Wednesday, June 10, 2015

6 comments MMQB Review: Russell Wilson Free Agency Panic Edition

Peter King did a insanely early power ranking of all the NFL teams in last week's MMQB, as well detailed how he was accosted by panhandlers on the streets of Seattle while he was handing out cash to some of these panhandlers. Where were the police to arrest these people who weren't committing a crime? Peter also detailed the Vikings and Adrian Peterson standoff which was resolved soon after he posted MMQB. This week Peter talks about how the Russell Wilson contract talks may be in trouble (I can't help but think this is the cousin to the "Will the Ravens let Joe Flacco walk?" discussion a few years ago), discusses the internal destruction of the 49ers, and hits his readers with the revelation that Canada is a big country. Seriously, Russell Wilson isn't leaving Seattle. It's not happening, so any discussion about why contract talks may be in trouble are pointless. The Seahawks have another year of Wilson's contract and then can franchise him for two years. Every negotiation hits tough points and Wilson isn't leaving Seattle, just like the Ravens weren't going to let Joe Flacco hit free agency after he won a freaking Super Bowl.

In my last column for a spell—hooray! (your emotion, not mine)—I’ve got a couple of annual events.

One week off, writes two columns, and then takes a month off. It seems Peter is on the "Bill Simmons Schedule of Column Writing." Now all Peter has to do is to promise weekly mailbags when he gets back from vacation, then get fired, and the similarities will be too eerie.

First: My collection of commencement speech snippets, from the Self-Depracating Graduation Line of the Year by former president Bush (the younger) at the Southern Methodist University graduation, to the best advice I’ve read from any speaker this year, by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz to the Kenyon College grads in Ohio. Second: Part one of the annual Fathers Day book review section, a really interesting book by St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on the crisis in youth sports and his little-engine-that-could recipe to fix it.

I think I'm one of the few who don't like this book review and graduation speech section. The book section is more tolerable, but the only thing worse than hearing someone give a speech is having to read about that person's speech. People talk a lot already, and even when the speakers are giving out great advice, I tend to wish Peter would skip the commencement speech section. Alas, I tend to skip it.

Now, I didn’t want a 12,000-word June column, so the Matheny review is today and the rest of the books I plan to cover Wednesday in my weekly mailbag column.

Or you could just put the commencement addresses on a piece of paper in your desk, then lock the drawer. That seems like a good idea too.

While I’ll address the Niners here, I’m leading with another ominous note from an NFC West team that’s not getting much attention. And maybe it shouldn’t. Yet.

It shouldn't. Russell Wilson isn't going anywhere. He's staying a Seahawk. The team and Wilson have almost three more years to work a contract out if they choose to. This is a concern on the level of worrying the Ravens wouldn't re-sign Joe Flacco. It's simply not happening.

But something about the dragged-out negotiations, and apparently fruitless ones, between Seattle and quarterback Russell Wilson is starting to raise alarm bells.

Both sides are playing hardball until it's time to get serious and come to a real agreement. This type of thing happens all the time in sports. Wilson is pretending he will go play baseball, the Seahawks are trying to get him to sign a new favorable contract for them and Wilson wants to hold out for as much money as possible. The Seahawks aren't going to let Wilson become a free agent nor will they trade him immediately if negotiations are dragging out.

The Seattle quarterback is due $1.542 million this year, the final season of his four-year rookie contract. It’s been thought for some time that 2015 would be the time a new Wilson deal would get done, seeing that the first opportunity to re-do the deal of a third-round player who has monstrously out-performed his contract is in year four. That’s now.

And no contract was signed, so obviously there is a massive problem that is bigger than the fact these are simple negotiations on a long-term contract that may take some time to complete while each side takes a tough negotiating stance.

What Schneider said is something he’s said a thousand times, in various forms. No one is bigger than the team...Any general manager worth his salary would say that. And Schneider is one of the best in the game—maybe the best.

Which is why he won't let Russell Wilson just walk away when he still has some time to sign Wilson to a new contract and this isn't the time to start a panic.

