The Potential Impact Of The New NFL Salary Cap

~ As the NFL gets closer and closer to the end of the lockout, teams are getting closer to the madness that will come once free agency starts. How the teams pick and choose through their list of free agents will be largely impacted by how much flexibility they’ll have with the 2011 salary cap of $120 million. There are quite a few teams who are presently over the cap or not too far under it. This means only one thing, there is going to be quite a few big name cap casualties.

According to John Clayton of ESPN, quite a few high profile names are going to be up for discussion when it’s time for teams to decide who stays and who leaves.

The New Orleans Saints are actually $11.7 million under the cap. They also have a high profile running back on their team named Reggie Bush who is scheduled to make $11.8 million this year. Bush might be saying all the right things lately to help assure himself of staying in New Orleans however he could very well be on his way out the door.

A change of scenery might actually do Bush some good. The Saints drafted him with high expectations after his electrifying college career at USC. That was six years ago though and the old saying goes that the real definition of the NFL is NOT FOR LONG.

 Bush has shown flashes of what he can do and he’s also been injury prone. The Saints went out and drafted running back Mark Ingram and that was an early sign that they maybe ready to withdraw from their investment in Bush.

 Bush is only 26 years old and quite a few teams could be in a position to add him and for the money that he may no longer be able to get in New Orleans.

 Bush should strongly consider moving on to another team. In this league with the way the salary cap is now going to be structured, players like Bush are going to have to maximize the best out of their long term contracts. He may only have one more left to get and it’s looking like it wont be in New Orleans.

 Where quarterback Vince Young ends up could depend on if he has matured any during his time away from the field. He couldn’t get on the same page with his former coach Jeff Fisher and that led to the  his placement on the potential cap casulaty list.

 If Young’s tenure with the Tennessee Titans is over (and all signs point to that being the case), it could clear up close to $12.8 million in cap room for the team. The Titans are currently $10.3 million under the cap.

 Young is in the same boat as Bush, he’s still young and came into the league with a lot of hype based off a succesful college career. He just has not been able to turn that hype into professional success yet. Young has shown flashes, now it’s time for him to show consistency.

 Just like in the case of Bush, there might not be room for another long term contract with the only pro team he’s played for. He’ll most likely have to do this with another team.

 

 There are some other interesting storylines to watch for that will result from teams who are already over the cap.

 The New York Jets have made the AFC championship game two seasons in a row. They’ve done well to surround their young quarterback Mark Sanchez with the right amount of pieces on offense. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Brad Smith played large roles in their passing attack and on special teams and all three of them are up for new contracts. That’s a problem for a team that is $1.2 million over the cap and also have other roster signings to make.

 Most likely one of those three are going to be making big plays for another team. Edwards and Holmes are going to want to test the market to see if they can land a big money offer from another team. Smith’s stock is rising because of his versatile skills set.

 With the season just around the corner from starting, the Jets will have to move quickly and move smart. Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress are looming as potential free agent targets who could replace either Edwards or Holmes at an affordable price.

 The team that shares the same stadium with the Jets are also going to be in a race to get under the cap. The New York Giants are $11.3 million over the cap and still have to decide what to do with their running back free agent to be Ahmad Bradshaw.

 Bradshaw is reportedly getting interest from the Miami Dolphins which also happens to be where his agent is based and where he’s been training. How quickly the Giants can execute their plans to get under the cap could impact what happens with Bradshaw.

 I couldn’t help notice the Tampa Bay Bucs when looking at the list of teams that are under the salary cap. Being under the cap by a good amount could lead to an exciting time for a team’s fanbase. The Bucs are $59.2 million UNDER the cap. The Bucs should be big time players in free agency once the lockout concludes.

Advertisements

Welcome To The 2011 NBA Draft: The REAL NBA Trade Deadline

 ~ This year’s NBA Draft does not have the potential star power of the 1996 class that brought in Iverson, Kobe, Marbury, and Allen. There is no LeBron, Melo or D. Wade coming out of this class. It’s low on star power, lower on overall potential talent and despite all of that, the 2011 NBA Draft is shaping up to be one of the more intriguing drafts of recent memory.

