Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Mar 2012

Running Wednesday Free Agency Thread

Please use this thread to discuss the latest signings, rumors, and general speculations about NFL goings-on. We'll be updating this thread when signings are reported.

7:40 a.m.: CB Eric Wright has agreed to sign a five-year, $37.5 million deal with the Buccaneers, including $15.5 million guaranteed

9:05 a.m.: QB Dan Orlovsky has agreed to a one-year deal with Tampa Bay
Eagles sign DE Trent Cole to four-year, $53 million extension. $15 million of which is guaranteed.

10:05 a.m.: G Carl Nicks has agreed to a five-year, $47.5 million deal with the Buccaneers, including $31 million in guaranteed money.
Bears sign WR Eric Weems to three-year contract.

10:43 a.m.: WR Calvin Johnson agrees to seven-year, $132 million dollar extension with Detroit. $60 million of which is guaranteed.
Bears sign ST'er Blake Costanzo to two-year deal.

11:15 a.m.: Eagles have traded OT Winston Justice and a sixth-round pick to the Colts for a sixth-round pick.

11:45 a.m.: Bears re-sign QB Josh McCown to one-year deal.

12:25 p.m.: Colts sign DL Cory Redding to three-year, $10.5 million contract.
Chargers announce four-year deal with OT Jared Gaither.

12:55 p.m.: Vikings and TE John Carlson agree to five-year, $25 million contract.

1:20 p.m.: Cowboys and QB Kyle Orton agree on three-year deal.

2:05 p.m.: Chargers sign LB Jarret Johnson to four-year deal.

3:00 p.m.: Patriots and DL Jonathan Fanene agree to three-year deal.

3:45 p.m.: Browns sign DE Frostee Rucker to a five-year, $20 million deal.
Giants sign TE Martellus Bennett to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

4:45 p.m.: Eagles re-sign WR DeSean Jackson to five-year, $51 million deal. $18 million guaranteed.

6:55 p.m.: Cowboys sign CB Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal. Take that, Cortland Finnegan.
Jaguars sign WR Laurent Robinson to a five-year, $32.5 million deal and DE C.J. Mosley to a three-year, $7.5 million deal.

10:20 p.m.: Dolphins signed DB Richard Marshall to a three-year, $16 million deal, with $6 million guaranteed.
Jaguars signed QB Chad Henne to a two-year deal.
Seahawks released OG Robert Gallery.

Overnight update: Chiefs sign RB Peyton Hillis to one-year, $3 million deal.
Buccaneers release C Jeff Faine.
Chargers sign FB Le'Ron McClain to three-year deal.
Dolphins sign DT Paul Soliai to two-year deal.
Panthers re-sign QB Derek Anderson to one-year deal.
Vikings re-sign DL Letroy Guion to three-year, $9 million deal, $2.5 million of which is guaranteed.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 14 Mar 2012

282 comments, Last at 17 Mar 2012, 9:56pm by tuluse

Comments

1
by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 8:17am

So I posted this in the Tuesday thread, but I don't know if anybody is going to see it, with a new thread started:

Am I the only one who feels like Morgan was signed for pretty cheap? I mean, I know he hasn't had great production so far in his career, but right before FA started, I kept hearing that he was going to be pursued by quite a few teams, and that the 49ers really wanted him back. I just think that $2.4 mil a year was not only an inexpensive signing, but especially so for the Redskins.

2
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:09am

Certainly when you compare him to Garcon, a guy who is not tremendously better than him, but is being paid tremendously more. Apparently the Skins are trying to accumulate as many #2 WRs as they can (right now I count 4 including Moss and Gaffney).

3
by Anonymous120313 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:29am

Indeed. That's been the MO under Snyder for awhile. The Garcon deal reeks of Randle El redux. There's no reason why anyone should pay Garcon--a man who has never had a significant moment that didn't involve Manning--$20 mm+ guaranteed. It's stupidity.

I don't know how anyone manages to be a Redskins fan anymore.

6
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:45am

Hell, taking away cap space from the Redskins is something Snyder's grandchildren will be thankful for forty years from now.

175
by erniecohen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:41pm

That's an intersting line of thought - what if Snyder really is running low and asked the league to do this? It's not like the fans can complain if the commisioner stops you from spending money.

111
by Threedle (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:42pm

What? I thought Garcon did quite well last season, for somebody on a team with a succession of ham sandwiches playing QB... I mean, that's a challenge. Still, he had 70 catches, 13.5 per, 6 TDs, catch rate 53%, always good at YAC... sure it was too much money, but then, that's the way market ran.

157
by Anonymous120313 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:02pm

That's not the way the market ran. Why pay $21.5 mm guaranteed for Garcon when you can get VJax, who is a much better player, for less than $5 mm more? What about Stevie Johnson for $20 mm guaranteed? What about Marshall for 2 3rd round picks? What about 2 years of Reggie Wayne for about $12 mm guaranteed (assumed) Of course, all of the comparable players mentioned have some baggage, but still. This was a very bad deal for Washington.

198
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:15am

Robert Meachem is also pretty clearly a better player for less money.

176
by Sisyphus :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:42pm

Garcon has potential, largely unrealized. He has concentration lapses that are just frustrating to watch he drops balls that literally hit him right in the hands but will on occasion make spectacularly difficult catches. (Reminds me a bit of Brandon Lloyd early in his career.) He irritated Manning at times because of his inconsistency and tendency to disappear in games. This is a lot of investment in a player who has an upside but has not really proven himself and Washington is going to make him the number one receiver opposite a rookie quarterback.

7
by Geer (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:53am

How many true #1 wideouts are there? I mean, they are like #1 starters in baseball, right? There are a handful of true #1s, and then you kind of accumulate what you can.

And yes, it is very hard staying a Redskins fan, but I manage.

52
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:04pm

Andre Johnson
Kenny Britt
Dwayne Bowe
AJ Green
Mike Wallace
Santonio Holmes
Stevie Johnson
Vincent Jackson
Marques Colston
Roddy White
Steve Smith
Larry Fitzgerald
Calvin Johnson
Greg Jennings
Brandon Marshall
DeSean Jackson
Hakeem Nicks
Miles Austin

And maybe some of

Robert Meachem
DeMaryius Thomas
Julio Jones
Randy Moss
Brandon Lloyd
Jordy Nelson
Jeremy Maclin
Laurent Robinson
Victor Cruz

So I'd say that's 18 who are and 9 who might be, plus whatever comes out of this draft (which looks like a very strong one for wide receivers). And I've probably missed someone somewhere.

78
by Kal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:52pm

In general, no WR coming out of this draft will be a #1 receiver for at least another year. WRs almost always take a year or two to develop.

Randy Moss isn't a #1, not by any means. Neither is Maclin.

83
by chemical burn :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:02pm

Huh? Maclin is very decisively the Eagles' #1 (and their passing attack is pretty darn good) and much better than Desean. DJax is not a true #1.

132
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:28pm

When I think about the Eagles it's Jackson that scares the crap out of me. I think Maclin is a good player but Jackson is the game changer, even if he is a pillock. I don't know if Maclin will get the money Jackson just got, unless the cap has grown quite a bit.

253
by chemical burn :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:37pm

yeah, but that's just because Jackson has break-away speed and can thus make a bunch of highlight reel plays. I think he's the best #2 in the league, but that's all he is. He runs sloppy routes and is useless underneath and across the middle (i.e. most of the field), he frequently causes INT's because he's not really where he's supposed to be - this Jackson signing is another bad move by the Eagles who now have big contracts tied to 3 players that they really should be figuring how to move away from in Jackson, Vick and Babin.

Maclin will beat you down-in, down-out and he's easily the Eagles most reliable receiver. DVOA has taught us the guy who catches on 40 yard pass a game, drops 1, runs the wrong route on another and then causes an INT on another is worth far less than the guy whop catches 4 ten yard passes. Jackson is exhibit A and Maclin is exhibit B.

I'm already getting depressed for 2012 - taken alongside Vick and Babin, this Jackson signing sucks and represents a real series of GM failures. If they let Samuel go, I'm officially rooting for front office changes.

254
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:50pm

Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for the big play but I really like Jackson, even after accounting for his idiocy. To some extent Maclin's reliability will benefit from the threat of Jackson, personally I like the game changers.

And in my opinion it's the Vick contract that's the killer, they should have tied his big money to playing 16 games.

259
by chemical burn :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 3:24pm

By any measure, Maclin performs better when Jackson is not on the field. The Eagles offense on the whole performs almost exactly the same - and, to boot, Jackson was a liability in the punt return game this year.

Vick and Babin's contracts are awful. Just awful ideas.

260
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 3:50pm

Vick's contract strikes me as risky, but only bad if he declines a lot in the next year or two.

273
by chemical burn :: Fri, 03/16/2012 - 2:14pm

he was already about half as good (and injury-free) in 2011 as he was in a 2010 that appears to be an anomaly. His inevitable decline (and dubious upside) are exactly what make it a terrible contract. look for him to miss a half dozen games (or more) in 2012 and play at a level below 2011.

But it's a bad contract even if he reproduces his injury-hampered, erratic 2011 - even without "decline."

199
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:18am

Almost always is a stretch, and some receivers are so good that they're WR1s before they fully develop (Moss, Andre and Calvin Johnson, AJ Green).

I don't think we know what Randy Moss is. I wouldn't be shocked if he got cut in camp. I wouldn't be shocked if he made the pro bowl. That's why he's on the maybe list.

216
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 8:11am

Even CJ was a #2 for his first couple of years, if only because pre-meltdown Roy Williams was on the other side as the #1.

84
by Shattenjager :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:04pm

It would be interesting to see a larger poll on the subject, really. I got at most 16 where you have 27--and a couple of mine weren't even on your list.

85
by dryheat :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:10pm

It might come down to how "#1 receiver" is defined. Is it production, physical attributes, or where the receiver lines up? By production, guys like Welker and Colston would be #1 WRs, but "#1 receiver" usually connotes the X position, or a WR who lines up outside, or the WR who runs deep routes in the offense, depending on who's talking.

