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08 Feb 2006

Scramble for the Ball: Free Agent Finale

by Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal

Al: Life's funny sometimes, Vivek. My journalism career began with a hard-hitting expose on Richard Dean Anderson oh so many years ago. And now it ends after a Super Bowl where we saw the triumphant return of MacGyver, saving the day by using his Mastercard in the game's best commercial.

Yes, true believers, this is the end of the run here at Scramble for the Ball for Vivek and myself. I'll still be around contributing to Four Downs this off-season and writing some pieces for Pro Football Prospectus 2006 -- the only football annual guaranteed not to have Kevin Jones on the cover -- but as for Scramble, this is it for me. Come next season, I'll have a one-year-old and a job that will keep me from having the time each week to write a column full of random pro wrestling references and occasional football analysis. In our stead will be a returning Ian Dembsky, writing a revamped, even more fantasy-centric Scramble for the Ball. Ian has a short note at the end of the column discussing Scramble's future.

Vivek: Cheer up, guys. This is not goodbye. It's just we won't ever see you again. (This being Scramble, we had to throw in some obligatory movie references.) Actually, I'm sure that one of us will repay the favor to Ian by filling in when life comes calling. We're already Ian's biggest fans, so you can be sure to see a plethora of wrestling references in next season's mailbag. Plus, I need his help in salvaging some of my keeper teams that have been devastated by my version of "When Trades Go Bad."

There is no one-year-old for me, but there is no way that I can continue my secret FO life without figuring out how to say to my fiancée, "Do you mind if we schedule our wedding weekends (yes, plural) around kickoff weekend in September?" and "I know this is our honeymoon in Europe, but let's remember our American culture and watch some football." Nor will I broach those subjects if I value my future high-def TV. Combine this with a work travel schedule that saw me regularly watching games from airport lounges and writing at two in the morning in hotel rooms, and we know that turning Scramble over to Ian was the right move. (If Football Outsiders ever decides that it needs an NFL Europe correspondent, I'm there.)

Al: Don't worry, we're not going to waste your time with a Scramble for the Ball retrospective or anything like that. Instead, we'll do what we did last year after the Super Bowl, and that's give you our predictions of where some key free agents or possible salary cap casualties will end up next season. Coincidentally, we'll be discussing the same players that are featured in the Football Outsiders Old Faces in New Places off-season contest, where you can do the same thing we're doing here, only you're eligible to win a copy of next season's book if you come in first place in the contest. You have until February 13 to enter.

Born To Run

Shaun Alexander

Al: The biggest name on the free agent market (at least until Terrell Owens is cut) is last year's MVP. Prior to this season, Seattle agreed with Alexander that the Seahawks would not make him their franchise player yet again in 2006. So, if the Seahawks want to keep Alexander they'll have to come to a long-term agreement with him. Would Seattle be crazy to let Alexander and his 27 touchdowns bolt to another team? Not at all. As we saw during Seattle's victory over Washington in the playoffs, the offense can succeed without Alexander as long as it has Matt Hasselbeck and the exceptional offensive line intact. At 29, it is likely that Alexander is entering the downside of his career, especially with 1700 carries under his belt, including a career high 370 last season.

If Seattle doesn't re-sign Alexander, then who does? It would have to be a team that thinks they're only a running back away from winning a championship and is willing to take a chance that Alexander has another above average year or two of production in him to justify what will likely be a huge signing bonus. That sounds like Carolina to me. Sure, the Panthers also need a second receiving threat to take some pressure off of Steve Smith, but running back is the more pressing need. Carolina was #29 in rushing DVOA last season and will most likely be losing DeShaun Foster and Stephen Davis to free agency and retirement respectively.

DeShaun Foster

Al: Speaking of DeShaun Foster, it's unlikely that Carolina resigns him, unless Foster is OK with accepting a role as a backup or third down back. With the glut of running backs on the market and the potential for four backs to go in the first round of the draft in April, that isn't inconceivable. I'll give Foster the benefit of the doubt, however, that he'll get a contract somewhere with a team willing to at least include him in the mix for a starting job. He might be a nice fit with the New York Jets, who did relatively well in power running situations while struggling to break off long runs. New York will likely be going with some sort of running back by committee situation next season with Curtis Martin, Derrick Blaylock and Cedric Houston battling for carries. With none of those options being anything close to sure bets to have a successful 2006 season, I could see Foster signing there late in the process after all the starting jobs get locked up and the Jets look to get another warm body in to earn playing time.

Vivek: The second half of Al's paragraph is exactly why I cannot see Foster turning up in the Meadowlands. With Ahman Green a question mark and the Packers trying to convince Brett Favre that the team can contend in 2006, Foster could be a nice fit in Green Bay.

Ahman Green

Al: Green has indicated that he wants to return to Green Bay, and after testing the free agent market and finding lukewarm interest for his services, it's where he'll end up staying. Green will be 29 and coming off a season where he only played in five games because of a thigh injury. Not exactly a recipe for a huge payday in this flooded running back market. As much as we've been down on DeShaun Foster at Football Outsiders, if I was a GM, I'd rather take my chances that Foster can have a fluky good season with some luck and a good offensive line than on Green coming back from injury and being an effective running back. Green Bay will stick with what they know and allow Green to come in and compete with Samkon Gado for carries.

Vivek: Green will have to prove himself somewhere, without a guarantee that he will be what he was a few seasons ago. A short-term contract to remain in Green Bay would give him a familiar environment to regain his old form.

Michael Bennett

Al: With the Whizzinator returning in 2006, and Ciatrick Fason establishing himself as a short yardage option late last season, Bennett's time in Minnesota is likely over. With so many backs on the market, Bennett isn't going into any team's training camp as its primary tailback. He'll have to sign somewhere as a third-down option. Maybe Bennett is the Viking that Mike Tice has already enticed to come to Jacksonville.

Vivek: Bennett is so dedicated to training this winter, that he has rented a place in Brazil in order to work out in the South American heat and mountains. Still, no team will trust him with the full-time job in the backfield. A good fit would be as part of a split backfield in Indianapolis with Dominic Rhodes.

Edgerrin James

Al: Although James has stated recently that he doesn't expect to be back in Indianapolis, his situation has "franchise tag" written all over it. The Colts have shown that they're willing to break the bank to keep their offense together and they'll do it to keep James around for one more season.

Vivek: Re-signing Wayne and making sure sack-master Dwight Freeney is happy are the top priorities for the Colts right now, and I cannot imagine James being happy with the franchise tag designation. Corey Dillon might be hitting that running back wall, and as much as it would be out of character for Bill Belichick to go after a big name free agent, Edge would be nice in a New England jersey.

Ricky Williams (trade bait)

Al: Williams isn't going anywhere, he'll stay in Miami. The dumbest trade rumor I've heard in a while involved the Texans dealing David Carr to Miami for Williams and a third round pick. Nowhere in the rumor does it explain why the Dolphins would trade a productive running back and a valuable draft pick for a quarterback who is owed over $8 million in 2006 and has never had a season with a quarterback rating over 85. Williams and Brown developed into an effective duo for Miami. The Dolphins are not going to give away quality depth for a mediocre quarterback.

Vivek: Another trade rumor has Ricky Williams going to Denver. Um, Tatum Bell and Mike Anderson? They looked pretty good to us. I think the team did pretty well. Imagine a roster with both Ricky Williams and Terrell Owens? Williams will stay put in Miami.

Wheel Of Quarterbacks

Aaron Brooks

Al: He'll be backing up his cousin in Atlanta next season. Matt Leinart and Leigh Steinberg were doing everything but begging the Saints to draft Leinart at #2 this past week. Leinart and Steinberg couldn't stop talking about how Leinart would be extremely happy to play for New Orleans and how he would never turn his back on a city that has been hurt by the devastation that Katrina brought to the city. If New Orleans does draft and sign Leinart, there's little reason for them to keep Brooks and the $12 million he is owed over the next two seasons.

Vivek: I'm not as quick as Al to jettison Brooks from New Orleans, at least this winter. Keeping Brooks gives the Saints some time to bring along Leinart -- whether that is one game, four games or a full season.

Kerry Collins

Vivek: Collins is one free agent whose future depends almost entirely on the new coach. If Ken Whisenhunt turns down the head coaching gig (and I would not at all be surprised to see him to return to Pittsburgh), then Jim Fassel moves into the frontrunner spot for the job. You only need to go back to 2000 to remember that Fassel and Collins led the Giants to the Super Bowl. Collins might have another year to prove himself in Oakland.

Al: The Jets are reportedly interested in bringing in a veteran quarterback to compete with Chad Pennington in training camp for the starting job. Collins seems like exactly the type of player they'd be interested in bringing in. For all of Collins' faults, no one really questions his ability to throw a deep ball. Pennington was heavily criticized by Jets fans for his inability to throw an accurate pass for more than 15 yards. If New York is going to bring someone in to compete with Pennington, they'll bring someone in who can effectively do the one thing Pennington has shown he can't do.

