Tuesday, March 18, 2014

8 comments MMQB Review: Free Agency Finally Works Like It Should Edition

Peter King got all of this football talk out of the way last week in order to tell us about his vacation over to England and gave us his favorite quotes of the week. Peter also managed to find time to pimp out a Marvin Demoff client in his Tuesday mailbag. I'm sure Alex Mack and Marvin Demoff are grateful that Peter took great lengths in telling other NFL teams how they could get around the Brown's transition tag and help create a market for Mack's services. This week Peter talks about instant replay changes, does the quickly becoming annual "Why did Team X trade/cut Darrelle Revis?" dance, remembers Steve Smith for Panthers fans since they probably don't remember him, and tells his readers that he thinks Rick Reilly writes like he is down to Earth (which is just crazy).

Time to take a breath. We’ll eventually get to the rise of the NFL’s middle class in the leagues’ 22nd year of free agency, spurred by $665 million guaranteed to players in the first six days of the open market, and the $1.52 billion in paper contracts for 128 players.

Athletes get paid a lot and teams overpay in free agency! This is new information.

There are four issues that will draw significant attention when owners, club executives and coaches begin meeting six days from now in Orlando:

1. Do they prefer to sit on your huge pot of money once a day or do most owners pay someone to sit on their huge pot of money for them?

2. Diversity, how can we champion it? Much more importantly, does the hotel have an open bar?

3. How many games can be played per year in London before NFL fans get pissed off home games are being taken away from them due to the NFL's obsession with determining if London could support an NFL team?

4. Seriously, does the hotel have an open bar?

The point-after. No change for this year, and I doubt anything will change for several years, because there’s no momentum to make a change despite the fact that just one PAT is missed every 43 games. During one preseason weekend, however, the owners may consider moving the PAT line of scrimmage to the 25-yard line, or employing what I’d call the Goodell Proposal: eliminating the PAT and giving seven points for a touchdown, while allowing teams to go for two but getting only six points if the conversion fails.

I like the idea behind this rule, but I have a feeling this would mean NFL coaches would be even more conservative than usual. NFL head coaches don't generally go for two anyway, but if they are actually losing a point in going for two, I would be willing to beat there would be a decline in two-point conversion attempts. There's something about having 7 points and losing a point for a failed two-point conversion, as opposed to have 6 points and losing nothing for a failed two-point conversion that I think would make coaches conservative about two-point conversions. So if the purpose is to make sure teams rarely go for a two-point conversion, then the Goodell Proposal is a good idea and would be a rousing success.

Playoff expansion. I’m hearing it’s probably a matter of when, not if. More likely than not, the league will add two playoff teams in time for the 2015 season, meaning 14 playoff teams (instead of the current 12) out of 32.

If this were MLB then two Wild Cards teams from each conference would play one quarter of a football game in order to determine who gets to move on to the next playoff round. 

Unfair to have teams play Monday night? I don’t see it, though I’m not a fan of playoff expansion because I think it devalues the 17 weeks of the regular season. Currently, the four teams playing on the Saturday of wild-card weekend have a short week going into the game. Often, teams that play on wild-card Sunday have to play on the following Saturday. I’m certain the NFL would arranged the schedule so that a Monday winner wouldn’t play its divisional game until the following Sunday.

Money aside, which really the money can't be put aside but let's pretend for a minute, why would the NFL want to put two more teams in the playoffs? I don't know if it devalues the regular season, but at that point almost half of the teams in the NFL would be in the playoffs.

Officiating changes. No movement is expected on creating centralized replay at the league’s officiating control center, but I’m hearing that owners will discuss and consider—and that’s the word I keep hearing, consider—allowing league officiating czar Dean Blandino to consult on replays while the referee is determining whether to uphold or overturn the call.

Why doesn't the NFL just have a panel of 20 officials who vote on whether a call should be overturned or not? I bet Bill Simmons would have fans at home vote on whether a call should be overturned or not. Actually, I don't hate this idea to have the league officiating czar consult on replays, but I also feel like if the officials are getting paid to do their job, they should be able to do their job without consulting with their boss.

This wouldn’t be a cure-all for bad replay decisions, but it would be a safety valve to help prevent horrible calls like the one Jeff Triplette mauled in Cincinnati last season, when he awarded Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis a touchdown even though he appeared to be down shy of the goal line in the replay.

