Jackson's options down to two
NFL executives believe the team that is most interested in San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson is the Minnesota Vikings. But it might be tough for the Vikings to give Jackson the lucrative long-term deal he wants, especially considering that they declined to sign players such as wide receiver Sidney Rice, defensive end Ray Edwards and linebacker Chad Greenway to extensions. One possible outcome would be the Vikings agreeing to a one-year deal with Jackson, who would have to recognize that a one-year deal in Minnesota is better than not playing this season at all.
Other teams have also been linked to Jackson but are not expected to make a push for various reasons: The Washington Redskins already are without third- and fourth-round draft picks in 2011, thanks to trades for quarterback Donovan McNabb and offensive tackle Jammal Brown; the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks are, for the time being, only moderately interested at best. A lot can change before Wednesday, but it looks like Jackson either could be a Viking or a Charger this season -- unless an unexpected team emerges.
Chargers continue to cut back
After reducing the contract tenders to wide receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive tackle Marcus McNeill this offseason, the Chargers reduced newly acquired wide receiver Patrick Crayton's contract by $100,000 this season and $150,000 next season, according to an NFL Players Association salary survey. In fairness, the Chargers did give Crayton a chance to make back the $250,000 -- all he has to do is catch 41 passes this season. But the fact they took $250,000 of his base salary and converted it into incentives is another sign of how careful the Chargers have been with their money.
Eagles must do better job with concussions
Based on a review of last Sunday's Philadelphia Eagles game, NFL teams need additional medical oversight in determining whether or not to allow players who have suffered concussions back into the game. The Eagles' training staff examined linebacker Stewart Bradley and quarterback Kevin Kolb before each reentered the game. But before being examined, Bradley staggered and fell down not once, but twice, attempting to stand up after the hit that caused the concussion. Several players saw it, but the Eagles' training staff did not, because it was tending to Kolb. Also in the second quarter, replays showed a shotgun snap almost whiz past Kolb after he reentered the game with a concussion. One player said that Kolb couldn't remember the snap count a few seconds after he called it and thus wasn't ready for the ball when it was snapped.
Vick has good reason to start
If Eagles quarterback Michael Vick plays at least 51 percent of the offensive plays in nine or more games -- he did in Week 1 and is expected to do it again Sunday at Detroit -- he will collect an $850,000 bonus. Should Vick play 51 percent of the plays in 11 games, he would make another $1.05 million in incentives. And should he play 51 percent of the plays in 13 games, he will collect another $850,000. All together, Vick can collect up to $2.75 million in playing-time incentives, according to NFLPA documents.
Key game for the Raiders ... and the Patriots
Nobody is rooting any harder for the Oakland Raiders to keep losing than the New England Patriots. It's nothing personal -- it's business. One game into this season, it's well worth pointing out that the Patriots own the Raiders' first-round pick in the 2011 draft from a trade last summer for defensive lineman Richard Seymour. Last Sunday, Oakland got blown out in Tennessee, falling to 0-1. Now Oakland plays St. Louis, the team that held the No. 1 pick last April and a team that, in recent seasons, has been one of the worst in football. If the Raiders win their home opener for the first time in six seasons, they will be back to .500 and back on track. But if they don't, they will be putting Bill Belichick & Co. in prime position for the 2011 draft. It's just one game today, but it feels like a game with wide-ranging ramifications.
Only a matter of time for free-agent RB Parker
One way or another, the Denver Broncos were going to make a move at running back. Before it traded a 2011 fourth-round pick to New England for running back Laurence Maroney and a 2011 sixth-round pick, Denver debated the possibility of signing free-agent running back Willie Parker. The Broncos had some conversations with Parker but ultimately decided they would be better served with Maroney, who played for Josh McDaniels in New England. At least one other NFL team has been in contact with Parker and, with the rate of injuries this season, it probably will not be long before Parker finds work.
Sanders may have played final days in Indy
The Indianapolis Colts have not yet surrendered hope that Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders will return later this season. But it's looking doubtful that Sanders will return to Indianapolis in 2011. For starters, Sanders' base salary balloons from $2.275 million this season to $5.5 million next season and $7 million in 2012. Beyond that, the Colts already have invested big money in another safety, Antoine Bethea, this offseason. Indianapolis is scheduled to pay Bethea $4.75 million next season and $5.2 million in 2012. The Colts' pay model is not set up to pay two safeties two big contracts when it has so many other highly paid players. Chances are one will be going and, with Sanders' injury history, no one can be confident he will return to Indy.