I still don’t think it was a body blow to the negotiations, but imagine you’re Wilson.

Imagine that I'm going to get paid a lot of money, but I'm not sure who will end up paying me? Yes, it must be tough.

At North Carolina State, in each of your freshman and sophomore and junior years, you lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in touchdown passes, and in the spring before your senior season, while you’re playing minor-league baseball, your coach, Tom O’Brien, releases you from your scholarship so he can have backup Mike Glennon start for the last two years of his eligibility.

This Russell Wilson fable is getting to be like the Drew Brees fable. You know, the fable that the Dolphins didn't want Brees when they had legitimate worries about his shoulder being healthy, so he went with the team (the Saints) that believed in him the most. What that means is the Saints offered Brees the most guaranteed money. It was a decision about money, no matter how much the narrative dips into "The Dolphins didn't believe in him enough, so he went to New Orleans where he felt a connection to the people" territory.

Russell Wilson wouldn't stop playing baseball during the summer. Tom O'Brien wanted him to stop playing baseball, but (sound familiar?) Wilson wouldn't. So O'Brien chose to give Wilson the heave-ho and go with the quarterback who has more eligibility and a lot of talent, Mike Glennon. It was a decision made by Tom O'Brien that had merit at the time. If N.C. State can get two years of Glennon and Wilson won't commit to football full-time, then why not release Wilson from his scholarship? But it all started with Wilson refusing to choose football over baseball, which by the way, is something that Peter brought up when discussing Jameis Winston as a knock against Winston. Peter wondered if the Buccaneers were concerned Winston may want to play baseball at some point. It's interesting how the need to play baseball is suddenly forgotten when discussing Russell Wilson.

I threw 76 touchdown passes for him in three years, but O’Brien thinks Mike Glennon’s better than I am? I’ll show Tom O’Brien.

Except, you know, that wasn't the real issue at hand. The issue was that Wilson was playing baseball when O'Brien wanted him playing football.

I walk into Wisconsin in July, learn the offense in about 10 minutes, set the NCAA passing-efficiency record for a season, get the Badgers to the Rose Bowl, and five quarterbacks get picked before me? Brandon Weeden goes 53 picks before me? I’ll show the NFL.

Because Wilson would have been the first great college quarterback to fail in making the transition to the NFL, so how could every NFL team who passed on him not have known how good he would be?

He quarterbacks his team to the playoffs in each of his first three years, to the NFC title in two seasons, and to the Super Bowl title in one of those seasons. In all three years, he’s in the top 10 in the league in passer rating. He quarterbacks his team to more wins, overall, than any other quarterback in football—Wilson 42, Tom Brady 41, Peyton Manning 40—including playoffs. (I know quarterback wins can be a misleading stat. But if you play well enough to win big, and Wilson has, is that a number that should be ignored?) And by all accounts, Wilson and the Seahawks aren’t close to a deal. Oh, and Cam Newton, four games over .500 in the same three years that I’m 28 over, just signed a contract with $56 million coming in the first two years.

Yeah, but Cam was told at the University of Florida that they would rather have Tim Tebow as their quarterback. Then he went to a community college, won a championship, went to Auburn and won a national title, and then experts still said he couldn't be an NFL quarterback even after he was drafted #1 overall. Oh, poor him. He's so maligned.

My point is that every player has some slight that can get them motivated. Every player feels doubted at some point and the fact the Seahawks haven't immediately made Russell Wilson the highest paid quarterback in the NFL after Newton signed his contract means not very much.

My franchise had finished below .500 four straight years before I got here, and we’re 42-14 with two trips to the Super Bowl in my time, and we can’t get a deal done? I’ll show management.

I can't imagine Wilson is too concerned about a deal getting done. He knows there is time. I feel like Peter is creating a story where there isn't one right now.

In the past 10 years, one quarterback with legitimate franchise potential—Drew Brees, in 2006—hit the market, and that came in large part because of a serious shoulder injury in 2005 in San Diego. Quarterbacks of value always re-sign with their teams.


