Training camp roundup: Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman will have to wait for contract extension
Saturday was somewhat of a slow day around NFL training camps. A few teams are conducting evening scrimmages, some teams had the day off, and two teams, the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys, were on their way to Canton, Ohio for Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game.
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman will earn $8.43 million in the final year of his rookie contract. Freeman’s status with the team is the biggest looming issue over the franchise, but general manager Mark Dominik told WDAE-AM 620 (via JoeBucsFan.com) on Saturday that it will have to wait until after the season.
“I think there’s just a comfort level that everybody understands where Josh Freeman’s going. Let’s focus on this season, and then, we’ll go after the season’s over,” Dominik said.
It’s hard to argue with the Buccaneers’ approach. Freeman was outstanding in 2010, passing for 3,451 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions, finishing ninth in Football Outsiders’ passing DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement). However, over the last two seasons, Freeman has 39 interceptions to go along with his 43 touchdowns and is coming off a season where his completion percentage dropped by eight points. With the Buccaneers investing a third-round pick in Mike Glennon, the pressure is on Freeman in 2013.
• Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is pleased that quarterback Robert Griffin had a setback-free first week of practice.
“I thought he had a good week. The best part about it, there wasn’t any setback,” said Shanahan. “As you have a plan going into your first week, you’re hoping you can execute that game plan. We were able to do that, and next week we have another game plan for him, and we’ll see if he’s able to go through that.”
• In Hall of Fame Game news, four starters on the Miami Dolphins — wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, defensive linemen Randy Starks and Jared Odrick — likely will not play on Sunday night, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo doesn’t think he’ll play on Sunday night.
• New York Giants veteran David Diehl is prepared to battle first-round pick Justin Pugh for a starting job
“In order to get me off the football field, you’re going to have to shoot me,” Diehl said on Saturday, according to Connor Orr of the Star-Ledger.
“I’m not ready to hang up my cleats, I love coming here, I love playing this sport. I know what I’m capable of, I’ve worked extremely hard to prove it to people and I’m going to do it this year. I can sit here and say what I want to say to you guys but it’s all about what I do, its all about my actions. And I’m ready to go…I’ve never been more ready to play football.
“Challenge me, throw whatever you want at me, I could care less.”
• The Pittsburgh Steelers announced the signing of veteran offensive tackle D’Anthony Batiste, who takes the place of rookie guard Nik Embernate, who was “waived/injured”.
• In other Steelers news, they’ll be breaking out their bumblebee throwbacks on Nov. 17 against the Detroit Lions.
• Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com notes that Lions safety Louis Delmas did not practice for a fourth consecutive day.
• Veteran tight end Leonard Pope signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears, who had placed tight end Brody Eldridge on waivers on Friday. Pope has 105 receptions for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns in his seven-year career with the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers.
• The New England Patriots announced that wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei and rookie offensive tackle Elvis Fisher were “waived/injured”. Tuinei joined the team on Thursday, while Fisher joined the team as an undrafted free agent in May. Fisher received $15,000 in guaranteed money from the Patriots and, if he clears waivers, will join rookie wide receiver T.J. Moe on injured reserve. Moe received $30,000 in guaranteed money from New England.
• While Moe and Fisher won’t be a factor, undrafted tight end Zach Sudfeld, who received $17,000 in guarantees from the Patriots, is on the rise, writes Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.
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