Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Jan 2006

MMQB: Why Edwards Deal is Bad for NFL

Peter King criticizes the "lack of honor" from Herm Edwards in saying he would stay in New York, only to leave for Kansas City. He also gives us his thoughts on wild card weekend.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 09 Jan 2006

56 comments, Last at 10 Jan 2006, 5:15pm by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey


by FastEddy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 8:09am

Another reason to hate Peter King, his lack of logic. On the one hand he decries that Edwards is being traded for a 4th round draft pick. This, he says, is ludicrous for a guy who took the Jets to the playoffs 3 of 5 years!

But on the other hand, he goes along with the Jets owner in asking why the Jets should renegotiate his contract when he went 4-12 this year. So when it suits him he says Edwards is a great coach, and when it suits him he says he's a crummy coach. Man, I hate this self-serving drivel.

Hey, owners fire coaches all the time in the middle of their contracts. But coaches can't look for a better deal elsewhere? Such a terrible, terrible thing, they're so greedy. But no mention of how greedy the owners are.

Hey Peter, supply and demand, baby. There's few truly good coaches in the league. If the price for them goes up, that's the way of the world.

by Dan Cavender (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 8:10am

Mr. MMQB should ask the fans/ execs of the other eight teams who said goodbye to coaches this season if they would take a fourth round pick in return for their openings. Any draft pick is better than nothing at all, regardless of a coach's resume (well, unless it's Ryan Leaf or Mo Clarrett or ...).

by andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 8:36am

Wasn't Don Shula traded for draft picks in 1969?

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 8:56am

Yes, Don Shula left the Colts for the Dolphins in 1970. Pete Rozelle awarded the Dolphins' 1971 first-round pick to the Colts as compensation. That pick ended up being North Carolina running back Don McCauley. Pretty good deal for the Dolphins, although the Colts did win the Super Bowl in their first year post-Shula.

by Paytonrules (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:06am

Somebody should really let Peter know the Bears were 11-5 this year. This is the second week in a row he's given them an extra win.

by Tim (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:24am

How can a teenage girl steal the show in a movie? I don't know, but you watch oldie but goodie Beautiful Girls and you think: Natalie Portman is a phenomenal talent.

And then you watch Star Wars I-III and you think: Natalie Portman couldn't outact an inanimate carbon rod.

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:27am

But could she gain more receiving yars than the inanimate carbon rod?

by Harry (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:28am

Star Wars I-III also made Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor look like stiffs - maybe the director and writer are to blame.

And that inanimate carbon rod won employee of the week so don't be putting it down.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:33am

I'm not even sure of the real source of King's 'outrage'. Is he ticked off because Edwards was able to change jobs or because the Jets got so little for him? If it's the former, he's a bit late in waking up to this reality. If it's the latter, I think the Jets have only themselves to blame. Once these negotiations extended beyond a day (becoming public), the Chiefs had the Jets over a barrel. At that point, there was no real chance the Jets would walk away from the deal. IMO, the Jets needed to establish a price and tell the Chiefs to either meet it in the next four hours or there wouldn't be a deal.

King also wonders why the Jets didn't charge the Chiefs with tampering. Of course, two paragraphs later he undermines his point by whining about the league not finding tampering in the Milloy case.

King mistakenly believes that coaches are going to begin manipulating their situations to free themselves from the inconvenience of their contracts. I can't see this happening very often. After all, what owner is going to trust a coach to honor their contract if he didn't honor his previous one.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:35am

To Peter King, I say:


by Nate (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:00pm

Re: Natalie Portman - I think her "stiff" performance has more to do with the third-grade level writing in those movies.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:02pm

Turner, Capers, Haslett, Sherman, and Martz all had one year left on their contracts; Mooch had two. If it's permissible for a team to fire a coach with years remaining on his contract, why is it not permissible for a coach to get out of a contract?

