Thursday, March 09, 2006

Let's Get This Party Started

Call off the APB. Tell Missing persons to go home. Yes, it’s true. The Collective Bargaining Agreement has been reached. By a vote of 30-2, (Cincinnati and Buffalo) the owners have approved the proposal at the last minute for the third time. Somehow, I knew that the deal would be done, mostly for the reason that it kept getting delayed. For if it wasn’t going to happen, they would have just started Free Agency days ago.

It seems as though the league has learned from other sport’s mistakes. Good for them. Paul Tagliabue has done a great job of getting everyone to understand what was at stake and thankfully we will not endure a work stoppage anytime soon.

So, finally the free agent period of the NFL will begin in less than a day and I imagine that teams, well the ones with money anyway, have contracts laid out on the table ready for signatures.

One thing that the new agreement does it that it obviously raises the salary cap. The commish said that it will be about 102 Million Dollars. This extra 7.5 million will help some teams keep some of the players that they otherwise would have released. However, the teams like the Raiders and Redskins are still well over their means and will need to free up space, just not as much as before.

I was hoping that they would wait until after this year so that my EAGLES, one of the teams with money to spend, would go after players with a fury. I am not saying that it won’t still happen, but I just don’t think that as many players will be as available as they would have been.

Take Hutchinson from Seattle for example, before the agreement, there would have been virtually no way they could sign him for the money that some teams could offer. Now, they have a chance to be able to match, considering he is a transition player.

I absolutely love the Free Agent signing period of the NFL season that for me is a yearlong affair. There will be big names switching teams and every team has the golden opportunity to fill some holes.

There are a few teams that have money (EAGLES, Vikings, Cardinals, Browns) and there are a few teams that are hurting in their pockets. (Redskins, Raiders, Washington, Kansas City. You can bet your ass that the teams with money will be pouncing on players faster than Anna Nicole Smith pounces on 90-year-old rich men.

I look for the Eagles to be major players as Free Agency opens up. They have already signed Barber and look to be shoe ins for LaCharles Bentley and a Solid WR. I would like to see Peterson or Arrington and I think that they get one of the two. I also look for the birds to make a push for a couple of Seahawks in the name of Rocky Bernard and Steve Hutchinson as Andy Reid tries to take a couple of his mentor’s players from him. Seattle has some money now so they will at least keep one of those guys, and with SA coming back, I’ll bet it’s Hutch.

There are so many players in this league that are just complete wastes of space, cap space that is. Whether it is due to age or declining play or the fact that they make enough money to sustain some countries. One of the biggest examples is Trevor Pryce, he was scheduled to make 10.2 million against the cap and my friends he is just not worth that Pryce, sorry. By cutting him, it saves the Broncos about 8.5 million dollars, which could help them in many areas.

Some examples of overpaid cap guzzlers would be

1. Brett Favre – This guy needs to make up his mind. He is about to get a three million-roster bonus and still seems to be very far away from making a decision that could help his team build their future. His cap number for 2006 is an astounding 12.6 million. Whew! The problem is that if they cut Brett, then they would be hit with an amount of about 26 million over the next four years, whereas if he retires, then they do not get it at all. This guy is still getting past a 29-interception season in which he led his team to a 4-12 record. He is 36 years old and not getting younger. They drafted Aaron Rodgers (ouch) to be the future and the future is now.
2. Kerry Collins – Before the agreement was reached, he was already cut. Now, he has been pulled back in. He did pretty well on a team where he was supposed to go bananas and that’s not good enough when you are about to be worth 13 million. He is due a 2.5 million dollar roster bonus and 6 million in salary along with 4 and a quarter million in likely to be earned incentives. Now that the agreement has been reached, he will most likely restructure and a reunion with Jim Fassel seems unlikely.
3. Eric Moulds – The Bills need his money. They have tried to restructure, but he is adamant in testing the market. The Bills had an atrocious pass offense and he missed a game, but still finished with 81 catches for 816 yards.
4. Aaron Brooks – How in the hell is this guy still employed? New Orleans is most likely taking Leinert at the Draft and are going to need the nearly 5 million they would save by cutting him.
5. Terrell Owens – He complains and bitches and moans his way out of everywhere he goes. He would be about 6.7 million against the cap and the Eagles would get most of that back by tossing him into the driveway so that he can do sit-ups for another team. And another team will pay him what he wants until the day that he alienates himself once again.
6. Brad Hopkins – This is a sad story. He has put in over a decade in the trenches for the Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans. He is definitely feeling the effects of his career. Due to reworking his contract many times, his cap number unfortunately is about 11 million and the titans need to do a little more than trim the edges to get under the cap.
7. Simeon Rice – Without the agreement, this guy was gone and he is a true player at DE. I would have loved for the EAGLES to get him, but now it seems as though they will be able to work something out to keep him. DAMN!!
8. Joey Harrington – How is he one of the highest paid QB’s in the league? How did this happen? Oh yeah, Matt Millen. It amazes me that this guy is allowed to manage a team. Joey needs to be let go and Detroit needs to admit they f’d up and move on with as much money as possible. However, Matt would find another way to screw them up. Who wants to bet they draft Santonio Holmes in the first round.

