Ordinarily, Memorial Day weekend is a time for teams and players to rest, relax, and recharge. But some teams have some sticky issues that are marring the weekend.
It will be tough to relax entirely when headache-type-issues await, as they now do in Buffalo, New Orleans and Cleveland.
Bills waiting on Peters
A potentially volatile contract situation is brewing in Buffalo, and though no one wants to discuss it right now, actions will say plenty this summer.
Buffaloâs Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jason Peters, who many believe is the top young left tackle in the game, skipped the Bills' volunatry OTAs this week. Next up is next monthâs mandatory minicamp.
|Rick Stewart / Getty Images|
|Buffalo's Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jason Peters didn't attend the team's voluntary OTAs this week and could skip the mandatory minicamp in June, too.|
If Peters is absent again â- and the smart money says he will be â- then it will become obvious that there is another sticky contract squabble to go along with Brian Urlacherâs, Anquan Boldinâs, and Albert Haynesworthâs.
Peters is scheduled to earn $3.25 million in base salary this year, $2.95 million next year and $3.4 million in the final year of his contract. Buffalo also paid Peters $5.75 million worth of bonuses in July 2006, when he signed his extension. But that extension now pales in comparison to the type of deal that Tennesseeâs left tackle Michael Roos got last month, when he signed a six-year, $43 million deal.
Peters hasnât complained publicly like other players. Instead he has remained silent, and probably will continue to do so. But Peters has hired agent Eugene Parker to assist in negotiations, and Parker has a track record with similar situations.
Back in 2005, two of Parkerâs most high-profile clients, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour, each skipped the first part of training camp in an effort to land a lucrative extension.
Ward missed over two weeks of camp before signing a four-year extension; Seymour missed nearly two weeks of practice before agreeing to a restructured deal that was extended the next summer. Peters could opt for the same approach, hoping for similar results.
But it is not going to be an easy situation for the Bills, potentially being without one of the leagueâs top linemen. The quietness surrounding the issue is an indication that it threatens to last at least a little while. And maybe a lot longer.
Saints without ends
When the Saints wrapped up their OTA on Thursday, they had neither of their decorated defensive ends on the field.
Charles Grant was in Georgia, in the most important battle of his life. Grant was indicted this week on involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from a nightclub fight in February that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old pregnant bystander.
Grant posted $10,000 bond on Thursday and is now awaiting arraignment. The indictment surprised the Saints, who believed the situation was nothing to worry about. Now it could be. If found guilty, Grant could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a minimum of one year in jail, according to Georgia law. Grant also is charged with a misdemeanor disturbance count.
On a much less serious note, New Orleans Pro Bowl defensive end Will Smith was not in attendance this week, but for a much different reason. Smith is headed into the last year of his contract and, like many other players, wants a new deal.
Smithâs situation is one that can be easily corrected; Grantâs is much more of a concern, and the Saints can do little about it but wait.
|David Maxwell / Getty Images|
|The Browns will be without Daven Holly for the entire 2008 season after the cornerback suffered a serious knee injury this week.|
Injury hurts Browns
Most teams want three quality cornerbacks to help slow down todayâs passing games. But before training camp even kicked off, Cleveland has lost two quality cornerbacks.
First the Browns traded cornerback Leigh Bodden to Detroit for defensive tackle Shaun Rogers; then, in a more crushing blow, Cleveland lost cornerback Daven Holly to what appears to be a season-ending knee injury.
Holly blew out his knee during Wednesdayâs practice, leaving the Browns scrambling for replacements. Forutnately for Cleveland, it did sign four undrafted rookie free agents. And Romeo Crennel once coached unsigned cornerback Ty Law, but right now, the 34-year-old Law is seeking too much money for Clevelandâs tastes.
If Cleveland wants a more inexpensive alternative, it could turn to veteran free agent cornerbacks such as Tory James or Kelly Herndon.
Either way, the Browns are going to need some unexpected contributions from cornerbacks they were not counting on. It is a headache this team did not want to have Memorial Day weekend.
Brown ready to go
Nine-time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown received clearance Thursday from a doctor in Detroit to return from his shoulder injury.
Brown underwent surgery in November to repair a torn labrum in the front and back of his shoulder. After spending the past four years with the Chicago Bears, Brownâs contract expired and he is now an unrestricted free agent.
"Iâm ready to go," Brown proclaimed after his examination.
Some teams have expressed interest, and enough have needs at the guard position for a potential future Hall-of-Famer who has started 181 NFL games. Brown hopes to have work sooner rather than later.
What's in a name?
It seemingly got lost in the hoopla surrounding the Falcons signing their first-round pick, Matt Ryan to a rookie record six-year, $72 million contract. But earlier this week, Atlanta signed Tony Gonzalez and Jamal Lewis.
Rarely does a team get to sign two players as notable and prolific as that on the same day. But Atlanta did.
Too bad for the Falcons that Gonzalez is the undrafted free agent wide receiver who played with Ryan at Boston College, and Lewis is the undrafted free agent safety who played at Georgia Tech.