How would Mr. King like it if his employment contract with Time Warner was such that they could fire him at any time, but if he got a better offer from ABC, he couldn't leave?

by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:02pm

The point I think most people are missing in this situation that it always seemed to me that the Chiefs were the ones initiating contact. So to blame Edwards for basically saying "Wow, this team put forth a lot of effort to get me and they have a better team, I guess I'd be willing to sign with them if I could get out of my contract." It's not like he could be the coach at KC if the Jets didn't let him. Anyway, I thought it was highly likely the Jets were going to let him go or at least tell him that his job is on the line next year. Wasn't there some quote from Bradway or Woody Johnson saying that 'they can have him' when someone asked if he was leaving?

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:03pm

Can anyone make sense of his "coach of the week" section? Belichick's giving up three points for 20-30 yards of field position was a good idea because the Pats scored a touchdown two posessions later? And if "for all Belichick knew, this was going to be a 13-10 field-position game," then wouldn't three extra points be a very good idea?

by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:05pm

I'm reading these comments and can't help but wonder if everyone feels the same way about hold-outs and the like that players attempt to use as leverage. It seems that the league is now treating coaches like players - I wonder if there will be a coaching draft in the future?

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:06pm

This is beyond anal on my part, but in last week's Fine Fifteen, San Diego was 13th and Dallas 14th. This week they're switched. What was the big move when neither team was playing? (Actually, I guess it was the Cowboys magically going from 9-7 to 10-6.)

by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:22pm

1. I think the Chiefs orchestrated his departure, not Edwards. Anyhow, the statements made in Nov and Dec may have been true at the time - espeically if the Jets management had indicated the Edwards still had their full confidence. That seems to have changed by last week, so why shouldn't Edwards position have changed? I believe it was Keynes who said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?"

2. Why shouldn't Edwards ask for more money or an extension? He did not walk away from the contract either. The Jets front office traded him.

3. Well, what did King say when Parcells negotiated his way out of NE - and started doing it while preparing for a Super Bowl. That cat is out of the bag. If the Jets could only get a 4th rd pick it's because they put themselves in a poor negotiating position by letting it be known they were unhappy with Herm and might fire him anyway (oh, and what about the sanctity of the contract then?). In theory, the Jets should have been able to hold up Peterson and the Chiefs for more because Peterson so obviously wanted Edwards. Instead, they let themselves be stampeded by Peterson's interviewing other coaches. They could only get a 4th rounder because they were bad negotiators.

4. What evidence is there for tampering? Try citing some before crying that it took place. The Chiefs approached the Jets to get permission to negotiate with Edwards. That's legit and they paid a 4th rd pick for that privilege. They did not have a contract in place before receiving that permission, evidence against any illicit negotiations having taken place. BTW, Peterson was in no position to whine about the draft choices he had to pay the Rams because he had extracted draft choices from the Redskins when they hired Schottenheimer in similar circumstancess. Because of that debacle, he appears to have followed the letter of the law in this case. The Jets wanted to be rid of Edwards and got a 4th rd pick for it. How is that an outrage? When I find Peter King's intelligence, I will try to insult it.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:24pm

David (#14 )--

A 46-yard attempt is no gimme at Gillette in January, even for Vinatieri, even if weather.com says winds are light. It can get gusty at night. Belichick was giving up no better than a 50% chance at three points, for a near-certainty (given how poorly the Jaguars were moving the ball) of excellent field position on the next drive.

I'm not saying it was a "Coach of the Week" kind of decision, but it was certainly reasonable.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:51pm

Re: #18

BB and AV said after the game that in pre-game warmups, AV determined that 46 yards was his max range that night. The punt would have been a 46 yard attempt. So foregoing the possible figgie to pin the Jags back was not unreasonable. Though Paxton (the long-snapper) has to be given a bunch of credit for hustling down there and preventing the touchback.

by EJP (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:55pm

What happened to Carl?

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:10pm

He's in Iraq, I believe (seriously).

by Parker (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:19pm

Off topic, sort of.

