The ups and downs of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement continue. But one thing is clear - both sides are obviously committed to getting a deal done sooner rather than later. Could it be as soon as this weekend? Possibly. By next week? It better be.
There's just too much money that would be lost if even one week of the preseason was cancelled - an estimated $200 to $300 million according to some reports. Considering the sides have been arguing over how to split the total revenue pie, I don't see how either side would be happy seeing that pie shrink - if even for one year.
With that said, there is obviously a lot of work to be done once a new CBA is finalized. I certainly do not envy general managers around the league who will have to deal with signing their own free agents, pursuing potential additions via free agency and trades, signing undrafted free agents, and signing the guys they drafted back in April. And all of that will have to be done while preparing for training camp.
Some free agency chatter is where this week's "five" begins.
1. It's beginning to seem like the Miami Dolphins' top targets in free agency are coming into focus. I've been hearing for weeks about three players that the Dolphins will make a priority once free agency finally begins - both from my own people and from others who have their own sources. And now there comes this report from Marc Kohn, who has been on the money with Dolphins information in the past. Kohn writes that "sources are saying that Vince Young is most likely taking his talents to South Beach."
The report also mentions what has been said numerous times - that Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is really the Dolphins' number one choice. But as we all know, owner Mike Brown is just stubborn enough to force Palmer into retirement rather than actually benefit his team by acquiring draft picks for the veteran signal caller.
As I said yesterday, though, no quarterback will be handed the job outside of Palmer and maybe Kyle Orton (who has not been tied to the Dolphins in any way that I've heard at this point). Kohn agrees, writing that he's been "told that Young will not be handed the job, he will have to win the job and earn the respect of his teammates in the process."
Kohn closes his report by saying that the Dolphins will likely offer their 2nd round pick in 2012 to Cincinnati for Palmer. And when the Bengals reject that deal, it's expected that Jeff Ireland will turn his attention to Young.
As for the third player the Dolphins are believed to be targeting, you'll have to wait and see. Or you can follow me on Twitter, where I've been leaking some small info I've learned over the past week or two. (Yes, that's called a tease.)
2. "The Beast" finally speaks. Of course I'm referring to Brandon Marshall, who hasn't said much since the April stabbing incident at his home in South Florida. While he still hasn't made any public comments, he has finally cooperated with the Broward state attorney's office, giving a statement to investigators regarding the incident that resulted in his wife stabbing him at their home according to spokesman Ron Ishoy - who told FOX Sports that "the investigation continues."
The implications of this incident still remain unknown. Alex Marvez of FOX Sports is standing firm with his belief that Marshall could face league discipline - including a possible suspension - once this lockout ends depending on how the investigation shapes up. Marvez writes on Twitter that Marshall could be "potentially facing NFL suspension if police verify wife's claim she acted in self-defense." But I wouldn't be too concerned. After all, what is a woman who just stabbed her husband supposed to say? Of course she's going to claim self-defense. But she reportedly had no marks on her and Brandon even had defensive wounds on his hands. From where I stand, Marshall did nothing wrong. He was the victim. He can't possibly face any league discipline based on what we know right now.
3. Marshall the 12th best player in the AFC East? That's what ESPN's Tim Graham wrote this week as he unveils his AFC East rankings. I'm having a hard time agreeing with this, though. Playing in only 14 games with a struggling quarterback in a stagnant and unimaginative offense, Marshall still was 6th in the league in receptions and went over 1,000 yards receiving for the fourth consecutive season. And how quickly some forget about his previous seasons. From '07 through '10, Marshall's average season is a 98-1,181-7 stat line. No worries, though, as I fully expect Marshall to be in the top five this time next year when Graham puts together his updated list.
4. Old Man Henning decides to come out of hibernation. And among his many statements, Dan Henning had to make sure he told Ben Volin that he was not fired. Rather, it was "understood" that he'd be leaving the team after the season. But let's be honest - the man was going to be fired if he didn't retire. But he can tell himself whatever he wants to.
What's left me scratching my head even more than Henning's comments is what Tim Graham wrote regarding Henne recently, saying that "Henning was the popular scapegoat" but that he "never bought into that sentiment." Tim's probably the only one not buying into it. No, Henning wasn't the only problem with the offense last year. But when opposing defenses say after the game that they could predict what plays would be coming, there was obviously a major problem with Henning's offense and/or play-calling.
5. You know we're desperate for football when Albert Breer starts tweeting about food deliveries. "Here's an update: A delivery guy just sent some food upstairs," tweeted Breer. There's no doubt about it - we're starving for our football. Hopefully we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.