Shutdown Corner - NFL


A few things to ponder as we wonder if Brett Favre(notes) will use his long weekend to gas up a plane and fly to Sidney Rice's(notes) house...

Thursday was a good day to get paid.

-- Tom Brady(notes) got a bigger contract extension than expected ($72 million, with $48.5 million guaranteed) on the same day of his car accident -- it makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history in terms of average salary, at least until Peyton Manning(notes) signs his new deal in the near future.

-- Green Bay Packers stud cornerback Charles Woodson(notes) got an extension of his own -- he could make $33 million in the next three years. That was pretty obviously a team response to the new deal the New York Jets gave Darrelle Revis(notes), and it makes sense. Woodson may not be as fast downfield at Revis is, but he's more versatile -- when the Packers need him to switch to safety in nickel packages and other situations, he also excels.

-- Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin(notes) got himself a huge add-on to his contract -- he agreed to a deal that will give him $54 million in new money over the next six years and raise his 2010 salary by $17 million dollars. Between this and the Dez Bryant(notes) draft pick, it's good to see Jerry Jones admitting his hubris in that Roy Williams trade debacle. But in 2010 alone, between base salaries and signing/roster/option bonuses, the Cowboys have guaranteed their projected top-three receivers about $30 million. Now, that there is some Freakonomics!

The NFL is losing a Titan Friday. Longtime NFL center and noted NFLPA labor representative Kevin Mawae(notes) will announce his retirement after a 16-year career that spanned three different teams (the Jets, Seahawks and Titans), eight Pro Bowl selections, and a possible future in Canton. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Mawae's future is that he'll be spending much more time dealing with labor matters that really began with his election as the NFLPA president in March of 2008. There are some who suspect that Mawae was blackballed from the NFL as a league response to his labor "agitation," but if the owners thought Mawae was a pain before, they may wish for the old days fairly soon.

You didn't think that Rex Ryan and Ray Lewis(notes) would keep quiet for long, did you? No way, dude. Ryan's Jets and Lewis' Ravens face off Monday night, and Ryan was Lewis' defensive coordinator from 2005 through 2008. Both guys have what you might call mercurial personalities, and both guys can talk some smack.

"I'm just glad [Darrelle Revis] is signed, so there are no excuses," Lewis told the New York media Thursday. "Don't come and say, ‘Oh, we didn't have Revis.' Have everybody you need to have. ... Stack your deck and let's play football."

Ryan's response? "If you need to put it in your locker room, then go for it ... I'd just tell Ray that that's a good quote and we'll see him Monday night. And, he can't do his dance, either, because it isn't his home turf. Just tell him that."

Of course, there is a lot of respect behind the bluster in this case. "Ray was the most inspirational player that I've ever had the honor of coaching," Ryan said. "He's all-in. It's team, and his team only, and that's all he cares about. That's the way it should be. He's going to be going up against a team this week that, trust me, we don't care about them, either. It's going to be a no-holds-barred match."

Ugh ... more Haynesworth news. Because we just can't help ourselves. News came out Friday from good guys Jason Reid and Rick Maese of the Washington Post that everyone's favorite $100 million malingerer has been playing on the scout team this week, which would seem to lead to a second-team designation when the Washington Redskins face the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. The report was based on tight end Chris Cooley(notes) telling a local radio station this news. As Reid and Maese reported, putting a player of Albert Haynesworth's(notes) caliber on the scout team is highly unusual, so this could mean a very limited role for Haynesworth, more gamesmanship and message-sending from Mike Shanahan, and more turmoil nobody needs.

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