Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reports that a number of franchised players will not be available for the start of OTA’s today.
La Canfora specifically listed Drew Brees, Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Brent Grimes, Anthony Spencer and Dashon Goldson as those are not expected to be available. Wes Welker and Calais Campbell should also be added to that list.
Now this isn’t exactly an uncommon situation, as many of these players are still hoping to get a long-term deal finalized, but there are a few that could end up holding out all of training camp.
Brees is obviously the most notable player, and certainly the most irreplaceable of anyone in this group. The Saints have been working on a deal for months now and have reportedly offered him a contract that would pay him a base salary of $18 million annually, but Brees is hoping to secure a better deal than that.
Owner Tom Benson recently expressed optimism that a deal would get done in the near future, but they’re already running out of time. Losing Sean Payton for the year is going to present plenty of challenges for the Saints, so it would be smart to work something out in the very near future.
Forte has to be the odds-on-favorite to extend his holdout into the season. Chicago believes that they’ve already made him a fair offer, but this will likely be his last chance of securing a solid contract.
Considering that he’ll be 27 at the end of 2012 and has already been overused in his short NFL career, the Bears could always tag him again for another 20% increase and prevent him from leaving if he shows up and puts together another solid season. That would leave him as a 28-year-old free agent and by then he’d be lucky to secure a similar deal to what the 49ers gave Frank Gore last season.
Chicago will have to decide whether or not they can handle things without him, or if he’s worth more than they’re offering because I really can’t see him showing up without a new contract.
The most recent reports have suggested that Rice and the Ravens are still far apart in regards to their ongoing contract negotiations.
Previously, Rice was said to be looking for a deal similar to Adrian Peterson‘s but has since backed off a bit on his asking price. The fact that Joe Flacco is also looking for a new deal will basically force them to decide; Who’s worth addressing now, and who can they use their franchise tag on next season, should they need to?
You’d have to think that Rice will show up at some point, but it may be because the Ravens have decided to give in and hand him a new contract.
The decision to franchise Grimes seems like a way of keeping their secondary intact for another season before allowing him to leave.
He’ll be 30 at the start 2013, so by then, the Falcons should be able to find a reasonable replacement for him. While I do believe that this is their strategy, they did re-sign a number of players during free agency, which came as a bit of a surprise considering that they seemed poised to move on without them. I just can’t see them committing to Grimes in the long run, considering the type of contract that he’s most likely looking for.
Dallas obviously didn’t want to create another hole in their defense by allowing Spencer to leave. The tag will only end up being a one-year rental before they ultimately allow him to walk next season.
He can holdout as long as he wants, but he will end up returning to training camp at some point in the near future, mainly because he has no leverage in this situation.
Although Goldson did put together six interceptions for the 49ers last year, he was largely disappointing in terms of coverage. Carlos Rogers also came away with a career high in interceptions as well, so it’s safe to assume that those turnovers were impacted by the strength of San Francisco’s front-seven, at least to some degree.
With that being said, there’s still a chance that the 49ers could try to lock him up, but it would really be surprising to see them do that before the start of the season. Giving him another year to prove his worth makes a lot of sense. He should be reporting to camp at some point.
Despite the fact that Welker is looking for a long-term deal and is already in his 30’s, reports mentioned that he’s expected to sign his tender and report to camp relatively soon.
That may not happen in the coming days, but it’s still a possibility. The Patriots haven’t shown a whole lot of interest in extending him a long-term contract, but it would really be surprising to see them move on without him next season. There’s really no telling how this situation will play out.
Arizona has made it pretty clear that they intend to have a long-term deal in place with Campbell at some point, but until then, Campbell figures to be holding out of training camp.
“Not until I sign a deal and that hasn’t happened yet, so hopefully soon but not yet,” Campbell replied via text message to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.