Here’s a look at things Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King had to say in today’s edition of “Monday Morning Quarterback,” along with the official GLS reaction to each notable excerpt.
How’s that for a simple introduction?
We start things off, naturally, with the labor mess…
I doubt many owners will be shocked by anything they hear Tuesday. Some won’t like how far the league is planning to go in giving players a percentage of the profits. But [Roger] Goodell will tell them it has to happen for there to be a deal. I think whatever the nuts and bolts of this CBA become, he has been working with these owners on the tenets of this deal for three years, and he may have some opposition … but I can’t see nine teams’ worth of it. For nine owners to rise up and say, Whoa, I’m not buying into this, is unlikely.
But how much would eight dissenters hurt cohesion among the owners? And wouldn’t a deal with that much opposition have a shorter shelf life? While it isn’t imperative that all 32 owners are on board, it would help drastically if they unanimously approved the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement.
The small-market teams could well be upset because — from what I’m hearing — not much will be done in the final deal to address the concerns of the bottom-revenue teams that have been trying to narrow the gap with the haves. This is a problem, frankly, I don’t see getting fixed. Too many of the high-revenue teams think it’s fine to share network TV and ticket money, but chafe at expanding revenue-sharing in a more global sense. It’s a well-worn saw around the league that if Mike Brown wants his Bengals to be closer to the high-revenue teams, he should sell the naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium instead of keeping his dad’s name on it. One league veteran told the revenue difference between rich and relative poor in the NFL “might be addressed, but is simply not going to get fixed in this deal.”
And that’s another way in which Los Angeles and Toronto will continue to gain momentum in their separate yet related quests to land NFL teams. Ralph Wilson sees the writing on the wall, which is why he’ll likely vote against this deal, just as he did in 2006.
My educated guess, and maybe a little more than that, is Pittsburgh will be Tiki Barber’s landing spot this summer when he tries to return to football after four seasons away.
The Steelers have a head coach the Barber family knows well — Mike Tomlin is close to twin Ronde Barber after coaching him in Tampa from 2001 to 2005 and also knows Tiki. Tomlin wouldn’t be afraid of the sideshow Tiki Barber might create, nor would he be shy about pulling the plug if the 36-year-old back couldn’t beat out the likes of Mewelde Moore.
I seriously can’t see Barber beating out a guy like Moore and making the roster. I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again, but 36-year-old running backs just don’t exist. Does Tiki really want to risk this? King notes that he didn’t begin training until this February. What if he gets cut during training camp? This might not be worth the embarrassment.
I called a few Angelinos last week to measure the fervor for the NFL there. “Do people in L.A. really want a team?” said Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “That’s really the question.”
“When I hear, ‘L.A. people don’t care about the NFL,’ I think it’s ridiculous,” [Al] Michaels said. “When I moved here in 1958, I saw two Rams games at the Coliseum that drew 100,000 [each]. This is an event town. There’s something about being at a Lakers game that’s almost like a badge of honor. And look, if you’ve got 15 million people in the region, you can find 75,000 to go to an NFL game eight times a year.”
I’m not convinced L.A. is really an NFL town. USC and UCLA are big draws, but that doesn’t mean it’ll translate. That said, I’m tired of hearing that the city swung and missed with NFL teams twice. The Raiders were never L.A.’s team — Al Davis used Los Angeles as a pawn in his attempt to leverage more money from the city of Oakland. The Rams were mismanaged in their final years there, and they left town because the city wouldn’t pay for a new stadium. Fan support was never a major issue.
Rumors (and they seem to be more than that) are flying that the Eagles are going to strike quickly and spend big money in free agency. Imagine pairing Asomugha with very good cover man Asante Samuel. It’d be money well-spent, even at a Bradyish $18 million a year.
Considering, though, that there’s a solid chance a new collective bargaining agreement will allow available players with four years of experience to become unrestricted free agents, and that a significantly higher salary floor will force teams to spend, I wouldn’t be surprised if this summer offers up the wildest free-agent frenzy in league history. And as a result, it wouldn’t surprise me if Asomugha signed a dramatically inflated deal. (Especially if his agent pits the Cowboys and Eagles against one another.)
I have Pittsburgh linebackers 23, 28 and 31 (LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison, respectively).
This is in reference to King’s top-100 list. I don’t understand how anyone can watch the game of football and deem Lawrence Timmons to be a better player than James Harrison. I realize that Timmons might be a little more versatile, but Harrison is a game-changer. That blows me away.
I think Chad Pennington will be a natural doing games for FOX this fall. His announcement to the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail surprised me, but it makes sense that he’ll take the season off because of shoulder and knee rehab and not wanting to rush back. The big question is: Will Pennington be able to talk critically — if he needs to — of a team that he may hope to play for in 2012?
No, he won’t. He’ll likely suffer from Jon Gruden Syndrome and everyone will be a Hall-of-Famer. Big mistake, employing someone who has desires to re-join the league.
I think I continue to be mind-boggled at the fact that there will be such a lack of interest (unless a lot of people I speak with about it are lying) in the unemployed, inexpensive and supremely motivated Plaxico Burress when free agency opens. Just stupid. In the right offense he’ll be the big target many teams lack, and, if healthy, he’ll catch 60-plus balls and be a good deep threat. At worst? He’s not going to cost much. What’s the downside? Rams, Browns? Tell me. I’m dying to know.
My guess? Young teams like those don’t want to risk causing a ripple in the dressing room. The Rams have a solid, young group of receivers. Will Burress’ presence be the difference between a good season and a bad season? At best, he’ll provide a not-ready-for-primetime team with an extra win. Not worth the potential disruption.