A quiet Sunday as far as free agency goes, though I have learned a few interesting tidbits.
- Fantastic Commenter NASF Confirmed that the Jaguars did make a play for Randy Moss . I'm glad to know that they were aggressive, but also relieved that Randy won't be a Jaguar.
- The Jaguars were in play for Safety Gibril Wilson. The Jaguars were willing to go up to 12 million dollars up front and something like 5 million per year, but Wilson wanted more. He's off to Oakland where he gets to be on a non-contender for the next six years. Sometimes I wonder if it's SO about the money that players will sacrifice winning for the dollar. Then again, Gibril already has a ring, why not get paid.
- The Jaguars were also in play for new 49er Justin Smith, but the team was smart enough not to pay Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders money for guys who just arn't those type of players. No sense in manufacturing a player who's just not going to live up to that type of contract.
- Bernard Berrian went to the Vikings and shot down any idea that the Jaguars "overpaid" for Jerry Porter. Jerry's 10 million in guarenteed money seems like a steal compared to Berrian's 16 million. I have more on this subject later in this post.
- Offensive Tackle Kwame Harris visited the Jaguars today, but did not sign a contract. Good Riddance. The more I read bout Harris, the less I liked.
- The Jaguars have shown an interest in Safety Eugene Wilson, but no visit has been scheduled yet. He's small to be a Strong Safety, but in the Jaguars cover 2, he could still be a good player. It all comes down to money, of course, but I would not object to his signing.
- The Tennessee Titans may or may not have signed TE Alge Crumpler.
- Former Jaguars Defensive End Bobby McCray is now a member of the New Orleans Saints, where he still won't be a starter, and still didn't get the 5 million per year that he wanted to stay in Jacksonville. While the Jaguars are thin at defensive end, It's good to cut ties with Bobby.
- The Jaguars have 4 picks in the first 3 rounds of the draft, the Indianapolis Colts have two. They say if you're not getting better, you're getting worse. Perhaps the slide begins now. Even though Bill Polian is very good at identifying talent, they don't have much in the way of picks.
My good friend in the great cold north, Gonzo of the Daily Norseman brings up an interesting question about the idea of "overpaying" a player in the era of the escalating salary cap. The Vikings, as some would argue, "overpaid" a guy like Berrian because he's not earned the contract he received based on what he's accomplished on the field. And certainly, if you compare his contract to other wide receivers who are clearly superior, it's outrageous that others make less than a guy like Berrian.
Though we have to be careful. You simply cannot compare contracts signed in different years. Even recent ones fail to compare. The Salary Cap was 85.5 Million in 2005, three years later it's 116 million dollars. A player that hits the cap in 2005 for 6 million dollars is 7% of that teams cap, a pretty high number. Flash forward to 2008, and that number falls to 5%, creating more room for other players.
And let's be frank, teams don't want to sign middle level talent to huge deals, but they've just got no choice. The market is there because of the rising salary cap, teams have to spend a specific percentage, and teams have needs. If you get three teams competing for wide receivers, and they've got millions that they have to spend, then middle grade talent gets huge money. Remember, we had 13 teams with more than 25 million dollars in cap space.
There is an extreme however, and this year it's not the Redskins, but rather the Oakland Raiders who have gotten the idea in their head to offer huge contracts to players that have literally done nothing.
So, to finish this muddled thought, you can't think of things in terms of overspending anymore. It will never be like the early 2000's when the Jaguars were in "cap hell" because of dead money. The cap is rising too fast (or going away) and there's simply no consequence to writing back loaded contracts. Worse yet, free agency is watered down because teams have enough money to lock up their talented players. Do you think Tom Brady will ever come close to the market before his shoulder is blown out?
I'm exceedingly excited about what the Jaguars have accomplished in the opening round of Free Agency. We avoided paying too much for lesser talent, we addressed major needs, and we gained some salary space and draft flexablity in the process.
Keep in mind however that with our extra 3rd and two extra 5ths (thank you [Seattle and Buffalo) we still can't move that far up in the first round without giving up our second round pick. Which we just won't do. Farthest I can tell that we move without giving up the house is say 19/20, and even that would be expensive. What we can do is move up a short amount if a player we like is available.
The Jaguars have to avoid at all costs a situation where a cornerback, running back or wide receiver is the best player available at pick 26. If it means moving forward or back, it's OK, just don't get "stuck" with one of those players. As long as we get a big guy (O-line, D-line) with our first pick, we're doing OK. Hell, we could go seven rounds and take only linemen and I'd be fine with it.
All this aside, Monday should be a quiet day. If you've been busy all weekend, I'd encourage you to scroll down a bit and check out all the coverage of Free Agency so far. Especially the comments, we've got some great ones!