Colts owner Jim Irsay is tweeting tonight in ALL CAPS that he's looking for a serious vet. The Associated Press is reporting Thursday evening that the Colts position needs are at cornerback and offensive line.
CBS Sports reporter Jason LaCanfora's sources are denying rumors linking the Colts to disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers free agent receiver Mike Wallace (Minnesota and Miami are both more desperate for receivers and have considerable cap room to sign Wallace to a big deal). Truth be told with the improvements shown by Austin Collie and Reggie Wayne still being steady plus lotsa candidates from the waiver wire (i.e. Denario Alexander, Mardy Gilyard) at the end of this month receiver might not be the Colts highest priority. In particular, the Colts have two good rookie tight ends that could make their offense more Patriot-like going forward, minimizing the need for their #4 or #5 receivers to be more than special teamers/return men.
Maurice Jones-Drew is also unhappy in Jacksonville as that team's front office continues to hold firm against the running back's contract demands. MJD is understandbly not feeling the love after being a fantasy stud and focal point of the Jags struggling offense for multiple seasons. But why would the Jags deal their best offensive weapon to an AFC South division rival so MJD could gash them twice a year?
So who does that leave as potential veteran starters Irsay might be tweeting hints about grabbing? How about former 2008 1st rounder Mike Jenkins?
Saavy BTBers as well as a few annoyed commenters have been wondering whether Mike's heart is in playing by the season opener at the New York Giants on September 5th. Jenkins had told (B)SPN that he would likely play earlier this month, but as of Thursday's practice that scenario looked unlikely and Jenkins has another appointment scheduled for the Monday before the NFL regular season opener on a Wednesday night. Does that mean Jenkins and his agent are seeking to gain leverage on the Boys' Front Office and force a trade?
Carr, Claiborne, Scandrick Making a Trade Worth the Risk?
Meanwhile, Dallas has to be pleased with the play of Brandon Carr and the progress of rookie CB Morris Claiborne so far. Behind them there could be some depth with Scandrick having a good track record of staying healthy and Mario Butler coming on strong in his second year despite a lack of speed. Former Texas A&M Aggie Lionel Smith has quietly had a good training camp is likely claiming one of this team's two DB spots on the Practice Squad as he develops. Smith can play Scandrick's slot position if Orlando misses considerable time. That leaves the team likely to look at veteran corners on the waiver wire who can hopefully be better than Alan Ball and Frank Walker were last year and cut Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Teddy Williams.
Seeing Raymond Radway get more reps in Thursday's practice leaves me hopeful the team would rather keep a 6th WR with proven upside to play special teams over a DB who hasn't shown anything in three seasons. And I still like Radway more than Holmes for his speed and versatility.
Leaving Slots Open for a Deal?
Jason Garrett now has the Cowboys at 87 roster spots pending a cut down to 75 next week. Is now the time to pull the trigger and deal Jenkins for a 2nd or 3rd round pick? Earlier a slight majority of BTB commenters seemed opposed to dealing Jenkins. But that was before he became a likely scratch from the Giants game and likely to miss even more time, including all the way up to the Week 5 Bye.
If Jenkins is going to be PUP'd anyway, why not deal him and sign a veteran currently on another team's roster for injury insurance as the 5th corner? The logic being that if either Carr or Claiborne go down for many games this secondary will struggle anyway.
How an Extra 3rd Round Pick Could Fill the Cowboys Remaining Holes in the 2013 Draft
We saw what the Cowboys can do now that the rookie salary cap is in place to move up and down if need be in the 2012 draft. An extra 3rd (I don't see us getting a 2nd for an injured player) could be enough ammo to either move up higher in the first or more likely stay put, draft BPA (Free Safety or Cornerback) in the 20s. Then we could use the extra pick to move up to the top of the 2nd round for a guard/center to anchor that unit for years to come (I think Victor Butler will be extended and Kyle Wilber may be ready to take over for Spencer in 13').
Raf over at Cowboys Nation says the 2013 draft in addition to quarterbacks and safeties is likely to go deep in running backs -- leaving a speedy successor to Felix Jones available in the 3rd or more of a Marion Barber-style bruiser in the 4th round. Even the Cowboys center problem could be solved either through further development of David Arkin, the surprise return of "Killer" Kevin Kowalski from PUP after the bye, or picking up center/guard Colin Baxter after the Chargers final cuts and carrying 10 OL so Arkin can move back to backup guard.
What's in It for the Colts -- One Starting CB Relatively Cheap
The Colts wouldn't necessarily be looking for Jenkins to dominate this year. But given his injury history maybe they feel a 3rd rounder wouldn't be too of a price to pay for a former Pro Bowler who could be signed to a relatively cheap long term deal right now when he has less leverage. Think about how little leverage Drew Brees had when he was coming off a relatively serious injury with the San Diego Chargers and went to the New Orleans Saints.
Again I have been firmly in the camp of keeping Jenkins due to this team's history of cornerback injuries. But now that he's unlikely to start Week 1 and could be out considerably longer, why not let him be some other team's problem and start over with another 1st round corner (or ballhawk free safety who can cover the slot as Darren Woodson once did). Why not go for having the deepest secondary in football in 2013 so Rob Ryan can mercilessly blitz our rivals?
Other Possible Players Who Could be Dealt as Garrett Retools the Roster - Defensive Linemen
While it would take a relatively high pick from the New York Jets to pry Josh Brent away from Dallas, the Jets as of now are going into the season with a 33-year-old Nose Tackle who has knee issues (can't spell his name right now). More realistically, since it didn't cost Dallas anything to pick up Robert Callaway from the Detroit Lions practice squad and Callaway has played some nose, he could wind up in the AFC for a 7th round pick either from the Jets or Patriots.
We haven't heard much about Callaway since he abused our third string o-linemen in training camp, but generally if all's quiet about a player that doesn't mean they aren't good. It could mean the coaches don't want to highlight them if they're PS-eligible, as you'll notice Ben Bass played less against the San Diego Chargers than he did at Oakland. Special teams burner and possible 13' return man Salim Hakim is also being 'hidden' this preseason.
I doubt Dallas would want to give Callaway back to the Detroit Lions for free, especially since that franchise could use some insurance behind their two starting DTs who have histories of arrests and suspensions. New England still has 34-year-old Ty Warren on their roster and could use some youth in their D-line rotation.
While Kenyon Coleman is 32-years-old Marcus Spears is younger, already has a relatvely modest deal in place, and could easily play for a 4-3 team as a DT, opening up more potential trade partners. The Carolina Panthers despite us playing them this season struggled at the DT spot last year and could be another potential trade partner, their run defense left much to be desired in 2011. A Spears or a Callaway would bolster their unit considerably while giving us another late round pick to use to get the guy we want in the 5th or 6th (i.e. at backup tackle, guard, or inside linebacker).