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National Football League
Draft King Analysis

February 14, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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In a move that has major implications on the top of the draft, the Oakland Raiders signed RB Justin Fargas to a three-year, $12 million contract. The move keeps Fargas, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2007, on board in Oakland and could be a strong sign that the Raiders will look beyond Darren McFadden in the upcoming draft and instead target a defensive lineman like LSU DT Glenn Dorsey or USC DT Sedrick Ellis.

With the Raiders likely out of the McFadden mix, it certainly complicates things to a degree relative to projecting the draft. If Atlanta goes with Matt Ryan and Oakland opts for defense, it could put teams that might not be expecting to have a shot at McFadden in line to either draft him or to trade down to a team looking to land him.

Chris Harris
The Panthers signed Chris Harris to a long-term deal. (Icon SMI)
Trading out of the top five is an unlikely (and difficult) thing, but the Jets at #6 could be in a strong position to either take McFadden for themselves or to trade down. It would take more than Dallas' two first round picks to move to the sixth overall spot, but the Cowboys could potentially make a play there -- a much more realistic scenario than the one that has been going around in some circles that had Dallas working a deal with Miami for the #1 overall pick.

The Carolina Panthers signed strong safety Chris Harris to a four-year extension today, once which will keep him under contract through 2012. Harris, 25, arrived via a trade with Chicago last off-season for a fifth round draft pick and had one year remaining on his old contract. The new deal will pay Harris $13.3 million over the next five years.

This move doesn't mean that the Panthers won't look to go safety in the first round of the draft, since a free safety like Kenny Phillips could make a great compliment at safety to go with Harris. But having Harris secured also allows the Panthers to look in other directions without too much worry.

Carolina also signed impending free agent left offensive tackle Travelle Wharton to a new deal. The new contract is for six years and will keep the 6'4" 312 pound OT on the team. It remains to be seen if the Panthers will opt to use its franchise tag on offensive tackle Jordan Gross, and there are some who believe strongly that Carolina will use its franchise tag to keep Gross if it must, but the signing of Wharton certainly gives the teams some flexibility at that spot.

In an interesting move, the Arizona Cardinals have decided to use their franchise tag on OLB Karlos Dansby. That means that there will be one less young linebacker on the market when free agency begins later this month.

The roster slashing continues in Miami, as the Dolphins cut linebacker Zach Thomas today. Thomas is 34, and he would have cost $5.6 million against the cap this upcoming season. The move comes after the Dolphins cut seven other veterans, including QB Trent Green and WR Marty Booker, earlier in the week.

Adam "Pac-Man" Jones settled the last of his outstanding criminal charges today, pleading no contest to obstructing a police officer two years ago in Georgia. The Titans have expressed plans to trade Jones when/if they are able, but that can't happen until Jones is reinstated by NFL Commisssioner Roger Goodell.


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