Friday, March 16, 2012

6 comments MMQB Review: Tour de Manning Edition

As Peyton Manning jet sets around the United States in search of which team best fits him, all while suspiciously not throwing a football to remove the one big question about him (his health), Peter King appears to have had his mind blown by it all. He is using all caps to describe Manning's status as a free agent and I'm just surprised he hasn't tried to say the Patriots should sign Manning, since that seems to be the place Peter usually likes to suggest free agents go (check it out in Peter's February/March MMQB's, every summer he ties a big-ish name free agent to the Patriots. It's a tradition). Peter seems all disoriented about Manning's free agency and this doesn't even include the Redskins-like trade Washington made for Robert Griffin III. Peter's mind is officially blown.

Caught your breath yet?

(Bengoodfella looks up from his bracket) I am exhausted after the revealing of the NCAA Tournament brackets Sunday night. This NCAA Tournament is such a whirlwind.

And I think the weirdest part of the weekend came shortly after I heard about the Rams-Redskins trade,

What happened Peter? Did you stare at a person who was on the Acela for an entire two hours and NEVER LOOKED UP FROM HIS PHONE ONCE? How weird is that? The entire time Peter is staring at that person, this person is minding his own business. What a wacky world we live in!

If you heard an NFL team traded three first round picks and a second round pick to essentially move up four spots in the draft, what would you call this move? I would call it "Redskinsian." Because the world is just and all is currently right in the world, the Redskins were the team to move up four spots by trading three first round picks and a second round pick.

which was about six hours after the news broke Friday night that Peyton Manning was headed to town Saturday on his free-agency tour.

But he's not throwing the football, dammit. Whine him, dine him, but don't expect him to prove he is completely healthy.

I pulled over to the side of a road to talk to an NFL team's executive about the trade and was taking a couple of notes when I got a call-waiting signal. "Jets just announced a contract extension with Sanchez,'' someone told me.

The extension isn't quite as bad financially as it initially seems, Manning probably wasn't going to play for the Jets and we have to admire the Jets for sticking with "their guy." Would I sign Sanchez to an extension? Probably not. I would have gone into the 2012 season with Sanchez as my starter, but probably not given him an extension. As bad as this extension sounded at the time, I think it is fairly reasonable financially.

This has to have been the most eventful non-draft offseason weekend in recent NFL history.

This will be true until one weekend next offseason, which Peter will then call the most eventful non-draft offseason weekend in NFL history.


Apparently Peter has voice immodulation that CAUSES HIM TO SPEAK IN A VERY LOUD VOICE AT ALL TIMES.

"I still am trying to get my brain around the thought that one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time is a street free agent -- and was in our building talking about playing for our team,'' said one official of a team in the running this weekend.

Wasn't Peyton Manning in Arizona and Denver this weekend? So this comment came from an official in either Denver or Arizona's building. I find it odd Peter is vague as to which team this official worked for. It's pretty obvious, right? There's a 50% chance of being correct.

A book written by Boston writer and talk-show host Michael Holley is at least partially the reason, with an assist from the Carmelo Anthony trade.

That's Carmelo's first assist all year! Oh, rim shot! Knicks suck and Carmelo Anthony is selfish.

More about that later. The Patriots got three ones for Jim Plunkett in 1976, and the Rams got three ones for Eric Dickerson in 1987, but for a pick? File not found.

Peter's CPU has crashed...rebooting.

The Jets added three reasonably priced seasons to his contract in 2014 through 2016 in exchange for guaranteeing his money this year and next, and adding $2.75 million to it. If you assume he's not getting cut in either of the next two years, GM Mike Tannenbaum did a smart thing, because he lowered Sanchez's cap number in the process -- $6.4 million of it, according to

You can forgive many people for thinking the extension was a bad idea. The words "Mark Sanchez has signed an extension" goes along with "Team X has signed Gilbert Arenas" as words that can horrify a team's fan base.

The Colts cut half their roster.

Probably not a bad move, especially after the team's performance last year.

Andrew Luck has to be thinking, "What am I walking into?

