JUDGE notes: Don't rule out new Martz-Rams deal

Share This Story

Clark Judge

Don't rule out the possibility of St. Louis Coach Mike Martz gaining a new contract this summer. Though nothing is imminent, Martz recently met with ' president John Shaw, and Shaw has heard from Martz's agent, Frank Bauer. Both expressed interest in reopening contract talks that seemed dead earlier this year, which means Martz might be softening his demands. That would be good for the and Martz. The club wants to extend his contract — one that has two years left — but only if it can keep the two years at their present values. The are willing to jump the contract substantially in future seasons, thus increasing the average per-annum value, but Martz had resisted — wanting the value of the existing contract increased, too. Until now that hasn't seemed possible, with the content to revisit the subject after the season. But Martz seems interested in getting something done now, sources said, and that might mean a new deal before training camp. I say "might." If talks go nowhere and nothing is resolved by then, they won't be addressed until after the season. The club won't allow the distraction of a contract extension to hang over its head coach's head while he tries to do what he could not do a year earlier — namely, win the Super Bowl.

Mitchell taking his time

Don't look for linebacker to make up his mind on his next club today or tomorrow. Nothing is likely to happen there before the end of the week, and it might be another seven days before the former New Orleans star makes up his mind. At this juncture, it's Houston and Jacksonville competing for Mitchell, one of the best free agents still available, but agent Michael Harrison doesn't rule out another club entering the picture before it's over. Harrison wouldn't confirm an offer for Mitchell, but it seems apparent there's something on the table. "Let's just say if he wanted to sign he could," he said.

Gonzalez serious about NBA

Tight end intends to try out for the NBA Miami Heat, but the Kansas City aren't concerned. Nor should they be. Gonzalez is, was and will be an NFL star, and he's on the record as saying he has no intention of giving up the game. Plus, he expressed interest in giving basketball a whirl before (he played for Cal, starting 16 games), so this is old news to Kansas City. While the would prefer that Gonzalez be in Kansas City, there's nothing in his contract that prevents him from giving basketball a try. In essence, this is , Part II, except don't expect the to voice an objection. The were pleased that Gonzalez was in Kansas City for two weeks for workouts and that he stood with his position group during sessions. The team expects a long-term contract to be completed later this summer and isn't concerned with the latest developments — primarily because it didn't get Gonzalez's first counter-proposal until June 15.

up for sale

At least two persons who should know swear the Minnesota will be sold, possibly in the next two months. Owner Red McCombs has said he's interested in peddling the club, and people who should know believe it will be sooner rather than later — with one source insisting the team already is on the market. The were one of those clubs mentioned as a possible candidate to move, but if somebody will have patience with the Minnesota legislature it appears ready to do something about a new stadium within a year. One problem: Patience is one quality McCombs doesn't possess, which is why he's talking about selling. A third league source heard that McCombs wants a new stadium more than he wants anything else, but he said he's also heard more than once that the ' owner not only plans to sell the club but already has a "For Sale" sign on it.

, Johnson talking contract

The Cleveland are talking to wide receiver about a new contract, and the course of negotiations will tell you something about Johnson's value to the club. Sources close to the talks say Johnson wants $4 million a year but might be willing to settle for $3 million. The , meanwhile, are willing to give him $3 million to sign and $2 million a year in salary. There are some who aren't convinced the will reach a settlement and, instead, will let Johnson walk in a year. They point out that while he has marvelous hands and is coming off his best year, he's not fast, doesn't play hard and doesn't work at being a star. In short, they say he's not Butch Davis' kind of player. That's why these talks are so intriguing. Nobody is really certain how sincere the are about keeping Johnson. But if they sign the guy then you know somebody's done an about-face. While Johnson is the lead dog at his position, and are vastly improved — with Morgan, a Davis draft pick, looking terrific at the team's mini-camps.

Young could help McNown

Here's a suggestion: If the Atlanta can hire Steve Young to work with a quarterback who needs help, why can't the San Francisco ? I'm talking, of course, about , acquired last week for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Young lives in the Bay Area and drops by the ' offices every now and then. So why not have him spend a week or two with McNown, whose career has plummeted since he was the 12th pick of the draft in 1999? Those who spend time around McNown say his accuracy is as bad as his maturity. Well, there were few quarterbacks more accurate than Young, and few who were in more of a pressure cooker. Plus, he's left-handed, like McNown. The rescued Young from Tampa Bay; maybe they can rescue McNown, too — with Young's help. Clark Judge can be reached at his e-mail address:
Tagged: Falcons, Browns, Chiefs, Rams, Vikings, Saints, 49ers, Kevin Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, Terrell Owens

More Stories From Clark Judge

More Than Sports on MSN