Sunday notes: Greene's day is coming
February, 24, 2013
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- A look at the Jets and the NFL from the scouting combine:
1. Greene's Gang: There has been some buzz here on the future of RB Shonn Greene, an unrestricted free agent. Spies say Greene, coming off an underwhelming 1,000-yard season, is expected to draw interest from the Falcons and Broncos. The Falcons reportedly will release Michael Turner ($6.9 million salary), and they will need a thumper like Greene to pair with the speedy Jacquizz Rodgers. The Broncos don't have a clear-cut No. 1 back. The Jets, looking for a speed back to pair with Bilal Powell, are prepared to part ways with Greene.
2. Free-agent crystal ball: People that have spoken to the Jets' contingent believe new GM John Idzik will limit his free-agent shopping to players in the $1 million-to-$2 million-a-year range. Makes sense, considering the Jets' tight cap situation. The feeling among league insiders is the market will bottom out as soon as the upper-tier free agents land their big contracts. Remember, the salary cap is expected to remain relatively flat. Cap space is an issue for most teams. The Jets might be able to find some good bargains. Their top needs are outside linebacker, safety, guard and running back.
3. Our daily Darrelle: What are the Jets' chances of trading CB Darrelle Revis before the draft? "Not a chance," said one agent, alluding to the lack of cap space around the league. Revis is thought to be seeking about $16 million a year, the annual salary for Bills DE Mario Williams, the highest-paid defensive player. The agent described that deal as an aberration, saying he doesn't expect a cornerback to land a contract that big. One man's opinion -- for what it's worth.
4. The Odd Couple: It's a weird sight, seeing former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum and former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli -- both fired recently -- working together as analysts for the NFL Network. For those not familiar with their backgrounds, Tannenbaum and Pioli used to be close friends, back in the late 1990s, when they worked in the Jets' front office. Pioli followed Bill Belichick to the Patriots, and the Jets-Patriots Border War (see: SpyGate) ruined their friendship. You could almost feel the chill in the air as they sat alongside each other on the TV set.
5. What might have been: It didn't make headlines at the time, but I came across this nugget in a conversation this week with former Redskins GM Vinny Cerrato. He said the Jets were one of three teams at the 2004 combine that expressed an interest in trading for CB Champ Bailey. In fact, Cerrato and Tannenbaum went out to dinner together here in Indianapolis for the sole purpose of discussing a potential trade. As everybody knows, the Redskins wound up shipping Bailey to the Broncos.
6. Hall-of-Fame role model: Wisconsin RB Montee Ball had an interesting response when asked about his running style. He said his idol is former Bronco great Terrell Davis, but added, "I feel I run a lot like Curtis Martin." That a college senior knows about the Jets' Hall of Famer, who last played in 2005, tells me something about the kid. A lot of 20-somethings have no idea about anything that occurred before 2010. Ball could be an interesting option for the Jets in the second round (39th overall).
7. Manti's moment: The size of the news conference reminded me of Tim Tebow's first official day as a Jet. On Saturday afternoon, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o faced a massive crowd of reporters at the combine, where he was grilled about the infamous girlfriend hoax. He faced 35 questions in 15 minutes, with 31 of them focusing on the embarrassing incident. One wise-guy reporter asked, "Are you dating anybody in real life?" I thought Te'o handled himself well, showing a proper balance of accountability and remorse. As for his NFL potential, one scout told me his team has a second-round grade on Te'o.
8. Unlucky 21: You can't help but be inspired by the attitude of South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, who is attempting to rebound from a horrific knee injury. Lattimore has received encouraging letters from across the nation, plus South America. The most touching letter came from an elementary school in Kentucky. It sent a picture of the entire student body, on the football field, forming his number -- 21. "They say that in the end, it's not
about football, it's about the person you are," he said. "So that touched me."
9. Think warm thoughts: Bills CEO Russ Brandon, who knows a thing or two about cold-weather football, has a message for those opposed the Super Bowl in New Jersey -- chill out before you criticize.
"It's an idea that will be scrutinized and looked at in every different direction, but we'll have to see how it plays out," he told me. "You have to keep an open mind and embrace it. Living in Buffalo, there are times when you can play golf in January and February as much as people around the country would never think that. It's all about perception." And temperature.
10. A bunch of tweets. The growth of social media has changed the way teams scout players. Many teams will have their security people investigate prospects' Facebook and Twitter pages to see if they uncover any red flags.
"There are some guys on Twitter, and it's like they're trying to be Eddie Haskell now," Seahawks GM John Schneider said. "They're putting out, 'Oh, I'm going to work out and it's 3:30 in the morning.' That's kind of weird, you know? But it does go both ways. You see some things that are very alarming. The Facebook stuff -- a couple years ago, you had that one guy who had a pile of coke and a couple guns sitting there (in a photo). I don't think that bodes very well. I know my boss wouldn't really like that."