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05 Sep 2005

Four Downs: NFC East

by Al Bogdan

Dallas Cowboys

Peerless Price signed a $1.8 million deal with Dallas to become part of what is becoming a crowded Cowboy receiver corps -- and reunite with Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe was the quarterback who threw a career high 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns to Price with the 2002 Bills. It's not obvious where Price will fit in on the Cowboy depth chart. Keyshaun Johnson is firmly established as the team's #1 option, but after that, everything is muddled with the addition of Price.

Terry Glenn had a successful 2004 campaign, albeit in only six games before his season ended early because of injury. Compare Glenn's 32.6% DVOA and 400 receiving yards in only six contests with the -26.9% DVOA and 575 receiving yards Price totaled in a full 16 games last season. (Last year's WR stats here.)

Patrick Crayton had won himself the Cowboys' #3 receiver job earlier in training camp, beating out Quincy Morgan. Crayton was impressive after getting playing time in the last two games of last year, catching all seven passes thrown his way, converting six of those into first downs or touchdowns. During the preseason, Crayton was the team's leading receiver with 11 catches for 202 yards.

The only receiver slot where the Cowboys appear to be getting an upgrade with the addition of Price is at the #4 spot which Morgan had previously occupied. Morgan has been a huge disappointment afte what looked like a breakout year in 2002 with the Browns. Since then, Morgan has caught fewer than 50% of the passes thrown his way and regularly had a negative DVOA and DPAR. It's likely that if the Cowboys decide to add a recently waived player to their roster before the season opens on Sunday -- most likely a safety -- it will be Morgan that is cut to make room.

Chopping Block

The Cowboys cut 15 players on Saturday and placed an additional two on injured reserve. The biggest name to be let go by the Cowboys is tight end/long snapper Jeff Robinson. Robinson was let go in large part because of salary reasons. Robinson was slated to make over $1 million this season to accurately throw a ball between his legs seven yards. Rookie Jon Cando's play in training camp and the preseason convinced the Cowboys that he'd be able to handle the job at a fraction of the price. Robinson will likely find himself a new employer by the weekend, most likely for the veteran minimum.

E-5

He's still on the team, but Drew Henson's tenure in Dallas is unlikely to last much longer. The former Yankees and Reds farmhand was beaten out by Tony Romo to backup Drew Bledsoe. Bill Parcells has shown no confidence in Henson's ability to be a successful NFL quarterback. He pulled Henson after a poor first half when the Cowboys were out of playoff contention last Thanksgiving. This preseason Parcells declared Henson was “not ready� to be even the backup quarterback on his team. If Parcells comes back for 2006, it would be a shock if Henson was there with him.

New York Giants

Meaningless Games in September

It turns out the fourth preseason game really is meaningless. Or at least it looks that way when you compare the play of some Giants in their victory over the Patriots on Thursday and the list of players that didn't make the Giants 53-man roster on Saturday.

The roster decision that has received the biggest press was the release of former reality television star Jesse Palmer in favor of the man with a thousand disparaging nicknames, Jared Lorenzen. Lorenzen made the team as the Giants' #3 quarterback, while Palmer is now free to join Team Miz for season two of Bravo's Battle of the Network Reality Stars.

The move was likely the right one for the Giants, as Palmer has never shown the ability to be an NFL starter. But Lorenzen was less than impressive against the Patriots in his only action in the preseason, while Palmer completed the one pass he was asked to throw, a picture perfect 46-yard strike to Jamaar Taylor.

Lorenzen showed decent scrambling ability against New England's third string defense, and decent pre-snap blitz recognition, but was inconsistent when asked to throw the ball. Early on he threw some nice deep passes, one of which was dropped on the sidelines by Tim Carter. This was a nice change of pace from the first quarter-and-a-half, where Tim Hasselbeck completed only two passes to wide receivers, neither longer than eight yards. However, Lorenzan made some mistakes that an NFL caliber quarterback just shouldn't make. On two consecutive plays in the third quarter, Lorenzen threw the ball directly at the hands of incoming pass rushers who were able to easily deflect the ball away. And he was called for an illegal forward pass when he decided to throw the ball after he had scrambled at least a yard past the line of scrimmage.