OR the officials could just do their job correctly and view the replay while coming up with the correct call. I know that's simplistic, but part of an official's job is to view a replay for a challenge and come up with the accurate call. If an official has shown he can't do that without a little help from his friends, perhaps it's time to find a new side-profession.

Using the N-word on the field. There won’t be a rule change mandating a flag if an official hears the N-word. But officials will have the right to penalize verbal abuse, whether it be a player using a racist term or directing other foul language at either opponents or officials. There’s a feeling that the league wants to promote more respect on the field, but outlawing one word is too slippery a slope.

Great, it was a terrible idea to begin with and should die the death of the unwanted.

After three years of a stalled market, free agency finally works. When I see free agency this year, I see it working the way it was meant to work when the league implemented it before the 1993 season.

Oh good! I wasn't even aware free agency didn't work. And here for the past 20 years I thought free agency was working fine, players who were wanted by teams got overpaid, players who had underachieved got shorter deals, and the world was spinning as it should. Little did I know 2014 was when free agency would be working well and guys like Roger Saffold do deserve contracts worth upwards of $8 million a year. Finally, players like Mike Mitchell are getting recognized as being worth $25 million over 5 years when last year in the broken free agent system he only got a 1-year deal after an undistinguished career in Oakland.

If a player is stuck behind a good player somewhere, he can move and start somewhere else. And if a player thinks he’s undervalued and his contract is up, well, he can move too.

I'm pretty sure it worked this way prior to this year.

Wesley Woodyard got replaced in Denver at middle linebacker by Danny Trevathan; Tennessee signed Woodyard to start in the middle for four years and $16 million.

Depending on Trevathan's value, couldn't this mean that Woodyard isn't worth 4 years and $16 million and he's now being overpaid? He did get replaced in Denver, due to injuries, so maybe he's being overvalued and the fact he was easily replaced means he isn't worth the money he got paid by Tennessee.

Geoff Schwartz was a backup tackle and guard in Kansas City; the Giants got him for $4.2 million a year, probably to start at guard. Cincinnati started Anthony Collins at left tackle for eight games last year and he performed well; Tampa Bay signed him for five years and $30 million. Josh McCown would have been only an insurance policy in Chicago, but he has a shot to be the starting quarterback in Tampa—and he’ll make between $5 million and $7.5 million a year, depending how much and how well he plays.

Again, this type of thing has happened in free agency before. Players who are backups and deserve a shot to start go to another team get paid, as well as get a chance to start. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first year free agency worked how it was supposed to work.

As one club executive told me over the weekend, the real win for the players in the 2011 CBA won’t be the increase in the cap over the next few years—it should expand by at least another $10 million next season—but rather the minimum spending rules. In past years, owners had a salary cap, but many didn’t spend anywhere near it. Now they have to.

Which considering we are a week into free agency doesn't necessarily mean teams will spend this money wisely. The middle-class may get overpaid in free agency by teams with money to burn. Only time will tell.

In the last 13 months, the Raiders have lost three of their top draftees from recent years: defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, pass rusher Lamarr Houston, and left tackle Jared Veldheer. Oakland lost Bryant last year because of the cap crunch. The Raiders lost Houston and Veldheer this year because McKenzie didn’t want to pay market value for them.

In the case of Veldheer, it could turn into a terrible mistake, because the Raiders are without a left tackle after the Rodger Saffold debacle. If they choose to draft a very good one with the fifth overall pick this year, then that means one less potential franchise player because they erred so badly in free agency.

Unless the left tackle the Raiders select in the draft turns out to be a franchise player. Left tackles can be franchise players too. Ask the Ravens, Seahawks, or Rams how Ogden, Walter Jones, and Orlando Pace performed and whether they should be considered franchise players or not. But yeah Peter, if the Raiders draft a left tackle with the #5 pick they've blown it because left tackles are important enough for you to criticize the Raiders for not having one, but not important enough to be franchise players.

Oakland thought Veldheer wanted too much money to be the left tackle and saw him more as a right tackle. And so the Raiders let him go and signed Saffold, a player St. Louis was demoting from tackle to guard (though the Rams liked Saffold a lot at guard.) You won’t find many personnel people in the league who value Saffold over Veldheer. But the Raiders agreed to pay Saffold an average of $8.5 million a year during the pre-free agency negotiating period. Veldheer ended up getting $7 million a year to play left tackle for the Cardinals.

