Tuesday, February 13, 2007

All Over the Road

All sorts of links for a Tuesday in the sports abyss…

Tony Romo about to get paid ….But how much? Do you know that you know that you know?

Cowboys Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo would be a free agent after the 2007 season, and, according to an NFL source, the team has no interest in allowing him to hit the market.

That means it's no longer a question of if, but rather when, the Cowboys will begin formal discussions with Romo's agent about a contract extension. On Aug. 31, Romo signed a one-year extension through 2007 with a $2 million signing bonus.

There was some thought the Cowboys would delay any extension talk when Romo struggled in the last month of the season and in the playoff loss to Seattle.

The last time Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones talked about extending Romo's contract was early December when he said he had seen enough to know Romo would be a good NFL quarterback.

Jones said there was no reason to extend Romo's contract at that time because there was no pressure to do so.

Yes, it is true: Schottenheimer is fired at 14-2

Everyone around San Diego and the National Football League knew the Marty Schottenheimer-A.J. Smith relationship was destined to explode. The Chargers had a ticking time bomb of discontent that finally blew up Monday night when the coach was fired.

Schottenheimer couldn't get along with general manager Smith and vice versa. Such problems exist in the NFL, but these situations are usually not as well publicized as this spat. Smith and Schottenheimer co-existed in the coach's first year in San Diego in 2002. In 2003, the relationship started to deteriorate. Schottenheimer made recommendations that year on personnel matters, and Smith disagreed. By 2005, Smith was working around Schottenheimer on personnel matters and even some coaching decisions. By March of 2006, the two didn't speak.

Despite those problems, the Chargers went 14-2 last season with 15 players who were either selected to the Pro Bowl or were named as alternates. Now, with 31 coaching staffs mostly filled and most organizations shifting their attention to free agency, Smith and the Chargers are scrambling to find a head coach and a staff.

According to sources, the final straw in Schottenheimer's surprise ending came down to how he was handling his coaching staff. The staff was being raided. Wade Phillips (Dallas Cowboys) and Cam Cameron (Miami Dolphins) were given head coaching jobs.

Nothing could have been done to stop that. Teams can't block an assistant from interviewing for a head coaching job, but they can stop an assistant under contract from interviewing for a non-head coaching job.

The final conflict came down to whether or not to let assistants interview. Sources indicate Smith denied permission for tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski to interview for the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator job, but Schottenheimer felt it was a good opportunity and wanted to allow it. Schottenheimer also let linebackers coach Greg Manusky interview and accept the 49ers defensive coordinator job. Against Smith's wishes, Schottenheimer let assistant strength and conditioning coach Matt Schiotz go with Cameron to Miami.

Stars trade for Nagy

Doug Armstrong didn't get the cold-blooded shooter that many felt he would seek before the NHL trade deadline in two weeks. What the Stars' general manager got Monday in left wing Ladislav Nagy is a solid, skilled player who can fit on either of the top two lines.

The Stars acquired Nagy, 27, from Phoenix in exchange for their first-round pick in this year's draft and winger Mathias Tjarnqvist. Nagy isn't a pure sniper, with only eight goals this season. But he is a talented all-around player who can fit in with the Stars' talented all-around players. With 41 points, he goes from being the Coyotes' leading scorer to becoming the Stars' leading scorer.

He can become an unrestricted free agent next summer and was made available because Phoenix couldn't sign him to an extension.

"If he were to play on a line with [Mike] Modano and [Jere] Lehtinen, I think we would have three players who could all skate, all pass and all score goals," Armstrong said. "He's a young player with speed who can create and score. He's a good fit for what we need."

Stars coach Dave Tippett concurred and said he expects to play Nagy on a line with Modano and Lehtinen against Detroit on Wednesday night.

"I've always liked him because he's a skilled player who doesn't shy away from the battle," Tippett said. "He's a better scorer than you would think, and he's very good at creating offensive opportunities."

That fits right in with the Stars' needs. Dallas ranks 23rd in scoring at 2.61 goals per game. "The problem that this team has had is putting the puck in the net," said captain Brenden Morrow, whom the Stars hope will also add some scoring punch when he returns in late March from a wrist injury. "He [Nagy] should help that."

