Saturday, March 1, 2008

Free Agency - Day 2

It’s day two of the annual NFL free agency shopping spree. Haven’t seen much breaking news yet this morning. Must mean Schefter is sleeping in and won’t be passing on the info he has had to pry out of reluctant agents.

Smith is a Niner, More on Kelly

There is one big signing that has come across the wire so far today. Justin Smith has signed with San Francisco. Smith was widely regarded as the best DE on the free agent market and will fit in quite nicely with Mike Nolan’s system.

Reportedly Smith signed for 6 years, 45 million with 20 million guaranteed. Just what you would expect for a run stopping DE with the ability to play some DT. Wait a second, that sounds like Tommy Kelly… you mean in the Raiders system that Smith plays the same position that Kelly does… well holy shit, that’s a blockbuster contract.

I hope the sarcasm came through there. Smith is a more proven player than Kelly, I would consider him a slight upgrade to Kelly had the Raiders pursued him and allowed Kelly to walk. But one thing is for sure, if the Raiders had signed Smith for 45 mil over 6 years as a DE and SF signed Kelly for 50 mil over 7 years as a DE neither team would be getting raked over the coals by the media.

So why do the Raiders get raked over the coals, while the Niners don’t, for what are very similar players with similar deals? No, I’m not going to call the media haters, and claim it is the anti-Davis bias. Sure Mr. Davis hasn’t made many friends in the media and therefore doesn’t get much good press, but its much simpler than that. Kelly’s agent publicized his signing as being for a DT, Smith has been hyped as the best DE on the Market. DT’s have not been paid as much as DE’s historically, so Kelly’s “DT” deal is outrageous, while Smith’s “DE” deal is a good signing.

If you look around the league at the Money being paid to Swing DE/DT’s / run stuffing DE’s you will find that Tommy Kelly’s deal is right in line with what a player with his skills and experience should expect. The premier swing DE/DT Richard Seymore got 24 million guaranteed two seasons ago. When you put that number up against Kelly’s or Smith’s contracts, sure doesn’t look like either of them broke the bank when you take into account that the market has exploded in the two years since Seymore resigned.

So if you are a Raider fan, let the deriding comments from the media and talk radio callers wash off your back like water on a duck. Know that the Raiders got a good player for a good price when you actually compare the deal to those signed by comparable players. But also know that the Niners also got a good player for a good price with good press thrown in, so not all is good in the bay.

One year later, the biggest FA winner is still… Nate Clements’ agent

So on the NFL network last night, the big news was the signing of Asante Samuel with the Eagles. Up pops a graphic showing the top 5 CB’s in terms of contracts. Who is at the top of the list? Nate Clements with his agent inflated, inaccurately reported 8 year 80 million dollar deal. Remember yesterday when I pointed out that it often takes a week or more for the real numbers to get publicized. Well apparently it can take a year or more. Clements’ deal is actually 7 years 64 million. A difference of one year and 16 million dollars, which numbers do you think Clements’ agent show potential clients?

Egg on the face of Brickinthebox

Well, minutes after I posted my theory on the Brown’s true intentions in regards to Derek Anderson it was announced that they had agreed to terms with their prospective FA QB. Well you can’t be right all of the time. I hope both of my readers can forgive me.

But there is a bright side to all of this, the real looser is Brady Quinn, who is now paying for holding out of Camp last year.

And the winner of the Lion/Cincy/Cleveland trade debacle is…The Bengals

Wait a minute, the Bengals ended up not getting anything out of the deal, how could they be considered the winner in the end. Easy, they didn’t get Shaun Rogers.

Sure I remember what a tear Rogers was on at the start of last year. He was unstoppable against the Raiders. But as the season wore on he faded down the stretch and was unable to motivate himself as the team went from 6-2 to out of the playoffs. Rogers could not motivate himself with the playoffs on the line. He has shown no ability to keep his weight in check, and is widely regarded as a locker room cancer that has had some off the field problems.

This is exactly the kind of player the Bengals don’t need. Keep your draft picks and find a toilet clogger there. This year’s draft actually has some guys with excellent potential as block eating run stuffers. Red Bryant out of Texas A&M, and Ahtyba Rubin out of Iowa St both would fill this mold and most likely one of them will be there in round 3, and if you really want a guy who can’t control his weight, Frank Okam looks like he is intent on falling at least to round 5, where the other pick that the Bengals would have given up resides.

Detroit is also a winner in this deal, as they no longer have the problem of dealing with Rogers. They acquired a superb CB in Leigh Bodden, who I feel, if he can stay healthy, is on the verge of being a top 10 CB in the league. He is just overlooked due to the fact he played in Cleveland, where the team has been so bad on D of late. They also received a 3rd round draft choice, where they too can look to the players listed above for a run stuffer, or could get a sleeper like Dre Moore out of Maryland who could fill the Sapp role in their version of the Tampa 2.

And of course the looser in this whole deal is the Cleveland Browns. They got a guy who will show up for 6 games a year in exchange for a good young corner and a 3rd round pick. Essentially getting 5th round value for Leigh Bodden. That is pathetic. The Browns have now acquired a back-up QB, Correy Williams, and an overweight unmotivated DT with their 1st 3 picks in this year’s draft.

Moss back to AFC West?

I can’t take credit for this Idea; it was floated out there by a San Diego fan on NFL radio’s afternoon blitz yesterday. The idea was immediately shot down by the hosts of the show, I’ll blast them at a later date, as it is the worst show on NFL radio, but I don’t think they should have been so quick to dismiss this idea.

From Moss’s prospective, he has to be looking at the situation in New England and wondering if they can really be as good as they were last year. Look, no one expects them to be able to go undefeated in the regular season, but Moss also has to look at the way the team struggled down the stretch and be wondering if they really have the horses to make another Super Bowl run.

The Pats have already lost Samuel. Gay is making the free agent rounds. The team hasn’t brought in any help to the linebacker core, and the wide receivers lining up next to him will not be as good as last year.

If he takes a look around the league, he has to like what he sees in San Diego. They are a young team with talent locked up for years to come. Rivers is no Brady, but who is. They have the WR’s and TE to keep the defense from focusing on Moss. They have the RB that will not allow teams to constantly double him. And most importantly they have the Cap room to make him happy.

The talking heads on the afternoon blitz claimed that Moss is not an AJ Smith type player. AJ Smith does not give a damn about character; he wants talent, talent is something Moss has plenty of. If he cared about character Merriman, Castillo and Rivers would not be part of the team.

Moss also likes the head coach in San Diego; he has stated in interviews that he though it was a mistake when Oakland fired Turner. Turner has expressed that he liked working with Moss.

San Diego is poised to take the next step and replace the Pats as the premier franchise in the NFL. Adding Moss is the kind of move that would instantly improve Rivers and make them the overwhelming favorite this year, much the way adding Moss pushed NE over the top until the upset in Arizona.

This move makes a lot of sense for both parties. For the sake of the Raiders I hope it doesn’t happen.

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