Brams confirmed what seems to be a risky gambit. “Philip will be the starter. We’ve worked extensively with him in the off-season and he’s ready. Rip, you and our fans will be surprised at how much progress he’s made. And Aaron is enormously talented and a fast learner. We think his being here will actually help Philip develop faster than if we brought in an experienced backup who reached his ceiling years ago.” I’m not convinced, but Brams has cast the die.
Rivers will have a new target in Isaac Bruce who comes to Delaware from Atlantic City in exchange for Travis Taylor. Last season the Gulls diminished the 13‑year veteran’s role to such an extent he caught only one pass. The gamble here is that Bruce’s career will be revitalized. Brams had little choice given the logjam caused by Lee Evans’ and Taylor’s insistence in moving out of the slot. Bruce became Brams’ best option when Washington’s price for Jerricho Cotchery went too high — Cotchery became a Connecticut Comet by trade minutes after the Bruce-Taylor deal went down.
Brams resolved the complicated situation on the offensive line by dealing offensive left tackle Bryant McKinnie to Providence for Jason Brown and backup Adam Goldberg and Delaware’s fourth round draft pick next season to New York for Anthony Clement. Second year pro Brown will start at left guard while the hulking veteran Clement — 6-8, 333 — moves in at right tackle.
The draft pick lost to New York in the Goldberg-Clement trade was mitigated by Brams’ final deal of the meeting. He sent inside linebacker Chris Draft to Connecticut in exchange for outside linebacker Carlos Polk and the Comets’ fourth round pick next season. Polk will compete for the left outside linebacker starting assignment with the incumbent — another Carlos — Carlos Emmons. Polk has to be the favorite in that battle because 12‑year veteran Emmons slowed down a good bit last season.
Brams mentioned in an aside that he may have backup running back Michael Turner return kickoffs this season, in addition to — or maybe instead of — Dante Hall. That seems odd because Hall led the EFL with four touchdowns on kickoff returns last season.
Delaware’s projected starting line-up is as follows:
|Cherries Projected Starters|
|83||Lee Evans *||WR|
|60||Chris Samuels *||LT|
|61||Jason Brown *||LG|
|64||Nick Mangold *||C|
|68||Anthony Clement *||RT|
|38||Heath Miller *||TE|
|80||Isaac Bruce *||WR|
|17||Philip Rivers *||QB|
|93||Carlos Polk *||LOLB|
|52||Ray Lewis *||LILB|
|58||London Fletcher-Baker *||RILB|
|56||Bart Scott *||ROLB|
|34||Fakhir Brown *||RCB|
|33||Michael Turner *||KR-WR|
|* projected new starter or positiion change|
The meeting was a relatively active one in terms of swaps and free agent signings. Among the major deals:
The EFL website has full detail of all of the transactions that took place at the meeting.