-- Follow the Bouncing CBA -- The NFL Management Council and Players Association reps are intensifying their efforts to reach agreement on an extended collective bargaining agreement by the end of February, writes Ron Borges of The Boston Globe. If a new deal cannot be attained for the new league year, which begins on March 3rd, "chaos" could occur. Insiders claim teams with cap problems and/or with many large veteran contracts that contain option bonuses would have to "gut" their rosters. Borges' source mentioned the Colts as one team that might have to blow its roster up. The conditions for an uncapped year are apparently painful enough for both players and management that a new deal seems likely.
These negotiations will affect the status of players like Larry Allen. Dallas might want to keep him but he's due a huge bonus this offseason and would likely be cut without a new CBA.
-- Strange New (TV) World -- While league sources were backing off a bit on the news that the Cowboys would play the Redskins in the NFL Network's first game Thanksgiving night, the look of NBC's new Sunday Night Football package is emerging. The key difference from ESPN's games, in addition to escaping the loathsome Theismann/McGuire/Patrick announcing trio, will be a flexible late season schedule. NBC will get a choice of games, with teams receiving a ten day advance notice and with Fox and CBS getting five "blocks" each to prevent choice games from being yanked away from them by NBC.
-- Veteran Cuts Approach -- With the Senior Bowl on the books, the next offseason events will be the Combine and a number of veteran releases. The exact number will depend on the negotiations mentioned above. One veteran who may hit the market and interest Dallas this March is Bills' FS Troy Vincent. The longtime Eagles' CB changed teams and positions last year. While he led the Bills with four interceptions and put up tackle totals in line for a dependable free safety his unit slipped to 30th overall in total defense, after finishing in the top ten the year before. Buffalo has many aging veterans on the defensive squad and new HC Dick Jauron may decide to clean house
Senior Bowl leftovers:
-- I'm finding more ammunition to support my belief that QBs Jay Cutler, Matt Leinart and Vince Young will go in picks two through four this April. The Miami Herald mentioned this week that the Titans were inquiring with teams to see how far they could drop from pick three and still select Cutler. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are apparently looking to move up to select Cutler. The 49ers squashed a rumor that they were interested in Miami RB Ricky Williams; speculation was that Miami would offer Williams as part of a package to swap picks with San Francisco, who picks either sixth or seventh, depending on a coin flip with Oakland.
Miami would be looking to leapfrog Detroit, a fashionable destination for Cutler in some mock drafts. Mel Kiper put Cutler in Lions blue yesterday during the Senior Bowl broadcast. With interest building so strongly for Cutler, I can't see Tennessee dropping much or at all if they really want him.