Craig Steltz

Minor Moves: Monday

Extra Points: NFLPA, Moreno, Contract Details

Newly-minted NFLPA president Eric Winston is just hours into his new role, but he sounds like he’s ready to hit the ground running.

“This union has always been about fighting,” Winston told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “It won’t change.”

Winston didn’t mince words when it came to the idea of expanding the NFL season from 16 to 18 games, telling Pelissero that the idea is “dead in the water.” He was less definitive when it came to the idea of playoff expansion, but he made it clear that the union will only be on board under certain conditions. Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Knowshon Moreno arguably had the most impressive 2013 campaign of any of this year’s free agent running backs, but his name hasn’t surfaced at all in the last nine days. That changed today, with word breaking that the Dolphins will have Moreno in a for a visit on Friday (Twitter link via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald).
  • The Panthers continue to pursue free agent receivers, and will have Lestar Jean in for a visit tonight and tomorrow, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter).
  • The Buccaneers hosted free agent defensive back Chris Owens today, tweets Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. Owens also met with the Steelers this week, as we heard earlier this afternoon.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap has the full breakdown of many of the new contracts signed in recent days, including, but not limited to, Andrew Hawkinsfour-year pact with the Browns, Scott Chandler‘s two-year deal with the Bills, James Starkstwo-year deal with the Packers, Charlie Johnson‘s two-year contract with the Vikings, and Usama Young‘s two-year deal with the Raiders.
  • Jerricho Cotchery‘s deal with the Panthers is technically for five years, as Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun details (via Twitter). I imagine it includes three void years, similar to Roman Harper‘s new contract. Cotchery also received a $2.25MM signing bonus.
  • Wilson (Twitter links) also provides details on a pair of minimum salary benefit contracts, noting that fullback Jed Collins will get $710K from the Lions between his $65K signing bonus and $645K base salary. Safety Craig Steltz will get $795K from the Bears between his $730K salary and the $65K roster bonus for 2014.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Cason, Allen, Mariani, Hester

Three candidates have emerged to succeed Domonique Foxworth as NFLPA president, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Saints tight end Ben Watson, free-agent tackle Eric Winston, and free-agent safety Ryan Clark will make their speeches Wednesday before the 32 team representatives vote for a new president. More from around the NFL..

  • In addition to cornerback Terrell Thomas, who was in for a visit today, the Panthers are also looking at corner Antoine Cason, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. Garafolo figures that Carolina could sign one or both cornerbacks to boost their secondary.
  • Defensive end Jared Allen is unlikely to sign with the Cowboys after visiting today, a source tells Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Dallas became less likely for the veteran when the Cowboys agreed to sign fellow defensive lineman Henry Melton earlier this evening.
  • The Chargers worked out former Titans wide receiver/kick returner/punter Marc Mariani, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Mariani has struggled to stay healthy in the past. The 26-year-old missed the entire 2012 season after snapping the tibula and fibula in his left leg and spent the entire 2013 season on Tennessee’s injured reserve after suffering a shoulder injury in training camp.
  • Top draft prospect Teddy Bridgewater met with the Texans, Jaguars, and Raiders after his pro-day workout at Louisville, tweets Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle.
  • In a conference call with reporters, Chiefs GM John Dorsey said contract extension talks with Alex Smith are ongoing, tweets Herbie Teope of the Associated Press. Dorsey did not offer a timetable for a resolution with his starting quarterback. On the call, Dorsey went on to discuss the club’s near deal with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders who wound up signing with the Broncos, writes Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star.
  • Rex Ryan and Jets GM John Idzik were at Florida State Pro Day to check out 6’5″, 240-pound wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin today, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
  • Safety Craig Steltz‘s one-year deal with the Bears is for the veteran’s minimum of $730K, according to Jeff Dickerson of (on Twitter). Steltz can also earn another $65K in roster bonuses.
  • A source close to free agent return man Devin Hester tells Vaughn McClure of ESPN (on Twitter) that the former Bears standout is still in Atlanta and very much in the picture for the Falcons.

Bears To Sign Craig Steltz, Danny McCray

The Bears have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with safeties Craig Steltz and Danny McCray, the team announced today (via Twitter). It’s a return to the team for Steltz, while McCray will head to Chicago from the Cowboys.

Steltz saw limited action on defense, playing 88 of his 123 total snaps in Week 13 against the Vikings, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). However, the 27-year-old was a core piece of the special teams unit, recording 12 tackles on kick and punt returns.

McCray, 26, played a similar role in Dallas, only seeing nine total snaps on defense, but logging seven special teams tackles. The LSU alum played a larger role in 2012, starting 10 games at strong safety, but figures to assume a reserve role in Chicago.