There’s little question, to me, that Wilson will be the Seattle quarterback through the end of the 2016 season. If no deal gets done this year, he’ll play for $1.5 million in 2015, and if the two sides can’t agree after the season, Seattle’s very likely to franchise him the exclusive-rights number of about $24.5 million for 2016. That’s a best guess.

A deal is going to happen. I'm not sure why Peter is so concerned otherwise. It took Newton four years and five months away from free agency to get his deal. Wilson can easily get a deal done during the season. Just like the Ravens weren't letting Flacco hit free agency, Wilson will get a deal done with Seattle.

Rodgers said he didn’t think Newton’s deal was one that would force Wilson’s deal to get done, the same way he said Ryan Tannehill’s extension in Miami (he was drafted the same year as Wilson) wouldn’t be a spur to get Wilson’s deal done. Rodgers sounded conciliatory when I asked about the state of the talks. “There’s no deadline, no pressure,” Rodgers said. “Russell has a contract for this season, and he is fully prepared to play the season out if he does not sign another contract. It’s early June. They don’t report to camp till late July. I’ve always assumed this contract would take a while to get done.”

But Peter King will not hear of this. A deal has to get done and even though nobody but Peter King seems worried about a contract extension for Wilson not getting done, there is a real chance (so much so that Peter had to lead the column off with this non-story) that Wilson and the Seahawks won't be able to come to an agreement.

But beyond that, as we sit here a year and a half before that Molotov cocktail could be lobbed into the Pacific Northwest, I have some growing doubts about Wilson’s long-term Seattle future.

Three reasons why I think the talks between Wilson and the Seahawks could be in trouble:

Rodgers is a baseball guy, and it’s clear he loves the prospect of his players maximizing their value on the open market … some day. As does Wilson. I don’t know what Rodgers wants, but I can assume it must be close to making Wilson the highest-paid quarterback in football.

Baseball free agency is very different from football free agency. In the NFL, a quarterback needs to have an offense built around his specific strengths and weaknesses. Throw Russell Wilson into the Colts offense and I'm not sure he is successful, while if you put Albert Pujols on the Angels then there's not a ton of maneuvering that has to be done in order to help him be successful. There are more moving parts in the NFL when it comes to free agency and helping a quarterback (who plays under a salary cap with the contract not fully guaranteed) be successful. NFL teams know that. In baseball, a team with a decent outfield could still acquire an expensive free agent outfielder, while in the NFL, there are only 32 starting quarterbacks. So the entire league won't be bidding on Wilson, which means the market for his services is smaller. A smaller market means few bidders and fewer bidders with cap space means less of a chance to drive Wilson's price up to where he wants to be. The team with the most incentive to sign Wilson would be his current team. Hence, I don't think he's leaving Seattle.

Wilson’s $22 million average deal, if that’s anything near what he wants, would be for 15.4 percent of the Seahawks’ 2015 cap. I only say that because it’s fair to think Mark Rodgers would be taking into account the fact that teams have $20 million more to spend this year, and the cap is only going to go up.

This is true. The cap is going up. I think this means the Seahawks would have a good chance to sign Wilson just like every other NFL team interested in Wilson would have.

But Schneider watched Wolf make cold-hearted decisions when needed. He watched Thompson stick with the unproven Aaron Rodgers when the momentarily retired Brett Favre wanted to come back to the Packers in the summer of 2008. Schneider is proud as heck of sticking his neck out for Wilson, but his “we’d love him to be our quarterback but…” statement this spring sounds very much like a man who believes in sticking to the value the team sets for a player, whatever it is.

It also sounds like a man who understands Rodgers sat behind Favre for three years, so the Packers had a good idea of what they had. Schneider wouldn't necessarily have the advantage of drafting a quarterback to immediately replace Wilson with.

This opinion from Mark Rodgers: “Sometimes, the best deal is the deal you don’t do. For me, there would be a greater disappointment in taking a below-market deal than there would be in honoring the fourth year of a contract.” This is not how an agent talks if he’s thinking of taking a hometown-discount deal for his client.