Daunte Culpepper (trade bait)

Al: Culpepper has been heavily rumored to be going to St. Louis to rejoin his former quarterbacks coach Scott Linehan. With the sex boat scandal, a questionable prognosis for his immediate future because of a devastating knee injury, the $6 million Culpepper is owed on March 14, and Minnesota's willingness to trade high level talent, it's not an unrealistic scenario. I still don't see it happening, though. Minnesota can't think Brad Johnson is the long-term solution, or even a short-term solution for next year. Maybe he can hold down the fort for a couple of games if Culpepper isn't viable for opening day. Culpepper is still the best hope Minnesota has at quarterback for next season if they hope to contend for a Super Bowl.

Vivek: Culpepper is not going anywhere. He will return to his pre-2005 form in Minnesota when healthy.

Jon Kitna

Vivek: Kyle Boller might be the starter right now for Baltimore, but this experiment will not last very much longer. Kitna would be a nice free-agent pickup who could push and eventually push aside Boller for the starting job for the Ravens. And yes, there is a good chance that the Bengals will not be able to re-sign him even with Carson Palmer's knee injury. Kitna will not want to keep the seat warm while Palmer rehabs.

Al: Cincinnati is in a tough spot here with Kitna. With the paucity of quality quarterbacks in the NFL, Kitna should be able to get a long term deal with a decent signing bonus and a starting job. The Bengals need insurance for Carson Palmer in case he isn't ready for opening day, but it's unlikely they'll be able to top anything Kitna can get on the open market, especially after giving Palmer a big extension just a few weeks before he tore up his knee against the Steelers. I say Dallas brings Kitna in and gives him a shot to unseat Drew Bledsoe, who only has one year remaining on his contract, as the starter. Unless Dallas does a major refortification of their ineffective line, I can't see them going into next season with the lead footed Bledsoe as their only option behind center.

Philip Rivers (trade bait)

Vivek: Drew Brees' shoulder injury all but guaranteed that Rivers will stay in San Diego.

Al: Yeah, San Diego isn't getting rid of Rivers.

Kurt Warner

Vivek: I could have been throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and piled up the numbers that Warner did last season. Dennis Green will not have the patience to see if Josh McCown is the long-term solution, so Warner should resign in Arizona.

Al: I thought he'd be a nice fit in Oakland last year, and I still think he'd be a good fit there next season. I don't think the Raiders are ready to hand the reigns over to Andrew Walter just yet. Warner could have another prolific passing year throwing to Oakland's talented receivers.

Josh McCown

Al: McCown will be lucky to find a backup job somewhere. I'll throw his name into my random team picker and say he ends up as a backup in Kansas City.

Vivek: Matt Millen should realize that his team is not one player away from a playoff spot, so the Lions could conceivably take a chance that Josh McCown turns into a serviceable starter in the NFL.

The Hawaiian Town Of Ahole

Note: Actual name of town on the Big Island. Pronounced Ay-hole-ay.

Terrell Owens

Al: Denver is the early favorite, which means they won't be Owens' final resting place in 2006. There isn't a team in the league, this side of Indianapolis, that couldn't use TO's talents at wide receiver. But there aren't likely many teams in the league willing to put up with his antics to try and take advantage of those talents. I'd love to see him in Oakland lining up opposite Randy Moss, but that team has too many needs on defense to spend any money on yet another potentially disgruntled big play receiver. Washington also makes a lot of sense, but they've publicly said they aren't interested in Owens. You know Detroit is always on the look out for a new wide receiver, but if they're not willing to spend an extra $500,000 a year to sign Mike Martz, they won't shell out the money to bring in Owens.

I keep seeing Owens in a Kansas City uniform next season. For all of his failings, Herm Edwards always seemed to get along great with his players in New York. He seems like just the right coach to coax a solid year out of Owens. With Tony Gonzalez beginning to decline, Kansas City needs some new receiving threats to keep their high powered offense running. Owens could be just what they need to take Kansas City back into the playoffs in 2006.

Vivek: As evidenced by his meeting with the organization last week, Denver is TO's first choice. And eventually TO will get what TO wants.

Mike Vanderjagt

Al: Where will the "idiot kicker" end up? How about Minnesota who had some of the worst field goal kicking in the year last season, and where Vanderjagt should find success kicking plenty of meaningless regular season field goals in the Metrodome.

Vivek: His Kris Brown-like performance in the playoffs against Pittsburgh stamped his ticket out of Indy. He could end the kicker-by-committee plan in Dallas.

Parade Of Number Two Wideouts

Antonio Bryant

Al: Bryant quietly had a nice year in Cleveland. The Browns will keep him to pair up with Braylon Edwards and form one of the best, young receiving duos in the league.

Vivek: Agreed. The Browns should keep Edwards, Bryant, and Reuben Droughns together to build on what momentum they got last year.

David Givens

Al: He stays in New England.

Vivek: He will get a long look from teams like the Redskins, but will re-sign with New England.

Joe Jurevicius

Al: This is who Carolina should go after to complement Steve Smith. The Panthers don't need another gamebreaker to take some heat away from Smith. They need someone who can get open against single coverage and catch the ball whenever Jake Delhomme throws it his way. That's Jurevicius. He's caught 65 percent or more of balls thrown in his direction in three of his last four seasons. He'll give Carolina a legitimate #2 wide receiver for the first time since their Super Bowl season.

Vivek: If Givens leaves the Patriots, Jurevicius would fit nicely in New England. They were in hot pursuit of Jurevicius a few years ago, but decided to sign Donald Hayes instead. The Patriots will not make that mistake again.

Antwaan Randle El

Al: If Wayne stays in Indianapolis, Randle El will likely be the best free agent wide receiver among those wide receivers who weren't kicked off their teams halfway through last season. As such, he will be incredibly overpaid by one of the many teams in need of a legitimate #2 wide receiver. That sounds right up the Washington Redskins' alley to me.

Vivek: In Chicago, Randle El would have the chance to be a tremendous playmaker, both as a wideout and a kick returner. The Bears should make the Illinois native its top free agent target.

Reggie Wayne

Al: There's no way Indianapolis lets Wayne go elsewhere.

Vivek: Indy.

Representing For The Defense

John Abraham

Al: The Jets will likely franchise Abraham again and keep doing it until a better candidate shows up on their roster. He's exactly the type of player a team should use the tag on. If Abraham stays healthy and motivated, he'll make more money through a series of one year franchise deals than he would with a long term deal. If he doesn't do either, the Jets are free to move on after the season without any salary cap concerns or long term commitment.

Vivek: Franchise tag, and then a trade. Abraham stayed healthy in 2005, so his value is at its highest right now. The shoulder injury to Drew Brees has quieted any Phillip Rivers for Abraham trade talk, so let's send him to Washington.

Adam Archuleta

Al: Let's see, who could use a safety? How about New England who may have been hurt by poor safety play all season more than any other team in the league.

Vivek: Archuleta can replace the aging Corey Chavous in Minnesota.

Nate Clements

Al: Buffalo will hold onto Clements, whether they franchise him or can come to an agreement on a long term contract. Clements might actually be better off in the long-term by Buffalo franchising him than he would singing a long-term deal. There is an increasing likelihood that 2007 will be an uncapped year if the NFL and NFLPA can't come to an agreement on a new CBA in the very near future. If that happens, however, players will not be eligible for free agency after their fourth season but only after their sixth. What that means is that the free agent market will be much shallower than normal and a player like Clements, who will have just finished his sixth year, could be in line for a huge payday if he plays well this upcoming year.

Vivek: The Bills will do everything they can to keep their rising star. The cost of franchising him dropped by nearly $3 million compared to last year.

Julian Peterson

Al: Peterson didn't really have that great of a year on an improving 49ers defense. I could see San Francisco letting him go. The Giants could use some outside linebacker help, but I don't think they'll spend big money on a free agent linebacker two seasons in a row. A better fit would be Cleveland, who could use Peterson as a pass rushing linebacker in their 3-4 defense.

Vivek: Peterson will be a hot commodity in this weak corps of free agent linebackers. Jacksonville could use an upgrade there even with its success at getting to the quarterback.

DeShea Townsend

Al: Ton of corners out there. It's impossible to correctly guess where they'll all end up. Ike Taylor is a restricted free agent and more likely to stay in Pittsburgh than Townsend is. Townsend could ride his Super Bowl ring to an overpriced contract as many others have done in the past. San Diego has much cap space and need for a cornerback to help a defense that struggled covering opposing wide receivers.

Vivek: Pittsburgh could end up as a major loser this offseason, with five starters and 12 players total as potential unrestricted free agents. Townsend is the elder statesmen among Pittsburgh's cornerbacks, so he will likely have a new home next year. If the Patriots miss out on other cornerbacks, he could wind up in New England.

Kyle Vanden Bosch

Vivek: No team is going to get the Vanden Bosch discount this offseason ($540,000), but the defensive end should repay Tennessee for taking a chance on him last year.

Al: Yeah, Tennessee keeps him.

Kimo von Oelhoffen

Al: VO was one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the league in 2005, stopping opposing running backs from having a succesful play in 90 percent of the plays he was involved in. He can play end in a 3-4 or fill a need at tackle in a 4-3 defense. Arizona has a ton of cap space and glaring needs on the defensive line. I'd look for them to make a run at Kimo.

Vivek: Another one of my favorite NFL player names. Like with Townsend, von Oelhoffen has a younger player next on the depth chart (Brett Keisel) that could be ready to step into a starting role. Cincinnati would welcome him with open arms.