Directors and scripts make a huge difference in the quality of the actors performance. A good actor is a good actor, but an actor needs a director and a script to give a great performance. Most Oscar winners thank their directors when they win and give a nod to the script writer as well. Portman et al never had a chance in the SW 1-3. See also: Eric Bana in the 'Hulk' vs Eric Bana in 'Chopper'. Terrible in one and brilliant in the other.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:22pm

Re 18: Given how well the Pats D was playing, it would encourage a FG attempt IMO. If you have confidence you can stop the other team, giving them the ball at the 35 (if you miss the FG) isn't much of a risk. If the punt goes into the endzone, you're only gaining 15 yards.

Of course we'd need to have an idea of the percentages of the FG attempt and the punt going into the end zone to have an idea of what the correct choice is.

by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:25pm

So the Chiefs screwed the Jets. Isn't it the Jets responsibility to keep that sort of thing from happening?

The NFL already has tampering rules. If the Jets slept on their rights, then a Jets fan could reasonably be upset.

But I can't see what MMQB is so mad about. The sky is decidedly -not- falling.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:31pm

Apparently Peter King doesn't understand the rule about holding onto the ball when going to the ground either.

"Shepherd took one step, then another as the ball seemed to be coming out, and it slithered out entirely as he fell to the ground. It was a very, very close call -- the kind that referee Mike Carey could not have overturned had it been called either way on the field."

No Peter, if the ball comes out in the process of going to the ground while making a catch, it isn't a catch. There was never any question about it at all, because Sheppard not only didn't catch the ball, he never even had control of the ball. How many times does Mike Pereia have to explain this on Total Access for it to sink in?

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:33pm

"c. Reggie Bush Stat of the Day That Bob McNair and Charley Casserly Do Not Want to Hear: In 39 college games, Bush carried the ball more than 20 times only twice."

Reggie Bush=Brian Westbrook

by Isaac Newton (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:36pm

RE: acting in the Star Wars movies...

My take on it, giving Lucas the benefit of the doubt and all, is that he *wanted* them to sound that way. Remember how people used to talk in those old b&w movies? By today's standards, they sound kinda weird, too. Maybe in the Star Wars world, it is fashionable to talk like a cardboard box. Remember in Episode I where Natalie Portman is the queen - she talks totally different compared against times when she's prancing around pretending to be the queen's maiden/guard/whatever. So, it is on purpose.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:55pm

Concerning Edwards contract, some folks may need to be reminded that even if he had been fired, the Jets still would have had to pay him his salary for the remaining years of the contract (unless he got another job). So the Jets wouldn't have violated 'the sanctity of the contract' by firing him. I think pretty much all head coaching contracts are guaranteed. Assistants on the other hand....

by Bobby Mozitis (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:57pm

This Herm Edwards story makes me ask a question i've been wondering about for years:

"Why don't coaching staffs count against the salary cap?"

Considering that some coaches have much more influence on a team than individual players, it creates a competitive unbalance that teams can spend unlimited amounts on coaching staffs. Thoughts anyone??

by Liam (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:02pm

# 12 ...

Don't "fired" coaches generally have their contracts paid in full? If they do get that then the team is essentially fulfilling it's obligations.

Not that I have any problems with this trade. It's not the Chiefs/Herm's fault that the Jets didn't negotioate a fair value (Peter King's definition of fair value, that is, for what it's worth).

Re: "Coach of the week". If Belichick came out in a punt formation (and punted), many would have slated him for it. Instead, he punts with his kicker and it turns into one of the best calls of the week?!?

The defense that was called on the INT return was sweet, though. Don't know if it was Belichick or Mangini (probably a bit of both) but it Leftwitch fell for it hook, line and sinker.

by Liam (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:09pm

#29 It's a good point.

Personally I'd say that it'd be fairer to have coaches within the salary cap too, but then where do you draw the line?

Assistants? Personel guys? GM's? What about teams that spend fortunes on state-of-the art training facilities? etc., etc.

by pcs (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:12pm

We'd all be naïve to think something like that would never cross Belichick's mind if he thought he could have a better deal somewhere else.

Didn't this already happen? I may be wrong, but I think ("coach of the week") Belichick had a signed contract with the Jets before he had second thoughts and went to the Pats. The Pats had to cough up compensation, IIRC. (Or maybe PK was winking at us knowingly by bringing that up, and I just missed it, in which case I really am losing my mind.)