86
by 40 oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:21pm

I agree with you on that. Number 1 WR is a guy that can line up as the X receiver isolated to one side of the field (X-iso). That forces the DBs to shift coverage to that side of the field. Only a few guys like Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Greg Jennings, Randy Moss in his prime, etc can do that.

I'd think Welker, Colston are slot receivers that can work the underneath zones while someone else takes the top off of coverage. For them depends on match-up and QB.

89
by Shattenjager :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:26pm

Yes, that's part of why I think it would be interesting.

87
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:22pm

I took you up on that challenge. Here is my list (in order of team last year, as I am just looking at team names):

Stevie Johnson
Brandon Marshall
AJ Green
Mike Wallace
Andre Johnson
Dwayne Bowe
Vincent Jackson
Miles Austin
Hakeem Nicks
Jeremy Maclin
Calvin Johnson
Greg Jennings
Roddy White
Steve Smith (Carolina)
Marques Colston
Larry Fitzgerald

I only counted 16. There are some fringe guys like Santonio Holmes, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, Kenny Britt, Demaryius Thomas, Malcolm Floyd, and Braylon Edwards, but most of those guys are either too old (and therefore will likely slip to #2 or lower), too young, insane, or did not have enough opportunity to prove it.

156
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:53pm

Brandon Marshall
AJ Green
Mike Wallace
Andre Johnson
Vincent Jackson
Calvin Johnson
Roddy White
Steve Smith (Carolina)
Larry Fitzgerald
Kenny Britt

That's my list. Smith is borderline at this point in his career, and Roddy and VJax are questionable anytime in their career. Probably Dez Bryant and Gates should count, although for different reasons I'm reluctant to count them. Vernon Davis is a no-brainer to add.

169
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:02pm

Any list of #1's that doesn't include Greg Jennings is incomplete.

185
by RickD :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:41am

No Wes Welker?

I guess he led the NFL in receptions, but he's not a "true #1 WR", whatever that's supposed to mean.

Nicks isn't even the #1 WR on the Giants, but he made your list??

200
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:24am

#1 receiver ≠ caught the most balls or most yards. Nicks absolutely is the #1 receiver on the Giants.

13
by footballllama :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:35am

@Drunkmonkey on Morgan -- Hey Thanks for re-posting it. I am 100% with you. I am fairly miffed at the Niners, especially with those figures in play. I don't see why or how those financials preclude "us" having re-signed him. This seems if anything a low offer given Morgan's upside and that he'd be no less than your #3 receiver.

I'm left with the same feelings I had when Hill, Robinson and Spikes were shown the door. I really feel they are being penny wise and pound foolish here.

My dismay compounded when I saw the Cox and Moss signings in that we're chipping away at locker room integrity on one level. It worked on supposed character guys like Tarrell Brown and Bowman, but well ...

All that said, in venting to my fellow friend he did say he was giving Baalke the benefit of the doubt on this one, because he's had the touch thus far.

14
by Passing through (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:38am

Pro Football Focus says that Morgan got $12M for 2 years, not $2.5M a year. At that price, I think we've got to let him go. He looked great for a few games this year, but he hasn't played that well in the past. We can't give up $6M/yr for a question mark like that.

Link:
https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/03/14/setting-the-market-free...

17
by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:00am

Oh, see I could've sworn that yesterday I was reading on PFT that it was a $12mil/5-year deal, not two years.
EDIT:
https://twitter.com/#!/ProFootballTalk/statuses/179698428912205825

See, this was the source of my confusion.

126
by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:54pm

Morgan got $11.5 MM for two seasons (the deal is voidable after two even though it's a 5 year deal). He has a $500K bonus if he makes the pro-bowl for both seasons.

A fair deal for both, IMO.

4
by Pied :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:30am

We lost Orlovsky too?
http://youtu.be/BcDDymBqMmY

9
by Ben :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:12am

First the Colts dash my dreams of having Luck sit and learn behind Painter for a few years, and now this...

5
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:39am

Two more pickups for the Bucs; Wright was clearly a need position, and they need a decent backup QB, and Orlovsky is certainly that (assuming he's figured out where the end zone ends). Orlovsky played well last year, all things considered. Haven't seen numbers, but seems a good fit.

274
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 12:14am

Does this mean that Talib is out as a Buc? Because frankly the Bucs overpaid for Wright. I did think he might have a future with the Lions, and he was pretty effective against the run, but he wasn't exactly stellar in coverage last year.

8
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:09am

Would relish ooportunuty to watch Raiders baet P. manninf 2 times a year. Denv can trade T. Tebow to Jacksonville. Help Jax with atendance and make B. Gabbert (stinkbomb QB)) go sit on bench where belong.

20
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:03am

RJ, you are a man of great wisdom and historical knowledge but not on this issue. The Jaguars have zero interest in Tebow and have better attendance than your team by far.

21
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:03am

RJ, you are a man of great wisdom and historical knowledge but not on this issue. The Jaguars have zero interest in Tebow and have better attendance than your team by far.

26
by dryheat :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:14am

Evidently the owner of the team disagrees strongly with you.

40
by Lance :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:01pm

Re "and have better attendance than your team by far"

My gut said "no way that's right" but I just checked. Holy crap! As of 2010 (dated, yes-- but not by that much!), the Raiders were last in the league with an average attendance of 46,400 people! Just 73% of stadium capacity!! Jax isn't great at 63,000, but it's at 93% capacity, which isn't bad at all.

47
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:48pm

Same here. Thats incredible. So you can besically ALWAYS get Raiders tickets? (Short of Broncos and Chiefs games, perhaps). They must be blacked out all the time?

49
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:52pm

Yeah, but they have a guy with skulls on top of his shoulder pads!

62
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:26pm

When the guys around you are wearing armor, it helps to have some buffer seats to avoid injury!

51
by Independent George :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:02pm

They also haven't been all that bad the last couple years. Not great, but not bad, and there's definitely some young talent there. I'm shocked.

108
by Jeffy-B (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:34pm

My brother lived near Oakland and he said that people couldn't give away Raiders tickets. No one wants to go anywhere near the stadium because of muggings and other crime, and that was people who were Raiders fans. Visiting fans are regularly subjected to violence outside the stadium. So, I'm not surprised at all.

119
by grady graddy (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:38pm

The things on this thread are pretty ridiculous. The Raiders had zero blackouts last season. If you have good seats you can resell them at a profit. The stadium is rather old and doesn't have good concessions, but Raider fandom is still pretty strong. Fans rightly stayed home when they thought the team had little shot, but during the past season and a half attendance has been quite strong.

161
by Bjorn Nittmo (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:33pm

Not so much this past year, at least evidenced by the fact that they were on local TV almost every week. Don't recall any blackouts, though there must have been 1 or 2.

50
by The Other Ben Johnson (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:02pm

What percentage of the Jacksonville stadium capacity is tarps on seats though?

65
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:33pm

Attendance at the last Gator Bowl was 77,497, so I guess somewhere from 7-9K seats are tarped.

134
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:31pm

Well the JJs shiuld habe interest in TT. He could be dy-no-mite
down there

177
by erniecohen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:00pm

A GM buying into Tebow is setting himself up to look like an idiot. It's not like he has unrealized upside.

10
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:15am

Nicks? V-Jax? Eric Wright?

I . . . I don't know what to do. These offseason moves look great. Is this what being a Redskins fan feels like? I'm vaguely terrified here.

See on the Bucs Twitter feed that the Wright deal was 5 years, $37.5 million, seems much more sane than the Finnegan deal.

11
by BucNasty :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:19am

As long as Dan Orlovsky doesn't declare this to be a dream team, I think we'll be alright.

15
by Peregrine :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:42am

I wish y'all had kept Radio. Good players are more dangerous with good coaching.

Quiet on the Falcons front. No surprise there, since I figured we'd be looking for second-wave OL and DL.

125
by The Other Ben Johnson (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:54pm

For what it's worth, the 2011 Buccaneers were VERY Redskinsesque. All you need to do is have about five or more of those "entitled players quit on formerly promising coach" seasons over the next thirteen years, each followed by complete front office overhauls and free agency spending sprees. You get Redskins bonus points if the free agents don't work in the new system(s), yet still routinely get playing time based on their contracts which necessitates the release and/or free agency loss of promising young players who are outplaying the free agent acquisitions. You'll definitely want to trade draft picks for name players in order to overcompensate, further depleting your roster, and most important: at the insistence of your impatient, petulant brat of an owner, never, EVER rebuild. Always make more money than any other team in the league, regardless of the quality of the product. Soon you'll find yourself surrounded by empty beer cans on Sundays, dimly aware of a football game happening and rooting, more than any other on field outcome, for a Volkswagen-sized meteorite to land in the owner's box.

But you're not there yet. That Nicks signing was far too savvy of a move. The Redskins would never do something like that.

12
by footballllama :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:26am

Conspiracy theory around Alex Smith relative to his not yet re-signing with the Niners, which is a virtual certainty: Perhaps Smith and Harbaugh have a handshake agreement to sign others to bolster the team, then come back and be creative with the final contract structure. This would totally fit how accommodating Smith has been thus far. He is perhaps more flexible and collaborative than the other guys exposed to the market.

18
by Temo :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:01am

And to think, mere months ago I would have laughed at the notion of thanking Alex Smith for being "flexible" vis-a-vis contract demands.

29
by Sophandros :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:20am

Sounds like the same idea that's been tossed around in Saints circles regarding Brees. Problem is that the media like to sensationalize everything and claim that Brees is going to hold out.

The theory makes sense because the two sides were mostly apart in terms of the structure of the deal and what would be best for the team. By applying the tag on Brees, that gives the team time to ensure that other positions are filled (Colston, replacing Nicks with Grubbs, finding another LB) and then structuring Drew's contract to fit within those confines.