I thought Oakland has signed Saffold as a guard, so what they ended up not offering to Veldheer didn't really impact Saffold because they had plenty of cap money and did not directly choose Saffold over Veldheer as the left tackle? Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought Saffold was going to play guard for the Raiders. Tony Softli reported that Saffold was going to play guard, and not tackle, for the Raiders.

“Rodger said the doctor told him he was OK, fine, no problem,’’ one of the agents, Alan Herman, said on Sunday. “That afternoon, the Raiders told us he failed the physical, [that he] had a tear in his labrum and needed immediate surgery.’’

Herman consulted with Dr. Frank Cordasco, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and had him examine Saffold. Says Herman, “He told me, ‘He doesn’t need surgery. There is no problem with Rodger Saffold.’ ”
The Raiders wouldn’t make McKenzie available to me, so I couldn’t ask him about the prevailing view around the league: that Oakland got cold feet when the team saw the intense criticism of Saffold’s contract. “Buyer’s remorse?’’ says Herman. “Who knows? All I know is his shoulder is fine. He told us he just benched 400 pounds working out.’’

Maybe Saffold realized he signed with the Raiders and then wanted to back out of the deal? Ah, the twist. Maybe the Raiders weren't the ones who backed out of the deal. I'm kidding of course...maybe.

But remember, this is how free agency is supposed to work. Roger Saffold is supposed to be overpaid to play left tackle/guard. It's written in the stars that's how NFL free agency works, according to Peter King.

The Rams took Saffold back, happily, at a reduced price. And the Raiders had to settle for Jets right tackle Austin Howard, plus a mélange of vets on defense (Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Tarell Brown) who were seeking homes after being dissed or cut by their teams.

Not the way Oakland wanted free agency to go. Not at all.

Of course, just last week Peter was talking up Tarell Brown as a quality cornerback and on the second-tier of the free agent market for cornerbacks. I guess now that the Raiders signed Brown he is just a guy who was dissed by his team.

And once again, is this how free agency supposed to work? Teams like the Raiders with a ton of cap room are supposed to settle for free agents and then take a chance on veterans who simply aren't wanted by their previous team? I thought this free agency season was the model for how free agency was supposed to go, with teams having tons of money to spend? Yet, Peter claims the team with the most money to spend in free agency isn't happy with how it all went. This is how it's supposed to work apparently.

I still don’t get the Revis thing

We know, Peter. You didn't get why the Jets traded Revis (though having Sheldon Richardson must be nice for the Jets) and you don't get why the Buccaneers released Revis. Why wouldn't an NFL team want Revis, a guy who has held out twice in his career and takes up a lot of salary cap room?

The Patriots fell out of a tree and landed on their feet by getting cornerback Darrelle Revis, a transcendent talent at one of the most important positions in football. Lucky that the Bucs cut him, the Patriots pounced and signed Revis for a year and $12 million—though the deal was dressed up as two years and $32 million

It was a great move by the Patriots. They get the best (second-best?...does it matter?) cornerback in the NFL on essentially a one-year deal.

The Buccaneers cut Revis because he isn’t a great scheme-fit for the Tampa 2 defense, in which corners must be more physical than if they were left on islands to simply cover receivers short and deep. I get that.

And now Peter is going to continue on writing in order to show that indeed he does not get that Revis didn't fit in with the defense the Buccaneers wanted to run.

But last year, according to Pro Football Focus,defenses played three or more corners on 58% of the NFL’s defensive snaps. Revis is the best cover man in football. The cap rose by $10 million, and Tampa Bay could have afforded to do most or all of what it did in free agency and keep Revis, who already cost the team first- and fourth-round picks in addition to the contract that paid him $16 million a year.

I feel like Peter has a blind spot when it comes to Darrelle Revis. Yes, I understand all of these things as being true, but if there is a fundamental problem with Revis playing in a Tampa 2 cover defense then it's not worth paying Revis $16 million to play in a defense that doesn't work to his skill set. The draft picks are a sunk cost, the fact the cap rose is relevant only in that he speaks to the Bucs being able to afford to put corners who fit in a Tampa-2 on the roster, and Revis isn't the best cover man in football if he's playing a defense that doesn't play to his strengths. Good day, sir. I said good day!

I get new coach Lovie Smith wanting a clean slate and not wanting the onerous Revis contract.

But do you get it, Peter? I feel like you don't really get it. It doesn't seem like you get it. Revis didn't fit the system, he was expensive, so the Bucs let him go. I feel like Peter wants to understand this, but he fails to understand this.

