NFL

NFL AM: Reggie Wayne Geared Up for One More Season

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Wayne Wants One More Season

Reggie Wayne, the future Hall of Famer who spent his first 14 seasons with the Colts, insists he will play one more season before hanging up his cleats.

Ironically, it was after a Friday luncheon in which Wayne received a key to the city of Indianapolis from Mayor Greg Ballard that he opened up about life after Indy. The Colts announced back on March 6 that Wayne would not return for another season and have since replaced him with Andre Johnson and Phillip Dorsett.

Wayne says “several teams” have expressed interest in his services.

“It’s something I’m excited about,” Wayne said. “I really am. I guess in due time we’ll figure out where it is.”

Perhaps Wayne will pull a “reverse Andre Johnson” and link up with the rival Texans. However, going from Andrew Luck to Brian Hoyer may be too depressing an end for such a legendary career.

Really, it only makes sense for Wayne to join a team that meets the following three criteria: 1) has a franchise QB; 2) has a need at receiver; and 3) has a shot to win the Super Bowl.

With that in mind, there are two teams to keep an eye on: the Ravens and the Panthers.

The Ravens are expected to start rookie first-round pick Breshad Perriman across from Steve Smith. If Wayne were to jump into the mix, Baltimore could take its time easing the talented but raw Perriman into the rotation while also adding another element to its three-receiver sets.

The Panthers present a similar situation, with rookie Devin Funchess and journeyman Jerricho Cotchery battling for the No. 2 position opposite Kelvin Benjamin. Wayne could fill the same role in Carolina he would in Baltimore, mentoring a younger receiver while also getting some run in three- and four-receiver alignments.

Other possibilities include Wayne reuniting with Peyton Manning in Denver or joining the Patriots in what would amount to an “if you can’t beat them, join them” transaction.

Ripple Effects from Thomas’ Deal

Speaking of Manning’s targets, his go-to receiver got a whole lot more comfortable after Demaryius Thomas signed a five-year, $70 million deal earlier this week. While the ink is barely dry on that massive contract, the repercussions are already being felt.

One of the first people to text Thomas after he signed his deal was Bengals WR A.J. Green, with the simple message: “Thank you.”

Green is in the process of negotiating a new deal of his own, as is fellow 2010 draftee Julio Jones. Green and Jones have been even more dominant than Thomas through the first four years of their respective careers, so it’s fair to assume they will use Thomas’ average annual income of $14 million as a jumping-off point.

While Green and Jones celebrate Thomas’ new deal, Denver teammate Von Miller has to wonder what it means for his future in the Mile High City.

Miller will be a free agent next offseason, when the Broncos project to be close to the salary cap yet again. His negotiation will be a tricky one, as he has injury concerns (he missed a year with a torn ACL) and character concerns (he served a six-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy) that must be taken into account.

Based off talent alone, Miller deserves a contract that exceeds the six-year, $101 million deal Justin Houston just signed in Kansas City. But it’s unclear if Broncos VP John Elway will make that kind of commitment to a player who is just one misstep away from a year-long suspension.

“We have a three-year plan and a four-year plan, and we try to look into the future to see where we are in order to budget everybody, to keep all of our great football players,” Elway said Wednesday, via the Denver Post. “[Thomas] was the first step. We will have a plan for Von next year as well as with other players.”

Marshall Heaps Praise on Orton

Brandon Marshall had an unexpected answer when asked during a Twitter Q&A session who was the best quarterback he ever played with.

“Probably … Kyle Orton,” Marshall said.

It’s hard to take that as anything but a shot at Jay Cutler. Marshall enjoyed his best seasons with Cutler as the trigger man, including the 2012 campaign in which Marshall caught 118 passes for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Perhaps Cutler’s disastrous 2014 season (in which he turned the ball over 24 times and absorbed 38 sacks) just left too bad a taste in Marshall’s mouth.

On the bright side, at least Marshall feels good about his lot with the Jets. While you won’t find Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick on anyone’s “best QBs” list, Marshall is thrilled with his new employer. Not only does New York’s media-saturated location allow Marshall to continue his TV pursuits while still playing football, but it also pairs him with a young quarterback (Smith) who is eager to please his most accomplished pass catcher.

Smith went so far as to move his offseason passing camp to Chicago so Marshall could be close to his newborn kids.

“If I’m cut tomorrow. I’ll retire,” Marshall said, also via Twitter. “This will be my last team.”

Ryan Takes a Leap

The United States Army Golden Knights parachute team invited Bills coach Rex Ryan to take a tandem leap from 9,000 feet on Friday.

Ryan’s response: “You had me at feet.”

OK, not really, but the jump indeed took place.

“I like living,” Ryan said. “I just like doing stuff like this, a little thrill seeking. It beats going to a state park, I think.”

Ryan made one thing clear — this kind of risky activity is permitted for coaches, not players.

“Even if I would have broken a leg or something, it doesn’t matter. All I do is point,” Ryan said. “I don’t have to play. So yeah, not recommended for the players. But for a coach, go for it.”

Of course, the chances of a sky-diving mishap resulting in only a broken leg are about the same as the chances of the Bills overtaking the Patriots in the AFC East. But in Ryan’s world, you jump first and plan the landing later.

Want to talk more about these and other headlines? Join Michael Lombardo for his weekly NFL Chat on Friday at 2pm EST. But you don’t have to wait until then … you can ask your question now


About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has spent more than 10 years as a team expert at Scout.com, primarily covering the Chargers, Cardinals and Panthers. He has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and other venues.