Nagy has a salary-cap hit of $3 million, meaning he will cost the Stars just under $1 million in cap cost for the remainder of the season. By sending some of Tjarnqvist's $462,500 cap costs back to Phoenix, Dallas has about $1 million left in cap space under the $44-million salary-cap limit.

The Stars still could look for another forward or depth defenseman before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, but this likely is the biggest move they will make. It probably takes them out of the market for forwards such as Keith Tkachuk, Todd Bertuzzi or Ryan Smyth.

For the hockey fan: Weekly Buccigross

Columnist blows whistle on ESPN’s thievery

And, finally, just because you're the biggest guy on the sports block doesn't mean you shouldn't adhere to journalistic principals. That means when a correspondent attends a news conference, he or she shouldn't start a story by announcing, "Mike Holmgren just told me ...," when there were 50 reporters in the room hearing the same thing.

And what's with this "ESPN's Scoop McScoop is reporting ... " when the story has been broken elsewhere?

First off, that's wrong. Second, it will bite your behind.

For example, David Aldridge of the Philadelphia Inquirer -- your former NBA correspondent -- broke the story of Allen Iverson's trade to Denver. But that didn't stop you from taking credit, perhaps assuming the loudest voice would ultimately be heard. Only Aldridge then took his case to the blogdom.

First, he wrote to "The Big Lead." Then Deadspin got a hold of the story. Deadspin -- imagine a blend of sports gossip, sharp, witty writing and a bottle of tequila -- enjoys nothing more than tweaking ESPN.

Because ESPN irritated the Lords of Deadspin, they and their readers are screwing with -- hijacking even -- the new "conversation" portion of ESPN.com. That's not funny. At all. Well, maybe a little.

Curious who has cap room? Everyone. But more specifically, here are the top 10, the bottom 5 and the Cowboys numbers for Salary Cap space

49ers: $38 million under
Bills: $33 million under
Titans: $33 million under
Cardinals: $33 million under
Browns: $29 million under
Packers: $28 million under
Patriots: $28 million under
Saints: $27 million under
Bears: $23 million under
Rams: $23 million under

Cowboys: $18 million under

Colts: $2 million under
Steelers: $300,000 under
Redskins: $100,000 over
Ravens: $1 million over
Panthers: $2.5 million over

The Franchise player has gone away

The franchise-value figures, which range from $2.078 million for a kicker or punter to the $12.615 number at quarterback, are undeniably monstrous for 2007. But they are, in most cases, also moot.

How come? Because there isn't a quarterback in the league who will be designated as a franchise player. Outside of Kansas City journeyman passer Damon Huard, there isn't a quarterback in the NFL who started at least eight games in 2006 and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in less than a month.

There are, in fact, only a handful of potential pending unrestricted free agents overall -- such as Indianapolis defensive right end Dwight Freeney, left cornerback Asante Samuel of New England, and perhaps Chicago weakside linebacker Lance Briggs -- who figure to merit any consideration for the franchise marker at other positions.
Clubs were permitted to start designating franchise and transition players Thursday and, not surprisingly, no club forwarded the pertinent paperwork for such a move. The deadline for declaring franchise and transition players is Feb. 22, and the league won't be particularly busy on that front.

"The number [of franchise players] definitely is going down," said NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw. "A few years ago, we had 11 or 12. Then last season, there were only three. I don't think there will be many [in 2007]."

Pro Football Weekly looks back at the Cowboys 2006

Overview: Once more, the season must be divided into parts — promise, followed by disappointment, which predated Super Bowl talk and ultimately ended with anguish and disappointment. There was folly (Terrell Owens’ “suicide”), change (Tony Romo in for Drew Bledsoe), inspiration (ending the Colts’ 9-0 start) and incredulousness (getting blown out by the Saints at home; losing at Washington the way they did).
And then there was the loss to Seattle in the playoffs, which defies categorization. Romo’s botched hold will be the burning image of a lost season, but a defense that faded down the stretch and a run game that sputtered are more lasting concerns. After the season, head coach Bill Parcells decided to retire.

