Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Oct 2006

Colts Get Booger McFarland for No. 2

Now here's an example of a trade that helps both teams. The Colts have Super Bowl aspirations but a porous run defense. The Bucs have rebuilding mode written all over them. So the Colts send a draft pick to the Bucs in exchange for defensive tackle Anthony McFarland. I think McFarland will step in and make an immediate impact, and the Colts run essentially the same defense that the Bucs run, so there won't be a steep learning curve. I like this trade for both teams a lot.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 17 Oct 2006

33 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2006, 3:31pm by Bobman


by David (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 6:45pm

I commend you on the completely straight-faced post. That can't have been easy.

by Sergio (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 6:47pm


Does this mean off to the races to get the Indy D?

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 6:51pm

probably the best sports headline since "Warriors cut Dickey; gap filled by Cox"

by Bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 7:04pm

Now the run D can go from 32nd to, uh, well, maybe 26th? Actually, he'll help all around by just being another veteran, capable body for the rotation of youngsters. Which will help the pass rush, too (fresher legs).

This does appear to be a win-win deal. I didn't know Indy had cap room....? Bob Sanders's injury is still uncertain, but getting them both might reduce the rush yards per game from 168 to 125 or so. Still appalling in general for a team with such lofty expectations, but good enough for Indy.

by Ray (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 7:11pm

This is an especially good trade because I have Brian Westbrook in two of my fantasy leagues, and the Eagles play TB next Sunday.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 7:21pm

I wonder if the new rules regarding the pro-ration of remaining contract dollars on cap room made this trade possible. If this is an example of significant trades being easier to pull off with the new rules, this bodes well for NFL fans.

MDS, I hate to break the news, but I just saw that Shaun Rogers received a four game suspension.

by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 7:35pm

....they do know they got Anthony McFarland, right?

The same McFarland who has 6 tackles on the year, fourth lowest of the entire Bucs defense? The same Booger who had 18 tackles last season while the other three starters on the line were in the 30s? The same McFarland who had zero pressures, zero tackles, zero sacks against the Saints impressive interior offensive line?

Hell, his back up split time with him in the Bengals game, and finished with two sacks, five tackles, one assist. Booger: two tackles.

This move is a win-win, for Tampa. They get a 2nd round pick, and they move a huge underachieving cap eater who was going to be cut at the end of the year anyway. And the Bucs are now probably close to 25M under the cap next season.

Bruce Allen is a god.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 7:45pm

That just made my day, Bravo!

by blahblahfalcons (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 7:45pm

counting tackles is a pretty bad way to evaluate a DT's worth.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 7:48pm

hey, anything is an upgrade for us. And if anyone can get McFarland reved up, it would be Dungy in a Superbowl caliber team.

I'm excited. and I don't want sacks, or even tackles. Holding up guys is fine enough with me, anything is better.


by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 8:04pm

Was there any talk about acquiring Wormser, Lewis, or Ogre?

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 8:13pm

Regarding cap room, does anyone know if putting Simon on the non-football injury list gave them the cap space needed to make this trade? I remember a lot of people lambasting the Colts for doing this, thinking they just didn't want to pay him (even though it looked like they were well within their rights to do so).

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 8:33pm

my favorite sports headline in line with #3 is:

Nutt replaces Johnson with Dick

by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 8:38pm

Sure, counting tackles can be overrated. But watch the games. The under tackle in this defense is supposed to make plays and Booger's been invisible since Sapp left. Booger's last good game was opening day last year against Minnesota, and the last time he dominated a game was against Dallas a few years back when he was facing a banged up Larry Allen (Parcells benched Allen midway through). I think people who don't watch the Bucs regularly assume he must be good because he's been a regular starter on a high level defense. But he's been hiding for years. I don't blame the Colts for trying to do something to stop the run and he certaintly knows Dungy's D. But a 2 is way too high a price. I love it.

by Eric (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 8:42pm

Did McFarland already have his nickname when he was drafted? If so, was the next day's headline "Bucs Pick Booger?"

by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 9:11pm

"Was there any talk about acquiring Wormser, Lewis, or Ogre?"

I don't know, but the Chargers reportedly tried to get Lamar for QB depth, because his throwing style is similar to Rivers'.

by manning,E. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 9:26pm

I didnt know the creator of Spawn started playing football. I better go study some video tape.

by Scott (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 10:27pm

Sapp was the undertackle in Tampa's scheme. McFarland was the guy that occupied blockers. I imagine what the Colts want out of McFarland is to not allow the opponents interior line to block 3 on 2 like they have all season and have the center or one of the guards quickly out on a linebacker. McFarland isn't the playmaker, He allows the playmakers to make plays. He will not be miracle worker for the Colts, However it is a nice addiiton that should allow the Colts to get back to their normal D-line rotation with Reagor moving back to the undertackle spot.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 10:34pm

McFarland is a blocker-occupier? At 300lbs? I always thought he was pass rushing DT, something along the lines of Corey Simon v2.0.

by Scott (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 10:48pm

In the Tampa/Dungy scheme 300lbs is the run stuffer :).
If it works for the Colts McFarland will simply occupy an extra blocker the majority of the time so the weakside backer and F.S. are allowed to be the playmakers vs the run. Currently the Colts have no DT that demands a double team so the extra blocker gets a free shot at the linebacker.

by Latrell, Lamar (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 12:06am

Clap your hands everybody, and everybody clap your hands. We're Lambda Lambda Lambda and, Omega Muuuuu. We come here on stage tonight to do a show for you.

by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 12:09am

Re: 18 and 20. When Sapp and Booger played together with Sapp as the UT, it was Sapp that drew the vast majority of the doubles. It's not a surprise that Boogers best years in terms of tackles and sacks were along side #99.

