There has been a lot of talk recently about a Brandon Lloyd to N.E. connection and rightfully so. Lloyd has said that he’s tied to McDaniels because only Josh McD has been able to get production out of B. Lloyd. Brandon credits his success to Josh’s ability to utilize the shifty WR on all levels of the Offense and in a myriad of Offensive sets. This sounds like a match made in heaven but there’s another side to this story.
That other side is the fact that Tom Condon is B. Lloyd’s agent. Condon is one of the best agents in the NFL. He represents some big names and players love him because he’s damn good at his job. The Patriots hate him because he’s damn good at his job. Most of us know that the Pats have not dealt with Condon since the Ben Watson fallout of 2004, so one can imagine just how volatile the B. Lloyd contract negotiations could become.
To the agent’s credit he’s offered an olive branch of sorts by praising both the Patriots front-office and his own ruthless, wildly successful negotiating skills. He’s made it clear that he’s willing to let bygones be bygones and he’ll do whatever it takes to put his client in the best situation (though he expects that B. Lloyd will be a highly desired WR in the open market, go figure).
My question to all the Pats fans out there is how much is Brandon Lloyd worth? My take after the jump.I’ve done a bit of research on this issue and I’ve got what I hope is good news. If you head over to rotoworld and start digging up some contracts of WR’s like Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Roddy White and Greg Jennings, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that even the elite WR’s don’t make more than ~million a year (on average, back-loaded contracts like Larry Fitz’s are obvious exceptions).
Now, I don’t think anyone will claim that Brandon Lloyd is anywhere near as good as either Johnson so it doesn’t make much sense for Lloyd to demand anywhere near million a year ( with ~%80 of the gross value of the contract guaranteed like the contract Andre Johnson has earned himself).
To me, a 30 year old WR who had zero success for 7 years in the NFL until your (the Pats) current O-Coordinator got a hold of him, that guy is probably worth -6million per year for 3-4 years with ~%60-%70 of the gross value of the contract guaranteed. It would be wise for the Patriots to offer some incentive based bonuses and some roster/workout bonuses later in the deal to ensure B. Lloyd’s commitment to success. This allows the Pats to offer a bigger deal that won’t offend B. Lloyd but also offers them the latitude to move on from the 30+ year old WR should he not perform up to his contract’s value.
What do you guys (and ladies) think?
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t import much talent to the roster in the 2011 NFL Draft. It can be argued that they didn’t need their rookies to play much last year, but that’s a weak way to look at things as none of the players they picked have a huge upside. No future Pro Bowlers in this class. Here is a look at how the Steelers’ rookies did in 2011:
22-year old DE Cameron Heyward was picked in the first round by the Steelers. He played in all 16 games for the Steelers last year and he had 11 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 1 pass defensed. The Steelers are old at DE, so Heyward might be starting in the near future.
23-year old OT Marcus Gilbert was picked in the 2nd round last April. He played in 14 games (13 starts) for the Steelers last year. Gilbert will probably be in the Steelers’ starting lineup for a long time as they need the help.
23-year old CB Curtis Brown was a 3rd round pick. Brown played in 12 games for the Steelers last year and he had 14 tackles and 2 forced fumble. His season ended on I.R. due to a knee injury.
23-year old CB Cortez Allen was a 4th round pick. He played in 15 games for the Steelers last year as he finished up with 15 tackles. Allen will have to improve if he wants to get more P.T. defensively.
22-year old OLB Chris Carter was picked in the 5th round. He played in 8 games for the Steelers last year in which he had 3 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss.
23-year old OG Keith Williams was picked in the 6th round. He was cut before the year started and he was picked up by the Buffalo Bills. He didn’t get into any games for the Bills last year.
24-year old RB Baron Batch was a 7th round pick. He missed his rookie season due to knee surgery.
GRADE FOR 2011: D
GRADE FOR THE FUTURE: D+
One of the problems faced by a team that starts the season 1-4 is that in order to rebound it’s going to require some help from other teams. On Sunday, the Eagles received no such help.
You might argue it was helpful to the Eagles that the 49ers knocked off Washington. href="http://insidetheiggles.com/files/2011/11/296px-National_Football_Conference_logo.svg_1.png"> src="http://insidetheiggles.com/files/2011/11/296px-National_Football_Conference_logo.svg_1.png" alt="" title="296px-National_Football_Conference_logo.svg" width="256" height="183" class="alignright size-full wp-image-13955" />I’d argue that the Redskins are absolutely baked and John Beck plays quarterback for that team, so they can no longer be considered a threat. So let’s move on.