 The reasoning behind all of that may have to do with the legal troubles surrounding the NBA which could eventually lead to a lockout. A work stoppage is the last thing the league wants. However much like the NFL lockout, it’s looking inevitable.

 With a pending lockout overshadowing the league, this year’s draft has become more of a spotlight for NBA players who could be put on the market to be traded. The teams need to get their salary cap situations under control now as much as they can before a lockout happens.

 Operating under that kind of thought process has opened the door to enough trade rumors to almost drown out any buzz surrounding this year’s draft.

 Look at some of the names that potentially could be relocating:

* Tony Parker was reportedly on the trade market in 2010 and he’s back on it now apparently. Toronto and Sacramento have both inquired about his availability. They also have the numbers 5 and 7 picks respectively. 

 The Spurs are clearly in a position now where they have to rebuild an aging team. Parker is the one out of their core 3 that has the most trade value. San Antonio is said to be looking to get a top 10 draft pick in return. Perhaps to get a shot at Washington State’s sharpshooter guard Klay Thompson.

 

* Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Jameer Nelson, Lamar Odom, and Monta Ellis have all been thrown into the mix as players who could be on the move. Their respective teams have all been preparing trade scenarios that include picks from this year’s draft.

 

This past season reflected a transition in the league. Oklahoma City and Chicago took big steps forward and even though Miami came up two games short of a NBA title, they’ll be back next season perhaps even stronger. This year teams are not only looking to get into a better position financially with this draft, they are also looking to get younger and more athletic.

 

 

 The draft this year does have potential storylines that involve the players who are eligible.

 Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are expected to go numbers 1 and 2. Minnesota has been apparently listening to trade offers for the number 2 pick and while Cleveland is expected to take Irving at number 1, what they do with their number 4 pick is just as much a mystery and could impact their decision to take Irving.

 The true drama (if there is any) starts at the number 3 spot with the Utah Jazz. If they take the top big man Enes Kanter or point guard Brandon Knight. Teams are trying to get high enough in the draft through trades to perhaps grab Kanter. Once he comes off the board, it could open the door to an array of trades and surprise picks.

 

What started out as a draft class projected to be one of the weaker ones in recent history has now turned into must see television all of a sudden.

 One thing is for certain is that with a lockout about to happen that could put off free agency over the summer, teams are going the trade route to help shape their rosters. What better platform is left than the NBA Draft to serve as the newest trade deadline.

NFL Draft > Cam Newton Goes #1 To Carolina, Movers & Shakers

 

~ The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft was more exciting than many had thought it would be. The uncertainty around the draft due to the NFL Lockout left many thinking (myself included) that this draft would not have a lot of pop to it this year. There was quite a few surprises and a lot of that was also due to the Lockout. It may have also been due to the fact that there wasn’t a clear cut pick to bank on in this year’s draft. What the fans did see mostly (except for Atlanta and Minnesota) was their teams making the logical picks and trying not to gamble due to where the labor situation currently stands with the league.

Cam Newton Goes #1 To Carolina

The Carolina Panthers did what they had to do with this pick. Cam Newton is bringing star power behind his name. He’s bringing talent. Quite possibly cut in the Michael Vick mold as far as potential. Newton could also be a work in progress and eyes will be on him to see how he handles the big spotlight that comes with being the franchise player. However, for a team that has struggled on and off the field the fan base of the Panthers needed a shot in the arm. Newton had two things working for him here. He’s a quarterback and he was the biggest name in the draft. Carolina had to find a way to get fans in the building and the buzz Newton will bring is a big step forward.

Patrick Peterson Goes To Arizona at Number 5

I thought this was a good pick by the Cardnials because it shows they are focused on getting back to the level they were at that made them a Super Bowl team a couple of years ago. Everyone knows they need a quarterback and had Peterson beat the odds and went number 1, it would’ve been interesting to see what Arizona would’ve done to get a shot at Cam Newton. This team is looking to win now though and they play in the NFC West which is there to be taken. Patrick Peterson was the best cornerback on the board and was rated number 1 on many draft boards.  He give the Cardnials a potential “shutdown” corner and allows for them to look for a quarterback on the free agent market. It wouldn’t be surprising either to see Arizona look towards the future and perhaps look for a quarterback in the 2nd round of the draft.