Hopefully a team that is much better than the 2011 Colts team ended up being. Cutting expensive veterans and other players who didn't help the Colts win games is a good first step in my opinion.

Opening weekend 2012 is exactly six months away. But isn't this action more non-stop than the regular season?

No, it actually isn't more non-stop. Peter just has time to cover these individual events more thoroughly when there aren't 14-16 games being played. So it just seems like it is more eventful.

So now Manning is back at his Miami Beach apartment, by all indications, full of information and who knows what else from his time with the Broncos and Cardinals.

He knows it's an easier path to the Super Bowl in the AFC than the NFC. He knows the AFC West is a division there to be had.

I want the Raiders to sign Peyton Manning. I'm not sure why, but this would please me greatly. It will never happen of course.

I am surprised he views Denver clearly better than the Chiefs, which apparently he does. Kansas City has better backs, if Jamaal Charles returns whole this year, and comparable if not better receivers.

The Broncos will have a better defense than the Chiefs in 2012 (at least that's my opinion) and the Broncos not only made the playoffs last year with a glorified running back playing the quarterback position, but they won a playoff game. Plus, John Fox is a much better coach than Romeo Crennel. So I see Denver as a team going up and the Chiefs may be going up, just at a slower pace. So I can see how Manning would view the Broncos as the better situation.

The Chiefs had a better defense last year, by three points and 24 yards allowed per game.

I still think the Broncos defense is better and will be better during the 2012 season.

John Fox is a good coach, and Mike McCoy a good coordinator, for Manning because they'll allow him to hold sway over much of the offense ...

After enduring a season of running a Tebow-centric offense, Mike McCoy and John Fox would probably let any competent quarterback hold sway over much of the offense at this point.

Manning has to take a leap of faith with Fox, hoping he can fix the defense, which allowed 40 points or more five times in 18 games last season ... And then there's the matter of the weather. Manning played half of every pro season in a dome. Denver has one dome game next year, at Atlanta ...

I understand Manning wants to play in a dome, but I tend to lose 10% respect for him if playing in a dome has very much to do with his decision on where to play next year. Come on, you are Peyton Manning. You should be able to play 10+ games a year on grass. I understand he is 36 years old, but he can play on grass for 10+ games.

Cards have a formidable foe in the division in San Francisco to see twice a year. but split with the Niners last year. San Francisco is a better team than any Denver would have to beat in the AFC West.

So Peyton Manning wants to play in a division with as little competition as possible and play in a dome. I understand Manning wants to win a Super Bowl and may not want to join a team in an incredibly tough division, but he is supposed to be one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. Let's challenge ourselves just a little bit. Go to the team that has the best situation for you as a quarterback and don't try to chase a Super Bowl by trying to guess which division will be the easiest to win.

Miami? Time is short for Manning. Not sure he wants to have to try to hop over the Patriots and Jets;

It's a good thing he won't EVER have to play the Jets or Patriots in the playoffs then.

Now about Manning's physical condition. He didn't take his agent, Tom Condon, with him on his weekend trips. He wanted the trip to be all football,

Just without any actual football being played nor a football being thrown.

Manning will likely make it easy on a team and not demand the kind of huge $28 million option bonus he had on the table when the Colts cut him last week.

How charitable of him.

But his new team will have to trust the medical reports from Manning's doctors that say, despite having four neck procedures in two years, he should be fit enough to play in 2012.

I feel like Manning should throw the ball a little bit for a team before they invest money in him. I know if I was a team's owner, I would want to see Manning throw a little bit before extending a contract to him.

Said Ismail, "When I was there, he told me, 'Hey, I'm just a gym rat. This is what I'm about. I love the game.' He wants to squeeze out every ounce of talent he has and pour it into the art of quarterbacking, being the absolute best quarterback who has ever played."

"But I would also like to play in a non-competitive division, have full control over the offense and play in a dome my entire career."

Another factor is Manning will play hurt. And has.

He will again, if his physical condition calls for it. That and the throw to Ismail are two good reasons why I'd pull out all the stops to sign Manning if my team medics tell me he's healthy enough to play.

