PDA

View Full Version : Chiefs Potential FA Help...


T-post Tom
01-14-2009, 12:44 AM
Several playoff performers headed to free agency
By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports



BALTIMORE – Standing there, you could see the figure ($12.5 million) ricocheting off the interior of Bart Scott’s skull. That’s a lot of green to turn down, which Scott did three years ago – eschewing a lucrative offer from the Cleveland Browns to return to the Baltimore Ravens. Some might call it a hometown discount, but if you pick Scott’s gray matter long enough, he’ll admit it was really a Super Bowl discount.

“I thought that’s what I was coming back for,” the Ravens linebacker said of his decision three years ago. “We were going to keep the core of the defense together and win a championship. We’ll see what happens this time around. And after whatever happens [in the playoffs], we’ll see where things go.”

Scott says that latter part with a hint of doubt, like he knows a bill is coming, and the Ravens may not be prepared to pay all of it. An unrestricted free agent this offseason, Scott finds himself in a place shared by a multitude of stars that qualified for the playoffs this season – headed for the open market. But no single unit will feel the pinch more than Baltimore’s defense, which has three core players who will be unrestricted free agents this offseason.

Indeed, the core of Baltimore’s vaunted linebacker group is headed for open waters, with Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs slated to join Scott as free agents. Suggs is free after a contract provision was added last season that stipulated the Ravens couldn’t apply the franchise tag a second straight season. Meanwhile, the Ravens aren’t likely to franchise either Lewis or Scott due to what are expected to be exorbitant franchise tag salaries at their positions.

There is also a possibility that fading cornerback Chris McAlister will be a cap casualty if he doesn’t renegotiate his deal this offseason. And complicating the situation is the fact that game-changing nose tackle Haloti Ngata is entering Year 4 of a five-year deal next season – which means the Ravens will be looking to talk contract extension by the end of 2009.

In that broad spectrum, Scott may have framed the situation best: “I think we’d all like to be here, but you know how that goes.”

A league source with intimate knowledge of Scott’s free agent mindset said he has gotten to the point where he won’t be making “the Cleveland decision” all over again.

“Twelve and a half million dollars was a lot of money to leave out there [in 2006],” the source said. “That was a one-time thing. This time, there won’t be any discounts. [Ownership] is going to have to pay full price.”

As it stands, the economy is making this offseason’s free agent market slightly unpredictable, but Scott’s age (he’ll turn 29 in August) and flexibility – he can play middle or outside linebacker in both a 3-4 or 4-3 alignment – should make him a valuable commodity. It’s believed he will draw a package north of the reported five-year, $25 million deal signed by Washington’s London Fletcher in 2007, but south of the reported bloated six-year, $42 million deal the New York Jets gave Calvin Pace last offseason.

As for Lewis and Suggs, both have factors that could drastically impact their value. Despite playing some of the best football in his career, Lewis’ age (he turns 34 in May) will weigh heavily against him. And Suggs salary could vary dramatically depending on whether teams will view him as a pass rushing outside linebacker in a 3-4, or a lithe, Jared Allen type of defense end in a 4-3.

Regardless of how that all plays out, at least one thing appears certain: this may be the last time we see the Ravens defense with this current core of stars. That said, Baltimore isn’t alone. Here is a look at some of the other playoff stars – which means New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel and other non-postseason qualifiers’ statuses won’t be assessed – who are slated to be unrestricted free agents this offseason …

Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee Titans
The big daddy of this offseason’s free agent market, Haynesworth will land somewhere near the richest deal in NFL history for a defensive player. The Titans used their franchise tag on him last season, and he added the same “no second-tag” stipulation as Suggs, so he’s going to be on the market. His age (he turns 28 in June) and ability to dominate make him one of the best defensive free agents in league history. His prior anger issues – and the penchant for some defensive tackles to get lazy after signing big deals – make him a little scary for teams. But he’ll still cash in huge and leave Tennessee.

Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina Panthers
After bouncing back big with 14˝ sacks this season, it’s extremely unlikely Peppers is going anywhere, particularly after the Panthers saw what happened to the Kansas City Chiefs’ front line when it dealt Jared Allen. Peppers will sign a massive deal, or the Panthers will retain him with the franchise tag.

Jordan Gross, OT, Carolina Panthers
There has been some thought that Carolina can’t afford to keep both Gross and Peppers, especially considering they’re arguably the best free agent talent at “premium” positions. The reality is that Carolina likely can’t keep Gross, Peppers and quarterback Jake Delhomme, who will have a reported $11 million cap number next season. Smart money says the Panthers franchise Peppers and get a deal with Gross done before free agency begins, then either cut Delhomme or dramatically rework his deal.

Darren Sproles, RB, San Diego Chargers
His dazzling playoff performance against the Indianapolis Colts certainly made him some money, but not nearly as much as people seem to think. Because of his size, Sproles will be viewed as a top-notch hybrid player who could get 12-15 touches a game and handle the occasional start in an injury situation. Think of a slightly smaller Leon Washington. His highest value will be to the Chargers, but general manager A.J. Smith won’t overpay to keep him. That means Sproles will likely land elsewhere.