(Ed. Note: Only quarterbacks named Brett are allowed to make this mistake.)

Another curious roster decision was the release of veteran Mike Cloud in favor of second year running back Derrick Ward. Ward put up the better superficial numbers on Thursday (nine carries for 40 yards) compared to Cloud (nine carries for 23 yards) but was the less effective running back overall. Ward's poor pass blocking cost the team at least one sack. When he ran with the ball, Ward was erratic. A few times he showed a nice ability to change directions and find holes, but other times it was like watching Ron Dayne out there running straight ahead into a logjam of bodies instead of through the hole a foot to his right.

Cloud was asked to run down the clock for the Giants in the fourth quarter, getting the ball nine times on their final drive after the team was up by 17 points. Cloud and Palmer combined to run down six and a half minutes of game time to hold onto the Giant lead. Cloud was very effective when asked to fill in for Ron Dayne last year as a short yardage specialist. He'll be a nice addition to a team that needs some depth at running back.

Chopping Block

In addition to Palmer and Cloud, sixteen players were let go by New York on Saturday. The most notable cut was linebacker Kevin Lewis, the team's #2 tackler and starting middle linebacker from a year ago. Lewis lost his starting job when the team signed Antonio Pierce in the off-season, and he lost his roster spot after an impressive preseason from rookie Chase Blackburn. The most surprising cut was wide receiver/punt returner Mark Jones, who had seemingly secured himself a spot on the roster after a nice game against New England. Instead, the Giants signed former Jet/Redskin/Patriot Chad Morton.

Philadelphia Eagles

When We Said Franchise Player, We Didn't Mean This Franchise

Once upon a time, defensive tackle Corey Simon was the Eagles' franchise player. Simon, like many a player tagged with the “honor,� decided to hold out of training camp in hopes of turning the one year contract that comes with the franchise tag into a long term contract with a little more job security. So Corey never got around to actually signing the team's franchise tender offer. Like countless other franchise holdouts that came before him, most recently the Jets' John Abraham, it was widely expected that Simon would wait until the end of training camp to sign his tender offer, get in a week or two of practice, and be ready for Week 1.

That isn't how things ended up turning out. Philadelphia decided that they would rather have the $5.1 million in salary cap space and rescinded their tender offer, making Simon an unrestricted free agent. Simon became expendable in Philadelphia's eyes after Hollis Thomas and rookie Mike Patterson both had impressive training camps. Add in Darwin Walker and Sam Rayburn, and defensive tackle is still a position of strength for Philadelphia even without Simon. Simon quickly signed with Indianapolis, strengthening one of the Colts' glaring weaknesses on defense and increasing the chances that they and not the Eagles will be holding up the Lombardi Trophy in Detroit next February.

Depth at defensive tackle alone, however, doesn't adequately explain why the Eagles would allow Simon to become freely available to everyone else in the league, possibly strengthening one of their division or conference rivals. It's not like the Eagles needed the extra cap room. According to profootballtalk.com, the Eagles enter the season with $12.6 million in salary cap space. Even if Simon's $5.1 million were added to the cap, the Eagles would still enter the season with more cap space than any other team in the league.

The only explanation that makes any kind of sense is that the Eagles didn't want to have yet another disgruntled player looking for a long-term contract on their sidelines every Sunday. Even so, the Eagles should have found a way to work this out and not allow a player of Simon's caliber to go onto the market and strengthen the Eagles' competition for a Super Bowl ring.

