Archive for February, 2010

26
Feb
10

Free Agency, the Salary Cap, and the Draft

For the next 50-something days, all I will be thinking about is the NFL Draft and everything leading up to it. Free Agency, the NFL Combine, trades (!?!?), and other signings, teams jockeying for players in a very different offseason than we have ever seen before. This year is going to be an uncapped season, which means that teams basically have free reign over their payrolls. In the upcoming months you will see teams doing anything that they see fit to modify their rosters, financially speaking. This could include humongous signings or extreme fat-trimming of overpaid players, and we will probably see more of the latter.

I’m predicting a lot of teams to cut players that are, or were until this offseason, big salary cap fat cats (see Westbrook, Brian). I think that there will be more of this to come. Free Agents this offseason should not be expecting much of an increase in salaries from previous years- there just isn’t the willingness to shell out huge paychecks in an uncapped year.

Who knows what will happen after the CBA talks continue, but something’s gotta give between the players ass’n and the owners. Owners are scared of their franchises folding and players want more benefits and better money guarantees. I can see both sides of this argument, and I actually tend to side with the owners a little bit. Granted, I am completely for giving players better benefits, especially post-football. Something needs to be done about providing medical care for banged up, retirees from the NFL.

But one thing I would LOVE to see is a ROOKIE CAP!!!! For the love of God, some of these players are coming in, getting drafted high in the 1st round, and getting paid MORE than a proven veteran. I think that there should be a 3-year performance contract for rookies, and THEN you can get paid the big bucks. Too many 1st rounders have come in, gotten paid millions and millions of dollars, and what have they to show for it? In 2007, Jamarcus Russell was signed to a bigger contract than Peyton Manning had at the time. Even if he doesn’t play another snap, ever, he’s due to make $40 mil by the end of his 6-year contract. And this is just one, albeit one of the biggest, of the reasons why the NFL needs a rookie cap. Please, please take a memo from the NBA and do this.

Anyway, those are my rantings about that. I promised some answers, I know you guys have a lot of questions. I feel like John Locke right now (or whoever that guy is now).

The LT/WBrook dillemma.

I’ll start with LT because I think he has the best chance of being signed first out of these two. Sure, there are concerns now that LT has lost a step or two, but I think that he can still be an impact player in the NFL, even if his role on a team isn’t what he has been used to throughout his HOF career. Let’s assume he’s good for around 10 TDs and, say, 600 yards. Mostly a short-yardage guy. Pretty much a complimentary, change-of-pace guy.  So, where would the best fit for LT be? Let’s try and dissect this and come away with a few landing spots. Tomlinson says he wants to play for a contender with an elite QB. Narrowing down the prospective suitors to more than half of the league on that one.. So, now we take a look at teams who are 10 extra TDs away from either the playoffs or the Super Bowl, who may need help at RB. I can come up with only a few, so I’ll give you my top 3, in no particular order:

  • Chicago

The reason I like the Bears as a landing spot for LT is because they fit the bill for LTs requirements. I really do believe in Cutler as a good, if not great, QB. What hurt the team the most last year was the sophomore stinker  Matt Forte. His lack of production allowed defenses to focus more on pass protection against the Bears last year, and Cutler was merely a victim. As a complimentary back, Tomlinson would give the Bears a really good 1-2 punch along with Forte. In a competitive NFC North, the Bears plan to pull out the wallet in Free Agency this spring. This signing just makes sense.

  • New England

Elite QB. Super Bowl contenders. Dismal running attack. With the Jets knocking at the Pats’ back door to take over the division for good, look to see ol’ half-sleeves make a move or two this offseason. Ass-chin Brady can’t do everything himself anymore.

  • New Orleans

For the feel good, sexy landing spot and to reunite LT with Brees once more. This is the least likely of the three that I have chosen. The backfield may be a little too crowded, but as Drew Brees said, there have been crazier things happen. And for surprise mystery team pick number 4:

  • Houston

Same idea here as Chi Town: Great QB in Shaub, would be a good 1-2 punch with Steve Slaton, but are the Texans willing to shell out the bills? I think that LT will land somewhere near the beginning of free agency, so this will be an interesting one to watch unfold.

Side Note: The Chargers are not going to re-sign Darren Sproles, whom they put the franchise tag on after the 2008 season. I think this is a BIG mistake and I’ll explain later.

