We won't lead off with the Aaron Hernandez investigation today. Instead, we'll delve right into news involving players much more likely to see the field this season. Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly wrote Tuesday that he believes Nick Foles will start for the Philadelphia Eagles this season, not 33-year-old Michael Vick.
While the opinion of one sports writer doesn't constitute fact, Foles and Vick have been splitting reps evenly in offseason workouts, and Foles' youth and cheaper price tag may make him a more palatable option for new head coach Chip Kelly. Mosher argues that Vick may have a harder road to the starting job than rookie Matt Barkley for the same reasons.
Vick's mobility seems well-suited for the run-first spread offense that Kelly ran at Oregon, but Kelly has not given any indication that he will be running a carbon copy offense in Philadelphia. If Kelly is thinking about the future instead, then Vick could be benched, or even released.
Massachusetts police are now investigating Aaron Hernandez for his possible involvement in a 2007 shooting that took place in Gainesville, Fla. Hernandez was a freshman with the Florida Gators at the time.
On the night of the shooting, three men left a nightclub, entered a vehicle and drove away. According to police, a man described as Hawaiian or Hispanic with a large build and a lot of tattoos allegedly open fired on the vehicle while it was at a red light, wounding the two men in the front seats of the car. The third man, sitting in the back seat, identified another man with the shooter as former Gators safety Reggie Nelson.
Hernandez and Nelson had been at the same night club as the three men that night, along with teammates Mike and Maurkice Pouncey. Hernandez was said not to be a suspect, and declined to speak with police at the time.
Ahmad Brooks may soon be facing assault charges for allegedly assaulting San Francisco 49ers teammate Lamar Divens with a beer bottle. An arrest warrant application was submitted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office charging Brooks with felony assault, but the application was held up by higher ranking officials, according to the Mercury News:
A day later, after the judge signed the warrant, higher ranking officials in the DA's office took the rare step of intervening and notified the court at 4:30 p.m. Friday to hold it, a court spokesman said. Sources said some members of [District Attorney Jeff] Rosen's administration view the case as a wobbler -- meaning it could be pursued as a misdemeanor instead of a felony -- and others want to drop it entirely.
Should Brooks be charged officially, the 49ers will be thrust into tricky situation. The team signed the linebacker to a six-year, $44.5 million contract last season, and would be responsible for a sizable chunk of dead money if they opt to release him.
Divens said he and Brooks were in touch and nearing a resolution. Two days later, Divens phoned the officer and told him he wanted to "drop it."
"He said this would be bad for both of their careers and that he just wanted to keep playing and that they had resolved it," according to the documents.
The Green Bay Packers are very serious about remaking their running game. According to the team's website, rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin are the only "locks" to make the roster at running back, leaving Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, James Starks and Angelo Pease to fight for just one or two more spots.
Green, Harris and Starks have flashed starting-caliber ability in the past, if only briefly. Green took over as starter when Cedric Benson went down last season, but struggled with consistency, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry in 12 games. Harris came on strong late in the season as a change-of-pace back, but there are concerns about his sleight frame. Starks has struggled with injuries since playing well in the Packers' postseason run to a Super Bowl title in 2011.
Any team looking to sign rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott will first have to hold a hearing in front of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Walcott is out on $500,000 bond after recently being charged with first-degree attempted murder. Goodell mandated the same stipulation for any team that was (or still is) thinking about signing Aaron Hernandez after his arrest on a murder charge.
Walcott allegedly participated in beating a man outside of a New Jersey bar, putting the man in a medically-induced coma. He had signed with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent, but was released shortly after his arrest.
The Miami Dolphins will wait and see how Paul Soliai performs this season before entering into negotiations on a long-term extension. The team reportedly wants to see who plays better between Soliai and fellow defensive lineman Randy Starks before making a decision. Potentially, the winner of the competition will be in line for a nice payday.
The Dolphins clearly like Soliai. They gave him the team's franchise tag, which is worth $8.45 million this season. Soliai anchored a run defense that ranked 13th in the league last season, giving up 108.4 yards per game. Still, the Dolphins feel they have options, and they don't have to be in rush with the 2014 offseason still several months away.
Sean Lee won't have to sweat out his performance this season, unlike Solilai. The Dallas Cowboys are expected to offer the middle linebacker a long-term contract extension before the start of the 2013 season.
Lee is young at 26 years old, and with the Cowboys switching to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, his role will become much larger this season forward. Lee will be asked to not only be tough against the run, but to defend large swaths of land in pass coverage as part of Kiffin's Tampa 2 defensive scheme.