Chopping Block

Joining Simon on the outside of the Eagle roster were 19 other players let go on Saturday. The biggest names were defensive end Hugh Douglas and fullback Jon Ritchie. Douglas had off-season surgery on a torn tendon in his right shoulder. It's likely that there are a few teams that could find a roster spot for Douglas in a role of a pass rush specialist, but according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Douglas told an Eagles employee that his career was likely over. Ritchie was also cut after coming off surgery. Ritchie missed most of last season after tearing his ACL early last season. He was beaten out for his roster spot by Josh Parry, who filled in well for Ritchie last season.

Washington Redskins

Little People

The Washington Redskins management has clearly read the Pittsburgh Steelers chapter of Pro Football Prospectus 2005, where Ryan Wilson examined the relationship, or rather lack thereof, between a receiver's height and his ability. After cutting veteran receiver Kevin Dyson on Saturday and Darnerian McCants earlier in the pre-season, Washington enters the year without a wide receiver on the roster over six feet tall. James Thrash and Taylor Jacobs measure in at exactly 72 inches, Santana Moss and David Patten are listed at 5' 10�, and return man Antonio Brown is an inch shorter at 5' 9�. In his post-cuts press conference, Joe Gibbs seemed to think Thrash and Jacobs were taller than their listed heights, but in any event the Redskins have one of the smallest group of receivers in the league.

For a team like the Ravens, whose quarterback likes to sail balls six inches above his receivers' heads, height in a receiver might actually make a difference. Patrick Ramsey, on the other hand, seems to have a bigger problem underthrowing his receivers. With Ramsey behind center, the most important attribute a receiver needs is not height, but hands. And the ability to come back to the ball quickly after the receiver realizes the ball will be landing five yards shorter than it should be. In Santana Moss, Ramsey may have the sure-handed receiver he'll need for the Redskins to have a successful passing game. Moss caught over 60% of the passes thrown to him the past three seasons, mainly from another quarterback who is not known for his arm strength, Chad Pennington.

Chopping Block

Along with Dyson, sixteen other players were let go by Washington on Saturday. Veteran punter Chris Mohr was let go after being brought in earlier in training camp following an injury to Tom Tupa. Mohr was beaten out by Andy Groom, who is making an NFL roster for the first time after being cut in the pre-season by other teams the past two years. Defensive back Siddeeq Shabazz was also let go, reducing by one the number of NFL players with three sets of consecutive double letters in their name.

This is the final edition of Four Downs for 2005. The feature will return in February 2006.

Posted by: Al Bogdan on 05 Sep 2005

34 comments, Last at 08 Sep 2005, 1:16pm by Pat

Comments

1
by Dan L (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 4:03am

There were some good reasons to cut Corey Simon, too. Last year he came into the season out of shape and unready to play, for one. The Eagles can also roll cap space over into next year, although I'm not sure of the specific mechanism that they've found. So if it's a choice between paying Simon now or paying someone else next year at a position they've got less depth in, I think they made the right choice. It's hard to second guess this management group anymore. People were ripping them for not spending enough 2 years ago, and then they went out and used all that saved up money to acquire TO and Jevon Kearse without doing serious damage to their cap. My best guess is that they'll re-sign Brian Westbrook sometime this year (or in the offseason) to a multi-year deal with a pretty fair signing bonus, and then roll the rest of that extra cap room into next year, where they'll have a lot of cap space anyway. The link on my name is a site (that Pat found last week) with their future cap commitments. Of course, they still have to pay draft picks and re-sign players, but it's impressive how well they've been doing. And in the long term Corey Simon's contract is going to hurt the Colts' cap situation. At least the Indianapolis is spending some money on its defense at long last.

Anyway, the Cowboys are starting to look a bit scary, to be honest. If it weren't for the fact that Bledsoe is their QB, I'd be really worried.

2
by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 5:24am

The Eagles don't think Simon is as good a player as he thinks he is - they were hoping to get some draft picks for him but he couldn't get a contract done. The good play of the other DLs in the pre-season made him expendable.

The contract he signed with the Colts is effectively a one year deal for about $200,000 more than he would have earned this year. his play this year will determine of he sees the option money next year.

Do we have any stats for the DL? I'd be interested to see what they say.