Instead, let us take a look at the Eagles’ other NFC foes and breakdown what today’s action means for their postseason hopes.
Dallas: The Cowboys struggled early, going into the half tied 6-6 with Seattle. The Seahawks ran the ball with some success as Marshawn Lynch carried 23 times for 135 yards and a touchdown. Tavaris Jackson made some big plays against the Dallas secondary, but threw three interceptions which helped the Cowboys pull away late with a 23-13 win. Tony Romo finished the day 19 of 31 for 279 yards and two touchdowns, and DeMarco Murray racked up 139 yards on the ground in a must-win game for the Cowboys. … [ href="http://insidetheiggles.com/2011/11/06/nfc-playoff-picture-the-eagles-didnt-get-much-help-sunday/">visit site to read more]
Given the fact that so much news has come out about the Packers today, I thought I would give you quick glimpses of various sites carrying different stories about the team today.
The first, of course has to be about Brett Favre. Though it’s a story basically about nothing, we figured it should be the top story, just because it has Brett’s name attached to it.
Here ya go:
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Brett Favre says that while his playing days are definitely over, he hasn’t decided what he’s going to do with himself in the coming years.He said he has enjoyed staying around Southern Miss but has “no plans right now and we’ll see where that takes me.” … [visit site to read more]
Although this is not officially a FanPost of the Week column, it is nonetheless inspired by a recent FanPost, authored by the always thoughtful 5Blings. In his FP, Blings asks, simply: how much longer should we expect Tony Romo to play at a high level? This is an important question as it applies to the Cowboys’ “window of opportunity,” and how the Garrett administration has and will conduct themselves vis a vis player acquisition. Before moving on to discuss each of these in turn, lets take a closer look at Blings’ post.
His larger point, if I read correctly, is that Tony Romo is getting old, or, more properly, reaching that age where, historically, NFL quarterbacks begin to decline. As exhibit A, Blings produces one Danny White who, like Romo, took over the offensive helm after spending a few years as a backup learning his trade and, once the starter, enjoyed almost immediate success. White led the Cowboys to NFC Championships in his first three years as a starter (1980-82), then tailed off fairly precipitously as his skills and the team around him declined. His age during this stretch? White was 28 his first year as a starter; 31 in his last (which was also his most statistically impressive).
More after the jump…
In fact, White’s career traced out a familiar trajectory. Statistics show that the peak performance range for NFL quarterbacks is 25-28, after which they begin to decline–although in some cases, this decline is subtle. Looking at this, Blings opines:
So where does that leave Tony? It leaves him needing to win it all quickly. His window is closing. Whether you believe the US Sports Academy data or not, he’s closer to 35 years old than he is to 25 and no longer has the luxury of time to grow into the role of leader on a championship team. He has to win now or he will be considered an also-ran in the Dallas Cowboys Quarterback history books when all is said and done.
One thing Blings (and the fevered back-n-forth in the comments section) doesn’t mention is Romo’s contract. The six-year, .4 million extension he inked in the middle of the 2007 campaign is set to expire in 2013. When it does, the Cowboys will be faced with a very difficult decision: pay big, multi-year money to a declining player or cut bait and go with a new starting quarterback. Romo is almost certain to be productive in 2014; the question is: how much beyond that will he be in the “elite quarterback” conversation? Its likely Romo and his agents will want a multi-year deal (probably five or six years) at elite quarterback money. So, he’d probably be getting paid as an elite QB long after he was performing like one.
This applies to several key members of Dallas’ talent nucleus. Lets take a look:
Looking at this, its clear that Jones, Garrett & Co. will have several difficult decisions to make re: renewing contracts for star players who have begun their descent into the vale of years. Several of these look like no-brainers. I can’t imagine they’ll renew Newman’s contract (or that he’ll play to the end of it); given the recent ILB draftees, I’d bet that 2011 is Bradie James‘ last year in Dallas. But what will the Cowboys organization do when the contracts of Gurode, Witten and Ratliff expire? Its seems that Ratliff and Witten will be particularly difficult decisions.
This, and the fact that former stalwarts like Marion Barber, Marcus Spears, Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier are unlikely to return suggests that not only Romo’s, but this iteration of the Cowboys’ “window of opportunity” is beginning to close. Before you get yourself in a tizzy, let me be clear: it hasn’t closed. But core players–guys who were drafted in the banner crops of 2003 and 2005–are passing their NFL prime. I have heard scouts say that teams win with a nucleus of guys in their 5th-8th years in the league. The 2003 class will be beginning their ninth year; the 2005 class their seventh. So, insofar as those two draft classes are concerned, they are poised at the end of their prime years.
