Newsbreakers Recap

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 5:22 PM ET
Browns: Droughns won't hold out
The News
Browns running back Reuben Droughns, who walked out of the team's offseason workouts and threatened to skip training camp unless his contract was reworked, has put those holdout plans aside. "The way I feel is that the way I get a new deal is to prove myself on the field and everything upstairs will take care of itself," Droughns told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "[My contract] is something I can't control. What I can control is what I do in this building."
Our View
Droughns is currently slotted behind Lee Suggs on the depth chart, and William Green is making a comeback as well. Browns coach Romeo Crennel indicated there's room for all three on the roster, but if they're all getting carries the Cleveland backfield could quickly become a fantasy nightmare.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 4:15 PM ET
Colts: Doss suspended for two games
The News
The NFL suspended Colts safety Mike Doss for the first two games of the 2005 season after Doss pleaded no contest to misdemeanor gun charges. Doss initially faced a felony weapons charge and three misdemeanors after being arrested in Akron May 29, when he fired a gun into the air outside a restaurant. The felony charge was reduced in exchange for his guilty plea, and Doss was sentenced to 40 hours community service and fined $1,000. His 180-day jail sentence was suspended.
Our View
Doss, the Colts' second-round pick in 2003, will miss Indy's September 11 opener against the Ravens and September 18 game against the Jaguars.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 4:07 PM ET
Jaguars: Taylor still sidelined
The News
Jaguars running back Fred Taylor has been limited to running on Wednesday and Thursday, the two days workouts are closed to the media. The team continues to insist Taylor will be ready for the start of training camp July 30, but Jaguars vice president of player personnel James Harris confirmed to the Florida Times Union that the team has "had some conversations" regarding a trade for disgruntled Bills back Travis Henry.
Our View
Harris added that the team hasn't had any conversations about Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, despite published reports to the contrary, and that there haven't been any negotiations involving Henry. Fantasy drafts held before the start of camp will see Taylor slide significantly, and even if he's at full go in August his reputation has permanently impacted his fantasy value.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 3:55 PM ET
Titans: Troupe on schedule to return for opener
The News
Titans tight end Ben Troupe, who underwent surgery on his fractured left foot last month, expects to be back with the team well in advance of the September 11 regular season opener. "The doctor said everything went well," Troupe told The Tennessean. "If you could have a pretty good break, I did, I guess. I just have to stay in the training room and hope for the best. I do see myself being back hopefully by middle if not late training camp."
Our View
Troupe had a screw inserted in his foot to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal, but he has been attending practices wearing a protective boot. New offensive coordinator Norm Chow has big plans for Troupe, moving him around in the offense to create matchup problems. If he picks up where he left off at the end of last season, Troupe will certainly be worthy of fantasy attention.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 3:46 PM ET
Ravens: Heap gets largest tight end contract
The News
The Ravens made Todd Heap the highest-paid tight end in NFL history Tuesday, signing him to a six-year contract extension with an $11 million signing bonus and a total value of $30 million. The deal locks Heap up through the 2011 season. "You put your money where your mouth is," Ravens coach Brian Billick told the Baltimore Sun. "You can talk the rhetoric, but when it comes time for a player's situation to be addressed, you step up and make him the highest-paid tight end in the league. He's deserving of that."
Our View
Heap is rehabilitating his surgically repaired ankle and shoulder in Arizona and may not return to full go until midway through training camp, but the Ravens don't seem to have any qualms about his health. That's reassuring for those who rank Heap among the elite fantasy tight ends and will treat him as such on draft day.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 3:25 PM ET
Browns: Heinrich goes under the knife
The News
Browns tight end Keith Heinrich underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ACL and will miss the 2005 season. Heinrich suffered the injury in the team's passing camp two weeks ago.
Our View
Heinrich missed nine games last season while recovering from a broken fibula. Aaron Shea and Steve Heiden are the remaining healthy veteran tight ends on the Cleveland roster.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 3:12 PM ET
Chiefs: Hakim signs
The News
The Chiefs signed wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim to a one-year contract Tuesday, but coach Dick Vermeil stressed the former Ram isn't guaranteed a starting gig or even a roster spot. "A position isn't going to be handed to him in a Christmas package," Vermeil told the Kansas City Star. "He's going to have to compete, and he knows that."
Our View
Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker sit atop the Chiefs' depth chart, but Hakim could make a push for playing time with a strong camp. Obviously, Vermeil knows what he's capable of, and that familiarity might give Az the benefit of the doubt if it's a tight battle.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 2:46 PM ET
Vikings: Culpepper scoffs at Moss comments
The News
Daunte Culpepper was asked on Tuesday what he thought about the recent comments made by former teammate Randy Moss in which he said Kerry Collins was a better quarterback. "When I first heard that, I figured maybe Randy had fallen and bumped his head to say something that crazy," Culpepper told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "All they've got to do is look at the numbers. I mean no disrespect to Kerry Collins. I understand that (Moss) has to say something good about his quarterback. But he didn't have to say anything that crazy."
Our View
We're with Daunte on this one. Collins' numbers don't compare to Culpepper's in any way, shape, or form. We certainly expect a serious uptick in Kerry's stats this season now that he has Superfreak to throw to, but even so there will be little comparison between the two signal callers.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 2:12 PM ET
Bears: Krenzel released
The News
The Bears released quarterback Craig Krenzel on Tuesday. Krenzel had fallen out of favor with the team since he declined the opportunity to go play in NFL Europe this offseason.
