in love with a player because of a workout. That's a disease that can cripple a team.

So remember the simple scouting adage -- watch the damn tape! The eye in the sky does not lie. If a player makes plays in college against top-flight competition, he'll likely make them in the NFL.

Don't let anything except a bad physical, a psycho interview or a rap sheet that is longer than legal paper change the way you feel about a player.

With the combine upon us, I thought it the right time to offer my top 32 players for this year's draft. This list is deduced by talking to scouts, as well as hours spent on fall Saturdays watching college football. TIVO helps, too.

Some players are ranked lower than they will go, while others are higher. This 32 is how I rank them, not where they will go. That comes with our mock drafts, with a first one coming in a week or so.

As always, the top player on my list is a quarterback -- Utah's Alex Smith. You wouldn't expect any other position to top my list, would you? Smith is a 6-foot-4 player who is mature, has a good arm and great accuracy. He also can run, which will help with all the blitzes teams throw at quarterbacks now.

The feeling is Smith isn't up there with Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, the three top passers from last year's draft. Don't believe it. Smith is right up with those guys, and San Francisco would be foolish not to use the first pick on him.

We will break down all the positions as we get closer to the draft. For now, here's the top 32. Just remember to live by this motto: don't get paralyzed by the over-analyzed.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top 32: As draft season begins, here's the best to start

Top 32
1. Alex Smith, QB, Utah: He has made a huge jump up most team's boards based on his junior season. He will be a big-time player. He's accurate and can move.







2. Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan: This is the most-polished receiver in the draft, clearly the top at that position. He is a smooth player who makes it look easy. Love this kid.

3. Cadillac Williams, RB, Auburn: The feeling here is that he has more wiggle than the other two top backs, including teammate Ronnie Brown. Williams will be a Clinton Portis type of runner.

4. Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn: He is a big, fast back who is stronger than Williams, but doesn't have Williams' elusiveness. Compared to Jamal Lewis by some scouts.

5. Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma: He has great speed off the corner, which all teams want now with the rules now favoring the passing game. He is a little light at 260, so there are some concerns about his run defense.

6. Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State: Had a great senior season that has vaulted him to the top of his position list. At 6-4, 290, he has the size and speed to be a force inside. This is a player we have ranked higher than most, but we really like this kid.

7. Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, CB, West Virginia: He's a kid who says he can run 4.25. If that's the case, he'll be a top 10 pick. Jones is a smaller corner at 5-11, 185 pounds, but he's good in coverage. Could be the first corner off the board.

8. Cedric Benson, RB, Texas: He's a strong runner, but there are some concerns about the number of carries he's had at Texas. Plus, there is some talk in scouting circles that he is a Ricky Williams clone. He cut his dreadlocks to show teams he's not.

9. Thomas Davis, S, Georgia: This is a player I like a lot. He is big, fast and makes a ton of plays. He has played both safety and linebacker, but the feeling here is that he can be an impact safety in the NFL. Think a bigger Ed Reed.

10. Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami: He is a quality cover player, but there are some concerns about his speed. Some scouts want to see how fast he times out in the weeks leading up to the draft.

11. Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma: At 5-10, 185 pounds, a lot of scouts are worried about his size. But he went to the Senior Bowl and had a heck of a week, which puts him in the top 20. He is crisp in his route-running and seems to understand the passing game.

12. Alex Barron, T, Florida State: He follows Walter Jones and Tra Thomas as quality left tackles coming out of FSU. Barron has great feet and does a nice job in pass protection, but there are some scouts who don't think he's physical enough in the run game.

13. Aaron Rodgers, QB, California: There are more scouts coming off him some in the past month. How tall he measures at the combine will be key to his draft status. His motion is a concern, too.

14. Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin: At the start of 2004, he had the look of a top five pick. But an ankle injury slowed him and teams have dropped him some. Big mistake. This kid will be a dominant player in the NFL. The one concern is the 2003 hip injury he suffered that forced him to miss that season.

15. Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas: He's ranked higher than this on most boards, but the feeling here is that he doesn't play as well as his reputation. He's tall and rangy, but I've seen him run around blocks. That's not a good thing.

16. Mike Williams, WR, USC: He is a big, physical player who can dominate with his size. The one concern is his speed. How fast will he run when he works out? It hurts that he didn't play last year, either. We don't like him as much as some teams do.

17. Brandon Browner, CB, Oregon State: A big corner at 6-4, he is a long, rangy player who excels in man coverage. Can also be physical with a receiver. With more and more NFL receivers getting bigger, his value will go up.

18. Shawne Merriman, DE/OLB, Maryland: Would be a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker. He played end for the Terps at 6-4, 245, but would need to gain some weight to be an every-down end. Has the speed off the edge teams love.

19. Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina: He averaged 19.4 yards per catch last season, which says a lot about his big-play ability. This guy can run. At 6-2, 200, he has good size to go with that speed. He's soaring up a lot of team's draft boards.

20. Khalif Barnes, T, Washington: He's got good size (6-5, 310) and he has outstanding feet. He missed six games with a wrist injury, but showed well at the Senior Bowl. This guy will go higher than most think
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top 32: As draft season begins, here's the best to start

Top 32
1. Alex Smith, QB, Utah: He has made a huge jump up most team's boards based on his junior season. He will be a big-time player. He's accurate and can move.







2. Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan: This is the most-polished receiver in the draft, clearly the top at that position. He is a smooth player who makes it look easy. Love this kid.

3. Cadillac Williams, RB, Auburn: The feeling here is that he has more wiggle than the other two top backs, including teammate Ronnie Brown. Williams will be a Clinton Portis type of runner.

4. Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn: He is a big, fast back who is stronger than Williams, but doesn't have Williams' elusiveness. Compared to Jamal Lewis by some scouts.

5. Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma: He has great speed off the corner, which all teams want now with the rules now favoring the passing game. He is a little light at 260, so there are some concerns about his run defense.

6. Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State: Had a great senior season that has vaulted him to the top of his position list. At 6-4, 290, he has the size and speed to be a force inside. This is a player we have ranked higher than most, but we really like this kid.

7. Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, CB, West Virginia: He's a kid who says he can run 4.25. If that's the case, he'll be a top 10 pick. Jones is a smaller corner at 5-11, 185 pounds, but he's good in coverage. Could be the first corner off the board.

8. Cedric Benson, RB, Texas: He's a strong runner, but there are some concerns about the number of carries he's had at Texas. Plus, there is some talk in scouting circles that he is a Ricky Williams clone. He cut his dreadlocks to show teams he's not.

9. Thomas Davis, S, Georgia: This is a player I like a lot. He is big, fast and makes a ton of plays. He has played both safety and linebacker, but the feeling here is that he can be an impact safety in the NFL. Think a bigger Ed Reed.

10. Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami: He is a quality cover player, but there are some concerns about his speed. Some scouts want to see how fast he times out in the weeks leading up to the draft.

11. Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma: At 5-10, 185 pounds, a lot of scouts are worried about his size. But he went to the Senior Bowl and had a heck of a week, which puts him in the top 20. He is crisp in his route-running and seems to understand the passing game.

12. Alex Barron, T, Florida State: He follows Walter Jones and Tra Thomas as quality left tackles coming out of FSU. Barron has great feet and does a nice job in pass protection, but there are some scouts who don't think he's physical enough in the run game.

13. Aaron Rodgers, QB, California: There are more scouts coming off him some in the past month. How tall he measures at the combine will be key to his draft status. His motion is a concern, too.

14. Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin: At the start of 2004, he had the look of a top five pick. But an ankle injury slowed him and teams have dropped him some. Big mistake. This kid will be a dominant player in the NFL. The one concern is the 2003 hip injury he suffered that forced him to miss that season.

15. Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas: He's ranked higher than this on most boards, but the feeling here is that he doesn't play as well as his reputation. He's tall and rangy, but I've seen him run around blocks. That's not a good thing.

16. Mike Williams, WR, USC: He is a big, physical player who can dominate with his size. The one concern is his speed. How fast will he run when he works out? It hurts that he didn't play last year, either. We don't like him as much as some teams do.

17. Brandon Browner, CB, Oregon State: A big corner at 6-4, he is a long, rangy player who excels in man coverage. Can also be physical with a receiver. With more and more NFL receivers getting bigger, his value will go up.

18. Shawne Merriman, DE/OLB, Maryland: Would be a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker. He played end for the Terps at 6-4, 245, but would need to gain some weight to be an every-down end. Has the speed off the edge teams love.

19. Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina: He averaged 19.4 yards per catch last season, which says a lot about his big-play ability. This guy can run. At 6-2, 200, he has good size to go with that speed. He's soaring up a lot of team's draft boards.

20. Khalif Barnes, T, Washington: He's got good size (6-5, 310) and he has outstanding feet. He missed six games with a wrist injury, but showed well at the Senior Bowl. This guy will go higher than most think
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top 32: As draft season begins, here's the best to start

21. Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn: A cover corner who some scouts thought would be a mid-round pick entering his senior year. But he played well, advancing as a cover player, and should be gone by the end of Round 1.




22. Channing Crowder, LB, Florida: He is the son of former NFL player Randy Crowder. He played two years at Florida before entering this draft. He is a tough, physical player, but he did have some off-field issues.

23. Shaun Cody, DE, USC: He played defensive end last year after three years at defensive tackle. At 6-5, 285 pounds, he is bigger than most ends. The issue for him will be his speed off the corner. Does he have the burst?

24. Marcus Spears, DE, LSU: Didn't have a great senior season, but did have a heck of a week at the Senior Bowl. That helped push him back into the first round. Teams crave defensive ends, which helps, too.

25. Roddy White, WR, Alabama-Birmingham: Here's another good-sized receiver (6-2, 210) who can run. White is a little raw, but the scouts think he can develop into a quality deep threat.

26. David Pollack, DE, Georgia: A player who gets by with effort more than skill. He is smallish for the end position at 6-2, 260 pounds, so there are some concerns about how he'll hold up against the run. He won't flop, but he may not be a star, either.

27. Jammal Brown, T, Oklahoma: A pure right tackle who excels in the run game. He can overpower his opponent. There are some worries about his pass-protection skills.

28. Matt Roth, DE, Iowa: A former linebacker, he is growing into the position. At 6-4, 265 pounds, he is big enough to be an effective every-down end. Plays hard all the time, which is what coaches want.

29. Reggie Brown, WR, Georgia: He has really risen up a lot of team's boards after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl. Didn't get the attention that fellow Bulldogs receiver Fred Gibson did, but he's a better player.

30. Heath Miller, TE, Virginia: He could move up this board if he runs well in the next month. There are teams worried about his speed right now.

31. Anttaj Hawthorne, DT, Wisconsin: A powerful player who plays a position vital to any team's run defense. He's a power player who can also put pressure on the passer from the inside.

32. Mike Patterson, DT, USC: If he was three inches taller, he'd be a top 10 pick. As it is, he's only 5-11, which will hurt his draft stock. It shouldn't. He's a player. Whoever gets him will be getting a Warren Sapp-like player. Love this kid.

Just missed: Brodney Pool, S, Oklahoma; David Baas, C, Michigan; Justin Miller, CB, Clemson; Kyle Orton, QB, Purdue; Ernest Shazor, S, Michigan; DeMarcus Ware, DE-LB, Troy State: Justin Tuck, DE, Notre Dame; Daryl Blackstock, LB, Virginia; Charlie Frye, QB, Akron; Marlin Jackson, S, Michigan; Kevin Burnett, LB, Tennessee.
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