Jake Long seemed at ease in his new role as the NFL's No. 1 draft pick, leaning into a news conference microphone to talk about his mean streak while his mother sat in the corner, nodding as she smiled.
The Miami Dolphins were grinning yesterday, too. They signed the Michigan left tackle to a five-year contract with $30 million guaranteed, and they'll select him with the top pick in the draft Saturday.
Long's total contract package is for $57.75 million, said a person familiar with the negotiations who didn't want to be identified because the Dolphins declined to reveal terms. Last year's top pick, JaMarcus Russell, signed for $61 million with the Oakland Raiders but missed all of training camp before reaching a deal.
Long becomes the highest-paid lineman in the NFL and a 6-foot-7-inch, 315-pound cornerstone in a rebuilding project for the new Dolphins regime led by Bill Parcells. Last season Miami went 1-15.
"It's such a great honor to be the No. 1 pick," Long said. "I don't think it has sunk in yet."
Seattle cuts AlexanderThe Seattle Seahawks released former MVP Shaun Alexander, just 26 months after he signed a $62 million contract.
Seahawks president Tim Ruskell said the team released Alexander unconditionally hours after the running back passed a physical.
It's been a rapid fall for the 30-year-old Alexander. When he signed that mammoth deal, he was coming off an MVP season in 2005 and a Super Bowl appearance.
"I will be playing for another NFL team this fall, and doing everything I can to contribute," said Alexander, who ran for just 716 yards in 13 games last season.
Your move, ChadThe Bengals are calling Chad Johnson's bluff.
Tired of the receiver's posturing for a trade, coach Marvin Lewis said Johnson should keep his word and sit out the season.
"I've stated our case with Chad," Lewis said. "He has a contract through 2011. He's stated without an opportunity to go to a different team and a new contract, he wasn't going to play. I think he's a man of his word and says he's not going to play, so don't play."
Later in the day, the Bengals released a statement saying it had turned down an offer from Washington, which was willing to give up its first-round pick and a conditional third-round pick next year for Johnson.
Lewis also said that linebacker David Pollack is leaning toward retirement. The former first-round draft pick broke a bone in his neck while making a tackle during the 2006 season.
Patriots pick up pairIn moves that potentially offer them flexibility on draft day, the Patriots added two veteran free agents - tight end Marcus Pollard and defensive lineman Kenny Smith - and finalized a deal with punter Scott Player.
The 36-year-old Pollard has played for the Colts (1995-2004), Lions (2005-2006), and Seahawks (2007). He caught 28 passes for 273 yards and 2 touchdowns last season.
Smith was with Patriots in training camp last year before being cut.