by Ryan (The Guru) of The Sportmeisters
So, last time we met, we looked at five of the top ten transactions that happened during the 2008 season. Here we have five more transactions that helped give their team an extra edge this past year.
Arizona re-signs Larry Fitzgerald to a contract extension
In the summer of 2007, Arizona was in a bind, with WR Larry Fitzgerald set to take in $15 and $17 million in the last two years of his contract, leaving them with a minimal amount of cap space. So Fitzgerald decided to re-negotiate the contract to his liking, giving him a four year, $40 million dollar deal with a no trade clause.
While Arizona was already set to keep Fitzgerald, the wiggle room given with the extended deal now allowed them to stack the proper pieces for their Super Bowl run. However, once again, Arizona might have to look to Fitzgerald to renegotiate if they plan on keeping some of those pieces for a prolonged playoff experience.
Baltimore drafts Joe Flacco
Ever since the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000 with a mediocre quarterback, they were always best known for the defense, and a strong running game, but no one was given the ball on offense and told to make it happen.
Well, enter Joe Flacco, a 6-6 quarterback from Delaware. Baltimore took him with the eighteenth pick, and while, they are still in the “QB Manage” mode, they are taking huge steps with a guy who took the Ravens to the conference championship as a wild-card seed. Overall, Flacco finished with 2971 yards and 14 touchdowns, setting the Ravens up for them to finally have a franchise guy under the helm.
Tennessee drafts Chris Johnson
I think a number of people panned this pick, especially with the bigger glaring needs at Wide Receiver for then-starting QB Vince Young. Chris Johnson made them eat those words, and with the combination of his speed and LenDale White’s power, the Tennessee Titans took storm of the AFC until their eventual collapse in the playoffs.
Johnson, however, easily shined as a good first round pick for the Titans, with 1228 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the season. With the Titans O-line locked up for 2009, and QB Kerry Collins coming back for next season, the Titans should be looking at making another extended season run.
This was undoubtedly my pick for best transaction of 2008, because going in, I had Panthers head coach John Fox on my short list for losing his job if he did not step up in 2008. He had a bunch of tools in his box (Jake Delhomme, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith), and after some off-season acquisitions, the Panthers went to the draft and picked up two key offensive cogs.
Jonathon Stewart came first with the 13th pick in the first round, but a runner is only as good as his offensive line, and, reeling from the multiple injuries of 2007, Carolina took a risk and traded three picks, including 2009s number one choice to get back in the draft and select 6-6 Tackle Jeff Otah from Pittsburgh.
What I like about is the team took a risk (losing a first round pick is always a gamble), but it paid off big, as Otah started 12 games for them before being sidelined by injury, and with the more secure offensive line, Delhomme, Williams, and Stewart all shined in 2008 and we could see the Panthers fighting for another divisional crown in 2009.
Houston drafts Steve Slaton
Thanks to Tom Brady, everyone looks for the second day draft gems, and with their third round pick (no longer a first day pick), the Houston Texans took diminutive Running Back Steve Slaton from West Virginia.
Combined with RB Ahman Green, the Texans, known best for giving up loads of sacks, were able to keep rushers off of QBs Sage Rosenfels and Matt Schaub, forcing teams to try to stop the slick-footed runner, who reeled off an impressive 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, and 377 yards and a touchdown as a receiver.
Considering Slaton didn’t get full-time status on week twelve, it is highly likely these numbers will go up as he gets more and more playing time, making Texan fans and fantasy fans alike salivating at his potential.
So there you have it, and the 2009 transactions period is right around the corner, so hopefully your team can make the right moves and end up in Super Bowl XLIV.