Monthly Archives: April 2013

BTL 2013 NFL Mock Draft-1st Round

I’ve always been fascinated with mock drafts. Every year around March and early April I scour the internet for some expert opinion on who my team might draft. And eventually you read enough of them that you fall in love with a couple type of players that you want on your team. The experts who mock them to your team always know what they’re talking about, and coincidentally, the ones who have that player being taken earlier, have no idea. Well this is my attempt to make you happy (probably false hope) and or piss you off with my mock draft. Either way, don’t act like this isn’t an efficient use of 15 minutes of your day (candy crush can wait). So enjoy my mock draft and watch me be totally wrong on draft day.

Editors note: I will mock by draft order as of 4/24/13. It’s impossible to predict when Jim Harbaugh trades up into the top 10 to get his impact SS or Milliner falls out of the top 5.

1. Kansas City Chiefs OT-Luke Joeckel: After trading for Alex Smith their is no need for Akili Smith 2.0 (Geno Smith). You could argue Eric Fisher here as well but i’m going with popular opinion. Either one upgrades already good Oline unit.

2.Jacksonville JaguarsDE-Dion Jordan: A lot of needs here. If there was a halfway decent QB then it would be a no brainer. But there isn’t so it’s either OL or an impact rusher. I think Jordan gives them the athletic specimen similar to Jason Pierre-Paul on the NY Giants.

3.Oakland RaidersDT/DE-Shariff Floyd: With Richard Seymour leaving, Oakland needs a big bodied athlete to anchor it’s 3-4 defensive end spot. Floyd fits the prototype to a T. The Raiders improved from 29th in defense last year to 18th, the selection of Floyd will only help the Silver and Black.

4.Philadelphia EaglesOT-Eric Fisher: Mainly a value pick here, depending on who you ask, Fisher is at least a top 4 talent (some consider him the best in the draft). And the Eagles can’t go wrong with an Oline-men, especially if Chip Kelly expects to keep Vick upright throughout the remainder of the season.

5.Detroit LionsOT-Lane Johnson: A lot of possibilities here. The sexy pick is Dee Milliner, buts unless he’s Charles Woodson or Champ Bailey (and he’s not) it doesn’t make sense. The need pick would be DE’s Dion Jordan or Ziggy Ansah to replace Cliff Avril. But the smart/unsexy selection is to fortify a massively depleted Oline. You could argue Alabama’s OG Chance Warmack here, he definitely fits the bill. But an elite OT to protect your two biggest investments, Stafford and in turn Megatron, is always a smart move. Don’t F this up Mayhew.

6.Cleveland BrownsDE-Dee Milliner: New Browns GM Mike Lombardi returns to Cleveland since he and Belicheck left in 1995. It’s no coincidence that Lombardi wants to employ his mentor’s 3-4 defense. If Dion Jordan were here, it’d take 2 seconds for that draft card to be turned in. I go with Milliner here because he and Haden would make one of the best young CB’s duo’s in the NFL (it is a passing league). I thought about Ansah here as well but i don’t think he quite fits as a 3-4 OLB. Plus Lombardi already inked Kruger in FA to fill that need. Joe Haden worked out for them, why not Milliner.

7.Arizona CardinalsOG-Chance Warmack: I thought long and hard about the Cards drafting Geno Smith here, but i’m not sold on him. The Cardinals had the worst offensive line in the NFL last year. They gave up a league high in QB sacks (54). In a draft rich with Oline talent, it makes perfect sense to go need and best available here. Warmack gives AZ a strong physical road-grader type guard. He’s NFL ready and has done it against the best of the SEC. Johnathan Cooper is an option here but you’re really just splitting hairs.

8.Buffalo BillsQB-Geno Smith: After releasing Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills are in definite need of a quarterback. Geno makes the most sense here. As the consensus top quarterback in the draft, number 8 isn’t a franchise breaker if he fails. He doesn’t have to start right away, they do have Travaris Jackson to groom him. Geno is off the board.

9. New York JetsDE-Ziggy Ansah: The Jets have a lot of needs, QB being the biggest one but that discussion is for another day. WR help would be great as the have NO threat on the outside but that can be had later. I think Rex Ryan gets an infusion of juice in his now dormant pass rush. Getting Ziggy here is a great value for NY’s little brother.

10.Tennessee TitansDT-Star Lotulelei: Once a lock to be a Top 3 pick, health concerns sent him plummeting down the draft board, but it stops in Nashville. Now fully cleared by doctors, Lotulelei possesses the type of bulk and athleticism sorely needed in the Titans front front 4. There could be plenty of other options but Lotulelei’s upside is worth the risk.

11.San Diego ChargersOG-Johnathan Cooper: The Chargers need offensive line help and bad, particularly on the interior. With Bama OG Warmack off the board, UNC Johnathan Cooper would be a fine consolation prize. Cooper possesses the best agility and pass blocking skill of any of the interior lineman. Philip Rivers thanks you.

12.Miami DolphinsOT-D.J. Fluker: And the run on offensive linemen continues (get use to it). He does a little bit of everything and has the NFL size to back it up. With his long arms he is an asset in pass protection but his real skill is run blocking. Miami can look forward to both aspects of their blocking scheme being upgraded.

13.New York JetsWR-Tavon Austin: As I said earlier the Jets need help on the outside. Last year’s group was an abortion and that is putting it nicely. Tavon Austin fits the bill. He’s comparable to that of a DeSean Jackson in size and explosiveness. Giving Butt Fumble (Sanchez) a legitimate WR who can stretch the field might actually turn the Jets offense from unwatchable to just stagnate.

14.Carolina PanthersDT-Sheldon Richardson: Sometimes picks just make too much sense, this one is a no brainer. With Shariff Floyd off the board, Richardson is the best interior one gap pass rusher left. To say the guy is an athlete at 310 lbs is an understatement. Don’t out think the room Carolina, Richardson is your man.

15.NODE-Barkevious Mingo: After a season of completely sucking at defense (worst in NFL history). A pass rusher of Mingo’s talents is just what the doctor ordered. With the Saints going to the 3-4, Mingo gives them the all around package as an edge rusher. Mingo is step one to the Saints defensive overhaul.

16. STLSS-Kenny Vaccaro: The first of the Rams two round one picks, dont be surprised if they trade down *cough* 49ers *cough*. But seeing as I cannot predict that, I have the Rams taking the best SS on the board. Vaccaro is a versatile safety who can be a play-maker in center field, down in the box safety or even cover the slot nickel position. He’ll be a starter for somebody, question is who?

17. PITOLB-Jarvis Jones: Once considered a top 3 pick, medical issues and poor 40 time have sent his stock plummeting. But Pittsburgh is a team that could care less about that, Jones is a football player through and through. Match him up opposite Woodley and “Blitzburg” returns. Manti Te’o is an interesting option here but the void left by Harrison’s departure needs to be filled.

18.Dallas CowboysDT-Sylvester Williams: Another candidate to trade back. Dallas would have loved to have either Vaccaro or Richardson still on the board but both will probably be gone. Best available does not match up to need but I think Dallas reaches here and takes Williams. He is best as a run stopper and that is what Dallas needs to shore up the front seven.

19. NYGTE-Tyler Eifert: The G-Men could have gone Oline here but i can’t see them passing up Eifert as the best available still on the board. Eli and company could become near unstoppable in the two TE sets (Eifert and Myers) with their explosive threats on the outside. This is strictly a value pick, the smart teams always stockpile good players no matter of need.

20. CHIMLB-Manti Te’o: Some picks just make too much sense. Now with Urlacher gone, the hole in CHI Cover 2 is gaping, Te’o fills that need. Yes he’s had his troubles and one bad performance in the NC game but the kid is a 3-down MLB in the 4-3. Say what you will, Chicago would be smart to make this pick.

21.Cincinnati BengalsFS-Eric Reid: Some could argue that Eddie Lacy would be perfect here and that argument is valid. But Reid brings a more physical presence to the Bengals secondary that would be a better fit. Take Reid now and the Bengals can hit on some of the RBs in the later rounds.

