A few items to ruminate on as free agency looms. 1. I'm not so sure it's going to be a free agent "frenzy" this year. The reason? There are way more free agents than normal. The uncapped year that pushed free agency eligibility in 2010 from four years to six years kept guys off the market. Then, the abbreviated offseason in 2011 caused a lot of teams (and players) to opt for one-year deals. So what we have is a flooded market and that means teams can idle down the aisles. 2. The Patriots are so unpredictable and tight-lipped during these periods that we're often left to read tea leaves and kick around for clues that indicate who they like or where they appear to need help. With that in mind, the 2011 season gave a big clue that safety is a huge need position.Too badfor the Patriots it's a tragically weak class. 3. Although the BenJarvus Green-Ellis Camp believes he'll draw attention on the free agent market, I believe it will be second-tier attention. It's going to leave him with a decision to make about chasing dough or staying in New England. I believe the Patriots will make him a respectable offer but they won't be in a bidding war. For an undrafted player, the money will be a powerful lure -- especially when that player is a running back whose career expectancy will be short. I believe he's likely to be somewhere else. 4. Mark Anderson could be a guy that attracts major attention. He rehabbed his career in 2011 with the Patriots after going into a graveyard spiral in Chicago. His decision to stay or go will be tougher than Green-Ellis' because the Patriots are the ones whogave him a shot and put him in a position to make plays. Of course, ifNew England lowballs him the decision won't be hard at all. 5. There is so much I enjoy about Randy Moss. When it comes to authenticity, he's got it all over Chad Ochocinco. Buthis separation from reality is apparent when he says, "I think when it comes to the world-wide sports media, Ive gotten a bad rap . . . not being a team player and things like that. That's what he insisted Monday night in a conference call after the 49ers signed him. Randy, do you remember your diatribe after the 2010 season opener? Yeah, that left a mark. 6. I know I've kinda turned into Brandon Lloyd's advance press agent, but it's been an obvious story. A top-15 receiver who wants to play for Josh McDaniels and has had success in the system -- why wouldn't we be finding as much out about him as we can? Is he Jerry Rice? No. Does the confounding start to his career need investigating? Sure. But Lloyd having been "moody" in Denver palescompared toVincent Jackson. The football world droolsabout Jackson's potential as a prospective free agent. Meanwhile, he's had two DUIs andis currently onprobation. 7. That said, if the Bills get V-Jax -- and they are very interested -- that's a helluva receiving corps to deal with between him, Stevie Johnson and tall slot receiver David Nelson. 8. Larry Fitzgerald got 50 million guaranteed when he signed a new deal. Andre Johnson got 48 million. Tom Brady got 48.5. Julius Pepper gets 40 million in the first three years of his deal. What will Mario Williams get? When you consider that Peppers has played very well yet the Bears went 8-8 this year (after a 12-4 2010), does it give a team pause about going into the 60 million guarantee range for a non-quarterback. 9. The 2011 Offseason Champions were the Philadelphia Eagles. They missed the playoffs last year. 10. I'm not buying on Matt Flynn. At least not to the "savior" level teams seem to be attaching to him. I do hope he does well, however. itsanirishthing.
Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.
Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard.
Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.
While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month.
The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.
Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.
- What's left out there in free agency for Bruins?
- Haggerty: Touting Bruins' defense as "strength" of the team is a tad premature
Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.
Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.
The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.
If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.
The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.