Especially Carson Palmer. And the team orthopedist.

Tank Williams

Al: There will be a lot of safeties on the market this year. Williams would be a good fit for a team looking for a safety who is most effective against the run. The Houston Texans seem like a team in the most need for help in that area.

Vivek: Tank wants to return. The team wants him to return. If the salary cap permits, he will stay with Tennessee.

Will Witherspoon

Al: Carolina isn't letting Witherspoon go anywhere. They'll try to leave that defense intact to make another run at an NFC Championship next year.

Vivek: This is one, if not the, top priority for Carolina.

Charles Woodson

Al: There isn't a team in the league that couldn't use Woodson. San Francisco should have plenty of cap room and need more help stopping the pass than anyone else in the league.

Vivek: Any team can use Woodson, but can they all depend on him and deal with his personality? This is a player who has missed 22 games during the past four seasons. Kansas City, now with Herman Edwards at the helm, would get the most out of Woodson.

Break Up The Baltimore Ravens

Will Demps

Al: Hey, another free agent safety! Green Bay could really use an upgrade at the position after coming in at #30 in pass defense against tight ends last season.

Vivek: Someone has to go to New England.

Jamal Lewis

Al: Lewis' time in Baltimore is done. After his poor performance this year and his legal troubles, Lewis will have a tough time finding a starting job. There are a few teams, though, with weak running back situations that could give Lewis a shot at competing for playing time. Tops on the list for me is Arizona, a team that doesn't appear sold on J.J. Arrington as its feature back with a coach that is willing to take a chance on players.

Vivek: Lewis showed some flashes of being a top back towards the end of the season, and he has indicated that he would like to stay. Some people have been suggesting that it is time for the Ravens to turn the running game over to Chester Taylor, but people fail to remember that Taylor is only a month younger than Lewis. Whether it is through the franchise tag or a long-term deal, expect Jamal Lewis to stay with the Ravens, which means that …

Chester Taylor

Vivek: … will be elsewhere next year. If DeShaun Foster leaves, Taylor would be a nice complement to Stephen Davis in Carolina. As evidenced towards the end of Carolina's season, John Fox is willing to modify his ground-game strategy to fit a lateral runner versus a North-South back, and that could mean room for Taylor.

Al: No way the Ravens franchise Lewis and dump Taylor. Baltimore will keep Taylor, who was much the more effective back in its offense in 2005.

Ray Lewis (trade bait)

Al: Lewis isn't going anywhere. Baltimore will find a way to appease Lewis without giving him the ridiculously large signing bonus he is reportedly seeking or having to cut or trade him elsewhere.

Vivek: Baltimore.

Chris McAlister (cap casualty)

Al: McAlister, on the other hand, I can see Baltimore getting rid of. Detroit seems like a good fit with his former coordinator Donnie Henderson recently hired to run their defense.

Vivek: Arizona should open up its wallet and make a splash on the defensive side of the ball.

Possible Cap Casualties

Isaac Bruce

Vivek: Bruce was not responsible for St. Louis' collapse last year. He'll stay with the Rams.

Al: Bruce is scheduled to make a base salary of $6.5 million in 2006, in the final year of his contract. I fully expect St. Louis and Bruce to renegotiate an extension that keeps him in blue and gold for next season at a reduced cap number. Bruce still has another season or two of productivity in him and will finish his career in St. Louis in a reduced role.

Joey Harrington

Vivek: I would feel more confident about Harrington's 2006 home if Mike Martz had taken the offensive coordinator job in Detroit. Still, I would place my money on Harrington's staying in Detroit, but not without a challenge from another quarterback.

Al: I agree. Harrington will stick around and at least be given the opportunity to compete for the starting job in Detroit. Harrington is only owed just under $4.5 million next year. I could see Detroit, however, getting in the mix for someone like Kerry Collins or Aaron Brooks if their price stays low enough.

Jeff Hartings, PIT

Al: Hartings' base salary jumps from $665,000 to $4 million in 2006, in the final year of his contract with Pittsburgh. The Steelers are close to the cap, meaning the team and its center will have to come to an agreement on a new contract with a lower 2006 cap figure if he's going to stay with the team. Pittsburgh should be able to work something out.

Vivek: If no contract can be worked out, Atlanta is in the market for a center.

Keyshawn Johnson

Al: Keyshawn would be due $3 million in roster bonus and base salary in Dallas in 2006. The Cowboys are slightly under the cap, so they don't really need to renegotiate or cut Johnson. I think Dallas keeps him. Johnson is still a productive #2 wide receiver, and Dallas won't be able to find anyone more productive on the open market for less money.

Vivek: I have not read one rumor about any team being interested in Keyshawn. Dallas.

Ty Law

Vivek: Law is due an $11 million bonus in March, which means that the Jets will release him or restructure his contract. Don't expect Law to want to be part of a rebuilding project, so a return to New England is a possibility.

Al: I see a reunion in Law's future, but with his former defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel in Cleveland. Law's 2005 was overrated by gaudy interception totals, but he is still an above average cornerback. With plenty of cap space, Cleveland can afford to bring Law in to immediately upgrade a weak secondary.

Sam Madison

Al: It's been reported that Madison isn't interested in taking a pay cut in 2006, meaning there's a good chance he'll be plying his trade elsewhere after this season. The Giants need a big upgrade at cornerback, and don't have any other obvious positions to spend big money on this off-season.

Vivek: I should point out that most of the cap casualty choices in last year's contest wound up staying put. Madison will restructure his deal and remain in Miami.

Mike Williams

Al: According to the fine folks over at BillsZone.com, Buffalo should save nearly $5 million by dumping Williams. Since Williams hasn't come close to living up to his status as the #4 pick of the draft in 2002, his days in upstate New York seem to be numbered. Williams has played both tackle positions and guard during his career, meaning he could fit in nearly anywhere for a team looking to take a chance that the 360+ pounder will live up to some of the promise he showed not long ago. Oakland could use some help on the offensive line and will have to cut about $30 million to get under the salary cap. If ever there was a team looking for a cheap fix to a problem, the Raiders are it.

Vivek: $10.8 million. That is what it would cost the Bills to keep the now backup lineman. New Orleans is rebuilding and can take a chance on Williams.

Eric Moulds

Al: Cutting Moulds will save Buffalo $5.5 million under the cap. With Lee Evans and Josh Reed on the roster, Moulds' time in Buffalo looks to be over. He should be able to find himself a nice payday on one of those teams looking for a #2 wide receiver. I already have Randle El going to Washington and Jurevicius in Carolina, so I'll send Moulds to the Baltimore Ravens, who could use another veteran target for Kyle Boller to throw to.

Vivek: Cutting Moulds would save money, but the Bills are in good cap shape. They can afford to keep the veteran to help JP Losman.

Simeon Rice

Al: Rice will stay in Tampa. The Bucs are over the cap, and it's likely that at least one of Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, and Anthony McFarland will be cut along with Brian Griese. I'm guessing that McFarland is the one to go and not Rice. Run stopping defensive tackles can be found for a much more reasonable price on the free agent market than pass rushing defensive ends. Just look last year at the Giants, who signed Kendrick Clancy to a one year deal at just over $1 million. Even if Tampa gives someone like Clancy twice that, they'd replace most, if not all, of McFarland's production for half the price. Finding a pass rushing defensive end like Rice for half of his salary next year will be much more difficult, meaning he stays with the team.

Vivek: Tampa Bay

Prop Bet Extravaganza Results

Vivek: What would the final Scramble be without my collapse with anything gambling related? Scoring the Prop Bet Extravaganza took just as long as it did to write, but in typical fashion, Al ran away with the contest, taking home $1765 while I moved further away from my LCD TV after losing $1205.

Keep Choppin' Wood Award

Al: Tough call here. Do we go with backup safety Etric Pruitt, who left Hines Ward wide open on the Randle El touchdown pass and was flagged for holding on what would have been a 34-yard punt return into Pittsburgh territory by Peter Warrick? Or, do we go with Jerramy Stevens, who engaged in some weak trash talk going into the Super Bowl only to have three huge drops that stalled Seattle drives?

I vote for neither. To me, the biggest goat of the game was Seattle punter Tom Rouen, who managed to kick the ball into the endzone in four of his six punts. Seattle dominated most of the first half, but only managed to put three points on the board. Had Rouen not given the Steelers 20 free yards three times in that half, Seattle's offense would have gotten the ball back with much better field position. With an extra ten or so yards of field position, maybe a couple of those Rouen punts would have been Josh Brown field goals and given the Seahawks a lead going into the second half.

Fantasy Playoff League Results

Al: Despite being spotted a 31 point lead going into the Super Bowl, assistant editor Tim Gerheim couldn't hold on for a victory. Cartoonist Jason Beattie roared into first place on the backs of Hines Ward and a trifecta of productive Seattle receivers. My team still sucks.

Jason's 194 points barely edged "Best of the Rest" winner Geoff's 193-point squad. Geoff rode five Steelers (Roethlisberger, Parker, Randle El, Reed, Pittsburgh Defense) to the title. The lesson for next year? Make sure you draft most of your team from the Super Bowl champs.

