Of Salary Dumps and Slander: Saturday Edition

Jabber HeadSenior Analyst IJune 27, 2009

We have finally reached the purest sense of the NFL offseason, as the dark days and weeks leading up to training camp seem like an eternal crawl.

To pass the time, since bloggers and traditional media types lack the means to create real news and analysis, we must rely on the time-honored traditions of hearsay and innuendo, perhaps combined with a little outrage sprinkled with a touch of irony.

Like so…

Paul Alexander Pulls a Mangini

We recently pointed out that Bengals rookie tackle Andre Smith got his Bloomingtons confused, and consequently he showed up very late for a youth football camp in Illinois.

But in our effort to apply a verbal purple nurple to the man who’ll never outlive his shirtless 40-yard-dash, we overlooked another salient point.

As a media source has pointed out to us, Smith was attending the camp because Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander is one of the co-directors.

As Randy Kindred of the Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph explains, “Alexander has made it a tradition for Bengals rookies to work the camp.”

It’s no different than Browns coach Eric Mangini’s magic bus to Hartford.

Wait a minute, Pro Football Talk.com - where’s the mock outrage here!!?? Eric Mangini was crucified by the likes of sites such as PFT.com for taking his rookies to Connecticut, yet the Bengals essentially get a free pass? And if the Bengals have “traditionally” made rookies work Paul Alexander’s camp, then wouldn’t the following headline be more appropriate:

“Alexander Pulls an Alexander”

Or the one from a few weeks ago:

“Mangini Pulls an Alexander”

Or the everyday variety:

“Mangini as Scapegoat Makes for Good Headlines”

“Pro Football Talk.com Just Makes Stuff Up”

I fully understand we’re in the doldrums of the offseason, but PFT.com has just gone overboard in the past several months trying to make Mangini into a scapegoat.

Now, I further understand that Mangini has some rough edges, but PFT really needs to get over itself. Just how many shots can you take at the same target in an attempt to fill space? Reboot doesn’t stoop to these depths.

In other league news…

Uncapped 2010 Ramifications

This is a story that is just starting to create attention around the league. The ramifications of an uncapped 2010 NFL leads to natural speculation regarding how much money wealthy teams such as the Cowboys and Redskins are going to spend on free agents.

However, if you view the situation from the opposite perspective, it’s apparant that lower-volume teams will take advantage of not having a cap bottom in 2010. Basically, a lot of players are going to be released from their contracts and their teams will not have to suffer any cap penalities.

Have you noticed the number of one-year deals that players have signed this year? On one hand, the players might think that they’ll be getting a crack at unrestricted free agency in the uncapped year. On the other hand, the teams will be wiping the salary commitments to these players off the books, just in time for the commencement of a league year that has no salary cap — and no salary floor.

Though the individual minimum salaries for 2010 will still apply, the maximum required payout will be $855,000. But that’s for a player with ten years of service; those guys would have a better shot at getting a job on Wall Street.

And so a team can choose to fill its roster with younger players, whose minimum salaries for 2010 range from $545,000 for a fourth-year player and $320,000 for a rookie.

Thus, with a salary floor of $111 million in 2009, a team could (if it chooses) spend under $50 million in 2010 on player costs.

But what about the big-name players with high-end multi-year deals? Well, those players can be dumped (and thus their salaries avoided) with no salary cap consequences at all, because there will be no salary cap.

This will be a fascinating situation to watch unfold, as it is likely that there will be a salary cap dumping carnage never before seen in the league.

The obvious victims will be players signed to longer-term deals, most of whom are veterans entering their late 20’s. However, there should also be a great number of quality players who teams cannot resist dumping in this once-in-a-lifetime financial frenzy.

For example, can you truly imagine Eric Steinbach, in the middle of a $50 million deal, playing for the Browns in 2010, when the team can dump him without penalty? The same could be said for Corey Williams, Donte Stallworth or Derek Anderson.

Although Mangini has brought in several veterans to fill out the roster for 2009, it is unlikely that any of them, with the exceptions of younger players like Abe Elam and Kenyon Coleman, will remain with the team in 2010.

If you weren’t fully convinced that yet another youth movement/rebuilding phase was underway in Cleveland, pay attention to the labor situation in the coming months. The emerging frenzy will look more like a fantasy football draft than a normal period of free agency.

You have to imagine that several teams will perform reboots of epic proportions. As for our team, there is a good chance that the Browns could field one of the youngest rosters in the league in 2010.

Of course, this all hinges on David Patten’s roster status for 2010. As of now, my beloved 49-year-old Patten is really screwing up the team’s average age.

By Cleveland Reboot
Blogger/SJ Contributing Author


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