Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Jul 2011

The NFL's Great Scrambling Act

FO alum Bill Barnwell previews the NFL's free agency period for Grantland. Lots of top five lists to pick through here, including a section on overrated and underrated players.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 26 Jul 2011

22 comments, Last at 28 Jul 2011, 6:52pm by tuluse


by Dean :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 3:36pm

I think if someone wants a 4-3 DE who can play the run and still give you some decent pressure on the QB, Ray Edwards is a great pickup. He's a legit 8-sack guy without having to come from the blindside to do it. He's not going to make the pro bowl, and he might get paid like it, but if you can pay him as an above average starter in exchange for his 8 sacks, and if you have a solid blindside DE already, you could be really happy with the results. The rumors of him to Philly make way too much sense, so they can't be true.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 4:16pm

I've reached the stage where I just tune out whatever rumour the Philly media have conjured up to sell papers.

I'm with you on Edwards, he's a solid starter but not the superstar in the making that some suggest.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 4:30pm

Yeah, it's weird, for some reason Philly has become THE destination for free agents this off-season. I guess they've had a recent history of making a big splash, but they also haven't overpaid for guys like Edwards. Their style is really getting proven producers like Asante Samuel, Jason Peters and Jevon Kearse or fire-sale guys with no downside like Takeo Spikes and Ernie Sims... I guess Kevin Curtis was an Edwards "borderline Pro-Bowler" type they picked up, but they rarely go after in-demand but "only" above average players to fill their holes.

by tuluse :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 6:59pm

He sure would look nice rushing opposite Peppers.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 8:52pm

Really, but he's expecting something in neighborhood of Peppers money. Is that really how you want your team allocating their resources? He's the definition of a guy about to get overpaid because of "career year, weak market at his position." He'd be a good addition to a lot of teams, but not when salary is taken into account...

by tuluse :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 9:46pm

Does he really think he's worth that much?

I was thinking like 60-70% of what Peppers makes would be enough and probably over paying.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 11:03pm

He's the Top DE free agent this year, only Babin (ugh, fucking Babin?!?) even has a claim to the title. Some team with a real weakness at the position is going to make a play for him and pretend like they got a Peppers-type player. I bet he's thinking 80% of what Peppers got, at least. It's not like WR or CB - he's got all the cards. If you have a big hole at DE, who else is out there? It was a weak rookie class even... Is anyone going to be going hard after Stephen Bowen? Just look at the money Carolina just spent on a player nowhere near as proven as Edwards...

by tuluse :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 12:59am

Ok, forget Edwards. Give me Johnathan Joseph instead, and one of the OTs would be nice too.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 4:14pm

Really, really thorough article by Barnwell, probably the best of its type I've seen this year.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 4:30pm

Yeah, I gotta give credit where credit is due: nice and in-depth with a minimum of inane commentary.

by Theo :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 4:33pm

It's a good write up (is writeup one word?), thanks.
Though I must say that articles like these are better AFTER the players are signed.
I like the article but I somehow expect a Bill Barnwell bashing under the line.

by Dean :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 9:59am

I'll take the bait. It would be nice if just once he could write an article without making a bunch of video game comments. Otherwise, a solid effort from him.

by tuluse :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 5:14pm

Is there any objective reason why referencing video games is bad, or do you just personally not like it?

by chemical burn :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 8:50pm

An objective reason would be that it's hacky and cliche at this point in the history of pop-culture-tinged football writing - sorta like an op-ed writer or somesuch author using sports metaphors. Another reason would be that a huge chunk of the audience just plain won't understand the references. I think neither of the those problems are fatal. Some folks even go crazy for inside jokes.

Barnwell's problem will always be self-satisfied snark over-laid on completely unsupported opinions presented with an air of facuality. That's at a minimum in this article, though.

by Dean :: Thu, 07/28/2011 - 9:02am

I wasn't going to deconstruct it. I just personally find it annoying. It seems forced, and every time I read one, it re-enforces the perception that the closest Barnwell has ever come to a football field is his xbox.

by tuluse :: Thu, 07/28/2011 - 6:52pm

I just personally find it annoying. It seems forced

That all seems fair enough.

it re-enforces the perception that the closest Barnwell has ever come to a football field is his xbox.

However, this is kind of dumb.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 6:55pm

I like the mention of Matt Leinart on the underrated list. Not a big fan of him, but he actually looked decent in the preseason with the Cardinals last year before they cut him in a move that absolutely wasn't strictly related to his play. He's got more potential upside than lots of other guys who are getting signed. I'm kind of shocked Pete Carroll didn't bring him in instead of T. Jackson.

Another guy in that same vein: Brady Quinn in Denver. They're trading Orton and handing the ball to the very green Tebow. If Quinn is the backup, he very likely gets to play some this year either because Tebow will be hurt or ineffective at some point. Unless Denver signs some veteran to be a mentor. Again, I'm not really a believer in Quinn, but surely somebody takes a look at him before going with just another retread.

by Dereck (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 7:24pm

ProFootballTalk is now reporting that Leinart has signed a deal with the Seahawks. Looks like Whitehurst, Jackson and Leinart will battle it out to be the starter.

by JT (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 8:55pm

Quinn had a couple weeks in Denver where he must have been dreaming about being their starter and taking over for Orton. Then they drafted Tebow, everybody forgot about him, and he didn't play all season. I would expect the Broncos to bring in somebody to play mentor to Tebow. There'd been some reports a few months back that the Jags were interested in Quinn. You'd think Denver would rather trade him than have him be third string again.

by Malene, Copenhagen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2011 - 7:44pm

Not so much Barnwell bashing, but that site needs an actual editor so badly it hurts.

"The lockout may have cost the broader population of the NFLPA some money going forward" is obviously ridiculous. Since about half the league is on minimum salary contracts, the "broader population of the NFLPA" actually received a decent bump with the new agreement.

His point still stands - that a large group of not-quite-elite-but-not-quite-replacement-level players, probably somewhere from the 200th best to the 500th best player now has less earnings potential than before. An editor just need to fix stuff like that.

Also, what's with the Grantland obsession with the word "erstwhile"? Applied generously in close to every article, and with wildly varying degrees of success.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 8:09am

Reminds me of when every writer on FO was using the word "whilst" a few years back. Who says whilst (other than Brits)?

by Anonymous(not that one) (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 1:21am

No one says erstwhile, it's got to be some lame writer who thinks it makes the prose pretty.