Right now I'll give a synopsis of what I think that some teams with money to spend will try to do in the Free Agency market. I have already more than gone over what I think and want my beloved birds to do so here are some other cap friendly teams for your educational enjoyment.

Minnesota – With over 30 million to work with and promising new coach and outlook, they should be able to sign who they want by offering contracts that few could match. They need help at Running Back and would be mildly surprised if they didn’t land either Lewis or James. I would have thought they would be all over the Bentley or Mawae situation, but it seems as thought they think that Birk can recover. Just what does C-pep’s injury mean for the Viking’s QB position, it means they better get somebody other that old man Johnson in case Daunte isn’t ready or writes his ticket out of town. There are a plethora of LB’s in the draft, which is good, because it seems as though every team in the league needs one.

Arizona – For the past few years it seems as though the Cardinals leave camp with some promise of the coming season and for whatever reason, they always stink. I watched JJ Arrington last season and he is definitely not the answer. I felt that Denny Green was going to push for SA, but that’s out the window now. I don’t think that either Lewis or Edge will want to go there and the money will be comparable elsewhere for them to be justified. I personally think the address the Running back situation in the draft and attack the Free Agent market with their 30 mil going after offensive line and interior defensive line.

Cleveland – Another team with over 30 million to spend and yet another team that stinks with a bunch of holes. The Browns are not as bad as you would think on first glance. They have a lot of questions at receiver past Braylon Edwards especially with Winslow still up in the air. They need, is this a trend a quick rushing LB’er for their scheme, but more importantly need a dominant Nose Tackle to sure up the middle. With plenty of money to spend, you can bet that Crennel will be very active come Friday. He has done well with his rebuilding of the Brown’s organization.

Green Bay – Even with Brett Favre making an ungodly amount of money, Green Bay still has some money to spend. Some would have thought they were going to go after a back, but after signing Ahman to another year and with Gado, it seems as though they will be eyeing another needed position, Linebacker. With the release of Diggs, most people feel they have their sights set for hawk, which is not a bad choice. However, with guys like Peterson and Andre Carter on the market, they should sign one of them and then take Mario Williams with their first pick. O-line is deep in the draft and would be sure to get a talented tackle or guard in the second round. I know that Packer fans would love to sign a guy like Rocky Bernard or Simeon Rice though and the Packers have the money to do it.

San Diego – With the money they have to spend, this is where I think that TO will end up. They are really only missing a playmaking WR to go with that offense and TO can play anywhere for one year. Also, they have the freedom to go after Rocky Bernard and Sam Adams as well. Most likely, they will address their secondary in the draft, but they have plenty of money to find that in Free Agency as well.

There are other teams with money to spend and as the Free Agency unwinds up to the draft the picture of the 2006 NFL season will start to become clearer. I love this period, so much speculation on where players will end up and hoping that our favorite teams gets everyone to take us to the next level.

Oakland, Washington and Tennessee good luck in maintaining your franchises. There are of course teams that are too bad to help at this point, i.e. Buffalo and the Jets. They don’t scare anyone and won’t for some time, barring any miracles. They just plain stink

As we get closer to the draft, I will take a look at each team and their needs as the Free Agent well dries up and teams look to the College kids to sure up final holes. Once the teams pick off the Free Agents, only the Draft will remain to complete their rosters in the quest for Holy Bowl and I will outline what are the major concerns for each team. Another good thing that will come for the CBA is that holdouts by rookies won’t be as much of a problem as they would have been with a lower cap and at camp time, that will be enormous.

Until then, stay alert as things are only going to get crazier and much more exciting.

As always, go with your gut and don’t look back.

…Professor Ellis D Trails

1 comment:

wikkidpissah said...

that is the 1st i've heard of TO-to-SD but, the minute i read it, it made PERFECT sense. the best bail-out wr in fb history for the new QB & uncontested primacy for the selfish pig. plus, shottsie's head will explode by wk 11 & they'll have to turn it over to a coach who might actually know how to win a playoff game. good stuff -