22.STLILB-Alec Ogletree: Once thought top be a lock for a Top 15 selection, character red flags have dropped him into the latter half of the first round. But Jeff Fisher has a history of assuming those risks (Janoris Jenkins anybody?). Red flags aside, Ogletree will give the Rams the athleticism needed to compete with one of the best division in football.

23.Minnesota VikingsCB-D.J. Hayden: With two of the next 3 picks the Vikings can afford to go for both need and value. Hayden is the best player left on the board and will be counted on to fill the shoes left by Antoine Winfield. Some rate him as the best corner in the draft. Either way, at #23, it’s tremendous value. He can do a little bit of everything that is asked of a defensive back.

24.INDCB-Xavier Rhodes: Would have loved to have Hayden fall but Rhodes fits the bill of what the Colts need. While not the do it all corner that Hayden is, Rhodes excels in man press coverage. He has good size and will be a key cog in Pagano’s defense.

25.MINWR-Cordarrelle Patterson: Need and value meet again. Now that the Vikings have replaced Winfield, next is filling the void left by Percy Harvin. Patterson is similar to Harvin in terms of explosiveness. And with his 6’2″ frame, he can be a legitimate target for Ponder on the outside. Patterson should help lessen the pressure AP will face next year.

26.GBRB-Eddie Lacy: I truly think the GB will trade out of the pick and get an additional 2nd rounder because they have multiple needs to fill. Having said that, if they don’t trade, I think Lacy fits the bill. The Packers need a legitimate threat and Lacy gives them that. If he could tear up the SEC, he can give Rodgers an Co. that juice and burst against 6 and 7-man fronts. As the best player left on the board and a need at RB, Ted Thompson would be happy with Lacy.

27.HOUWR-Justin Hunter: The Texans need to find a running mate opposite Andre Johnson. While they would have loved Patterson to fall to them, Patterson’s teammate Justin Hunter will do. While he does have his issues in certain facets of his game. He he has no better role model then Johnson to tailor his game and work ethic after.

28.DENDE-Bjoern Warner: Warner slides in nicely after the departure of Elvis Dumervil. Jack of all trades and master of none, he fits a need for a Super Bowl ready squad.

29.NEFS-Matt Elam: They need cornerback help and Hayden or Rhodes would’ve been nice but they’ll probably be gone by the Pats pick. Secondary help is still a focal point, as the best player on the board Elam can help the Pats in a myriad ways. Don’t be surprised if NE trades down if the two corners aren’t there.

30.ATLTE-Zach Ertz: If by some miracle Eifert fell here, Atlanta would be doing somersaults. But Ertz is a good second option. While there are better players on the board. Ertz total package and heir apparent to Tony Gonzales gives the Falcons A LOT of options on offense. They can afford to wait on secondary and front 7 help. Ertz makes too much sense.

31.San Francisco 49ersFS-Johnathan Cyprien: I’d be shocked to see the Niners picking at #31, they’ll probably move up into the Top 15 (St. Louis) to get their guy. But if they do stay, I see them filling a need with Cyprien. He’s been moving up the charts since his exceptional showing at the combine. He good on the back end and is a good tackler, always an important Harbaugh characteristic. Don’t be surprised if Harbaugh takes his boy Ertz from Stanfordif he’s still there.

32.BALILB-Kevin Minter: If Te’o fell here it’d make a lot of sense. But they need to somehow fill that massive void left by Ray Lewis, or at least try to. Minter is undersized for a ILB but he’s got the athleticism to back it up. Has some character issues but in the right situation, he’ll flourish. Baltimore sounds about right.

There you go folks, my first round mock draft that will be busted like my NCAA bracket by pick 7. Hope you enjoyed it. Shoot me some feedback on your team picks. Enjoy the draft, it’s 5:00 pm on ESPN and NFL Network.

-MikeV87

Andrew Wiggins- The Next Great Thing

Andrew Wiggins is the top ranked player in the nation and is coming to a college game near you. UK, UNC, FSU and Kansas are all in the mix. As a UK fan, I for one am drooling at the chance to add Wiggins to already the best recruiting class this year. If Wiggins commits, Kentucky will have the greatest recruiting class of all time. They will redefine “The Fab Five”, mark my words.