This is a negotiating stance, Peter. Have you never negotiated something? EVER? Each side says stupid, outlandish shit as if they will hold out forever for a deal, until they get a deal close to what they want. Hence, Mark Rodgers acts like he's fine hitting the market with Wilson, but this doesn't mean this is the truth. It's a negotiating tactic. Is Peter this naive? Peter seems to consistently not understand how negotiations work.

But I’d ask you this: What if Wilson wants Aaron Rodgers money now, and a deal doesn’t get done, and what if Wilson in 2015 simply does what he’s done in each of his first three seasons—have a passer rating near 100, make the playoffs and get the team in or close to the Super Bowl? What happens then, when the cap will be at least $30 million higher than it was when Aaron Rodgers signed his deal? 

Then the Seahawks will be giving Wilson a huge deal or he won't be a Seahawk (which I doubt happens). It's hard to trust anything said during a negotiation. Both sides are going to be firm until they decide they will work a deal out. Concessions are made, deals get done.

Let’s just say I doubt the asking price will be the same next year as it is now. It’ll be higher.

So Peter is working under the assumption that another NFL team will give Wilson this deal. What if after the 2015 season the value of Wilson is very high, but there is no combination of teams with salary cap room to get Wilson under contract and the want to sign Wilson to the type of deal he wanted with the Seahawks? Wilson is also assuming that someone would pay the price he wants on the open market, when that may not be the case. Who knows? Yet, Peter acts like the risk is all on the Seahawks.

Luck will make $3.4 million this year and $16 million next year, and owner Jim Irsay—who absolutely, categorically, will not let Luck out the door—said earlier this year it’s likely the Colts will get serious on trying to get a long-term deal done with Luck early in 2016. Contracts for players taken after the first round do not have fifth-year options. So for Wilson, it’s either a new deal or some form of free agency in 2016.

Or he signs the exclusive rights as a franchise player tag with the Seahawks. I believe the Seahawks could tag him one year after that as well. I just don't think this is a huge issue right now. A deal will probably get done.

I don’t often write about contract stuff, 

Unless Marvin Demoff requests that Peter try and help a client get out from under a franchise tag that Demoff client's present team placed on him. Ask Alex Mack about this.

and I’m not convinced in any way that Wilson and the Seahawks are headed for splitsville.

Peter isn't convinced they are headed for splitsville, except 20% of this MMQB is about how they could be headed for splitsville.

If you had asked me for the 25 most important 49ers for the near future—and I’m talking players and coaches combined—six months ago, I’d have given you a list something like the one that follows. Look at the list, and see where the people are now:

Player/Coach Current status
1. QB Colin Kaepernick San Francisco
2. Coach Jim Harbaugh Head coach, Michigan
3. LB Patrick Willis Retired
4. Pass-rusher Aldon Smith San Francisco
5. T Joe Staley San Francisco
6. Def. coordinator Vic Fangio Chicago
7. WR Michael Crabtree Oakland
8. LB NaVorro Bowman San Francisco (coming off serious knee injury)
9. G Mike Iupati Arizona
10. T Anthony Davis Retired/sabbatical
11. G Alex Boone San Francisco
12. LB Chris Borland Retired
13. TE Vernon Davis San Francisco
14. S Eric Reid San Francisco
15. DE Justin Smith Retired
16. RB Frank Gore Indianapolis
17. Off. coordinator Greg Roman Buffalo
18. S Antoine Bethea San Francisco
19. WR Anquan Boldin San Francisco
20. LB Aaron Lynch San Francisco
21. RB Carlos Hyde San Francisco
22. P Andy Lee Cleveland
23. CB Perrish Cox Tennessee
24. CB Chris Culliver Washington
25. Spec. teams coach Brad Seely Oakland

In San Francisco: 11. Playing elsewhere: 6.
Coaching elsewhere: 4.
Retired: 4.

