NFC Update: Contract Extensions And Rehabbed Players Returning To NFL
By Christian S. Kohl
Chicago Bears: Matt Forte is expecting a return to his customary number of targets in the passing attack with the hiring of Marc Trestman. This is good news for Chicago, unlike ESPN analyst Ron Jawkorski’s assertion that Jay Cutler has “plateaued.” DT Henry Melton is to play under the franchise tag in 2013.
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford inked a 3 year, $53 million deal to extend his tenure with Detroit. The Lions hope his checkered injury history will not emerge, and he can continue to lead their relentless aerial assault. On the face-palming side of the news cycle, DE Ronnell Lewis pleads no contest to a variety of misdemeanor offenses this Friday.
Green Bay Packers: Green Bay is working on a long term extension for DB Morgan Burnett. Meanwhile, T Derek Sherrod is continuing to rehab leg issues and may miss a portion of training camp.
Minnesota Vikings: In limited but encouraging news this week, Jared Allen claims he’ll be 100 percent during training camp. The DL is a key piece of their attack, and if history is any guide, Allen will play all 16 games, especially in a contract year.
Atlanta Falcons: In unsurprising news, the Falcons will use Steven Jackson sparingly in preseason games. Roddy White offered a controversial tweet in reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict, for which he later apologized. Also, Malliciah Goodman is looking to earn a starting spot in the defensive rotation.
New Orleans Saints: Very little news emerged from the Saints camp this week, though no news in the off season is very frequently good news. No key injuries, no arrests, no scandals. Just football, and compared to many that is a fine week indeed.
Carolina Panthers: Byron Bell appears to have locked the starting spot at tackle for Carolina yet again. RB Johnathan Stewart is rehabbing after surgery on both ankles, and is expected to be ready for week 1 but not all of training camp. However, Edmund Kugbila should be ready to begin duties at tackle by the start of camp.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs and Mike Williams are reportedly still communicating about a contract extension, but no deal has been inked yet. Their front office is also excited to see big improvements from SS Mark Barron this season. Also, Kevin Ogletree looks probable to assume kick return duties for Tampa this year.
Dallas Cowboys: DeMarco Murray expects to be fully healthy at the start of camp. No deal yet for Sean Lee, but a deal could be forthcoming soon. Barry Church will likely play FS this year.
Philadelphia Eagles: Yet again, the story of the week in Philly is the quarterback controversy Chip Kelly apparently refuses to address. It seems more and more likely Foles will emerge as the starter, regardless of Vick’s price tag. Also, speculation abounds that based on Kelly’s offense at Oregon, McCoy and Brown could be some of the most heavily used running backs in the entire NFL.
New York Giants: With Cruz now under contract, signing Hakeem Nicks appears to be less simple. Talks reportedly have broken down between both sides. In more positive news, Henry Hynoski should be ready to play by training camp, and David Wilson is apparently impressing OC Kevin Gilbride.
Washington Redskins: RG3 is reportedly flying through his rehab at a jaw-dropping pace, yet no timetable has been given for his return. Meanwhile, the work of G Josh LeRibeus apparently left coaches underwhelmed. His conditioning apparently will leave him an unlikely option to start.
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald continues to lead the way, hosting teammates to work out this off season in Minnesota. The $18 million he is due in 2014, however, may prompt a restructuring of his deal to allow the Cardinals additional cap room.
Seattle Seahawks: Seattle intends to move Bruce Irvin to OLB with K.J. Wright assuming his duties. Marshawn Lynch, meanwhile, will not see the inside of a courtroom for DUI charges until December 27, assuming he does not settle the case beforehand.
St. Louis Rams: In a week with teams consolidating players for off season workouts, Sam Bradford and the Rams are no different. He is working out with some of the St. Louis standouts at the University of Oklahoma in preparation for camp.
San Francisco 49ers: San Francisco claimed WR Charly Martin off waivers this week. He is unlikely to make a huge impact anywhere besides special teams. Conversely, ESPN’s Ron Jaworski believes QB Colin Kaepernick “has a chance to be very special.” Undoubtedly, the dozens of hours of intensive film study revealed this, or it was Kaepernick’s unbelievable run all the way to the Super Bowl last year. Either way, confidence is high for SF heading into this season.
Come back next week for another roundup of the goings on of the players, the media, and the legal system as it pertains to the National Football League.
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Christian S. Kohl is a sports contributor for CBS Local Digital Media.