Monday, February 23, 2009

If It Don't Make Dollars, It Don't Make Sense

This Crabtree story is the most interesting thing I saw this weekend from the Combine:

Crabtree will run through fracture to post a time

All-America wide receiver Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech addressed the stress fracture in his left foot at the NFL scouting combine Sunday, saying he would give the league a 40-yard dash and then have surgery to repair the injury.

A routine combine physical last week turned up the stress fracture, which Crabtree said was an old injury. He said he has lived with the injury for a year and that it did not cause him any pain last season when he caught 97 passes for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns in winning his second Biletnikoff Award.

NFL sources said Crabtree, a former Carter star, would need surgery to have a pin placed in his foot and that he would be sidelined for 10 weeks. But if he underwent the surgery now, Crabtree would be unable to give the NFL a 40-yard dash time until May. The draft is April 25.

Crabtree's private workout is scheduled for March 26 in Dallas. He'll run the 40 then.

Crabtree returned to the media room at the combine Sunday for a second time to deliver a five-sentence, 21-second statement on his injury. He closed with, "I'm looking forward to going to the next level."

Crabtree decided to skip his final two seasons of eligibility to turn pro. He left the Red Raiders as the school's all-time leading receiver with 231 catches and ranks eighth in NCAA history with 41 career touchdown receptions despite playing only 26 games.

Since he is a junior, he has no official time on record. This is crucial. He is so talented, but the NFL does not believe game film, generally; They want their 40 time. Does Crabtree have the long speed at their level?

Here is what is at stake: millions, and millions, and millions.

In the mocks prior to this news, Crabtree has been in the top 5, most notably in Seattle at #4. Without a 40 time, he could slide. How far? Ask Aaron Rodgers, Randy Moss, or Warren Sapp what that could mean.

I don’t think he would slide that far if he had surgery today, but the reason he is not getting surgery is that he will post a time, show his determination to run through a fracture, and preserve his top 5 status.

Check this out:

Darren McFadden was drafted at #4 last year. His deal? $60 million with $26 guaranteed over 6 years

The Oakland Raiders signed running back Darren McFadden to a $60 million, six-year contract, making sure their first-round draft pick will be in training camp after JaMarcus Russell’s protracted holdout last year.

“I’m very happy to have it out of the way,” McFadden said at a news conference. “Because like coach said, I want to be in training camp. I want to be out there practicing and learning plays. Missing a day of training camp is like missing a week of college practices. It would be a major setback for me.”

McFadden, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in each of the last two seasons, will be guaranteed $26 million as the fourth pick in the draft, said his agent, Ian Greengross.

At 22, The Cowboys grabbed Felix Jones and paid him $10 million for 5 years, with $7 guaranteed….

Jones was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round, 22nd overall, of the 2008 NFL Draft. He signed a professional contract on July 26 for $10.53 million, with $7.67 million guaranteed, including a $3.57 million signing bonus

How about that for showing why you don’t want to slide 17 spots because of a pre-draft injury?

King on Lewis and Haynesworth

I think Ray Lewis will seriously consider leaving the Ravens.

Will he go? Don't know. But my guess -- and it's an educated guess, nothing more -- is Lewis, who turns 34 in May, will not get a deal done with the Ravens before Friday, and he'll take a couple of visits on the first weekend of free-agency.
Where? Dallas and the Jets are the teams that seem the most logical; I never thought under the salary cap they'd be able to clear enough room to go after a big player like Lewis. But the Jets, after some Chris Baker-type housecleaning last week, stand about $18 million under the cap this morning; I believe if coach Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum wanted to, they could certainly afford both Lewis and fellow Ravens free-agent linebacker Bart Scott. The Cowboys are $12.3 million under.

Wouldn't that be amazing: Ray Lewis with the star on his helmet. Or Ray Lewis coming to the Jets. Or Ray Lewis and Bart Scott to Jersey.

Again, I'm saying this is an educated guess. But either one makes a lot of sense to me. Jones always loves a new star, particularly with a tarnished team readying for a move into the new Cowboys stadium. Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson proved last year with the Brett Favre gambit that they're not afraid to take a chance on a big-name veteran.

