If real life was exactly like sports when you abruptly lose your job, prospective employers would be given several days to consider their options and financial situations, and then place a bid on your services at an arbitrary time.
It’d be a flawless economic system really. Unemployment would drastically decrease, and no one would ever be without a job unless their former employer was Bill Belichick, the hooded warrior who’s never seen a veteran he doesn’t want to cut.
The latest veteran who was oddly voted off of New England’s island was cornerback Leigh Bodden, a baffling move made Friday morning. Every player released after the trade deadline has to clear waivers before he’s permitted to join another team’s roster, which sets up a bidding process currently taking place in at least a handful of NFL head offices. Teams have until 4 p.m. ET to make a claim on Bodden, and the waiver priority goes in reverse order of the standings, meaning the last place Dolphins have the first priority, followed by the Colts.
Bodden’s now making the turn and is one year away from being on the wrong side of 30, which isn’t old or young in cornerback years. It’s somewhere in the middle, so he may be in the process of beginning to lose a step. But he’s still an above average corner who could step in immediately to help a team that’s struggling against the pass.
Earlier today Sports Illustrated’s Peter King pointed to five teams with at least $5 million in cap room that could be interested (Niners, Bengals, Bucs, Chiefs and Bills). Here’s a look at three more potential destinations for Bodden at the bottom of the standings once the bidding ends later this afternoon:
St. Louis Rams (third waiver priority): The temptation could be too much to avoid for St. Louis, especially if Bodden is considered a long-term solution. The Rams’ secondary has actually been one of the semi-strong points for a team that’s struggled through an otherwise woeful season, giving up 226.6 yards per game (15th). But an early-season injury epidemic left the Rams without three of their top four cornerbacks, and with the Patriots paying the rest of his $3.9 million salary this year Bodden’s a mighty fine bargain.
That price is still quite affordable if the Rams are indeed thinking long-term, with Bodden still receiving a base salary of $3.9 million in each of the next two years. However, even at that low price the Rams would have to get a little creative with their cap space if they’re interested, with team vice president Kevin Demoff recently telling Turf Show Times that the franchise only has $1.345 million to work with.
Arizona Cardinals (fourth waiver priority): At this point during a lost season the Cards could be content to keep rolling with their young corners that are high on potential, and low on experience. But Greg Toler went down with a season-ending ACL injury shortly after Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie was dealt to acquire Kevin Kolb, a deal that’s now looking like a tragic mess.
First-round pick Patrick Peterson has been effective both in the secondary and while returning punts, but there could be a desire to have a veteran presence occupy the spot opposite him that’s currently being held by A.J. Jefferson, who started just his ninth career game yesterday. The Cardinals are reportedly $7.2 million under the cap and could easily afford Bodden.
Miami Dolphins (first waiver priority): The motivation here lies in ineptitude instead of injuries. The Dolphins’ main problem is just being a respectable football team, but they’re not too far ahead of the pathetic Patriots in terms of yards per completion allowed, with their 8.1 yards putting them in proud possession of 27th in that category.
Miami has allowed three 300-yard passers this year with Vontae Davis–the 25th overall pick two years ago–getting burned often, and Sean Smith merely adequate on the other side. That includes Tom Brady’s 517-yard game back in Week 1.
Like the Cards, Miami has plenty of cap room with $10.7 million in space remaining.
UPDATE: Bodden wasn’t popular at all at 4 p.m. ET, and he may or may not be a popular man at some undetermined time in the future. He wasn’t claimed on waivers, according to a report by ProFootballTalk, and he’s now free to sign with any team.