Thursday, July 28, 2011

NFL Free Agency Day 2 Review

He's very fat, he's very lazy...and he could be the key to New England's Super Bowl aspirations.
Day 2 of the NFL free agency period is done and NFL owners are making rain like Pacman Jones. As busy as Day 1 was, Day 2 surpassed it and threw in some unexpected twists. With so much to talk about, and so much more about to happen let's not waste any more time.

In case you didn't get a chance to read it, here is my Day 1 recap. On to Day 2!

Washington signs WR Donte' Stallworth and trade for WR Jabar Gaffney

Yesterday, I talked a lot about how important it was for teams to have plans. Well Washington has a definite, clear plan in place.....acquire as many over 30 WR's as possible. Hey Dan Snyder, Terrell Owens is still available!

New York Giants replace C Shaun O'Hara with G/C David Baas

I'm still scratching my head on the O'Hara decision. Baas was decent for San Fran the past two years, but he's nowhere near as good as O'Hara. On a personal note, I'm very excited New York has decided to ditch their entire offensive line for a 34 year old criminal (Plaxico) and a glorified 3rd down back (Bradshaw). If only I could talk them into signing Roy Williams...

WR Roy Williams gets cut by Dallas!

Did I mention this yesterday? ROY IS GONE!!! YAY!!!

Vikings trade for QB Donovan McNabb

I briefly touched on this potential deal in my Day 1 recap, and the trade was made official last night. Like I said, I've come around on this one a bit, but yesterday's development pushed me closer to my original position of staunchly opposing this trade. Apparently, not everyone in the Vikings organization was on board with pursuing McNabb. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, many pushed for Tyler Thigpen to be brought in, and reports even suggested the Vikings did indeed pursue Thigpen prior to pursuing McNabb. This doesn't sound anything more than typical NFL dealings, but it clearly rubbed McNabb the wrong way. In typical "McNabb being a jilted lover" fashion, the quarterback was deeply offended that he wasn't the Vikings first choice. Yes, you read that right. He was offended they didn't pursue him over Tyler Thigpen. Now, on some levels, I suppose that makes is Tyler Thigpen after all! But seriously man, get over yourself! Have you seen any game film from last year? Do you know how awful you were? Do you understand how old and washed up you looked as you tried to drag your bloated carcass around the field?

I don't know what it is with McNabb, but he seems to have a very difficult time keeping his emotions in check. As I mentioned yesterday, it's tough to judge his performance in Washington given the surrounding cast. He may have another year or two in him, and in all honesty, I hope he does. I've always liked McNabb and I've always defended him, but the fact that he was "hurt" by the Vikings pursuit of Thigpen is ridiculous. The guy has been in the league since 1973 and he hasn't figured out the business of the game? If he returns to form and plays well, this will be water under the bridge...but it very well could end up like last year for McNabb. He better learn to keep his emotions in check, because #12 overall pick Christian Ponder is waiting in the wings, and if Minnesota gets off to a rough start, they won't hesitate to pull the plug to get a head start on the future.

All that having been said, I still like the move...a lot. They gave up, at the most, two 6th round picks to land him. It's unfortunate that Sidney Rice won't be around to help him out, but this situation is still infinitely better than Washington. He has an offensive line, a defense, a running back who won't be on the IR within four weeks, and several weapons in the passing game who don't yet qualify for MediCare. That alone should be enough to make McNabb forget about the disgrace of being the 2nd option behind Tyler Thigpen...maybe.

WR Santonio Holmes re-signs with the Jets

I had Holmes ranked as the top receiver on the market, but I didn't say he was 5YR $50MIL good! Not only that, but $24MIL of this deal is guaranteed, the highest guarantee ever to a WR! WOW! I felt pretty confident that the Jets would only be able to sign one of Holmes/Edwards, but I didn't think it would be because they signed the entire organization over to Holmes. I suppose this could work out OK, as long as Holmes' one and only 1000 yard season wasn't a fluke...and as long as he stops getting arrested for throwing things at his girlfriend...and as long as he stops doing drugs...and as long as Mark Sanchez stops over-throwing him by 15 yards. Yep, this sounds like a great deal! In a related story, Rex Ryan is convinced the Jets are the best team in history...go figure.

RB DeAngelo Williams re-signs with Carolina

Just wait, there's plenty more Carolina updates coming. I don't know what happened, but cheapo Jerry Richardson has suddenly turned into Jerry Jones since the end of the lockout. Some have suggested he knew the future landscape of the NFL and this was his plan all along. To that, I say HAHAHAHA!!! Jerry Richardson is far too dumb to have this kind of least, I think. Who knows, maybe he's the real life Emperor Palpatine? Anyways, Carolina needed to spend a ton of money to get to the salary cap floor, and they haven't been shy about getting that done. Just a day after committing $600MIL to Charles Johnson, the Panthers shelled out another $21MIL in guaranteed money to DeAngelo Williams. As I said in my RB preview, shelling out big money for veteran RB's is risky, and this could end up backfiring if Williams disastrous 2010 campaign was more fact than fiction. Still, Carolina's passing game is simply brutal, and the three headed monster of Williams/Stewart/Goodson is all they have. I'll be curious to see how much of the contract is up-front money. If they structured it well, this could actually turn out to be a longterm bargain.

RB Frank Gore joins the contract holdout group

I understand DeSean Jackson and Chris Johnson holding out, but not Frank Gore. Whereas the former two players are only making around $1.5MIL for Pro Bowl level play, Gore will be paid nearly $5MIL this year, the last year of his deal. That's obviously below market value for a top level RB, but keep in mind that Gore missed five games last season, failed to clear 1000 yards for the first time since his rookie season, and is already 28 years old. Not only that, but there has to be serious questions about whether Gore ranks among the true elite at his position. He hasn't played a full 16 game season since 2006, hasn't cleared 250 carries since 2007, hasn't cleared 1200 yards since 2006, has averaged 4.3 Y/A or less in 3 of his past 4 seasons, has struggled a bit with fumbles throughout his career, and has rushed for double digit TD's only once in his career. I'm not saying he's not good or anything, but there's no way I'm handing out a huge deal to a 28 year old, injury prone, high mileage RB who isn't even as productive as his reputation would suggest.

S Eric Weddle re-signs with San Diego

5YR $40MIL with $19MIL guaranteed...for a safety. That's more than Troy Polamalu makes! Weddle is good and all, but this is just silly. Somehow, I'm convinced Norv Turner had a hand in this.

G Robert Gallery signs with Seattle

The details of this 3 year deal are unknown, but most think it's a pretty modest deal. If that's the case, then this is a huge homerun for Seattle. As you may remember, Gallery was a huge, can't miss OT prospect in the 2004 draft. Well guess what? He kinda missed. However, even though he never did turn into the franchise LT he was supposed to be, Gallary was able to carve out a nice career for himself as a solid G. He's not a Pro Bowler or anything, but he's a good player and he represents a solid upgrade for Seattle. Everyone kind of assumed this would happen after Seattle hired Tom Cable, so there's no surprise here. The plus side is that Tarvaris Jackson won't have the excuse of not having enough time to throw. Now we'll truly see how crappy he is!

QB Matt Leinart doesn't go to Seattle

I'm very disappointed this didn't happen. It was going to be the most epic QB competition ever. Why couldn't Versus turn this into a reality show and air it in place of all the crappy cycling they run? "On this week's episode, Leinart comes to practice hung over and Whitehurst tries to strangle Jackson with his beard!" How dare the Seahawks deny us of this guilty pleasure! Seriously though, you know Leinart must really suck if even his boyfriend Pete Carroll won't take him back.

Giants and Steelers show interest in bringing Plaxico back

Uh....what? Rumor is that the Giants will give him $10MIL over 2YRS to come back and be their third or fourth receiver. This is roughly the equivalent of the Milwaukee Bucks giving Drew Gooden the full midlevel exception...which actually happened. Dear sports: I love you, I really do...but sometimes, I just don't understand you. Dear Giants: Please feel free to continue getting rid of valuable players so you can waste money on crap.

QB Bruce Gradkowski signs with Cincinnati

Savvy move by the Bengals...and that's not something you hear often. Look, Bruce Gradkowski isn't the second coming of Joe Montana or anything. He's not even one of the best QB's available this offseason. The fact is, though, that this is the Cincinnati Bengals. They aren't getting any top targets. They weren't getting Hasselbeck, Orton, McNabb, Kolb, or anybody else of that caliber. Like Tennessee and Minnesota, Cincy has a plan in place with QB of the future Andy Dalton and all they needed was a veteran to help bridge the gap. Gradkowski is both cheap and competent. Health has always been an issue for him, but I doubt this team is going anywhere and the Bengals probably wouldn't be too upset with an excuse to get Dalton on the field later in the year.

Carolina re-signs LB James Anderson and LB Thomas Davis

Like I said before, Carolina spent some cash the past couple of days...lots of it too. There are, of course, plenty of jokes that can be made about Carolina spending so much to retain the core of a 2 win football team (and I've made plenty), but they actually have the foundation for a nice young defense, and keeping these two guys, along with Johnson, is a good step. Anderson, in particular, is coming off a breakout season and came at a fairly reasonable price. Davis has few more miles on the tires and is coming off a lost 2010 season, but he's been an impact player when healthy. Honestly, I like the direction Carolina is heading (apart from Cam Newton). They has a really nice run last decade thanks to their commitment to defense, and they are once again going down that path.

WR Sidney Rice signs with Seattle

So, let's get this straight. Sidney Rice played in Minnesota the past four seasons. Tarvaris Jackson played with him for all four of those seasons. For four seasons, Rice got a first hand look at how awful Jackson was. He was probably underthrown or overthrown a thousand times. He continually had to watch Jackson tuck and run or roll out and throw into coverage while other receivers stood wide open. Yet, after four years of that, Rice voluntarily goes right back to the waiting arms of Tarvaris Jackson. What an idiot. He must really need money bad, because I would gladly take less to play with somebody, ANYBODY, other than Tarvaris Jackson.