But if you told me the league’s best cover corner could be had in this era of pass-happy football, in a division with quarterbacks Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton, for 12% of my salary cap, I’d say, “Where do I sign up for that?”

But what if I also told you that the league's best cover corner is going to play in a defense that takes away from his strengths and causes him to not be a good fit in the scheme? Would you still sign up for that at $16 million per year and 12% of the team's cap space?

Five Things I Think You Should Know

I think there is 100 things that Peter needs to know.

4. Pro Football Focus had Packers wideout James Jones down for two dropped passes in 88 balls thrown to him last season, so for those who say Jones hasn’t signed anywhere because of butterfingers, there’s that. Roddy White had eight drops in 94 targets.

Of course James Jones also had Pro Football Focus's most accurate quarterback last season throwing him the football, so perhaps that explains partly why he only dropped two out of 88 passes thrown to him. Well, he didn't have Rodgers all season, but I think the point still stands.

5. If a once-proud player’s stock has plummeted more precipitously than Josh Freeman’s, I’d like to know who that player is. 

And here we go again with Peter's Josh Freeman hatred. Did Freeman run over Peter's dog or something? Why does Peter King hate Josh Freeman so much? Why does Peter take any chance he can to point out what a disappointment Freeman has been of late?

A year ago, Freeman was set to play out the final year of his rookie contract as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback, at $8.43 million, and then enter the 2014 free-agent market or sign a long-term deal with the Bucs, who could have franchised him. Then he got supplanted by Mike Glennon, cut, signed by Minnesota, and benched after one start for the Vikings. Now, at 26, he’ll have to sign a bargain deal in a place like Oakland and compete just to make the roster.

Yep, it's been a tough year. How about Matt Flynn going into the season with a chance to be the Raiders starting quarterback, stealing $6.5 million from the Raiders for a few weeks, getting cut, signing with the Bills, getting released by the Bills, getting signed by the Packers because they had no other viable options with Aaron Rodgers injured, and now at 28 years old he's a free agent who will have to sign a bargain deal just to be on an NFL roster?

Oh yeah, I forgot, this doesn't merit any mention because Peter is too focused on hating Josh Freeman for his mere existence in the world.

There’s a book in there somewhere.

There's also probably a story for why Peter hates Josh Freeman so much.

“To play with Peyton Manning is like wide receiver heaven.”
— Sanders.

Yeah, it can make you a ton of money too. Right, Eric Decker?

“Will I miss Cam? Sure I’ll miss Cam. But you’ve got to remember: I was with Cam for three years only. I was with other guys, Jordan Gross for example, for years. I was with people in the organization for years and years. There are in people in the organization who had kids in elementary school when I got there and they’re now in college. This is not easy, believe me.”

— Steve Smith, who was drafted by the Panthers three months into George W. Bush’s first term, on leaving Carolina for a new start in Baltimore.

Peter sees this translated as: Cam is too busy trying to be an entertainer and an icon to worry about who his receivers, plus Smith never got along Newton for that very reason.

Let’s not let the moment pass, Panther fans, without remembering how much Steve Smith (now a Raven) did for your franchise over the past 13 seasons.

Gee Peter, I'm sure Panthers fans would have forgotten how good Smith was for Carolina if you weren't around to remind them. It must be nice to be so smart that you have to remind fans of NFL teams what a certain player meant to that team.

On the first play of his NFL career, with Cris Carter and Randy Moss watching from the Vikings’ sideline in September 2001, Smith took a Mitch Berger kickoff at the 7-yard line at the Metrodome and ran it back 93 yards for a touchdown.

Then Carolina proceeded to beat Minnesota and lose 15 straight games.

He ranks 25th on the alltime receiving list with 836 catches. In the long, illustrious histories of the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears, no receiver has caught more for either team.

Smith has caught 17 more balls than Steve Largent; 72 more than James Lofton; and 86 more than Charlie Joiner and Michael Irvin—who are all in the Hall of Fame.

He was better when the games were bigger, averaging 16.8 yards per catch in nine playoff games, with individual receiving games of 135, 163 and 218 yards.

I don't think it's required that you tell Panthers fans what Smith did for the franchise, but thanks for rubbing it in.

From The NFL Owns The Sporting Calendar Dept.:

On the third day of free agency last Thursday, except for three minutes that were spent discussing the bathroom habits of Mike Greenberg, the first 66 minutes of ESPN’s popular “Mike and Mike” morning-drive radio show were devoted to NFL free agency.