JASON Total VIVEK Total NED Total
QB Manning, NYG -3 Plummer, Den 18 Manning, IND 20
RB Alexander, SEA 32 James, IND 11 Johnson, CIN 12
RB Anderson, DEN 29 Foster, CAR 20 Dillon, NE 10
WR Smith, DEN 21 Galloway, TB 6 Moss, WAS 18
WR Ward, PIT 43 Branch, NE 18 Engram, SEA 11
WR Jurevicius, SEA 12 Houshmandzadeh, CIN 8 Smith, JAC 3
TE Stevens, SEA 21 Clark, IND 14 Miller, PIT 16
K Brown, SEA 22 Vinatieri, NE 12 Elam, DEN 17
DEF New England 17 Chicago -1 New York Giants 1
194 106 108
AARON Total AL Total TIM Total
QB Hasselbeck, SEA 60 Palmer, CIN 3 Brady, NE 39
RB Barber, NYG 6 Jones, CHI 11 Williams, TB 3
RB Bell, DEN 6 Portis, WAS 16 Bettis, PIT 32
WR Wayne, IND 11 Harrison, IND 5 Smith, CAR 65
WR Jackson, SEA 38 Johnson, CIN 5 Muhammad, CHI 5
WR Toomer, NYG 3 Burress, NYG 0 Lelie, DEN 17
TE Watson, NE 15 Shockey, NYG 5 Cooley, WAS 9
K Vanderjagt, IND 4 Feely, NYG 0 Gould, CHI 3
DEF Seattle 13 Indianapolis 3 Denver 7
156 48 180

Al: So that's it, Viv. I'd like to just thank a few people before we sign off. First, thank you, Viv, for joining me here after Ian left two seasons ago. Ian, for taking over for us and for fumbling the ball away at the goal line in NFL 2K during your senior year at Brown. Aaron, thank you for giving us this space every week for the past three seasons and for giving me an interesting line on my resume that everyone wants to talk to me about during job interviews. Thanks to Tim Gerheim for putting up with my awful grammar. To my wife, for putting up with me when I was sitting at my computer at 11 p.m. on Tuesday nights writing this column. Thank you to our readers, some of whom for some strange reason actually seemed to enjoy the column. Thanks to the folks over at FoxSports.com for occasionally acknowledging our presence on their website. And of course, a special thank you, to the immortal Sid, one of our first readers at the site and certainly our most frequent emailer over that first season.

Vivek: And the Oscar thank you's begin.

To Tim for correcting my smart quotes and making me seem somewhat literate.
To Aaron for giving this opportunity to us, and like Al said, it is a great conversation starter.
To D'Brickashaw Ferguson for having one of my favorite first names,
To my parents for mass emailing the link to anything I write to every random relative, which probably accounted for a good percentage of our page views.
To my fiancé for accepting the fact that she loses me on Tuesday nights and early Wednesday mornings.
To the makers of Red Bull, for helping me with these late nights. (Al was way too conservative with his 11 p.m estimate.)
To Al, with whom my pseudo journalism career has taken us from Marv Albert (pre-biting days) to FOXSports.

And like Al has started many columns, without further Apu, the return of the man, the myth, the legend … Ian Dembsky.

Ian Dembsky: Good news for all you Scramblamaniacs -- despite life getting in the way of Al and Viv returning next season, Scramble for the Ball will continue. I'll be taking over the weekly writing of Scramble, and it will change from being a back-and-forth effort to being a one-man show. The Keep Choppin' Wood Award will live on, as will Best Bets and the Mailbag.

There will be a slight change, however, in that the general content will be more fantasy football focused than simply general football commentary. As I don't know a bigger fantasy nuthead than myself (not to mention a more successful one), I hope to help you win your league with advice all season long. Fred McGriff reports, "Ian's fantasy football advice has already brought me back to back to back fantasy football titles, and it can help you, too!"

I'd like to take a moment and thank Viv for taking over for me; I didn't have the time, and you did a great job with the column this season. The same goes for Al; maybe I can rope you back in someday, but in the meantime, it's been a great ride.

It's a bit early to make judgments on player value for next season, since a lot has yet to be determined in free agency and the draft, but I'd encourage you to post keeper league questions in the Scramble thread if you have any. See you next season!

Posted by: scramble on 08 Feb 2006

124 comments, Last at 21 Nov 2012, 5:33pm by piegrella


by Ian (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 5:41pm

Al, you're never going to let that NFL2K fumble go away, are you...

by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 5:47pm

"In Chicago, Randle El would have the chance to be a tremendous playmaker, both as a wideout and a kick returner."

He would also be their #1 QB there. :)

by Nate (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:04pm

I think stop rate against the run is a very deceptive statistic to use, especially for defensive linemen. It seems like it penalizes defensive linemen who hustle downfield and make a play on a relatively long gain. If you have DL1 who makes 10 tackles at the line of scrimmage and zero 5 yards or more downfield, and DL2 who makes 10 tackles at the line of scrimmage and another 10 5 yards or more downfield, DL2 would seem to be the more valuable player despite his lower stop rate.

by Ian (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:05pm

On the contrary, I was very impressed with Rex Grossman at the end of last season. He had nervousness in the Bears lone playoff game that lead to early inaccuracy, but that happens to almost all quarterbacks in the playoffs for the first time. But in the Bears late season games, when he played, he looked extremely good throwing the ball. I realize the numbers don't back this up, but it's based on what I saw. Maybe I'm just comparing him to Kyle Orton though; Orton is a terrible passer.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:06pm

Let Jamal and the wildly overrated Taylor go, sign NO's free agent center to solidify the interior line, pick up Moulds when Buffalo decides to get rid of all the memories of last season, and angle for the best FA or draft running back available. If no FA backs come over at his talent level, keep McAlister.

No charge, Ozzie. Now, I'll sit back and listen to everyone tell me why I'm an idiot. That's what usually happens in my league, anyway.

by Larry R. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:10pm

Sounds like you guys think Shaun Alexander is leaving Seattle....Look again, the 8th richest man in the world owns the team....He all but said Shaun will be back after the SB

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:18pm

Yeah, but what about those Super Bowl referees ... ?


Thanks for the clean slate, fellas.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:20pm

Al: Where will the “idiot kicker� end up?


Indy won't keep him, and he won't be consistent enough anywhere else (what other team scores TDs over FGs as much as Indy? Oh, yah, none) for him to keep a job.

Any team that signs him has to keep another kicker on the roster, which means they'll expect more from his field goals. Which he won't deliver on, especially not in Dallas - outdoors.

I'll be surprised if Vanderjagt is only on one team next year. And any team that signs him for any decent amount of money is stupid, as they'll grow very very sick of him quickly. The only reason Vanderjagt looked good in Indy these past two years is because Indy kicks short, pointless field goals, and even those it does very rarely. Double his number of field goals and his percentage will go down quickly.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:28pm

Kitna is an interesting case. I can see lots of teams interested. Detroit seems like a good fit to me. I don't think Harrington will get another chance there. They've seen enough to know he's not worth $4.5 million. And I would think he would welcome a change of scenery at this point.

by Falco (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:29pm

I think Alexander will be in Seattle. James I could see in Carolina as a logical fit. They could jettison Foster and Davis and free some room, let Shelton have a chance as the short down back, and still have Goings around as well.

TO to either Denver or KC. KC actually makes more sense (though nothing makes great sense with TO). Accurate QB, no dominant #1 WR, very good offense, veteran team with win in 2006 mentality.

Among RB's, you did not mention Barlow. I would think he could be a possibility to be cut, to clear path for Frank Gore, and because he would be a problem as backup. Does he get a chance to try to return to 2003 version somewhere else?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:40pm

Re: your MacGyver interview

I didn't know "frolicking" was a stunt.

by Adam B. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:46pm

All these WRs, and no one's going to Philadelphia? (I'd also like to see them make a run at JLewis or RWilliams to tandem with Westbrook.)

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:47pm

"The Hawaiian Town of Ahole" = Brilliant

I realize this column was pure speculation at its finest, but Kitna to Dallas?!? With Parcells? If Mike Holmgren didn't have the patience for Kitna, one can only imagine Parcells's reaction. I'm getting a vivid mental picture of a barely dormant volcano that just ate a bad clam.

Then again, a season of late-career Bledsoe has him used to wildly inconsistent play and unfortunately timed interceptions.

I like Kit and think he'd be a great starter for a team like the Ravens, though.

by Willsy (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 6:57pm

The pressure you are now under is immense and I hope you are up to the task. A great column that is always well written, has something interesting to say and most importantly very funny, is rare particularly in the world of NFL commentary. Your partners gains are our loss. Make sure you don't win the "Keep Choppin Wood" award from them when you become full time partners.

by Larry R. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:01pm

Don Banks (SI) says "Seattle probably can't stretch to retain both Alexander and Hutchinson" But they will pay Alexander’s money and Hutchinson will be designated “Franchise Player� so both will be back…..

by Paulo Sanchotene, Brazil (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:09pm

Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal are the most importante free agents in this offseason. Congratulations, guys, and thank you very much.

by admin :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:11pm

Two things.

First, Ian's not just putting out empty boasts. The guy finishes first or second in almost any fantasy league we do in any sport. I'm very happy to have him as our fantasy guy.