In the mean time, enjoy this mix-tape.

Window of Opportunity- Part 1

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The NFL’s elite signal callers

– What gets you there……..

Any sports fan has heard this term, “window of opportunity”. It refers to the amount of time a specific team, player or coach has left to compete for their professions’ highest honor, a championship. Sometimes one might say that, “their window is just beginning” or “the window is closing soon”. Which ever it is, my goal is to take a closer look at what gets you into that conversation, keeps you there and why it might end a lot sooner than you think. Here’s Part I.

As an avid follower of NFL history, I really have a deep and profound respect for the great dynasties over the years. Whether it’d be the Browns of the 50s, the 1960s Packers, Steelers of the 70s and so on. The NFL is a COMPLETELY different game now than it was back then. But starting in around the 1980s and the advent of the West Coast Offense (thank you Bill Walsh) and the rise of more complex defensive schemes (4-6, 3-4 etc.), we can draw on some similarities on how teams kept winning at a high level. But the current structure of the NFL as it now is today, started way back in 1993 with the addition of Free Agency. Because of this, NFL teams couldn’t hold onto talented players as easily. See former Eagles DE Reggie White, he became a free agent and his play was a cornerstone to the Packers 1996 Super Bowl. What about the hired gun himself Dion Sanders, he jumped to SF (SB in ’94) and then to Dallas the very next year (SB in ’95). No longer could teams retain everybody and maintain a championship level team. And with more player movement came a rise in player salaries, especially at premium positions, DE, OLB, OT and QB. It wasn’t till about 1999 when the age of parody began to dominate the league. With the last dynasty in our rear view mirror (2000s Patriots), I am curious to see what constitutes a “window of opportunity” and how a team and it’s players must be structured to win at the elite level in the NFL.

Now to delve into this discussion, we first must identify what major factors make up a championship or elite level team. So lets take quick look at the most successful NFL teams since 2010. And I choose 2010 because change is so rapid in the NFL, in reality things can shift the balance of power year to year (read option anyone). But three years gives us enough of a sample size while still staying current to today’s NFL.

Best Winning Percentage 2010-2013 (post-season included)

-The Elite Eight

  1. Patriots 42-12 .777 W%
  2. Packers 41-14* .745 W%-SB XLV
  3. Ravens 40-14 .741 W%- SB XLVII
  4. Falcons 37-15 .712 W%
  5. Steelers 34-18 .654 W%
  6. Saints 32-19* .627 W%
  7. Niners 33-19-1* .623 W%
  8. Giants 32-20 .615 W%-SB XLVI

*(Fail Mary and yes I am still bitter, Sean Peyton suspended for 2012, 2010 Niners was BH ->Before Harbaugh)

What can we take away from the NFL’s elite over the last three years? Well in life as in many other things, to be successful on a consistent basis one must possess certain traits and characteristics that lend itself towards success. The NFL is no different. In as a competitive market as there is in America, teams must possess certain commodities to win consistently. The three commodities that every elite team over the last three years either possessed or had for a stretch run (i.e. SB run) and will continue to need going forward in today’s NFL is what i call:

The Holy Trinity of Football

  • Elite Quarterback: This one shouldn’t surprise you. Elite play from the QB position has been a bench mark commodity since the dawn of the NFL. There is a reason why it is the most important position in football. It’s also why they are the highest paid players and get all the credit for team success. Take a quick look at the QBs on that list, 6 of 8 have rings, 7 of 8 have been to the Super Bowl and every single one of them is a Pro Bowl caliber QB. Once one of the rarest commodities in the sport, with the advent of the “quarterback age” (2008-present), having an elite signal caller is getting less and less rare. Never the less, it is still THE essential chess piece going forward.
  • Elite Coaching: Again another commodity that shouldn’t surprise you. Having an elite coach is probably the second most important commodity in football. Although Bill Barnwell from Grantland.com begs to differ (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8723176/jim-harbaugh-continues-biggest-bargain-football). Either way, it is an essential chess piece to winning in the NFL. And when you can pair the creme de la creme of coaching and quarterbacks, you get dynasties. A la, Lombardi and Starr, Walsh and Montana and Belicheck and Brady. You want to be considered in the elite, you’ll need a head coach who can scheme, motivate or due both at a high level, to succeed in the NFL.
  • Elite Pass Rush: While the first two have been cornerstones in the NFL for decades on end, I considered this the newest commodity, and probably the scarcest one of all. Ever since the NFL became a passing league in 2004 (Defensive PI rules were changed to favor the WRs). The NFL became an offensive pass-happy league, with three of the most prolific passing seasons of all-time happening in 2004 (Manning), 2007 (Brady) and 2011 (Rodgers). While rushing the passer has always been a defensive staple, in 2007 we saw what type of havoc an elite level unit could wreck on an offense (the GOAT offense at that). Since then, the kryptonite for the #1 commodity in football has been an elite pass rush. The Giants had it in 2007 and 2011. The Steelers had it from 2008-2010. Niners in 2011-2012. Packers in 2010, so on and so forth. In a passing league, every elite offense is predicated on timing. Therefore the single commodity to throw off that timing and cause what NFL scouts call “changing the QBs eye level”, is pass rush. Instead of Peyton or Rodgers just progressing through one read after another, a pass rush takes their focus away from their receivers down field and puts it squarely on avoiding the rush. Which results in knockdowns, hits and sacks. Get enough hits on the QB and you begin to rattle him. Pass Rush = Passing Kryptonite.

As I stated before, not every team going forward must possess every quality. The Patriots possess probably the best combo of the coach and QB. But one of the biggest reasons why they didn’t win in 2007 and 2011 was inability to generate a pass rush. Same thing with the Packers in 2011, they went from 2nd in the league in sacks in 2010 to near the bottom in 2011. The Falcons have never been elite in any three of those categories, instead having just enough of all three commodities to compete. Which is the reason for great regular seasons but just 1 playoff win in 3 years. Some teams like the Giants (’07,’11) and Ravens (’12) hardly looked the part during their respective SB seasons, but once playoff time rolled around, they both flipped a switch and combined all three for a stretch run (a little luck wouldn’t hurt either, NYG @ SF ’12 & BAL @ DEN ’13).

But nothing hides the fact that in this “golden age of quarterbacking” (we just saw the greatest rookie QB class since 1983) that playoff caliber quarterbacks are more frequent. Gone are the days where you could pencil in the ’85 Bears, ’99 Rams or ’03 Patriots into the Super Bowl. Almost every single playoff team has a legitimate threat at quarterback. And if the team made the playoffs, that’s one hell of a coaching job in this day and age of parody. Two out of the three commodities are present. So in reality, if you make the playoffs, you have your “window of opportunity”. What were the last 3 seeds to win the Super Bowl? Ravens were a 4 seed, Giants were a 4 seed and the Packers were a 6 seed. Playoffs = Window of Opportunity. It might seem too simple but we are now in the age of football where there is a group of about 6-8 teams every year, all capable of winning the Super Bowl. It comes down to what team can harness their three commodities at the highest level for a sustained stretch of play. Quarterback, coach and pass rush.

Does your team have what it takes?

-MikeV87

PS: Look for Part II of Window of Opportunity next week

Jared Weaver to the DL

Angels ace Jared Weaver will go on the DL and be out at least 4 weeks with a elbow fracture in his non-throwing arm. With the Angels already off to a slow start, this could be troublesome for the pre-season AL West favorites. Can they afford to be without their ace in an already tough AL West? Can an already shaky pitching staff hold up? Is Mike Scioscia’s job in jeopardy? Only time will tell

-MikeV87

NFL Free Agency: Activity means nothing, value = everything

This is a tweet sent out by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on March 30th, almost 3 weeks after Free Agency opened:

“We’re FIRED UP about our free agent pillaging and the potential for 5-7 new starters!!” Irsay said on Twitter.