-------------
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

43
by Kal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:10pm

Brees was on mike&mike this am and it certainly sounded like he was going to hold out. He said something like this:" I was franchised in 2005. Had 13 rods put in my shoulder and a 25% chance of ever playing football again. So that didn't work out so well for me. "

57
by Sophandros :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:16pm

I'd wager a large sum of money that he doesn't hold out.

-------------
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

160
by Supadome :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:25pm

When the Saints figure out who their new Guard will be, and who will be coaching which games, then they can sit down and discuss contract details with Brees again.

16
by rageon :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:00am

I assume Weems isn't getting paid too much, seeing as the bears already have the good version of him on the roster. Then again, if he's mostly a talented special-teams body, then that's not exactly out of character for the Bears.

Hard to criticize the Bucs for paying Nicks, if you're going to spend, do it on elite players at least. I really wish there was a way to quantify the effects of an all-world interior offensive lineman on the rest of the line. I seem to remember Minnesota's line stats on the side of Hutchinson being very good after he signed. I'm curious whether a sub-pay left tackle with an all-pro left guard ends up equalling a great line, a good line, or neither.

22
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:04am

I think you're underselling Donald Penn as an LT; he wasn't great last year, but nobody was. He had a very good 2010, and with an excellent LG, he's going to swing back towards the better side of the equation.

Nicks is expensive, sure, but he's young, so it's not like they blew $50 million on some guy in his mid-30s.

*insert Redskins joke here*

23
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:05am

Hutchinson was a terrific signing for the Vikings.

24
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:10am

I think it's relatively easy to over come a single bad lineman even if he is at left tackle, as long as the rest of the line is solid.

19
by TomC :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:02am

Weems is a bit of a curious signing for the Bears. He's basically a full-time return man, right? (Falcons fans feel free to correct me here.) And, you know, they already have one of those.

Chicago sports talk bloviators are already speculating that the Bears will now try to deal Hester. I think the reality is more likely that they're going to let Corey Graham sign elsewhere, and the combination of Weems and the LB they just signed (Costanza?) makes up for losing Graham and Knox on ST. But that's a lot of money to have tied up in return men.

31
by Peregrine :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:29am

Weems was PR and KR for the Falcons the past two or three years, plus kick coverage.

He's quick and tough but doesn't have great speed. He sometimes made poor decisions on returns, especially on letting too many punts bounce and costing field position. I can't imagine why the Bears would prefer him over Hester in the return game.

His strong suit was in kick coverage, especially on kickoffs. Last year the Falcons - for some unknown reason - insisted on not trying to force touchbacks, and so Weems made some nice plays covering kicks.

I always thought he could have been used more as a WR. The Falcons never made a point of it with Mularkey as OC, but he might be able to help as a #4 WR.

33
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:41am

"His strong suit was in kick coverage"

This signing makes perfect sense then. The Bears really value good coverage in their special teams.

60
by TomC :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:18pm

Agreed, and thanks to Peregrine (nice moniker for a Falcons' fan; can we call you Pippin for short?) for the inside scoop.

Pretty sure this means Graham is gone. I always liked the guy, and I hope he gets paid somewhere, but if Weems can do both KR and kick coverage, this set of moves makes perfect sense indeed.

25
by Ryan D. (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:11am

Megatron gets MEGAPAID. Wow.

27
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:15am

Worth it. Even when he gets old and slow, he's still 6'5", 235lb. So in his decrepitude, he's still functionally a Boldin or a Gronkowski.

28
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:16am

When I saw those numbers I literally shouted out "OH MY GOD" via pure reflex. $60 million GUARANTEED? He's getting more in guaranteed money that Vincent Jackson's entire five-year contract.

Ho. Lee. Sheeyut.

61
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:22pm

The Lions obviously needed to sign him to some kind of enormous long-term contract. But these numbers still boggle the mind. How are they going to fit the back end of his contract under the cap, along with second contracts for Stafford, Suh, and any other young players they develop? In four or five years the Lions are going to look like the Manning-era Colts, with 4-5 players at the top of their positional salary structure and the rest of the roster composed of rookie contracts and minimum-salary vets.

91
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:29pm

How are they going to fit the back end of his contract under the cap, along with second contracts for Stafford, Suh, and any other young players they develop?

The upside of currently supporting the Loser's Tax is that the second contracts for your core players won't be substantially more expensive than the original contracts for those players.

CJ's long-term deal isn't much different than what he made this year.

93
by Biebs :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:35pm

Don't forget that the cap is going up a ton in 2014. Probably from $120M to about $155M-$165M due to the new TV deal.

That's going to make the number seem a little less insane.

201
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:28am

Remember that it's really an 8 year deal not 7, and that $20m or so of the guaranteed money is really just what he was due as 2012 base salary.

30
by tonic889 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:26am

I know Winston Justice got abused by the Giants a few years back, but I thought he was a serviceable tackle who is worth more than moving 14 spots in the 6th round...am I wrong?

36
by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:46am

Well, apparently the Eagles were going to cut him, since about $4 mil was too much to pay a backup tackle, even one who was supposed to be a starter. I guess the Colts can afford him since they've cut just about everybody else. Besides, everybody knew the Eagles were going to cut him, so I applaud the Eagles for getting something out of it.

I think they move up 16 spots...

37
by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:47am

Damn, double post...

39
by Yuri (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:57am

I think this is a "better than nothing" kind of deal for the Eagles. For cap reasons, Justice would likely have been released. Unfortunately, he's been injured a bit recently. His role is decidedly backup on the Eagles, with the tackles duo all set.

I am curious why the Colts would make this move though. I assume for the $ they want Winston to start. When healthy, he is good enough to be an average-quality starter. The Giants game is not really relevant at this point, it's more durability questions.

Also, based on his blog diary for the Philly papers, Justice is probably the only OT in the entire league who drives a Prius!

Finally, this probably means King Dunlap will remain with the Eagles--he has proven to be a pretty versatile backup at LT and RT.

32
by George (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:34am

Megatron's deal frees up a reported $9 MM in cap space this year for Detroit. If they cut or traded Avril, it wouldn't shock me to see them get in Mario Williams discussion.

34
by Biebs :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:41am

I think the Mario Williams discussion is almost over.

"Mario Williams spotted leaving Buffalo Medical Group office this morning. That would seem to be a physical, folks."

-Tim Graham's Twitter Account (Writer for Buffalo newspapers)

35
by George (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:45am

Had not seen that, but sounds like it.

38
by Rivers McCown :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:48am

Thought that too, but physicals are standard procedure per their official site. Plus, that whole thing about him taking another official visit last night.

Don't really know what to think about Mario now. Mincey takes JAX out? I don't think Chicago was ever a real bidder. NE?

41
by dryheat :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:03pm

As a Patriot fan, I'd have mixed feelings on Williams coming to Foxborough. It would give Belichick a chess piece to play with somewhere between Willie McGinest and Lawrence Taylor in ability, but they're not going to pay him nearly as much as Buffalo will offer. If they can get him for the same contract that Wilfork signed, I'd be thrilled.

If I were a Jacksonville fan, and my team decided that re-signing Mincey was an acceptable alternative to attempting to sign Williams, I wouldn't be a Jacksonville fan much longer.

53
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:06pm

Since he will most likely command Vince's entire contract in guaranteed money, I'm guessing you won't wind up being thrilled :)

Which is fine by me. I don't see any value in paying Mario $17-20mm more than Carter or Deaderick, and really, I don't get why anyone else is so bonkers over the guy. Yes, he's a very talented piece, but one piece does not make a defense (although one $20+mm piece can destroy one). Houston's defense was deplorable until Phillips got it to play as a unit, and now it's excellent. But drafting Williams made hardly any difference at all, the same which can be said about his exit in week 6. Football is still very much a team game.

42
by Jimmy :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:04pm

The Bears have parted with very little cash so far in free agency, they would still have money to go after Mario if he was available or if he would take a little less from the Bears than from Buffalo (which would be nice for Bears fans but horrible for Bills fans and unlikely).

44
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:15pm

I guess I am pretty limited in my thinking because I cannot see the appeal in playing in Buffalo for Mario Williams unless they are offering gazillions more than the next team.

45
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:25pm

He moonlights as a preacher, and wants to perform weddings at Niagra Falls?

46
by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:38pm

I distinctly remember Williams saying he isn't going anywhere for the money, as he already has a ton of it from being the number one overall pick. But what is there to do in Buffalo?

In all seriousness, I hear that Buffalo is trying its hardest to make the playoffs, and they're willing to do whatever they have to do in order to make it. I think it's not that hard to envision Mario going there if he thinks they have a chance to win, but if he's serious about not taking the money, I don't know why he didn't sign back with the Texans, who look ready to compete for the Super Bowl for the next few years.

48
by VinnyMurphSully :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:51pm

Buffalo is a historically moribund franchise so if they pull this off, I think they MUST be overpaying.

In terms of the city itself, it's no worse than any other post-industrial sh*thole. Probably a little worse than Pittsburgh, better than Cleveland (whose franchise gets romanticized for reasons beyond my understanding). As far as what there is to do there I'd ask the same about Nashville (where I live), Indy, Jacksonville, and a number of other cities with NFL teams.

54
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:06pm

I am NOT knocking the actual town or fans. I just don't see Buffalo being really competitive. I don't see the talent level required.

But that's me

59
by VinnyMurphSully :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:17pm

No offense taken. Buffalo's not a wonderful place to live. I grew up there, return frequently, and remain a Bills fan.

I think their hopes are tied to the idea that Fitzpatrick's 2nd half of the season collapse was injury-related and that it isn't his true talent level.

94
by Independent George :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:38pm

I think I read somewhere (might have even been here) that his 2nd half collapse was actually in line with his career averages; it was his 1st half spurt which was the outlier.

66
by BJR :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:34pm

Don't look now, but adding an elite DE to Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus on the interior starts to look like a very talented unit. There could be some torrid days for O-Linemen in the AFC East if this move comes off.

