Here are some news and notes from around the league ...
• There is a strong sentiment in league circles that the Cowboys will make
• The depth of the running back position in the 2008 NFL Draft may encourage teams to part ways with some high-priced veterans during the offseason.
• The Seahawks' acquisition of
Alexander, who rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns in Hutchinson's final season (2005), has averaged only 70 yards per game the past two years and has seen his yards-per-carry dip to a career low (3.5) in 2007 after averaging over five yards per carry two seasons ago. Although Wahle ranks a notch or two below Hutchinson as a player, he will solidify the Seahawks' left side of the line.
• The lack of franchise-caliber offensive tackles on the free agency market will lead to hefty paydays for
Wharton, who has 44 career starts at left and right tackle, is ranked as the top available tackle prospect and will sign a contract that will average $6 to $7 million a year. Meanwhile, Locklear and Andrews are likely looking at contracts that will surpass the five-year, $25 million deal that
• The Broncos are quietly shopping disgruntled receiver
Although teams still regard Walker as an outstanding talent, it is unlikely that the Broncos will find a willing suitor to take on Walker at his current salary number. With Walker due a significant roster bonus ($3.5 million), look for the Broncos to simply part ways with the unhappy star if a team fails to meet their trade demands.
• Don't be surprised to see several teams make a strong run at free agent corner
• Despite the presence of Pro Bowl safety
Although Hamlin finished with five interceptions, teams voiced concerns about his awareness and discipline in coverage. According to one AFC scout, "Hamlin had an outstanding year, but Wilson is a more dependable and steady player in the back end." An NFC scout added, "Wilson was the glue that kept the Giants' secondary together when the injury bug bit them."
• Another unheralded free agent generating a lot of interest is OLB/DE
Pace finished the season with six-and-a-half sacks and is held in high regard due to his motor and versatility. Teams envision him blossoming into a double-digit sack artist in the right scheme.
Expect the Cardinals to make a strong attempt to re-sign him, but look for the Jets, Titans and Patriots to be among the bidders if he hits the open market.