The Ravens without Lewis would be as different as the Colts without Manning, or the Yanks without Jeter. And had Baltimore known Lewis would have played as great as he did in year 13 last fall, they'd certainly have gotten this deal done last spring or summer. But now there are two teams in major need of defensive intensity and team leadership out there. Rex Ryan would love to have him in New Jersey, and I think Jerry Jones would view Lewis as the solution to all the me-first stuff plaguing his team. This could be a case where the Ravens -- with $19.4 million to spend under the 2009 cap -- might be forced to match a financial package that would simply be too much for the new Ryan-less regime to stomach. It'll be an interesting week in Baltimore.

There's no long line waiting to pry Albert Haynesworth from the Titans.
In fact, Washington might be the logical landing spot. Hmmmm. I wonder why Redskins owner Dan Snyder was having dinner with the agent for Haynesworth, Chad Speck, at Morton's here Saturday night. I'm sure they were just talking about how it was colder here than at the Arctic Circle. But I kept asking all weekend: "Who wants Haynesworth -- or, more appropriately, who's going to pony up for him?'' And I got the old "it only takes one'' answer a few times. But one coach told me the smartest thing, and this was a coach who has some interest in getting Haynesworth at the right price, which is about half of what Haynesworth is hoping to get. "Everybody I've asked this weekend says, 'We're out of that,' or 'I don't think you'll see us involved in Haynesworth.' ''

Sad, really, because he's a great football player, an impactful player who can change a game from the interior defensive line spot. The downer stuff about Haynesworth:

• He's never played a full season. He's started three, 11, 10, 14, 10, 12 and 14 in his seven seasons.

• He's never played more than 65 percent of the Titans' defensive snaps in a season. You might say a Nnamdi Asomugha is tremendously overpaid at $15-million a year (much more on him later in the column), but Asomugha or a quarterback is going to play 95 percent of his unit's plays in the course of a year, barring injury. Even if healthy, Haynesworth's going to come off the field a third of the time, minimum. So do you want to pay quarterback money to a player who never touches the ball and plays two-thirds of the snaps a franchise quarterback plays? It makes no sense.

• He's got a reputation for coasting on some plays.

• He'll be 28 on opening day. You want to pay a 335-pound guy who's never started more than 14 games and is entering his eighth year $13 million or $15 million a year? Good luck.

Hamilton looks to stop dipping

For Dallas blog:

One of the keys to making it to the finish line this season is that the Stars are going to need to get results against the San Jose Sharks. With 24 games to play, the Stars still must play the Sharks 3 more times. Tonight, they play the final home game against the mighty Sharks, and then they must go to Northern California twice more. So far, they have pulled exactly 0 points from the Sharks. I think you could make a case that if the Stars get 0 out of the final 3 games, they will not make the playoffs.

Let’s review the 3 games to this point:

November 8: Stars lose 2-1 in San Jose, in a game where Marty Turco was phenomenal…until the final minute. In the final minute, he made what might not be remembered as his greatest moment of the season when he gifts Patrick Marleau with a beautiful pass, and Marleau dunks the puck over the goal line for a 2-1 win.

November 28: The day after Thanksgiving, and to me, the lowest point of the season. I have seen probably 1,000 Dallas Stars games since moving to town in 1998, and this has to be in the Top 5 most humbling games I have ever seen this team endure. No matter how you slice this one, the Stars were embarrassed on home ice, 6-2. And the score might not have shown how one sided the game appeared to the naked eye.

December 29: The Stars play a very solid game during a very solid streak of hockey. However, the Sharks are still 1 better (and then they add an empty netter to finish 2 better) in a 3-1 game. I remember actually being satisfied with the Stars effort, and pretty much saying after the game that if the Stars play that well, they will win most nights. After the game, the Sharks have a 25 point advantage over the Stars. Since then, the Stars feel they have played pretty well, right? They are 24 points behind the Sharks this morning, February 23rd.

It is very important that the Stars figure out a way to get something tonight. This will take a colossal effort, because on paper, the Stars do not measure out. They have not lost regulation games back to back since that horrible roadtrip to Chicago and Boston back over Halloween weekend, and they need to avoid that here.

Must.Get.Points. By any means necessary.

The last time the Stars beat the Sharks? Game 6. 1:24 am. Cinco de Mayo. Morrow. Enjoy.

No sooner do I congratulate Mikka Kiprusoff for save of the year, Marty Turco makes a bid! Turco has been sharp as a knife lately, and this Toews save is beyond crazy.
Turco with Larceny!

OV is my hero – as he bullies Crosby

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