117
by rich31689 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:12pm

this. When they were healthy at the beginning of the season, their d-line was the strength of the team. Adding the best DE on the market could make them lethal, and if you want one part of your 4-3 defense to be a strength, it's the line.

56
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:15pm

Buffalo is pretty dead nowadays, or so I thought. I went to Wiki to find out what industry abandoned them (shipping), but was pleasantly surprised to read the following:

"A recent study found Buffalo's August 2011 unemployment rate to be 7.3%[15] In 2010, Forbes rated Buffalo the 10th best place to raise a family in America.[16]"

The last time I was up there it was really depressing so it's nice to read that the city is improving.

58
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:17pm

He never said the money wasn't a factor at all. The Texans would struggle to offer him half of what Buffalo reportedly have.

67
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:37pm

The part I find somewhat surprising is the weather factor. Buffalo is COLD and gets tons of snow and Mario's never played anywhere that really experiences winter.

71
by RickD :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:45pm

Bruce Smith did well there.

I don't see why cold weather would deter a big defensive player.

73
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:46pm

He hasn't, but he has thrived in probably the worst environment in this country. Houston's humidity is so bad they're considering doming the entire city. True story.

I don't know how people live there, but apparently there are quite a few who do.

76
by RickD :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:50pm

Nobody lives in Houston. It's a conspiracy of cartographers.

81
by Rivers McCown :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:55pm

I'm in on the scam.

(I'm not offended either really, I mean I say the same thing about Wyoming all the time.)

88
by RickD :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:24pm

I just love the phrase "conspiracy of cartographers." Throwing it out there to see if anybody recognizes where it comes from. Hint: it originally referred to England.

90
by Shattenjager :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:29pm

Did it originate in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead?

106
by RickD :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:29pm

Yes, I'm thinking of R&G are Dead.

146
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:00pm

That's just because you've never been to Milton Keynes.

186
by RickD :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:45am

I've taken a train through Milton Keynes. Saw no reason to get off.

Is it the new Slough?

I've also taken a train through Slough. Didn't get off there, either.

202
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:33am

I've changed trains in Slough, and that's more time than I ever want to spend there again. My aunt, uncle and cousins used to live in Milton Keynes. Strictly speaking it's not as ugly as Slough, but there's something freakish and unnatural about it that engenders deep discomfort.

98
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:58pm

It's about Milton Keynes isn't it?

104
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:23pm

After reading this site for a few months, my money's on it being a Harry Potter reference.

105
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:24pm

It is not a Harry Potter reference.

109
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:36pm

It is of some kind: Books » Harry Potter » A Conspiracy of Cartographers, Year One

Edit: Eh, I guess not. Saw "Potter" and jumped to conclusion.

Edit edit: It is

112
by Dan :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:44pm

It's a line from Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Various people who like the phrase have used it as the title of their personal blog, tumblr, or Harry Potter fanfiction.

113
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:53pm

To follow along with what Dan has said, that phrase is not original to the Harry Potter universe, and is not used in the book or movies.

115
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:00pm

I haven't read the Potter books (nor seen the movies) and "Books » Harry Potter » A Conspiracy of Cartographers" looked like a chapter to me.

Figures I chose the one non-football question on FO that had nothing to do with Potter or video games.

55
by Mort (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:09pm

>> 11:15 a.m.: Eagles have traded OT Winston Justice and a sixth-round pick to the Colts for a sixth-round pick.

Trading a OT to move up in the 6th round? Seems a little weird though I suppose it's worth it if they were just going to cut him anyway.

---

The Colts picking up Redding is a decent move, though it doesn't jive with their recent trend of shedding middling older players. Still, there's something to be said for bringing in veterans who know the system and I imagine Pagano will have a good amount of control over the defense.

63
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:27pm

Am I the only person who thinks Kyle Orton was the best non-Manning free agent QB available? Why is Matt Flynn likely to get a starting job, while Orton and Jason Campbell are backups?

64
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:33pm

Re: Orton
Excellent grab by Dallas.

69
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:40pm

I think the difference is you know what you're getting with Orton, while people don't know the limit on Flynn's upside. I'm not sure, but Orton may have also signed too early. He may have had better luck had he waited for Flynn and Manning to sign, then get whatever team was left. Seems like he's either decided he's not going to do better than a backup somewhere or he thinks Romo might get injured again.

197
by Jerry :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 4:48am

Maybe the Charlie Batch model works for these guys. I don't know if either Orton or Campbell is coming home (or going to a team he always wanted to play for), but knowing he's a solid number two in a city/franchise he likes is probably more appealing than having to keep looking over his shoulder if he wins a starting job.

70
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:41pm

I think it comes down to potential upside. As much as I like Kyle Orton and would have loved to see him back on the Bears as their backup QB, we've seen enough of him to be pretty sure that he's never going to be a great QB. A team signing him to start has to basically be satisified with an average QB.

Flynn may turn out to be an average QB but based on his very limited sample, he appears to have a chance at being a better-than-average QB. If I'm a team that needs a starter, I'm favoring him over Orton.

97
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:51pm

Wasn't Orton a top-ten QB in his two years playing with McDaniels and Brandon Lloyd in Denver? He wasn't all that bad with Fox early last year, but it was clear that Fox and his OC weren't doing a thing to try to tailor their offense to Orton's strengths, like they did for Tebow.

203
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:36am

His production may have been above average, but he was never an above average player, just in a favourable environment.

227
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:19am

Before was injured, Orton was 10th in DVOA in Chicago in 2008. I would not call that a favorable environment.

72
by are-tee :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:45pm

Interesting that both Campbell (Bears) and Orton (Cowboys) chose to sign with teams that have established franchise QB's, albeit injury-prone ones.

102
by tally :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:15pm

I can actually somewhat see the logic in that QB might be more volatile a position than expected--you never know when injury or a string of bad performances can derail the job security of an entrenched QB. Maybe Campbell and Orton would rather have a small chance to start for a good team than big chance to start for a bad one.

118
by BigCheese :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:26pm

How the hell is Jay Cutler injury prone? He never missed a game in Denver, missed time in 09 because the line got his brains scramled and broke his finger making a tackle on an interception last year. That is not being injury-prone.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

121
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:41pm

His toughness or lack thereof aside, any QB playing behind the Bears O-line will be prone to injury, wouldn't you say. Therefor Jay Cutler is injuryprone.

170
by BigCheese :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:06pm

Touché. Which is why I was for going after Nicks even over Super Mario.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

224
by Steve in WI :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:00am

Yeah, only on that basis would I consider Cutler injury-prone. The thumb last year was a freak injury, and the concussion the year before can be attributed to the complete and total lack of protection.

Frankly, all starting QBs are injury-prone based on the fact that they have a giant bulls-eye on their backs for most of the game. The biggest mitigating factors are what kind of O-line they have to protect them and just plain luck after that.

123
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:47pm

Don't forget the MCL tear in the 2010 NFC Championship Game.

171
by BigCheese :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:07pm

I didn't. I just didn't mention it because that's the only injury that would point me towards him being injury prone (of course, not by itself. But if we get another knee issue, than yes, it's time to worry).

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

173
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:21pm

I just mention it in the context that the Bears' lack of a professional backup QB has potentially derailed two consecutive playoff runs.

223
by Steve in WI :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 9:57am

I don't know that you can blame the backup situation for their NFC championship game loss to the Packers. For one thing, Cutler wasn't very good that day while he was in the game, and Hanie wasn't bad when he came in. (Of course, it would have been much better for the Bears if he had been disastrous in that game and they might have considered a real backup for last season, when it would have mattered).

228
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:20am

Todd Collins played snaps, and killed any chance the Bears had of winning.

240
by Steve in WI :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:17am

I've tried really hard to erase the name Todd Collins from my memory, but my recollection is that he was ineffective but only played a few snaps and didn't do anything disastrous. I agree it didn't help that he was put in the game, but if I was to put a number on it, I would say that 90% of the reason the Bears lost that game was Cutler (his lousy performance and then his injury).

That game certainly stung at the time, but looking back on it I attribute the loss more to bad luck and running into a Packers team that was playing great at the right time than not having a good enough backup. Especially in comparison to last year, where not having a decent backup almost certainly cost the Bears a playoff run.

242
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:19am

Collins played 2 full series, didn't complete a single pass, and the Bears didn't have enough time left by the time Hanie subbed in.

244
by Jimmy :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:28am

90% of the blame to a guy who threw four passes before he got hurt? (and if Hester ahd run the correct route would have had figures something like 3 of 4 for 70 odd yards and a TD).

Don't confuse getting hurt with leaving the game.

252
by Steve in WI :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:34pm

I intentionally avoided using the word "blame," but I still should have clarified what I meant. I believe that 90% of the reason the Bears lost the game was that they didn't get a franchise QB performance out of their franchise QB. Certainly a large part of that was not his fault at all because he was injured.

What I was trying to say is that I don't believe better backups would have won that game for the Bears - at least, not average backups. If the Bears had Matt Flynn, maybe. I find the 2011 season to be the complete opposite, where I believe they would have been a lock for the playoffs with even a mediocre backup who could have eked out a couple of wins against bad teams and gotten them in.

257
by Jimmy :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 1:57pm

Fair enough. If Angelo had made sure he had a better backups at QB, OT and safety he would still have a job.

74
by RickD :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:48pm

Matt Flynn was more impressive in his two starts than either Orton or Campbell has ever been.

The only concern I would have is that his high production level was a function of the GB offense.

I'm puzzled at the notion that Campbell and Orton should be backups, though. There are worse QBs who started a lot of games last season.

75
by Eddo :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:49pm

Yes, this is strange. I feel Campbell's in a similar situation as Orton; certainly good enough to be a starter somewhere, or at least as a viable alternative to a shaky nominal starter.