As for Westbrook, I think that he may have a steeper hill to climb than LT. Durability concerns are a huge red flag.  So is the amount of money he’s going to want. This will most certainly drive away some teams. But I do believe that if a team does give him a chance, AND he stays healthy, he could be the steal of free agency this offseason. Does no one remember that just a year ago, Westbrook was a top ten running back? I think that he would settle for the first team that takes him, however. I also think that that would be a smart decision. Unfortunately, I see Westbrook becoming a mid-season injury replacement, which is ironic. He’s one more concussion away from retirement, and I think that teams know this.

I know that you guys want me to predict who’s gonna go where, and I will offer my two cents now, and I’ll probably keep updating my thoughts as we get closer to the draft. But I’ll answer the questions I got right now (with my initial thoughts)

Q: Where do you think Eric Berry will end up?

A: Berry WILL be a top-ten pick. Right now, I think WAS or TB could really use him. Redskins are keeping Campbell, there’s no way they draft a QB in the first round. When Campbell’s on, he’s on. I think Shanahan is gonna do a great job with the reins out of Snyder’s hands now. The skins have a good, young rising safety in Horton, and tandem that with Eric Berry, and watch out.

Q: Will Tebow 2.0 find draft-day success?

A: In a word, Yes. The back 1/2 of the draft isn’t gonna be looking for a QB, so I think someone in the top 16 can afford to wait until the 2nd round to draft him. The level of sportsmanship, competitiveness, and work ethic is enough to be worthy of a pick. Think about Tebow in a big market like LA in 5 years when Jacksonville finally moves.  Fortunately for Tebow, the NFL is becoming a shotgun-formation league. His delivery will be tested at his pro day. But no one questions his intangibles, his ‘immeasurables’. I really am rooting for this guy- I think that he’s such a positive role model and likable figure and nothing bad can come out of a team selecting him in the 2nd round.

Q: There are rumors going around of Sam Bradford possibly going #1 to the Rams. Thoughts??

A: I like it. Every once in a blue moon, a draft comes along where the number one need of a last place team really IS the QB position. Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I am a firm believer in building a team from the trenches and then out. A good offense starts with a good O-Line. A good defense starts with a good D-line. But in this draft, a funny thing happened. This draft is going to be historical for producing the most amount of quality players in recent history. This draft is so incredibly deep at almost every position. I think that Bradford has the size (6-4, 232) and strength to be a great QB for a long time- much more so than the other QBs. Don’t get me wrong- I think that the other top tiered QBs in the Draft will have successful careers as well, but I do think that you go get Bradford number 1. If not Bradford, then it’s obviously one of the two DTs. And you cross your fingers for Tony Pike in round 2. But, since all other positions are so deep, I dont think that you pass up on your franchise guy now. He won’t be there in round 2. Go get Bradford.

I think that’s enough for now. Keep the questions coming in. I’ll address some of the loose ends I left above next time.

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25
Feb
10

THE NFL Draft

Hey guys,

I’ll be posting some pre-draft analysis soon, but I want to hear your questions first. So post some things you want me to address and I’ll move forward with the Draft blog. I’ll be focusing in on free agency also. Just leave me your comments and I’ll be working on this as we go along.

-Tristan

22
Feb
10

What The Winter Olympics Have Taught Me

Since the Winter Olympics have been going on,  I cant help but be drawn in by the games, no matter what happens to be on. Even stupid figure skating has been entertaining at the least. I know there’s no way I’d ever be able to do that, which does give me an appreciation for the sport. In watching, I’ve definitely noticed a few trends that I’d like to share with you, my adoring fans.

1. What the hell happened to the Russians?

For a country famous for its winters, you’d think that they’d be a lock for tops in the Winter Olympic medal count. But with the USA having somehow taken over that honor, the Russians look like they don’t even belong there. The Chinese? Stole the gold AND silver medals from Russia in figure skating pairs after a 46 (yes, forty six) year dominance. I watched the Russian pair that were the last hope for that medal this year. The girl wasn’t even Russian! She was Japanese and moved to Russia to train because all of the other chicks there suck! On the same token, I have to give the Chinese kudos- they absolutely deserved the gold and silver, and anyone who heard that story about the pair that won gold couldn’t help but root for them.