Second, are people interested in having an all-fantasy off-season thread up on the open discussion threads page? That's the kind of thing that's a lot easier to do now that the open threads have their own page.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:35pm

RE 12
Idon't know perhaps the Eagles will get Randle El. I know they need someone to replace TO, but what is thier cap space like?

IF and this is a big IF, brett favre comes back to Green Bay for one more year I would not be surprised to see the Edge in the back field along with Samkon Gado to back him up or be a thrid down back. Edge shows alot of the abilities that Ahman has shown green bay, ability to reciev e out of the back field, decent straight field running, and the ability to strech the defense when he is on the field.

TO goes to hmmmmmmmm.... I say KC. Herman needs a decent 1 option to go with his medium to long throwing trent green.

DeShwan Foster goes to San Fransisco, they need a decent 2nd back to tandem up and give some relief to their "on-the-back" quaterback Alex Smith.

To Al and Viv- even though I only found this site late in the past year, you guys have been very funny and profound at the same time (how does that work?)
to say that you would not be able to come back would be to say that was "Inconcievable"

of course I don't think thats what I think it means.

To Ian- welcome back (even though I never got to see what or how you write)
I am curious as to see how well you will be able to guide me on my Fantasy Football.

Happy NFL Draft to all and to all a good Draft.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:38pm

Good article, though I'd be mildly surprised if David Givens stays in New England. They need help in their secondary, and he would like a nice raise.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:43pm

Count me as one vote for that thread, Aaron.

I'm a little mystified by all the Kitna-to-Baltimore talk, though. Kitna seems to be Grbac Lite -- he's fine as a complimentary player, even very good, but turnover-prone when the offense rests on his shoulders. Having benefited from several of those turnovers in Baltimore, why exactly would the Ravens, with a suspect running game, go for Kitna? I could see such interest in Volek, Schaub or (possibly) McNair, but not Kitna.

And, btw, Marinelli just said they had hired Martz, after all.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:50pm

There are always rumours around, but has any player EVER been franchised and then traded?

I'd rather see the Bears go after Brandon Lloyd. San Francisco keeps drafting good recievers that they don't know what to do with - T.O., Cedrick Wilson, and now Brandon Lloyd.

by crcalpha (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:51pm

I'm pretty sure Stephen Davis will end up a cap casualty this off season. He's due a 3.8 mil (I think) roster bonus and the Panthers are about 6 million over the projected cap of 92 million. That 3.8 mil will come in handy resigning 'Spoon and (hopefully) luring a better back in.

by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:58pm

#18 - The Eagles have always
had cap space, and I don't recall seeing anything to indicate that this year will be any different.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:28pm

RE: 23

Is there anyway we could get a thread to see what the projected cap space for all teams is going to look like?

Hey Arron- count me as a second vote for your sugestion

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:33pm

Thanks for a great year of columns, guys. I always enjoyed it, even though I despise fantasy football almost as much as John Elway.

I agree that the MacGyver commercial was the best, but how could they do that without mentioning either duct tape or the pocket knife? I guess it's just a tribute to MacGyver's versatility that, even without his two favorite items, he's still unstoppable. My hero.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:35pm

#6 raises an interesting notion. I know side agreements about later compensation are prohibited, but if a guy worth 25 billion says to you, with nothing ever recorded, in a completely private conversation, "I know the other team is offering three million more in guaranteed money, but I'd really be grateful if you strongly considered our offer, we already have a strong relationship, and I'd value your friendship for rest of my life", and you, as the player, really enjoyed living in the Seattle area anyways, might you not be tempted to think that a guy worth 25 billion would have numerous opportunities to express his friendship in ways, after you retired, that would exceed the three million (really, about 1.7 million after tax) on the table today?

by D. Rose (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:39pm

In regard to the KCW award, you missed another bad, bad play by Pruitt, as he took a horrible angle on Willie Parker's touchdown. And as for Rouen, I remember reading somewhere on this site that all of the touchbacks lost Seattle 11 total yards of field position versus the the league average on punts from those locations. So while he hurt the team, I don't think he was nearly as bad as Pruitt(who played horrible but is their THIRD stringer) and Stevens.

On a different note, I'd like to express my gratitude to Al and Viv, its been good times reading your work. And welcome back Ian.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:53pm

2) I thought Rex Grossman looked pretty good too, especially after following the Kyle Orton Experience.

Also, the Bears aren't looking for a QB to carry their team. They just need a QB that other teams have to respect.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:56pm

18, 23 -- the Eagles are pretty okay for cap space, about middle of the pack. Click my name.

Much as they could use a WR, it's hard to imagine that someone else wouldn't offer ARE a larger contract than value-obsessed Philly would be willing to give. Bryant, to me, looks like the best ROI in the second-tier wideout department.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:56pm

Idon’t know perhaps the Eagles will get Randle El. I know they need someone to replace TO, but what is thier cap space like?

Ridiculously good. (Philly's one of the fortunate teams which has a webpage dedicated to their cap situation). They're almost $20M under the cap (assuming Owens goes poof, and assuming a $92.5M cap). They might be a tad bit more over that depending on how the salary cap works when you reclaim a player's signing bonus.

That cap is almost entirely available for free agents: the only player they'll definitely resign is Dirk Johnson (punter). They might resign Jon Runyan, but I'm betting they put the franchise tag on him. Other than that, all the remaining free agents are either veteran minimum or very low salary guys if they keep them (Chad Lewis, McCants, Thomas, Adams, Gordon, Kalu) or RFAs (Mikell, Mahe, Hood) that won't cost much anyway. So maybe $2-3M of that cap will be needed for them.

That being said, I'm not sure the Eagles will be that active in free agency. It's pretty much a complete ripoff in terms of price/performance, and they're really careful about that. The best bargain the Eagles got in FA was... Owens, but that only lasted a year, and they're not likely to find a bargain like that again. The other mega-FA they signed was Jevon Kearse, who's been... well, acceptable, but I'm not really sure he's really been worth $6.2M.

Philly's almost completely a ridiculously young team, which is why I don't really think they'll try to "fix" anything in free agency. The only guy I can really see them going after is Joe Jurevicious, but that won't happen because of Philly's history. The other WRs (Wayne, Givens, Bryant, Randle El) are either 1) too expensive (Wayne) or 2) from a different offensive system. Which means they're not especially likely to make an immediate impact.

The only thing I see them doing in free agency is picking up a tackle, defensive end, or outside linebacker. And even in those cases, it won't be a big name - just someone "decent". Darren Howard (Saints) comes to mind, as he's a free agent this year, and hey, he can play either DE or DT, and his main problem has been durability, which wouldn't be a problem with the number of DEs the Eagles will have.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 8:59pm

the Eagles are pretty okay for cap space, about middle of the pack. Click my name.

Askthecommish.com has the details wrong about Owens's contract. Only $2.somethingM of his contract was prorated, so when they release him, it frees something like $5M.

They also don't include the LTBE credits, which given the crap year the Eagles had, is huge ($6.5M).

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:03pm

and you, as the player, really enjoyed living in the Seattle area anyways, might you not be tempted to think that a guy worth 25 billion would have numerous opportunities to express his friendship in ways, after you retired, that would exceed the three million (really, about 1.7 million after tax) on the table today?

Definitely. It's not like it hasn't happened. Hugh Douglas, with the Eagles, and Gannon with the Raiders (though that didn't pan out). I'm sure there are other examples as well.

Then, of course, there's also the Troy Brown in New England trick. Staying in one area - especially when you're famous - has got to be more lucrative over the long haul.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:10pm

Thanks, Pat. That's a quality resource on the Philadelphia cap.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:20pm

Yeah, Pat, but although Al Davis isn't going to be in a soup line, a lifelong "friendship" with him isn't nearly as potentially lucrative as one with Paul Allen. I really, really, would like to have a warm relationship with a guy worth 25 billion, with him feeling a strong sense of gratitude towards me. The value of such a thing might easily dwarf a couple million dollars.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:20pm

That being said, I’m not sure the Eagles will be that active in free agency. It’s pretty much a complete ripoff in terms of price/performance, and they’re really careful about that

and they have a 3+ million singing bonus left for thier kicker? I know daivd ackers is good but over 3 mil left on a signing bonus that is crazy

by J.S. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:25pm

RE: 34

Yea like maybe a few extra endorsement deals come his way, maybe oh I don't know new computers (top of the line) for all of your kids each year, nice and bright HiDef Tv's each year, etc.

Yea to be pals with a guy worth 25 billion dollars would be nice

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:36pm

Geez, a guy with a 25 billion dollar investment portfolio just has to include you in on one ipo (and he can do it by just having somebody call you a year or two after you're retired) that he has early access to, and that couple million dollars is earned back in spades.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:46pm

and they have a 3+ million singing bonus left for thier kicker? I know daivd ackers is good but over 3 mil left on a signing bonus that is crazy

Akers just signed that contract. He's also only a 7th year kicker. The contract lasts 5 more years. It's not that big a deal - good kickers often last up to 12 seasons.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 9:46pm

There's a couple of reasons the Ravens won't be cutting/trading Chris McAlister. Actually, there's 13 million of them: that would be the cap accelleration Baltimore would take. Subtract the 5.5 million base salary, and you're still talking about a 7.5 million dollar cap hit. It's not going to happen.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 10:15pm

Pat, do you really think they'll franchise Runyan? Given the Eagles' history with aging veterans, I'd think that would seem too high a price tag for a guy whose skills are deteriorating like Runyan's are (though his leadership skills are much needed with the way things are going).

by asg (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 10:19pm

I am assuming, Vivek, that when you say "fiancé" you mean "fiancée", unless you will be having the wedding in Massachusetts. Perhaps at dear old Tufts eh?

