NFL News of April 9, 2004

The Denver Broncos traded disgruntled cornerback and former first-round pick Deltha O’Neal on Friday to the Cincinnati Bengals, and managed to move up seven spots in the first round of this month’s NFL draft.

The Broncos moved up from the 24th spot to 17th in the first round, swapping spots with Bengals. In addition to O’Neal, the Broncos sent their fourth-round draft choice (117th overall) to the Bengals. The NFL draft is April 24-25.

Since coach Mike Shanahan took over supervision of the draft in 1995, the Broncos have never traded to move up in the first round. Moving up this year gives them a better chance to get a player who can immediately fill one of their pressing needs.

By moving up, the Broncos leaped ahead of New England and Dallas, two teams that could be interested in selecting a running back in the first round. The Broncos have a need at running back after trading Clinton Portis to Washington, but also have holes to fill at outside linebacker, wide receiver and defensive tackle, and tight end if Shannon Sharpe retires.

—Frank Schwab, The Colorado Springs Gazette “Broncos fly Deltha to Bengals

With the 17th pick in the 2004 draft, the Broncos selected D.J. Williams, a linebacker who played with the team until he was released after the 2012 season. The Bengals swapped the 24th pick to the Rams for the 26th pick and other considerations. The Rams took RB Steven Jackson with the 24th pick; the Bengals used the 26th pick on RB Chris Perry who played for the team until being released after the 2008 season.

Deltha O’Neal spent the 2004 – 2007 seasons with the Bengals, making the Pro Bowl in 2005. He spent the 2008 season with the Patriots and has been out of the NFL since.

NFL News of April 7, 2004

Opinions vary on which of the franchise quarterbacks (Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger) or big-play receivers (Roy Williams and Larry Fitzgerald) should go first. Cases can be made for the cornerstone left tackle (Robert Gallery), game-changing defender (Sean Taylor) and a second-coming tight end (Kellen Winslow Jr.) as well.

But there is no debating that the San Diego Chargers had better not mess up their first-round pick—the No. 1 overall selection, by the way—the way they’ve done for the better part of the past 10 years.

…Under former general manager Bobby Beathard, the Chargers didn’t have a first-round pick from 1994-97, nor in ’99 and 2000. Beathard made a practice out of trading future first-rounders when he saw players he liked still on the board in the second rounds. Those swaps netted immortals such as cornerback Terrence Shaw, running back Terrell Fletcher and receivers Bryan Still and Mikhael Ricks.

There also was the selection of quarterback Ryan Leaf.

—Chris Harry, The Orlando Sentinel “Chargers need a jolt: Manning should be their choice”

After Manning made it known that he would not sign with the Chargers, the Chargers traded Manning (the #1 pick) to the Giants for Philip Rivers (#4 overall pick), a 2004 third rounder (K Nate Kaeding) and the Giants’ 2005 first round pick (Shawne Merriman).

NFL News of April 6, 2004

The Giants continue to stock up on veteran defensive linemen, signing former Raider Lorenzo Bromell as a free agent Monday to join Fred Robbins, Martin Chase, and the re-signed Keith Washington in the mix.

Bromell, 28, will be joining his fourth NFL team in seven seasons after entering the league as Miami’s fourth-round pick in 1998 out of Clemson. The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder started last summer in Minnesota, but suffered a knee injury in training camp and was released Aug. 31 He signed Nov. 19 with Oakland, where he played six games for current Giants’ defensive line coach Mike Waufle.

He has 27.5 sacks in 75 career games, including eight starts. Two of those sacks and four of those starts came last year with the Raiders.

—Vinny DiTrani, The Record “Giants piling on defensive linemen”

NFL News of April 4, 2004

The pedaling begins today for quarterback Rohan Davey.

For the last two seasons, the potential-filled Patriots backup has been like that old Huffy dirt bike stored away for winter—out of sight, out of mind, in need of a tune-up. Now it’s time for the first ride and Davey’s curious if the it’s-like-riding-a-bike adage applies to his football career.