Atlanta Falcons Trade The Ranch For WR Julio Jones

The Falcons were one of two teams in the draft that made a bold enough move to make you just stare at the television with the “Ricky Ricardo Confused Face”. The first trade of the draft was a doozy. Atlanta traded up from number 27 to the Cleveland Browns number 6 slot to grab Wide Receiver Julio Jones of Alabama. It was what the Falcons gave up to the Browns that had everyone scratching their heads. The Falcons sent their first-round, second-round, and fourth-round picks in 2011, along with a first-round and fourth-round pick in 2012 to the Browns. Great move if you’re a Browns fan. They get more opportunities to improve their team.

As for the Falcons, they clearly went after the best Wide Receiver left on the board after the Bengals took AJ Green at number 4. It gives QB Matt Ryan a dangerous passing attack with Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez. The flip side of that is they basically gave up their draft this year to get Jones. The pressure will be on him early to step up and be a high impact player for a team  that went all out to to take the next step.

The Minnesota Vikings Take … Christian Ponder … Who??

This will be a name we remember for only one of two reasons. He’ll either turn out to be very good and be the shocker of the draft or he’ll be very bad and cost a few people in the Vikings upper management their jobs for taking him with the 12th pick in the 1st round. Christian Ponder out of Florida State has the chance to be the quarterback who replaces Brett Favre in Minnesota. Ponder was viewed by many to be a 2nd round pick at best. How did he end up going in top 15 of the 1st round then?

If you were to look at the draft board and how things played out, it put the Vikings in a very difficult spot. The 49ers were expected to take a quarterback at number 7 … they didn’t. That left Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert still on the board as the two next best quarterbacks available after Newton was picked earlier by Carolina.

The Titans then took Locker at number 8 which closed the door on the Vince Young era. This left Gabbert for the Vikings to hope that he falls to them at 12 … he didn’t make it past 10. The Jaguars surprisingly stepped in and took Gabbert at 10 and this is where the Vikings were going to have to roll the dice.

The top 3 quarterbacks are off the board, there is a wild card still available though. Ryan Mallet was projected by many to have 1st round potential. He’s also had some off the field issues that made teams back off him. The Vikings decide to go with Ponder and no team was more thankful probably than the Detroit Lions who took the best defensive lineman still available, Nick Fairley of Auburn.

Clearly the Vikings loved Ponder during the scouting process to take him so high. They could have addressed another need on the team and picked Ponder up later in the draft. It’s also alarming to Ryan Mallet’s camp that he’d get passed on in a obvious landing spot for him. This was the gamble of the draft because if Ponder ends up being a 1st round bust, it may set the Vikings back for seasons to come.

Notable Winners

The New Orleans Saints wowed everyone in the 1st round of the draft as they came away with 2 great picks. Cameron Jordan on defense at number 24 and Mark Ingram on offense at number 28. The Ingram pick was an aggresive one by the Saints, as they had to trade back into the 1st round with New England to grab the running back. Ingram was my sleeper pick in the draft and it was unfortunate that he fell so far in the 1st round. I thought he would have been a great fit with the Giants, Patriots or even the defending champion Packers. New Orleans will get a motivated former Heisman Award winner. It also creates a sub plot for the Saints, what will now happen to running back and former top pick Reggie Bush?

 

My hometown teams madeout pretty well in the first round as well. The Giants and Jets both addressed needs on defense. The Giants took cornerback Prince Amukamara and from everything mentioned about him, he has “shutdown” potential. The Jets made what I thought was the most logical pick of the draft so far. They grabbed Muhammad Wilkerson at number 30. Wilkerson gives the Jets much needed help on the defensive line.

What To Look For In Round 2?

Where does Ryan Mallet Go? The quarterback many project to have 1st round talent is still on the board. I’m looking for the Bengals to make a move for either Mallet or Andy Dalton. They already took the best receiver on the board in AJ Green. They still don’t know what will happen with Carson Palmer and they are in need of a quarterback.

%d bloggers like this: