Cradle of the quarterbacks?
Some unknown player named Peyton Manning agreed to join the Denver Broncos today, ending weeks of speculation where he would end up. Peyton's arrival in the AFC West makes the division a sudden powerhouse in the arms race that is the NFL.
With Manning, Palmer and San Diego's Rivers three of the four AFC teams have QB's that were taken in the top 4 of their respective draft classes. Kansas City is going in a diffrent direction with a stable of running backs and improving their offensive line so expect them to run more than their AFC West counterparts.
Manning, if healthy, makes Denver the favorite to repeat their AFC West win. However, Manning's health is not a given. Even at less than full strength, Mannng is dangerous, however. He is not only a great leader on the field, he also calls the plays at the line of scrimmage and is adept at reading defenses.
Raiders' head coach Dennis Allen is known for being a creative defensive mind and able to adapt quickly. He'll need to up his game going against Manning twice a year.
One bad offseason
Manning is expected to basically serve as Denver's offensive coordinator. He'll be bringing in his offense so that he doesn't have to take the time to learn a new one.
This is probably not good news for Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Imagine, a few short months ago after the Broncos season ended with an unlikely playoffs run, McCoy was sitting in the driver's seat. He was being courted for two different head coaching positions - the Miami Dolphins and the Raiders.
He interviewed with the Dolphins and had an interview set up with the Raiders. However, feeling that he was the favorite to land the Miami position he pulled himself out of contention with the Raiders, which reportedly angered GM Reggie McKenzie. Of course, the Miami position went to former Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin.
Now, instead of being a head coach McCoy will be taking a backseat to the Manning show.
Another CB signed
The Raiders signed another former starter today, coming to terms with former 49er Shawntae Spencer. Spencer was a 2nd round pick in 2004 and was a starter at right corner back within 4 games, starting the remaining 12. Overall, he's played in 98 games in his 8 year career and he's started 72.
Spencer is 30 years old. He's 6'1" and 190 lbs. He has 11 career interceptions. He has been very inconsistent over his career but has been able to flash very good cover skills. He was released after hardly playing at all last year. He came into training camp pencilled in as the starter but was injured early on and never was able to recover or even get onto the field, much.
He signed a 1 year deal, financial terms were not disclosed. According to beat writer Vittorio Tafur, the agent for Spencer was "tight-lipped" on the details of the contract. That usually means that it's a team friendly contract because if it were friendly to the player, the agent would be proclaiming it to the world as a success story. Spencer didn't have great options and it was believed he would sign at or near the veteran minimum.
Spencer wore #36 in San Francisco. That number is currently claimed by Lonyae Miller who is a practice squad RB. It's likely that Spencer will be able to get the number from Miller if he chooses.
A familiar face
The Raiders resigned OL Cooper Carlisle today as well. He had been cut last week in a move that was likely salary cap driven. It's likely that he resigned for a much lower salary for this season.
It seems likely that he has been brought in for options on the line. He would be a great backup and an okay starter. If the Raiders are unable to sign or draft further depth he can be reinserted in the RG position he's held since 2007 with newly signed G Mike Brisiel moving to LG and second year player Stefen Wisniewski playing Center.
Alternately, if the Raiders pick up another C or G, Carlisle can be a backup which would provide good depth for the team.
Odds and Ends
Former Raiders SLB/DE Kamerion Wimbley visited with the Titans who have some room in the cap and have a need at LB. It seems likely they will make a push for the veteran.
Many fans were interested in signing C Scott Wells, the free agent from the Packers. Perhaps it will mitigate the sting of missing him to know that he wanted to be paid as a top 5 center and got his wish. He will be making an average of $6 million per year, putting him at the fourth highest paid center in the league.
I tweet throughout the day about all things Raiders. Follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews and ask me questions - or tell me what you think.
Just heard that Tracy Porter will visit the ponies next - really hope they don't get him as he could really become something in the next years! #NoMoreHelpForThePoniesPlease
It would suck to see Porter sign with the Broncos, but let's be honest Allen and McKenzie have not really chased after him very hard at all. Allen knows his talents well and maybe he does not think much of him.
The thing with Porter is his age, he's just 25 but has plenty of experience an that makes him very interesting. Now, let's face it, he might spend some time suspended and maybe the Raiders decided they couldn't afford to pay him big just to have him out half season even if he is a good CB. Maybe the Broncos should think about it too.
@Harder2000 Oh yeah, I could see him signing for the ponies just for vengance because we signed Spencer. That's petty... I'm just saying.
