Archive for the ‘Reaction’ Category

cromartie again2

Earlier this week I wrote about the Carolina Panthers, and their level of screwed-ness without any wide receiver who has a name you’ve heard at least once in your life. The signing of Jerricho Cotchery — he of the ultra flukey 10-touchdown season after scoring just seven times over the previous four years — at least solved that problem of facial recognition.

The New York Jets are the defensive answer to the Panthers, but their free agency sickness is much more confusing, and not brimming with nearly as many legitimate excuses. They have money, they have a defensive-minded coach, and they have a clear need. Yet they still don’t have a cornerback, and now Antonio Cromartie has left for the Arizona Cardinals. Gulp? Gulp.

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While you were living life this weekend, NFL general managers kept busy throwing money at their problems. So consider this the Monday morning catchup version of the free agency digest, and let’s dive into the main questions arising from the weekend that was.

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There’s often something wrong with a player who even reaches free agency, because with the intricacy of team building general managers don’t just throw their arms up and let star players walk. If a situation becomes dire but it’s still essential that a stud is retained, other non-core players are cut, or their contracts are restructured to create salary cap space. The market is also thinned out further each year by the presence of the franchise tag, and the safety net it provides.

Free agency is a time when bets are made by NFL general managers. That receiver who was a secondary option will definitely blow up with more targets, right (Eric Decker)? That oft-injured running back will be just fine, right (Ben Tate)? That quarterback who was really great in an isolated system and sample size will keep that up even though he’s 34 years old, right (Josh McCown)?

Wednesday afternoon the Denver Broncos found themselves asking this question: DeMarcus Ware still has enough left to be worth $10 million annually, right? Read the rest of this entry »

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The Denver Broncos are about to lose Eric Decker. They’re probably about to lose Knowshon Moreno too, and Zane Beadles has departed for Jacksonville. Those are the blows, and for most teams losing a No. 2 wide receiver, a guard, and a running back would have led to some serious structural damage. For the Broncos, though, the patches on the other side of the ball have more than compensated for any offensive losses, oncoming or otherwise.

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ware2

There shouldn’t be any shock or surprise after the Cowboys released DeMarcus Ware. Just sadness.

Yes, mustering sadness for Cowboys fans feels wrong, because in doing so you’re also shedding tears for fans of the Miami Heat and New York Yankees. But pour one out, because due to horrendous salary cap management, a defense that gave up the third most passing yards per game this past season (286.8) is now about to lose not only Ware up front, but also possibly Jason Hatcher too. All because cap space isn’t a luxury Jerry Jones’ fun bunch has, and they haven’t in quite some time.

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sproles point2

March is a time in the NFL when age comes with assumptions based on history. Those assumptions lead to projections, and those projections lead to unemployment at the hands of a cruel salary cap fate. Often a job elsewhere is waiting, but one at a far reduced fee.

That’s the cold reality of football, and it’s why although I have little ability to muster scorn for the one or two annual contract holdouts when training camp opens each August. When you’re productive yet still beaten and discarded at the age of 30 — still quite youthful for a normal human — you have the right to squeeze every dollar out of your career.

Earlier this week that cruel fate led to Champ Bailey’s departure from the Denver Broncos, but although his name value will always and forever be high, his exit should have been easy to see coming. He’ll turn 36 this summer, he’s coming off a season when he was severely limited by a foot injury, and in back-to-bak years he’s been torched in the playoffs (last year by Torrey Smith, and this year by Percy Harvin).

But as the New Orleans Saints continue to shed weight while desperately clearing a landing spot for Jimmy Graham’s behemoth of a contract, a forthcoming move involving Darren Sproles doesn’t fit quite so easily into the age assumption.

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Why Lance Moore was expendable

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The first, second, and third reasons why the Saints released Lance Moore (or at least they reportedly did or will according to Lance Moore) are all money. That sweet, sweet cash. A cap crunched team that needs to pay Jimmy Graham entered today only slightly above the cutline at an estimated $1.6 million, which is why Thursday afternoon rumors bubbled regarding the Saints shopping not only Moore, but also Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. Now by axing Moore they save $2.5 million in cap room.

But beyond the cold cash, this move was made much easier by depth, which is a wonderful and highly coveted thing during March in the NFL.

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