Shutdown Corner

  • McNabb and Romo in 2010. (Getty Images)

    You work hard in your career. You try your best to rep your city well. You take your team to the Big Game, and sure, you don't win, but you try your best. And then you become a punch line. Bad enough, right? And now this: somebody who's demonstrably worse at your job than you were getting a contract that defies belief.

    [Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension]

    Welcome to the world of former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. When he heard of Tony Romo's new contract extension, he offered up a succinct assessment on Twitter:

    Read More »from Donovan McNabb is not pleased with Tony Romo’s new contract
  • Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo agree to six-year contract extension

    Tony Romo has agreed to terms on an extension (USA Today Sports Images)

    [Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension]

    The Dallas Cowboys and veteran quarterback Tony Romo have reached agreement on a "blockbuster" six-year extension that will make Romo the highest-paid player in Cowboys' history, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

    According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Romo's new deal with the Cowboys is worth $108 million and includes $55 million in guaranteed money.

    Romo, who turns 33 in April, is scheduled to earn $11.5 million base salary in 2013, which is the final season of his current contract. Romo is technically signed through the 2016 season, but the final three seasons of that contract will void after this season.

    In terms of guaranteed money, Romo's $55 million ranks behind fourth behind New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($60.5 million), Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning ($60 million) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ($57 million), but ahead of the $52 million that Joe Flacco received from the Baltimore Ravens.

    [Also: Will QB Matt Barkley get drafted in the first round?]

    Rapoport reported on Thursday that the Cowboys would not be able to use the franchise tag on Romo after the season. In the wake of that report, "Shutdown Corner" noted that even if the Cowboys could use the tag on Romo, his $16.818 million cap hit this season would result in a one-year franchise tender worth $20.1 million, which is too great of a cap hit for the Cowboys to take next season as it would be accompanied by $8.181 million in signing bonus proration that would accelerate onto the Cowboys' cap if his current deal were allowed to void.

    Read More »from Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo agree to six-year contract extension
  • Report: Seahawks trade of Matt Flynn appears ‘imminent’

    Matt Flynn may be headed to the Raiders (USA Today Sports Images)

    According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Seattle Seahawks are engaged in discussions regarding a trade of quarterback Matt Flynn with an unidentified team and that a trade is "imminent".

    Multiple NFL reporters, including Jason La Canfora of and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, are indicating that the Seahawks' trade partner for Flynn is the Oakland Raiders.

    [Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension]

    The Seahawks signed Flynn to a three-year, $19.5 million contract on March 21, 2012. That deal included $10 million in guaranteed money, including $2 million of Flynn's $5.25 million base salary for the 2013 season. Flynn competed with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and 2012 third-round pick Russell Wilson for the starting job last summer. Despite Flynn's solid showing in the preseason, Wilson won the starting job and would validate Pete Carroll's decision, passing for 3,118 yards, tying an NFL single-season rookie record with 26 touchdown passes, and capping the year off by playing in the Pro Bowl.

    Flynn took 37 snaps over three games in relief of Wilson last season, completing five of his nine pass attempts for 68 yards.

    By trading Flynn, the Seahawks will save $5.25 million in cash and $3.25 million in salary cap space for 2013. Trading Flynn also leaves Wilson as the only quarterback under contract on the Seahawks' 90-man offseason roster. According to La Canfora, one option could be Tyler Thigpen, an unrestricted free agent whose experience with the read-option could make him a natural fit behind Wilson on Seattle's depth chart.

    Read More »from Report: Seahawks trade of Matt Flynn appears ‘imminent’
  • (Getty Images)

    With the 2012 NFL season in the books, and the scouting combine in the rear-view, it's time to take a closer look at the 50 players we think will be the biggest difference-makers at the next level from this draft class. To that end, we're happy to continue this year's Shutdown 50 scouting reports (Hint: There may actually be more than 50). You can read last year's group here. The final 50 players were chosen and ranked based on game tape, combine and Pro Day results, overall positional value, and attributes and liabilities on and off the field.

    38: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

    We continue this year's series with LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, who made some waves when he was asked at the scouting combine about the consistency of his effort.

    "You know, some weeks when we didn't have to play the harder teams, there were some times when effort was not needed," he said. "But when we had the big boys coming in, the Bamas or the South Carolinas, I grabbed close to those guys and went all out. Of course, this is a new league, the NFL and there are no small teams, small divisions, it is all Alabamas and LSUs every week. It's definitely something I have to get adjusted to, but I'm sure with the right coaching I will be fine."

    Ouch. Montgomery may need some PR coaching, but when it comes to the game tape, he's showed a relatively consistent level of play, and he will occasionally ramp that up to "dominant." The 6-foot-3, 262-pound South Carolina native redshirted in 2009, and then started to impress with two sacks in just five games in his sophomore year. That season was marred by an ACL injury, but Montgomery came back very impressively in 2011, amassing nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He added 30 pounds of muscle to his frame in time for last season, but lost little of his athleticism, finishing his collegiate career with eight sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2012.

