NFL News: Player News and Updates for 1/29/14
NFL Updates: Sproles and the Saints, Important Upcoming Dates and More
January 29, 2014
We’re entering the home stretch leading to the Super Bowl, and by now the game has been talked out and most people are ready for kickoff. We’ve still got a few days to wait, however, so let’s kill some time by looking across the league to see who’s making headlines right now. Here’s the latest.
Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints: Thanks to a sub-par season in 2013, there were lots of rumblings out there concerning Sproles possibly being cut from the team as a salary cap casualty. He managed just 220 rush yards, 604 receiving yards and four total touchdowns in 2013, continuing a trend of the Saints failing to utilize him as frequently as they probably should (a fact which we whined about in this space several times during the season).
Even with all of that said, Sproles isn’t likely to be cut, according to sources close to the team. His strength as a pass-catching RB creates some unique matchup scenarios which the Saints want to continue exploiting. His fellow back Pierre Thomas is far more likely to be released, thanks to a $2.9 million salary hit in 2014.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago Bears: While we’re on the subject of potential salary cap casualties, let’s head up to Chicago and take a look at Peppers. As of right now, the team can’t afford him in 2014. He’s due $18.2 million against the cap, leading to speculation the team may just let him go and continue the reloading process on younger players with all that extra money.
Peppers led the Bears with 7.5 sacks in 2013, but he’s getting up there in years (34). A few salary snips here and there could potentially keep him on the team, but Chicago would have greater flexibility if his money wasn’t there. The Bears have a lot to think about this off-season.
Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings: Let’s stick in the NFC North for a moment and check out Allen. Like Peppers, he’s in danger of potentially being released as well, thanks to his advanced age (32) and heavy salary. Allen reportedly doesn’t want to offer the team a discount, and with 11.5 sacks in 2013, he shouldn’t really have to.
The 10-year NFL vet has at least 11 sacks in each of the last seven campaigns. Should he hit free agency, that will look awfully enticing to any team in need of a bolstered pass rush. If Allen goes free, he won’t stay that way for long.
NFL Playoffs and Key Dates: There’s just one more game left in the NFL season, and after that it’s back to anticipation mode for the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at the remaining schedule, along with a few important upcoming dates we’ll be seeing soon.
February 2, 2014:
Super Bowl XLVIII: 6:30 PM ET (FOX)
Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos
Important 2014 Dates:
February 3: Waiver System Starts (Teams can make transactions, cuts, etc.)
February 17-March 3: Franchise Tag Designation Period
February 19-25: NFL Combine (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
March 8: Contract Negotiations for Unrestricted Free Agents Can Begin
March 11: League Year Officially Begins (4:00 PM ET)
March 23-28: Annual Owners Meeting (Orlando, FL)
May 8-10: NFL Draft
July 24: Training Camp Opens
September 4: First Game of the 2014 Season
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