Quick quiz: Who was the last player Andy Reid let go that went on to have a productive career elsewhere? Apart from Sean Morey :-)

3
by Theo (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 8:14am

he decided to throw the ball after he had scrambled at least a yard past the line of scrimmage.

He, and the ball, have to be completely over the LOS, not at least a yard.
(maybe he was more than a yard over the LOS, but that's not the rule.)

4
by GJA (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:20am

Re: Rolling over cap space.

The method for rolling over cap space is to have a player sign an incentive to his contract before the end of the season. If the incentive is missed, then the team can move the cap space into the next year.

For instance, they could have Mcnabb sing an incentive for game 16 taht would pay him $12 million if he passes for 10 TDs in the last game. Even in the event that he got close to throwing so many TDs they could bench him, a likely action with such a lead, and pocket the bonus money in next year's cap.

5
by GrimJim (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:59am

Re:4 It has to be a likely to be earned incentive for that plan to work. I think they define likely to be earned as something that the player has accomplished before. The best thing to do would be to just give any player that they want to re-sign a big roster bonus this year.

6
by ZasZ (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 12:23pm

GrimJim,

The loophole arises in the fact that any incentive added to a contract during the season is considered by the league to be likely to be earned.

A year or two ago, the Pats gave such an incentive to a backup guard, worth $3 million if he could have 20 tackles on kickoff coverage. The guy didn't play on kickoff coverage. It was still considered LTBE.

7
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 12:46pm

just to clarify, even if Simon had signed the $5.1 million offer, the Eagles would lead the league in unused cap space?

On something unrelated, does anyone know how much of Alex Smith's signing bonus counts against THIS year's cap?

8
by Martin Collinson (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 12:53pm

Re Ramsey underthrowing his receivers - Pat Ramsey has a lot of things to prove as an NFL starter but arm strength is not on the list.

It has been noticeable that the only receiver he has underthrown has been Moss who is significantly faster than the guy he relaced (Coles). No question in my mind that when healthy Coles is a better receiver than Moss but Moss can flat fly. It seems clear to me that Ramsey is still adjusting to his speed.

Again Ramsey has issues at QB but arm is not one of them.

Martin

9
by Bob (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 12:54pm

#4,5

The LTBE bonuses count towards this years cap.

NLTBE bonuses that have been met would count towards next years cap.

The cap credit teams get is for any LTBE bonus that was not met. Since the bonus already counted against the cap, but was not paid (the player did not perform well enough), there would be a credit of that amount on the following years salary cap.

As far as LTBE or NLTBE ssee link...

http://www.ravensnests.com/salary-cap.htm

10
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 1:34pm

When you look at the Cowboys team that went 10-6 in 2003 w/ Quincy Carter, Troy Hambrick, and a number of defensive scrubs who somehow put forth the fifth best def DVOA that year. And you factor in how close they came to the playoffs last year (even at 6-10 they were in the hunt until week 16), and just how poor Testeverde played at crucial moments in the last half of the season (and early on, too, e.g. the Steeler game which we had all but won). It's hard not to be very optimisitc about the upcoming season.

11
by frank (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 1:44pm

The Eagles have $12MM in cap space after withdrawing the tender on Simon; they will use most of their cap space this year by signing long term contracts to Brian Westbrook, Micheal Lewis, Rod Hood (nickel back) and Keith Adams. They can structure some of these deals with the first year money as a roster bonus, which counts toward this year's cap; instead of a signing bonus, which is prorated over the term of the contract. Also, I believe every team is allowed to move up to $2MM in excess cap dollars into the following year.

12
by Pat on the Back (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 2:08pm

Two things:

1) I wonder if a lot of the recent acrimony over contracts for the Eagles is because they always have a bunch of cap space going into the season. Sure, some veterans will take a home-town discount to stay with a well-run organization (see: Bruschi, Tedy), but the team has to show they are also willing to spend on players. The Eagles sporting all that cap space probably makes the players a little pissed when the team doesn't open up the coffers even though there is a lot more space available. Why would a guy sign for less with Philly when Philly doesn't make the effort to compensate the team as a whole?

