So today is the day NFL free agents can actually sign contracts with teams. Yeah, that's right. All that noise and insanity of the past three days? Just the preliminary work. The agreeing to terms. The laying of the foundations for deals not yet consummated. Today is when it gets really nuts. Hope you didn't wear yourself out already. I haven't. See? Here are links:
Free-agent safety Danieal Manning reportedly got a four-year, $20 million deal with $9 million in guarantees from the Houston Texans. But Dan, that's the Texans, not the Cowboys, so why should we care? Well, I'll tell you why, italics. Because the safety market is going nuts, and the Cowboys still need to sign two of them. Quintin Mikell got $27 million for four ($14 million guaranteed) from St. Louis and Eric Weddle got $40 million for five ($19 million guaranteed) from San Diego. Manning's price is closer to that of the safeties the Cowboys are likely to get (Abe Elam, Brodney Pool, Roman Harper, Gerald Sensabaugh) than are either of those two deals, but it's still likely more than they hoped to spend (twice, remember, since they need two guys). And they may be priced out of guys like Michael Huff. Blogging the Boys offers a detailed breakdown of the safety market.
Lots of people have asked where Roy Williams would end up after the Cowboys cut him. Looks like he'll be a Chicago Bear. I'm interested to see if Dallas replaces him with someone from the outside, but I think their No. 3 receiver comes from their roster at this point.
New York Giants
Giants players are scheduled to report today for the start of training camp, which this year will be in East Rutherford, N.J., and all eyes are on disgruntled defensive end Osi Umenyiora. There's a pretty big leap from grousing about your contract to calling your GM a liar in a sworn affidavit, but it's a leap Umenyiora took this offseason, and it remains to be seen whether he'll hold out of camp until he gets what he wants (a trade or a new deal) or if he comes to camp and talks to Jerry Reese "man to man," as team owner John Mara has said he expects him to do. There's a report out of Baltimore that says the Ravens have some interest in Umenyiora if the Giants decide they don't want him anymore.
We might get some Plaxico Burress news today, too, though Mara said Thursday there's work yet to be done there. Remember, Burress is meeting with the Steelers tonight as well as the Giants, and could simply be using New York's surprising interest in him as leverage to sign with a team whose coach he doesn't hate.
Albert Breer reports that Vince Young will sign his one-year contract to be the Eagles' backup quarterback today. If you guys were reading yesterday, you know how I feel about this. If not ... here you go.
And if I'm reading this correctly, Phil Sheridan believes the Eagles should pay DeSean Jackson more than the Jets just paid Santonio Holmes. I respectfully disagree, and I think Phil does raise in here some of the issues that are keeping the Eagles from jumping into a long-term deal with Jackson at this particular point in franchise history. Not saying they won't eventually pay him, and I'm certainly not saying he's not underpaid for 2011 (because he clearly is). But this isn't an open-and-shut case, and for that reason it could linger.
A refreshingly honest assessment from new Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen, who admits that his decision to leave Dallas and sign in Washington was, pretty much, about the money.
Jason Reid says the trade of Albert Haynesworth to the Patriots was Mike Shanahan's finest hour so far as the Redskins' coach. I mean, I know Jason wanted Big Al out, but ... sheesh. If he's right in his assessment, it's a good thing for Shanahan he has four more years on his contract to come up with a better "finest moment."
Been banging it around on Twitter the past couple of days instead of in the comments, in case you guys have been wondering. The posts are coming fast and furious, but I haven't forgotten you. Hope you're enjoying it and keeping up. Plenty more to come, I am certain of it. These four teams can make some news.