Instead, they both sign with teams that have a no-doubt, deservedly entrenched, starter. I wonder why they would choose the backup route over the following teams:

Miami (not enough supporting cast?)
Seattle (I have no idea, unless the Seahawks were going all in on a Manning push)
Cleveland (obviously, the Browns would prefer a new QB of the future via the draft, but Orton/Campbell could be a placeholder starter, at least)
Arizona (to push Kolb)

Now, one of those teams will land Peyton Manning. But the other three almost certainly will have a worse opening day starter than Orton or Campbell.

77
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:52pm

Potential I guess. I mean which teams would want Orton or Campbell? If you are a contender you probably have a better QB, and if you are rebuilding you want a guy with more long term upside.

Those two are completely known commodeties - average, maybe slightly above. Yes you can win with a championship with average QB production, but you need a very specific sorrounding cast, and I don't there are anybody who fits that mold at the moment.

The Jets is the only team I can think of.

80
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:55pm

The 49ers?

I really thought the Chiefs should have kept Orton.

82
by Eddo :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:00pm

Unless the 49ers can get Manning, I think they're better off sticking with Alex Smith. Familiarity, and all that.

However, I think Seattle becomes an instant wild card (or even division) contender with either Campbell or Orton.

95
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:49pm

I agree, Eddo. And to Tuluses point: I think Cassel vs. Orton is close to a wash. Instead of splitting hairs between journeymen, they should too be going for upside. No matter what the Chiefs aren't winning any championships anytime soon. Unless you want to count winning the 4-way coinflip that is the AFC West.

191
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 3:49am

Over the last 3 years, Orton has averaged arount 10% DVOA, which is way better than Sanchez or Cutler.

204
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:39am

Orton having better DVOA than Cutler is perhaps the most classic illustration of the fact that QB DVOA is a team stat not an individual player stat. Cutler is a far superior player and always has been.

79
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:53pm

Flynn is still in the young love stage where all anybody sees is upside. It was the same thing with Kolb last year. Orton and Campbell are past that to the stage where everybody dwells on the things they don't do well at the expense of what they are good at.

I don't really get why Orton chose Dallas. Great pick up for them, but I'm surprised he saw it as the best option for him. Romo gets hurt fairly often so he'll get to play then, but I don't see him beating Romo out or the Cowboys even letting him try to do so. Certainly I'd have thought he'd have had a much better shot at taking Cassell's job in KC. And who will KC use as a backup with Orton gone?

92
by RickD :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:35pm

Kolb had a lot of hype that was never really justified. He had roughly two starts at Philly that looked good. Flynn has looked exceptionally good in the games he's started. His worst two starts (a.k.a. his only two starts) are more impressive than Kolb's best two starts, and Kolb had a lot of dreary starts that Flynn hasn't had.
I'm more reminded of Matt Schaub, who got a starting job with Houston largely by lighting up the Pats' D on national TV as Vick's backup with the Falcons.
The profusion of QB's named "Matt" continues to baffle me.

205
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:42am

It's a bit like the profusion of WR's called Johnson, which has the further oddness that the two best and most famous are notable among superstar receivers for not being dicks.

215
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 8:10am

That's just the name regressive to the mean after the Keyshawn years.

99
by Jimmy :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:00pm

I think there is a chance that Orton ends up the starter at some point this season, either due of injury or Romo being shaky. How long does Romo get the unquestioned starter nomination without really delivering? There is also a chance thatt the three year deal is not really for three years (similarly to Joch Morgan) with teh Cowboys being one of the two teams stripped of cap room. That is hwoever pure speculation. Orton will have never had as many targets as he does in Dallas and may outplay Romo.

107
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:32pm

Serious danger of thread-jacking here, but I think it's consensus around here that Romo, when healthy, has in fact delivered.

110
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:41pm

Not my perception but that could be because it doesn't match my opinion.

276
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 6:46pm

I don't see Romo as a "winner" at QB (whatever that means), but he's not the main reason why the Cowboys haven't gotten to the NFC Championship in ages. He really is a good QB, but he suffered from being part of the perpetual Cowboy drama, including the sense that he wasn't really serious about winning. I mean, has anyone ever seen him frustrated about how things have been in Dallas (other than his purported 'shrug-off' of Jerry Jones last year)? One gets the impression that he's too laid back to be the leader of a championship team.

124
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:49pm

Romo can't seem to win with some people no matter what he does. Check these numbers out and tell me how any rational person would believe he was somehow in danger of losing his job period, let alone to Orton.

QB RATING:
Romo: 96.9 career ... Worst year: 91.4 ... Best year: 102.5 (that was last season)
Orton: 79.4 career ... Worst year: 59.7 ... Best year 87.5 (last year he was 75)

COMPLETION %
Romo: 64.5% career...has never been below 60%
Orton: 58.3 % career...has only been above 60% once

BEST YEAR TDs vs INTs
Romo: 2011 when he threw 31 TDs vs 10 INTs
Orton: 2010 when he threw 20 TDs vs 9 INTs

YARDAGE:
Romo: Three 4,000 yard seasons
Orton: None

127
by Jimmy :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:57pm

I couldn't care less about consensus, and I don't agree that any such has fromed anyway. Like all QBs Romo has good traits and bad, for my mind they add up to an average NFL starter. I would agree that he has put up good numbers but I think he perhaps should have done more considering that he has had very good skill players around him pretty much his whole tenure in Dallas. It wouldn't suprise me if Orton could be as productive, he can be very efficient if protected properly (which may be another matter) and would have better passing targets than he has ever had.

130
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:17pm

His offensive line has, for the most part, sucked at pass blocking for his entire career. The number of qbs who would have produced as well behind that protection is quite small, I think. The chance that Orton would have is very, very, small.

133
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:29pm

And Orton had very good skill players around him his first season in Denver--it was the 3rd ranked offense in the league the season before with Cutler as the qb. And Orton played very well that year...just not as well as Romo has consistently played.

135
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:38pm

Two of Romo's strengths are his elusiveness and quick release, these traits allow him to operate behind a line that less mobile quarterbacks, like Orton, would struggle. On the other hand his issues with reading defenses cause him to make quite a few bizarre errors that more conventional quarterbacks, like Orton, might not make. He giveth and he taketh away, in my opinion he's about average but with a very high variance in his performance.

However, I wouldn't like him because to win the Superbowl you have to win four playoff games on the trot and his randomness makes that four game streak unlikely.

138
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:46pm

Well, most statements about qbs prompt the question, "Compared to what?". I'd say Romo is pretty good, compared to most qbs. I'm not going through the list right now, but I'd say off the top of my head that he is a top 10 prospect.

144
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:57pm

Brady, Manning, Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Cutler, Schaub, Rivers and Roethlisberger, would be my top nine (in no order, and off the top of my head). The next group would be Stafford, Ryan, Fitzpatrick, Dalton, Newton, Romo and maybe even Alex Smith again in no order so Romo would have to top that list to be in the top ten. If he's in the middle then he'd be about average assuming that he can stay above Luck and Griffin.

He's productive but his erratic spells would drive me to distraction if I were a Cowboys fan (though the snow flurries would be gusting through Pandemonium before that happened).

151
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:44pm

If I were to put Cutler ahead of Romo, it would be on the games Cutler played in 2011 alone, given the number of times we've seen Cutler screw the pooch. I'm not sure that makes a lot of sense. I'd say it is hard to delineate between the two, but I think we agree that making fine distinctions on this stuff is hard.

154
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:49pm

It's not quite so funny when Cutler fails. So that's got to be worth something.

155
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:53pm

You don't get the reaction shots of ol' Jerrel, when Cutler craps his pants, so you really are missing a lot of entertainment value.

194
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 4:07am

Cutler v. Romo is not a fine distinction. Over the last 5 years, Romo has about doubled Cutler's DYAR, and has about 20% higher DVOA. This is another case where perception is just out of touch with statistical reality.

206
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:46am

That's just another case of QB DVOA being a team stat. I would absolutely take Cutler over Romo in nearly all contexts (maybe not behind a truly awful offensive line).

212
by Dales :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:54am

You mean, like the Bears' line?

218
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 9:04am

Of course, we all have opinions, and that's fine, as long as we are forthright in acknowledging, when appropriate, that those opinions are in good measure based upon a wild assed guess. Nobody really knows whether Cutler or Romo would prevail, if we could perform a controlled experiment to test which was better under a variety of conditions. I think they are rather similar, in being athletic guys who have been prone to making egregious mental mistakes. Both have played behind some very bad protection, Romo for longer. Cutler, for the Bears, has had mediocre receivers.

I think both are pretty darn good.

221
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 9:40am

Obviously there's a lot of subjectivity there. But my fairly strong opinion is that Cutler has a better arm, is a more accurate passer, and is at least as good a decision-maker, and that for most teams - certainly most good teams - those attributes would outweigh Romo's outstanding pocket presence.

232
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:44am

Well, we do have something close to a controlled experiment, not between Cutler and Romo, but between Cutler and Orton. For 2008-2010, here are the CHI and DEN starting QB DYAR and DVOA numbers:

2008: CHI 334 -.9% DEN 973 22%
2009: CHI -22 -17% DEN 887 14.2%
2010: CHI 292 -1.5% DEN 869 14.4%

Looks pretty consistent, doesn't it? Except that in 2009 they traded QBs. Orton did a little worse in DEN than Cutler, and Cutler did a little worse in CHI.

Nevertheless, everyone continues to insist that Cutler was a franchise QB, and Orton is a bum.

I see no measured reason to believe Cutler is a top QB. If you believe that he is, than please explain your evidence that he is a Romo and not an Orton.

233
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:57am

Well if you don't cherry pick stats, things look a little different.

2007: Cutler had 19.4% DVOA. Which means Cutler has 2 years more successful than any year Orton has ever had.
2011: Cutler: 3.8% Orton 1.4%

What happened this year to make Orton's DVOA fall 10 percentage points?

Oh and between 2008 and 2009 there were only 2 offensive lineman that started both years for the Bears, Olin Kreutz and Roberto Garza that might have had something to do with the offensive performance.

