BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Did the NFL do in Twitter?
I don't know, but my efforts to tweet from the dorm room have been stifled by struggling technology. Perhaps the site will be up and chirping by the time this post is done.
Reports coming out of San Diego now are that Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers could begin talking about a new contract for him soon. Rivers is believed to have been waiting for Eli Manning to strike. Although Manning has a Super Bowl title to his credit, and that's what it is all about, Rivers' statistics over the course of their careers are far superior. Don't think for a second there is any reason other than that for his delay in getting to the bargaining table.
Wanted to Twitter a piece I did for the National Football Post this morning on Jay Cutler and what at some point will be his own negotiation for a contract extension. The Bears have never written the big-money deal for a quarterback before. Since general manager Jerry Angelo took over in 2001, no team has allocated less money to the position. Who did he have to pay? The team has someone to pay now but putting a gauge on that pay day right now is very difficult. When the team goes to a player, they are adamant that the integrity of the current contract be maintained. In other words, the player will get his money but the team isn't going to rip up the current contract and start all over.
The Bears have a history of approaching players during season to see if they can strike a deal and get ahead when it comes to the salary cap. If a deal is done by midseason, money can be applied to the current year's cap. With the Bears sitting on more than $20 million in cap room, doing a Cutler deal now would allow them to put a nice chunk in 2009. Assuming the CBA gets worked out--that looks like the assumption the Giants went under in doing Manning's deal--it's a smart move.
But it's no guarantee that the team and Cutler get to the bargaining table. If they don't, it's possible the Bears could target tight end Greg Olsen for an extension as I wrote here for the NFP. Olsen is entering the third year of his five-year contract and is clearly part of the long term future. Early restructures turn into win-wins. The player gets guaranteed money sooner than he would, and the team gets value moving forward.
*** Maybe word trickles out today about cornerback Zack Bowman's hamstring pull, but as coach Lovie Smith says, you never know about hamstrings. It's a definite setback for Bowman. Not as much from the standpoint that he pulled his hamstring, but that he got injured, period. Durability has been the knock on him and when a player can't stay healthy, a coaching staff can't rely on him no matter what kind of flashes he shows.
*** What's interesting is when Smith ran down the options at left cornerback with Charles Tillman recovering from back surgery, he mentioned Trumaine McBride, draft pick D.J. Moore and even undrafted free agent Woodny Turenne. No mention of Corey Graham. Just an oversight? Possibly. A sign the Bears want to keep him at right cornerback where he has been behind Nathan Vasher? Possibly. For sure Graham wants a shot at running with the ones, though, after starting nine games last season. McBride was viewed as a longshot to make the roster coming into camp and he'll need to make the most of his opportunity. He was with the ones on Wednesday.
*** Defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert continues to impress. He's been getting positive feedback from line coach Rod Marinelli during individual drills. If it's possible, Gilbert looks bigger than 6-5, 285 pounds, when you see him up close and in pads.
*** Tight end Desmond Clark had a veteran's day off on Wednesday. There is a good chance he will be back on the field today.
*** NFL officials are expected to arrive on campus today for their annual meetings with players and coaches to go over rules changes and some of the things the men in stripes will be looking for closely this season. On the crew visiting camp will be Tony Michalek, a Chicago area native.
*** The Bears have a mini-practice closed to the public this morning and the full practice is tonight at 7.