I think Peter is missing the point. I don't doubt Manning's toughness or ability to play hurt, but what happens if he CAN'T play? Like what if his neck hurts to where he can not throw the football and be the leader of a productive team? A team shouldn't have Manning throw the football to experience his willingness to play injured, but should have him throw the ball to make sure he is healthy and is physically capable of playing at a high level.

The Griffin Deal I: The biggest deal for a pick -- we think -- ever.

And let's compare this trade to two other very big ones of recent years: the Saints' trade of eight draft choices to Washington so they could draft Ricky Williams in 1999, and the Giants' move with San Diego to pick Eli Manning in the 2004 draft.

The reason I think this Washington deal is better than either of the others is it gives the Rams one top-10 pick and, overall, four picks in the top 40.

Maybe I am over-emphasizing this, but this trade is also a better deal because the Redskins gave up four picks in the Top 40 to move up four spots in the draft. I know they wanted Robert Griffin very badly, but that's a huge price for moving up four spots. I'm not saying they should not have done it, only time will tell the answer to that, but if the Rams draft well they have just helped to make their team competitive in the NFC West this year and possibly in the future. It's a win-now move by the Redskins when I'm not sure they are ready to win-now.

According to one of the teams involved, Washington made an offer beyond what St. Louis ever thought it'd get -- three first-round picks and a second-rounder.

Ladies and gentlemen, Daniel Snyder and Mike Shanahan! This is what happens when an expert negotiators and an offensive genius work together.

Think of the quarterbacks Mike Shanahan has coached over the last 20 years. He was Steve Young's offensive coordinator 17 years ago when Young threw a Super Bowl-record six touchdown passes.

All because of Mike Shanahan, who has an MBA in brilliance and a Doctorate in genius. If there is one thing Mike Shanahan knows how to do, it is ride the coattails of a Hall of Fame quarterback.

Then Jay Cutler came in, and he could run passably, he could drop back and throw downfield with the best in the game, and he had great confidence. Had Shanahan stayed, he was sure he could win a championship with Cutler, but who knows?

I do. I think I know. Mike Shanahan would not have won a championship with Cutler, just like he didn't win a championship with Griese or Plummer, his two other hand-picked franchise quarterbacks. I'm not saying Shanahan isn't good at developing quarterbacks, but his reputation exceeds his actual output of quality quarterbacks, at least in my opinion.

He feels his offense can contract and expand depending on the talents of the man under center. Or in the shotgun.

As long as he has a Hall of Fame quarterback, Mike Shanahan is comfortable with whatever offense is being run.

So now Shanahan will have Griffin to work with...Young's more accurate (not many quarterbacks ever have been more accurate), but Griffin's deep arm, and the accuracy of it, are certainly better than Young's, and may rival Elway's. We'll see.

Seriously? Robert Griffin has taken zero snaps in the NFL and we have already determined his deep arm accuracy surpasses that of one Hall of Fame quarterback and may be as good as another Hall of Fame quarterback's deep arm? Shouldn't it matter that he hasn't taken an NFL snap yet before we start saying shit like this?

Now about the volume Washington traded for Griffin. And the volume that Cleveland didn't. You get the feeling Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen looked at their quarterback situation, wretched, and did what they had to do to get one of the best quarterbacks to come out of the draft in a while.

Griffin is the best quarterback to come out of the NFL Draft since the quarterback drafted before Griffin (Luck) in 2012 and he is the best since the 2011 NFL Draft (Newton/Dalton). So Griffin is at the most the best quarterback to come out of the draft since last year's draft. I'm not sure if one year counts as "a while."

It's hard to kill GM Tom Heckert, but the only thing that matters is whether you get the trade done or you don't. Cleveland didn't. The Browns might be proven right in the long run, but for now, their fans feel like they'll never get a franchise quarterback ... and may not even get a Brian Sipe.

(This is an obscure reference Ben doesn't get, so he moves on)

Playing well, and winning, and being a go-to guy for teammates in the locker room, and lifting your team ... those are the things that reinforce leadership. Not a contract. I just hope for Sanchez's sake he doesn't really feel the size of his paychecks means a thing when it comes to big moments in late-season games.