Their free agent heist consisted of OT Gosder Cherilus, OLB Erik Walden, SS LaRon Landry, OG Donald Thomas, linebacker Lawrence Sidbury, CB Greg Toler, DT Ricky Jean Francios, QB Matt Hasslebeck and DT Aubrayo Franklin. Cherilus and Landry were the only full-time starters of the bunch. The rest consisted of backups that their original teams never wanted anyways (especially Walden and Toler). Now while I don’t condone this “pillaging”, the money they paid their respective “new starters”, is indefensible at best.

I’m all for collecting talent anyway you can, and free agency is a quick and dirty way to accomplish that. But just one quick look at the contracts doled out to these players proves that just throwing shit against a wall and hoping you get return on your investment is not a way to improve your team. Greg Toler and Erik Walden both got over $4 million/year…………. Let that sink in for a second. Toler was consistently the worst of the Cardinals defensive backs in all of 2012. He wasn’t even going to be asked back by Arizona, that’s how bad he played last year. As for Walden, good lord is he going to be stealing money from Irsay over the next 4 years. As a Packers fan I know everything their is to know about Walden. HE SUCKS. And that was putting it nicely. And if you think i’m biased, Pro Football Focus rated Walden THE WORST 3-4 OLB IN 2011 AND 2012!! Not one of the worst, but THE WORST. And he gets $4mill/yr?!

And that was just two examples. Believe me their whole “pillaging” act was just flushing money down the toilet. Now if the Colts were smart they would’ve spend their money more wisely and waited to make their splash on the ensuing days of free agency. Sean Smith got a $6mill/yr, Brent Grimes got $5mill/yr. Both of these guys are 3X the defender that Toler is. As for Walden, the smart move would be to draft a younger, cheaper and most assuredly better player. But if you had to get that veteran presence, James Harrison and Shaun Philips are still available and will come with 1/3 of Walden’s price tag.

My point in all this; the name of the game in any league, NFL, NBA, MLB, hell even fantasy sports, is VALUE. So in the following, I going to break down who improved themselves this off-season/free agency period and who over paid. Ever hear of quality over quantity, that’s the golden rule here:

GOT BETTER:

  1. Seattle Seahawks: Key Additions: Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and trading Matt Flynn. Depending on which top free agency list you look at, they snagged two of the top 5 players; Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Avril at 2yr/$15million and Bennett for 1yr/$5million. Now you might look at the years and wonder what gives. But this is a smart move as opposed to locking either up over a long period of time. One you’re paying below market value for one of the rarest commodities, pass rush. And two, you pay for the players peak years. And not have to worry about being hamstrung by an albatross contract in year 5 or 6 (see Bills Mario Williams). I love the addition of Percy Harvin because in today’s NFL, you have to diversify your team, specifically offensively. Once a ground and pound ball-control offense, Seattle now has options on the outside and one of the more lethal slot receivers doing damage in the middle. And it never hurts to give young QB Russell Wilson more threats to play with. Speaking of QBs, the Matt Flynn trade was an underrated move. Yes you don’t have a capable back-up yet, but they got a 5th round pick for him (conditional pick in 2015 as well) and they gained an additional $3.5 million in cap space this year. It’s not smart to pay a back-up QB starter money, especially when you’re paying 3rd round money to a playoff caliber quarterback in Wilson. Value, value, value. Wilson is locked in for a couple years anyway, capitalize on that below market value and spend it else where, hence the contracts doled out to Avril and Bennett. Smart moves John Schneider.
  2. San Francisco 49ers: Key Additions: Anquan Boldin, Nnamdi Asomugha and trading Alex Smith. Already set with one of the top rosters in the NFL, Trent Baalke (GM) went to work and churned out singles and doubles. Not one of his moves screamed of blockbuster move but every single one of them improved the team at market or below market price. All ready set with a bevy of draft picks, trading Alex Smith to the Chiefs for a 2013 2nd (basically a first rounder) and 2014 conditional 3rd was genius. Now the 49ers have a chance to move up, down and all round to get Harbaugh guys who will impact an already deep foundation of talent. The trade for Boldin was highway robbery for a 6th RD pick (think John felt bad for little bro after the SB and shipped him Boldin to quell the feelings???). It also filled a need and keeps the identity of your football team. Boldin will be a willing blocker, a beast over the middle and his effort won’t be in question, unlike some guy name Moss. As for Nnamdi, right time right place. Only a one year deal, SF gets to find out what he has left. And at $1.5 million with escalators up to a max of $3 million, if he under-performs, gets hurt or wants to continue eating lunch in his car, he’s not a risk . All three moves give one of the NFL’s elite more balance, cap relief and upside, all at a reasonable price.
  3. Denver Broncos: Key Additions: Wes Welker and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Although they dropped the ball on Dumervil, the Broncos realize what they are. Only relevant as long as Peyton Manning is playing. So going for a win now approach is smart. Giving Manning a “Brandon Stokley on steroids” in Wes Welker (2 year, $12 million deal) was a savvy move. Not to mention it gave Bill and Tom a big “Eff You” in New England. They add to already potent passing attack and at the same time get DRC. They lock in a high caliber CB in his prime at only $5 million a year (one year deal though). If DRC performs well, they replace Bailey with him, if not, DRC goes somewhere else. In a pitiful AFC West and a weak AFC conference, Denver knows it’s window is closing and fast. Props to Elway on going all-in and not just “Irsaying” his money away.