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 10:59pm

Will and Pat, that's an interesting line of logic, but it doesn't take into account Alexander's love of the limelight - and Seattle's inability, due to its geographic isolation, to provide it on a level he would like. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that there are other factors at play.

With Alexander, I think it's going to come down to the question of what he values more: a big contract and more national attention in the short term (which he will likely have to leave Seattle for), or a better shot at sitting atop the record books as a member of a team that is potentially on the brink of sustained greatness. But if Allen makes him an "under the table" offer like you are speculating, that might be a way for him to have his cake and eat it too.

by William (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 11:04pm

Like #19, I would be surprised if DG is with NE next year. The Pats seem resigned to the fact that some team will give him no.1 money, which they are unwilling to do. They have to sign Branch, Seymour, and Neal to long-term contracts. If so, they'll get a cheaper WR, maybe someone older and hungry to win, like Moulds. One can only hope...

by Björn (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 11:25pm

Thanks for the years worth of writing guys. I'll look forward to your musings in the future.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 12:00am

Whatever running back is invited to Green Bay should ask point blank questions on the guard situation.

Favre is irrelevant to the equation IF Ted Thompson refuses to address the worst, and I do mean WORST, collection of guards in the NFC. (Not feeling totally comfortable with the AFC precludes me from dubbing them the absolute worst.)

Green Bay's running game was inept up the middle. And it was only because Favre was in much better shape this season and more capable of rolling out that kept him from legitimately getting a limb broken.

As a Bears follower, I am very leery of Randle El. After several years at Indy and now in Pittsburgh he still puts the ball on the ground way too much. That and he just does some really dumb things sometimes.

Versatile. High energy. But I think the Bears would be well suited to look elsewhere.

by Stevie (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 12:29am

Thanks Al and Vivek the column has been a lot of fun.
I think A Bryant is the premier receiver available if Wayne is franchised, wouldnt be surprised to see the Eagles make a play.
I cant see the Raiders dumping Collins without a better option and no Kurt Warner is not it.
Id like to see Joe J stay in Seattle if they can fit him under the cap.
DeShea Townsend to San Diego makes a lot of sense. Finally Edge was desperate to play in Florida and Jags could really use him. Keep your eye on the Jags to pick up TO.

by rk (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 12:37am

Re: 21
I believe the Redskins franchised Bailey before trading him to Denver. I could be wrong.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 1:01am

Pat, do you really think they’ll franchise Runyan?

Well, no. I think they should. Absolutely. Either franchise him, or a 2-3 year contract. Runyan's skills might be deteriorating a bit, but his health is unbeatable. I hadn't quite realized that the franchise tag for an OL is $7.4M (yai, that's high), but it's not that much higher.

Runyan's got 1 or 2 years left, and I think the Eagles need about 1 year more from him. But that's just because I think the Eagles should pick up Santonio Holmes in the first round, because I'd like them to have oh, I dunno, an actual real option at punt/kick returner. Then pick up an OL in the 2nd round, and if he doesn't pick it up, an OL in the 1st round next year.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 2:17am

re: Pat, way early in the thread about Vanderjagt; I see him in KC, on the cheap because of their apparently poor cap situation. They're a veteran team in the win-now mode possibly unwilling to hang on to the inconsistent Tynes, punter Colquitt could be the kickoff guy having booted a few early in his college career, and KC scores a ton of points while moving the ball very well between the twenties (anecdotally speaking of course).
Atlanta looks a good destination too: punter already the kickoff guy, weak veteran holdover, dome...

by Israel (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 2:57am

#2 (Rocco) - He would also be their #1 QB there.

I don't know about be, but if Randle El gets an offer which includes a legitimate shot at playing QB, any other suitors may as well take their money and go home. El still sees himself as an NFL QB and Chicago, his hometown, seems as good a place as any to test that idea.

by CoreyG (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 4:43am

didn't the Eagles force Runyan to restructure his contract/salary, taking a big pay cut, before the 2005 season? Would they keep him after doing something like that?

by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 8:40am

Based in the UK, I'm not a FF player, and I don't bet (I've never met a poor bookmaker, and there's a reason for that), but I always read Scramble. Guarenteed to make me laugh out loud at least once on a Thursday morning. Good luck with whatever you do guys.

by Lou in Cincy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 10:24am

Kimo Van Olhoeffen isn't even allowed back into Hamilton County, let alone Paul Brown Stadium. If I were Kimo, I'd look at the schedule and find a team that doesn't play the Bengals for the next few years, like in Europe or some such....

Seriously, I mean it, Don't let us see you Kimo...

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 10:28am

Add me to the Givens leaves crowd. Somebody like Philly, Pittsburgh, or Cleveland will overpay for him. Plus, as mentioned, Belichick isn't going to want to set the bar too high for Branch's next contract. As a Pats fan, I hope he stays, though.

Moulds and Jurevicius are possibilities. ARE seems to fit in well, with his abilities in the return game and saving a roster spot as the emergency quarterback.

The biggest problem with Alexander staying in Seattle is that I don't think the Seahawks really want him there. Since Alexander's been in the league, it seems that Seattle's always trying to find somebody better. He seems to have the reputation of being soft and overrated. Seriously, is there any reason that a guy like Jonathan Wells. TJ Duckett, or Mike Anderson couldn't have similar numbers rushing behind that offensive line for a fraction of the price. Allen can say what he wants, but he didn't make billions by being stupid. He'll let the football guys make the football decisions. And the decision should be that Alexander's cost is going to far outweigh his abilities, if not in real dollars, certainly in salary cap dollars. I look for him to go to Arizona, Minnesota or New Orleans.

Vanderjagt to the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 10:48am

Since the CBA is running out, doesn't that mean that Bonuses can only be pro-rated like 2-3 years? Additionally, I thought I heard that LTBEs can't be used on any new contracts until a new CBA is signed. Does anyone know where there's a clear, concise explanation of this year's cap situation?

You know what would be really cool - a Cap article. It would be great to get some numbers that I know I can trust on what teams are spending, what amount players are counting against the Cap, and what the Rookie Salary allocation really is.

by DGL (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 11:26am

#28: You're telling us the Bears need Tom Brady!?

by J (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 11:50am

"Pittsburgh could end up as a major loser this offseason, with five starters and 12 players total as potential unrestricted free agents."

Maybe, but linked is my take on the Steelers off season. Scroll down on the page and you will find Steelers' salary cap numbers for 2006...their not in too bad of shape.

I think the Steelers will lose Kimo, Deshea, and Antwaan....and probably others who they do not really care about. All of them are replaceable.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 12:05pm

#56, Nah, Brady's a systems guy. He wouldn't be good in the Chicago offense.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 1:01pm

Pat, way early in the thread about Vanderjagt; I see him in KC, on the cheap because of their apparently poor cap situation. They’re a veteran team in the win-now mode possibly unwilling to hang on to the inconsistent Tynes, punter Colquitt could be the kickoff guy having booted a few early in his college career, and KC scores a ton of points while moving the ball very well between the twenties (anecdotally speaking of course).

Good point, but Tynes is very young for a kicker. His kickoff lengths are horrible, but his overall accuracy was about average last year. Vanderjagt's not really a serious improvement.

That's the main reason I think Vanderjagt won't be a "hot item". He's just not an improvement. Yah, sure, Vanderjerk's "money": from 35 yards or less. He hasn't made a 50+ yard field goal in 2 years. (He's only tried one, however, but of course that makes you wonder how much of that is the Colts' knowing he can't make them.)

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 1:14pm

Maybe, but linked is my take on the Steelers off season. Scroll down on the page and you will find Steelers’ salary cap numbers for 2006…their not in too bad of shape.

J: Well, not too bad, but not exactly good. Even with the moves you have for them, it leaves them hoping for improvement from previous DE/RB/CB/WRs next year.

The other question, of course, is if Randle El bolts, who's their punt/kick returner?

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 1:32pm

Dryheat, you better watch out....I heard Rodney Harrison is looking for you...

by jeff t (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 1:34pm


I would think that Richardo Colclough would take over ARE's punt return duties. He returned one for a TD in the pre-season against Philly. Or was that a kickoff return? Too lazy to go look. Cedric Wilson is another possibility.

by Fred Mitchell (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 1:36pm

Rodney who? Oh that guy who plays corner, number 30-something?

