Nov 18, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Arizona Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson (24) breaks up a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) during the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Cardinals 23-19. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Legal Tampering: Day 3 - associated painful truths edition

I’m a junkie.  Up until this moment I had always thought myself a fan with an opinion and a reasonable grasp of the english language.

I have been watching professional football for the better part of four decades and have been through an infinite number of drafts, endless hours of study and two wives who both enjoyed watching Lifetime Channel movies with me in the room…

…but I’ll be damned if I can remember anything as insanely boring as this Legal Tampering window.  Which brings up the question, why am I staying up until all hours scouring websites, checking sources, writing like a fool?

Did you know that on Saturday night I sat here at my desk, a shot of whiskey and – well, why blow that, eh? – counting down the minutes to see if the time clock on my computer went to 2:00am and then to 3:00, or if it went directly to 3:00am in correlation to the springing forward thing.

And that’s bad, particularly since I missed it. I got involved in reading a lead from the Denver Post and by the time I realized that I had completely spaced, it was too late…I had succumbed to an atavistic trait that all football junkies possess.

So on Day three of this fully supervised, fully refereed window of opportunity for teams to contact players’ agent, we realize that there may be many deals ready to be agreed to but my personal expectations of the 88 hours-long window of legal tampering have been dashed by a gag order, and as fans we are just as poorly off, information-wise…

…and it’s not much different than just waiting out the weekend heading into free agency in any other year, just more frustrating because I expected so much more.

What have we learned though?  Anything other than what would have learned otherwise?

* Well, we learned that now that Joe Flacco has his money and has handcuffed the Baltimore Ravens in the free agent market, he is telling receiver Anquan Boldin to not settle for less money from the Ravens then he feels he deserves.

Joe, did it ever occur to you that your deal is what caused the rift in the first place?  Do you think Boldin is looking at your deal and then his and wondering where you would be without him?  Maybe you should give Boldin the $2 Million that the Ravens want to shave off of his 2013 Salary.

* We learned that Darrelle Revis wants his status cleared up quickly, but there’s a couple of things holding that up.  First, the amount of money that he’s seeking is prima facie absurd for a cornerback coming off an ACL tear and, secondly, is the ACL tear itself.  That is a huge risk for anyone to take, and the Jets are smart to shop him around.

Revis is damaged goods, and to sell him off as-is for the money that his elite status demands is hard dollar…but just as sure as legal tampering is boring, some team is going to come forward and give him all he wants and all the Jets want.

There’s a sucker in Denver, we understand.

* We learned that Wes Welker and/or his agent is either manic-depressive or learned everything they know about messing with people by watch Lifetime Channel movies…

Welker is the “jilted” employee who was offered a fair contract, yet turned it down – was given eight figures on a franchise tag last season and was offered a second fair contract by his employer this winter, and still won’t budge…and now he wants to “Stick it to the Patriots” for them not caving into his demands?

Were it me negotiating for the Patriots, I would give him whatever he wants, then turn around and trade him to the highest bidder at the trade deadline in October, thereby both controlling where he goes but also leveraging his agent out of the picture.  If Tight End Aaron Hernandez wouldn’t have gotten hurt last season, that would have happened last October.  Thus far, the negotiations have been so contentious because Welker can’t keep his mouth shut that it has all of the potential to cause divisiveness in the locker room.

* The number of quality safeties on the market are growing by leaps and bounds as NFL teams are figuring out that the Old-school, hard hitting enforcer-type role in the NFL is a luxury that don’t fit in their budgets.  These days, these type of players have to do more than just knock the chocolate out of folks – they have to be able to cover, to play in the box like an extra safety and to participate on special teams…

…and those players are out there, but they are so plentiful it’s like you can get them for a dime a dozen (in NFL terms) so they are being released at record pace.  Two names that the Patriots will end up looking at to stabilize their own safety situation are Adrian Wilson of the Cardinals and Quinton Mikell of the Rams.  Both are in their early 30’s and both were deemed luxuries that their present teams couldn’t afford if they wanted to build the team up in a different direction.

* Everyone can forget about Mike Wallace now.  Of the minimum of chatter coming out of the lame Legal Tampering window, the most solid has been about Wallace headed to the Dolphins…and now it’s being reported that it’s a done deal – but I’m curious as to how the NFL is going to handle these reports – and how the Dolphins build their offense around Tannehill and Wallace, particularly since they are letting Reggie Bush and Jake Long walk.

More headlines, which will be updated as the occasions arise:

Giants assign 1st round tender to Cruz

Giants assigned restricted free agent WR Victor Cruz a first-round tender.

The first-round tender will protect the Giants against potentially interested teams. Any club would have to surrender a top-32 draft pick, in addition to a mammoth contract, in order to pry Cruz away from New York. Despite previous reports to the contrary, we don’t envision Cruz having much of a restricted free agent market. The first-round tender is worth $2.879 million. The Giants eventually intend to lock up Cruz, 26, long term.

Niners expected to chase Smith

CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reports the 49ers are expected to “make a run at the right price” on free agent Sean Smith.

