A week after the *cue foreboding voice* longest work stoppage in NFL history and we can already see some trends. Here’s a look at some things that stuck out as the league cranked itself back up for the 2011 – 2012 season.
A known winner sometimes takes the backseat to an unproven entity
The Denver Broncos surprised everyone by drafting Tim Tebow in the first round in 2010. What is surprising is how eager they seem to be to dump Kyle Orton in order to name Tebow their starter. Orton has played well for the Broncos (which made the drafting of Tebow even more surprising) and last season when the team was plagued by injury, Orton was one of their stars. Since the lockout has been lifted Orton’s name has been mentioned whenever a team needs a quarterback. If he’s so highly desired, why are the Broncos trying to give him away? I have a feeling they’ll regret it if they move him. Something about Tebow doesn’t say franchise quarterback to me.
It was no surprise the Tennessee Titans waived Vince Young as they’d made their intentions clear as soon as the regular season ended. What was surprising is there was no market for him as a starting quarterback. While Vince has had some off the field issues and will never light you up for 400 yards passing, he is 30 and 17 as a starter. Vince is now off to back up Michael Vick in Philadelphia while Matt Hasselbeck takes over for him in Tennessee. If you’re like me, you’re shaking your head trying to understand how that happened.
The owners haven’t learned a darn thing after the lockout
It seemed that moments after the lockout ended we started seeing contracts that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Wasn’t one of the points of the lockout to cut costs and spending? While I understand the owners have to spend 99% of the salary cap does it make sense to just hand out contracts to everyone? Don’t they realize that the next crop of free agents is going to compare themselves to the players now?
The Carolina Panthers made Jon Beason the highest paid middle linebacker in league history with a 5 year 50 million dollar deal with 25 million guaranteed. The Carolina Panthers were the worst team in the league last year and will likely start a rookie at quarterback. I’m not sure a middle linebacker turns all that around but they have to start somewhere I suppose.
Another signing that made me scratch my head is the Cardinals trading away Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second round draft pick for Kevin Kolb. In addition to trading away a defensive starter the Cardinals gave Kolb a five year 63.5 million dollar contract with 21.5 million guaranteed. Yes, Kevin Kolb who has a 3-7 record as a starter and had his job taken away from him by Michael Vick last season got a 5 year deal. In 10 years when contract negotiations are happening again let’s hope the players remember this move when the owners claim they are broke.
Free Agency/Signing Period should always be condensed into two weeks
In the last week we’ve seen big named stars moving to new teams. We’ve seen free agents re-sign with their own teams. We’ve even seen Plaxico Burress make a nice soft landing, after his stint in prison, with the New York Jets. It’s been so exciting that the NFL Network has seen record ratings as fans try to keep up with all the movement. It seemed there was a seemingly up to the minute Nnamdi Asomougha watch as people wondered where the shutdown cornerback would land (eventually the Eagles). In addition, there were at least three or four moves that surprised everyone (OchoCinco to New England) and no one at all (the Washington Redskins got peanuts for Albert Haynesworth…also to New England). So that begs the question, why can’t we do this EVERY year. What a great way to lead into the preseason and have all fans screaming ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!! Someone get De Smith and Roger Goodell on the phone and make this happen.