The Darrell Russell signing by the Oakland Raiders last week shows the key to getting a high first-round pick signed is to give the agent something to brag about.
When Russell signed a seven-year, $22-million deal, his agent trumpeted it as the richest rookie deal ever. But the seventh year at $4.5 million isn’t guaranteed so it remains to be seen whether Russell will ever earn $22 million. The deal is really a five-year deal that’s voidable after three, but looks good on paper.
With a $1.8 million cap number, the biggest signing bonus Russell could have gotten was $6 million and it wouldn’t have looked as good on paper.
It remains to be seen if the Russell deal will start a rash of deals with no signing bonuses and a lot of guarantees.
The St. Louis Rams have now offered top pick Orlando Pace a deal without a signing bonus. Since they have $1.88 million left under the rookie cap, the most they can offer is a $6.2 million signing bonus.
Complicating the situation at the top of the first round is the fact that Seattle had the third and sixth picks. Last year, those two picks got a combined total of $3.6 million in salary cap money.
Seattle has only $3.1 left this year and has offered a salary cap figure of $1.7 million to Shawn Springs and $1.4 million to Walter Jones. Both offers have been rejected.
New York Giants owner Wellington Mara wasn’t sure how many times he has attended Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. But he does remember several quite well.
“In 1971, I introduced both Y.A. Tittle and Vince Lombardi, who went into the Hall together,” the 80-year-old patriarch said. “Twenty years ago, I presented Frank Gifford, and rode beside him in the parade. Today, he presents me and we just switch seats in the parade.
“I have four grandchildren who have a grandfather and two great grandfathers in the Hall of Fame,” he added, noting that one of his daughters married into the family of the late Art Rooney, founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers and also a member of the Hall, as is Wellington’s father, Tim Mara, founder of the Giants.
Chandler, McNair look good
Chris Chandler got his chance to remind the Tennessee Oilers that he’s very capable of running an offense. Steve McNair showed why Chandler was traded.
Chandler, traded to the Atlanta Falcons during the off-season so that McNair could start, put his new team on the board first during a controlled scrimmage at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus.
But the Oilers beat the Falcons 19-10 in their first scrimmage in Tennessee despite a slow start before 7,137 fans.
McNair struggled early but warmed up and was 7 of 13 for 101 yards.
Atlanta coach Dan Reeves said he liked what Chandler did with the first team as the Falcons work to learn his new offense, which emphasizes running instead of the Falcons’ old run-and-shoot.
Bears, Steelers not so popular
The Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers are in Dublin, Ireland, for today’s American Bowl, a big name for the series of preseason NFL games aimed mostly at promoting the sport abroad and cutting television and licensing deals.
Between 25,000 and 30,000 are expected to half-fill Croke Park, the storied home of Gaelic football and hurling. The Americans have angered some Gaelic football fans, who will have to wait a week for a key playoff semifinal because the Yanks are playing what Europeans call “a friendly match” at the north Dublin venue.
“Oversized, overexposed and over here,” read a headline in the daily Irish Independent.
Swilling might not retire after all
Pat Swilling’s retirement from the Oakland Raiders might not be as permanent as he had led some teammates to believe.
Swilling, the 1989 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, abruptly left the Raiders’ camp Thursday night after telling several teammates he planned to end his 11-year career.
But Raiders coach Joe Bugel said Saturday that he spoke with Swilling earlier in the day and planned to meet with him today.
Swilling joined the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent for the 1995 season after two disappointing seasons in Detroit, where he had to make the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end.
Eagles defeat Ravens in scrimmage
Rodney Peete, battling for his NFL life, says he won’t go down without a fight.
“Absolutely not,” the quarterback said after an impressive performance in the Eagles’ controlled scrimmage with the Baltimore Ravens at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.
Peete was 4 for 4 for 46 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Solomon, as the Eagles outscored the Ravens 23-7.
Ty Detmer started for the Eagles, going 5 for 7 for 63 yards.
Cowboys monitor player behavior
The Dallas Cowboys have taken unprecedented steps to prevent a repeat of player misbehavior, including the installation of cameras in the dormitories at their training base at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
Jerry Jones, the team’s owner, would not comment on any specifics, saying only, “We’ve done everything in our power to ensure that the problems are over.”
But sources in the team’s administration, who asked not to be identified, said they included cameras secretly installed in the dorms. “We know when a player leaves his room after curfew,” the source said.
Every NFL team has internal security officers and hires temporaries - ranging from college students to off-duty police officers - to keep order at training camp. But few, if any, go so far as to use cameras.
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