Talks for the busiest time of the NFL season started on Saturday at 12:00:00 a.m. EST… well, sort of. Unrestricted free agents were expected to be able to begin negotiations and visit with their potential new homes at the time that was previously mentioned, but they could not technically sign with the team until the new league year begins on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. Well, then the NFL issued a memo which reiterated (and contradicted the previously mentioned policy) their no tampering policy.
This memo, in turn, scared teams from negotiating with free agents, but still provided plenty of rumors on Saturday and should keep a steady stream of rumors coming until free agency officially opens on March 12. With that said, let’s see what happened around the league today and mix a little fantasy analysis in along with it.
Percy Harvin Does Not Want to Play
This news came late on Saturday but is probably the biggest that we got all day: Percy Harvin does not want to play for the Vikings in 2013, and he will not report to the team when offseason workouts begin on April 22. He is looking to be traded out of Minnesota. This report comes from the Star Tribune in Minnesota via a “good” source. It’s likely that Harvin wants out so he can be more involved in another offense, because the Vikings have plenty of money to pay him if they is the problem.
Keep in mind the columnist who reported this is Sid Hartman, and has had a wavy record, but he says the report comes from a reliable source, and it’s certainly not all that surprising, considering Harvin’s recent attitude, or reported attitude. Vikings have already said they will not trade the WR, so you can pencil out that option. Looks like Harvin will be in Minnesota for one more year, however, whether he is in uniform or not is in his own hands.
Steelers free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall is 25 years old. a year removed from tearing his ACL and now he’s garnering some attention on the free agent market. According to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, there is a lot of “buzz” that Mendenhall could join the Dolphins in 2013. The move would hinge on the fact of unrestricted free agent Reggie Bush walking, which seems imminent. Mendenhall can still be a productive runner, in my opinion, and is going to be a bargain on the market where ever he goes.
Arizona would also be a nice fit. If Mendenhall joins the team, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, who were expected to fill in for Bush, are essentially null as impact fantasy options in 2013.
Titans Showing Interest
Titans are reportedly showing interest in free agent tight ends Martellus Bennett and Dustin Keller, according to TitansInsider.com. Bennett will certainly get a lot of attention over the coming weeks before he finds a new home. It shows the Titans aren’t going to the be willing to pay the price for free agent tight end Jared Cook if the price tag gets to high.
There are many other options on the market that would competently do Cook’s job just as well as he does. Bennett’s build and athleticism is highly comparable, and he is expected to be a little cheaper than Cook. Bennett could become much more involved with the Titans if Cook’s price tag gets to be too much.
While the Patriots and Vikings have reportedly shown interest in Mike Wallace, Miami currently has the edge on the competition right now. Wallace is reportedly looking for a deal worth $60 million over five years, and all three teams highly interested have the money to sign Wallace for that much (although I don’t think he is worth that kind of money). The Walace situation is something we’ll have to sit back and watch, and we’re all going to hear plenty of rumors about his next landing spot until then. Take it all with a grain of salt.
Redskins Re-Sign Paulsen
Redskins re-signed Logan Paulsen to a three-year deal worth $7 million. Paulsen isn’t a threat as a pass catcher, but he is a much better blocker than his tight end counterpart Fred Davis, who is also a free agent. Paulsen should continue to be sued only as a blocker, as long as Davis is healthy. It also should not impact Davis negotiations for a new contract, as the two are completely different players.
Bucs Trading Blount?
After signing impending free agent running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million on Saturday, the Buccaneers are trying to shop the running back, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Cafora suggest that Tampa Bay could field a mid-round pick for Blount and suggests the Lions, who are need of a running back, as an option. Anwar Richardson of MLive.com, however, does not believe Blount would be a good fit for the team. Remember, Blount just ran for over 1,000 yards in 2011.
Reggie Getting Interest from Lions, Cardinals
Free agent running back Reggie Bush is already getting interest from the Lions (and being recruited by some of their players) and the Cardinals. The Cardinals have already spoken to Bush’ agent, per Mike Garafolo of USA Today Sports reports. Bush would be a good fit in either space, especially in Detroit, who needs a speed back to replace the role of Jahvid Best, who likely will never play football again at the pro or any level.
We know what Best did in just a little bit of time in that role, so the sky is the limit for Bush if he is implemented as the top back in that explosive offense. Fantasy owners should be rooting for him to land there. Landing in Arizona would all but end Beanie Wells‘ career in Arizona, as he already seems to be on his way out the door with only one year left on his deal.
All About Anquan
Our last headline of the day will be Anquan Boldin, which has many different facets we have to cover. Let’s start with this: Boldin has one more year left on his contract in which he is set to earn $6 million base salary. With that price tag, the Ravens have offered Boldin a pay-cut, and, according to FoxSports.com, if Boldin does not accept before Tuesday (the start of free agency), he will be on his way out of the door in Baltimore.
Next on the timeline came USA TODAY Sports reporting that Boldin had declined the Ravens attempt to cut his salary and he was preparing to hit the open market. But wait, there’s more. According to Adam Schefter via Boldin himself, Boldin never knew of the effort to restructure his deal or get the wide receiver to take a pay-cut.
Uh, wait… what?!
According to ProFootballTalk, there is suspicion that Boldin’s agent is attempting to get the wide receiver cut and his chances of staying with the team are at ’50-50′. Which, obviously, implies there is another team ready to pay Boldin more than the $6 million a year that he would earn in 2013 with the Ravens. Like I said, there are many facets and this story could go either way at this point. I’d assume a pay-cut is certainly not an option for the Boldin party. He’ll play in Baltimore under his $6 million or he’ll be playing elsewhere for likely more money.
That’ll do it for Saturday’s news. Want to stay up-to-date on the NFL throughout your day? Follow me on Twitter over at @CHardySports. I’ll keep you taken care of with all of the latest news and rumors from around the league on that feed. Be sure to leave your thoughts on any of the topics I talked about in the comments below. I’d love to hear your take. See you all soon.