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Bentley to be Free, Vinatieri? Him Too

Update: The Patriots declined to designate Adam Vinatieri by the 4 pm eastern deadline, meaning he will be an unrestricted free agent March 3rd unless New England signs him to a long term deal in the interim.

Today is the last day for franchises to designate transition players or franchise players.

One major offense line candidate will hit the market, as the New Orleans Saints announced they will not place either tag on center LeCharles Bentley.

The four year veteran from Ohio State wants a contract similar to the one signed by Panthers' OG Mike Wahle last year -- five years, $28 million with an $11.5 million signing bonus. That might be too rich for Dallas, who signed Wahle's former Packers teammate Marco Rivera to a five year, $20 million deal with a $9 million bonus last year.

We'll see. Free agency begins on March 3rd.

In related news, there are conflicting reports on Patriots' kicker Adam Vinatieri. The Boston Herald says the Pats "may" franchise him for a third consecutive year while the Providence Journal says "indications are they will not franchise him."

Keep your eyes on the sports ticker. Vinatieri would be the Cowboys free agent priority number one if he was untagged at 4 pm this afternoon.

Update: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Steelers FS Chris Hope wants to be paid like one of the top five safeties in the NFL. That increases the chances he'll hit the market, since the cap-strapped Steelers don't have that type of cap room right now.

That's the good news. The bad news -- for Hope anyway -- is that he's not one of the top five safeties in the league. He's one of the best young free safeties, but you can't put him in the same sentence with Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Roy Williams or Rodney Harrison? No you can't. Hope will be waiting by a silent phone if he wants to be paid like them.

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