On a totally unrelated note, I watched "Inside the NFL" last week for I think the first time. They did this thing where Costas, Carter, Collinsworth and Marino sat around a table like grownups and PK stood timidly off to the side like a kid who'd come downstairs to ask for a glass of water. They'd lob questions at him, and he'd answer them, but it's like they wouldn't let him move any closer to the table. Just weird.

by Bobby Mozitis (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:13pm


I agree, drawing the line would be tricky. It jsut seems like there could be something done to prevent the scenario King speaks about, which is "Rich Owner A spends 10 million dollars a man to make up an all-star coaching staff."

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:32pm

d. The better team won.

Anyone doubt if the final score was 41-38 USC King would still have this line.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:39pm


I'm not quite sure how official it was, but there was an understanding that Belichick would become the head coach after Parcells "retired" from the Jets. BB thought (correctly, as it turned out) that Parcells would still stay in control of the team in a front office position, and decided he needed complete control, which is what Robert Kraft offerred him. So, yeah, he did leave one organization for a better deal (and the Jets did get a first-round pick out of it).

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:53pm

I've seen recomendations about capping coach's salaries, even suggestions to cap all football related expenses (scouting, etc.), but I don't think it would work. As long as there aren't any caps at USC or ND the NFL would risk losing the best coaching talent to the college game.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:55pm

Re: #32, #35, et al--

Belichick was also widely criticised for leaving the Jets as he did. (Wasn't that the original “duplicitous pond scum� quote?)

So at least "the press" is consistent in this case.

by Grim Jim (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:02pm

Is it just me, or is a 4th round pick a little too much compensation for Herm?

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:19pm

I thought Jason Whitlock made a really interesting point about Herm Edwards:

When Herm Edwards can follow up the Pittsburgh playoff meltdown with a 4-12 season and still have a half-dozen NFL franchises interested in his services, it’s safe to say the minority coaching issue is dead in the NFL.

by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:28pm

While I think the Jets did a piss poor job negotiating, the Chiefs acted shamefully in my opinion. They used the press leaks to destabilize the situation (probably stopping just short of technical tampering) and then took advantage. Obviously, Herm new KC was going to pay him more and for more years than the Jets. So unless they wanted a surly HC running the show next year the Jets either had to give him an extension, agree to KC's compensation terms or fire Herm and get no compensation. I don't think they have the power to replace Herm as HC but continue paying him and keep his rights. If they could do that, that's what I would have done. Take the "we don't negotiate with terrorists" approach.

KC basically made it untenable for the Jets to stand on their current contract with Herm. Bottom line is that if the Jets don't F-up in hiring the new HC (a big IF), they're better off without Herm. But KC manipulated the system in a way that shouldn't be permitted for organizations that are, in many ways, business partners.

by Athelas (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:28pm

#14- Vinatieri said he had a less than 50% chance of making it at that distance at that end of the stadium.

#30- The call on the Samuel INT was Mangini's. BB disagreed, but Mangini won out and there is good video of him getting a big hug from a giddily happy BB.

by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:29pm

new = "knew" in the 3rd sentence. I'm an idiot.

by Samuel (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:53pm

Re: #14, #18, anyone that responded to the coach of the week thing.

Here's a little something about Peter King: He is in LOVE with Belichick. It's more than a crush. I'm not taking the time to go back and count, but I would guess Belichick was coach of the week at least 5 times this year. Now, he did the little things on Saturday night. Great. Was that better coaching than John Fox having his team so prepared, it got the other team to turn on its own coaches for being unprepared?

I also enjoyed on Inside the NFL when Cris Carter just blurted out how New Orleans could sign Sherman, and that Favre might think about following him there and playing near his home. King's head almost exploded. I swear his white streak got whiter.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 4:34pm

I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that the Jets were going to fire Herm Edwards, deal with the Chiefs notwithstanding.

If that's the case, then they got a 4th round pick because that's the best they could get for a coach who's about to be fired, and the Chiefs (seemingly) overpaid because they weren't about to get into a bidding war with another team.

by bobstar (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 5:37pm

RE: 41:

What, the Pats are putting out videos of BB's best hugs now?

