Saturday, February 21, 2009

What the Hell are the Oakland Raiders Doing?!?!?

With NFL execs and agents arriving in Indy over the past few days for the Scouting Combine, an event that is very much like NFL Spring Break, the early talk in Indy has revolved around the contracts executed by the Oakland Raiders regarding Pro Bowlers Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler.

Contracts signed by both players are so proposterous and unconscionable that they prove to be asinine. (I couldn't come up with anymore adjectives to articulate my dismay)

The contract signed by Punter Shane Lechler was for 4 years, $16M in total value, $9M guaranteed, and an average per year of $4M. To put this in perspective, in 2008, on a average per year basis, the highest paid Punters were: Brian Moorman ($2.2M), Jeff Feagles ($1.73M), & 5 Punters at $1.7M. So Lechler's proves to be an 82% increase over Moorman's deal and a 66% increase over Michael Koenen's Franchise Tender of $2.4M. In short, the difference between the highest paid contract at position versus the 2nd highest contract is NEVER 82%; apparently, unless you're dealing with the Raiders.

Like Lechler, many people would consider Nnamdi Asomugha one of the Top 3 players at his position; HOWEVA (as Stephen A. would say), that doesn't mean you pay Asomugha (3 years, $45M total value, $28.5M guaranteed, $15M PER YEAR) at a 53% increase over the 2008 highest paid player at his position (the highest paid player was actually Asomugha's Franchise Tender of 9.8M). When comparing Asomugha's new contract to the highest non-Franchise Tender contract, Asomugha's new contract represents a 57% increase over Asante Samuel's contract which averaged $9.5M per year. An added benefit to Asomugha is the fact that his new contract (much like Larry Fitzgerald's current contract) precludes the Raiders from Franchising him at the expiration of this new contract, thereby ensuring that Nnamdi will be in line for another big payday via free agency at age 30. Unlike RBs, assuming good health, the age 30 isn't a bad thing for CBs; so Nnamdi should be in line to add to the $55M he'll earn from ages 27-30.

Kudos should go to Tom Condon and CAA who were reported to have negotiated both contracts. They absolutely owned the Raiders on both of these deals.

The signing of Lechler and Asomugha came as precursors to the release of another player the Raiders gave huge money to: S Gibril Wilson. Wilson, who came to OAK from NYG via free agency last season in which he signed a contract that made him the 5th highest paid Safety in the game, was cut after earning $9M for 1 year's worth of service. Add Wilson to the list of 2008 free agent busts; a list that includes Jerry Porter & Drayton Florence.

Back to the Raiders; what is it with the Raiders?? They were once one of the premier teams in the league, and they're an organization with a rich history, but as of late they've fallen and become the laughing stock of the league. No one wanted to become their head coach, so they settled for Tom Cable. Their personnel decisions have been laughed at for years. When you look at the Randy Moss debacle, the above-market contract given to Javon Walker, and the contracts given to Lechler and Asomugha, you've got to wonder if, as long as Al Davis is owning the team, will Oakland remain perennial losers. The person (Davis) who represents the triumphant legacy of the Raiders, may in the end, be the sole reason why that legacy is no longer triumphant.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Folks Making Favre-like Money, Despite Not being Favre

First foremost, let me tell yall that I hate all of the attention paid to Brett Favre and his retirement. I hated it last season. I hated the speculation of his retirement in previous seasons. The guy is clearly a selfish grandstander. Why else would you have the emotional retirement press conference last year (tears and all), only to ultimately decide to return after all of your former teammates have completed off-season workouts, and then trying to return with a sense of entitlement to your starting position that you decided to articulate through the media while trying to alienate GB management. So thank you Mr. Favre for a prolific career, but your grandstanding & ego will not be missed. And that's how i feel about that.....

Anyway, the point of this post was to highlight the enormous bust that Drayton Florence and Jerry Porter were for JAX this past season. Both players were released by JAX today after spending 1 season as Jaguars.

Jerry Porter, whose $10M guaranteed contract from JAX wasn't as shocking as Javon Walker's $16M guaranteed contract by OAK but was almost as surprising given his history of being a malcontent and injured, was released after spending 1 season in JAX in which he caught (count'em) 11 PASSES in 10 games!!! That almost $1M per catch.

