If you are an avid follower of the NFL on twitter you will have seen some huge overreactions to news out of Seattle this week, Bennett has been traded, All-Pro Richard Sherman has been released, and ‘All World’ Earl Thomas may be on his way too in a trade.
Bennett, I get it, I’m sad about it, he’s been an integral part of a team that conceded the least points 3 years in a row. His loss leaves them desperately short on pass rush, but he is 33, and in a reboot really isn’t the future of the position. In today’s wacky trade market a 5th is probably decent value for someone who may soon be on the decline. I take some heart in the fact that Seattle’s starting defensive ends in the Superbowl year were journeyman, flat-earther Chris Clemons, and rejuvenated 3rd round pick Red Bryant, so in a Pete Carroll defence, a highly paid superstar end probably isn’t as crucial.
Richard Sherman’s release is a dagger to the heart. A 5th round pick, college wide receiver turned one of the finest cornerbacks in the last 10 years, watching him has been an absolute pleasure. The things he spouts though controversial, are really funny, but his going really magnifies the changes going on in the team right now. He is injured so cannot be traded, and by cutting him Seattle create $11million in cap room. There is a good cornerback group behind him, the fit again Deshawn Shead playing extremely well until injury, and Shaquille Griffin showed bags of potential, even Justin Coleman looks a more than competent starter. So again, although we lose a positional star, the sum of the parts may well be enough in a rebuild.
Earl Thomas’ rumored trade possibilities is the one that really angers me, Thomas is looking for more money and as one of the finest safeties the league has seen, I say just give it to him. He is 28 and so not too old to be a key part of the next phase of the defence. Some have cited his age as a reason to move on but I would argue with that;
Brian Dawkins, 15 year career, retired at 37, last pro bowl at 36
Ed Reed, 11 year career, retired at 36, last pro bowl at 34
Charles Woodson, 17 year career, retired at 38, last pro bowl at 38.
Overall, the whole thing fills me with dread. I also support a Premiership football team West Ham United, who have seemingly been in transition for the last 20 years! In truth they are a ridiculously badly run club, and I should trust the Seahawks in what they do, they have form. Yet as someone who, like Paul Ashworth in Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, lets sport dictate far too much of his personal life and mood, I’m looking forward to the end of this particular phase in Seattle.
What an amazing year to be a Rams fan, they have gone from thinking the team had traded its future for a bust of a quarterback in Jared Goff, to being a contender reloading its star studded defence with star names.
The Rams have taken advantage of both the crazy deflationary value of trades, and their young stars still being on rookie contracts to bolster the side ready for a 2-3 year crack at the big game.
Star cornerbacks acquired cheaply in trades, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib actually are paid less as a pair than free agency Trumaine Johnson received last year after his franchise tagging.
Problems will return in 2 years when the Rams have to pay Aaron Donald (likely new contract this year), Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Marcus Peters, Lamarcus Joyner, as well as replacing the surely retiring star left tackle Andrew Whitworth. As you have seen in Seattle, trying to build a roster while some of your players are on enormous contracts is nigh on impossible.
It’s been a relatively quiet week for the 49ers, after a rocky start to the off season with Reuben Foster getting in trouble off the pitch, the 49ers have simply been preparing for free agency and the draft.
New hope at quarterback Jimmy Garopolo has been made the highest paid quarterback in the league – until Cousins finds a home, ye they do not have many issues with cap space.
They are a team looking forward to a resurgence under the new signal caller and it will be interesting. While a team in a similar position – the Cleveland Browns have chosen to build a team and drop the quarterback in once everything else has been solidified, the 49ers are going qb first. The problem I foresee with this is the contract of Garopolo may hinder the roster building abilities. They cannot make many huge splashes in free agency and will need to rely on the success in the draft.
Interesting times for a sleeping giant.
Last season I predicted that all three of Arians, Palmer and Fitzgerald would be leaving the sport this off season, and 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Fitz has stayed to help whoever is the new quarterback bed into the team, and I am not sorry to see him stay, he has been so entertaining to watch and obviously still has a ton to offer.
The side need a new quarterback, and big pieces of the offence like the o-line and receivers need to be improved, but David Johnson’s return gives them a huge part to build around.
The defence is still super with names like Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson, but they are attempting to save some cap space by asking Tyrann Mathieu to take a pay cut. He is phenomenally talented but due to a readymade replacement in Budda Baker being in town, trade rumours have been rife and are obviously going to affect Mathieu’s thinking. I think this story has some development in and could get interesting as free agency approaches.
picture from: RichardSherman25.com