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 6:03pm

Anybody who'se seen Closer knows Natalie Portman can not only act, but ... yeah. She can act.

by Clod (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 6:25pm

"I might have seen dumber throws than Eli Manning's against-the-grain, across-the-field wobbler in the third quarter against Carolina in my 21 years covering the NFL, but I can't remember one right now"

What about 20 of Favre's this year, i'm sure you saw every one of them....Peter

by Pat on the Back (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 7:01pm

For the record, after seeing the third movie, it is obvious that Lucas saw Portman's character and had only one thought: Man, I'd like to have sex with Natalie Portman

As such, her entire contribution to the three movies was that of a pod, basically just an incubator to hang around and blend into the background until it was time to randomly fall in love with an actor who Lucas said could only talk while gritting his teeth, shoot out some kids, then die.

As for the coach of the week, it has to be Herm. Seriously, how did this guy finagle his way to a few more million dollars a year? I am going to miss the halcion days of the AFC East, when Herm and Wannstedt were locked in battle, making hillarious and devious faces to the point that you expect one of them to punt on first down because one of them thinks: "I just have a feeling".

by SJM (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 7:29pm

I'm with #38.

Herm really isn't that great a coach, and the Jets were probably going to fire him anyway. Even if he doesn't get fired, is he really a 4th round pick better than any other available coach, even with Williams out of the running?

As to how he will perform, I've thought that Herm would work best with a good offensive strategy guy who isn't a good leader, like Norv or Martz. Maybe Saunders will be that guy, but FO has been pounding into our heads that KC's offense is about to colapse. Do you think Herm realizes that?

by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 8:41pm

"15-of-27, 201 yards, three touchdowns, no picks, 116.4 rating. Then I think: That's when you know a guy's going to Canton -- he plays blah (for him) and his numbers are Player of the Week worthy."

I see his numbers and think, "Without that long play by Watson, he's 14-26 for 138 yards, 2 TD's, and that's not a real good game."

by Tortured In Buffalo (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 8:49pm

"I am going to miss the halcion days of the AFC East, when Herm and Wannstedt were locked in battle, making hillarious and devious faces to the point that you expect one of them to punt on first down because one of them thinks: “I just have a feeling�."

Thank you Pat on the Back...that line made my day! (and damned if it wasn't true)

by Malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 10:14pm

re 43:
uhm... yeah.... except... not really true.

You know how many times during the season BB was actually named King's coach of the week?
I'll give you a hint - the same as Jim Haslett. Or Marty, or Crennel, or Marv Lewis: One. Only Vermeil was named coach of the week more than once - that last one as a retirement salute.
But ok, I guess it's easier to make a point if you don't care for facts.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:37pm

rk (#50 )--

Well, it's more reasonable to include the Watson catch, but have somebody make the tackle. (Especially the saftey --Sensabaugh? -- who whiffed with two good hands.) That makes Brady's day something like 15/27 for 150 and 2 TDs, passer rating of 95 or so. Still not bad.

Of course, if Deion Branch catches the TD that hit him in the hands, just before halftime, Brady's day becomes 16/27 for 250 and 4 TDs, passer rating of about 130. Or do hypotheticals only count on one side of the ledger?

by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 12:23am

RE: 53
Good point. I just had the feeling during that game that Brady wasn't playing that well. It's probably because I didn't pay much attention in the second half when he obviously improved. I thought maybe that play was skewing his numbers, but it turns out I'm an idiot.

by Kuato (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 12:27am

"I think there's not one great matchup in the this weekend's matchups"

I'm not one to pile on King, as I find him ridiculous, yet entertaining (I just skip all the stuff I don't want to read), but I find this statement odd.

I'm excited about every single game this week and think almost any of the 8 teams have a resonable shot at winning.

by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 5:15pm

Personally, I suspect the Jets were considering firing Herm anyhow. Given that, I was amazed they ended up with a 4th round pick myself. I have a mental image of the Jets front office holding back giggles while on the phone to Kansas City, as they make a show of negotiations.