The retirements are odd. I admit that, but the 49ers had a coaching change, which results in all the coaches least most of the time that's what this means. So some of this roster turnover is expected given from year-to-year, while I expected the coaches to go somewhere else six months ago if Harbaugh wasn't there. It's just how it usually goes. 

When your coach and three coordinators go … and two promising young players retire by the age of 25 … and your defensive leader retires … and your top wideout heads across town … and two good cover corners go … and a mauling guard goes to a division rival … and when you’re putting your franchise quarterback coming off a checkered season in the hands of a position coach (Steve Logan) who was doing a talk show for the past couple of years…

If the 49ers and Kaepernick end up having a great year then this will be a cutesy story about how Steve Logan was doing a talk show for a few years, but for now, it's a strike against him. The 49ers have had a tough offseason, there's no doubt about that.

Tomsula is well-liked by the players from all reports. But losing does funny things to relationships. The chemistry experiment in Santa Clara will be the most compelling one to watch in the NFL this year.

It's the most compelling chemistry experiment except for the one in Seattle where Russell Wilson is going to end up going into free agency, because each side is taking a hardline negotiating stance. The 49ers just feel like a disaster, though if Harbaugh was such a pain in the ass to play for as the players now claim he was, maybe the team isn't so screwed and all that young talent Trent Baalke has seemingly acquired will step up and fill the voids left behind.

Don’t get him a tie, or a gift card. Get him a book. Or put a book on his Kindle, or his tablet. Today and Wednesday, I’m going to recommend several books I’ve read in the past year. There’s a fascinating book on life behind the North Korean curtain—my favorite of the year. There’s a terrific page-turner by Bill Pennington on the life and times of Billy Martin; can’t recommend that one highly enough. And more. I plan to write about those two and the others on Wednesday.

Peter can't simply make book recommendations. He has to stretch the recommendations over a two column span.

The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life (Crown Archetype)

By Mike Matheny with Jerry B. Jenkins.

Apparently this is the greatest book ever written. Peter loves it. 

This is a self-help book that so many parents need. It’s so important today, with so many wacky stories about how win-at-all-cost coaches and driven parents are ruining the games kids play. You’ve got to know someone who could use this book. You’ve got to know 10 people who could use this book. They’ll thank you for getting it.

"Thank you for giving me this book about parents who are ruining games for kids, thereby making it seem like I'm a person who needs to change my parenting style to fit what this book states my parenting style needs to be. I appreciate you second-guessing how I interact with my children in the realm of sports. I enjoy your criticism of me."

By my count, this is the eighth year I’ve looked for good stories and lessons in the commencement addresses given to graduates. It’s a fun exercise, reading wisdom from Garry Kasparov and George Bush and Joyce Carol Oates. Not a lot of football in here, except from Matthew McConaughey, who recalled a painful moment for Houstonians.

"There's no such thing as forgiveness. People just have short memories." Then Matthew McConaughey walks off-stage. 

“Anthony Davis to retire.” 

And every New Orleans Pelican fan shits his/her pants. 

—A statement from the San Francisco 49ers Friday afternoon, surprising the football world by announcing the retirement of starting right tackle Anthony Davis at 25.

“After a few years of thought, I’ve decided it will be best for me to take a year or so away from the NFL. This will be a time for me to allow my Brain and Body a chance to heal … I’m simply doing what’s best for my body as well as my mental health at this time.”

—A statement from Anthony Davis later that same day.

Not so fast on the retirement thing.

Not so fast on the retirement thing, Peter? You just talked about how Steve Logan had spent some years as a talk show host, as if he can't come back and coach in the NFL after that. But Peter really thinks Anthony Davis can stay away from football and the NFL for a few years, come back from no longer playing at a high level of athletics, and then unretire and be successful again? Maybe, but I find it somewhat hard to believe. Davis is young, but if he does something else for a couple of years can he really come back to the NFL and have the same success he had previously? I think Peter should think Steve Logan can come back and coach if he thinks Anthony Davis can come back and play. I have a feeling Peter should be smarter than to believe this retirement thing for Anthony Davis may not stick.

