1. I think the Peyton Manning contract (five years, $90-million) looks to be good for both sides, because the way it's structured -- with $69 million in the first three years -- seems to be with the implicit understanding that Manning will redo the deal in 2014. That's a significant year. It's when the salary cap could go up appreciably because the TV deals will go up appreciably.
I expect the network TV increases from 2013 (the last year of the current deals with ESPN, NBC, CBS and FOX) to 2014 to be anywhere from 55 to 70 percent overall. If I'm Manning and agent Tom Condon, although Peyton is not one to grouse or insist about opening a contract early, I'm thinking about getting one last contract bump when the Colts can afford it better in 2014.
2. I think you're all going to jump up and say, "Oh, you work with Florio, so you're pumping him up'' after this item. I guess I am. But if you want one sign that profootballtalk.com and czar founder Mike Florio have become power brokers in football, consider this. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has a big-screen TV monitor with touch-screen capability in his office, and he has loaded with a few things. There's his roster (with detailed bio and scouting information on each player), the Weather Channel and The Rumor Mill on profootballtalk.com. Dimitroff walks up to the screen a few times a day and clicks his fingernail on the PFT logo, and up it comes.
3. I think if you wonder why some free agents who are expected to re-sign with their teams have yet to sign, one of the reasons is pretty easy: If veteran players can't practice until later this week (Aug. 4 is the current projection), teams that haven't changed systems might be trying to win a couple of final concessions before signing players.
4. I think Pete Carroll naming Tarvaris Jackson his starting quarterback tells me this: The Seahawks feel they don't have their long-term starting quarterback in-house, believe they'll be in the quarterback-drafting business next April (hello, Matt Barkley) ... and there's not much of a belief in Charlie Whitehurst. To put it mildly.
5. I think my British friend Neil Hornsby has done the fans of the hidden game of football a good service with his deep analysis of players on profootballfocus.com. The site tracks every player's plays in the league, and its finding of who actually is playing well and who isn't is often a surprise. On Sunday, after the Eagles signed an invisible guard named Evan Mathis, Neil came out with this gem: Mathis has played 724 snaps over the past two years and allowed zero sacks. I asked Neil to give me his best deals of free agency so far. Here are his top five:
Nnamdi Asomugha, Eagles (5 years, $60 million). The Eagles haven't just picked up a great player; they got him at a great price. The simple fact of the matter is the NFL is low on shutdown corners, which Asomugha is. In three years he's been thrown at 87 times; 25 cornerbacks were thrown at more than that in 2010 alone.
Ray Edwards, Falcons (5 years, $27.5 million). It's a mystery why the market for Ray Edwards never developed. He's young and consistently productive at defensive end. Edwards is getting half of what Charles Johnson got in Carolina, and while Johnson does have a higher ceiling, Edwards was one of the most productive pass rushers in the league last year with 69 combined sacks, hits and hurries on 416 pass rushes. (Johnson had 81 on 481).
Josh Wilson, Washington Redskins (3 years, $13.5 million). How did the Redskins pull this one off? They've upgraded on Carlos Rogers (because like Rogers, Wilson can also play outside and move into the slot in sub packages) and done so without shedding a lot of money. Wilson's excellent play last year got lost playing with names like Lewis, Reed, Ngata and Suggs, but he was superb once he cracked the starting lineup. He allowed just 46.9 percent of passes to be completed, intercepted three balls and had nine pass breakups.
Takeo Spikes, San Diego Chargers (3 years, $9 million). You know, even if Spikes only plays one year he's nearly worth that amount. The surest tackler in the league (he's missed just four in three years), he's been playing in the shadow of the excellent Patrick Willis so long most people have forgotten how good he is. He's also one of those rare inside linebackers that not only can get off blocks and make plays, but also is effective dropping into coverage. He's an upgrade on both Stephen Cooper and Kevin Burnett.
Quintin Mikell, Rams (4 year, $28 million). Mikell has long been one of the best safeties in the league no one has heard about. He can play the run, as evidenced by his safety-leading 27 defensive stops (a tackle Pro Football Focus considers a defeat for the offense). He can play the pass too, with his 11 pass defenses being more than any other safety last season.
6. I think I'm really looking forward to seeing the Sabols and others in Canton Friday night. Interesting to note that most of you who tweet me and email me -- I'd say the vast majority -- are more interested in the Sabol family drama (and I mean that in an affectionate way) than anything else at the Hall of Fame induction.
7. I think one of the "wow'' things to me early in camp reports I saw was rookie Gabe Carimi lining up at left tackle with the Bears' first offense from the start. He hasn't been there exclusively, but the point is interesting -- Lovie Smith and Mike Tice aren't fooling around with their production on the line. Not that he isn't the best man for the job; I don't know if he is or isn't. But it's an obvious sign the Bears feel they don't have anything close to an NFL-caliber blind-side protector on the roster. So why not put Carimi there from day one, put his feet to the fire, and let him know they have the confidence in him to get it done from the first day of camp?
8. I think the Kyle Orton-to-Miami deal isn't dead, though it seems to be a long shot. If I were Orton, I'd be pushing for it. Hard. Tim Tebow might not keep the job, but he's certainly going to have a good shot to win it this year at some point, and maybe very soon. I don't care what Orton would have to do to his contract to make it happen. Five years down the road, if he doesn't end up in Miami, he'll be saying to himself, "I should have redone my contract back in 2011. I should have figured how much they wanted to go with Tebow, and how I could have started from day one in Miami.''
9. I think I wonder why the Bears ever drafted Greg Olsen in the first place. Since Mike Ditka roamed Soldier Field as a player, have the Bears ever had a great offensive tight end? Ever used a tight end as a downfield offensive threat? That's a near-waste of a pick if you ask me. Interesting watching Olsen catching fastballs off the JUGS machine at Panthers camp Sunday night. One-handed.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. The Phillies must have the greatest minor league system of all time. It's brought them Hunter Pence, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt in the last two years.
b. Ubaldo Jimenez looked too risky to trade major prospects for.
c. On the other hand, I kind of like the Erik Bedard deal for the Red Sox, because they didn't have to give up anybody good, and Bedard's been good in four of his last five starts.
d. Like what Texas did in getting Mike Adams from the Pads. Really underrated eighth-inning guy.
e. Finally saw the Curb Your Enthusiasm from last week. (DVR runs my TV life.) Agree with Rich Eisen and others it was an all-time great. Among other things, the episode reintroduced "Koufaxed'' into the vernacular. On fire in the show: Funkhauser, Leon, Susie ... and Sammy is moving up the list a bit. Advice to the producers, and to Susie Essman: The angrier, the better, particularly at Jeff.
f. Coffeenerdness: You do not want to get the coffee I tried at the CITGO in some small town off I-85 in South Carolina around 10 last night. Trust me. When you walked in the place, you smelled the burners. I think my coffee was brewed last April.
g. Beernerdness: Not many to discuss, honestly. Did have a nice Paulaner Hefeweizen Saturday at my hotel in South Carolina. The nice waitress even put a lemon on the rim of the glass for me. That's the hotel where the USO crew and I discussed first names with the waitress, who changed hers from "Lindsay'' to "Linzy'' at age 13. We didn't ask many questions. Nodded and said, "That's nice.''
h. I don't know what Jim Irsay was doing this morning at 1:09 Eastern time, but the Indy owner did manage to tweet these words: "Lenny Bruce is not afraid.''
i. I'm having a great time visiting America. Hope to see you. Feel free to say hello if our paths cross.
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