Extra Points: Dreessen, Cutler, Ferguson

  • Speaking with Vic Carucci & Dan Leberfeld on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen weighed in on the Jimmy Graham ruling, saying the decision struck a nerve and that he agreed with Tony Gonzalez’s take on the situation: “It’s kind of frustrating that guys who get asked to do probably the second most after the quarterback is kinda down there on the pay scale.”
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune listed 12 NFL training camp storylines to watch, including Jay Cutler‘s new deal. “The Bears signed quarterback Jay Cutler to a $126 million contract extension that is essentially a $54 million deal for the next three seasons before it goes year-to-year,” says Biggs. “It’s a huge payday that general manager Phil Emery based on future performance, as Cutler’s resume includes only one postseason victory.”
  • Last year was an “uncharacteristically bad year” for Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, says the New York Post’s Brian Costello, who believes 2013 will prove to be “an aberration and not a sign of decline.” However, Costello does caution: “Ferguson has the highest salary cap figure on the team at $11.7 million. After a few restructurings to help the team gain salary cap space in 2012 and ’13, the bill is now coming due for the Jets. Ferguson’s cap numbers are huge for the next four years. If Ferguson’s play slips, the Jets might have to consider releasing him before the 2016 season, when they could save $9 million in cap space by cutting him.”
  • Branden Albert of the Dolphins and Jairus Byrd of the Saints topped ESPN’s list of free agents who will transform teams. The last three seasons, Albert has allowed just 4.6 pressures per 100 pass blocks, good enough for third in the league over that span. As for Byrd, he allowed a paltry 0.23 yards per coverage snap last season, third-best in the league.
  • Answering questions about the Eagles’ projected roster, PhillyMag.com’s Tim McManus said he doesn’t expect many “curveballs,” i.e. surprises, when the team’s 53-man is finalized. McManus expects LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk to serve as the running back trio, and he expects Brad Smith to stick as the fifth receiver. The one mild surprise could be Travis Long forcing veteran Brandon Graham out, though that would mean employing two backups at defensive end (Long and first-rounder Marcus Smith) with no NFL experience.
  • Entering training camp, 49 Patriots players are “sure-fire locks” or “near locks,” in the estimation of ESPN New England’s Mike Reiss, who breaks down the projected roster.
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