For the first time this offseason, we head into a weekend with optimism that there could finally be a resolution to the lockout in the coming weeks. Once that resolution finally does come to fruition, things will pick up dramatically as teams rush to finalize their free agency plans. Trade rumors will also intensify. And teams will have to make tough decisions regarding their own free agents.
That is where this week's "Five" will kick off.
1. Ricky says he wants to finish career in Miami. This comes, of course, after Ricky Williams originally seemed destined to leave the Dolphins - especially after criticizing head coach Tony Sparano immediately after the season. But Williams completed the 180 this week when he tweeted, "I'd love nothing more than to finish my career winning a Super Bowl with the Dolphins, but that's gonna take some cooperation from others."
When Ricky's comments were then the subject of a Palm Beach Post blog post declaring that Williams wanted to return to Miami, Ricky was quick to emphasize one key point. " I said I'd like to win a super bowl as a Dolphin," tweeted Williams. "Not just play for them."
It's easy to see why we all love Ricky. But it's going to be interesting to see how this front office handles this situation. Williams is 34 years old. The Dolphins spent a second round pick on a rookie running back to essentially be the main ball carrier. And then there's Ronnie Brown, who would also like to come back to Miami.
I have a feeling that one of these two backs will be back. And it's going to come down to money. I'd imagine Ronnie will be the more expensive of the two backs, which could be the catalyst to Williams returning. But even Ricky has inferred that he's not going to come cheaply, saying back in April that the Dolphins have to "make a fair offer." The question will be how both parties define "fair."
2. Jeff Ireland confirms what we already know. At Thursday night's kickoff of the "Fins Weekend" charity event, the Dolphins' general manager found some time to talk football with the media. And Omar Kelly was good enough to relay us fans the information via Twitter. The money quote, of course, was Ireland declaring that the Dolphins "will add a veteran quarterback." And that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a veteran free agent, either, telling Kelly that "all avenues" will be explored - including trades. Any guesses as to who is on the radar?
3. Not that I'm implying anything, but a number of Bengals seem to be getting fed up with their own quarterback situation. Of course I'm referring to the Caron Palmer saga that's playing out in Cincinnati - with the team's owner refusing to trade the disgruntled quarterback. Recently, teammates Tank Johnson, Cedric Benson, and Adam Jones have said publicly that they don't even want Carson to come back. Jones was the most emphatic, saying, "If Carson don’t want to be here, damn him, period, point blank."
4. Wondering where rookie defensive back Jimmy Wilson would fit in Miami's defense? Wonder no more. Jeff Ireland said last night that Wilson will play safety here in Miami - which is actually quite intriguing because of how big of a hitter the kid is. If he can regain his pre-prison speed (a sentence I never thought I'd write, by the way), the Dolphins might have found a hidden gem in the seventh round of April's draft.
5. Have you heard - the NFL lockout is essentially over. Or, at least, that's what Bill Burt has written. Who the hell is Bill Burt you ask? He's a writer for the Eagle Tribune, a small Massachusetts newspaper. And he apparently has an inside source, writing that the lockout is "almost over."
"A deal to end the National Football League's lockout is almost complete, according to an NFL source," writes Burt. "According to the source, owners and players were close to an agreement today to end the lockout, which entered its 86th day today. Some coaches and players have been contacted about returning to work probably early next week and possibly as soon as this weekend."
That's right, folks. Bill Burt has sources that guys like Adam Schefter, Jason La Canfora, Albert Breer, Michael Lombardi, and Peter King (just to name a few) don't have.
Is there an award for bad journalism? If not, there should be. And we can name it the Bill Burt Award.