I count 10 starters from last December’s Niners now gone: Iupati, Davis, Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore on offense (as well as part-time starter Jonathan Martin, whom I did not count);

Just last week Peter thought Jonathan Martin was too shaky to protect Cam Newton's right side, but this week when it's convenient to show how many quality players the 49ers lost in the offseason, Martin is all of a sudden one of the missing pieces on the 49ers offense.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

As the New York Daily News pointed out Sunday, the last time there was a Triple Crown winner—Affirmed, on June 10, 1978—you could buy Wheaties at your grocery store with reigning Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner on the box.

And now Bruce Jenner is a woman. Great factoid, absent the fact Peter still doesn't know exactly what a "factoid" truly is.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Travel Note of the Week

After the wedding of our daughter, my wife and I went on a cool 35th anniversary trip: VIA Rail’s Vancouver-to-Winnipeg train through the Canadian Rockies. Fifty-two really fun and relaxing hours, with some of the prettiest scenery you’ll ever see. The highlight was this announcement over the 24-car train’s intercom one day into the journey: “Ladies and gentlemen, on the left side of train you’ll see a black bear.” Sure enough, there was a large black bear, eating something in a field as we approached the Rockies.

A motherfucking bear. It was a bear. Astounding. Here's another little factoid. At the point Peter was on this train after his daughter's gay lesbian wedding between two women, Bruce Jenner still went by his male name and not by Caitlyn Jenner.

Good food on the train. Good beer. (Lots of it.) Day two of the trip, a long Sunday, was mostly through the plains from Saskatoon to Winnipeg. There’s not much out there. Good chance to get in a lot of reading. Then we flew from Winnipeg to Toronto and spent the last two days of our trip sightseeing in Toronto.
Canada is one huge and scenic country.

What? Canada is huge? No way. Peter is bullshitting his readers now. First, he talks about how he saw a bear and now he's saying Canada is a huge country.

I just love how Peter is so precocious (probable Peter King definition of the word) about things like this. He goes to Canada and his report back is that he saw a bear, the food was good, he got bored because there was nothing to see and Canada is big. It's like what a 10 year old would report back from a trip to Canada, thereby fulfilling behavior that is the opposite of precocious, but Peter would probably call it precocious anyway.

Ten Things I Think I Think

Which, as usual, has to be differentiated from all the other comments in this column that essentially consist of things Peter King thinks.

1. I think these notes caught my eye from the NFL’s announcement of its roster of officials for 2015:

a. Veteran Bill Leavy’s out as a referee. Mike Holmgren and Seattle fans won’t forget a couple of iffy calls in the Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh nine years ago. Now Leavy will be an officiating supervisor for the league. The newest of the NFL’s 17 referees: ex-line judge John Hussey.

I like how Peter says Leavy is "out" as an official with the connotation being that Leavy was being punished or his performance didn't merit his being "in" as an official. Instead, he's an officiating supervisor now, which means he kind of got a promotion. Failing upwards is not what I think of when someone is considered "out" of a job.

b. As expected, Sarah Thomas, the first female official hired by the league as part of a permanent crew, will work on easygoing referee Peter Morelli’s crew. She is a line judge.


4. I think one of the football stories we’ve paid far too little attention to this offseason is what the Eagles have done with their skill positions.

Wait, wait, wait. "We" haven't paid enough attention to what the Eagles have done with the offensive skill positions? The entire offseason discussion around the Eagles has surrounded how they have gotten rid of high-paid offensive skill position players and replaced them with guys Chip Kelly wants to have his system. This has led to a discussion of whether it is the player or the system that can make a team successful. If anything, the discussion about the Eagles during the entire offseason has only surrounded what they have done at their skill positions.

Added: running backs DeMarco Murray (the number one rusher in the league in 2014) and Ryan Mathews (number seven in 2013), first-round receiver Nelson Agholor. Subtracted: running back LeSean McCoy, wideout Jeremy Maclin. With Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles—who, I’m told, is still a major favorite of Chip Kelly—I think you’ll see the Eagles be a top-three rushing team in 2015. That is: If they’re efficient at it, the Eagles will be in the top three in the NFL in rushing attempts this year.

