Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Mar 25 2015, Page 34

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - March 25, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE D4 ADRIAN Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings have reached a standstill in their professional relationship. Peterson previously expressed uneasiness about continuing to play for the Vikings, coming off a season lost because of the child- abuse case the standout running back was involved in. But his camp has since advanced that stance to the point of wanting out. Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, said as much on Monday to reporters at NFL meetings in Arizona and reiterated his comments in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “ You make tough choices in life. We clearly understand he’s under contact with the Vikings. After several discussions and much thought, I believe that it’s not in his best interest to resume his career in Minnesota,” Dogra said. “ It might be best for all parties involved for him to resume his career elsewhere.” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has told Dogra he doesn’t plan to release Peterson, who turned 30 on Saturday. “ Up to today, they have not given us one compelling reason why it’s in his best interest to remain as part of the Minnesota Vikings,” Dogra said. The Vikings have leverage with Peterson’s contract, which covers the next three years including a $ 12.75 million salary for 2015. None of the remaining money on the deal, however, is guaranteed. The Vikings could conceivably sit tight all spring and summer and not have to pay Peterson at all given player paycheques don’t go out until the regular- season games begin. Peterson has a $ 250,000 workout bonus in his contract, but if he’s not interested in playing for the Vikings anymore, he’s surely not going to attend their off- season training program when he lives near Houston. In a potential trade with another team, the Vikings wouldn’t be coming from the position of power considering Peterson’s age and salary. Another club could always renegotiate a deal with Dogra for a lower salary- cap hit in exchange for more guaranteed money. But with a deep class of running backs in this year’s draft, the likelihood of a team parting with high picks for Peterson appears low. Even with recent new contracts for other star running backs Marshawn Lynch with Seattle and LeSean McCoy with Buffalo, Peterson’s salary- cap hit would be by far the most at his position in a league that has shifted away from drafting running backs in the first round and paying them anywhere close to the amount of cash franchise quarterbacks command. Peterson has not yet been reinstated by the NFL, which suspended him under the personal conduct policy. The punishment stemmed from injuries incurred by his four- year- old son Peterson said resulted from an attempt to discipline but not harm him. The case was resolved in court with a plea bargain. — The Associated Press D 4 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2015 FOOTBALL winnipegfreepress. com HOME OF THE 2015 NOTT AUTOCORP MANITOBA MEN’S AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP 5 GAME GOLF PACKAGE Includes: • Power Cart • Driving Range use GREAT FAT H ER’S DAY GIFT! Only $ 249 95 * plus taxes ($ 265.95) ( A saving of $ 125) BRIDGES GOLF COURSE Only 12 minutes from McGillivray and the perimeter www. bridgesgolfcourse. com 204.735.3000 In DA DA Y GIFT O MARCH MADNESS SALE OUR 15TH YEAR! EST. 2000 204.735.3000 No Restrictions! Valid anytime in the 2015 golf season ONLY 200 137 CARDS AVAILABLE! Phone in to receive by mail Mon- Sat 10- 4 D REW Willy owned this town last July and August — hello “ Willy- peg” — but contract talks between the Blue Bombers and his agent aren’t exactly pointing toward a deal that will soon see him put pen to paper. In fact, unless the Willy camp budges off its asking price on a new deal — they are said to be seeking in the neighbourhood of $ 400,000 — there’s a very real possibility the quarterback could play out the final year of his contract this season. So a club that spent eons trying to find some stability at quarterback may now be willing to roll the dice they can re- sign their No. 1 gun after the 2015 Canadian Football League campaign. “ There are a variety of factors at play, as there are with any negotiations,” said Bomber GM Kyle Walters this week. “ I’ll just say conversations are ongoing with Drew’s representatives and, out of respect for the process and everyone involved, we will keep the details of those talks in- house.” Willy was 7- 10 in his first year as the Bombers starter, finishing with 3,769 yards passing — third in the CFL and the best by a Winnipeg passer in seven seasons. He threw for 14 touchdowns against 17 interceptions and finished with a QB- efficiency rating of 83.9. But his numbers also took a serious nosedive in the second half of the season as he was repeatedly pounded behind the line of scrimmage. The Bombers yielded a league- high 71 sacks last season, with Willy the victim of 66 of them. To put that total in perspective, the last time the Bombers won a Grey Cup, in 1990, they surrendered a league- low 26 sacks. Willy earned around $ 280,000 in the first year of his deal and is to make the same this season. Contract talks