Monday, April 7, 2008

Comment on Top Draft Picks

I found this article yesterday, but with so much other news I decided to skip it. I had already cited like 3 other Times-Pic articles anyway.

But every time I read it my blood boils. This blurb from the article is what REALLY sticks in my craw...

"The top five guys will probably be the top five paid guys at their positions before they even play," said Dallas Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips, a decidedly old-school thinker who'd prefer to see the big money go to the core veterans of a team, five-, six-, seven-year pros who routinely are the backbone of an NFL club.

Tell me any other job, career, assignment, WHATEVER, where a person starts off on the highest financial echelon BEFORE he even gets to the office, job site, store, WHATEVER!

Do you start off as manager of McDonald's and work your way to fries? Do you work your butt off for 20 years as CEO, putting your career before you marriage and kids, in hopes of getting that big promotion to the mail room?

NO!! What upside-down, Seinfeld-esque, bizarro world is the NFL operating in? Feldman!

Take our team for example. Reggie, the second overall pick in 2006 was so hyped and highly-touted after his amazing (and I will give that to him. He was sick. Seriously.) college career. And so, as is the culture in the NFL today, we "made it rain" on Reggie (do I owe Pacman royalties for using his phrase). And of course, being the god-awful 3-13 team we were in 2005, we didn't bat an eye. We were the luckiest team alive. "What the hell was Houston thinking!?" we asked ourselves, and anyone who would listen. Never seen him play a down in the NFL? F&%@ you, pay him! He's holding out and missed thee practices? F&%@ YOU, PAY HIM! Fans would have hanged Benson in Jackson Square if he let Reggie go, no matter the cost. We are all guilty, myself included. What else should we have thought?

On the other side of the coin we have Deuce. Going on 8 years now with the Saints. Team loves him. Players love him. Coaches love him. Fans love him. City loves him. The dude is Mother f%&#@ing Theresa if Mother Theresa ran a 4.5 4o and it takes four 350 lb. linemen to take her down. Now, Deuce's contract isn't exactly small potato's. Dude is gonna be fine. But Deuce proved himself. He had already won the approval of his teammates, coaches and fans. We knew he was worth it. Ahem. Three seasons in a row over 1,000 yards. Cough. On top of the fact that he was a nice guy about the whole renegotiation process; "As part of the new contract, Deuce lowered his 2005 base salary by $1.7 million, freeing up cap room for the team."

Such is the discrepancy in our favorite sport. It's the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Young, unproven, possibly talented athletes earning more than dependable, selfless, franchise veterans. To be fair, Reggie has contributed to this team. But because of the amount of money we spent on him without flinching, our expectations are higher. If we are going to pay Reggie more than Deuce, then Reggie should produce more than Deuce.

And what happens if a player like Reggie doesn't work out? Other than the fact that a team spends a lot of time and money figuring out that they shouldn't have spent all that time and money, said team is saddled with a huge contract for a useless player, and burdened by said contract for the following few years, thus limiting their payroll, minimizing their cap room and putting other players in the position of having to make sacrifices such as the one Deuce made for the team in 2005 and may have to make again this year. Does that seem fair? Noble, yes. Fair, I think not. But I guess that is why Deuce is Deuce, and Reggie is, well...not Deuce.

Have a great 2008 season Reggie. Please. We know you have big shoes to fill.

I'll leave you with Bill Polian's words...

" needs to change because the draft was designed to positively affect the game on the field and create competitive balance, and now we find it's doing just the opposite."

That felt good. It's nice to have a soapbox, er, I mean blog. I'll take a break from the ranting for a couple of posts.

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