Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Free Agency - Day 5

If you are reading this site than you already know the big NFL news from yesterday. If you don’t, than what the hell are you doing here? Brett Favre has announced his retirement.

I always enjoyed watching Favre play. He was the kind of QB that I would have loved to see in Silver and Black. The guy was like a big kid on the field, his enthusiasm and love of the game jumped off the TV screen. He is the kind of player that someday I’ll tell my kids about.

There, that’s it for the accolades from me. I’m too fucking sarcastic to keep that up. Now lets get to the fall out. I tuned into NFL radio yesterday afternoon in time to hear a grown man crying. No it wasn’t the replay of the Favre interview from two years back. It was a Packers fan bemoaning the fact that he would never get to see Brett play again.

Are you kidding me, nobody died, he wasn’t a member of your family. He was a QB; get a fuckin grip. Of course the two idiot hosts, Adam Schein and Solomon Wilcotts went on and on about how there was never a QB like Favre and there never would be another. Can we please get a little perspective? Sure Favre never missed a start, but there is another QB out there building a similar record named Manning. Sure Favre was at or near the top for years. Have we already forgotten the names Elway and Marino?

Wilcotts, who is much of a sycophant as Schein, went on to say that Favre went out on top and that you couldn’t have written a better ending to his career. Really Solomon, how about this, Favre doesn’t throw a late INT in Lambeau and goes on to win the Super Bowl. He then retires as a champion, you know like Elway. I’m just some blogging hack and it took me all of 10 seconds to write a better ending.

I’m sure that the accolades will continue for another couple weeks. Then we will kick off the season, Brett will get his Jersey retired and will be a 1st ballot hall of famer. But lets stop pretending that this was a shock, Favre has hinted at retirement for years. Lets stop pretending that this relegates Green Bay to NFC doormat, they were prepared for this and still should be the favorite to win their division. Brett was a great player who was fun to watch, take his dick out of your mouths and leave it at that.

So much for the end of Silly Season

Al Davis has decided the money should not stop flowing just yet. There were still some vets with questionable resumes that he could bring in and resurrect as Raiders. So why not pay them like All pros now, and not like the top of the scrap heap guys they are.

Look, I understand the contract given to Kelly, was it maybe a little more than he deserved, sure, but it’s the going rate for a Swing DE/DT. Did the Raiders shell out more cash than I thought Wilson was worth, yep, but once again he was in demand, and it cost a little more to get a young talent on day 1.

But now is the time when teams start getting value. Now is the time when the players look around and let out a collective “Oh Shit”. The big money their agent promised didn’t materialize on opening weekend and they need to quickly find a home. Last year only 30% of free agents found work with new teams, the rest either went back to their old team at a reduced rate or found work somewhere other than the NFL. The reality is the owners are in a position of strength right now and can pick and choose whom they want.

If Kwame Harris were such a prize, he would have garnered some interest on opening weekend. His only reported visit was with the Raiders. Lets not forget, such stand out offensive lineman as Langston Walker were snatched up in the 1st couple of days of free agency last year. If there was a demand for Harris he would not still have been available almost a week in.

I’ve seen some Raider fans post that if Cable likes him, they have faith that Cable knows what he is doing. Now everyone knows that I have a lot of respect for Tom Cable. Hell he was named Brickinthebox MOY. But this move does not fit into the Gibbs line of thinking on offensive lineman. Under the Gibbs theory you do not pay premier money for offensive lineman, you take coachable athletic guys and get them on the cheap. Harris is athletic, but he sure hasn’t looked coachable in San Francisco.

Harris looks like the classic Al Davis pick-up, 1st round bust that Davis believes will turn into a Super Stud in Oakland. This move will make or break Cable’s Oakland tenure. There are already rumors flying that Cable will move on to Mora’s staff in Seattle next season. Al has now provided Cable what Al sees as a premier talent. If Cable is unable to reach Harris and turn him into a stud in 1 year, Al will be all to happy to let Cable walk and take the zone stretch system with him. So what the Raiders showed huge improvement with Journeymen additions last year under Cable system. Al likes names and power blocking.

Then there was the other jaw-dropping Raider signing of the day, Javon Walker. Well there is an Al Davis signing if I ever saw one. He played for a rival last year, he has butted heads with coaches and there is some doubt that he will ever perform at a high level again.

I could easily have justified the huge money that Walker received almost a week into free agency due to the fact that he wasn’t available day 1 and had been cut after the starters gun had fired. His agent had not been able to get as many clandestine talks going about this client as he was still locked up for another year in Denver when he was talking to NFL execs about guys who were about to enter the market.

But there are two factors which keep this move from being easily justifiable. The 1st being his knee. Now I’m sure that the Raiders medical staff gave him a clean bill of health and the Raiders built in clauses if Walker cannot perform, but 3 injuries to the same knee screams trouble to me. Then there is the fact that Walker has forced his way out of the last two NFL cities he has been in.

Throw in that there are still receivers who very well could be just as good as Walker still looking for work, and now this deal doesn’t look very good sitting here on the outside.

I’ve preached that we need to wait for the real number to come out before we judge these deals, but I’ve also pointed out that the numbers that come out on day 1 are based on some sort of reality, as twisted to the agents needs as they may be. The agents for Harris and Walker had better have done the best spin job in NFL history, or these deals could end up looking like two of the worst.

Big Ben gets Paid

Roethlisberger signed an obscene contract to ensure that he doesn’t hit the market next year. And the city of Pittsburgh rejoiced.

This guy is like a god around here. Well, that’s actually that may be an understatement. The entire team is treated like gods. When Mike Tomlin was named head coach it was the lead story on the evening news. When Tomlin stated that he would be keeping the 3-4 as the base D, it was the lead story on the evening news. Ben isn’t just a God around here; he is the second coming of Jesus (sorry Peterson fans).

Don’t believe me; take a drive around Pittsburgh. You know the ribbons that people plaster the back of their cars with to show support for the troops. Well replace them with yellow ones with “#7” or “Big Ben”. They have replaced Jesus fish as the hot car accessory. I think that you either have to have a Steelers or Big Ben bumper sticker to get your car registered.

During the season, if you go to the grocery store on Sunday morning, it is nothing but Steelers jerseys. Even the employees replace their usual uniform with Steelers garb. The place is packed with people getting their game day grub. Go there after kickoff and the place is empty save for depressed looking employees that are missing the game.

Well I went into the Grocery store Monday night after the announcement, and it looked like gameday. Everyone had pulled out their finest Roethlisberger jersey and was wearing in celebration of the signing. I’ve lived in Buffalo, and on the border of the New England/Giants divide, but I have never experienced anything like the love this city has for the Steelers and Ben.

Is Ben worth the amount of Money he got, off the field, yeah I think so, there would have been rioting next year if he were unhappy, or god forbid left. On the field, that’s another issue. To me he really hasn’t progressed much since year 2, and the Steelers continue to let key components of the offense walk. Seems like a little much to me, when you can’t resign the team around him.

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