    These numbers were especially impressive given Montgomery's frequent battles against the more physical offensive lines of the SEC, his relative lack of straight-line speed, and the fact that he was most often going up against his opponent's left tackle -- when he wasn't flipping inside to make plays at multiple positions.

    Pros: Outstanding upper-body strength shows up over and over when he gets off the snap and engages with blockers -- consistently rocks even the best offensive linemen back. Big and strong enough to move inside to tackle on pass-rushing downs and make plays -- has done well everywhere from end to three-tech to one-tech shade. Good at assessing and moving through double-teams and late blocks. Moves his feet pretty well through trash.

    Read More »from The Shutdown 50: LSU DE Sam Montgomery
  • Linebacker Connor Barwin is leaving Houston for the Philadelphia Eagles, and, as is the custom, took a moment to thank the team which gave him his first shot at an NFL career. But Barwin went a step further than the traditional blanket thank-you newspaper ad, thanking everyone from the city of Houston and his teammates all the way down to Shaun Cody, whoever he is, way down at the bottom.

    This looks, as pegged it, like one of those huge festival posters, with big names at the top and here-today-gone-later-today flashes down at the very bottom. Still, there are some gems in here, from

    Read More »from Connor Barwin thanks ex-teammates, cleaning lady, and … Blaine Gabbert?
  • Fred Davis re-signs with the Washington Redskins

    Fred Davis re-signs with the Redskins (USA Today Sports Images)

    Free agent tight end Fred Davis spent his Thursday meeting with the Buffalo Bills. After his visit with the Bills, Davis, a 2008 second-round pick out of USC by the Washington Redskins, told the Buffalo media that he was going to meet with other teams and "see all his options".

    Davis scrapped a scheduled visit with the New York Jets and was expected to decide between the Bills and Redskins. That decision did not take long as ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Davis will sign a one-year deal to remain with the Redskins.

    Financial terms were not disclosed, but odds are good that Davis will earn less than the $5.446 million in fully guaranteed base salary Davis earned on the franchise tag last season. Davis caught 24 passes for 325 yards in seven games before a ruptured Achilles' tendon ended his 2012 campaign.

    [Also: Will QB Matt Barkley get drafted in the first round?]

    Davis said on Thursday that he is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.

    “I’m way ahead of schedule for me. I don’t know what it is for most guys," Davis said. "Terrell Suggs had his surgery and he came back in five months and played the last few games. Depending on how bad your Achilles was depends, but for me it’s been maybe four and a half months and I’m running on the treadmill, doing drills, so I’m way ahead of schedule."

    Read More »from Fred Davis re-signs with the Washington Redskins
  • Part of the 2013 QB class, trying to get separation at the scouting combine. (USA Today Sports Images))

    With less than one month until the NFL draft, a quarterback class with minimal actual first-round talent is coming into sharper view. At no time in NFL history has the quarterback position been more important to team success, which leaves those teams without a certain solution grasping for answers. More often than not, those types of teams try to remedy the situation by reaching for their franchise guy, a move that leads to a lot of unemployment in front offices. The 2013 draft class is full of potential NFL talent, but it seems that each quarterback has at least one fatal flaw. As our own Greg Cosell wrote in his most recent piece for Shutdown Corner, some of those flaws are coachable, and others are most certainly not.

    [Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension]

    With that time winding down, we've taken another look at the tape and the rumors, and here's where we see this year's marquee draft prospect quarterbacks going.

    Geno Smith, West Virginia

    Pros: Tremendously productive player with attributes that contribute to efficient stats and performances. Excellent size, arm, and mobility, though he's not a run-around read option guy. Can legitimately make all the NFL throws. Throws well on the move.

    Cons: Needs to shore up his mechanics, especially under center, as he took most of his college snaps out of shotgun. Footwork can be an issue and this leads to some serious inconsistencies. Made hay against some inferior defenses (Baylor) and struggled against tougher ones.

    Where he could go: Smith won't make it out of the top 10. Jacksonville is a possibility with the second overall pick, Oakland is a real probability at 3. You could also see the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, and Buffalo Bills in play. Almost certainly will be the first quarterback selected.

    E.J. Manuel, Florida State

    Pros: Big, tough, mobile quarterback with a great arm and the best potential ability to play in read-option, zone-option, and Pistol offenses of any quarterback in this class. Plays the play action and boot action game with great aplomb. Senior Bowl MVP wh responded very well to more advanced coaching.

    Cons: Primarily a first-read passer who struggles with multi-read throws and throws into zone coverage. Doesn't always react well to more complex coverages. Doesn't throw with great anticipation.

    Where he could go: In my opinion, most of Manuel's flaws are easily coachable, and he may have the most untapped talent of any quarterback in this class. But with the flaws there, he'd seem to be a good fit at the late first round/early second round level. Watch out for the Philadelphia Eagles in the early second round -- Eagles head coach Chip Kelly tried to recruit Manuel to Oregon.

    Matt Barkley, USC

    Pros: Has perhaps the best overall array of mechanics in this draft class, and commands a pro-style offense very well. Experienced starter in a complex system. Outstanding footwork. Throws with tremendous anticipation, looking especially polished on short and intermediate timing throws.

