Thursday, March 11, 2010

Offseason Curl Routes #1

Because not every single offseason move has been one that either you or I find interesting enough to devote the usual attention to…

- SENECA WALLACE, FREE! Yes, I understand it’s a pipe dream, but I’m glad to see he’ll actually get a shot with team that isn’t racked with injuries (like he sort of did last year in Seattle…when he outplayed Hasselbeck…). It’s a very smart stopgap move at QB for a team facing bigger needs at WR and a weak QB draft class, and could have some very high upside.

- Next up on the freedom trail, FREE TROY SMITH! Seriously, a 5th rounder is all it will take. A FIFTH ROUND PICK! Bills? Raiders? Panthers? NONE OF YOU THINK THIS MIGHT BE WORTH LOOKING INTO? I understand Wallace getting taken first, simply because he has starting experience in a West Coast Offense. Still, Smith might have even more upside at even less cost, thanks to his similar athleticism, his bigger arm, and his willingness to operate from a pocket this early in his career. The fact that teams are buying spectacle with their dollars and not developing growth is why I hate the way spectacle runs this league's roster moves.

- Look, nobody is saying that Julius Peppers hasn’t underachieved, or that it’s a great idea to pay him over $40 million in guaranteed money. Still, facts are facts, and these are the facts: In eight seasons, Peppers has had only two where he had fewer than 10 sacks, one of which was an injury bugged 2007 season. Four of those seasons saw Peppers put up 11 or more sacks, and he is only one year removed from a career high 14.5 sacks in a single season. In 2009, an “off” year, when teams had no reason to throw that much, Peppers still managed 10.5 sacks, good for 10th most in the league, and 8th most from a defensive end. Furthermore, you have to overpay at least a little (and yes, this is more than a little) to get him. Bringing him on to a defensive unit that already has a centerpiece and leader (Urlacher returns this season unquestionably makes your defense better. Personally, I’m excited that two prodigies at their defensive positions have united for the long road back to elite recognition, under a couple of defensive coaches who could use some redemption of their own.

- I’m definitely a little biased, but how are the Jets not the clear winners of the offseason right now? Antonio Cromartie is a 25 year old Pro Bowl caliber corner with excellent hands to match his physical gifts, and he’s our SECOND cornerback? No, I’m not concerned about his extracurricular activities. Not at all. We’re standing at the door of a defense built as much on fear as it is on actual talent (who wants to throw, even in a passing league, on this defense?).

- I’m OK with Kerry Rhodes being gone. I can’t say I’m not sad, but he hit a rough patch that he was either unwilling (what I think happened) or unable (what he should hope didn’t happen) to overcome. Ryan’s schemes require a strong safety to do more than play centerfield and make a fun delay blitz every once in a while. Rhodes, on the other hand, is built to play back and use his considerable athleticism in reaction. He could easily wind up being worth more than a 4th and 7th rounder to the Cardinals, but he wouldn’t have been worth that for the Jets. A rare win-win.

- I have no such complex feelings about the Antrel Rolle signing. The Giants just made an above average safety who wasn’t even the best on his own team the richest safety in the league. Feeling like you need to crush the market is what leads to stupidly high contracts like this…

- Finally, I’ve written how much I respect Andy Reid for sticking to his guns and claiming McNabb as his guy. It’s the sort of loyalty backed by logical understanding that is incredibly rare in the league. That said, if the Eagles go into next season without having gained a single asset for either McNabb or Kolb (there is no Vick market, despite what the team believes), this offseason has been a monumental failure. Nobody is paying two first round picks for Kevin Kolb, and nobody is paying as high a pick as the Eagles apparently want for McNabb (a 1st rounder is the rumor). so figure out that the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting nothing at all and make a move, Eagles. Personally, I think trading Kolb (FREE KEVIN KOLB) is the obvious choice. I’m not sure why McNabb being 33 somehow guarantees that he’s in the twilight of his career, but he certainly has enough left for the team to develop another replacement. If the front office is going to give Reid his year with his disciple, they should give him a year fully devoted to success with that system, rather than keeping Kolb around for some future that neither Reid or McNabb are clearly contemplating yet.

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