It’s A Damn Business So Let The Caterwauling Begin ……….
By tophatal ………….
The NFL postseason ended with a second Superbowl triumph for the New York Giants and their emphatic 21-17 victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots . In the aftermath of those events we now come to the off-season mayhem that comes about as teams now look to off-load their free agents with a possible view to re-signing them or pursuing the college talent that will be available via the upcoming NFL Draft this April.
Slide show for your perusal .
In light of this all it would appear that a number of front offices around the league are either coming to some hasty decisions . The Pittsburgh Steelers it would appear might make the decision to cut their famed wide receiver Hines Ward . The player himself a leader in a number of receiving categories for the franchise has made it clear that he would like to retire a Steeler rather than taking his talents elsewhere. I can’t say that I’d blame the player , given his tenure with the team where has found immeasurable success as well as being a Superbowl MVP winner with the Pittsburgh Steelers . Mike Tomlin as the head coach of the team knows that he can ill afford to lose a player of Ward’s caliber given his productivity this season for the franchise .
Having missed the postseason the Pittsburgh Steelers saw the Baltimore Ravens win the NFC North along with the upstart Cincinnati Bengals claiming a wildcard berth from within the division. The issues of the Steelers were well chronicled this season with the defense not being up to par and that is in spite of having a defensive guru as the team’s defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau .
Team quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his part has voiced his dissatisfaction concerning the offensive strategies by the coaching staff . That being said a move of this magnitude by the Steelers could have lasting ramifications for the team. The franchise may well be looking to curtail costs but it’s not as if Ward was a major liability in terms of the salary he was being paid annually in comparison to other players at the position within the NFL . That being said the New England Patriots whose woes this season were clearly evident for everyone to see. The team’s offense while being explosive it was the defense throughout much of the season that was caused for concern and prove to be their Achilles’ Heel also in the postseason , specifically in their Superbowl match-up against the New York Giants .
Patriots’ GM Nick Caserio in consultation with Bill Belichick is said to be contemplating the decision to cut wide receiver Wes Welker who is said to be seeking an improved contract . The player over the last five seasons has been one of the team’s most productive players and also in the NFL as this has been borne out in terms Welker’s statistics over that time-frame .
The player this past season led all players in receptions . Now to my mind while Welker can be faulted for a number of missteps made during the Superbowl but if this is Belichick’s idea of sending a message to the rest of the players on the team then he should also have been sending an even much sterner message to Chad Ochocinco because his production post and regular season was about as anemic as one could imagine . Granted , having been acquired in a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals , the wide receiver has never lived up to the expectations one had hoped for . And given the fact that upon the acquisition Chad Ochocinco was signed to a three-year contract extension valued at $11,500,000 that offered a base salary of $1,000,000 for the 2011 season . Either this was a naive move on the part of Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick in cutting Wes Welker but I feel that the move itself was a foolish one !
There’s no doubt in my mind that Wes Welker will find himself a new franchise where he can offer his services but at the same time as an avid Patriots’ fan I am hoping that Belichick will be man enough to re-sign the player even if it is only to one year contract ! Chad Ochocinco sits on the sidelines “tweeting ” about his wish to be a solid and productive player but he seems to forgotten the fact that if he’s to be productive then he has to actually show up for these games , rather than continually making a complete ass of himself merely to “sell the brand “ known as Chad Ochocinco ! If Bill Belichick wasn’t clear in the fact that the wide receiver he felt he could tie his sail to then surely the choice made by the coach has left no doubt in the minds of many of the idiocy of his decision ! The former Bengals’ wide receiver has failed miserably to live up to expectation while the franchise’s most productive wide receiver has been let go ……… . I now guess the next question that has to be asked what the hell was Bill Belichick thinking ?
The off-season promises to be mayhem simply because of the enormity of the number of free agents about to hit the free agency market . Can you imagine that as many as 600 players will be restricted and unrestricted free agents that figure equates to 36% of the playing staff of the NFL now enter the market place where their agents will be looking to make their clients available to the highest bidder .
Over the five years it is my belief that the names of Brady , Peyton Manning , Aaron Rodgers , Roethlisberger , Drew Brees and now one can add Eli Manning’s name as the most “ recognizable faces ” within the NFL ! After Brees’ record breaking season and his MVP award I can only hope that the New Orleans Saints and in particular the front office executives are likely to retain the player rather than testing the free agency market amongst the designated quarterbacks that will be available this off-season . The fact that Saints’ owner Tom Benson might now be hedging his bet rather than negotiating with the player leads me to believe that the two sides are now far either far apart in the process or they are close to an agreement but would rather keep the findings private until a given time .
