Greetings and salutations gang! Welcome back to another Life, Love? Sport (the Guaranteed Edition). If you had a pulse and played in the NFL, this was the week for you. It seemed as though everyone from the third string punter to the jock-strap guy got a multi-million dollar deal in free agency. The amount of money spent was a bit insane, and it looks like it will continue. In NBA news, Shaun Livingston blew out his left knee last week, and somehow I wasn’t surprised to see that highlight on SportCenter. Is there a better job than working in SportsCenter in any capacity? What other job lets you get up at noon, watch sports highlights for six hours and then compile them into a 30 second piece de resistance and talk about them on air? Nothing. Anyways, away we go.
In the frenzied world of NFL free agency, money trees sprouted everywhere. Perhaps it was the fact that the salary cap increased to $109 million this year, giving basically every team a crazy boat-load of money to spend, sometimes with reckless abandon.
Part of the reason that money was thrown around is because hardly anyone really understands free agency all that well, as shown by the Tennessee Titans earlier this decade. That team went through three years of salary cap hell for two playoff runs. Sounds to me like the GM didn’t do his homework.
With all these strange terms like “prorated bonus,” “poison pill clauses” and “performance bonuses,” you need a rocket scientist on crack who can successfully manage your accounting and cap.
Perhaps the strangest story of free agency is that of Jake “the Snake” Plummer, ex-starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos.
The saga begins week three of last year, when Jake “the Snake” decided it would be a good idea to start throwing interceptions instead of touchdowns. Mike Shanahan stuck with Plummer until he started killing their playoff hopes, at which point he put in Jay Cutler (soon to be Pro Bowler, you heard it here first!). So “The Snake” sat and stewed. At the end of the season, starting jobs in Oakland and Houston opened up. Apparently neither Aaron Brooks nor David Carr are competent players (surprise, surprise!).
However, the Broncos traded him to the Bucs for a conditional draft pick in 2008, who acquired Jeff Garcia just eight minutes beforehand. They also had incumbent starter Chris Simms.
This meant that the poor ol’ “Snake” would have to battle two other starters for a starting role. Now, assuming that Chris Simms is no longer a good quarterback due to him not having a spleen and Jeff Garcia is almost old enough to be my grandfather, he might’ve had a good chance to start for Jon Gruden.
However, he decided to retire. So as the pieces stand right now, Jake Plummer is retired, wanting to play for the Houston Texans, while the Tampa Bay Bucs own his rights for the next three years, and the Denver Broncos are sitting on the sidelines eating a ham sandwich.
What would LLS be without a list? The USA Today. This week, we turn our attention to some of the free agents signed this week. The good, the bad and the Drew Bennett.
1- Nate Clements, CB: Signs an eight-year, $80 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers. This contract is bigger than Champ Bailey’s and Clements is nowhere near the player that Bailey is. Also, since he couldn’t really lock down good receivers with the Bills, what makes Mike Nolan think that Clements suddenly became the best shut-down corner in league history? On the whole, a very puzzling signing.
2-Adalius Thomas, LB: Signs a six-year, $35 million deal with the New England Patriots. This looks to be one of the best deals of the year due to the fact that Thomas is only 29, is relatively injury-free and is signing a deal at what some experts believe is way under market value. Whatever Bill Belichick is giving to the free agents that come to Foxboro is working. Well played.
3-Ahman Green RB: Signs a four-year, $23 million dollar deal with the Houston Texans. In light of their train-wreck draft last year, when they passed up on Reggie Bush, Houston decided that a 30-year old, injured former star was the answer on offense.
There are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different color combinations possible on a standard Rubik’s Cube.
Maystrovsky’s article appears weekly. Maystrovsky is a member of the class of 2009.