I'm someone who likes Orton, and thinks he deserves to start, but your abuse of very flawed statistics is really getting on my nerves.

236
by Steve in WI :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:09am

There has to be some kind of adjustment to acknowledge the fact that Cutler had to spend 2010 and 2011 running the Mike "let's stick with seven-step drops and no audibles when we've got an offensive line that can't protect" Martz offense, too.

I like Orton and I think he's a starter for a team that wants a consistent QB and is willing to accept that he'll never be great; I certainly wouldn't call him a bum. I just think Cutler is better.

238
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:13am

My cutoffs were not arbitrary. I included those years because they were the only ones for which the two QBs were full-time starters. (I think Orton threw only about 80 passes in 2007.)

The OL changes are a valid point. But nevertheless, this is as close to a controlled experiment (with this much data) as you are likely to find.

The main thing that happened to Orton this year is that because he was Orton and not Cutler, DEN fans and coaching staff assumed that he was a mediocre QB, so when he had some bad starts, he got Tebowed. (Excuse me for extending the verb somewhat.)

266
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:31pm

"The OL changes are a valid point. But nevertheless, this is as close to a controlled experiment (with this much data) as you are likely to find."

Well, I think that's a pretty big part of the point: you're never going to find anything much like a controlled experiment. I'd also say that, while the offensive line changes are significant, they're probably not as significant as the difference between running Shanahan's offense and McDaniels' one.

235
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:09am

No, that really isn't something close to a controlled experiment, given the nonstatic nature of performance from year to year, for both individual players and team units. Defensive DVOA especially tends to have substantial variance from year to year. That's my point: no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, player and unit interdpendence in football is so large that trying to come up with metrics which actually tell us which individual players have played better, is very problematic, except perhaps in making very, very, broad distinctions.

Apparently, I'm not a person, since I've never said that Orton is bad, and I've never said Cutler was a top 5 qb. I think in 2011 that Cutler gave a glimpse as to the possibility of being such a qb, especially given the context of truly horrible protection, and average, at best receivers. We'll have to see if he can maintain that level, and, if his protection and receivers improve, if he can post some huge numbers.

I've been generally impressed with Romo, especially given his consistently awful protection. I also think this past year gave a glimpse of how truly impressive he might be. I certainly would not wager any significant sum of money as to who will be better over the next 5 years.

247
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:52am

I'm sorry, by everybody, I did not mean every single person, I was speaking of mankind in general.

I agree that meaningful statistical measure of individuals in football is very difficult. But your statement that he has bad protection and bad receivers means that you presumably have evidence for this - you see his OL let rushers through unmolested, you see his receivers drop balls, etc. And you should therefore be able to translate these observations to game charting numbers, and make a formula that takes protection and receivers and whatever else into account, right?

People are reasonably good at judging individual pieces of data (e.g. saying whether a receiver dropped a ball). What people are bad at is aggregating data (e.g., saying how closely sets of measurements are correlated). That is why it's important to base our judgements on numerical measures, imperfect as they are, rather than what we think we see.

I don't know that Cutler and Eli aren't great QBs, or that Romo and Rivers are. But the best evidence I've seen seems to say this, and I'm yet to see somebody put up an objective evidence that suggests otherwise. So I'd be willing to bet quite a bit that Romo has a better future than Cutler (ignoring injuries, of course).

249
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:05pm

If we ever get to the point that DVOA incorporates stop watch data for time until the qb was pressured, adjusted for the depth of the drop back, adjusted for charting data from the all-22 showing receiver seperation, adjusted for field position, adjusted for how quicky the opposing offense is scoring points, then DVOA can be used to make something beyond very broad delineations.

250
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:06pm

I'll totally agree with you that Cutler has not played like an elite QB in Chicago in 2009 and 2010.

That doesn't mean he's not better than Orton, or one could think he's better than X QB.

251
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:09pm

Performance is not static, and I think that fact is the source of many arguments.

268
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:34pm

And Orton's not a bum. He's a roughly league-average starter, or maybe slightly below, with probably very little capacity for further improvement. Cutler's a significantly above average starter, with the potential for noticeable further improvement.

229
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:25am

Prior to 2011, I would have agreed with this, but I think something clicked with Cutler this past year. His pocket presence, escapability, and decision making were all markedly better. Of course this could be random fluctuations, or he could regress, or the Bears could somehow get even worse supporting talent for him.

241
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:17am

I think both guys really showed something this year. It'll be interesting to see how sustainable or even improvable those performances are. I might give Cutler a better chance, because Tice, I think, in his heart, is a Gibbsian, and he will make his first offensive priority making his qb comfortable and secure, and will be allowed to do so by Lovie Smith and Bears management. I think Garrett is a good head coach with an offensive background, but he is saddled with an owner/GM who is, in terms of winning football games, pretty much an imbecile who does not understand that he is an imbecile. Jerrell Jones, Mastermind of the Gridiron, has a pretty good chance of greatly harming Romo's productivity for the balance of his career.

217
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 8:57am

DVOA doesn't measure qb performance.

226
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:03am

QB DVOA doesn't measure QB performance? It certainly claims to be a first-order measure of QB performance (albeit not adjusted for OL and receivers).

231
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:35am

I believe it claims to measure the quality of that qb's throws, runs, and fumbles, playing with a particular offensive line, playing with a particular set of receivers, with a particular set of running backs, with a particular defense, and a particular set of special teams. And anyone who doesn't think a team's defense, running backs (as runners), and special teams can have a significant effect on a qb's DVOA, needs to watch the game more carefully.

It is just inaccurate to claim that DVOA measures qb performance.

234
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:02am

All of these things are significant to some degree. If you have a better way to measure QB performance that adjusts for these things, by all means create a formula that does. (I mean this seriously.) Or better yet, modify the proprietary FO formulas to do so.

But on a website dedicated to the proposition that the human eye and conventional wisdom are terrible measure of objective truth, we should not really be arguing that Cutler is good when almost all evidence is to the contrary.

237
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:09am

"But on a website dedicated to the proposition that the human eye and conventional wisdom are terrible measure of objective truth"

Quote me anywhere on this site that this is stated because I have never read an FO writer claim that their stats can replace scouting, infact I have read this:

"we can't simply compare DVOA/DYAR to tell who is "better." These stats are a valuable tool to aid in comparisons, but do not completely replace observation."

http://footballoutsiders.com/info/FAQ

245
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:29am

If you really want to be informed about individual performance, you have to combine the best metrics you can develop, and hours of film work, grading out every snap a player is involved in, with the knowledge of the context of what you are seeing on film. Hardly anybody who talks a lot about making fine distinctions regarding individual performance is truly informed about what they are talking about.

Individual performance evaluation in football, done well, even at the positions that most lend themselves to statistical measurement, is hard, hard, hard, hard work. So hard that it really is in an entirely different category than such an endeavor in nearly all other sports. Most people who engage in it, and then make confident assertions regarding their opinion, don't know what they are talking about. What I am always struck by, when listening to most people who have actually staked their careers on doing the task well, is how much humility they have when putting forth their opinions. They've been fooled too many times, and remember those occasions well.

195
by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 4:12am

Manning the younger and Cutler are not elite QBs. Romo is.

139
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:48pm

The Cowboys should play Orton if they're leading in the 4th.

143
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:54pm

*holds up picture*

"Kyle, do you know who this is?"

"It's Darrelle Revis."

"If it's the 4th quarter, where are you going to throw?"

"Anywhere that's not near him."

"Get your helmet on, Kyle."

179
by Last Far Striter (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:37pm

As a lifelong Cowboys fan, back to the Staubach days, I HIGHLY APPROVE of this post.

183
by Independent George :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:18am

I laughed for a full minute after reading this. It's funny because it's true.

141
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:50pm

He was 4th last year in DVOA behind only Rodgers, Brady and Brees. And that's "about average"?

145
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:59pm

That statistic encompasses the abilities of Miles Austin, Des Bryant and Jason Witten, all of whom are rather talented. It isn't a straight assessment of Romo.

147
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:21pm

You honestly believe the Cowboys are so far ahead in terms of skill players that DVOA can't accurately measure Romo? Wow... He was ahead of Stafford who gets to throw to Calvin Johnson. He was ahead of Eli, Schaub, Rivers, Ryan, Vick, Roethlisberger.... All those guys have talented players around them. By your logic, it apparently isn't a lock that Brady is a top 5 QB.

149
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:32pm

You are totally correct, one year's stat ends the discussion. How silly of me, there's no need for context whatsoever.

187
by RickD :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:52am

2010 #9 in DVOA
2009 #7 in DVOA
2008 #10 in DVOA
2007 #6 in DVOA
2006 #5 in DVOA

Happier?

Looks like a top 10 QB to me.

(At least for the regular season.)

192
by Lance :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 4:03am

But... wait! All the talking heads at ESPN say Romo is horrible! And I heard some guys on my local AM sports talk station say he was the worst!! And then a bunch of Patriots homers on FO discussion boards were dismissing him, too! So obviously Romo must be a lower-tier QB, no questions asked. After all, he doesn't have a ring, right??!?

207
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:50am

You really think those numbers are inconsistent with Romo being, say, the 12th best quarterback in the NFL but in a friendly situation?

12th is about the lowest I'd rate him, but I think 8th-12th is a reasonable range.

219
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 9:08am

I really think it odd to see a guy, getting terrible pass protection for his entire career, described as a "friendly situation", especially when his biggest knock is decisionmaking. Nothing destroys qb decisionmaking more than a justifiable chronic distrust in pass blocking.

220
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 9:37am

I guess I probably don't think the Cowboys pass blocking has been quite as bad as you do, but friendly situation is also relative. Romo's greatest strength is his elusiveness in the pocket. I would place him with Roethlisberger on a short list of the quarterbacks least affected by the quality of their protection. Even guys like the brothers Manning, who deal with protection issues with uncannily quick reads and releases, are affected by them in that they have to get rid of the ball quickly, even if it doesn't show up in the sack totals. For a team with a crappy offensive line, Romo might be one of the 5 best quarterbacks in football. For a team with a good one, I wouldn't put him in the top 10. That might be a fairer way of putting it.