Anyway, they're becoming interesting. If they actually play to the best of all these new players, they will be a pain in the @$$, but if they loose some games, I can only imagine how all thos gigantic egos will grow out of control throwing the blame to everyone else.
@Raider Nate 75 Good thing he didn't go to the Ponies, Bolts or KC though!!
@Raider Nate 75 That sounds like a great deal for the Titans, not so much for us! If Wimbley was willing to go down this far, then it bothers me that we wasn't able to work out a deal for him to stay (would have been 8 mill per year with 20 guaranteeed, possibly too much for Reggie)!
Perhaps Wimbley thought he could fetch a lot more on the open market and had to accept that he couldn't..
@Harder2000 @Raider Nate 75 The good thing about the Wimbley deal, is that he did not end up signing with an AFC West team. The bad thing, is that the contract Wimbley signed could have easily been matched by the Raiders. I don't understand why wimbley fell out of favor with McKenzie the way he did. Being argueably our best linebacker, we would think McKenzie would have cut him a little slack and would have been more flexible with his contract...
@Spartacus @Harder2000 @Raider The thing is KAm wouldn't take less money from us. Remember he would be earning 17 million guarranteed for the next 2 years here. He actually is earning 6.5 million from us this year, so even taking less money somewhere else is still earning a huge amount of green paper. Titans are paying him what he's probably worth, but we would have to overpay him and he knew it. That's why Reggie cut him
Interested in how much Wimbley will receive in the new contract!
We really need to get some competition on those OLB spots, and some depth for the squad! When going to 3-4 it makes sense that they will test how well Shaughnessey will fit, but he doesn't project well! Hope he surprises and Tarver has some way to utilize him no matter the scheme - too much potential to only be in when we are in 4-3 imo!
@Harder2000 Well, Saughnessy might surprise us. He's a 6'5" 260 pound DE and he is quite athletic. He's fast and if we play a 3-4 defense OLB would be his one chance to make the team.
@Black_Nightmare Another player i think we should consider signing for minimum is Aaron Maybin - he is as much a gimmick player as any, and last year with the Jets it seemed that he was "figured out" as a one trick pony, but i really think that Allen and Tarver potentially could be able to find a spot for a talented player like him! He want to play, and as he would not cost us anything, i think it would be a good thing to pick him up and see if he shows enough for Allen to keep him and use him in special packages and on ST!
Same goes for Everette Brown to a lessor degree, as he is also a very talented player who just haven't found anyone who is creative enough to utilize his abilities!
Would they be expected to come in and be the solution? Probably not, but imo they would at least be worth a look to see if Allen and Tarver can find a creative way of utilizing these young (23 and 24) mens great potential, especially considering our financial cap situation where we need to find cheap solutions with potential!
Jameel McClain is one I would like to bring to the team. Other Lb that intrigues me (not saying he would be a solution, but might add some depth) is Chris Chamberlain. He is a former St. Louis Ram, he would be really cheap and last year had some decent moments. I've been saying it a lot, but I'd love to see London Fletcher here, and James Farrior is another veteran that I wouldn't mind to give a shot.
@Black_Nightmare He is not that fast, definately won't be a speedrusher, but he might surprise us as you say! I really hope so, cause he is one of the players I really like a lot! Don't see us cutting him if he doesn't do well at first, he would still be usable in the 4-3 formations! But hopefully he ends up showing some scheme versatility!
Heard that inside sources told that the team would move on with Carlisle at LG, Wiz Jr at C and Brisiel at his natural RG - makes sense, although i would still hope that we can attain a better starter at LG and a solid RT!
Looking forward to seeing where (if anywhere) Big Barks and Beast Campbell fits in the new ZBS - especially Campbell seems to be on his last chance, not even a lock to make it out of camp! Hope he surprises and they are able to utilize his incredible physical attributes!
@Harder2000 My guess, sources notwithstanding, is that Carlisle stays at his RG position and Brisiel gets moved to LG with Wiz sliding over to C. I can't imagine why the team would put the lesser G on the blind side and Carlisle is a career RG. Brisiel has, I've heard, played some C so he is the more versatile. It's also possible he would move to C and Wiz would stay at LG but that seems less likely. I think Barksdale deserves a shot at RT. He looked very decent filling in at LG when Wiz moved to C at times. We'll see what he has in camp. My guess is that Bruce C doesn't make it on the final roster. He's been through multiple head and line coaches and hasn't seen the field, yet. That has to tell us something - he doesn't have what it takes.
@Harder2000 My thoughts exactly....