Again, this is mostly what has been talked about when the Eagles have been discussed and Peter thinks far too little attention has been paid to it? Really?

5. I think you’re surprised by that, aren’t you?


Don’t be.

Well, I am not.

I'm more surprised that Peter still doesn't understand how an outline works. This is the same topic that was being discussed in Topic #4, so it should not be Topic #5, but included as part of Topic #4.

With a quarterback, Sam Bradford, that the Eagles don’t want to expose to more punishment than necessary, and a potential workhorse back in Murray, the Eagles are strong candidates to run the ball more than half of their offensive snaps. That’s something no one thought Kelly would do as an NFL coach.

Chip Kelly has always run the ball a lot, even at Oregon. So the assumption is his team throws the football a lot, but reality doesn't bear this out. I'm still not surprised the Eagles will have a lot of rushing attempts this year, mostly because I know he does like to run the ball a lot.

7. I think this is the offseason that a storm cloud simply will not vanish from the airspace over Foxboro. That includes, apparently, a highway near Foxboro, where, on Sunday morning, an abandoned and damaged car was found after an unreported accident overnight. The car apparently belongs to former and current New England linebacker Brandon Spikes. Stay tuned for the developing story.

The Patriots released Spikes on Monday morning. I'm sure this seen as just another example of the decline of the Patriot Way.

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

a. Two overtime games in the NBA Finals. One the Cavs should have won and lost. One the seriously undermanned Cavs should have lost and won. That’s what’s so great about sports.

Deep AND insightful.

b. The LeBron hatred by so many on Twitter and elsewhere is so foolish, such a waste of time. I don’t care how many shots he missed Sunday night. He willed that team to a win, along with a spunky little guard I never heard of until two days ago.

Right Peter, but you don't like or watch the NBA so it shouldn't be a surprise that you had never heard of that "spunky little guard" whose name you are too lazy to look up. How many times has Peter said he doesn't watch many NBA games, yet it's supposed to mean something when he says he had not heard of a Cavs player?

d. Really enjoyed the Belmont on Saturday. I was lucky to attend for the first time, thanks to some NBC ducats. I’m no horse racing fan, 

I like how Peter is always like, "I hate this sport, but here's some insight about this sport I hate..."

How hard it must be, to keep a lead in a race that long. This really impressed me: The horse has won its last seven races by an average of five-plus lengths.

By an average of five-plus lengths? That's almost as crazy as the unnecessary use of italics in this sentence. Even with Bill Simmons not writing, the unnecessary use of italics still lives.

 f. Beat Writer Stat of the Week, from the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, on Friday, in the midst of another crash-and-burn Red Sox season: “The Sox are 95-122 the past two seasons and 296-317 since the 2011 All-Star break. The ESPN ‘30 for 30’ documentary on how the 2013 Red Sox were one of the great outliers of all time will be fun to watch in 10 years. The Jonny Gomes quotes alone will be great.”

Cry me a fucking river and then get the hell over it. "How the 2013 Red Sox were one of the great outliers of all time..." "OUR OUTLIERS ARE MORE OUTLYING THAN YOUR OUTLIERS!"

The teeth gnashing around the 2015 Red Sox team from sportswriters is obnoxious to read.

i. Coffeenerdness: Toronto’s a huge coffee city. I bet there are more per-capita Starbucks outlets (and other independent shops) downtown than in Seattle’s downtown.

Well, Canada is a huge country.

k. This column will have guest writers for the next four Mondays. We’ll open next week with Jenny Vrentas, and Robert Klemko and Andrew Brandt will also be writing in the coming weeks. As for the fourth columnist, it’s still TBA, but I’m working on an option you’ll enjoy if it pans out.

MMQB won't be posted at all on the fourth Monday?

I’ll be back in this space July 13, ready for another season.

No Peter King, no Bill Simmons and no Gregg Easterbrook. Such a tough time the middle of the summer is.