“I don’t know if you just hop back on and expect to be in the same rhythm when you left the game,” he said. “I think it takes something like what I’m going through to hone those skills and get back to where I was when I first got out of college.”

What the likable LSU product is going through is a long-distance odyssey to play for the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe. The development league for the NFL opens play this weekend and Davey’s debut as the Thunder’s starting signal-caller is today against the Scottish Claymores.

In many ways, this is the most significant step for Davey since joining the Patriots as a 2002 fourth-round draft choice. The primary No. 2 quarterback behind Tom Brady for the last three seasons, Damon Huard, is an unrestricted free agent. His representatives have been told by the Patriots that the club won’t make any decisions at QB until after evaluating the 6-foot-2, 245-pound Davey in NFL Europe.

—Mike Reiss, The Metrowest Daily “Patriots QB Davey plays ball”

Davey was named Player of the Year of NFL Europe for the 2004 season and won the World Bowl with the Berlin Thunder. He played sparingly for the Patriots in 2004 and was released before the 2005 season. After a few seasons in the arena football league, he was out of football for five years before resurfacing in 2013 with AFL’s San Antonio Talons.

NFL News of April 2, 2004

The agent who failed to file paperwork that would have made Dennis Northcutt a free agent says the wide receiver will never play for the Browns again.

Frustrated by the Browns’ refusal to trade Northcutt to Baltimore, agent Jerome Stanley on Wednesday said the team was hurting his client’s career.

“Dennis Northcutt will never play for the Cleveland Browns again, under any circumstances,” Stanley said from Palm Beach, at the NFL meetings. “If they trade him to any team other than Baltimore, he will not report.”

…The Browns contend Northcutt and Stanley failed to comply with the stipulation that they inform the club by certified mail of their intentions to void the remaining three years of his deal.

Instead of signing a multimillion dollar deal elsewhere, Northcutt remains in Cleveland for the next three years, averaging about $700,000 a year.

—The Tampa Tribune “Browns’ Northcutt Stuck In Red Tape”

Northcutt played for the Browns in the 2004 season and remained with the team through 2006. He signed a 5-year, $17m contract with the Jaguars before the 2007 season. He spent two years with the team before he was traded to the Lions. Northcutt was cut by the Lions after the 2009 season, his final season in the league.

NFL News of March 29, 2004

Assuming Rick Mirer passes his physical this week, the Detroit Lions have their third-string quarterback for next season.

…Mirer, 34, fills the vacancy left by the departure of Ty Detmer to Atlanta. He has a history with Mariucci and quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, having been with them at San Francisco.

Although Seattle took him with the second pick in the 1993 draft and he showed promise early in his career, Mirer never blossomed into the quarterback the Seahawks expected.

He has bounced around the NFL in recent years, primarily as a backup. The exception was last year, when he started the final eight games for the Oakland Raiders after being forced into duty Nov. 2 in a 23-13 loss to the Lions.

Against the Lions, Mirer completed 15 of 28 passes for 125 yards and was intercepted twice after replacing injured Marques Tuiasosopo.

—Curt Sylvester, The Detroit Free Press “Lions, backup QB Mirer reach deal”

2004 was Mirer’s twelfth, and final, year in the league and the Lions were his 7th career team. He did not appear in a game for the Lions.

NFL News of March 28, 2004

Warren Sapp. Gone. The same goes for John Lynch and eight other players who helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers convert their impressive run of goodness from the late 1990s into a world championship after the 2002 season.

In addition, Rich McKay, the architect of those Buccaneers teams, left for the Falcons near the end of last season. He brought along Tim Ruskell, his top lieutenant. Now the Buccaneers are reinventing themselves by the millisecond with a drastic change of philosophy and personnel.

Are they better or worse?

Who knows?

Here’s our point: The Buccaneers aren’t that team over there anymore. You can blame free agency and the salary cap for turning the NFL into a different place through parity. Among other things, parity has kept most from becoming that team over there and many from following the script of somebody who could be that team over there.

—Terence Moore, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution “NFL has parity, no duration”