While I'm not disagreeing that the NFL owns the sporting calendar, it's also important to note that this time of year is the doldrums of sports. The NCAA Tourney hasn't started yet, baseball hasn't started yet, and the NBA/NHL are winding down their seasons. So NFL is big business, but there also isn't a hell of a lot of news-worthy things happening this time of year anyway.

“Dude in a bulkhead seat took his shoes off and is actually rubbing his feet on the touchscreen on the wall. How can anybody think this is OK”

— @billbarnwell of Grantland, on a Sunday flight.

So I guess complaining about people while traveling is a sportswriter-type thing to do? It's probably because they travel so often, but still, people are really, really weird at times and sportswriters take every chance they can get to remind the public of that fact.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I’d love to hear some good reasons why James Jones, he of the 17 touchdown receptions over the last two seasons, is sitting on the sidelines of free agency, offer-less. He’s a very good deep threat whom Aaron Rodgers would like to have back. I don’t get that one. 

I bet if his name were "James Gruden" he would have a 6 year $58 million contract right now. Also, please remember that free agency is finally working the way it should work...except for the fact Peter doesn't see a reason why James Jones isn't signed yet. So free agency is finally working the way it should be, except for cases where it isn't working like it should be.

2. I think I like what the Broncos are doing in free agency; I appreciate the fact they’re growing some teeth on defense. On the other side of the ball, I realize Ryan Clady will return from his Lisfranc foot sprain (he was hurt in the Broncos’ second game last season) to nail down the left tackle spot in 2014. But Denver has lost effective guard Zane Beadles to Jacksonville and done nothing to improve the line in free agency. In the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning scrambled for his life much of the time. I counted eight “quiet” pockets when I re-watched the game, meaning only on eight pass attempts did Manning have all the time he needed to make a comfortable throw.

Unless the Broncos are going to be playing a historically great defense on a weekly basis next season I don't think Manning will find the Super Bowl disaster on repeat due to having a porous offensive line. Not that losing Zane Beadles is a positive, but the Seahawks have a fantastic defense and the Broncos aren't going to be facing such a great defense on a weekly basis during the regular season.

4. I think if I were Miami, I’d follow up with Devin Hester. He’s a “U” guy and wants to play for the Dolphins … Miami has $25 million free under the cap … The Dolphins have a pedestrian return man in Marcus Thigpen … What’s the delay? The fit is perfect.

So the Dolphins should overpay for Devin Hester because they have enough money to do so and don't have a good return man? The Dolphins probably are smart to not sign Devin Hester if they think he's asking for too much money or just don't want to spend money on him. It's entirely possible that the Dolphins simply don't want to sign Hester. 

5. I think this is how I view the first week of free agency for Seattle: totally understandable and justifiable. You think the Seahawks should have kept wideout Golden Tate, at $6 million a year, instead of letting him go to Detroit? You think Seattle should have kept proficient right tackle Breno Giacomini at $4.5 million a year, instead of letting him go to the Jets? There are two factors at play here. When you win the Super Bowl, teams come after your unrestricted free agents, and you’ve got to figure out which ones you should keep and which ones you can replace in the draft. 

Actually, other teams coming after unrestricted free agents isn't just a problem teams who win the Super Bowl have to figure out. Every NFL team has to decide which unrestricted free agents to keep and which ones to try and replace in the draft. It's not exclusive to the Seahawks. And no, I don't think the Seahawks should have kept those two players. But every team has to make a decision on which players to keep and let go. It's the nature of the NFL and this phenomenon didn't start just this season.

Factor two: Seattle has to find a way to re-sign Russell Wilson, who will be in the last year of his rookie contract next season and eligible to renegotiate, and keep Legion of Boom members Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. The front office has to make all 2014 decisions with 2015 in mind.

Again, all NFL teams have to make a decision for the season after next and not just the next season. The Colts can't tie up salary cap space that could be used to re-sign Andrew Luck, the 49ers can't tie up cap room to be used for Colin Kaepernick, and an example like this can be made for nearly every NFL team. So the Seahawks are unique in that they won the Super Bowl, but all NFL teams have to plan for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

6. I think I like the Browns taking a run at Cincinnati restricted free agent Andrew Hawkins, committing $10.8 million in the first two years of an offer sheet so the Bengals won’t match. And Cincinnati almost certainly won’t. Though smurfy, the 5-foot-7 wideout is surprisingly physical and competitive in the air. Hawkins is a good player taken from a division rival who—most likely—will be the slot receiver for your team that Davone Bess wasn’t. Good move by GM Ray Farmer and Cleveland, who’ve got scads of cap room.

