D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the contract talks between the Falcons and disgruntled wideout Roddy White have taken a turn for the worse. Per a statement from Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, both parties appear to be digging in and the potential for an impasse could occur soon.
“I’m a little bit disappointed with the direction that the negotiations are going at this point. It’s one of those situations where both parties are digging in and feel strongly about their case…We want Roddy to be here for a long, long time. But there comes a point in training camp where it is a disadvantage to Roddy himself. Our thought is that soon enough, we’ll have to move forward and re-address this at the end of the season.”
– Thomas Dimitroff
Reportedly, White is looking for a contract in the same ballpark as the one signed by wideout Larry Fitzgerald in March 2008. Fitzgerald received a four-year $40 million extension from the Arizona Cardinals which included $30 million in guaranteed money. But the Falcons aren’t keen on paying him that much. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on his twitter page that it is “categorically false” that White is seeking more than Fitzgerald. Last season, Fitzgerald led the NFC in receptions (96) and receiving yards (1,431), as well as the entire league with 12 receiving touchdowns. White had 88 catches for 1,382 yards and 7 touchdowns last season.
Per the report, the Falcons could be close to withdrawing their offer and suspending contract talks until the end of the season. Pro Football Talk.com cited league sources on Monday that indicated there were some personal conflicts between members of the Falcons front office and White’s representation. White already faces fines of roughly $16,000 for each day of camp he misses, but could be fined even greater amounts if he decides to skip preseason games.
The AJC reports that Roddy White was fined by the team for missing the first team meeting for training camp on Friday evening. All players were expected to report at 5:00 on Friday, and would be considered a holdout if they were not present for a 6:30 team meeting. The Falcons have been trying to extend White’s contract, which expires at the end of this season. Earlier this week, White’s agent said “no comment” on whether White would show up to camp on time per an AJC report. The team’s first practice is scheduled to be held at 8:30 on Saturday morning.
I could be wrong, but based off the recent report from the AJC insinuating that there’s a possibility that Roddy White might hold out, I don’t think there’s much to it.
For the record, Roddy’s agent declined comment on whether Roddy was planning a holdout. Which by not saying that Roddy will be there, implies that there’s a possibility he won’t be there if a contract is not completed before Saturday.
My bet is that Roddy’s agent is using it as a tactic to put a bit more pressure on the Falcons brass to get a deal done sooner rather than later. But I don’t think Roddy will skip camp. He really has no leverage. If there’s no cap next year, he becomes a restricted free agent. If there is then the Falcons can tag him. It’s almost guaranteed that Roddy is going to be a Falcon in 2010. So the Falcons shouldn’t be in any rush to get a deal done today. Obviously, they’d probably like to get a deal done since the sooner you sign a guy, generally the cheaper he is since each off-season there are new blockbuster deals.
But Thomas D. should call Roddy’s bluff. We have Tony Gonzalez now. I’m not saying Roddy is expendable. But he’s not nearly as indispensable as he was a year ago.
The Falcons announced the signing of fourth round pick Lawrence Sidbury this morning. Sidbury, a defensive end out of Richmond, is the sixth Falcons draft pick to sign, meaning only the team’s top two picks, Peria Jerry and William Moore, remain unsigned.
Sidbury is expected to compete for playing time as a situational pass rusher for the Falcons. As a senior at Richmond, he had a breakout campaign finishing the year with 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss.
The team did not release details of his contract, but it is likely a four-year deal with minimum salaries since all their other picks have signed for that. His signing bonus likely is within the range of $440,000 to $450,000 given the bonuses received by the players selected ahead and after him that have already signed deals.
UPDATE: Scout.com’s Adam Caplan cites a league source that indicates Sidbury received a four-year deal worth $2.19 million with a $440,000 signing bonus.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that John Abraham’s agent, Rich Rosa, has informed him that he will be present for the Falcons training camp that begins on August 1. A previous report from Steve Wyche of NFL Network reported that Abraham was “bitter” about his contract. Wyche did not cite Abraham or Rosa, but teammates that indicated Abraham was not happy about the six-year deal he signed back in 2006 due to the increases in pay in recent seasons to other defensive ends. Wyche did not report that Abraham was prepared to hold out.
Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports that there are rumors that John Abraham is a little bitter about his contract. Wyche cited Falcons teammates, not Abraham himself, as the source of these rumors.
Abraham has three years remaining on his contract that he signed with the team in 2006 which was a six-year deal worth $45 million. He has base salaries that combine for $19.5 million in the remaining three years.
Wyche cited Jared Allen’s contract as an instigator to Abraham’s alleged bitterness. Allen signed a six-year contract worth $73 million last spring. As part of his contract, Allen received $38 million over the first three years of his contract. Last season, Abraham finished with 16.5 sacks, while Allen only had 14.5 sacks. Allen was voted to the NFC’s Pro Bowl squad and named a 1st team All-Pro by the Associated Press, while Abraham received neither accolades.
Abraham, who just turned 31 this past May, has had issues with injuries in the past. He missed 8 games in 2006 with the Falcons, and 13 games combined in 2003 and 2004. Questions of Abraham’s health have arisen this off-season as the Falcons made efforts to significant limit his work in OTAs. Abraham has started every game each of the past two seasons.
Updating a previous report, Scout.com reports that the three rookie contracts that were disapproved by the league have now been approved. The contracts of third round pick Chris Owens, fifth round pick Garrett Reynolds, and sixth round pick Spencer Adkins had to be re-done. Pro Football Talk reported previously that the reason for the league’s disapproving of the contracts was due to language oversight involving incentives.
According to the NFLPA website, all three players signed four-year contracts with base salaries of: $310,000 (2009); $395,000 (2010); $480,000 (2011); and $565,000 (2012). Owens received a signing bonus of $688,000, while Reynolds got around $180,000. It is unknown how much of a signing bonus Adkins got. But as the 176th overall pick, he likely got a sum around $115,000 considering that the 178th overall pick (Seahawks quarterback Mike Teel) signed for $114,000.
Scout.com reports that the contracts signed by three of the Falcons recent draft picks have been disapproved by the league. The specifics of what exactly in the contracts was disapproved is unknown, but according to the report they were all minor and all should be fixed and up to league standards by early next week.
The three contracts disapproved were offensvie tackle Garrett Reynolds, cornerback Chris Owens, and linebacker Spencer Adkins. Per Scout.com, all three players signed four-year deals. Reynolds received a signing bonus of just over $180,000 while Owens got $688,000 in bonus money. All three players signed their deals within the last ten days.
The third Falcons draft pick signed a contract with the team when fifth round pick Garrett Reynolds signed a four-year deal worth about $1.93 million. According to Scout.com, Reynolds received a signing bonus of just slightly over $180,000, likely falling in between the bonuses given to Xavier Fulton ($181,000) and Victor Harris ($180,000) who were selected one spot ahead and behind Reynolds. Both Fulton and Harris signed their deals last week. Reynolds was the 156th overall selection in the draft.
Dan Parr of Pro Football Weekly reports that the Falcons plan to extend running back Jerious Norwood right after they work out a new deal for wide receiver Roddy White.
Earlier reports indicated that White is a high priority to get a new deal done in the near future. Both White and Norwood are entering the final years of their contracts. Due to the uncertainty of the future of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, however, it is unknown if the Falcons face any real danger of losing either player to free agency next year. Without an extension of the CBA before next March, both White and Norwood will become restricted free agents instead of unrestricted, and much easier for the team to retain.
Per Parr’s report, the Falcons see Norwood as a valuable commodity that can form a solid 1-2 punch with starting running back Michael Turner for years to come.