The Adieu Haiku

Coach of the Year? Now? I’ll take Mike Zimmer. Easy.
Stood firm on AP.

Of course no Peter King means no Adieu Haiku. 

It's June and Peter is ready to give Coach of the Year to Mike Zimmer for holding firm on Adrian Peterson when just last week Peter thought the Vikings should give-in a little to Peterson. Of course, Peter holds these two fairly distinct points of view. He thought the Vikings should give-in a little, but also thinks Mike Zimmer did a great job of standing firm on Peterson.  


Chris said...

The fable of Russell Wilson is part of the reason I've started to agree with you Ben that Wilson is a disingenuous person. The media loves to champion this, and let's be completely honest here, lie that O'Brien threw away Wilson like he was trash. I don't remember hearing Wilson speak about it, at least not that I can recall, but he certainly doesn't ever do anything to dispute the narrative that O'Brien kicked him out.

Ericb said...

I don't know why Peter was so excited about seeing a black bear in Canada. New Jersey is crawling with them. They like getting into peoples' garbage.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I think Russell Wilson is a good QB, but O'Brien wanted a QB more dedicated to football. It wasn't a great decision apparently, but I also don't think NC State would have won the Rose Bowl had Wilson stayed. Here is the press release explaining it all:

Read the statement. Wilson says in a prepared statement the following:

“Although I remain undecided on the option of playing college football this coming season..."

He wasn't even sure he wanted to play college football! So who gave up on who again? All I want from Peter (and others) is a little honesty. As opposed to making it seem like Wilson was kicked to the curb, say the truth. Wilson may have wanted to play baseball and he didn't make the choice in time for NC State to make a decision on whether to release him from his scholarship or not. One year before Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks he made a statement, A PREPARED STATEMENT, stating he didn't know if he wanted to continue playing football. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston drops a hint he likes baseball and all of a sudden his dedication is being questioned.

Mike Glennon isn't on Wilson's level obviously, but the narrative around Wilson leaving is out of control. There is some fantasy surrounding it where Wilson was shunned by State rather than contributed to the decision himself.

Eric, he lived in Jersey for a while too. One would think he's seen a few of them.

DG said...

"If they’re efficient at it, the Eagles will be in the top three in the NFL in rushing attempts this year."


Holy shit, team is going to do a lot of something, if they turn out to be good at it.

Chris said...

Wilson is no doubt a good quarterback and yes Glennon wasn't as good as Wilson although he wasn't sloppy seconds either. Both seasons as the starter he threw for over three thousand yards and 31 touchdowns so he was obviously doing something right. It's easy for everyone to say now that it wasn't a good idea with the benefit of seeing how their NFL careers have turned out. Like you said it wasn't an automatic certainty that with Wilson NC State would have won the Rose Bowl or played for the national title. And of course it wasn't a certainty that Wilson would even see a lot of playing time since most people weren't very high on him coming out of the draft. And frankly shouldn't a football coach especially one coaching in the ACC want his top star qb to have his mind completely focused on football instead of having it wander to baseball? I don't mind that Wilson has an obvious passion for both sports but be realistic. At some point you have to make a decision.

Bengoodfella said...

And Glennon had two years of eligibility left as well, while Wilson only had one. There is some nuance in here that Peter wants to ignore. Mainly, O'Brien knew that he could very well be looking for a new starter next Fall if he allowed Wilson to keep playing baseball and Glennon transferred. Sure, maybe it was a long shot, but Glennon knows he's not starting for another year anyway, why not go somewhere else and do it if State doesn't want him as the QB.

I have nothing against Russell Wilson, but this lie of a story is going to annoy me through his NFL career. He chose to play baseball and said in a press release he's not sure if he wants to continue his football career or pursue a baseball career. Yet for some reason, probably because it didn't work out well for O'Brien, this is forgotten. It's maddening for me. O'Brien is fired and could have wooed Wilson more, but he did what many coaches would do, which is force his star QB to pick a sport.