2. How COOL does the US look during these games?

I think that we are the only country ballsy enough to have our entire snowboarding team wear ‘blue jeans’ as our snow pants. But that’s not what I mean when I say cool. I mean, I never thought that we would be leading the medal count more than halfway through these games. The most golds and bronzes, and tied for the most silvers. Is it because we have better training facilities? More access to these venues? Or are we just dominating the newer events (snowboarding, freestyle skiing)? Either way, these games do make me proud to be a cocky, rude American. God Bless me.

3. Curling is the coolest thing ever.

Curling is the only Olympic sport in which you can hold a beer in one hand, and a 42-pound rock in the other, and have a chance to win a gold medal. You’d think that would about sum it up, right? No way. I can’t peel my eyes away from the TV when Curling is on. Here’s why. First, this glorified shuffle board game is actually really fun to watch. Watching each team jockeying for position in the ‘house’ while trying to get closest to the ‘button’ during each ‘end’ determines who throws the ‘hammer’ during the next round. What. The. Crap? I KNOW, RIGHT!?!? ITS AWESOME!! for an awesome article on curling, check out Rick Reilly’s piece on ESPN:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=reilly_rick&id=4921079

What may actually be more interesting the Men’s Curling? Women’s curling. Who knew that so many hot women drank beer? Between the US, Canada and Russia, there may not be a hotter winter game per capita.

I always take the Olympic Games for granted until they come on every 2 years. In 08, I was glued to the TV following Phelps. This time, I’ve been glued to the TV following Ohno, Bode, Vonn, and White. Next time I go skiing, I’m probably gonna bite it a couple of times pretending that I’m a downhill skier. Worth it. Also, I wish there was a curling club somewhere near Delaware. I could easily get 7 of my friends and give it a hack. Anyone know of any good curling clubs nearby? First Round’s on me.

19
Feb
10

Has To Start Somewhere..

Okay guys. You asked for it. After some consideration and a little encouragement, I’ve decided to try a little sports blog.

A sports blog? Seriously? Blogging is for angsty teens who sit in their dark rooms listening to Screaming Infidelities and write about how no one pays attention to them and no one loves them. ‘Pay attention to meeeeee :(‘ Yeah, I get it. Blogging gets you nowhere these days. No one cares about your opinion. No one reads these things anyways. Tristan, I’m starting to question your sexuality. I’ve heard all of these things lately. And to this I say.. well, you guys asked for it.

I can’t even begin to count the times that people have asked me for advice, opinion, or just had a general conversation about sports. Between all the Madden I’ve played (I think I’ve lost a total of ten times playing madden), all the fantasy sports including football, baseball, basketball, bracketology, pick ’em (I was ranked like 12th one day in the ESPN pick ’em challenge), golf (yes, fantasy golf) and all of the sports pages I regularly visit, I’ve kind of defaulted all of the random knowledge in my head primarily to sports.

I’m not looking to be the next big sports writer or whatever, because if it was that easy, I could think of a few other of my friends who would want to think about writing (especially for the redskins website). The main reason I’m doing this is to put my thoughts, opinion, analysis, random knowledge, whatever you want to call it, down on virtual paper. I’m doing this for you guys too! Any of you who have ever asked me a question about sports, argued with me on why this call was a good or bad call, or just wanted to strike up a conversation, then this is my gift to you. I would love to stir the pot a little and hear your input and comments about what I have to say. We’ll see how this goes..

Since ‘sports blog’ is a bit broad, I was thinking that I should focus it down a little bit. I will primarily be focusing in on the NFL, but I promise that I won’t limit myself to it if I feel so compelled to write about something else. But, I figured that the NFL is my area of expertise. For example, in the Super Bowl, I called the Pierre Thomas screen TD, the Stover missed FG, and the 2-point conversion call, all 3 times before they happened. Of course, in my victory, I could only come up with one thing to say to the question ‘how the hell did you do that?’ to which I responded: “You just have to trust the Tris.” So, in the spirit of my response, I declare that this blog be called ‘Trust The Tris- Sports Blog‘. Catchy? We shall see.

So, I want to be able to answer questions as well. I love giving advice and answering questions, and I’ve rarely been told that I’m wrong. So hit me with your best shots and I’ll try and answer them for you. You guys are the ones that have inspired me to do this. So LET’S DO THIS!!