2) Also, don't forget, when it comes to LTBE bonuses and future cap credits, it is only a one year bump, even if the team carries them for several years. If a team (like the Vikings) has 15-20mm in cap credits for LTBE bonus every year, that means that they are only spending at the cap level every year (because if they spend that extra 15-20mm, they won't have it next year). So even though a team like Philly has a lot of cap credit moving forward, since they have it every year it really just means that they haven't reaped the benefits of the extra space yet, not that they get extra space every year.

13
by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 2:31pm

I wonder if a lot of the recent acrimony over contracts for the Eagles is because they always have a bunch of cap space going into the season.

I don't think we'd really be aware of it if it wasn't for Owens. What other teams are significantly under the cap? Any idea?

Sure, some veterans will take a home-town discount to stay with a well-run organization (see: Bruschi, Tedy), but the team has to show they are also willing to spend on players.

I don't think that individual players care too greatly about how much money the team decides to spend on other players. They may be concerned with the talent around them.

The Eagles sporting all that cap space probably makes the players a little pissed when the team doesn’t open up the coffers even though there is a lot more space available.

Individual players, sure. But as a whole, I doubt it affects the team much. 45 of those guys would never see that money.

Why would a guy sign for less with Philly when Philly doesn’t make the effort to compensate the team as a whole?

I don't think people sign for less with a team because it compensates the whole. I think people sign for less with a team because they gave them their big shot.

They took a gamble on them. They feel like the money is high enough, and it's the people that matter.

I don't think anyone is all that concerned that someone else on the team that is in the top 1% of all earners isn't making an extra .01 on their salary.

I think it's much more likely that they'd want the team to spend money on other players to increase overall talent pool, to increase Superbowl chances, and to thus increase their own value, which will allow them a fat new contract in which to play out their careers.

Seems reasonable.

14
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 3:35pm

What other teams are significantly under the cap? Any idea?

Vikings. I can name that without even glancing - the Vikings are perennially the stingiest team in the NFL. Might have something to do with the fact that they play in Minnesota.

There were some good reasons to cut Corey Simon, too. Last year he came into the season out of shape and unready to play, for one.

Simon wasn't the best tackle they had. Darwin Walker was, easily. Simon is undersized, which the Eagles prefer, and was quick - but not so quick any longer.

I'd be much happier about the Eagles personnel moves if they hadn't just signed Lamar Gordon, one of the absolute worst running backs over the last 3 years. His best year was two years ago in St. Louis, when he rushed 71 times for an amazing 298 yards, with a -0.2% DVOA. Stellar compared to last year's 35 rushes for 64 yards.

15
by big_adventure (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 5:13pm

Pat,

I hear you. As a 'fins fan, I know what you are in for. You know how people (sure, unenlightened ones...) will say "the stats don't mean anything, you have to watch the games?" In this case, they are right. Watching Lamar Gordon last year really, truly makes me wonder how he ever averaged almost 2 yards a carry. I've never seen a back make consistently worse decisions. Now, some backs are either behemoths or outright rockets that can make a shaky decision into something useful or even exciting. Gordon ain't one of 'em. You'll be thinking he takes "down by contact" to mean that contact with a defender (or, since it WAS the 'fins, a blown-up offensive lineman) means he's down.

-Sean

16
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 5:28pm

Actually, Pat, the worst part isn't the negative DVOA, it's aggregate success rate of 40% over the last 3 seasons (ok, those two things aren't unrelated, but...). The Eagles need a short yardage back, yes, but one who actually gets the desired short yardage. I was happy with the signing until I opened up PFP 2005. Yikes.

17
by Phil P (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 6:43pm

Regarding Iggles cap room: Given the success the team has had over the past 5 years, they can sell the players on a lower salary/bonus that will be made up by the 2 or 3 extra game checks for the playoffs every year. While it's not a lot of $$$, it's not nothing either. Also, it's a lot easier to play for a winner (quality of job and all), than it is a loser. Just ask Trot.

