News Item: The Cardinals haven't given up on signing Anquan Boldin long-term.
Now, there are those among Cardinals brass who were not at all happy with what they thought was Boldin moping at the end of the season last year. Some believe he could have played in the NFC playoff game at Carolina after straining a hamstring a week earlier in the win over Atlanta, and the team wasn't happy with his act after the championship game, even though Boldin did his best to smooth over his sideline set-to with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. But coach Ken Whisenhunt tells me the team is still intent on making Kurt Warner happy and trying to sign Boldin so he and Larry Fitzgerald can grow old together as the best wideout tandem in football.
The Cards won't go to the $10-million-a-year Boldin wants. And if a team -- Philadelphia seems most likely -- calls and offers a mid- to late-first-round pick for Boldin, Arizona would listen. If Boldin is willing to do a deal for between $8 and $9 million a year, a T.J. Houshmandzadeh- or Plaxico Burress-type contract, I think he could get something done with Arizona.
On the surface, it seems ridiculous Philly and others aren't running to try to dislodge the best physical wideout in football from the Cardinals. I think it has to do with separation speed. Boldin can't run past most corners. Fitzgerald can. That's what separates them. And that might be why, at the end of the day, the Eagles won't hand over the 27th pick in the draft for him. I don't like that logic at all, because Boldin's a great playmaker, and he'd be a difference-maker in a physical division like the NFC East. If I'm the Eagles, I don't walk to make that deal (if it can be made). I run.
News Item: Michael Oher is beginning to allay the fears of teams that big money would ruin him.
The Mississippi tackle is probably the second- or third-most athletic tackle in this draft, and the book among some teams after the scouting combine was big money in the first round would ruin him, because of his well-publicized upbringing on the poor side of Memphis. But Oher has impressed teams with his maturity and intelligence, and the fact is, he was adopted by an upper-class family in Memphis during his high-school years.
Some teams left the combine with the impression Oher, after a tough childhood, would be so overwhelmed by the money it might sap his desire to be great, as it did with several recent high picks (like Mike Williams the tackle and Mike Williams the wide receiver). Now that teams are investigating Oher more thoroughly, they're finding a more grounded kid than they'd previously thought. Oher is scheduled to visit the Bengals, who pick sixth in the first round, and it's not a reach to think he could go in the top six or eight.
News Item: Condoleezza Rice tells the NFL to look globally.
Two interesting things from her talk to the league here, one football and one not.
She said she thought Great Britain, Germany and Australia would be good candidates for NFL franchises. "Find countries with a mass sports culture,'' the former Secretary of State said, "and where they play either rugby, Australian Rules football or soccer.''
And responding to a question about the world's most dangerous hotspots, she said we should look much closer to home than we have been -- to the war being fought between Mexican law enforcement and the drug cartels threatening all strata of Mexican society. So I looked up a few things early this morning on the drug war, and I found this, from this morning's New York Times, about how Tucson is being invaded by the drug culture and the resulting conflicts:
"This city, an hour's drive north of the Mexican border, is coping with a wave of drug crime the police suspect is tied to the bloody battles between Mexico's drug cartels and the efforts to stamp them out. Since officials here formed a special squad last year to deal with home invasions, they have counted more than 200 of them, with more than three-quarters linked to the drug trade. In one case, the intruders burst into the wrong house, shooting and injuring a woman watching television on her couch ... Tucson is hardly alone in feeling the impact of Mexico's drug cartels and their trade. In the past few years, the cartels and other drug-trafficking organizations have extended their reach across the United States and into Canada. Law enforcement authorities say they believe traffickers distributing the cartels' marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs are responsible for a rash of shootings in Vancouver, British Columbia, kidnappings in Phoenix, brutal assaults in Birmingham, Ala., and much more.''
What a world. Interesting to hear a football fan with a global view of what we should all be concerned with.
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