Look, Sanchez doesn't care how much he gets paid. He just wants to win games. Sanchez doesn't even need the paycheck since modeling pays so well for him. So the paycheck means nothing to Sanchez, he can do his best Blue Steel and make $10,000 per day modeling.

Sanchez just wants to win games, bang as many hot chicks as possible, go to the beach every other weekend and have a 78% grasp of the Jets offense. Is that too much to ask? Money is no problem for him. He just needs to make enough to where football can support him as he explores other ventures.

"He is the man I want, period. I want Mr. Manning with the Titans, and I will be disappointed if it doesn't happen.''

-- Tennessee owner Bud Adams, to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean on Sunday.

Jake Locker, remember him? First round draft pick, played pretty well last year. Gritty, like Favre? No, the Titans want Manning so they can sit Locker for another 2-3 years? Great, sounds good.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played the storied Apollo Theater in Manhattan Friday night, with Tom Coughlin in attendance.

This is literally the worst factoid of the week in the history of factoids of the week. It conveys no useful or important information to the reader, nor is the knowledge gained from this factoid useful or contain interesting information in and of itself.

I had a terrific time in Arizona over the weekend, watching three ballgames at three fairly new ballparks -- Goodyear Ballpark (home of the Reds and Indians) in Goodyear, 25 minutes west of Phoenix; Camelback Ranch (home of the White Sox and Dodgers) in Glendale, not far from the Cardinals stadium; and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (home of the Diamondbacks and Rockies), about a half-hour northeast of downtown.

Peter's takeaway from these games?

The tickets seemed like cover charges for the food and drink.

Of course they did.

"I give Peyton a ton of credit. Only meeting with teams he's legitimately interested in. Not playing leverage game w/others. Moving quickly.''

-- @BobGlauber, the prescient Newsday football writer, Sunday night as Manning flew to his offseason home in Miami.

Seriously? Manning has been on the market for about a week and he has visited a few teams. How do we know he is legitimately interested in these teams and is moving quickly? Do we know for sure he isn't trying to drive his price up by exaggerating other teams' interest in him? He hasn't made a decision yet and only has had to make a decision for less than a week. Of course it is moving quickly, because at this point it just started.

I'm not going to be critical of Manning, especially after the Favre "retire or not to retire" decisions over the past few years. I'm not going to be complimentary at this point either though since I don't know if he is legitimately interested in these teams or not.

1. I think I have no idea what it means when New Orleans quarterback and union executive board member Drew Brees, in a statement about the Saints' bounty program the NFL says took place, says: "I did not participate in any bounty program, nor did I have any knowledge relating to its real existence.''

I will say what I believe league investigators are thinking, regardless of the definition of "real'' here: that every player on that Super Bowl team, and the coach and general manager, knew something of what was going on in the defensive team meetings on Saturday nights.

Not Drew Brees! He had no idea and is appalled his defensive teammates could have a bounty program and him have absolutely no knowledge of it. It stretches reality to believe the Saints could do this, but Brees had no knowledge of this bounty program, no matter how unrealistic this claim seems to be.

3. I think Josh Morgan is going to make some team very, very happy in free agency -- and I hear the Niners are making a late push to keep him off the market. They should. Before he missed the final 11 games of 2011 with an October ankle fracture, Morgan had a chance to be a star in Jim Harbaugh's offense.

Oh, well if he was going to be a star in Jim Harbaugh's offense then another NFL team should pay him millions to play wide receiver in a system that isn't Jim Harbaugh's offense...because that makes sense and all.

7. I think there's been some confusion on the compensation the Redskins paid the Rams for the second pick in the draft, at least according to the Twitter world. Dozens of you, and some emailers too, have said, Wait a minute. The Redskins didn't trade three first-round picks and a two for Robert Griffin III. They traded two firsts, then swapped positions with this year's first-rounders with the Rams.

This is inaccurate for reasons Peter will explain.