18
by brian (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:28pm

re #10:

Don't forget the cowboys had a 10-6 year feasting on close games against weak opponents. I don't think they beat a single winning team and got killed in the playoffs. They do get a cush schedule this year, so there is hope.

19
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:56pm

On Eagles Cap Room

The Eagles always have a lot of cap room because they are not carrying a lot of dead cap money.

When you look at actual money paid out every year in bonuses and salaries, the Eagles are one of the biggest spending teams. For example, total salary and bonuses for the past few years:

2005 - $60,534,550 ($85.5M cap)
2004 - $104,977,331 ($80.6M cap)
2003 - $77,749,900 ($75.0M cap)
2002 - $86,153,430 ($71.1M cap)
2001 - $85,152,330 ($67.4M cap)
2000 - $60,032,970

This is what you are able to do when $10 million of your cap is not tied up in dead money every year. You can spend above the cap because the money is being projected forward to future years caps. The 2005 number is before the probable shelling out of more money to Westbrook, M. Lewis, Hood, possibly Fraley, Akers and Johnson, maybe Runyan, etc. which will occur during the course of this year.

As Joe Banner was quoted saying, the cap room will be used to extend the contracts of good young players. This is the good way to spend cap money, as opposed to the Redskins method of blowing cap space by doing things like cutting Laverneus Coles to sign Santana Moss and similar stupid tricks.

20
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:29am

because they are not carrying a lot of dead cap money.

To put it in perspective, the Eagles have ~$2.5M in dead money this year. Virtually all of that is from Nate Wayne and Freddie Mitchell. Neither of whom made the teams that they signed with, so I think it's safe to say that the Eagles didn't cut them because they were too expensive, but because they sucked.

The Patriots, for comparison, have $6.8M in dead money this year. Even taking out Ty Law's $2.7M - the highest amount - that's still almost $2M more.

But again, my God, with ~$8M (this is the correct number, not $13M) in cap space, why the hell did they sign Lamar Gordon? What do they see in the guy?

21
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:59am

"What do they see in this guy?"

Andy Reid digs his sweet, sweet can?
Joe Banner hopes he's can get the team the hook-up with popular donut chain Lamar's?
The team wanted some of that hot Dolphins mojo?

I got nuthin.

22
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 11:12am

Actually, Pat, the worst part isn’t the negative DVOA, it’s aggregate success rate of 40% over the last 3 seasons (ok, those two things aren’t unrelated, but…).

Larry:

Where'd you see this? His success rate was 38% in 2002, but I do give him the benefit of the doubt as that was his rookie season. For 2003/2004, his success rate isn't listed due to the low number of carries.

23
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 11:14am

RE: #18 - Actually the Cowboys did beat two of the three best NFC teams that year - the Eagles (early) and the Panthers (late).
Their #1 CB was a rookie and Mario Edwards started the other side, between that and the Carter/Hambrick combo, they shouldn't even have been able to beat the lesser teams.

24
by MRH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 2:34pm

Cloud and Gordon.

Why didn't the Eagles sign Cloud? If you look at his DVOA/DPAR, they are better than Gordon's back three years. Neither played in a WCO variant.

Yet the Eagles saw Cloud last year. And I saw him in 2002 for the Chiefs when they needed him to come up big when Holmes got hurt (they had an outside chance to make the playoffs) and he did nothing. I figured if you can't run behind that line, you can't run anywhere. Maybe he was a better match for the Pats/Giants blocking schemes (or maybe he improved). Evidently, the Eagles didn't think so.

25
by Larry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 3:40pm

Pat, the book has Gordon's success rates for 2002-2004. I calculated an aggregate rate over the 3 seasons myself based on that info.