are said to have been cordial, but Willy’s representative is seeking a new deal that would pay him around the same as Mike Reilly of the Edmonton Eskimos, but more than the first year of the new four- year extension the Calgary Stampeders signed Bo Levi Mitchell to earlier this month. Saskatchewan Roughriders QB Darian Durant is believed to be the CFL’s highest- paid pivot, as he’ll earn around $ 500,000 in 2015. All this isn’t to say the Bombers don’t want Willy back, because they do — especially as rumblings grow louder Robert Marve, his promising understudy, is interested in chasing his NFL dream after his contract runs out following this season. Upgrade The club has spent considerable cash in free agency to upgrade the offensive line in front of Willy, signing all- star left tackle Stanley Bryant, veteran centre Dominic Picard and former Hamilton Tiger- Cat right tackle Marc Dile. while adding a potential deep threat at receiver in former Toronto Argonaut Darvin Adams. That activity, understandably, has taken a serious bite out of the money in the salary cap Walters & Co. have at their disposal — including how much dough they can pile up for Willy. There’s a possibility of a bridge deal of sorts, where Willy gets a smaller raise this year with a bigger base salary after that. But the more likely scenario, at least as negotiations stand right now, is for the club to opt to get a better read on Willy as a franchise QB this year by lining up a superior O- line that can keep him off his back, by giving him more weapons at his disposal and another year with the same offensive coordinator in Marcel Bellefeuille. If this season unfolds as they hope and he lights up defences while leading the club to the playoffs, they know they’ll be held up for ransom by Willy’s camp next winter. And that’s a big, fat cheque they’d then be more willing to write. ed. tait@ freepress. mb. ca Twitter: @ WFPEdTait Willy, Blue not running same pattern QB, club apparently far apart on terms of new contract By Ed Tait KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Bombers starting QB Drew Willy figures he’s in line for a pay increase after the Big Blue went 7- 10 last season. Peterson lowers cold shoulder into Vikings RB wants outright release, according to agent By Dave Campbell CHARLIE NEIBERGALL / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES Running back Adrian Peterson is due to make $ 12.75 million this season. PHOENIX — Browns coach Mike Pettine expects quarterback Johnny Manziel to take part in the team’s practices next month after leaving rehab. Pettine said the team has received “ good” feedback about Manziel, who entered a treatment facility on Jan. 28 for an undisclosed problem. A firstround draft pick in 2014, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A& M backed up Brian Hoyer before playing poorly in two starts. Following the season, Manziel acknowledged he should have taken his job more seriously. Pettine does not know when Manziel will be discharged from rehab, but he expects the young QB to return to football immediately. The Browns will work out April 20. “ When he is back, it will be full speed ahead for him,” Pettine said. “ I think he’s very anxious at this point.” Pettine emphasized Manziel’s personal issues outweigh anything related to his profession. “ Football, it’s a back seat,” Pettine said. “ For his football life to get it where it needs to be, he needs to get the personal life where it needs to be... This takes precedence, so however long of time he needs, the football will be there when he gets out.” While at the owners’ meetings, the Browns have had discussions with HBO about being featured on Hard Knocks , the cable network’s popular reality series that gives viewers an inside look at an NFL team during training camp. Pettine knows all about Hard Knocks from when he was an assistant coach with the New York Jets. Pettine said Manziel’s situation is a factor in the Browns’ hesitancy to be on the program. “ When we decided not to volunteer for Hard Knocks, we discussed everything that was involved with it. ( Manziel) was certainly something we needed to consider. I wouldn’t say ( Manziel) loomed large. You just weigh everything in. Because being a part of Hard Knocks, knowing they’re going to look to cover the team’s biggest, current storylines — it’s obvious that he would be a point of attention.” From his experience, Hard Knocks can be an unnecessary diversion for players and coaches. “ It’s hard to be yourself. I know ( Arizona Cardinals coach) Bruce Arians spoke to it a year ago. If you have to change, if you have to be different, then it’s a distraction. If you’re not thinking about your job and you’re thinking about something else, for even an instant, then it’s a distraction. “ I saw that as a negative, when guys are different, guys that can’t handle, they act different, play to the camera. I see that as a potential negative.” And the positives are maybe the same thing. Guys know there’s a camera around and something they do can wind up on the show.” — The Associated Press Rehabbing Manziel expected at workouts PHIL MASTURZO / MCCLATCHEY NEWS SERVICE FILES Browns QB Johnny Manziel is taking some hard knocks of his own. D_ 0 4_ Mar- 25- 15_ FP_ 01. indd D4 3/ 24/ 15 7: 28: 28 PM

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