But Booger wasn't paid his monster contract to occupy blockers/stuff the run. The Bucs have flourished with low-priced guys like Brad Culpepper, Chuck Darby, and Hovan doing that. He was paid to eventually take over for Sapp, and he's been an utter failure at it. He almost never draws a double anymore, and rarely gets any penetration into the backfield. Hovan, despite often drawing two guys, regularly causes more havoc in his gap.

His poor play really is a head scratcher - he's got a great first step and athleticism. He just seems to lack passion and instincts for the game. In the offseason, Gruden made pointed remarks about Booger being too focused on his golf game. For 3 straight seasons the coaches reportedly have been flummoxed by the fact that he couldn't convincingly beat out a former 6th rounder, Ellis Wyms.

I'm not saying that the Colts can't revive his career enough to help them. Maybe Dungy can do what Rod Marinelli - the guy that Sapp, Rice, and Hovan call the best DL coach in the business - couldn't. But a 2 was a big price based on his recent work. Let's just say that most Buc fans would have been delighted to get a ham sandwich for the guy.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 2:31am

After reading all the Bucs watchers, perhaps I am less enthusiastic. Still, he'll help a bit, and it might just be enough. At least the second round pick will be in the area of #60-#64 (fingers crossed).

by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 2:39am

Okay, I have been googling and came up dry. Why "Booger?" The man's own website trumpets the name, for Pete's sake....

Then again... maybe I don't want to know.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 2:53am

25 million under the cap, Gruden might not be around to enjoy it.

There's already a huge feeling in Tampa that the only thing he did with the Bucs is win with Dungy's team, before cutting fan favorites like Lynch and Sapp. Booger is a fan favorite too.

The Bucs are going to have a bad year. I'm not sure if he'll be cut or not - I personally think he won't, but it is a realistic possibility.

by Tim Kirk (York, UK) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 9:23am

#3 - best sportsheadline ever came from Scottish Football (Soccer), with apologies to Mary Poppins...

"Super Cally Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious"

by StereoChemistry (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 9:31am

Re 22:

Not only is the 2nd rounder a bit high in price, so's the rest of Booger's contract: 5.5, 6.5, 8.5M...all base salary.

It'd be one thing if he was just a body to occupy blockers (even if he's not good at that) and paid accordingly (isn't the NFL pool filled with guys who are one dimensional backups), but to pay a guy that much money when you need to resign Freeney, I just don't see it. I'm guessing they'll try and restructure his contract, but that could make the situation worse.

If I thought Simon was coming back, then maybe this could just be a one year rental type of thing, but with the way they are treating Simon, it would appear they are cutting ties with him.

by Scott (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 9:57am

Re:27 According to the Indy Star McFarland will be paid 2.9 this year by the Colts, His salary the next 2 years, 5.5 and 6.85. I believe they can cut ties after this year if they choose to do so with no future contract obligations.
Is it a risk, Sure, Did they overpay with a 2nd rounder, Possibly, Really the Colts didn't have alot of options, It was very obvious they had to try and upgrade the D-line, Only time will tell if the move works. Frankly an average McFarland is still probably going to be the Colts best DT.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 10:36am

My sentiments exactly. An average McFarland is a huge upgrade over undersized DE's playing DT.

by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 11:06am

As a Colts fan, I am happy that they made a move, though I doubt this will be a long-term move. I can't see them paying .5. and 6.85. However, 2.9 for one year--I can live with that. Those who decry the move, give me a better optin for the Colts. Yes, there are better long-term options, and I'd like to have that 2nd rounder back, but this run of good Colts teams will not last forever, and the run D is so bad that even an average DT will be of help, that I think they had to do it. It's not exactly mortgaging the future, unless he turns out to be great and deserves the money next year.

As much as I would like the Colts to not have had to make this move, I think they had to.

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 11:59am

So what exactly happened to Cory Simon? It seems like he just went off the deep end after the Eagles Super Bowl season.

by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 12:16pm

RE: #24 "Booger" was a childhood nickname given to him by his mother.

RE #25 - Booger was a fan favorite - several years ago. People are just tired waiting him to live up to the promise he showed in 2000. This isn't anything like Lynch, or to a lesser extent Sapp. To the extent he's popular, it's because of his community work, not his play. Check out the Pewter Report boards - it's been like football geek Mardi Gras once the deal was announced.

Reportedly the approach by the Colts was a surprise, but it took Bruce Allen all of 15 minutes to say yes. What does that tell you about how wanted he was in TB?

by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 3:31pm

As Joe Piscopo once said, "My mother called me Booger. once....."

Simon did well last year for a guy who showed up out of shape and weighing as much as an SUV. The frequent rotation saved him from totally sucking wind. He slimmed down a bit which was hopeful, but then had a knee injury this summer, and even more important is what appears to be "polyarthritis." Based on the articles I've read, Indy won't disclose his non-football illness, but also won't refute the PA diagnosis. Apparently it's arthritis in more than 5 joints (uh, unless they're all knuckles, that sounds like a career killer).

I don't see Simon sticking around due to his illness, and same for Booger with his contract, unless it's restructured. Let's see how he does. What's the long term solution? They'll have a low first round pick next April with no Ngata's available at that slot. And no second rounder, where they seem to do pretty well.