A week from today, we will be on the two-week anniversary of when the lockout ended. And now with two years of hindsight to show for it, it’s clear that the players dropped the ball.
Last week, I discussed Roger Goodell and the NFL’s corporate image in efforts to “protect the shield.” The fact that the players didn’t fight harder to have Goodell removed as the entity that disciplines players. This became a major issue last off-season with the BountyGate decisions, where Goodell clearly overstepped his limits when meting out player punishment.
The players signed a deal believing that their would be a landfall with money coming in 2014. Well, current projections indicate that at the earliest that will be coming in 2015. Until then there has been a flat cap which has led to teams spending much less money, leading some players to believe that teams are colluding with one another to keep prices down.
The players also didn’t fight hard enough to get rid of the franchise tag. Look at the number of tagged players that aren’t getting deals. Eight players got tagged this off-season. And only one of them as of this posting Monday morning, Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady, got a long-term deal. In fact, several of them such as Randy Starks and Anthony Spencer were pretty much told point-blank that their respective teams had no interest in locking them up to long-term deals.
That’s the same way that the Falcons treated Brent Grimes an off-season ago. They had no intention to really give him a long-term deal, which led to the bitterness expressed by Miko Grimes.
Look at the following table. Since 2008, 73 players have received franchise tags. Only 35 of them have gotten long-term deals from their respective teams. Even discounting this year’s group of eight, the percentage was still barely about half (52.3%). Basically when a player is tagged, it’s a 50/50 proposition that he gets a new deal from his respective team. This is why players hate the franchise tag. It’s denying them money that they should be able to get on the open market.
Looking back at the lockout, I think the players should have fought harder to modify or destroy the franchise tag. I don’t know how exactly, but perhaps something that would have made it much more prohibitive for NFL teams to use. Perhaps making it the average of the Top 3 salaries at their respective position, rather than the Top 5. Or perhaps make it so that if a team tags a player and he does not receive a long-term deal by June 1, he automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent.
All in all, the players are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to this new CBA. They better hope that the windfall in cap money that is projected to come in 2015 is so great that it makes up for it. But for most of the players that were tagged over the past two summers it will be far too late. The time from 2011 to 2015 is going to be longer than the majority of the current players in the league’s careers. They made their bed, now they have to lie in it.
Roddy White found a way to put his foot in his mouth on twitter again. He tweeted about the George Zimmerman verdict, suggesting that the jurors should go home and kill themselves. Eventually, he would apologize for his comments.
Firstly Roddy, don’t blame the jurors. Blame the prosecutors.
Secondly, this is one of many times that White has found himself apologizing for something he says on twitter. My personal opinion is that if you have to apologize for a tweet, then you probably shouldn’t be on twitter. And if you’re in a position like White, and have had to apologize enough that you’re now on your second hand counting, you definitely should not be on twitter.
I’m not going to sit here and beat up Roddy for his tweets…too much. I’ve done that in the past, and at this point in time I’m so used to it that it’s just not worth the effort anymore.
But what many folks don’t quite understand about twitter and other social media, Roddy included, is that there are many things that said in the privacy of your own home you can get away with. In fact, there are many things that you can say publicly (e.g. while seated eating in a restaurant) that people will generally accept. But twitter and social media like it are completely different animals. White has over 160,000 followers. Unlike in real life if you were in a setting with 160,000 people, it would be impossible to carry on a discourse with all of them. But twitter is different. Each and every person (minus the spammers of course) can have an individual discourse. So in the analogy that you’re out for dinner at a restaurant the same rules don’t quite apply. Something that you could say that a dozen people may not bat an eye at, chances are if that number was 160,000 more than their fair share are going to have an issue with. And unlike in a real-life restaurant, the anonymity of the internet is going to make people much more willing to “call you out” on your comments than they would in real life.
The supplemental draft came and went without any player being selected last week. It marked the first time since 2004 that a player had not been selected. It now means the six players that were eligible for the draft are free to sign with any NFL teams as they are ostensibly undrafted rookie free agents.
The Falcons have only once made a selection in the supplemental draft, taking Prairie View A&M defensive end Matthew Teague in 1980. Teague played 11 games with the Falcons in 1981, the extent of his NFL career.
While there have been a number of success stories from supplemental picks throughout it’s history (Cris Carter and Bernie Kosar immediately jump to mind), over the past fifteen years there haven’t been that many. Jamal Williams and Mike Wahle, who were taken by the Chargers and Packers, respectively in the second round of the 1998 supplemental draft are probably the two biggest in the modern era. Ahmad Brooks (3rd round pick by the Bengals in 2006) is currently a very good player for the 49ers, but he did very little for three years in Cincinnati before landing as a backup in San Francisco in 2009. Milford Brown (6th round, 2002, Texans) spent six seasons in the NFL mainly as a journeyman guard, starting 47 games in that span. Jared Gaither (5th round, 2007) had a nice little run with the Baltimore Ravens before injuries derailed his career after 2009. Josh Brent looked like he was developing into a success story after being a seventh round selection by the Cowboys in 2010. But then the incident that resulted in the death of Jerry Brown occurred last December.
Maybe wide receiver Josh Gordon, the most recent selection (Browns, 2nd round, 2012) still has a chance to become something.
But between the other 7 players selected since 1995 not already mentioned, they have appeared in 121 total games (17.3 per player) and started 15 (2.1 per player) of them.
So in the end it’s no wonder why the Falcons don’t take players there. It’s probably at best a 50/50 proposition that the player will turn out to have a decent NFL career. And that’s coupled with many of the players had off-field concerns which is why they became eligible for the draft in the first place. Brooks, Brent, and 2011 Raiders selection: quarterback Terrelle Pryor, are three prominent examples of that. So many of the good ones simply don’t pass the Falcons filter, which both Thomas Dimitroff and Rich McKay have made it a point of emphasis to adhere to over the past decade.
Presumably because Dimitroff is probably going to be the Falcons GM for the remainder of this decade, it’s probably going to be a long while before the Falcons make a selection in the supplemental draft. At least not until a JaDaveon Clowney type of player enters.