In the NFL today, trading up from six to two in the first round cannot be dismissed as simply "swapping spots" as though it's a minor part of the deal. On the draft trade value chart, which all teams use (though its importance has been lessened because the cost of high picks is so much more affordable now with the new rookie wage scale), the difference between the sixth and second overall picks is 1,000 points, the equivalent of the 16th overall pick in the draft.

So to move up in the NFL Draft, the Redskins traded two first round picks and a second round pick to the #2 overall pick. This move up four spots is equivalent to the 16th overall pick in the draft (based on the draft trade value chart, which I admit has issues). You can see why this was a lot to give up for the #2 overall pick and why Daniel Snyder and Mike Shanahan are complete idiots or just paid greatly for their franchise quarterback, but it will all be worth it. This is the kind of move that gets everyone fired...except for the main idiot behind many of the Redskins ill-advised moves over the last decade, Daniel Snyder.

8. I think I'm glad for Griffin's sake that he is a man who plays well under pressure -- and seems to thrive on it. Washington will be full of that pressure. I'll never forget in 1988, when, while at Newsday, I interviewed for a job covering the Redskins for the Washington Post.Before I left, I got to spend a few minutes with the esteemed executive editor of the paper, Ben Bradlee,

"This beat,'' he said to me, "is as important at our paper as the Supreme Court to many people.'' Whoa. I ended up not taking the job, but I'll always remember that.

I am not doubting Redskins fans are still very into their team, especially if this letter is any indication, but Peter's interview did occur during the late 1980's when the Redskins were a great team and probably had a larger following during that time. I am not sure if the Redskins is as important to the Washington Post as the Supreme Court to many people. Maybe it is. Either way, Griffin will have a ton of pressure simply based on how much was given up for the right to draft him.

9. I think, for you Browns fans -- and journalism fans -- here's the latest on former Plain Dealer beat man and columnist Tony Grossi, who was taken off the beat when a tweet critical of owner Randy Lerner was made public: Grossi starts today as a Browns analyst at ESPNCleveland, with web writing and appearances on the local affiliate, WKNR.

Ouch, that's a double whammy right there. First, Grossi gets taken off the Browns beat and then a few weeks later he starts working for ESPN. It's sad to see a good beat writer go down a dark path like this.

When the junior guard was a freshman, he had 23 in OU's 97-83 upset of Georgetown. What could Eisen, Mr. Michigan, and I bet on this game? Tweet me your ideas @SI_PeterKing. You too, Rich.

Here's a good bet. The loser has to run the 40 yard dash. I know we've seen Eisen do it every year at the Combine, but I want to see his time versus Peter King's time.

k. Coffeenerdness: I underrate Illy espresso. Consistently, when I have it at a good coffee shop, as I did with a triple latte Sunday morning in Phoenix, Illy never disappoints. Intense taste. No bitterness.

This coffee's taste is like the opposite of a Brett Favre NFL comeback. Usually disappoints and plenty of bitterness.

m. Great tweet from my buddy Jon Heyman about the 2012 Red Sox:

Jon Heyman doesn't do great Tweets and I don't believe Heyman has friends unless Scott Boras okay's it in advance.

Two things I learned at red sox camp the other day: bobby valentine likes adela, and he really likes alfredo aceves.''

This is a great Tweet? This is somehow less interesting than the factoid that Tom Coughlin went to a Bruce Springsteen concert.


Justin Zeth said...

God, Pete's incessant proclaiming that whatever just happened is THE MOST AMAZING THING THAT HAS HAPPENED AT LEAST SINCE THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION is annoying as hell. He does it like four times a column. Every. Single. Column. He's like a teenage girl in more than enough different ways to be disturbing. Enough that, if he hadn't been at this for decades now, I would actually suspect this stuff was being written by a teenage girl, using the pseudonym "Peter King" because she's afraid no one in sportsland will respect her if they know she's a teenage girl.

The timing of the Redskins' LOL trade and the Sanchez extension make it pretty obvious what happened: Manning informed the Redskins and Jets he wasn't interested in playing for them, so they both immediately pulled the trigger on the Plan B they had already prepared.

