May 20, 2005 11:26 AM ET
Seahawks: Bernard signs one-year deal
The News
The Seahawks re-signed unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Rocky Bernard to a one-year contract on Thursday. The Tacoma News-Tribune reports that the deal is worth $656,000. Bernard has logged 9.5 sacks during three seasons with the Seahawks, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2002 draft.
Our View
Bernard is a reserve defensive lineman who started two games last season when starters were injured. Due to his lack of playing time, Rocky has no value in fantasy leagues that award points for individual defensive players.

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May 20, 2005 11:22 AM ET
*****: Newberry given three medical options
The News
*****' center Tom Newberry was given three options for treatment on his injured right knee. The Mercury News reports that team doctors told the 29 year-old that he could have surgery and miss the 2005 season, undergo a less invasive surgery that would cause him to miss five or six regular season games, or rest and rehabilitate the knee. Newberry intends to consult other physicians before settling in on a course of action.
Our View
It's not looking good for Newberry, who missed 15 games last season because of this injury. The Niners have been using unheralded linemen Eric Heitmann and Scott Peters at center during minicamp workouts, and they even had second-round pick David Baas try his hand at center. However, it appears that Baas will stick to his familiar guard position. We will continue to keep you posted on Newberry's medical condition as more information is released.

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May 20, 2005 11:02 AM ET
Eagles: Johnson inks four-year deal
The News
Eagles' defensive coordinator Jim Johnson signed a four-year contract extension on Thursday. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the 64 year-old assistant coach is now signed through 2010, as is head coach Andy Reid. Johnson's agent Bob LaMonte called the deal "an elite contract as far as contracts go for coordinators." Johnson joined the Eagles coaching staff in 1999.
Our View
Johnson is widely regarded as one of the top defensive coordinators in the league. Apparently, he has given up on the idea of becoming a head coach, as the contract extension Johnson signed is a good indication that he intends to finish his coaching career in Philadelphia.

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May 20, 2005 10:44 AM ET
Saints: Brooks impressive during offseason workouts
The News
Quarterback Aaron Brooks is getting rave reviews from the Saints' coaching staff for the way he's performed during the offseason workouts. "He's had a tremendous offseason, I think the best one since I've been here," Saints' offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard told the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Thursday. "It's his whole approach. Aaron Brooks took the approach this year that he was going to get better in the offseason." Sheppard was promoted from quarterbacks coach to his current role when Mike McCarthy left New Orleans to take the offensive coordinator job in San Francisco.
Our View
Brooks is coming off one of his most frustrating seasons. Aaron's touchdown total dropped by three from 2003, while his interception count doubled. This could be a make or break season for Brooks, who has started every game for the Saints over the last four seasons. As frustrating as he can be to watch at times, Brooks has consistently produced solid fantasy numbers and generally ranks as a top backup quarterback in most scoring formats.

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May 20, 2005 10:36 AM ET
Buccaneers: Brackins making an impact
The News
Rookie wide receiver Larry Brackins has been turning heads at the Buccaneers' voluntary workout sessions. The fifth-round pick even earned praise from Bucs' head coach Jon Gruden. "He's a freak," Gruden told the St. Petersburg Times. "Down the field, he made a big splash play. If we can train this wild horse, that's kind of what I refer to him as, who knows? You might have a stallion there." In 23 games with Pearl River Community College, Brackins caught 56 passes for 1,114 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Our View
Brackins will compete for the No. 3 wide receiver spot during training camp. However, he faces an uphill battle as Gruden appears to be locked in on Michael Clayton, Joey Galloway, and Ike Hilliard as his top three wideouts.

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May 20, 2005 10:33 AM ET
Dolphins: Boston brought back
The News
The Dolphins have signed wide receiver David Boston to a one-year contract. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Boston signed a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum ($540,000). Boston was released in March for salary cap reasons after sitting out all of last season with a knee injury and eventually being suspended four games for testing positive for steroids.
Our View
Even if Boston is fully recovered from knee surgery, the odds of him behaving well enough to have an impact on the field this season are minimal. Meanwhile, coach Nick Saban is rapidly populating the Dolphins with head cases and ex-cons (rookie draft picks Channing Crowder and Matt Roth both were in trouble with the law for getting in bar fights while in college, and free agent rookie Abram Elam was convicted of sexual battery while at Notre Dame), and is still trying to get pot-head Ricky Williams to return to the team. We're sure this crew won't get into any trouble in South Beach.

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May 20, 2005 10:25 AM ET
Panthers: Baker to compete for starting job
The News
Newly acquired punter Jason Baker will not be handed the Panthers' punting job. The Rock Hill Herald reports that Baker, who was acquired in the Todd Sauerbrun trade with the Broncos, will compete with Tom Rouen and Steve Cheek during training camp.
Our View
Rouen is a 12-year veteran and has more experience than Baker and Cheek. However, at age 36, he is also the oldest member of the threesome, and the Panthers might elect to go with one of the younger punters. We could spend more time breaking down each player's strengths and weaknesses, but the fact that they are punters who hold no fantasy relevance precludes us from caring enough to do that.

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May 20, 2005 10:18 AM ET
Dolphins: Williams to return?
The News
After a conversation with Ricky Williams, Coach Nick Saban told the Miami Herald on Thursday that the running back/faith healer is "very, very interested" in returning to play for the Dolphins. The paper also reports that "several people associated with Williams…believe he will return to the Dolphins in July." Williams is back in the States after spending a month in India doing yoga and holistic medical training. He recently settled a paternity suit with the mother of one of his three children that will require him to pay $4,000 per month in child support, place $300,000 in a trust for the child, and purchase a $500,000 life insurance policy on himself with the child as a beneficiary. He also owes the Dolphins $8.6 million for breaching his contract. By returning in July, Ricky could avoid a one-year suspension under the NFL's drug policy. His retirement last July was considered a fourth violation of the policy (he tested positive three previous times), which calls for an automatic suspension, however that can be avoided if he sits out a whole year. Williams never was punished for the second and third violations. Accordingly, he would almost certainly face a fine and a four-game suspension if he does return to the team
Our View
There have been grumblings about a possible return for Ricky for the last year, but this represents the strongest on-the-record expression of optimism about him coming back to the team. Unless he got a multi-million dollar signing bonus from Ayurveda, the school for holistic healing he's been attending in California, he's probably a bit thin in the wallet, which makes his main motivation for a possible return obvious. From a fantasy perspective, this would throw a huge wrench into the Dolphins' backfield situation. The team drafted running back Ronnie Brown with the No. 2 overall selection in the draft, which would make for an awfully crowded (and expensive) backfield by committee. A trade of Williams is a possibility, but the market for running backs has proven to be nearly non-existent this year, as backs like Travis Henry, Shaun Alexander, and Edgerrin James could have been had for the right price but have had no takers thus far. The Dolphins would also have cap issues if Williams came back. Unfortunately, Ricky probably can't even announce his intentions to return, should he take that path, until after July 28th to avoid the one-year suspension, so this situation isn't likely to be resolved until just before training camps open.

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May 20, 2005 9:52 AM ET
Bills: Jerman visits
The News
The Bills brought in offensive lineman Greg Jerman for a workout on Thursday. Jerman was waived by the Dolphins last week. He played in 11 games since signing with the Fins in 2002, starting once.
Our View
While Jerman is versatile enough to play tackle and guard, the fact that he was cut by the Dolphins, who have one of the weakest offensive lines in the NFL, should tell you about as much as you need to know about his talent. Even if the Bills sign him, he'd provide little more than depth.