225
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:02am

Yeah, this is why I think a large percentage of this ranking stuff is mostly pointless, beyond very broad categories. If you put Drew Brees behind the protection that Romo has had with the Cowboys (when your offensive line is playing kill the quarterback in your own stadium, which I've witnessed several times since Romo started playing, you really do stink), or that Cutler has had with the Bears, believe me, it is extremely unlikely that anyone would be talking about Brees as a top 5 quarterback. His physical tools, mostly in terms of height, just aren't sufficient to deal with bad protection.

Now, when you see a Peyton Manning for several years, or an Eli Manning this year, deliver championship caliber performances, despite mediocre at best pass blocking, then you have something pretty special. Cutler may have been on such a path this year (which raises the very complicating issue of the non-static nature of performance), but now we won't know unless he replicates it. When you see a Brady excel under a variety of different receiver conditions, you know it is unusual. Most of what we see is so context-dependent, however, that making assertions of strong confidence, in ranking the performance of two guys who both are pretty darn good, if flawed, doesn't make much sense, it seems to me.

243
by Jimmy :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:21am

I don't really get this idea that Romo has never had a good line to play behind. Flozell Adams had some very good years for Dallas, as did Marc Columbo, Leonard Davis and Dallas fans kept sending guys like Gurode and even Kosier (IIRC, I may have this wrong) to the Pro Bowl. How many Pro Bowl seasons have Romo's lines aggregated? I'd take a bet that there are very few QBs with more Pro Bowl years from linemen in front of him. Either all the rest of Dallas' players are overrated or Romo is because if they were all as good as advertised they would win more (playoff) games. When I say more I of course mean some.

246
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:45am

Flozell Adams' best years as a pass blocker were well behind him by the time Romo was starting, as were Columbo's. Leonard Davis was never a decent pass blocker, Pro Bowl selections or not. Yes, he was above average against a pure bull rusher, but ask him to display some athleticism in dealing with something more sophisticated, or coordinating with other linemen? No, he was mediocre at best, and possibly outright bad. Yes, the Cowboys line was EXTREMELY overrated, for several years, when people would yap about the Cowboys being an extremely talented team. They were a pretty good offensive line for 1974, in that they were above average drive blockers in the running game, but in the passing NFL of today, they were quite bad. Romo's mobility and accuracy while on the run covered up that reality.

They became younger and much more athletic recently, especially in 2011. Not surprisingly, this helped Romo a lot.

261
by Shattenjager :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 4:36pm

Since Romo became the primary starter, Gurode has been to five Pro Bowls while Adams and Davis have been to three each.

Here are the QBs who have been their teams' primary starter over the same timeframe: Peyton Manning (obviously, there's a large asterisk here because of 2011, but Romo also missed most of 2010.), Tom Brady (who also missed a full season), Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, and Alex Smith. I'm starting with those QBs because I can do a simple p-f-r search to find the Pro Bowlers on the OL for the same team.

1. Peyton Manning has played behind five Pro Bowl seasons--four by Jeff Saturday and one by Tarik Glenn.
2. Tom Brady has played behind seven--three each by Matt Light and Logan Mankins and one by Dan Koppen.
3. Drew Brees has played behind seven--two each by Jammal Brown and Jahri Evans and one each by Johnathan Goodwin, Carl Nicks, and Jon Stinchcomb.
4. Eli Manning has played behind seven--three each by Shaun O'Hara and Chris Snee and one by David Diehl.
5. Ben Roethlisberger has played behind three--two by Alan Faneca and one by Maurkice Pouncey.
6. Philip Rivers has played behind eight--four by Kris Dielman, two by Marcus McNeil, and one each by David Binn and Nick Hardwick.
7. Alex Smith has played behind one by Larry Allen.

By my count, these are the QBs starting last season who were starters (not necessarily for the same team) throughout the same period (and I'm trying to be as broad about my definition of "starter" as I can here): Matt Hasselbeck, Carson Palmer (who also missed most of a season in 2008), Jason Campbell (who also missed most of a season in 2011), Donovan McNabb, and Jay Cutler (who probably shouldn't count since he only started the last five games of his rookie year).

1. Matt Hasselbeck has played behind three by Walter Jones.
2. Carson Palmer has played behind one by Willie Anderson.
3. Jason Campbell has played behind four--three by Chris Samuels and one by Ethan Albright.
4. Donovan McNabb has played behind four--two by Shawn Andrews and one each by Jon Dorenbos and Jason Peters.
5. Jay Cutler has played behind one by Casey Wiegmann

If you look at teams over the same timeframe instead of individual QBs, Dallas has had the most OL Pro Bowl seasons with 11, followed by San Diego at eight, then New England, New Orleans, Cleveland, Minnesota and New York (Jets) with seven.

Of course, none of this proves that Pro Bowl seasons from the OL in front of a QB is a good metric for the protection the QB has gotten.

265
by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:28pm

If you think Flozell Adams and Leonard Davis were above average pass blockers on the basis of being selected to the Pro Bowl, I don't know what to tell you, except that you probably need to watch line play more carefully. Bryant Mckinnie was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009, despite having his worst year to date, and being among the worst pass blockers among left tackles in the league.

Ah, I see you made that point in the last sentence. Never mind.

272
by Shattenjager :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:53pm

Yeah, I was just checking on the objective statement the previous poster made.

It was sort of fun to look up, even though all it really means is that the Cowboys are overrated, which we all know.

148
by markus (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:30pm

DVOA has Bryant at like 13th and Austin only caught 40 passes because he was hurt for a good chunk of the year.

150
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:39pm

I've put up a list with the quarterbacks I think are better than him and those I think are about equal. I've said my opinion of Romo, who I've watched plenty of times, you're not going to change my mind on this. He's productive but his streaky nature undermines his value for me.

152
by markus (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:46pm

Just weird that you're on a site known for it's advance statistical analysis that was specifically designed to advance people beyond fanboy opinions. Yet you're a regular here and don't see to understand how they work. And proud of it. Cool for you?

153
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:49pm

How does he not understand how DVOA works? I'll give you a hint, it doesn't adjust for teammates.

159
by markus (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:19pm

No, it doesn't adjust for teammates, but all the stats here are interconnected. To argue that Austin, Bryant and Witten could skew Romo's DVOA to such a degree that it turned a top 15 QB into a top 4 QB, their DYAR numbers would need to reflect their dominance. Yet, they don't. Bryant came in at 13th and Austin was way down the list because he missed a bunch of time. And with that argument proven false, it becomes impossible to argue that DVOA was inaccurate in regards to Romo.

That's what is funny about this site. When posters want to, they use the FO stats. When they don't, the either totally ignore them or come up with bizarre theories as to why they can't be trusted. In this case, we've got both going on.

164
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 8:00pm

I've been posting here for years and this might be the first time I've ever quoted individual DVOA numbers but I'd point out that Laurent Robinson was 3rd, Bryant was 13th and Austin was 28th. Considering that there are 64 starting side receivers in the league I'd suggest that is a rather talented bunch. The third receiver just got a five year $32 million contract.

208
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:54am

The unit numbers are great. The team numbers are good. The QB numbers are useful, but to be treated with considerable caution. The other individual player numbers are close to garbage, at least when considered as a metric for ranking players.

158
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:09pm

I think that DVOA, when taken for entire units is the best measurement available of the strength of a football team. However, I believe that it is impossible and always will be impossible to ever find a statistical measurement of the true quality of a football team, which implies that it will be even more difficult to derive a statistical measurement at an individual level.

Does that mean that I don't value this site's work towards that unattainable goal? Of course not, but that doesn't mean that I am going to ignore the inevitable noise and unquantifiable factors inherent in the system. For example, have you noticed that the best rushing DVOAs are often found on the teams with the most dangerous passing games? Does this mean that great quarterbacks always play with great offensive lines and running backs or is it that the threat of the pass is aiding the run?

I like trying to understand how and why the game works, together with which teams and players are the best. I find that this site is the best place to do this (and make nerdy jokes related to football) but its statistics should be a tool to aid further understanding and should not be taken as absolute judgments.

209
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:55am

This.

214
by Dales :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:58am

Posts like that one confuse me. If one finds value in the analytics here, one has to accept the numbers as the complete, unadulterated truth?

255
by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 1:01pm

Everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt and I've seen DVOA do some weird things, imo. But when it's pointed out that stats are totally contrary to your opinion, I'd expect more around here than a "you're not going to change my mind."

It's like that old joke about polls. When they agree with your opinion they're proof positive you're right. When they don't they're proof positive you can't ever believe polls.

256
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 1:36pm

I'm aware of the stats, I've also seen Romo play plenty of times (the Cowboys tend to be on TV quite a lot) and I don't think the statistics are anywhere near as conclusive as some have suggested. I'd also point out that I have offered quite a lot of explanation as to why I hold the opinion I do.

If I was trying to build an NFL quarterback I'd consider using Romo's elusiveness and his release. However, if I was building an idiot I'd use his brain.

263
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:25pm

You'd deny Tuffers even that? What will the poor man have to live for?

270
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 6:49pm

Ex King of the Jungle? Quality repartee on TMS? More weed?

196
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 4:38am

Thread. Jacked.

239
by Jimmy :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:14am

True but look at all the fun they have had.

230
by dryheat :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:34am

I don't know whether or not he's the best non-Manning FA, but isn't he pretty much exactly what the Jets need right now....you know, just in case that whole Sanchez thing doesn't work out for them?

67
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 1:37pm

Don't really get Carlson to the Vikes for $25 million over five years; do they think so poorly of Kyle Rudolph, who they drafted in the 2nd round last year? Shouldn't they be trying to sign every CB out there instead? Who the heck is playing OL for the Vikes next year?

