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Saturday's 5 key personnel developments
A look at five of Saturday’s biggest NFL personnel developments:
• Peyton Manning cashes in: No NFL player will ever have earned more in the first three years of a contract — $69 million — than Manning in his new five-year, $90 million deal. Manning probably could have commanded even more but wisely didn’t want to cripple Indianapolis’ ability to make roster moves under the salary cap that would keep the team a viable Super Bowl contender. The Colts will have to wait for Manning to start collecting on his new contract. The team announced the quarterback will open the preseason on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list while recuperating from offseason neck surgery.
• Seattle has a new starting QB: So much for a preseason competition between Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst to replace the departed Matt Hasselbeck (Tennessee). Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has already chosen Jackson, who was just inked to a two-year, $8 million free-agent contract. Jackson’s familiarity with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and newly signed wide receiver Sidney Rice — both of whom were with him in Minnesota from 2007 to 2010 — is a major factor in Carroll’s decision. But this still reflects poorly on Whitehurst, who Seattle had hoped would become Hasselbeck’s heir apparent when acquiring him in a 2010 offseason trade with San Diego. It’s also curious that Minnesota thought so little of Jackson that the Vikings made no effort to re-sign him and instead traded for Donovan McNabb.
• Albert Haynesworth missed his first Patriots practice: Raise your hand if this surprises you. Yeah, I didn’t think so. It’s believed New England defensive tackle Haynesworth failed the team’s conditioning test. Maybe this will just be a hiccup and Haynesworth will get his act together. But this situation raises questions about what exactly Haynesworth was doing during the offseason and whether he truly cares about salvaging his NFL career.
• Philadelphia keeps adding to its “dream team”: The Eagles aren’t done wheeling and dealing even after acquiring four big-name players since Tuesday (cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, quarterback Vince Young and defensive end Jason Babin). Philadelphia signed ex-Green Bay defensive end Cullen Jenkins to a reported five-year, $25 million contract Saturday and traded defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley to Cleveland for a 2012 fifth-round draft choice. Already stacked with talent, the Eagles also have a slew of extra 2012 picks that include an additional second-rounder as part of Thursday’s trade that sent quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona.
• The Plaxico Burress tour continues: Having already met with the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, the free-agent wide receiver was headed for a Saturday night rendezvous with the San Francisco 49ers. The New York Post reported that the New York Jets are the next suitor in line. If he heads there, Burress would replace Braylon Edwards as a starter opposite the recently re-signed Santonio Holmes.