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 1:57pm

Rodney, I swear I didn't say anything! It was those two! (points) :)

by J.S. (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 2:05pm

Favre is irrelevant to the equation IF Ted Thompson refuses to address the worst, and I do mean WORST, collection of guards in the NFC. (Not feeling totally comfortable with the AFC precludes me from dubbing them the absolute worst.)

well then NCF Central Freak, I will say it for you then we were the worst. I have to agree, but saying Favre is not part of the equation is like sayiong the 85 bears did not win the superbowl. He does fit into the equation. If he comes back for one more good year, do you honestly think they wont try to put a team around him to give him one more shot? However if he decides to hang it up or GOD FORBID go somewhere else then they look at Arron Rodgers and realize they are in rebuilding mode. Yes the first year that Brett Favre was there they went to the playoffs and have not, not gone to the playoffs until this year, and Arron was drafted higher than Brett (#2 in the Second round by Atlanta), but with as much as the game has changed since Brett was a rookie, GB would be insane to try and make a push with Arron Rodgers this year and would there fore go after some young talent in the draft, let them take thier licks (and I do MEAN Licks, they would get creamed in the division they are in) and make it a work in progress for the next couple of years.

by D.B. (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 2:59pm

RE #50 : Are you certain that Randle El really wants to play QB? I haven't heard this lately, and he went so far as to attempt a switch to WR in college to be more draftable. I figured this meant he was resigned to playing WR in the NFL. I knew Kordell Stewart was a WR who wanted to play QB, but I didn't think Randle El did.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 3:00pm

Pat #59:

Whether Indy believes that Vandy can make the kicks should be easy enough to check. I'm sure there are any number of Colt fans out here who can tell us how many times Indy went for it on 4th down (or fraidy-cat punted) between the opponent's 20 & 35 the last two years, instead of sending in Vanderjagt. I think it would be safe to say that any instances of either on longer than 4th and 2 are a sure indication that Indy didn't think he could do it.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 3:30pm

Tom Kelso:

Well, it really hasn't happened. The Colts were twice at their opponent's 38 yard line, which is a 56 yard field goal, and they punted both times. That's really borderline, though, although in the second case (the San Diego game) they were 1) losing by *2*, and 2) they were sacked 3 yards on 3rd and 21.

The second case would lead you to believe they don't think Vanderjagt can make a 50+ yard field goal. Otherwise they would've handed it off to James to pick up 1 or 2 and then take the lead.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 4:46pm

RE #50 : Are you certain that Randle El really wants to play QB? I haven’t heard this lately, and he went so far as to attempt a switch to WR in college to be more draftable

Why not? he had a higher QB rating then Big Ben and I am pretty sure that a pass from him would look alot better than one from Kyle Orton. :-)

by Björn (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 4:52pm


dryheat, that's a pretty funny joke about the Idiot Kicker going to play for Saskatchewan. However, the Rough Riders are a now defenct team that used to play in Ottawa. The team you are thinking of is the Saskatchewan Roughriders, not the Ottawa Rough Riders. It's confusing, I know, but up here a missed field goal counts as one point. That's confusing...

by DGL (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 5:05pm

#60, #62: Someone suggested, when ARE had one of his cases of dropsy, that they should put Troy back to return punts.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 5:16pm

Dammit..I knew I'd get them mixed up if I didn't look them up. Oh well. Should have stuck with the Stampeders as originally planned.

A missed figgie counts as one point for which team?

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 5:25pm

#54. If Seattle was always trying to find a guy to replace Shaun Alexander they had a funny way of doing it, the back-up RB since 2002 has been Maurice Morris and the most carries he has ever gotten was 71 this season. Not saying that Seattle does not want to get rid of Alexander because I have read about the Seahawks front office being split on keeping him last season, but they never have actively tried to find someone to replace him.

by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 5:40pm

The mention in Seattle is that Morris can do the job that Alexander does, and they're actually pretty big on Morris up here.

I'd love to have a fantasy-only thread, especially after the draft. Thanks for all the great articles, Bob and Vivek, and looking forward to Ian's analysis. (hint: do not mention Kevin Jones)

by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 5:42pm

For no apparently reason I called Al Bob. I'm drunk. Sorry.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 5:43pm

dryheat: The kicking team. As with the NFL, missed field goals are live balls. In the NFL, a while ago (1994), a missed field goal was a touchback to the 20. Touchbacks in the CFL earn the kicking team a point, so a missed field goal that results in a touchback earns the team a single point.

The rules changes that I just read say that the "missed field goal = defense at the spot of the kick" only applies past the 20 yard line, so if a missed field goal is inside the 20, the defense gets it at the 20. Is that still true? Missed short field goals are pretty rare, so I don't think I remember ever seeing it.

by Mysteriously anonymous fan of the cartoonist (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 7:00pm

Hey Ian, in case you need help with doling out fantasy help next season, you could always ask the FO cartoonist for help...In addition to winning this year's fantasy playoff league, and beating Aaron, Al and you in the regular season league, I hear he is also the undisputed XFL fantasy league champ.

Too bad his comics make no sense.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 7:14pm

Enough with the Kyle Orton bashing. Obviously none of you realize that his potential for greatness is inversely proportional to his DPAR. He is obviously the best choice and Rex "Choke"man should just quit now. In a couple of years we will all bow before Kyle Orton. Except Drew Brees. Even Kyle Orton will bow to him. And Jim Everett and Bob Griese are better QBs now than Brady or Manning will ever be.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 7:37pm

And Jim Everett and Bob Griese are better QBs now than Brady or Manning will ever be.


I mean come on I am a Green Bay Fan, and I still put Brady way above Bob Griese and Jim Everett.

by turbohappy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 9:00pm

I definitely think the most likely place for Edge (if he doesn't stay in Indy) is Jacksonville. I don't see him going to another cold-weather city if he leaves Indy, especially one that plays outside like New England or Green Bay!

by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 9:40pm

What about Carolina? He can be another RB that gets totally misused in their offence there.

by Björn (not verified) :: Thu, 02/09/2006 - 10:27pm

The best part about long field goal tries in the CFL is the chance of a missed figgie being returned. If you thought Nathan Vasher's return was cool, well that happens about 10 times a year up in Canada. Quite the backbreaking play.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 12:28am

So why do they try them? I mean, the NFL rules and the CFL rules aren't any different regarding missed field goals being live, yet field goal returns in the NFL are almost nonexistent.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 12:28am

#79: yah, that was sarcasm.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 4:39am

Vandershank's career numbers are better outdoors than indoors... go figure. Must be the frostback in him.

And regarding Jim Everett, much as I love Manning and respect Brady (okay, I'll disrespect him by not genuflecting in the offseason), until they slug that loudmouth twit Jim Rome, they are not fit to carry Everett's jock.

Finally, Paul Allen might be rich, but his investments are no guarantee of success--if not for MSFT and an investment in Dreamworks SKG, according to the media he's done average or worse. His real estate company in Seattle is successful, but generally regarded as a high-pressure sweatshop where pay is moderate and it's "an honor to work there" for a few years until nervous breakdowns take their toll. Still, nothing preventing him from personally buying a company or $10M chunk of real estate and then selling it for a fraction of that to a loyal former-player who can then sell it to recoup the price differential. Or limitless use of one of his 400 foot mega-yachts (which are too big to get through the canal locks to Lake Washington and therefore cannot even get to Allen's waterfront home, so he has a smaller one, like 120 feet or so, for "local use"--or at least he used to).

by Paytonrules (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 11:32am

Randle El would be their #1 reciever - at least according to DPAR and DVOA. Check the stats page. Both Ranle El and Muhammed would be a pretty poor recieving tandem, at least as it appears on that chart, although I suspect there are a lot of tandems where the #2 guy doesn't get enough catches to show up on the list. Like this years Bears!

by arch (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 11:35am

Why does everyone ignore Cleveland?

With the most cap space in the league this year you would think that we'd get a little attention on this particular topic. I'm hoping Phil will bring home some local boys to up the talent level - Nate Clements, LeCharles Bentley and Joe Jurevicius are all native Clevelanders. Add to that a decent pass-rushing OLB who can play the 3-4 and a decent DT to anchor the line and pick up blockers and Cleveland might be a playoff team.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 12:22pm

In case you still don't get it - Bob Griese, Jim Everett, Drew Brees and Kyle Orton are all Purdue QBs. Obviously they will be superior to any other QB especially one such as ARE who wore the cream and crimson.

by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 3:13pm


There's a few reasons why missed FG returns are more common north of the 49th. The first (and most obvious) reason is that the goalposts are at the front of the endzone, so kicks that are short or wide can be returned. Since any kick that is downed inside the endzone counts as a Rouge (the technical term for the single point) there are quite a few strategical situations where you are better off having the ball on your own two yard line instead of giving away a point. Like, say, when you are winning by 1. When one of those little guys grabs the ball back there, anything can happen, especially since there is no penalty for being tackled in the endzone. It's the same as if you had given up the point. Another important contributor is the size of the endzones. In the CFL, endzones are 20 yards deep. So take a 45 yard attempt, for example. If a kicker misses a 45 yarder, it's got to go 65 yards before it is out of play.

Another factor that affects all returns, not just field goals, is the quality of kick returners in the CFL. There's all kinds of scatbacks and small wide receivers coming out of college that can't possibly stand up to the punishment of every down play in the NFL, and quite a few of them come up here to play. Ezra Landry of the Montréal Alouettes is 5 foot 6. Charles Roberts of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is 160 pounds and is also a premier CFL tailback. Tony Tompkins of the Edmonton Eskimos is tiny. Corey Holmes of the Saskatchewan Roughriders is another. You get these speedy guys out on the wide CFL field, and you will have some returns.