96
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 2:49pm

Shiancoe is gone, and they just don't feel good unless they are overpaying a tight end.

Seriously, 11 million is guaranteed, which is still a lot, but not exceptionally so. They obviously intend to run a lot of two tight end sets, and given who they have to put out wide, that's probably a reasonable notion.

It does shoot down my theory that they lack confidence that they are going to get 600 million in tax revenues for a stadium, and thus are trying to lose fifteen games, in order to get enough empty seats to make relocation easier.

103
by rageon :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:18pm

Not necessarily -- when there is a salary floor, tying up a ton of money is mediocre players is a great way to lose 15 games.

I suppose they probably should have gone all-in on tanking a season when Andrew Luck was available, though. (Although in all seriousness, Vikings fans should be happy with Kalil at #3).

100
by speedegg :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:03pm

Well, this year draft is weak at TE. Ponder would need an experienced TE in the passing game and a TE could help out AP in the run game. Haven't watched the Vikes much last year, but I remember they did run multi-TE sets. Maybe they're thinking there's better talent at OL and CB talent in the draft instead of TEs.

101
by Dean :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:11pm

Imitating the Pats 2 TE offense?

114
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 3:54pm

All this makes sense, if Rudolph becomes Gronkowski and Carlson becomes Hernandez. Also, magic flying ponies just flew out of my ass carrying thousand-dollar bills. All things are possible today!

While the apparently inevitable Kalil pick will help, it's not like there's much else on the line, and being that Cedric Griffin has been cut (kind of like his ACLs every year, heyoooo) and Chris Cook could well be taking a "legal vacation", the secondary appears even weaker than last year when even Tim Tebow could look like a prototypical NFL QB.

116
by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:06pm

I'm going to commit a heresy (for me) and say that I went back and looked at some games from the 2nd half, after I had kind of stopped paying attention, and John Sullivan has become an above average NFL center. Of course, they still have to replace two guards, and who knows if Loadholdt is going to stop stealing money. It's a start, though, when the likely (and intelligent) Kalil draft is factored.

277
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 7:09pm

I agree with MilkmanDanimal regarding Carlson. Carlson is not a very good blocker, so he's not going to help much in the running game. Kyle Rudolph has shown that he has talent both blocking and receiving. If Rudolph is the #1 TE, then they've paid Carlson too much. They could have found a 2nd string blocking TE for a lot less elsewhere.

281
by tuluse :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 9:55pm

What if they want a 2nd string receiving tight end?

120
by Lance :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:39pm

BTB reports that Dallas signed free agent DB Carr for 5 years and $50 mil

128
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:58pm

Wow, Carr and Finnegan really cashed in.

278
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 7:13pm

As a Cowboy hater, and a Lions fan whose team needs help at CB, I find this disgusting. Plus I'm wondering how the Cowboys managed this when they're being penalized on the salary cap.

122
by Lance :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 4:41pm

Re "Giants sign TE Martellus Bennett to a one-year, $2.5 million deal."

Giants fans must be happy

131
by Quincy :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:24pm

I know I am. The only downside to a contract like that is if he surprises with a huge year, they'll have to pay a lot more to keep him. If he doesn't, it's nice to be able to let him walk with Ballard and Beckum coming back healthy in 2013.

180
by Last Far Striter (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:45pm

Quite a few happy Cowboys fans as well. Bennett learned under the wing of one Terrell Owens about how to look upfield before the pass bounces off his hands.

193
by Lance :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 4:04am

I was being sarcastic. I'm glad he's gone-- it seemed like he dropped too many passes in key situations. I hope the same thing happens when he's in NY.

129
by Sifter :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:08pm

Hmm DeSean Jackson gets extended. What's the bet his first reaction is whining about being worth half of Megatron... I'm an Eagles fan, but NOT a DeSean fan. Wouldn't have cried to see him go.

142
by Rabbit :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:54pm

Then you should be satisfied with the contract. He's making less then if he were tagged 2 years, which is also how long the contract is guaranteed for.

The day started well for Welker, what with Garcon and Meachum, but between this and Colston contracts, I think his case took a hit today.

188
by RickD :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:56am

DeSean should feel lucky if he's paid half a Megatron.

258
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 3:17pm

Half a megatron? How much is that in quatloo's?

279
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 7:16pm

Considering that DJ has managed to accumulate at best half of Megatron's production, he should be pretty satisfied with being paid that much for his part-time work. LeSean McCoy is the one who should be earning Jackson's pay.

136
by snoopy369 :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:38pm

Bears apparently pursuing Micheal Bush... that would be an interesting signing indeed, if it were to happen. Not sure who their competition would be (OAK?)

Also, your default comment subject is too long as a result of the post title being too long...

137
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:42pm

I thought I read Cincy had brought him in for a chat. Would also like to see Tampa take a look at him, assuming he's decent in pass protection; I haven't exactly watched a lot of Raiders games in recent years, to put it mildly. I'd just like the Bucs to pick up a second back of some sort with skills in the passing game.

140
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 5:49pm

I feel like you get Michael Bush if you want a bulldozer to get some hard yards.

If the Bears sign him, you guys can get Marion Barber who is good in pass pro, and not an awful receiver.

168
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:00pm

Isn't being a bulldozer essentially what Benson's role the last couple years has been?

181
by tuluse :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 11:33pm

Allow me to rephrase: an effective bulldozer.

182
by Brendan Scolari :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:01am

Michael Bush is actually a great pass blocker, and a fairly good receiver as well. He's a better blocker than Barber, although he'll certainly cost more.

167
by Zieg (not verified) :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 8:32pm

I don't see the Bucs dropping major cash on a RB or CB at this point so they have their options open on draft day. If either Richardson or Claiborne are available they can get a great player for a need position. It also means they don't tip their hand. They pick up Bush and then anyone looking for Claiborne knows they need to trade above us to get him.

174
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:29pm

I'd go back to the oft-repeated "don't draft RBs high" mantra, and say my perfect world is Tampa signs another back, then trades down to a point where they can pick up Barron to help with their godawful safety situation they've had the last couple years. Extra pick, plus a real need position. Then get another CB, a LB or two, some backup o-linemen.

162
by Junior :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:46pm

I know no one here gives a damn about the Chiefs but this seriously pisses me off. All that cap room and a fair amount of preaching from the useless owner about wanting to win and...nothing. They sign an inferior CB in Routt and let Carr walk. No other signings of note. Nothing. It's been this way for quite a long time in KC but I'm finally done. I'll be accepting applications from other teams to be their die-hard fan starting tomorrow.

(Applications from Denver, Oakland, Dallas and New England will be ignored)

163
by dryheat :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:55pm

Say Hello to Peyton Hillis.

165
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 8:02pm

But not while he's working deep cover.

213
by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:57am

Hillis IS working deep cover there. Judging from Matt Cassel's background he's suspected of attempting to acquire illegal video tapes.

172
by BigCheese :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:11pm

If you want to root for a team that does strive to improve their roster, may I suggest one that in the past four years has aquired a franchise QB, a Top-10 WR and the best pass rusher to hit the open market in a decade? And while only one of them really worked out (and I sincerely hope they resign him this year), at one point last season they had 5 different #1 picks from other teams on their roster. Most of them at a cheap price.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

248
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:57am

Which team are you talking about?

262
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:17pm

Eagles? Vick, Babin, Asomugha, Young . . . and someone else I can't immediately think of?

264
by Eddo :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:26pm

He's talking about the Bears. Alvaro is a Bears fan.

Cutler = franchise QB
Marshall = top ten WR
Peppers = pass rusher free agent

#1 picks:
Cutler
Peppers
Okoye

After that, I'm not sure.

267
by tuluse :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:32pm

Brandon Merriweather

I can't remember the 5th one.

271
by Eddo :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:11pm

Oh, then it's Roy Williams.

For some reason, I interpreted it as "on the team last year and hopefully this year, too".

275
by Jimmy :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 3:40pm

If you count Gholston it is six.

282
by tuluse :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 9:56pm

He was cut in training camp, I think limiting it to the final 53 is acceptable.

269
by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:35pm

Meriweather was another team's top pick. (Patriots.)

Edit: Ninja tuluse.

178
by Jonadan :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:17pm

I suggest you join the (probably still small) Detroit bandwagon until your Chiefs start trying again. Because, hey, more Lions fans is always cool.

---
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

189
by RickD :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:58am

Well, if you're going to pre-emptivly reject rooting for my #1 team (NE), I'll invite you to root for the local team in these parts.

(snicker, snicker)

The locals are super-psyched about the imminent arrival of RGIII and Pierre 'Pete the waiter' Garcon.

210
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:05am

If you want to support a well-coached team with a ton of exciting young talent and humble, likeable superstars that seems set to contend for championships for the next several years, you could do a lot worse than the Texans. Just follow Arian Foster's Twitter feed for a few days if you need help making your mind up.

222
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 9:57am

I am going to make this easy for you. Your team is now Green Bay.

DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!

280
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/17/2012 - 7:21pm

Only if you're into teams whose players are involved in the lamest TV advertisements.

166
by DavidL :: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 8:08pm

I have to admit, when I saw the headline I wondered why Dallas needed him and Orton.

211
by BucNasty :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:06am

Thought the same, even though I had already heard about the Brandon Carr signing.

184
by BigCheese :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:27am

Seattle fans:

Does Gallery have anything left?

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

190
by Kal :: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 1:48am

Not particularly. He wasn't as bad as some of the other linemen (the other guard's name completely escapes me) and he was good at run blocking, but didn't do much on pass blocking and was injury prone. He's...average, I guess. Which is why I'm surprised they cut him, especailly after working so hard to get him last year. Cable was big on him and they really don't have much else there.

Honestly the only guy on the line that I thought was worth anything was Unger, though Okung seemed to show flashes when healthy. Okung/Gallery/Unger were pretty good as a group - it was the Carpenter side that was horrific. And the issue where either Gallery or Okung were out most of the year.