NFL News: Player News and Updates for 2/5/14
NFL Updates: Schaub, Rice, Off-Season Schedule and More
February 5, 2014
The afterglow of the Super Bowl has almost completely faded (unless you live in Seattle--in that case, it’s party time for the next six months) and the 2014 season seems as far off as ever. That said, there are plenty of news items emerging from all over the league that should keep our attentions occupied, so let’s take a look at who’s making headlines out there right now. Here’s the latest.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: Since the premature ending to their season at the hands of the Colts (remember that crazy game?), the Chiefs have maintained that re-signing Smith would be one of their number-one priorities during this off-season. He’s got one year left on his current deal as it stands right now, valued at $7.5 million in the coming season.
Smith was the key cog in the Chiefs’ offense this past season, helping guide the squad with smart decisions and mostly mistake-free football. He finished with a career-high 3,313 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns and 431 yards on the ground. Expect to hear about a new contract extension in the coming weeks.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens: A lot of question marks are surrounding Rice as he enters this off-season. He’s coming off an ugly year, notching just 660 rush yards and four scores on the ground. Rice has given the lion’s share of the blame for his bad season to his decision to play through a hip injury, which resulted in a lack of burst and career-low 3.1 YPC average.
He’s still just 27 years old, so Rice should have quite a bit left in his proverbial tank. He’s already guaranteed a bounce-back year in 2014, but considering his 2013 numbers that shouldn’t be to difficult for him to outdo. That said, Rice may not be getting as much work this season, as many outlets are predicting fellow RB Bernard Pierce to get a big up-tick in touches.
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans: We’ll finish things up today by visiting a couple of rumors that have been making the rounds lately. We’ll start with the Schaub situation: He’s expected to be released this off-season, as he’s due a lofty $11 million salary in 2014. The question, however, is where he’ll go once he’s released.
There’s a rumor floating around out there that has the Raiders preparing to pursue Schaub once he’s cut, and he could get somewhere in the neighborhood of $3-4 million if he’s willing to settle. Stay tuned on that one.
Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills: We find this one a little difficult to accept, but it’s starting to make sense the more we think about it. Johnson is coming off a bad year in Buffalo, posting just 597 yards and three scores. He and coach Doug Marrone weren’t exactly on the same page, which has led some to speculate the Bills may cut Johnson before his $1.7 million roster bonus comes due next month.
The saving grace for Johnson here is that his release wouldn’t count much toward the cap, so it doesn’t make as much sense from a financial perspective. Still, even with his checkered attitude issues, the talented WR won’t have any trouble finding work if he indeed is cut.
NFL Key Dates: Now that we’ve finished up the season in the NFL, it’s now back to anticipation mode for the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at some of the noteworthy dates from this off-season period that should keep us occupied until the league kicks off again.
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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