Panthers, Gross making progress 

February, 18, 2009
02/18/09
8:59
AM ET
Significant progress is being made in the contract negotiations between the Panthers and tackle Jordan Gross. Gross is coming off a Pro Bowl season and is the best offensive lineman on the free-agent market. Signing him to a contract would allow the Panthers to franchise Julius Peppers and not be in position to lose their top two free agents.

Franchise tag for Hill: The Seahawks face a critical decision involving linebacker LeRoy Hill. Many consider Hill to be the Seahawks' most talented linebacker. Contract talks aren't close, so the Seahawks could protect their investment and give him the tag, or they could risk losing him if they allow him to hit the free-agent market. The Seahawks have until Thursday to decide.

What's in a title? Clancy Pendergast accepted a job on the Chiefs' coaching staff without a specific title. The Chiefs were vague with the titles of the assistant coaches they have hired is because there is a chance Romeo Crennel might become the Chiefs' defensive coordinator. Pendergast and other defensive coaches accepted jobs as "defensive assistant coaches.''

It's Culpepper's job -- for now: The hiring of Scott Linehan as offensive coordinator and the restructuring of Daunte Culpepper's contract pretty well indicates the Lions plan to go with Culpepper as their starting quarterback for now. Jon Kitna will either be cut or traded. The Lions will be looking closely this week at Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, but Culpepper has at least found a home for the 2009 season.

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