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Agree here. Hinted as much here. “In most respects, NFL free agency exists for teams to either find star-caliber players or simply complement them. Yet with all the financial entanglements written into the league’s CBA – both past and future – it’s incredibly rare for a truly transcendent player to actually hit the proverbial open market. Such safeguards as restricted and franchise designations usually prevent such a thing from happening. This could explain why Bruce Gradkowski’s availability differs from Peyton Manning’s. Or why it’s impossible to build a team through free agency.” [DK/The Orange and Brown Report]
The ‘other’ trade analysis- “He had one big year where he showed off some power and hit 22 bombs, but has mostly just been a consistent hitter. He might not have big power, but has a good doubles stroke, twice hitting 40 or more, and plays a solid outfield with an above-average arm. Even in a down year he is still posting a 761 OPS in AAA (only 4 Indians regulars have OPS over 700). He only has two home runs this year, and his doubles are down a bit, and that’s why he was attainable. Still he has produced at every level, and you have to wonder if this could be little like McAllister, where the Indians are buying low and betting on a rebound.
He seems to be improving in terms of pitch recognition, as his strike out totals have dropped as he has risen up the ranks, which is not often seen. Neal strikes me as kind of a good-at-everything, master-of-nothing type. He could be a player who surprises everyone, and I would not be shocked. After all of our trades and promotions, I believe he would be one of our top ten prospects right now.” [Ellis/Indians Prospect Insider]
Training Camp report, day 3- “Robiskie Getting Open: With Mohamed Massaquoi, Cribbs, and Carlton Mitchell out, there was no doubt about it that Brian Robiskie was Colt McCoy’s favorite receiver. Just as he has done in the past, Robiskie didn’t burn defenders with speed. He appeared to be making some nice cuts though and was getting open consistently on short- to medium passes. Hardly any drops either, and I really didn’t see too many flat-out drops from receivers during the day.” [Pokorny/Dawgs by Nature]
“The Browns will be aggressive this season in using their young players, starting with McCoy. He showed no fear in playing as a rookie. If McCoy can step into the full-time job of starting quarterback and stay healthy, the offense should at least remain on the tracks. Second-year lineman Shawn Lauvao is expected to contend for a starting job this season. He also needs to stay healthy and prove he is ready for a full-time role. Lauvao’s regular presence on the line would do wonders for chemistry and continuity in the running game. Speaking of the running game, I am very excited about Owen Marecic. Marecic is in line to begin the season atop the depth chart at fullback. His ability to block, run, and catch out of the West Coast’s two-back sets will be as important to Peyton Hillis’ effectiveness as Montario Hardesty will.” [Batke/Dawg Pound Daily]
Good piece explaining the hold-up with Phil Taylor and 6 other first rounders, in case you missed it yesterday. [Pro Football Talk]