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NFL Notes: Linebacker Edition

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More NFL news items from the last few days

NY Giants - Trade with Broncos called off after LB Al Wilson fails a physical.  This is why we read fantasy football news in March.  Five months from now 95% of fantasy players will say:
"Al Wilson!  102 tackles last year, he's a machine"

But the smart 5% will say:
"Al Wilson!  He failed a physical in March, he's damaged goods!"

Make sure you're one of the smart five percent.  Now, nobody is saying why Wilson failed the physical so we don't know the extent of the injury.  But whether Wilson plays next season with the Broncos or with another team, drop him down on your draft lists. Maybe off your draft lists depending on how he looks in camp.  Something about him scared the Giants, and whatever it is it should scare you too.  Don't worry about the effect on the Giants because....

NY Giants - Signed LB Kawika Mitchell. In the last three seasons Mitchell is the only Kansas City defender to have over 95 tackles in a season and now he's gone.  The Chiefs suddenly have a huge hole in the middle of their defense, so look for S Sammy Knight to have a big... no, wait, the Chiefs just cut Sammy Knight.  I guess that doesn't look like such a great move now.  Wow, do they have issues.  That leaves FS Greg Wesley the responsibility to cover a lot of weakness in the defense.  Opposing offenses will target that, so look for Wesley to increase his tackles significantly.  On the Giants side, give them credit for having a Plan B.  Mitchell will step in for the recently-cut Carlos Emmons as part of an excellent Giant linebacker corps.  Mitchell won't rack up the totals (104 tackles, 22 assists) he had last year, but should still be a good fantasy option.

Philadelphia - Trade DT Darwin Walker and a conditional 2008 draft pick to the Bills for LB Takeo Spikes and QB Kelly Holcomb.  Walker is a bye-week fill-in type of defensive tackle who will keep the same status starting for the Bills.  Takeo Spikes once had six straight seasons with 100+ tackles, but has only played 15 games (with a total of 87 tackles) the past two years combined.  If he's healthy - and he must have passed an Eagles physical - he should be near the 100 tackle level again this year.  That's good enough to be on anybody's fantasy squad.  Holcomb will compete for the backup QB job in Philly now that Jeff Garcia is gone.  If he wins it there's always a chance (a pretty good chance actually) that McNabb will get injured so while there's no fantasy value there right now, keep that in mind.