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Canty apparently moving on?


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Chris Canty’s visit to the New York Giants on Saturday failed to result in a contract, so the door remains open for the Green Bay Packers if they’re willing to pay within the free-agent defensive end’s financial parameters.


Canty’s agent, Brad Blank, said he spoke with Giants officials Saturday and the contractual gulf was large enough that they no longer are in the bidding. Canty isn’t scheduled to fly from New York to Seattle until early Sunday evening, and has several other teams, including the Packers, wanting him to visit as well.


“Seattle’s up now,” Blank said. “That can change (though). One phone call from the Packers or Broncos or San Francisco or Tennessee, or someone I haven’t even talked to yet, can change that.”


Blank on Saturday spoke to Reggie McKenzie, the Packers’ co-director of football operations, who told him the team still wants Canty in for a visit after first expressing that desire Friday. But Blank wants to hear from General Manager Ted Thompson directly whether the Packers are in Canty’s financial ballpark before scheduling a visit to Green Bay.


In the opening hours of free agency, Canty had an oral agreement with the Washington Reskins for a deal that included about $20 million in guarantees, but the Redskins backed out after signing defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a mega-contract. Judging by that near-deal, Canty in all likelihood won’t sign any time soon unless he gets an offer with guarantees in the $15 million to $20 million range.


“Reggie said he told Ted the parameters I was talking,” Blank said. “Ted didn’t say no. He didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no.”


At age 26, Canty is hitting his prime as a player and has been effective in the relatively low-profile job of defensive end in the Dallas Cowboys’ 3-4 defense. He was a fourth-round draft pick by Dallas in 2005 and is available in free agency in part because the Cowboys don’t have much salary-cap space.


The Packers are switching to a 3-4 defense this offseason and are pursuing Canty as a ready-made player for new defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ scheme.


Also in free agency, Packers defensive lineman Colin Cole has drawn a surprising amount of interest early on.


Cole, a backup for the Packers the last four-plus years, has drawn serious interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to The St. Petersburg Times, and visited the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, according to NationalFootballPost.com. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also has reported that the Rams appear to have interest in Cole, though there were no reports Cole has plans to visit the Rams.


Cole’s agent, Neil Cornrich, couldn’t be reached for comment.


The Packers appear to want to re-sign Cole as well, if the price is right, though he’s only an OK fit in their new 3-4 defense. At 6-feet-1 and 330 pounds, he’s the right size for a 3-4 nose tackle, but there are questions about whether he’s stout enough to hold up at that position on a regular basis. He’s shorter and heavier than preferred defensive ends in the 3-4 but could play there as a backup run stopper.


Tampa Bay’s strong interest stems from its new defensive coaching staff, which includes two former Packers assistants who coached Cole. Jim Bates, the Packers’ defensive coordinator in 2005, is Tampa Bay’s new defensive coordinator, and Robert Nunn, a defensive line coach with the Packers from 2005-08, is the Buccaneers’ new defensive line coach.



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If I was Canty, I'd tell my agent no visits unless I'm the #1 target. Canty will lose out on this, and he can thank the Giants for it. Of course though, Canty is still up for grabs and I'm sure he was given a number at the dinner. He still may wind up in big blue...atleast I'm still hoping and I hope he is.

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First of all, I slipped out the door as soon as I filed my Rocky Bernard story for the paper last night. Just had to step away from the computer(s) - yep, I've been using my laptop and the desktop and the BlackBerry (man, I'm a loser) - for a few hours before I went insane.


The story for the paper, which included final confirm Bernard had signed, didn't make the site here, so we never wrote here that he actually signed the deal. The Giants confirmed it shortly after it was reported they had agreed to terms. Here's their story with quotes, the origin of Bernard's name and all that good stuff.


Now, on to DE/DLChris Canty, whose visit is continuing this morning. And apparently, it's just as intense on the Giants' end as it was before Bernard signed.


I've done some thinking on this one and tried to figure out how Canty fits into the Giants' plans. From a football standpoint, it's pretty clear they've told him he's a starting tackle. There's no way they can sign him without telling him he's a starter. That means either Fred Robbins or Barry Cofield would get the squeeze. Cofield is young and improving while Robbins was the Giants' best defensive player for the first six games last year. It doesn't make sense, I know, but I'm telling you that's got to be their plan - or at least what they're telling Canty right now.


