Watching Them Go is Just as Hard During the NFL Draft
~ Amy Lignor
Everyone speaks about the draft picks: Who’s the best? Who can come to your team and actually make a difference? Is there a QB out there who knows what he’s doing? A diamond in the rough that can become the next Manning? Yes…there are a whole lot of questions when it comes to the shoot ‘em up world of the NFL. But what many do not realize is that when the new come through the doors of the locker room, the old are sent packing.
This year there will be choices made; choices that many a fan will not understand because they are not a part of the salary caps. There are a great deal of players getting a whole lot of money who are not Manning. And the scariest part is, some of these players are future Hall of Famers. When you’re that good and can STILL get cut, then no career is safe in the National Football League.
There are lists being put out right now of who could go that are startling fans everywhere. And free agency has taken a real hold when it comes to offering players salaries that are beyond ridiculous. However, they also come along with absolutely no guarantee: even if you do earn that cash you STILL may not have a job when next season rolls around.
For those who are unaware, other leagues (NBA, NHL, etc.) have no basis or ability to cut a player loose without giving him the payment of his contract that was signed and sealed the day he walked in and became a member of the team. When it comes to football, those rules change dramatically. A man can exit, saving salary cap space so that the owners can make better deals with other players no matter what the exiting player’s contract states.
Yes, the player is still useful to the team, but their Mercedes Benz price tag (when the team can really only afford to pay out a Honda Accord price tag), becomes too much for the team to handle. There are NFL teams with cap issues (not ‘Kap’, by the way; his trouble is only an issue for the 49ers right now), and some of the more highly-paid players may meet the unemployment line.
Some names appearing on all lists, include, Cortland Finnegan. His ten million bucks (cha ching!) seemed like a really good investment for the Titans at the beginning of 2012, but Cortland did not deliver and dwindled fast in 2013. Four million dollars can be re-invested by the Rams now if Finnegan is cut by them. Is the former Titan worth it? We shall see…
The 49ers are certainly looking at some sad headlines, with serious players screwing up on their summer vacations. But when it comes to salary cap issues, it is Carlos Rogers who has given the Niners massive amounts of good work who may be facing the chopping block. He recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions in 2013. You would think that would be a good thing, but not when you have 50 tackles and a pick in 2012. The 49ers have that killer defense, but eight-million dollars for his corner work may not be a priority for the team this time around. $5 million would be saved if Rogers gets the heave-ho, and there are draft picks a-plenty the Niners could get their hands on.
The “Champ” Bailey is certainly a champ. A legend, actually, that is most definitely headed to the Hall of Fame one day. $10 million, however, is what Denver is looking at paying out even though he only played in five games this past season because of injuries. If the Broncos slice-and-dice, the $10 million cap hit disappears, and if the Broncos really ARE going to collect that trophy THIS time around, perhaps the 35-year-old should remain and take a cut in pay. Gosh knows, all Americans have had to do that this Century. Questions, Questions.
Here’s the really big name that has made these lists, folks. Troy Polamalu is most definitely headed to the Hall – no questions on that one. But people have been saying that for the Steelers to get out of the world of 8-8 sloths, that Troy’s $10.8 million may not be a good investment.
He is the ultimate Steeler at heart, playing for no other team during his stellar career, and blaming just him for the fact that the team missed the playoffs the past two seasons seems more than odd. They do have to build their defense back up to the glory days when other teams were scared beyond belief when they stepped out on the field. Cutting Polamalu saves $8.25 million on the cap…but, when all is said and done, this is one Steeler that brings the whole package to the team. Without his leadership and abilities to help younger players grow into strong players, the Steelers may actually destroy their chances of bringing back the old ways…the ways that brought them Super Bowl trophies.
We just have to wait and see…