Turning point: The Week 14 loss to New Orleans turned the season upside down. Until that point, the defense had been stellar, and Romo was unofficially bidding for mayor of Irving, Texas. But the Saints came into Texas Stadium, undressing the Cowboys in a 42-17 loss that shifted the power of the NFC behind the Bears away from the Cowboys and to the Saints. From that point on, the Cowboys lost 4-of-5 games, including the disastrous playoff loss at Seattle.

Rookie/free-agent recap: Owens and PK Mike Vanderjagt were big-money free agents who didn’t deliver optimal results. Though Owens’ numbers were strong, he was a distraction in the locker room and dropped several would-be big plays; Vanderjagt was cut before the end of the season. LB Akin Ayodele was the most consistent of what was a mixed-bag free-agent cull. None of the team’s eight draft picks played up to expectations, though Pat Watkins at least started nine games at free safety. Still, he was victimized quite often. First-rounder Bobby Carpenter came on at season’s end, and TE Anthony Fasano got plenty of playing time, though neither was outstanding. Third-round DE Jason Hatcher and seventh-round OT Pat McQuistan might end up being the sleepers of this group.

Offseason outlook: First, the Cowboys must replace Parcells and put together a staff. Then, they’ll make a decision on Owens and his $3 million roster bonus in March, though Jerry Jones has green-flagged Owens’ return. After that, it’s pinpointing a few critical areas of need — primarily, along the offensive line, which forced Romo to play on the move too much; and in the secondary, where starting CB Anthony Henry might move to safety. They have some money to spend in free agency, but expect most of their thunder to come in the draft.

2007 NFL Free Agent Rankings

Even more 2007 NFL Free Agent Rankings

J Noah of Florida takes on Kentucky Cheerleader

The other day I said that I didn’t think Acie Law was instant NBA talent. I obviously don’t follow college basketball, so I don’t know why I said it, but I guess I was relating his game to the mid 1990’s, which was the last time I did watch college basketball exclusively. Anyway, Aggie fan took issue with me, and here is proof that he is thought of as a top 20 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft …my bad.

From a few days ago, Adam Morris lists the Rangers top 10 prospects from many different sources …it appears the DVD era is switched to the Eric Hurley era…

Baseball America (Aaron Fitt):
1. Eric Hurley, RHP
2. Edinson Volquez, RHP
3. Thomas Diamond, RHP
4. John Mayberry Jr., OF
5. Joaquin Arias, SS
6. Kasey Kiker, LHP
7. Jason Botts, OF/DH
8. Josh Rupe, RHP
9. Chris Davis, 1B/OF
10. Marcus Lemon, SS

Baseball Prospectus (Kevin Goldstein):
1. Eric Hurley, RHP
2. Edinson Volquez, RHP
3. Thomas Diamond, RHP
4. Kasey Kiker, LHP
5. John Mayberry, RF
6. Jason Botts, 1B/LF/DH
7. Marcus Lemon, SS
8. Taylor Teagarden, C
9. Joaquin Arias, SS
10. Chris Davis, 1B

Jamey Newberg:
1. Eric Hurley, RHP
2. Josh Rupe, RHP
3. Edinson Volquez, RHP
4. John Mayberry Jr., OF
5. Joaquin Arias, SS
6. Thomas Diamond, RHP
7. Ben Harrison, OF
8. Kasey Kiker, LHP
9. Fabio Castillo, RHP

John Sickels:
1. Eric Hurley, RHP
2. Thomas Diamond, RHP
3. John Mayberry Jr, OF
4. Edinson Volquez, RHP
5. Kasey Kiker, LHP
6. Wes Littleton, RHP
7. Taylor Teagarden, C
8. Chad Tracy, C
9. Jason Botts, 1B
10. Nelson Cruz, OF
11. Joaquin Arias, SS

Amusing Wikipedia for Nasty Nestor

Nestor Aparicio, also known by the appropriate nickname "Nasty Nestor", is a sports radio talk show host from Baltimore, Maryland. He founded the radio station WNST, which focuses on derivative and generic sports talk.

