"We are excited to be able to add a future Hall of Fame player with the addition of Champ Bailey."
-Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints General Manager
The New Orleans Saints signed free agent cornerback Champ Bailey on Friday. Team general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the signing and gave the quote above, as noted by ESPN. Bailey is about as sure a Hall of Fame player as we've seen in years, and what he actually does on the field over the course of his two-year deal in New Orleans won't have any impact on that.
SB Nation NFL
SB Nation NFL
That's because Bailey has had a long career at the top, only proving ineffective when he's not actually on the field due to injuries. His 2013-14 campaign wasn't totally wiped out due to the aforementioned injuries, but they certainly did not help. Bailey played in just five games in 2013, which led to him not recording a single interception for the first time in his career.
But if he can remain healthy, most believe he can still play at a high level. Getting a future Hall of Famer is a big deal for the Saints, but if they depend on him to start and hold down one side of the field, they're likely putting too much on his plate.
"We've always been aggressive about protecting the integrity of our players."
-DeMaurice Smith, Head of NFLPA
On Friday, further reports surfaced that suggested former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was a problem in the locker room. Jackson was released last week and has since signed a deal with the Washington Redskins, but the reason for his release has been up in the air. Prior to his release, there were reports that linked Jackson to gangs in Los Angeles, and now there's the report from Friday.
Also to come out on Friday was the fact that the NFL Players Association plans to investigate the Eagles organization for potentially smearing Jackson just prior to his release, as noted by Pro Football Talk. Smith said that Jackson is a "great young man," and said that the NFLPA is investigating whether or not there were "comments or leaks" from the team or misinformation "to the media coming from the team."
"I have never knowingly ingested a banned substance, but like most players, I take nutritional supplements."
- Jake Knott, Philadelphia Eagles
The NFL suspended second-year linebacker Jake Knott for the first four games of the 2014 season. Knott was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft. Knott was primarily a special teams player, appearing in 12 games with eight tackles last season. He was expected to get a slightly larger role this season, but this suspension definitely hurts him. Thus far, he's claimed that he unknowingly took something that may have been a banned substance as part of his nutritional supplements.
"We wish Chris the best and thank him for the six seasons he spent with us."
-Ruston Webster, Tennessee Titans general manager
The Tennessee Titans released running back Chris Johnson on Friday. Johnson has been a productive running back over his career, but his contract number was too high in 2014 and he hasn't quite performed up to the level he was in previous years. Johnson's cap hit was set to be in the double digits next season, which would have been fine if he were the same player who put up 2,006 rushing yards in 2009. Johnson had 2,509 yards from scrimmage in total that year. But his 2013 campaign saw him rush for 1,077 yards with six touchdowns, and his lowest per-carry average of his six-year career at 3.9 yards.
As noted at Music City Miracles, the Titans will likely look to the NFL Draft for his replacement:
This move makes the most sense for the Titans, but it does leave them with a hole at running back. Shonn Greene is a nice complimentary back, but they need to find a guy that can break off some big runs as well as contribute in the passing game. They will probably look to add that guy in the draft.
NFL Mock Draft
"The Bucs were apparently not willing to deal with his off-field headlines."
-Sander Philipse, Bucs Nation
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded wide receiver Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills on Friday. Williams has been an effective receiver on the field, but he comes with a slew of issues off the field. The fifth-year receiver was taken in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and had over 950 receiving yards in two separate seasons. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury limited him last season.
Buffalo already had a pretty good lineup of receivers with Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. It's unclear where Williams fits, but it's most likely alongside Johnson in a starting role, though there's plenty of time to figure that out. It also reunited Williams with head coach Doug Marrone; the two worked together at Syracuse, as noted at Buffalo Rumblings.