Chris Wesseling at nfl.com reviews the current state of the Adrian Peterson saga in Minnesota:
“After meeting at Peterson’s home earlier this month, general manager Rick Spielman recently requested a dinner session with the star running back’s agent, Ben Dogra, at the upcoming NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix. Dogra declined, NFL Media’s Albert Breer reported, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Yahoo’s Charles Robinson first reported the news.
“Multiple sources close to Peterson have informed Breer that the major sticking point is Kevin Warren‘s recent promotion from general counsel to COO. Under the impression that Warren worked with the NFL to place him on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List last September, Peterson still wants out of Minnesota, Breer added.”
“Robinson has reported that the Cardinals will offer a high draft pick if Peterson becomes available. Franchise icon Larry Fitzgerald deemed the prospect of adding a player of that caliber a ‘game-changer’ for Arizona.”
A few thoughts here:
- First, Peterson is doing himself no favors by retaining Dogra as his agent. Dogra reportedly engaged in a heated exchange with Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski at the NFL Combine during which he was said to have screamed that Peterson would never play for the Vikings again.”Super agent” or not, anyone who loses his cool in a public exchange that should be purely business shouldn’t be negotiating contracts. Dogra’s got a combative style and his grudge against Brzezinski at least is well-known. He’s not going to be the kind of guy who is going to be capable of the kind of dispassionate thinking needed to act in the best interests of his client.
- Second, Dogra is obviously campaigning to get Peterson traded. By telling teams that the Vikings have no intension of releasing him, he’s trying to get them to make offers rather than wait and see if they can get him for nothing. But if either the Cardinals or Dogra think anyone is going to get Peterson for “a high round pick”, they’re dreaming. Even in his 30s, Peterson almost certainly has many years left. If the Vikings accept anything less than a package that includes multiple first round picks they’re fools. And they’re not fools. Peterson is worth far more to the Vikings than anything anyone else is likely to offer.
- Finally, Dogra can try to get Peterson traded all he wants, Peterson’s best option will likely be to play in Minnesota. He’ll almost certainly get more money there than anywhere else. In addition, if the Vikings play hardball – and I think they eventually will when push comes to shove – Peterson’s likely options will be to play for them or lose a ton of money in salary sitting at home. Players threaten to sit out all the time but rational thinking almost always prevails and the player ends up playing. Again, assuming that Dogra actually manages to recommend what’s best for his client, that’s what Peterson will do.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears needs match up well with the strengths of the draft. Yeah, well that’s bound to happen when you need virtually everything on defense. Biggs thinks they should draft a pass rusher:
“[Pernell McPhee] alone isn’t going to prop up a pass rush in need of a boost as the Bears transition to a 3-4 front under coach John Fox and coordinator Vic Fangio. McPhee was a role player for the Ravens and blossomed last season with 7-1/2 sacks playing less than half the time behind Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs behind a line Haloti Ngata anchored. McPhee is versatile and had 64 quarterback pressures, so the belief is the arrow is pointing up.”
Biggs has a point. You can’t have too many pass rushers. But at least the Bears have two starting quality outside linebackers in McPhee and Lamarr Houston, a player who has shown in the past that he can do it at a high level with the Raiders. Its true that neither is “dominant”. But both are ascending players who might develop in that direction. The Bears were already betting on it when they signed each of them.
The key to Biggs’s statement above was “behind a line anchored by Haloti Ngata [above]”. The Bears don’t have even three good quality starting 3-4 defensive linemen who can keep blockers off of the linebackers, let alone the depth they’ll need at the positions. You have to stop the run first and right now, given what they have up the middle, I wouldn’t trust the Bears to stand in the face of a gust of wind.
I don’t believe in drafting for need so if a pass rusher is the best guy available, by all means take him. But I still put defensive line at the top of their list of needs.
Dan Hanzus at nfl.com answers your questions (again):
“I’m making the Jets (4-12 in ’14) my early favorite. There are a lot good vibes around Florham Park right now, with the additions of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, Antonio Cromartie and more. New coach Todd Bowles has a real secondary to work with — something Rex Ryan couldn’t claim last year — and I can easily see the Jets making a four-to-six win jump with better quarterback play, whether that be from Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick or, yep, Marcus Mariota.
“Also look out for the Buccaneers (2-14), who will get better in a hurry if they hit on Jameis Winston.”
I’ve commented extensively now about teams winning in March not winning in January. But having said that, there is something about having a new coaching staff that rejuvenates a team. No one’s job is safe and everyone focuses a little more and competes a little harder that first year. So its not out of the question that that Jets – or the Bills – bounce up with a good record this year.
I’d like put the Bears into this class. They’ve got plenty of skill position players on offense. They added an ascending pass rusher in Pernell McPhee. You could argue that Jared Allen simply has a down year and could be much better rested rushing in subpackages. Lamar Houston was slow to adjust to defensive end in a 4-3 and will almost certainly be more comfortable in a 3-4. But unfortunately with Jay Cutler returning as quarterback and a transition to the 3-4 going on defensively, the guess here is that most of the benefit that new Bears head coach John Fox brings will be for the long haul.
Dan Hanzus at nfl.com answers your questions:
“I’ll look at it another way: Which one of last year’s playoff teams would instantly fall off a cliff if their star quarterback up and decided to join Jake Locker in the cornfields. My first thought was Andrew Luck, but that Matt Hasselbeck has some dad pluck. They’d probably go 7-9. There’s Tom Brady and the Patriots, of course, but knowing that team Jimmy Garoppolo would somehow make them better. The answer has to be the Cowboys, who are still voluntarily compensating Brandon Weeden. 12-4 to 4-12 would be in play.”
Hanzus forgot about the Packers who went 2-4-1 without Aaron Rogers in 2013. That translates to 4-5 wins over a 16 game season. For my money Rogers is the best quarterback in football and he single handedly elevates the Packers, a draft and develop team that will never have the elite talent all over the field that top teams like the Seattle Seahawks have.