The LOL trade trade is absolutely fantastic for the Rams particularly because it's quite likely both of the extra first round picks will turn out to be top-ten picks. The Redskins are, after all, the Redskins.

It is complete and total bullshit that Griffin "thrives under pressure." Nobody knows whether he can play at the NFL level. People project and dream but they don't know, and it's asinine to pretend to. The "he thrives under pressure!" bullshit gets written about several quarterback prospects every year. That bullshit was written about Ryan Leaf. It pisses me off because it's either stupid or intellectually dishonest, and it pisses me off that stupid and/or intellectually dishonest people get jobs like Peter King has, some of the cushiest jobs on earth.

Justin Zeth said...

Oh, and you probably already know this, but Manning worked out (and threw) for the Broncos yesterday. The Broncos claim he looked fine.

I think it's getting increasingly clear Manning's going to Denver. But who knows.

rich said...

Morgan had a chance to be a star in Jim Harbaugh's offense.

5 games, 15 receptions, 220 yards and 1 TD. Star power.

On the draft trade value chart, which all teams use

Bullshit. There are several GMs who say that don't use one and if you look at a lot of the trades that have happened in the past few years, the "value chart" is way off from the actual trade.

Plus, trade value changes when there's a particular player on the board vs. who would be available later.

If I have the 6th pick and it's looking like a WR or a CB (two positions I can get good value from later in the draft) and the second pick is a franchise QB type... you have to give up more than say if there's a franchise LT at 6.

For example, if the Redskins offer the 6 and Cleveland offers the 22, there's really no value difference for the Rams.

At 6 you get Blackmon and 22 you get Floyd. So it's not the difference between 6 and 22 that's important, it's the difference between Blackmon and Floyd, factoring in the possibilities that those guys aren't available when you pick.

So while the 6, a 2nd rounder and a future 1st looks better than the 22, a 2nd and a future 1st, the difference is much smaller than the perception.

Given who is likely to be available and the depth at a lot of positions in this years draft, the 6 actually isn't that valuable this year.

rich said...

I'll add that even though I think the value of the 6 is muted this year...

Three fucking firsts and a second? That's stupid.

Was there someone offering anything even remotely close to that? I couldn't imagine Cleveland offering anything near that in value.

Hell, even if Cleveland offered the 4, 22 and a future first...

The 6 and 4 wash because it's Blackmon either way and the 22 is lower than the Skins will pick next year (likely top 10, probable top 15).

So even if Cleveland went full retard and offered three firsts, why the hell did Washington toss in a second?

I could maybe understand giving up the three firsts (given that the 6 isn't that valuable) or giving up the 6, the 39 and next year's first...

but all three? Wow.

Justin Zeth said...

The Redskins have been demonstrating for years that they don't understand or care to understand how much draft picks are worth. To the Redskins draft picks are just things you can trade for overpaid stars or (more often) former stars.

Bengoodfella said...

Justin, your comment was the most amazing comment I have ever read on this blog. I have to say, though I think the Redskins gave up a lot, I think it is a good risk. They gave up a lot, but if they really believe RGIII is the guy then I guess it is something they felt it necessary to do. It is a great trade in my mind for the Rams. If they draft well, they have made themselves contenders. I thought it was an interesting "win-now" trade for a team that may not be able to "win-now."

I think I agree w/ your Plan B scenario. It is what happened.

I personally love the analysis of RGIII has having a great deep arm and thriving under pressure. It's interesting we know this without watching him having ever played a game.

Justin, it has been a week since Peter wrote this and Manning hasn't made a decision. I wonder if Peter mentions that Peyton isn't doing this in such a timely fashion anymore. Doubt it.

Rich, I should have guessed the Redskins would sign Morgan. I haven't ever paid attention to the draft value chart. It just seems silly to me to put definite values on picks that may not have the same value from year-to-year, much less from one to decade to another.

Justin, I think your comment about draft picks is in the mission statement for the Redskins. Like I said, this could be a good trade, but it is very Redskins-like to go out and sign FA wide receivers as well.