    [Also: Will QB Matt Barkley get drafted in the first round?]

    Cons: Barkley's long-discussed arm strength issue is real, and it will affect him at the next level. Most balls he throws over 15 yards in the air tend to sail with wobbly spirals and questionable accuracy. Legitimate questions about his ability to throw into tighter windows at the NFL level, especially in cold weather under pressure.

    Where he could go: A team like the Cardinals or the Bills might take a shot at Barkley early in the first round, but that would be a surprise -- even at his pro day, when he showed that he was fully recovered from a separated shoulder, NFL teams were on the fence about his velocity. Most likely, he'll be fighting with Manuel for position in the late first and early second rounds.

    Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

    Pros: Tough, mobile quarterback experienced in multiple systems. Like Barkley, he's a very good boot-action quarterback, but his arm is much stronger -- Nassib can make the stick throws Barkley can't. Deals well with pressure in his face. Equally good under center and out of shotgun.

    Read More »from Quarterback picture is still foggy as draft draws near
  • Cowboys cannot use the franchise tag on Tony Romo in 2014

    Tony Romo cannot be franchised in 2014 (USA Today Sports Images)

    As the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo continue to work towards a contract extension, the veteran quarterback has some additional leverage as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the Cowboys are prohibited from using the franchise tag on Romo next offseason.

    Of course, the Cowboys probably would not use the tag on Romo next offseason, even if they possessed the ability to do so, as the cost, in both base salary and cap space, would be too great.

    [Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension]

    Thanks to previous renegotiations and restructures, Romo has a cap number of $16,818,835 for the 2013 season. That's the largest on the Cowboys, representing 14 percent of the team's "Adjusted Cap Number" of $119,999,156 for this season. If the Cowboys are unable to reach an extension with Romo, and hypothetically could use even the "non-exclusive" franchise tag on him next offseason, Romo's franchise tag would be worth 120 percent his 2013 cap number, or $20,182,602, an amount that would be fully guaranteed once the turning 33-year-old quarterback (who was intercepted 19 times last season) signed the tender.

    Read More »from Cowboys cannot use the franchise tag on Tony Romo in 2014
  • Mark Sanchez is being tutored by Jeff Garcia (Getty Images)

    As New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez gets set to play in the West Coast offense under new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the 2009 first-round pick out of USC is being tutored by former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia, reports Jim Corbett of the USA Today.

    [Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension]

    Garcia played in West Coast offenses throughout his career, which began with the San Francisco 49ers in 1999. As Corbett noted, the first NFL coach to spot Garcia was Bill Walsh, the father of the West Coast offense. Mornhinweg was the 49ers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Garcia entered the NFL and their paths would cross again in the 2006 and 2009 seasons when Mornhinweg was the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, a post he held until after the 2012 season.

    Sanchez will be working with a third offensive coordinator in as many seasons (Brian Schottenheimer from 2009-11, Tony Sparano in 2012). With the new collective bargaining agreement scaling back the amount of time players and coaches and can work in the offseason, working with Garcia now can help prepare Sanchez for the OTAs and mini-camps as he enters his fifth, and perhaps most critical, season in the NFL.

    "Marty and I communicated a few weeks ago (about) what he'd like to introduce to Mark,'' Garcia said. "Mark is definitely getting more comfortable speaking the West Coast terminology. He had a brief glimpse of the West Coast system at USC.

    "The toughest thing is this will be Mark's third offensive coordinator in six seasons. The guy has had to learn a new system just about every other year. From a consistency standpoint, that just doesn't translate to success in the NFL. You really need to be secure in what you're doing mentally in order to compete at the highest level.''

    Read More »from Former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia is tutoring Mark Sanchez, JaMarcus Russell
  • Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension

    Aaron Rodgers is set to become the NFL's highest-paid player (USA Today Sports Images)

    The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers are closing in on an extension that will make the 2005 first-round pick out of Cal the highest-paid player in the history of the National Football League, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

    That distinction currently belongs to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who parlayed his outstanding playoff performance in leading the Ravens to a win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII and his impending status as an unrestricted free agent this offseason into a six-year, $120.6 million contract, a $20.1 million APY (Average Per Year) that nudged him past the $20 million per year average that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees received in his extension last July.

    [Also: Matt Barkley looks like the Matt Barkley of old at pro day]

    Brees' extension, which was negotiated off a $16.371 million franchise tag, nudged him past the $19.2 million average that Peyton Manning received in a five-year, $96 million contract from the Denver Broncos last March.

    According to Schefter, "league-wide speculation" has a Rodgers extension obliterating the field with a possible APY of $25 million per season, a substantial increase over the $12.7 million APY Rodgers received in his current contract. Rodgers' signed his current deal - worth a total of $65 million over seven seasons (2008-14) and $63.5 million in "new money" over five new seasons - midway through his first season as the Packers' starting quarterback. That deal included $20 million in guaranteed money, a figure Rodgers will likely more than triple in a new extension.

    Read More »from Report: Packers, Aaron Rodgers nearing long-term extension