Over paid

  1. Indianapolis Colts: Over paid: See above lead in. My opinion is that the Colts think they are better then they really are. Irsay, Griggs and Pagano probably envision a team that is knocking on the door to a AFC title game berth. When in fact the real truth is they are the classic regression team for 2013, ala the 2012 Detroit Lions. They overachieved in 2012 (FootballOutsiders.com ranked the Colts the worst 11-5 team ever), thanks in part to an easy schedule, unsustainable wins versus point differential(won a lot of close games) and Chuckstrong. All of that will not repeat in 2013. And to make matters worse, they brought in a bunch of high-priced veterans who were other teams rejects to put them over the hump. Don’t be like the Colts, be like the Seahawks and 49ers.
  2. Miami Dolphins: Over paid: Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler. Now I get why the Dolphins felt like they needed to make a splash, they haven’t been relevant since 2008, but, giving Mike Wallace $12 million per year is not the answer. Now they are getting him in his prime years, but $12 mill for a receiver who only runs a go route? Sounds a little steep. Better to go with someone like Greg Jennings, Amendola or Welker, who cost less and you can move them around the field. But if the Dolphins want to be winners in March instead of December, more power to them. As for Ellerbe and Wheeler, right idea as far as impact players, but instead of doling out those contracts on Day 1 or 2 of Free Agency, better to wait and see what the market value for them or similar players are. $5 mill/year for both those guys is over paying when you could have gotten similar players a week into Free Agency for $2 mill/year. But hey, it’s their money.
  3. Detroit Lions: Over paid: Chris Houston, Louis Delmas Glover Quinn and not addressing the OLine. Now there are some moves I did like with the Lions. Reggie Bush and Jason Jones were solid pick-ups. But the Lions acted WAY too fast on resigning CB Chris Houston. If they had let the CB market play out, they could had him or someone twice as good as Houston at half the price. It was a historical down year for the defensive back market. Instead of paying Houston (5yr/$25mill), Delmas (2yr/$9.5mill) and Quinn (5yr/$23.5mill), they could have waited for guys like Ed Reed, Nnamdi and Bernard Pollard and paid less for better players. Now while Detroit would be getting older players in those three mentioned, you know what the upside is and they all accepted short term deals, so there’s no risk of an albatross contract 5 years down the road if said player under-performs. One last line before we wrap up. Detroit spent a combined $58 million on their secondary, which isn’t good anyways (same one that already had Houston and Delmas in it) while choosing not to pay a “core-team-identity” player in Avril. They also chose not to beef up their offensive line, poor choice considering your quarterback is Matthew Stafford. Subtracting from your defensive identity and not protecting Matthew Stafford (DET only returns 1 O linemen from last years suspect group), spells disaster and maybe Jim Schwartz job. Not smart at all.

You notice the top three teams in the Value List are all playoff teams and the ones on the bottom are all outsiders looking in (sans the Colts, but they could be if this keeps happening). Something to consider going forward. Every team has the chance for acquiring talent, the best ones do it at their price.

-MikeV87