Given what Brees has meant to the team over the years can you consider them letting him go and the player now playing elsewhere ? And to my mind Chargers’ GM AJ Smith and team owner Dean Spanos might now just be rueing the day that they allowed the player to leave that organization . If nothing the repeated failure of the San Diego Chargers are simply now proving that the repeated failures to make a credible run in the postseason shows that they should be considered a complete failure ! Philip Rivers to my mind is a very good regular season …… quarterback but come the postseason I certainly don’t consider him to be a leader or for that matter that he has the complementary weapons around him to for even to take that organization to the next level ! And it is clear that the window of opportunity for the San Diego Chargers , the coaching staff of head coach Norv Turner and the players themselves that time is running out and their window is about to firmly closed ! It is inconceivable to my mind that Turner retained his position and will be returning to the organization next season . ! It’s not as if they posed a real serious threat to anyone within their division much less the rest of the NFL .
At what point will it occur to Jim Irsay that with every utterance out of his mouth concerning the franchise’s impending future he further alienates himself amongst the fans of the Indianapolis Colts , much less those fans who simply worship Peyton Manning ? We all know the now well chronicled stories emanating from the organization and the events that have taken place concerning the forced departures of the coaching staff and front office executives . And now Irsay and GM Keith Grigson have to make a decision that will impact the Colts’ franchise for the foreseeable future . Do they retain Peyton Manning beyond the 8th March , pay him the $28 million roster bonus due > and then quite possibly take either Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck as the consensus # 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft ? One should bear in mind also that the rookie salary contract while not all that foreboding will have to be one that is seemingly enticing enough for either Griffin or Luck to sign . Is that figure likely to be higher than the contract signed by the Carolina Panthers’ ……. Cam Newton last season as the then number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft ? That obviously will be a topic of discussion that can and will be eagerly debated as and when that situation arises . Being financially prudent is one thing but in this case the premise might just have to take a back seat considering the Colts’ deficiencies at the quarterback position this past season .
Newly installed coach Chuck Pagano may well be envious of the fact that should Manning be retained he has the pleasure of coaching one of the best players to have played the position in NFL history . But much of that will be predicated on the decision to be made jointly by the team owner and front office staff . I am sure that Pagano will no doubt be consulted on the decision to be made but either way , with the end quite possibly in sight as it relates to Peyton Manning’s career. He may well have the desire to play , be it with the Colts or quite possibly with another NFL franchise but I do feel that given his injury issues the chance that any recurrence no matter how remote could have far more dangerous ramifications for the player than he or his medical advisers are prepared to let on . They may well have given the player a clean bill of health but with Irsay countering that the player hasn’t passed the club’s own in-house physical speaks highly as to the possible decision that will be made by the owner in what he believes will be the best for the future of his franchise .
If there’s one particular NFL franchise that is in the midst of what I believe to be needless turmoil then that would have to be the Chicago Bears ! From what was meant to be a season of promise essentially turned into a nightmare of their own making . Head coach Lovie Smith saw the team implode , suffer a number of injuries and the loss of quarterback Jay Cutler meant the mishaps were simply being written themselves .
Former GM Jerry Angelo wasn’t asked to return and the shakeup within the front office began to devastating effect within the organization. Now with the ever growing uncertainty concerning the team’s running back Matt Forte and whether or not they will extend the player’s contract and compensate him accordingly along the lines of the running backs within the league remains to be seen . Certainly, Forte deserves to be paid based solely on his productivity alone since his entrance into the NFL . One has to ask whether or not there is any common sense to be found from anyone within the front office of the Chicago Bears ? Simply losing a player of Forte’s caliber will have serious ramifications for the Bears and it is plain to see that the franchise needs Matt Forte if they’re to succeed at any level at all.
Forte has remained silent on the issue of his impending future and with the thought that he becomes an unrestricted free agent there’s to be a bevy of teams that will be interested in the player’s services and would be willing to pay him accordingly. The Chicago Bears if their intent is to show a sense of urgency as it relates to their future and specifically Matt Forte’s status then they should stop with the idiocy of simply playing the “waiting game ” !
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Picture gallery for your perusal .
With the impending status for so many players this off-season as it relates to their free agency what thoughts if any do you have on this all ? By all means do take the time to leave a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) New England Patriots Wes Welker drops a ball in the 4th quarter against the New York Giants during the NFL Super Bowl XLVI game February 5, 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY /Getty Images …….
(2) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 05: Wes Welker (83), Rob Gronkowski (87) and Aaron Hernandez (81) of the New England Patriots wait in the end zone after losing to the New York Giants 21-17 during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images … ……..
(3) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick leaves the stadium after the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Giants won 21-17. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….
(4) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 05: Quarterback Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots speaks to the media after losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 . Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ….
(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 05: Chad Ochocinco (85) of the New England Patriots waits on the field during warm ups before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Elsa Amendola /Getty Images ….
(6) Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers (L), Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears (C), and Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens (R), the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, pose with the trophy following a news conference on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……..
(7) Head Coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers watches the action from the side-lines during a NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 38-10 . Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images …….
(8) Phil Emery , the new Chicago Bears general manager, during his first news conference as general manager, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, in Lake Forest, Ill. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast … …….
(9) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears runs past Antwan Barnes (98) of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20 . Getty Images North America/Johnathan Daniel ……
(10) Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears gives instructions to players against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on December18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 38-14 . Getty Images North America / Johnathan Daniel …..
Biggie Smalls ……… ” Gimme The Loot ”