Then there's Drayton Florence. Drayton Florence was a CB who had lost his starting position in SD and ended the 2007 season as SD's nickel corner. So what does JAX do? They sign him as a UFA to a contract that guaranteed him $13M. Other CBs whose contracts had less than $13M guaranteed include: Charles Woodson ($10.5M), Nnamdi Asomugha ($9.7M), & Pro Bowler Cortland Finnegan ($8M). So for $13M, what did JAX get? 15 games played with 8 games started and ZERO INTERCEPTIONS and a team leading 5 TDs given up. So Florence gets released today after making $13M for one year's worth of horrible service (not a bad hustle for that kid), which coincidentally ($13M) was how much Brett Favre was suppose to make in 2009 (speaking of hustlers).

Lesson learned here is, just because you feel you're on the cusp of a Super Bowl appearance, just as JAX thought going into 2008, doesn't mean you need to go head-over-heels in free agency for those pieces that are perceived by management to put you over the hump. Because what typically happens is that those pieces end up not fitting. Wait a minute, that's the same thing the Jets did in acquiring you know who, and we all saw how that played out.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Should Jordan Gross be the Highest Paid Left Tackle in the Game?

Wassup everyone....I know its been a minute since my last posting and a lot has happened since then (ie, a certain event called the Super Bowl), but lets get back on track and I appreciate all of you who have been clammoring for the next entry.

So as I was watching the Super Bowl coverage, and while everyone was analyzing the Cardinals' roster, the talk was: what is the team going to do contractually with Kurt Warner (an impending UFA) or Anquan Boldin (a player disgruntled with his contract). However, as I look at their roster, my thoughts are when the hell are they going to go get themselves a REAL Left Tackle?!?!?!

Lets see how many of you can even guess this. Name the starting LT for the Cardinals. Exactly.

The answer is Mike Gandy. So who's Mike Gandy? He's a 2001 3rd round pick of the Chicago Bears; who has spent time in Buffalo, prior to coming to Arizona in 2007 as a UFA.

In 2007, the Cardinals drafted Levi Brown out of Penn State with the #5 Overall pick; many thought Brown would be the franchise's LT of the future. Instead, he's entrenched himself as the team's RT. Thereby, leaving a glaring hole (in my estimation) at LT, particularly for a team that likes to pass the ball so much with a QB, who'll be collecting social security in no time.

So if LT is a need, then who's available on the market? That leads me to Jordan Gross of the Carolina Panthers.

According to Stats LLC, of those Tackles who started 15 or more games in 2008, Gross ranked tied for 12th (of 45) in the league with 3.5 sacks given up on the season; comparatively, Gandy ranked 27th (of 45) with 6.25 sacks given up this season. (If you're wondering, Charlie Johnson of the Colts led the league with ZERO sacks given up in 16 starts, while rookie Ryan Clady of the pass-happy Broncos ranked 2nd with 0.5 sack given up; maybe Clady should be joining fellow rookie Jake Long in Honolulu this weekend)

So how much can one expect to spend to acquire Pro Bowler Jordan Gross??

Well, if Michael Roos can get $15M guaranteed last off-season ( what team Roos plays for......answer: Tennessee), then surely Jordan Gross can command in excess of $15M guaranteed this off-season. Similarly, if a 32-year old Flozell Adams can get $15M guaranteed, then once again, Gross can expect to get a guarantee in excess of $15M. Moreover, if Jeff Backus of the 0-16 Lions can, in 2006, get $15.5M guaranteed, then Gross should command more than that. (Did I mention that Backus in 2008 gave up 9.25 sacks, ranking 41st (of 45) in the league??)

All of that said, I would expect Jordan Gross, easily, to get in excess of $16M guaranteed this off-season if he hits the open market. Moreover, I would expect his contract to average in excess of $8M per year, which would make him the 2nd highest paid OT in the game (after the $10M/year contract of 2008 #1 overall pick Jake Long; yes, the kid came into the league and instantly became the highest paid player at his position. Something doesn't seem right about that).

Clearly, James Harrison is a good player; I mean he was only named Defensive MVP of the league, so he made a lot of linemen look silly all season. But after seeing him give Mike Gandy fits all Super Bowl, including a play in which Gandy blatantly tackled Harrison because he was beat so badly (not to mention 2 other holding penalties called on him in the game), the Cardinals may want to look at utilizing some of their Salary Cap surplus on a premier LT by the name of Jordan Gross. In case you're wondering, Gross had 2 holding penalties called on him ALL SEASON.