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.

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