Apparently Peter's motto is that if an NFL team has salary cap room then that team should spend it as quickly as possible.

9. I think it’s been a bad week for Cam Newton’s pass catchers: Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell signed elsewhere, and neither Hakeem Nicks nor Emmanuel Sanders became a Panther. But let’s judge the makeup of Carolina’s receiving corps in August, when training camp is in full swing, and not on St. Patrick’s Day. There are no games today.

Remarkably calm sensibility Peter has here. Panthers fans are all up in arms because the team got rid of a mediocre receiving group and didn't sign Hakeem Nicks. Just because the team didn't chase continued mediocrity at the wide receiver position doesn't mean everything is lost. I think people just like freaking out over change.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

f. Good week for my new rotisserie baseball team. When you draft Patrick Corbin, Brandon Beachy and Oscar Taveras, and they all start falling apart days after the draft, well, maybe it’s a sign that it’s going to be a long year. Or that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Oscar Taveras probably wasn't going to be a huge fantasy impact player this year anyway. The Cardinals are still pretty good in the outfield, so I would have shied away from drafting Tavaras. I'm pretty sure Beachy got injured with a forearm injury prior to Peter drafting him, so as a general rule if a guy is coming off Tommy John surgery and has an injury to any part of his arm it's best to stay away from him.

h. Coffeenerdness: Big fan of the reusable Starbucks cup that saves you 10 cents every time it’s used. Paid for itself in about a day and a half.

Those cups cost a dollar. So Peter drinks 10 cups of coffee in a day and a half? Down here in Greensboro that's spending $15/day on coffee, which is $450/month on coffee. That's an insane amount of coffee to be purchasing.

k. Good luck to Rick Reilly as he moves away from writing. It’s become fashionable to rap Reilly for some of his recent work,

It's fashionable because Reilly has been terrible lately. He writes crap and then rips his own older work off when he isn't writing crap.

and he’s not without his faults. (Nor am I, as you all know very well.) But I’ve always viewed his prose as I-am-not-worthy stuff, so much of it brilliant.

Then you have viewed his prose through the wrong prism. Reilly loves to name-drop celebrities/athletes he knows, loves to talk about all the great things he gets to do in the course of his job and generally acts like an entitled sportswriter who knows he's got it good and can't wait to rub it in the reader's face. There's nothing about Reilly's prose that is "I-am-not-worthy." If anything, his prose comes off as the exact opposite of this.

He raised the bar for sportswriters everywhere.

Not in the past decade he hasn't. Maybe Peter hasn't read Reilly's writing lately.

m. Saturday was Sid Hartman’s 94th birthday. The Minnesota media legend (there is a bronze statue of him outside Target Field) still works six days a week, writing three or four columns for the Star Tribune and doing daily radio spots. He also does a radio show on WCCO on Sunday mornings, and then hosts a sports TV show on Sunday nights. Can I have that energy, please, for four more decades?

If you keep drinking 7 cups of coffee a day until you are 94 years old then you will either have that much energy or die of a heart attack.

n. Louisville, fourth-seeded? So there are 12 teams in America that are either better overall than Louisville or playing better right now? I don’t think so. I’m a basketball doofus and even I know that stinks.

While I tend to agree, I always dislike it when Peter writes "I know very little about Topic X, but I do know this..." If he doesn't know much about the topic then how does know what he claims to know is correct? That's like me saying I don't know much about international soccer, but I know Wayne Rooney is the greatest player in the world. I don't know much about the sport, so perhaps my assumption isn't correct.

The Adieu Haiku
Do not grade teams now.
Free agency just one piece
of a big puzzle.

Well, since the Top 10 picks of the draft is already set and free agency is working like it was meant to be working in 1993, it's shaping up to be one boring, predictable NFL offseason isn't it?

At least until mid-May when Peter marvels at all the crazy and completely unexpected events that occurred during the NFL Draft.


Snarf said...

"But every team has to make a decision on which players to keep and let go. It's the nature of the NFL and this phenomenon didn't start just this season."