According to his narcissistic and clearly-self written biography, "Nasty" was born in Dundalk, Maryland, on October 14, 1968. By the time he was a junior in high school, he scored a unique double achievement by becoming the youngest ever member of the Baltimore-Washington Newspaper Guild as well as impregnating his girlfriend.
He founded WNST in 1998, naming the station "Nasty WNST" and christened it "the station with balls". The station was not immediately successful and he sold the station. In 2000, however, he and a "close group of advisers" re-acquired WNST.
Aparicio himself refuses to shed any light on who these "advisors" might be, but many experts suspect the involvement of one or more organized crime groups, not unlike something one would see on The Wire.

In Spring 2006, WNST posted a meager .6 Arbitron rating, making it one of the lowest-rated stations in the Baltimore market. Nonetheless, Aparicio still claims to have achieved "every goal imaginable" in radio. He claims to be friends with Brian Billick.

ml> Video diary for the Office

Nagy shoots and scores

Aggies Rush the Court – despite the team not being there


Brandon said...

ESPN is the anti-christ.

And apparently I'm first this morning.

Fake Sturm said...

Bob I think you missed the biggest story of the day. The DMN is reporting that a third unnamed Sooner took money from the same car dealership that paid Bomar for doing nothing. Ah...good times.

Now watch Norv Turner take over at San Diego with the most talent in the league, while we have to listen all season to local media blowhards talk about a big mistake by Jones while the 'Boys cruise back to mediocrity with Wade Phillips.

aggy court rush....gay or not gay?

steve said...

aggie is apperantly not very smart

DrewJ said...

Coming from an Ag, that was dumb.

At least we didn't rush the court when we beat Texas last week.

Andy Douthitt said...

I think that is one of the courses that Aggie offers: RTC-001

That is a Friday only course on the schedule. Rush The Court. When an athletic program never gets to a championship level in the major sports, I guess you better make a class out of what it looks like to celebrate a championship. Gold Aggie...Gold.

Brandon said...

Here's the link Fake Sturm is referring to.

I'll keep an open mind about the NCAA's allegations, which apparently center around wide receiver Jermaine Hardison, who was also dismissed from the team last August for other reasons.

It's worth noting that after Bomar and Quinn were bounced from the team, they instituted the following rules:

The University permanently dismissed two student-athletes from the football team.

• During the 2006-07 academic year, the University did not re-award or re-allocate any athletic scholarships that may have been available as a result of this action.

[Note: This penalty resulted in a reduction of available athletic scholarships.]

• Since February 2006, the University has prohibited student-athletes from working at Big Red Sports and Imports automobile dealership. This restriction will continue for at least an additional three years (through at least the end of the 2008-09 academic year).

• The University has disassociated the individual who supervised the student-athletes while they worked at Big Red, for at least five years (until August 21, 2011) from any involvement with the athletics department, including:

(a) Prohibiting the individual from employing University student-athletes;
(b) Not accepting any assistance from the individual that would aid in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes or the support of enrolled student-athletes;
(c) Refusing all financial assistance for the institution's athletics program from the individual;
(d) Ensuring that no athletics benefits or privileges are provided to the individual, that are not available to the public at large; and
(e) Taking such other actions against the individual that the institution determines to be within its authority to eliminate the involvement of the individual in the institution's athletics program.

• Had the prior ownership of Big Red remained in place, the University would have disassociated the dealership from any involvement with the athletics department under the same conditions and for at least the same period of time.

[Note: The ownership of Big Red during the timeframe of the violations was completely replaced in the Spring of 2006 by individuals who had no involvement in the violations or with the dealership during the timeframe the violations occurred. The current ownership of Big Red has assisted the University in this process.]

• The University will reduce the number of football coaches who can recruit off campus by one during the Fall 2007 evaluation period. [Note: While there is absolutely no allegation of wrong-doing by the coaches or staff, this penalty was imposed to counteract any possible or perceived advantage gained as a result of the violations by others as reported by the University.

CFB123 said...

No sense in dwelling on it too much. We all already know that OU will get nothing more than a slap on the wrist for this.

Short of someone actually losing their life or something, that's all any large school is ever going to get for cheating like this.

Just look at USC, what they covered up with Reggie Bush is three times worse than what anyone at OU did, but they'll get no consequential punishment either.