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Pro Football Talk hears that contract talks between the Giants and WR Victor Cruz are "moving slowly." We suppose that's better than no movement at all. But the 2 sides are reportedly still at least $3 million apart in annual salary. Cruz is looking for $10 million per year. The Giants are believed to be offering $7 million. We're still about a month away from the first real pressure point. That will come on June 17th when the team can replace the 1-year, $2.9 million restricted free-agent tender with a $594K offer. The situation could get ugly at that point. We doubt it gets there, though, and won't worry about Cruz's 2013 outlook unless it does.
Giants GM Jerry Reese isn't ruling out a holdout by WR Victor Cruz. “We’ll see,” Reese said. “I can tell you this: When we get ready to play, when the season starts, we will have some good players out there. I’m not sure if Victor will be there or not. But I don’t assume anything.” Cruz was slapped with a 1st-round restricted free-agent tender earlier this offseason. That will pay him $2.9 million this year. Cruz is looking for a long-term deal, and the Giants want the same. But the 2 sides are reportedly far apart on money. Cruz is looking for $10-11 million per year, while the G-Men have only offered $7. It doesn't sound like Cruz plans on showing up for any team activities until a long-term contract is in place. That could change on June 17th, though, when the Giants can lower Cruz's salary to $630K. We won't start to worry about Cruz's fantasy football outlook until that point.
The Giants began voluntary workouts today at team facilities. Giants WR Victor Cruz did not, according to USA Today's Mike Garafolo. That news should surprise no one, of course. Cruz continues to seek a long-term deal from the team that merely applied a 1st-round tender to the restricted free agent this offseason. We still fully expect a deal to happen. It's not yet clear whether Cruz would skip "mandatory" workouts without a new contract. Until he signs his RFA tender or a longer-term deal, however, the team won't be able to mandate anything. It's also worth noting that Cruz did work out with Giants QB Eli Manning at Duke University last week.
The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian has confirmed that Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will undergo a 4th forearm surgery on Monday at 2 pm ET. Doctors will go in and determine whether or not the infection has cleared. But contrary to previous information, Guregian reports that Gronk will need a 5th surgery regardless. If the infection has cleared, that procedure to replace the plate in his forearm will take place in about a week. Gronk would then begin a 10-11 week recovery phase. If the infection is still present, "it's back to square one, and the possibility of missed games creeps into the equation," Guregian writes. We'll continue to stay on top of this situation.
2 important updates on the Rob Gronkowski back story. First, Pro Football Talk has learned that Gronk is awaiting a 2nd opinion but will "probably" need surgery to address the disc problem. Second, we've learned more about the timetable for the procedure and recovery. PFT reports that Gronk will go under the knife 3-4 weeks after the final forearm procedure. That could be Monday, or it could be later if he needs that 5th surgery. (Still following?) Then Gronk will need 10 weeks of rehab after the back surgery, according to ESPN. If our math is right, that means Gronk will be back in 13-14 weeks, assuming he doesn't need a 5th forearm surgery. The 2013 season starts in 16 weeks. If everything goes to plan, Gronk would be ready for Week 1. But he won't do much in training camp or the preseason. If he needs that 5th forearm surgery, all bets are off.
USA Today’s Mike Garafolo reports that Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has a disc issue in his back that is “being examined and could require surgery.” ESPN’s Adam Schefter hears that the issue is considered minor and wouldn’t keep Gronk out longer than he’ll be sidelined with his forearm situation. “He’s going to be fine long term,” a person close to Gronk said. “[He’s] not worried about the short term, i.e. start of training camp.” Fantasy owners should be alarmed, though. Gronkowski is only 24, but the medical problems are starting to pile up. Remember that he missed the entire 2009 college season after undergoing surgery to repair a disc in his back, although this latest issue is reportedly unrelated. He also dealt with a hip problem for a chunk of last year. Gronk needs to be considered an injury-risk in fantasy drafts this summer – even if he’s ready to go for Week 1.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning has signed a slightly altered contract with Denver. Pro Football Talk reports that the money didn't change. The Broncos merely added language to mention an insurance policy they bought against injury to the same part of Manning's neck that cost him the entire 2011 season. This contract has no real fantasy impact. But it serves as a reminder that even a full -- apparently healthy -- season doesn't completely remove the physical risk with the 37-year-old.
