Signings, Surgeries & Strahan

A quick glance around the NFL in the early days of training camp finds a lot going on.

It seems the Bears were willing to renegotiate Darwin Walker's contract even though Buffalo was not. (5 years, $25 mil., lots of incentives, with $2 mil. this season and $8-9 mil. in upfront bonus.) It's a strange move given that the Bills would have shipped Walker back to the Eagles who have already signed his replacements and likely would have had to cut him. I didn't think Chicago was that desperate for a prototypical no-gap stopper.

L.J. Smith has no problem saying he's a top-10 tight end, but balks at top-5. I sure hope he has a top-5 year in terms of productivity for the Eagles. He'll get paid one way or another, either by the Eagles or in free agency, so all he has to do is stay strong and not let the situation bother him - which L.J. says he won't, pointing to the way Michael Lewis pouted his way to the bench and then out of town.

The team says the window of opportunity has closed for renegotiating contracts, at least for now, but around mid-season it might be open again. That undoubtedly depends on whether the team needs the cap money to replace injured or non-productive players and if L.J. puts on a show early in the season. Last year his blocking seemed to improve tremendously, especially in the second half of the year when he was asked to do it more often because the Eagles were running the ball. Hopefully both parts of that equation hold true this year as well.

Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn hurt his right knee in practice Sunday and had arthroscopic surgery which will cause him to miss two weeks. The timing could have been worse for Dallas - like if it had happened in mid-season - but there's never a good time for your #1 WR to miss a couple of weeks, even if it's just practice (as AI would say). You know what this means? More plays called for T.O.  I'm not sure that's such a good thing for Dallas, what with T.O's drop percentage. Let's face it, as good as T.O. has been, Glenn is the better receiver; and yet Dallas called more plays for the guy with a case of the drops last season and the new coaching staff has signaled they intend to do the same this year. Right on.

The Redskins' starting left tackle Chris Samuels is also down for a few weeks with a sprained ligament. He's supposed to be back for preseason games however so it can't be too serious. Again, there's never a good time for injuries, but it could be worse.

Elsehere in the NFC East, Michael Strahan's holdout continues, with New York GM Jerry Reese getting all warm and fuzzy and telling Strahan not to bother showing up again if he's not 100% committed. Which is probably the right message in this situation. Tom Coughlin seconds that, saying the team will move on as if Strahan is not coming back.

The Giants are also considering signing Simeon Rice. One problem: Where would Rice line up? New York's starting right defensive end is Osi Umenyiora, who sounds less than thrilled about Rice, saying, "He is an outstanding pass rusher, but that's what he is," as in, he can't stop the run - not exactly an endorsement. Umenyiora flat out says he won't move to the left side to make room for Simeon Rice. Well, maybe if the team asks, but not because Rice asks. This does not sound like an open-arms welcome for Rice in New York. Oh, and Umenyiora also says he's spoken with Strahan and the odds of him coming back are only 50-50.

Also in news more or less unrelated to the NFC-E, Daunte Culpepper has agreed to be a backup for Oakland. If Culpepper is healthy, I'm surprised he would take a backup deal. Maybe he just needs to prove he's recovered this year. After that, the need for starting QB talent in the NFL is just too great for him to stay in that role. Does anyone believe a healthy Daunte Culpepper is not a better QB than, say, Jeff Garcia?

Oh, and Michael Vick is being dropped by Rawlins, in addition to Nike and Reebok and his co-defendant, Tony Taylor, who says Vick bankrolled the dogfighting operation "almost exclusively" from start to finish. The feds' promised superseding indictment to be filed in August ought to make interesting reading for any companies that have not yet ended their marketing relationship with Vick, if there are any left.