Our View
Krenzel's release is hardly a surprise. The Bears will go to camp with Rex Grossman, Chad Hutchinson, rookie Kyle Orton, and Kurt Kittner—who did go to Europe and led his team to a World Bowl title—on the roster. Hopefully, we'll just have to see Grossman play this season.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 1:40 PM ET
Vikings: Kicker remains a question mark
The News
The Vikings will enter training camp with competition for the kicking job between Aaron Elling and Paul Edinger. Or as head coach Mike Tice told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Tuesday, he has one "who can hit the ball through the end zone [Elling] and one kicker that can hit field goals [Edinger]. I need someone to emerge and do both consistently and very good."
Our View
We'd be quite surprised if Edinger did not win this competition. The Vikes have had to use two roster spots on kickers in recent seasons—one for field goals and another for kickoffs, but they would like to just keep one this year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 12:49 PM ET
Seahawks: Engram assumes starting role
The News
Seahawks' head coach Mike Holmgren didn't take long to name a replacement for departed wide receiver Koren Robinson in the starting lineup. On Tuesday, Holmgren said the job currently belongs to Bobby Engram. "Right now, Bobby is our starting split end," Holmgren told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Jerome Pathon, Joe Jurevicius, and D.J. Hackett are expected to compete with Engram for the job during training camp.
Our View
It's hard to imagine Engram maintaining this role during the regular season, as Holmgren has been insistent in the past that Bobby was an ideal No. 3 receiver. In fact, Holmgren even went so far as to start the ancient Jerry Rice rather than Engram last year while Robinson was serving his many suspensions. In other words, fantasy owners shouldn't put too much trust in Engram just yet.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 12:28 PM ET
Saints: No charges filed against Smith
The News
Saints' safety Dwight Smith will not face charges relating to an incident that occurred in a fast food drive-thru back in March. Smith was arrested at the time on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly pointed a BB gun at two teenagers who approached his car seeking an autograph. "Dwight doesn't hit anybody, doesn't touch anybody, possesses no firearm, possesses nothing," Smith's attorney Kevin Hayslett told the St. Petersburg Times.
Our View
Smith's arrest cost him millions in free agency money. In fact, Hayslett claims that Smith was on the verge of signing a deal that was worth roughly $7 million more than he received from the Saints, who were able to sign the former Buccaneer at a discount price. Smith did not crack our top-50 defensive backs rankings for leagues that award points for individual defensive players.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 11:15 AM ET
Buccaneers: Smith shown the door
The News
The Buccaneers released quarterback Akili Smith on Monday. The No. 3 overall pick in the 1999 draft was unable to hold down a starting job in NFL Eurorpe this year, which contributed to the team's decision. Smith had joined the Bucs as a free agent earlier.
Our View
It became obvious that Akili's run with the Bucs would be short when the team acquired Luke McCown in a trade with the Browns back in April. McCown was inserted into the No. 3 quarterback role behind starter Brian Griese and backup Chris Simms, which made Smith the odd man out.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 10:45 AM ET
Falcons: Price staying, at least for now
The News
Falcons' head coach Jim Mora has announced that wide receiver Peerless Price will not be released or traded before training camp opens next month. However, Mora said the veteran wideout must earn a spot on the roster. "I'm excited to give him a chance to compete to make the team and to improve along with the rest of the players," Mora told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. "I know there's been speculation about Peerless and about his future here but, as an organization, we've decided that we want to see him compete and help this team be a better football team." Price finished last season with 45 receptions for 575 yards and three touchdowns.
Our View
Let's face it, the real reason Price is still on the roster is that the team would take a $5.7 million salary cap hit next season if they release him this year. Peerless is still listed as the No. 1 receiver on the Falcons' depth chart, but Mora would prefer to have a younger wideout such as Michael Jenkins or Roddy White to take over that role within the next season or two. In the meantime, Price is expected to be a starter, but fantasy owners should shy away due to his general lack of production during his two seasons with the Falcons.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 9:49 AM ET
Jets: Pennington begins light throwing
The News
Newsday is reporting that "people with knowledge of the situation" have confirmed that Chad Pennington has begun lobbing a football lightly after workouts. Pennington has yet to progress to full-scale throwing as he rehabs from surgery that repaired the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The workouts have not been open to the media, nor have the Jets allowed him to speak to the media about his rehab. According to Newsday, coach Herman Edwards will reportedly provide an update on Pennington's progress at the end of June.
Our View
The Jets still expect Pennington to be ready for training camp. If he's throwing lobs now in practice, he's already throwing as well as he did for most of last season. We'll provide further updates once we hear them, but for now assume Pennington will be 100 percent healthy by the time the season starts.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 15, 2005 9:34 AM ET
Dolphins: Ricky on his way to Florida
The News
Ricky Williams reportedly packed up his belongings in a car and is driving from California to Florida. "Yes, he's driving there," Williams' agent Leigh Steinberg told the Miami Herald. Once he arrives in Miami, the Herald reports that he is expected to reenter the NFL's drug testing program and hopes to be reinstated by the league in time for the first day of Dolphins training camp on July 24.
Our View
It certainly appears as if things are moving along for Ricky reentering the league. There are still plenty of hurdles to jump, and we're not moving Ricky too far up our draft boards until we see him on the field playing football for the Dolphins or another NFL team.