The NFL schedule has been released. The Ravens and Broncos kick things off on Thursday, September 5th. HC Chip Kelly makes his Eagles debut on Monday night against the Redskins (and maybe RG3). We get the Manning Bowl in Week 2. Peyton returns to Indianapolis in Week 7. Here's the complete 2013 NFL schedule.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning admits that he still has "certain challenges" related to his multiple neck surgeries. "When you're dealing with nerves, I've learned it's a patience deal," Manning said. "They kind of say it could be a year or two, or it may never come back, so I'm kind of hopeful. I kind of wish certain things would come back a little bit more, but I have learned to adjust and compensate in the state that I am. I still would like to make some more improvement. I still work at it. But, yeah, I'm certainly better than I was last year. But I'm still not quite where I was before I was injured." Some evaluators noticed a dip in Manning's arm strength last year, especially late in the season. That may be accurate, but Manning's production didn't dip. His 68.6% completion rate, 8.0 yards-per-attempt average and 37 TDs were all better than his career averages. Despite turning 37 last month, Manning could be even better in 2013 -- another year removed from those neck surgeries. The addition of WR Wes Welker won't hurt either.
Philly.com's Zach Berman reports that Eagles QB Michael Vick is "noticeably bigger" than last season. That's a good thing, given Vick's notorious injury history and the Birds' apparent plan to call more designed QB run plays. If Vick can get noticeably less turnover prone, then he could turn into a fantasy force again. As it is, he looks like a big risk-reward candidate in your fantasy draft this summer. We favor him to beat Nick Foles for the starting job.
Related Players: Nick Foles
Eagles QB Michael Vick revealed that the team used fewer designed run in 2013 in an attempt to keep him healthy. His 33 rushing yards per game were his fewest in 3 seasons as Philly's starter. Vick is expected to run more in HC Chip Kelly's offense this year. That'll give him more fantasy upside but also increase the chance of injury. Vick will be one of the biggest risk/reward QBs in fantasy football drafts this summer.
Michael Vick is widely considered the favorite to win the Eagles' starting QB job this summer. And he opened minicamp with the 1st-team offense. But QB Nick Foles also took a "significant number of snaps" with the starters, per insider Zach Berman. HC Chip Kelly said Vick and Foles split the 1st-team reps evenly. Matt Barkley and Dennis Dixon didn't see any. "We're just trying to get reps off and trying to get film and look at it," Kelly said. "It's May 13 and we've got a long ways to go before we ever set a depth chart or do anything like that." Vick remains the leader in the clubhouse -- thanks to his mobility and $7.5 million contract. But if he struggles to get comfortable in Kelly's offense, Foles is capable of snapping up the starting gig.
Related Players: Dennis Dixon, Matt Barkley, Nick Foles
Redskins QB Robert Griffin (knee) resumed throwing in late-April. "Robert is doing extremely well as far as the timetable,'' RG3's dad said. "He's been doing a lot over time, he never stops. He was throwing some prior to the draft. Everything seems to be on cue. Everybody in the organization is targeting that season opener.'' Griffin's dad added that Griffin's rehab is ahead of where it was when he tore his ACL at Baylor back in 2009. "He might be a little ahead of himself in terms of doing what he did then compared to now,'' he said. "He's smarter, stronger, wiser.'' RG3 remains a question mark for Week 1, but it's been so far, so good.
Redskins QB Robert Griffin is now 4 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery. It's still way too early to get a good read on his status for the start of the 2013 season. But we do know that RG3 has yet to encounter a setback. “I’m doing great,” he said. “Knee feels fine. It’s about taking it slow. Each day is a better day.” If he stays setback-free, Griffin will have a realistic shot of taking the field for Week 1. For now, though, he remains a risk/reward pick in early fantasy football drafts.
Redskins HC Mike Shanahan says he won't let QB Robert Griffin (knee) back on the field "unless he's 100%." Shanny also promises to keep RG3 from pushing too hard in rehab. “We need to make sure he doesn’t go too quickly because he could set it back,” Shanahan said. “There’s time it’s going to take to do it the right way. The ligament needs time to heal... When you see how hard he’s working, everyone is really optimistic. But you have to let a ligament heal.” Of course, it's tough to take Shanny at his word. His decision to let Griffin start last year's playoff game at less than 100% is the reason RG3 is in this spot in the first place. Ideally, the Redskins will ease him back into action like the Vikings did with Adrian Peterson this past summer.
Alex Smith joins pass-happy HC Andy Reid in Kansas City's new-look offense. Is that enough to make Smith a fantasy asset?
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Still think waiting on QB can work, but all three champs in my three leagues all went QB first. Interestingly enough, the wait on QB guys wound up with Stafford, Big Ben, and Eli, looked fab, and they were the dormats. The problem with waiting on a QB, if you hit it, you hit it. If you miss it, well then......
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