You're right, and Peter knows it didn't start just this season. It started last season with the Ravens and Anquan Boldin. I find it kind of funny that the $6M he acknowledges that the Seahawks had to make a decision on re: Golden Tate is exactly the base salary of Anquan Boldin in 2013 when the Ravens elected to trade him. Even funnier is that he thinks it's smart that the Seahawks didn't commit to Tate in order to sign Wilson down the line, but thought the Ravens should have let Flacco go to the Browns so they could keep Boldin (despite the Boldin decision having nothing to do with the Flacco contract).

Slag-King said...

Using the N-word on the field. There won’t be a rule change mandating a flag if an official hears the N-word. But officials will have the right to penalize verbal abuse, whether it be a player using a racist term or directing other foul language at either opponents or officials. There’s a feeling that the league wants to promote more respect on the field, but outlawing one word is too slippery a slope.

This is something that irks me about Peter...his wishy-washiness. He acts like a politician waiting to see which way the wind blows and then declares (in hindsight) what a great or terrible idea something is. For weeks, he was enamored with the policing of a certain word that he was actually frothing in the mouth at the prospect of it passing. Then, he states that it was too slippery a slope. Huh? I think he has done this before with other NFL issues. For weeks, he will write about it with almost a full support behind it, and then do an about face when it doesn't come through. Right now I'm trying to think of another situation in which he does this, but I cannot remember what it was (and I do not want to backtrack years of MMQB just to prove my point...this is just a feeling that I had when I read that line...it was definitely a deja vu moment).

Slag-King said...

Remarkably calm sensibility Peter has here. Panthers fans are all up in arms because the team got rid of a mediocre receiving group and didn't sign Hakeem Nicks. Just because the team didn't chase continued mediocrity at the wide receiver position doesn't mean everything is lost. I think people just like freaking out over change.

I live in Charlotte and this is all I hear :) I actually think the Panthers is doing the right thing by tightening their belts and riding out their dead money contracts. Of course, the announcement that Cam had ankle surgery is definitely not going to fly well with the Panther fans.

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, I wouldn't expect any consistency from Peter. I think it was a smart move for the Super Bowl winners to not sign Tate and Boldin over the past two years. I think it's interesting that Peter liked the Seahawks getting rid of a younger wide receiver who made the same money Boldin was expected to make in 2013. That's interesting and I didn't make that connection at all.

Slag, I know right? Peter sort of backtracked a little bit on his insistence that Derek Jeter was the greatest player of this generation. Then Peter changed it to HIS generation which meant the last 20 years or something.

Peter wrote for two weeks about the n-word and how it's best to get rid of it. All of a sudden it's a slippery slope and should not be banned. I'm trying to think of another issue he did this with. I can come up with one if I think hard enough. The wishy-washy-ness over Jeter is the best I can do right now.

They are crazy about Smith being released aren't they? Here in Greensboro there isn't as much talk radio, but you hear it up here as well. I love Smith, but it was time to move on, because as long as he was on the roster and in the locker room new leaders wouldn't emerge and the team wouldn't improve the WR corps. The receivers last year just weren't great. Let them get paid somewhere else. The team is poor and rebuilding.

Anonymous said...

"In the long, illustrious histories of the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears, no receiver has caught more for either team."

This sentence bothered me probably more than it should, but this is a good example of misusing stats. First of all, how long the Giants and Bears have been around means practically nothing in terms of receiving numbers, because the passing game didn't start to open up until the 1980s. And secondly, if anyone knows anything about those two franchises, it's that they haven't had great receivers in their history. The Giants' all-time leader in receiving yards is Amani Toomer. The Bears? Johnny Morris, who played in the '60s and I had never heard of until I just looked it up.

Then he goes on to mention Smith topping Steve Largent, Charlie Joiner and Michael Irvin. Largent and Joiner played in different eras, and Irvin played for Dallas teams that dominated so they ran the ball a lot to protect leads. This is cherry-picking data at its finest. Steve Smith was great, of course. But picking low-hanging fruit is not the way to prove it. Ooh baby he has more receptions than Curtis Conway and Ike Hilliard, put him in Canton. Give me a break.

Snarf said...


Trust me, it has nothing on the way that he abuses stats in comparing baseball players to historical greats. Similar, though.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I paid attention to that part when I first read the column but completely forgot about it when I wrote the post. It wasn't very good data to use. I'm not sure if he's trying to lay out a HoF case or what, but he's going to have to do a little better than that.

Anon, I can't stand it when Peter talks baseball.

Bengoodfella said...

I mean, Snarf...