The 49ers are in the market for a “cornerback with size,” and Smith obviously fits that mold at 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds. Per Maiocco, the Niners will have to fend off the Eagles, Chiefs, and Buccaneers for Smith. Smith has made it blatantly obvious that he will sign with the highest bidder. Of the aforementioned group, San Francisco easily has the least amount of salary cap room.

Redskins cut Hall

Redskins released CB DeAngelo Hall.

The expected move clears $8 million in cap space. Hall was a disappointment practically since the ink dried on the six-year, $55 million deal he signed in 2009, but his release leaves an already undermanned secondary even thinner. The Redskins need to make multiple defensive back additions this offseason. Going on 30, Hall is being thrust onto a jam-packed cornerback market, essentially taking the retiring Chris Gamble’s place. He should have plenty of suitors, but won’t get guaranteed money beyond 2013.

UPDATE:  Seahawks acquire Harvin for 2nd round pick

Seahawks acquired WR Percy Harvin from the Vikings in exchange for a 2013 first-round pick, 2013 seventh-rounder, and a middle-round pick in 2014.

The Vikings now have four picks in the top 83 this year, but so much for Rick Spielman’s Harvin-trade denials. The Seahawks will open the season with 24-year-old Russell Wilson throwing to 27-year-old Sidney Rice, and 25-year-old Harvin and Golden Tate, with 27-year-old Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Already one of the league’s premier defensive teams, Seattle’s offense now rivals any in football in terms of explosiveness and playmaking ability. We expect Harvin to lead Seattle in receiving, and his fantasy value should remain among the top-15 wide receivers. While the fantasy effect on Rice and Tate is unlikely to be positive, it’s a gigantic plus for Wilson’s.

Vikes trying to trade Harvin for real, Seahawks main target

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Vikings are “trying to trade” Percy Harvin, and are “in discussions” with the Seahawks, “amongst other teams.”

Schefter doesn’t name other teams, but says the Seahawks are “favored.” It’s a bombshell report that confirms months of rumors and innuendo. Among the most aggressive and unconventional teams in the league, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks have already offered a strong package for the gifted receiver. Harvin with Russell Wilson would be an impossibly dangerous duo. Unless Harvin has become one of the biggest headaches in league history behind the scenes, there’s not a single scenario where trading him would be a net gain for the Vikigns.

Gamble set to Retire?

Free agent CB Chris Gamble is planning to retire.

“A number of teams have expressed interest in (him),” Gamble’s agent said in a statement. “However, Chris informed me last night that he wants to retire. Even though he still loves football, he told me that he’s decided to focus on life after football.” It’s stunning news for a 30 year old who seemed to have some good football left, but could be an indication the shoulder injury that limited Gamble to four games last season was more serious than previously thought. Perpetually underrated since being the No. 28 pick of the 2004 draft, Gamble will finish his career with 27 interceptions across 123 games if he’s indeed hanging up his cleats. It’s possible Gamble will reconsider once training camp rolls around.

Wallace deal done for Dolphins

The Palm Beach Post hears from “someone (it) trusts” that free agent Mike  Wallace to Miami is a “done deal.”

ESPN, Sports Illustrated and USA Today have all insinuated as  such over the past 24 hours, making the evidence that Wallace is planning to  take his talents to South Beach overwhelming. Wallace’s rep could drag talks out  on Tuesday for the sake of squeezing a few extra dimes out of an obviously  desperate team, but it doesn’t appear anyone else has near the desire level to  get a deal done.

Bears, Rams have Long on their radars

According to USA Today, the Rams and Bears are “believed to be among the most  interested” in free agent LT Jake Long.

It’s hardly a surprise, as both teams had sinkholes for left  tackles last season. There should be a nice market for Long’s services, but a  lot is going to depend on what turns up in his physicals. Injury has become a  very serious concern for a player who was once one of the top 1-2 tackles in the  league. It wouldn’t be surprising if Long doesn’t find what he’s looking for on  the open market and ends up back in Miami on a team-friendly deal.

Bushrod 50/50 to return to Saints

Free agent LT Jermon Bushrod is “50-50″ to re-sign with the Saints.

Per SI’s Peter King, Bushrod’s Saints future could depend on  Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith restructuring their deals. If it’s Vilma and Smith  holding the Saints back from keeping Drew Brees’ blindside protector, it’s  shocking one or both haven’t been cut loose already. Bushrod is far more  important to the Saints’ 2013 chances. Neither Vilma nor Smith is a fit for New  Orleans’ new 3-4 defense.

Eagles to chase Amendola

Citing a source with “direct knowledge” of the Eagles’ plans, CSN Philly  reports the club is “interested in pursuing” free agent Danny  Amendola.

In other words, this info isn’t coming from an agent. Old Rams  OC Pat Shurmur is now coordinating the Eagles’ offense, and Chip Kelly’s spread  scheme floods the field with four wide receivers, including two in the slot.  Beat writer Geoff Mosher concedes it’s “unclear how hard” the Eagles will pursue  Amendola, but he’s definitely on their radar. Amendola is said to be seeking  north of $6 million a year.

Tags: Adrian Wilson Anquan Boldin Arizona Cardinals Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco Miami Dolphins Mike Wallace New England Patriots Wes Welker

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