Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Some stuff I've missed out on...

1) The Simmons article whining about Willie McGinest leaving the Pats. This is why his Boston columns grate on people. It's a positional thing, as if he and his compatriots are the only people who support a team forced to make tough decisions on veterans. Kind of self-centered, if you ask me. But for the sake of argument, let's actually review what he thinks...

"Isn't continuity the single most important thing in sports?"

Umm... no. In fact, I don't think it's in the top 10. Winning the game, accomplishing something never done before, entertaining the fans, sportsmanship, hard work. These are all decent answers. Continuity, not so much. Maybe 50 years ago. Not now.

"Signature guys shouldn't have to abandon their original teams to find market-value deals in their waning years."

Simmons doesn't seem to understand the concept "market-value", or at least he doesn't want to admit that the perfect Pats didn't want to pay McGinest market value. The NFL under a salary cap is a zero-sum game. If the Pats think paying McGinest "market-value" doesn't allow them to sign the other players that allow them to win, that's their prerogative. It's either/or, though. If the Pats pay market value for McGinest, they can't pay Brady what they pay him, and Dillon, and Seymour and all the others. They have to choose. If they think continuity is the most important thing, then pay McGinest his money, and take the hit elsewhere. Simmons wants it both ways.

And finally, let's look at his suggestion - the slush fund available for longtime veterans:

"Let's say there's a hard cap, but every team receives a $10 million pocket independent of the cap that only can be used for players with nine-plus years of continuous service."

All this does is shift the market for all teams. The thing about the NFL is that it's a pretty efficient market. If there's a $10M slushfund, every team will use it, and pretty quickly. And since the roster size is the same, all that would do is increase salaries for the other 52 or 53 players. So suddenly, there's more money to spend for everyone else, including the veterans. And then "market-value" shifts. Perhaps the slush fund would allow teams to overpay for veterans. Perhaps the fact that such slush funds exist would raise the price for players. Either way, would it change all that much? Plus, what kind of side effects would such a slush fund have? Would the players go for it? Anything that would discourage movement of players (and that's the goal of this) would necessarily mean less of a free agent market, less competition for players, less bidding wars, less money, in exchange for the potential of a payday down the road. And that potential would worry me too - what kind of promises would teams make to, say 8th year veterans ("We'll take care of you big time next year in the slushfund, just sign on the cheap" and then the team cuts the vet after an injury)? Just don't know if Bill thought this through.

But make no mistake, the entire premise of this column is thus: my team can't go around the salary cap and that isn't fair. Whine.

2) The NBA draft thingy has been updated somewhat... and I'm not sure I like the results. Now Ford has the Hawks taking Joakim Noah ahead of anyone else. Even at the #1 position (and I haven't seen anyone else taking him that high - hopefully they could trade down if he were really #1 on their board). The only time the Hawks didn't take Noah (and I didn't click on it as many times as I did last time) was when they slipped to 6th (Noah went 5th, the Hawks took Tyrus Thomas). The only other team that would take Noah in the top 3 is New Orleans. Plus, Brandon Roy and Randy Foye are skyrocketing up the charts (and Foye especially might be a better fit if he can play the point). Personally, I don't know if Noah is a better fit for the Hawks than LaMarcus Aldridge or if he even has as much potential as Thomas (or Bargnani). And they'd still need a point guard. Noah feels like a Sean May type player - would develop into a great college player, but shouldn't be drafted higher than 10-15 range, and not someone you should expect to develop into an all star.

3) So the Falcons got John Abraham and two middling picks for their first rounder this year. The salary for Abraham seems pretty high, but the cost of the trade alone I can swallow. (I can't wait for some future enemy to take that sentence out of context...) If nothing else, this trade tells me that the Falcons think they're closer to a title than last year's record would indicate. And that they're playing for now, not down the road. If nothing else, the Falcons' defense is vastly improved over the last two weeks. Abraham should make Rod Coleman even better, and the linebackers should benefit greatly with him up there (and Hartwell returning from injury too). If you like D, the Falcons should be fun to watch. And a nasty D goes well with a run-based offense. We'll see, but I like the Falcons' moves so far. Now hows about killing the "McKay for Commish" movement before it starts?

4) My family has basketball brains. I turned in the exact same bracket in my office (69 entries) and my family (12 entries), so far at least (I picked different champions). My current position in both: 3rd. And I'm farther behind first and second in the family pool. Luckily, the office pool has a bigger payout at all.