Month: March 2011

Rookie Wage Scale

Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole reports that the NFL and NFLPA have agreed on a "basic" compromise that would install a rookie wage scale to replace the current rookie salary cap.

The "rookie cap" is totally ineffective. The wage scale would require teams to sign players to only three-year deals if they’re drafted after the first round. First rounders would get four-year contracts, but the monetary commitment will be much less. For instance, the owners proposed a $3.8 million-per-year max contract for the No. 1 overall pick. Top pick contracts will be quite a bit more once the players union has its say, but it still sounds like the deals will be a far cry from Sam Bradford’s $13 million-a-year blockbuster signed last year.

What of Kolb?

Philadelphia won’t comment on potential player trades but most pundits thing that Kevin Kolb will be available for the right price this off season.

That theory grew stronger when the Eagles signed Michael Vick to his franchise tender, ensuring
that Kolb would remain the backup quarterback in Philadelphia. A seat the young QB does not want to keep warm.

But with the ongoing labor strive, Kolb’s future is on hold until a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached.

That isn’t stopping teams from talking about potential trades they would like to make. And ESPN’s Adam Schefter is throwing some more fire on the embers of three teams who are all in desperate need of a quarterback. The veteran reporter sent out a tweet that said every NFC West team, including the San Francisco 49ers, should be interested in Kolb except for the St. Louis Rams, who have Sam Bradford.

"Hard to pinpoint specific teams interested in Kevin Kolb, but every NFC West team except St. Louis has to consider him and deal with Eagles," he tweeted Monday morning.

The statement is hardly earth-shattering but it was enough to get the rumor mill churning. The Arizona Republic even goes as far as to detail three quarterbacks the Cardinals will target this off season: Kolb, Kyle Orton and Carson Palmer.

The paper says the team would be willing to part with draft picks to get Kolb. Some reports have surfaced that the Eagles want a first round pick for the quarterback.

But part of that report could be based on word that Cardinals’ star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was pushing the team to acquire Kolb.

Fitzgerald denied that report and said he has no idea who will be the team’s starting quarterback.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune believes that the Seattle Seahawks might be willing to give up a lot to acquire Kolb.

In an online chat Tuesday, Williams said the Seahawks tried to acquire Kolb last season but the Eagles didn’t want to move him then.

The reports leave the San Francisco 49ers out of the fray, where head coach Jim Harbaugh has been busy luring Alex Smith back to the Bay Area.

Still one veteran Philadelphia reporter believes if the 49ers ended up with Kolb — which he says would take a first round pick — he would lead the team to an NFC West title.

Random Draft thoughts

Auburn’s Cam Newton and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, two ultra-talented quarterbacks with off-the-field question marks, will both have their pro days Tuesday.

It’s safe to assume that Mallett is not a first-round consideration for the 49ers, but he does have the distinct whiff of a quarterback who could slide into the second round due, in part, to the will-he-pass-his-next-drug-test drama.

At the combine, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock termed the cannon-armed Mallett a “first-round talent that will not be picked in the first round.” Mayock touched on Mallett’s inconsistency – citing a two-play sequence against Georgia this past season when Mallett followed a jaw-dropping, 35-yard laser with a just-awful, seven-yard hitch that three Georgia defenders touched. Mayock’s kind-of-funny summation: “It was a bad decision. It was a worse throw.”

More Mayock-on-Mallett analysis, “When he gets pressure sometimes and the pocket collapses, I don’t think he’s got great feet to slide, move, find vision, redirect and throw the football. And I think you have to do that at the next level. And I think off-the-field perceived issues are red flags. I’m not going to tell you I know more than anyone else. But there are enough red flags there that you have to do your homework.”

• Based on the post-combine buzz, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder might be rising beyond the 49ers’ reach in the first round and second round, respectively.

Peterson now occupies the No. 1 spot in Mel Kiper’s top-25 rankings and former Rams personnel executive Tony Softli has also fallen head over heels.

In Softli’s review of Peterson, he terms him the “best corner I’ve graded in the past eight to 10 years.”

More from Softli: “Athletically, I compare him to Charles Woodson. Peterson’s cover skills match those of Darrelle Revis, but he is more physical than Revis. He is a more complete corner then Asante Samuel because of his zone skills and awareness in space, and his tackling skills are better than all three NFL veterans.”

Wow.

As for Ponder, the Niners, whose second-round pick is No. 45 overall, would have to trade up to get him, according to ESPN’s John Clayton, “Ponder will drop no further than Cincinnati toward the top of the second round, and there is a good chance a team in the second round would trade up to get him. But his ability to fit into West Coast offenses could make him the third quarterback to be drafted this April.”

Mayock views Ponder as a second-round selection and places him in a tier with Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, TCU’s Andy Dalton and Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi.

“I like Ponder,” Mayock said. “And I made the comment that when you get a quarterback with arm issues, it’s not unlike a baseball pitcher with arm issues. And it makes people nervous. I thought the Senior Bowl was kind of his coming-out party after he had the concussion and the arm issues and everything else. I think he’s an accurate thrower with good feet that’s best suited to the classic West Coast Offense.”

• ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that at least three teams are “debating deals” for Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb (NFL teams can discuss trades, but can’t complete them). Schefter didn’t mention specific teams but said “every NFC West team except St. Louis has to consider him and deal with Eagles.”

The Eagles, who have re-signed Michael Vick, are obviously seeing what they can extract from their quarterback-starved brethren. Is Kolb worth the No. 7 overall pick? Well, he has a chance to be an above-average NFL quarterback — the seventh pick sounds like it’s worth the risk.

“We’re still evaluating all our options and all our positions,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said at the combine. “… We don’t discuss any (trade) discussions, external or internal.”

• Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter has some great behind-the-scenes details from last week’s NFL labor negotiations in a guest appearance in Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column.

Trotter says the players’ union was thisclose to decertifying last week. In fact, a member of the union’s legal team was on the phone ready to make the decertification call five minutes before the deadline.

Who knew mediation could be so dramatic?