New York Giants fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief, because it looks like Victor Cruz is staying in the Big Apple. At least for one more year.
That is according to a report from ESPN's Josina Anderson. Her report states Cruz intends to sign a one-year tender agreement, worth $2.879 million, to remain with the Giants.
The move will keep Cruz a restricted free agent. However, it gives both the player and the franchise additional room and time to negotiate fresh terms on a longer contract.
This is a massive boost to the Giants offense. Cruz is vital to Big Blue's passing game. He is the X-factor against all types of underneath coverage.
With Cruz on the field, opposing teams have to respect his ability to produce a huge gain on any play. When he aligns in the slot, his speed and knack for stretching the deep middle zones, draws safety attention.
That leaves fellow star wide receiver Hakeem Nicks often facing single coverage on the outside. That gives the Giants pass attack an obvious matchup advantage against any defense.
Three times in the last six years, the Chicago Bears have spent their top draft choice on an offensive lineman. Now, for the second time in that span, one of those draft picks is heading out of town after an injury-plagued start to his pro career.
As reported by ESPN Chicago, the Bears have traded third-year man Gabe Carimi to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chicago will get only a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft in exchange for the former Wisconsin star, who played a grand total of 18 games in a Bear uniform.
Carimi, who’s been rehabbing the balky knee that hampered his performance a season ago, was expected to have a tough time finding a spot on the depth chart in a crowded pool of guards. Even so, it’s hard to see how the Bears benefit from pulling the trigger on a trade at this point in the offseason.
The Minnesota Vikings concluded their second week of Organised Team Activities today at Winter Park, the team's practice facility. The importance of OTA's is sometimes played down but for this core group of young players it is essential. It gives them a chance to get to know one another better, for the new additions to familiarise themselves with the Playbook and the coaching staff.
So, these sessions will be invaluable down the line. Head Coach Leslie Frazier will learn a great deal about his players as he formulates plans for the gruelling training camp period.
Here are some observations from the Vikings' first set of off-season workouts:
Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is aiming to be named this season's NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Orakpo declared he is targeting the award in an article by USA Today's Jim Corbett.
It is a bold ambition for Orakpo, but one still within his reach. He missed 14 games in 2012 due to a torn pectoral muscle and has been rehabbing throughout the offseason.
According to Corbett, the rehab is clearly paying dividends, as Orakpo has impressed in OTAs. When healthy, he is an extremely talented pure pass-rusher.
Orakpo is the one player on the Redskins defense opponents should tailor their blocking schemes towards. As a rookie in 2009, he tallied 11 sacks and followed that with 8.5 in 2010.
Orakpo posted nine sacks in 2011 and his edge-rushing skill was clearly missed last season. Without Orakpo, the Redskins lacked a credible and consistent pass rush.
Monte Kiffin can be the x-factor that wins the Dallas Cowboys the NFC East division in 2013. The ageing defensive guru will be the Cowboys' secret weapon against Robert Griffin III and Chip Kelly.
Griffin savaged the East as a rookie in 2012, helping the Washington Redskins claim the division crown. The key to his success was a read-option, pistol offense that maximized Griffin's dual-threat skills.
His ability to make plays with his arm and his feet, stretched defenses to breaking point. In particular, Griffin dominated the Cowboys.
He helped the Redskins best their arch rivals twice. One of those wins was a 38-31 victory in Dallas on Thanksgiving. Griffin hurled four touchdown passes and baffled the Cowboys defense.
It is no coincidence that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones turned to senior citizen Kiffin to run his defense. Jones saw a glimpse of what Griffin could do to the Cowboys twice a season for the next decade.
He also knows how well Kiffin has stifled dual-threat quarterbacks in the past. He made his reputation running the smothering Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenses of the late nineties and early noughties.