Beyond that, it's a little bit surprising Seattle would give $18.5MIL in guaranteed money to a WR who's had one good year and who's spent the majority of his career being hurt. Like I said in my WR preview, Rice could very easily earn, or even outearn, the contract he just received. He's only 24 and he's shown, even if only once, that he can definitely be one of the best receivers in the game. Still, this is a big risk. Given the size of the contract, I'm really not surprised Minnesota didn't retain him, but it sucks for them nonetheless. Incoming QB Donovan McNabb has a track record of doing well when given weapons and this Vikings team could have been a legit Super Bowl contender. Now, I don't think so. Rice's impact on the 2009 team can't be understated and it's no coincidence that Favre fell off a cliff after Rice was out of the lineup. According to multiple reports, Rice has been disillusioned with the Vikings ever since Brad Childress openly questioned his desire to return from injury. Yes, that's right, Brad Childress is such a horrible coach that he's still able to tank the Vikings despite being fired many months ago! This is your team Prince! The curse continues!!!

WR Steve Breaston signs with Kansas City

I've been very high on Breaston this offseason and I think Kansas City hit a homerun with this signing. In re-uniting Breaston with former OC Todd Haley, Kansas City gave Matt Cassell a much needed secondary target, and took loads of pressure of Dwayne Bowe. With Breaston now giving them a credible #2 receiving threat, along with incoming rookie Jon Baldwin and the development of Dexter McCluster, Kansas City could have added the right pieces around Bowe and Jamaal Charles to form one of the more explosive offenses in the AFC. As for Arizona, I'm not sure why they didn't prioritize Breaston a bit more. As I write this, no deal for Kolb has been done yet, but it's sure to happen. Why wouldn't you want to retain a big play, potential 70+ reception receiver to give him every opportunity to succeed?

G Kyle Kosier re-signs with Dallas

Kosier isn't a star or anything, but he's really solid. Health has been an issue the past three seasons, but that seems like a fluke given his overall track record. Dallas' line is a work in progess and bringing back Kosier on the cheap is exactly what they need.

DT Albert Haynesworth traded to New England

This is the last thing I heard before I got to work this morning, and boy is it a good place to finish. Haynesworth's tenure in Washington was nothing short of...let's go with dramatic. We make a lot of jokes about overpaid athletes, but it seemed like Haynesworth literally stopped caring entirely once he got paid. It's sad too, because he's one of the two or three most talented DT's in the league. And now, after signing him to a $100MIL contract, Washington will end up with only 20 games, 53 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and a 5th round pick to show for it. That's bad even for Washington standards!

So, why is the trade of a totally irrelevant player such a big deal? Well, because it's Albert Haynesworth. And, more importantly, it's the New England Patriots. Imagine what we'd be talking about if Cincinnati or Chicago had made this deal. We'd be ripping them for wasting a 5th round pick on an overpriced, underperforming malcontent, right? But, since it's New England, and since it's Bill Belichek, we're all willing to take a wait-and-see approach. Well, not me. I'm unwilling. I'm just gonna come out and say it!



No, I'm not kidding. Not even in the slightest. Haynesworth clearly lost his mind in Washington, but there's no questioning how good he can be when he's motivated. Can you think of a better motivator than Bill Belichek? Look, I'm not a Patriot fanboy or anything, but I definitely subscribe to the School of Belichek...and for good reason! The man almost never screws up! In the past, he's taken chances on talented malcontents such as Corey Dillon and Randy Moss, and hit the jackpot far more often than not. The fact is, New England has a desperate need for help on the defensive line and Haynesworth is one of the most disruptive DT's in the game. Even a moderate return to form will bolster an anemic pass rush and dramatically change their defense. I say this could be the the biggest move of the offseason, because stealing an impact player like that, and erasing one of New England's only question marks could definitely swing the Super Bowl. And all for a tiny fraction of the cost a top DT would run in free agency. If anybody can pull this off, it's Belichek. Honestly, I'm betting Haynesworth has a monster year. And if not, who cares? They only gave up a 5th rounder!


  1. I'm getting really curious on who Tampa Bay is going to sign. They have over $50mil in cap space that must be spent just to get over the cap floor and the list of worthy free agents is dwindling by the hour.

  2. Don't worry. I have plans to rip Tampa Bay to shreds. I don't know what their strategy is, but it's stupid.

  3. Who is this Bill Belichek guy, anyway? He isn't one of Bill Belichick's assistant coaches, would he?

  4. "He isn't one of Bill Belichick's assistant coaches, would he?"

    --Casey Richey, trying to criticize someone else for being incorrect

  5. That's okay, Jon... go ahead and cover up the fact that you don't know how to spell the name of the greatest football coach alive!!!

  6. His greatness is such that you aren't allowed to spell his name properly.