This begs a question: What is the propriety of posting info from the book in comments here? I wouldn't want to do that too much, since I'm sure the FO staff wants people to buy the book, not get the info for free and all. At the same time, where else to discuss issues and stats raised in the book?

From the Philly papers' website, it seems the Eagles may be looking for Gordon to block more than run, the stats won't tell us which one is better at that. Even the charting project won't answer that question. Also, he seems to be a decent receiver as well.

26
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 4:31pm

That's just stupid, though. If they wanted a blocker, and didn't care about running at all, they should've just kept two fullbacks and kept Ritchie as well.

27
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 5:30pm

Pat #26:

No, what is stupid is that the Eagles didn't sign Najeh Davenport when the Packers tendered him at a 4th round pick. Big guy, proven capability, 10.8 DPAR, know's the West Coast Offense, etc.

Why? Why waste time on Buckhalter back then? Why not solve this problem back then?

28
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 6:01pm

That's because McNabb didn't want poop in his closet.

29
by Larry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 6:21pm

It isn't stupid if Ritchie is too injured to play at a high level. And pass blocking is different from run blocking, no? I'm mostly grabbing at straws, I don't really understand the move, myself, but I've gotten tired over the years of second guessing Big Red and being wrong, so I'm tryng something a tad different.

30
by Matt (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 6:10am

Re: 27

True, Davenport would look awfully good in midnight green, but remember that to sign an RFA you have to almost by definition overpay, as you need to sign them to a contract their old team doesn't think they're worth, then give up a draft pick on top of that. A team that wanted to make Najeh their featured runner might still get decent value going that route, but for a team like the Eagles that a) already has a #1 back and b) has proven very capable at drafting talented middle round running backs, it's not good value at all. And if the Eagles have proven one thing, it's that if it's not good value, they're not biting.

Interestingly, the Eagles last year drafted Thomas Tapeh, a 240+ hb/fb with surprising speed who I think they had envisioned as a 'Davenport Jr.' type. (He was listed as a FB but they used him mostly as a single back RB when he saw the field.) Unfortunately, he begins the year on the PUP list with a hip injury similar to the one that ended Bo Jackson's career.

31
by Pete (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 5:57pm

How about them Cowboys = all signs point up. Good draft picks, free agent signings, experienced & capable QB (not the best, but better than half the league's starters), and top notch coaching. Plus, their cap $$ is now manageable for the next three years -- they'll have the space available to sign or trade for anyone they want in '06 (see Drew Brees, etc.)

And on those Eagles = all that cap space and money-management has brought them NO superbowl wins.

32
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 7:01pm

Pete:

Darnit, we'll just have to be happy with all those NFC East trophies and the NFC conference trophy from last year. Oh yeah, and that "winningest record in football since 2000" thing.

But enjoy all of those memories of the Cowboys winning it all - from the last millenium. :)

33
by skippyx (not verified) :: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 12:54am

I would like to see all 32 teams live roster cap numbers. You would probably find the Eagles to be right there with everyone else. They don't pay huge money to players and then cut or trade them (see Coles or Trotter in DC)

They are smart with their dead money while many teams use up 5-10% of their cap most years.

Is anyone saying that Philly should be more like the 2003-2005 bucs?

Philly uses some of that cap room to extend young players (Brown and Sheppard, etc) I would not be surprised to see Michael Lewis and Westbrook get paid during the season.

34
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 1:16pm

What do you mean by "live" roster cap numbers? The amount that the Eagles pay to the players on the team?

Of the teams that have decent salary cap pages:

Philadelphia: $74M (+2.5M dead)
Buffalo: $77M (+5.4M dead)
New England: $74M (+7M dead)
Tennessee: $52M (+33M dead - I am not joking)
Green Bay: $80M (+5M dead)
Houston: $72M (+8M dead)
Miami: $74M (+7M dead)
Atlanta: $73M (+12M dead)
Washington: $67M (+16M dead)

Yah, Eagles have the lowest dead cap space by far - and it's virtually all due to two players, Nate Wayne and Freddie Mitchell.