I meant to mention this yesterday, but the thought evaded my fingers. I owe the NFL Lockout a big thank you. It reduced me to watching women's soccer and it was fantastic.
It was the most fun I've had watching a sporting event since last football season. It had all the qualities needed to get me fired up for a sport that I care nothing about. A team playing for America? Check. That team getting unfairly hosed on bad calls? Check. A dominant and unlikeable player on the opposition that makes the U.S. seem like underdogs? Check. And finally an improbable finish that makes people gush about the "never say die" and "will to win" of the American spirit? That would be a big American middle finger waving check. Suck it, Brazil.
Enough for women's soccer—jump over for the booty. ...Wait, I could still be talking about women's soccer with that. Jump over for news about American football.
The Raiders kickers are awesome! ESPN rightly ranks Lechler the best punter in the West and Janikowski the best kicker. Just don't get Janikowski in Arizona. His blood is too thick to function in the heat there.
Ranking the AFC West kicking specialists - AFC West Blog - ESPN
1. Shane Lechler, Oakland: He is the premier punter in the game. His leg is registered-weapon material. 4. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland: Janikowski is the best placekicker in this division. He missed eight field-goal attempts last season, but he is a fine weapon for Oakland.
ProFootballWeekly has progressed the Plaxico Burress rumors from speculation to saying that they have "heard." I am skeptical of PFW's "inside" information.
ProFootballWeekly.com - RB Jones takes leadership role with Chiefs
Expect the Raiders to be one of the teams in the Plaxico Burress derby. The team needs a veteran wide receiver, especially one with size. There are questions about how much the club can offer the former Giants star who was in jail the past two years, but if they can fit him under the cap, Oakland could make Burress one of their top free-agent targets.
Anyway, this set off people on commenting on Burress and the Raiders:
Oakland Raiders Expected to Target Plaxico Burress " NFL Spin Zone | A General NFL Blog providing you all the NFL News, Rumors, Updates, and National Football League News.
The move does make a lot of sense. The Oakland Raiders are not afraid to take on a controversial player, so the fan base would be more than willing to welcome Burress — especially if he could contribute on the field. In his last full season, Burress put up 1,025 yards and 12 touchdown grabs on 70 receptions.
At least Chuck Carroll talks about this in reality terms.
Raiders Expected To Pursue Burress Money Permitting | Football News Now
Pro Football Weekly wonders if the team will have enough to offer the former Pro Bowl receiver. If, however, the team can make it work he may be among their top targeted free agents. Fitting anybody under the salary cap could prove difficult for the team after going on a re-signing spree prior to the start of the lockout. That same spree will make it exceptionally difficult to reach a new deal with Nnamdi Asomugha.
Around the Lockout
The owners announced a target date for the new CBA:
NFL Lockout: Timeline For a Deal and Ensuing Roster Rush Comes Into View - Silver And Black Pride
Negotiations during the NFL Lockout have yet to deliver us a new CBA, but it has delivered us a new due date. The new CBA is expected to be delivered on July 21st...ish, or something similar hopefully, or maybe not.
Is that just another piece of propaganda though?
NFL player: Don't believe the hype - CBSSports.com
He was talking about reports of a labor deal between the NFL owners and the league's players getting close to being done. "That's not true," the player said. "All that is hype coming from the owners side to try and put pressure on us to do a deal. They want to make us look bad. It's simply not true. There is a lot of work to be done. They are not close."
I am not sure what they aren't close on. Reports seem to think they have their differences narrowed down to the rookie wage scale, and it doesn't seem like there is much standing in their way:
On rookie wage scale, league, players don’t seem to be squabbling over much | ProFootballTalk
While the owners want to spend $44 million less per year on rookies, that’s $44 million that would go to veterans and retired players. Finally, the league wants to impose penalties on rookies who hold out at some point during the term of their rookie contracts. The players oppose this proposal.