- WR Wallace traded to the Vikings Fins send Wallace and a 7th round pick to Viks for a 5th rounder
- TE Jordon Cameron signed Reported a 2 year, $15 million deal
- Suh Signs! Ndamukong Suh receives nearly $60 Million signing bonus with $114+ Million total over 6 years
- WR Hartline cut after 6 seasons WR Gibson was also released
The biggest problem with mediocrity
Pressure mounts, the media scrutiny becomes harsher, the fan base grows impatient, and all of a sudden instead of building a solid nucleus for the future you’re forced to make moves to attempt to win now.
That means Brent Grimes at 31 years old becomes a more of a priority, rather then developing the youngsters drafted. That means Oliver Vernon will occupy the game day lineup instead of a more athletic, yet raw Dion Jordan. That means instead of drafting a top WR you’re over paying for a FA WR like Mike Wallace.
The easiest jump for an NFL team to make is from 1-15 to 8-8. Going from 8-8 to 12-4 is much tougher. The schedule grows tougher, and your draft position drops. It’s how the NFL enforces parity.
The even larger issue is parity has an evil disguise which fools even the smartest NFL executives which is the perception of being close. Close means we’re 4 to 6 solid players away from our goal. Say, a LT, LG, RT, RB, DT, and a FS. Close means having some cap room to be aggressive in a few of those positions.
The unseen truth is that cap room will quickly turn into dead money when the Philip Wheelers of the world come in and fail to live up to expectations. Quickly you go into the NFL’s salary cap version of hell. What happens in 2015 with Mike Wallace, and Daniel Ellerbe? Combined their cap numbers will be almost 22 million dollars. Philip Wheeler will count another 4.4 million. (Down 2 million from 2014)
The win now approach can destroy the future. It creates more holes then you can fill through the draft as you’re signing older veterans who will have a short shelf life. It creates a salary cap that decreases instead of escalates with time.
Dawn Aponte is an excellent NFL capologist. But, even those who are great number crunchers can cave in to the pressure of remaining employed. It’s going to be her responsibility to be prudent, and responsible through this high pressure time. I am sure that is part of the reasoning behind not using the 11.6 million franchise tag on an aging CB in Brent Grimes. They’ll be several high quality corner backs hitting the free agent market, and this just might be a sound strategy, but the risk is you stand a much greater chance of losing Brent should he decide to take an offer elsewhere.
I know many fans will be upset Grimes hasn’t been tagged, and it’s rumored they won’t use it on him. If true, as I suggested, it’s a good sign provided they can come to terms with his agent on a two, or three year deal. We’ll see how that works out.
It doesn’t solve potential cap issues elsewhere, but it does show a responsible, intelligent approach, even in a win now mindset. That’s encouraging for the future. Let’s hope she’s as diligent through free agency.
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