First Read: DeAngelo says ‘I want to retire as a Panther’

While the deal-making frenzy is going on in the NFL, we'll try to give you a few transaction-related news items each morning. Here are a few stories that will probably seem stale by the time we actually post this thing...

DeAngelo Williams will reportedly meet with the Panthers on Tuesday, and he had some rather encouraging words for Carolina fans:

"I honestly and truly want to stay a Carolina Panther and they're doing their part of keep me a Carolina Panther," Williams said. "So I'm very excited about that. Carolina gets the first stab at me. If everything looks great, then why entertain other offers? So that's where we stand right now."

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"I want to stay a Panther. I want to retire as a Panther. But at the end of the day it's a business."

And we all had such big plans for him in Denver (or Miami, or wherever). Williams seems excited by offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's plans for the Carolina ground game, particularly by packages that keep DeAngelo and Jonathan Stewart on the field together.

As you may have heard by now, on Monday the Baltimore Ravens released a collection of brand-name vets — RB Willis McGahee, WR Derrick Mason, TE Todd Heap and DT Kelly Gregg — shedding nearly $19 million in salary in the process. So that team should be able to spend. The McGahee news seems like a win for Ray Rice, but of course the Ravens could still re-up with Le'Ron McClain.

Of the four players released, it sounds like Mason is the most likely to return to Baltimore, at a lower price. These were a few of his post-cut comments:

"[My return] is solely up to them. I love Baltimore. The city embraced me. The organization is great from top to bottom. My first thing would be: 'Why not Baltimore?' They're primed to win a Super Bowl and I don't want to go nowhere else but a place that is primed to contend for a Super Bowl."

Kyle Orton, to no one's surprise, is now on the trade block. Mike Klis of the Denver Post seems to think that if the Broncos don't like the offers they receive, they'll just go ahead and let him start, making Tim Tebow the No. 2. Hmm. Dunno about that bit of speculation.

In any case, Orton will reportedly be the subject of the first post-lockout trade-related call made by the Dolphins. The Miami Herald makes a case for adding Carson Palmer via trade, but of course the Bengals would need to actually shop the veteran QB. Palmer isn't talking football right now, so you'll get no insight from him.

According to various reports (including this one), Kevin Kolb will only be a member of the Eagles for another hour or two. Prepare yourself for some fantasy spin. Everyone seems to believe that Kolb will land in Arizona, likely in a deal that involves Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Seattle has been a rumored destination, too, but Kolb-to-the-Cards is the expected outcome.

We shouldn't expect a protracted holdout from the high-end draft picks, so that's nice. Those are a pain to cover. This from the Charlotte Observer:

Signing [Cam] Newton should not be as difficult as it might have been during previous seasons. Under the rookie wage scale that is part of the new CBA, Newton would make $22 million during his first four seasons with a team option for the fifth year that would pay him the average of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league (estimated at $14.3 million by the NFL Players Association).

There also are provisions in the deal designed to prevent long holdouts by high draft picks.

According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, it's "virtually certain" that Darren Sproles and Malcom Floyd aren't returning to the Chargers. Acee also reports that Vincent Jackson is "expected to sign the franchise tender and collect his $11.3 million from the Chargers in 2011." Look for San Diego to make a run at another marquee receiver, too. Steve Smith's name keeps popping up, but I have plans for him in Chicago, so I respectfully request the Chargers to back off.

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