Curiously, the Cowboys front office, at least during the most recent draft, has not behaved as if this is so. Many pundits were proclaiming that Dallas needed to come away from the draft with at least three starters, but other than Tyron Smith and DeMarco Murray, the players they drafted look like they are more likely to pay dividends in 2012 and beyond. There are several ways to interpret this: the Cowboys front office placed a premium on obtaining immediate contributors and failed; they have a plan to fill those immediate needs via free agency (and have already fleshed out agreements with prospective players and their agents); or even though evidence suggests they have to win now, the Cowboys didn’t sell the farm to obtain a couple of veterans at positions of perceived need.
The last of these presents a refreshing change. Historically, the Cowboys brass (specifically Jerry Jones) has overcompensated for the previous season’s deficiencies when Dallas has underperformed and undercompensated for them when they’ve done well. Particularly when the Cowboys have played poorly, Jones is all about immediate gratification. Therefore, you’d think that this offseason would be about doing whatever was necessary to rectify the deficiencies of 2010. By collecting draft choices with future upside, the Cowboys, and their 2011 draft, suggest that they are capable of delaying gratification for greater future return. While that might not be the best news insofar as the current nucleus of aging Cowboys’ stars is concerned, it bodes well for the long-term stability and success of the franchise.
That is, until Jones starts throwing money at 31 year old nose tackles. We’ll have to wait until the end of the 2012 season to see how that plays out…
I keep telling Doug, my friend and the sports editor at the Tahoe Daily Tribune in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., that he shouldn’t worry so much.
“doug,” I tell him, “we’re the world champions. Stop worrying so much about 2011. This team will repeat … [visit site to read more]
Could you imagine Charles Woodson roaming the Green Bay Packers’ defensive backfield for another couple of years? Another three years? How about five years? … [visit site to read more]
NY Yankees Sit Atop AL East, But They’re Nowhere Near Safe at This Point
The New York Yankees are in a position that many around baseball didn’t see them in at this point in the year: first place in the AL East. Thanks to the struggles of longtime nemeses the Boston Red Sox, the Bronx Bombers are 16-9, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays atop the AL East.
But, just because they hold the early lead, don’t think for a second that the division race is over; if anything, it’s just getting started.
For one thing, we’re just beginning the second month of baseball this season. For another, while the Yankees hold a lead, the AL East race is wide open. Fifth-place Boston is just five games out of first, and have won 10 of 15 since their 2-10 start. The Blue Jays, Rays and Orioles have all looked great at points in the early-going, and none of them (except maybe Baltimore) figure to be going anywhere.
But, it’s not just the competition New York needs to worry about; there are some issues on their own roster that need to be addressed.
The offense is working just fine; the Yankees rank sixth in the league in runs scored and first in slugging percentage, and haven’t showed any signs of slowing. Even with Derek Jeter still struggling to find his groove, most of the other Yanks have been raking, including notorious slow starter Mark Teixiera.
But, there are some lingering issues in the rotation that have yet to be addressed. CC Sabathia has been his usual lights-out self this season, while A.J. Burnett looks much improved. But, after them, things get messy in a big hurry. Phil Hughes is hurt (and pitched terribly before he got hurt), Ivan Nova can’t be trusted to pitch reliably, and anyone who thinks Bartolo Colon can keep up his strong form thus far for more than another couple of weeks is kidding themselves. This team is thin in the rotation, and while the bullpen is improved, they’re hardly untouchable.
Rafael Soriano has looked eminently hittable, and while Mariano Rivera is his usual dominant self, the rest of the bullpen doesn’t inspire much fear. Joba Chamberlain’s velocity is down, David Robertson hasn’t had his second turn through the league, and it remains to be seen how long they can all hold the rotation together.
The fact is, the Red Sox are coming on, and the rest of the division’s planning on sticking around, too.
New York’s not in trouble yet, but with the issues they still have in the rotation, they’re hardly sitting as pretty as their early lead would suggest. They should be seen as the division favorites (especially given Boston’s woes), but the Yanks aren’t shoe-ins by any stretch. They’ve got a long road ahead of them, and unless they find more starting pitching, I don’t know if they’ve got enough to take the division crown.