Now, from a financial standpoint, signing Canty is also a possibility. (And yes, they're still in the running. Someone e-mailed me this story today and I asked Canty's agent, Brad Blank, about it. He didn't say he was misquoted, but he did tell me, "I never said I was done talking to the Giants. I pride myself on never saying never or making statements like that.")


Our Paul Needell, God love him, did some sniffing around last night and told us he heard Bernard's contract was a 4-year, $16-million deal. No word yet on guarantees, but let's assume it's slightly less than half.


Okay, now stay with me. Supposedly, Canty was going to get $8 million per year from the Redskins with $18 million guaranteed. That was the offer before they ditched him for Albert Haynesworth. And speaking of the crown jewel of this free-agent class, the Giants were in interested in his services - just not as much as the Redskins were when it came to final bidding time. But the Giants put a solid offer on the table. How much? Dunno. But through the wonderful process of deductive reasoning, we can assume it was a bit less than the 7-year, $100-million contract (that's probably going to wind up being a 4-year, $48-million deal) Haynesworth got from the Redskins. Say, for argument's sake, it was a similarly long deal that was really a 4-year, $40-million offer.


So the Giants had slated that much to be used on one defensive tackle. Well, who's to say they can't use all of that money to nab two? In other words, they've used $16 million of that $40 million on Bernard. (Even though the guaranteed money is the real key. But let's stick with this for now.) That leaves $24 million for Canty - not to mention the money Bernard, who turns 30 soon, might not see on the back end of his deal if the Giants cut bait after two or three years with him. And if you factor in the money they'll save from another roster spot - remember, if you have two guys instead of one Haynesworth, you'll have to cut someone else - there's suddenly a bit more money in the bank.


Look, all of this stuff above was my way of spelling out for you something simple: the money the Giants had slated for Haynesworth can be split between Bernard and Canty. And their offer to Canty could be close to that magical $8-million figure. And maybe that'll be good enough because that number was provided by the Washington Redskins (who maybe should change their mascot to the Drunken Sailors, because that's the way they spend money on an annual basis). And you don't want to base what you do on what the Redskins do. That's just bad for business.



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Canty still here and in Giants' plans


Chris Canty is still here.


The Cowboys defensive end, who began his visit with the New York Giants last night and was at dinner with the coaches when they signed DT Rocky Bernard, decided to stay the night and will meet again with Giants officials today. Despite the fact that he appears to be out of the team’s price range and that the Giants probably don’t need a fourth defensive tackle, signing him is apparently still part of their plans.


“Chris is still with Giants (and) they remain steadfast that they would like to sign him, in addition to Bernard,” agent Brad Blank said in an email this morning. “We’ll see.”


The 27-year-old Canty (6-7, 304) — a Bronx native who played end in the Cowboys’ 3-4 defense and would presumably move to tackle in the Giants’ 4-3 — would seem to be an expensive luxury for the Giants. According to one NFL source, he’s seeking a deal worth $8 million per season and he reportedly had a promise of $18 million in guaranteed money from the Redskins on the first day of free agency before they signed DT Albert Haynesworth instead.


That would be a lot for a player who would have to split time in a rotation with the newly signed Bernard and incumbent starters Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins. And since on passing downs the Giants presumably were going to move DE Justin Tuck inside to tackle (allowing Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora to play at end), the playing time to split up among the four tackles would be something less.


It’s a little hard to believe the Giants would pay what figures to be a lot of money to add a seventh defensive lineman to a crowded rotation … Unless, of course, the knee injuries to either DT Barry Cofield or DT Fred Robbins are worse than we know and one of them is in danger of not playing next year. … Or unless, after knee surgery and an injury plagued season, the Giants are considering cutting the 32-year-old Robbins. Otherwise, it’s hard to see the value in spending that kind of money for a player whose playing time would be severely limited.


However, the Giants don’t waste time and resources, so they’re not keeping Canty here for nothing. And they surely know what one NFL source told me: That one and possibly two teams have already let Canty know they’ll meet his price. The Giants aren’t believed to be willing to go higher than $5-6 million per season per Canty, and that likely won’t be enough.


Canty still has plans to fly to Seattle tonight for a meeting tomorrow. The Green Bay Packers, a source said, have been very aggressive in trying to get him to stop by for a visit. He’s also already put visits to San Francisco and Tennessee on hold, so he certainly could visit those teams, too.


For the moment, though, he’s in the Giants’ hands and apparently they’re trying to convince him to sign here.


Stay tuned to see how this incredibly interesting situation unfolds throughout the day.



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