Kerry Collins, QB, Tennessee Titans
Collins wants to be a starter next year, and two things make it easy to see why the 36-year old feels justified in that stance: Tennessee’s record this season (and no, the loss to Baltimore was not Collins’ fault), and the uncertainty surrounding of Vince Young. That said, Tennessee didn’t make any playoff progress this year with Collins. And ditching Young or not giving him an opportunity to win the job in Year 4 of his five year deal would be a monumental admission of failure by the franchise. Chances are Collins tests free agency, then returns to fight for the starting job once again.

Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Advancing to the NFC championship game probably sealed this deal, putting Warner in the best case scenario that Collins might have enjoyed had Tennessee made the AFC’s title matchup. Despite the fact that Warner turns 38 this summer, he’ll likely end up inking a five-year deal that’s really more of a three-year arrangement. Arizona would simply be taking too big a risk to let Warner go to a team like the Minnesota Vikings, and then possibly fall flat on its face by casting its fortunes on Matt Leinart.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants
Jacobs’ situation is much like Peppers’ with Carolina. It’s almost unimaginable that he’d get away as a free agent. Considering what the offense looked like during his short injury absence in the regular season, it’s certain he’ll get tagged if the Giants can’t nail him down with a long-term deal.

Derrick Ward, RB, New York Giants
Jacobs’ impending financial windfall and the capabilities of Ahmad Bradshaw as a backup mean Ward will likely be headed elsewhere to become some team’s starting running back. He proved his worth by rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season, not to mention a strong performance while filling in for Jacobs early in ’07 as well. The one interesting thing will be how teams react to Ward’s age (he’ll be 29 in August). While he doesn’t have a lot of mileage, that will still scare teams. So don’t be shocked if he falls well short of the six-year $34.5 million deal the Atlanta Falcons gave Michael Turner last offseason.

Vernon Carey, OT, Miami Dolphins
Miami’s refusal to talk to Carey about contract specifics until after the season essentially guaranteed he would see the free agent market. While he’s not considered an “elite” bookend, Carey is a solid right tackle who will likely always be one notch below a Pro Bowl-caliber player. That said, his age (he turns 28 in July) and extensive starting experience will make him a valued commodity, likely drawing him one of the more lucrative deals of the offensive linemen this offseason.

Channing Crowder, LB, Miami Dolphins
Crowder will be a very interesting free agent to watch. He is extremely young (he just turned 25) and has shown the ability to be a consistent tackler. But he hasn’t been a big playmaker in his four years, producing only 1˝ sacks, three forced fumbles, and zero interceptions in that span. It doesn’t help that he hasn’t toned down his reputation as a big locker room talker with a wild streak, either. Still, Crowder has a respectable skill set and good size, and that should lead to a healthy contract from a team that believes it can coach him up.

Brian Dawkins, S, Philadelphia Eagles
He turns 36 in October, and he’s not the elite player that he once was, but Dawkins has shown in the second half of this season that he’s still a good football player. He wants to play in 2009, and his value inside the locker room ranks right near the top of the NFL. It’s likely the Eagles will figure out a short-term deal to give him one last payday – perhaps even a one-year deal. But if they can’t get it done, another playoff contending team will gladly scoop Dawkins up for a year or two.

Karlos Dansby, LB, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals put the franchise tag on Dansby last season, and they could do it again, but there is a good chance he’ll hit the open market. Having just turned 27 in November, Dansby has put up five good years for the Cardinals, and shown an array of skills. He should have some high demand, and will be looking for something similar to the lucrative former teammate Pace signed with Jets. Teams will love his size and potential for growth, even after five years.

blueballs
01-14-2009, 12:53 AM
THe Pats have a history of being
below the cap and cheap
temper your FA dreams

RustShack
01-14-2009, 12:55 AM
Didn't the Patriots sign like a bajillion free agents in 00 or 01?

RustShack
01-14-2009, 12:56 AM
I'm not saying we go after big names or anything like that, but I think we are pretty active in free agency and Pioli gets a lot of guys who at least fit the direction we go even if they aren't future players for us.

jAZ
01-14-2009, 01:05 AM
Vernon Carey, OT, Miami Dolphins
Miami’s refusal to talk to Carey about contract specifics until after the season essentially guaranteed he would see the free agent market. While he’s not considered an “elite” bookend, Carey is a solid right tackle who will likely always be one notch below a Pro Bowl-caliber player. That said, his age (he turns 28 in July) and extensive starting experience will make him a valued commodity, likely drawing him one of the more lucrative deals of the offensive linemen this offseason.

Channing Crowder, LB, Miami Dolphins
Crowder will be a very interesting free agent to watch. He is extremely young (he just turned 25) and has shown the ability to be a consistent tackler. But he hasn’t been a big playmaker in his four years, producing only 1˝ sacks, three forced fumbles, and zero interceptions in that span. It doesn’t help that he hasn’t toned down his reputation as a big locker room talker with a wild streak, either. Still, Crowder has a respectable skill set and good size, and that should lead to a healthy contract from a team that believes it can coach him up.

Karlos Dansby, LB, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals put the franchise tag on Dansby last season, and they could do it again, but there is a good chance he’ll hit the open market. Having just turned 27 in November, Dansby has put up five good years for the Cardinals, and shown an array of skills. He should have some high demand, and will be looking for something similar to the lucrative former teammate Pace signed with Jets. Teams will love his size and potential for growth, even after five years.
Interesting options that might not break the bank.