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tiggerpolice 06-14-2005 01:06 PM

Niners, QB Smith close to agreement and around the nfl
June 13, 2005) -- A deal between quarterback Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers has been all but agreed to. There still will be some minor haggling on language, and a little on numbers, but not much. Both sides are now very optimistic that a deal will be struck before training camp, and it will be a win-win.

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When the contract is officially finalized, it will slightly exceed the numbers awarded to last year's No. 1 pick Eli Manning, who signed a six-year, $54 million contract that included a $20 million signing bonus. The deal might not be signed for another month, just because camp doesn't open until then, but it will get signed in time for camp.

There is not expected to be any holdout, and it's understandable why. Both sides were highly motiviated in this deal. The Niners have a new regime that wants to prove it is going to do things right, and Smith has made it a point to stress how important it is for him to be in training camp on time. No reason both won't happen.

The 49ers continue assembling a qualified front office to bolster a roster that lacks star power and depth. The 49ers hired former Colts scout Tom Gamble as their pro personnel director on June 12, and the deal will be officially signed June 14. Gamble is known for his work ethic and football knowledge, skills that will serve the 49ers well.

It has been kept secret until today, but Browns tight end Kellen Winslow will undergo surgery on his torn right ACL on June 14 in Cleveland. The date of the surgery has been kept such a secret that, for a while, some within the Browns organization weren't even aware it was scheduled for when it was. The surgery will coincide with the start of the Browns mandatory minicamp, which kicked off today.

With Winslow absent, the Browns now plan to send him a letter, informing the tight end he breached his contract when he rode a motorcycle and injured himself. The breach, at the very least, will cost Winslow the $2 million bonus the Browns were scheduled to pay him next month. But Winslow isn't worried about that right now. He's concentrating on getting back from the surgery as soon as he can, and becoming the tight end that he and the Browns expected him to be.

Free-agent cornerback Ty Law has begun running, but he won't begin cutting for another two to three weeks. Once he does, then Law will intensify talks with his various suitors, and there are plenty. But to date, not a single offer has been made by any team for Law. Repeat: No offers as of yet. When offers start coming in -- and look for Miami, Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh to head the list -- Law is insisting that he will not sign a one-year deal. He wants a multi-year deal and he wants to be paid like the elite cornerback he has been and that he still expects to be.

With the season-ending injury to cornerback Will Poole, Miami has the greatest need for Law. Cleveland would love to reunite Law with his former defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel. Detroit still is highly interested in Law, even though the Lions signed cornerback R.W. McQuarters to a one-year deal this weekend. And Pittsburgh would like to bring Law back to his home city.

Both Morton brothers, Chad and Johnnie, were post-June 1 salary-cap casualties. Both have drawn immediate interest. Chad Morton was scheduled to arrive tonight in Minnesota, and then spend June 14 visiting with the Vikings. The Vikings need a return man to replace their returners of 2004, Mewelde Moore and Nate Burleson, each of whom will have more primary roles this season on offense. Morton is still recovering from his torn ACL and likely will not be ready at the start of training camp, but the Vikings need him for when he is healthy.

As for Chad's older brother, Johnnie Morton, he is drawing interest from San Francisco, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, each of which has a need for a wide receiver. Morton is older, but he still could help each of those franchises.

The right side of the Saints offensive line will have a new and improved look this season. First-round draft pick Jammal Brown is expected to start at right tackle, replacing Victor Riley, while free-agent acquisition Jermane Mayberry is expected to start at right guard, replacing Kendyl Jacox.

And the lineman in charge of helping bring them, as well as the rest of the team together, is left tackle Wayne Gandy. As the Saints were preparing to wrap up their minicamp this weekend, Gandy threw a voluntary/mandatory party Saturday night at a New Orleans hotel that most of the team attended. Gandy was the party's host, but it's also clear he has turned into one of the team's leaders.

Kudos to Browns owner Randy Lerner, who provided the use of his private plane to former Patriots Romeo Crennel, Jeff Davidson, Joe Andruzzi and Justin Kurpeikis so they could fly from Cleveland to New England to take part in the ring ceremony last night at Patriots owner Robert Kraft's home. Each of the Browns employees then was able to have his fun in New England, and be back in Cleveland for the start of minicamp today. Such a gesture distinguishes Lerner as one of the game's top owners.

Euphoria 06-14-2005 01:10 PM

RE: Niners, QB Smith close to agreement and around the nfl
Go Gandy...

o1higuy 06-15-2005 07:15 AM

RE: Niners, QB Smith close to agreement and around the nfl
Maybe Brooks should throw a party and he could be team leader :). Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Euphoria 06-15-2005 09:35 AM

RE: Niners, QB Smith close to agreement and around the nfl
Everything is about Brooks isn't it.

spkb25 06-15-2005 08:36 PM

RE: Niners, QB Smith close to agreement and around the nfl
good to hear that on gandy n about thisa team in general

saintz08 06-15-2005 10:28 PM

RE: Niners, QB Smith close to agreement and around the nfl

Maybe Brooks should throw a party and he could be team leader . Sorry, couldn't help myself.
Does it help that Brooks led some of the players to Gandy's Leadership party ???

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