Anyhow, the CFL is awesome. If you can get it by cable or sattelite, you should definitely check it out.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 3:25pm

Since any kick that is downed inside the endzone counts as a Rouge

That'll always be a "single" to me. Football cannot share terminology with women's makeup.

by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 3:48pm

Oh come on! What about the fact that Miami has established a solid "foundation" for the future?

Okay, that's pretty weak. But I can't come up with any others. But it's been called a rouge forever. There is a story that the single was named the rouge because of the colour of flag the officials used.

Click on my name for a basic but interesting summary of the CFL history and franchises.

by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 3:53pm

Wow. I started 2 sentences in a row with the word "But". Yuck.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 4:23pm

I do have to say, seeing the Grey cup on INHD a few nights ago was pretty damn cool. Totally weird, wide open game that seemed to combine odd aspects of Arena football with these huge wide-open vistas of terrain to traverse.

Weirdass game, but fun.

by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 4:36pm

Which Grey Cup was it?

Another thing about the CFL that I absolutely love is that there are only 2 teams in the league that play fulltime in domes. Bring on the snow!

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 4:57pm

Hey, Pat, I think you left one thing out in your analysis of the Eagles' offseason plans - backup QB. I mean, they're not seriously sticking with McMahon/Detmer, are they?

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 6:09pm

It was the most recent one, I think. Montreal vs. Edmonton? The colors look right.

More games need to be muddy and wet in the NFL. The distinct lack of dirt games is bugging.

by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 9:24pm

That was a pretty good game. This year, the Grey Cup is in Winnipeg at Canad Inns Stadium. Outdoors. In the wintertime.

by Balaji (not verified) :: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 10:04pm

#87: "Why does everyone ignore Cleveland?"

Because Cleveland stinks? And I don't mean the football team, though they're no better.

(sorry, couldn't resist an easy one)

by NextCoast Winos (not verified) :: Sat, 02/11/2006 - 7:05am

Thanks for another great year of in-season analysis and here's to another great year of off-season analysis! Yay!

I'll second a motion from a few posts ago about a (or several) Cap Related article(s). I basically understand the concept, of course, but there's a whole lot of details that would be great to see laid out without the legalese.

Also, I'd be a huge fan of a FF-only thread. It'd make it convenient for FF-types to find and would stop cluttering up the more Purist-type articles and threads with FF nonesense.

Thanks again and, well, Go 'Hawks 2006!

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 02/11/2006 - 8:10pm

Hey, Pat, I think you left one thing out in your analysis of the Eagles’ offseason plans - backup QB. I mean, they’re not seriously sticking with McMahon/Detmer, are they?

I hope they do. I think it's ridiculously shortsighted to judge McMahon based on his performance with half the offense (literally half the offense) injured. It's a knee-jerk reaction.

Besides, what team out there actually has a backup quarterback worth anything, anyway? There's what, two? Now, if the Eagles pull in a backup QB as a 6th or 7th round pick, or as an undrafted free agent, sure, but they absolutely should not expend any resources on one. It's just not worth it.

A super-smart solution would be snagging a QB/WR hybrid like either Randle El, or heck, even Penn State's Michael Robinson, as a 3rd QB.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 02/11/2006 - 8:53pm

I'm honored to be mentioned in the column.

Sorry to see you go, Al and Vivek.
I'm surprised to see Ian back, but I'm glad he's able to do it again.

Good luck in the future.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 02/13/2006 - 12:17pm

RE: 21

There are always rumours around, but has any player EVER been franchised and then traded

Yes, actually. It's happened several times in recent history.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 02/13/2006 - 12:21pm

RE: 29

Whoever made that page has no clue what they're talking about. TO never got a $10 million signing bonus. It was 2.something, and the cap hit will be like $1.6 million or so.

The Eagles will have a hell of a lot more than $7 million in cap space. Try double that, at least.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 02/13/2006 - 2:01pm

What players were franchised and traded?

I know some players are signed to long term deal and then traded - but it seems like a waste of cap space to franchise and trade a player.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Mon, 02/13/2006 - 5:11pm

I seem to recall Peerless Price being franchised by Buffalo, then traded to Atlanta in 03. Wasn't Champ Bailey also tagged before the Portis deal? I'm guessing there's probably been more, but those are the only two I can come up with...

by seamus (not verified) :: Mon, 02/13/2006 - 8:00pm

When the season ended, Nick Saban put all his focus on fixing the Dolphins' QB situation for the long term. Interesting that no one can point to a free agent or even draft pick who will likely be available for the Dolphins this spring.

by bob (not verified) :: Mon, 02/13/2006 - 9:33pm

I am excited to hear that Ian has a strong fantasy football bent! A great compliment to the rest of the site.

Two suggestions for the offseason, Ian: 1. Effect of free agent moves on fantasy (E.g.,if Alexander goes to Carolina, what will his stats look like and how will Morris do in Seattle); and 2. Likely risers and fallers for next season (it's hard to wait for Kubiak projections until August).

It would be great if explained some of the logic/rules that FO uses for projections so the rest of us can come up with our own projections. For example, I loved the FP2005 write up for LT - good explanation of how excessive carries affect future performance.

Lastly, would love your thoughts on Steve Smith and Rudi Johnson's prospects for 2006.

by Big Boy (not verified) :: Tue, 02/14/2006 - 9:22pm

Who all think Seattle was cheated out of da SuperBowl???

by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 02/14/2006 - 9:38pm

Yea i do. Dem SuperBowl Rings should have went to Seattle. The refs cheated them out of that game because Bettis was in his hometown pluse he is going to retire so they wanted him to walk out as a champ.

by Brent (not verified) :: Tue, 02/14/2006 - 11:56pm

Seattle will be signing the super bowl refs

by james (not verified) :: Wed, 02/15/2006 - 9:05pm

i think T.O picked dever first for a reason and if he comes were a superbowl favorite right away.please plummer needs some one else becouse he hade 3 chances with the others.........p.s. T.O please come to denver

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/16/2006 - 1:13am

Hey, T.O. can come to Denver no problem. The Broncos just have to be willing to give up a draft pick (they've got 2 1st round draft picks, you know...).

Once T.O. hits the free agent market, though, then he has to be convinced.

(cackles evilly)

by ken (not verified) :: Thu, 02/16/2006 - 1:22am

1 st yes seattle got ripped off in the superbowl all those calls against them and 2 td 's called back and ben rothers. never got that ball in the end zone

2 i hope edge come to NE along with Joe J.

jim everett and bob greise better thean Brady Don't think so who has 3 rings not those 2 combined they both where good qb's but i would rather have Brady

i hope no one sighns TO the big cry baby some one needs to stand up and get these players back to reality

by bob (not verified) :: Thu, 02/16/2006 - 2:54pm

I think you guys are wrong about edge. His best bet is to stay with the colts. He fits right in with their offense and they know that. Reggie wayne can be replaced but edge cant. I think they will keep edge and get rid of reggie wayne. They can easily replace him with brandon stockey who is a good reciever but usually is on their sidelines. Edge will be on the colts sideline next season

by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 02/17/2006 - 12:46am

"ken," at no point in your rambling comment were you even close to anything that could be considered a useful thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

by FRANK (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2006 - 9:28am


by Ken Adams (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2006 - 9:37am

Moulds won't stay with bills if Losman is Qb he led the vets in buffalo bartering for the change to Holcomb this year Losman stays Moulds goes

by jerry pattison (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2006 - 9:27am

could you please tell me the ruling on hair?? in football is it part of uniform, can you tackle a player by his hair and not get a flag thank you jerry

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2006 - 11:58am

Jerry (#118 )--

By NFL rule, hair is part of the uniform. Tackling by the hair is no penalty.

by tim (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2006 - 8:30pm

yo bitch!! ill see t.o, in the texans motha motha . ill bet ur bottom dollar that 2morrow1!
there wil b sun!!!!! my real name is sunshine kim baby
and azns rule!

by KJ (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2006 - 9:15pm

Frankly i think TO will end up with Vick in Atlanta. The Falcons definitely need help in the reciever dept. and I bet TO would kill for the situation. Vick has one decent target in Crumpler, but TO would get enough balls thrown his way to shut him up for a season.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 7:18pm

KJ (#121 )--
TO would get enough balls thrown his way to shut him up for a season.
If were just a question of usage, TO would have been happy in Philadelphia. He got plenty of passes thrown to him, over the 2004 season and in that Superbowl XXXIX game you may have heard about.

What Owens wanted, was a great many more dollars thrown at him, and I'm not sure Atlanta (or any team that considers itself a contender) will be willing to provide enough of them to satisfy his opinion of his own worth.

Remember that the Eagles were paying him pretty well, and if he had shut up and played, were exceedingly likely to pay him the $6 million roster bonus this year, which would have considerably boosted the dollars per year that were so important to him. Heck, I'm willing to bet that if he had simply held out quietly (like Richard Seymour did), he could have gotten a pretty large sum advanced last year (as the Patriots did for Seymour).

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 07/21/2006 - 7:27pm

RE: 114

As expected, you were dead wrong.

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