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Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 02:00 PM

In a Perfect World: A Look Back at the 'Skins Major Offseason Moves
 
In a perfect world, the Redskins front office would have: (1) known that the free agent market was about to be flooded with high-profile, quality quarterbacks and not lost a third round pick to acquire Mark Brunell; (2) known the draft order; and (3) not given up the league’s best cornerbacks for one of the league’s best running backs.

MARK BRUNELL

That said, immediately after we traded a third-rounder for three-time Pro-Bowler Mark Brunell, I criticized the move. I have no doubt that Mark Brunell, who has a career quarterback rating of 85, will be an excellent quarterback who will lead the Redskins to the playoffs, if not the Super Bowl, and I think that he will be a fantastic mentor to Patrick Ramsey.

However, Mark Brunell will be 34 years old this September and it is unlikely that he will be a quality starter for more than two to three years. Moreover, Brunell has a history of injuries and at 34, he’s likely to have more. Finally, we signed Mark Brunell to a seven year contract worth $43 million (including a $8.6 million signing bonus). Rams QB Mark Bulger, who at 27 years old is seven years younger than Brunell, signed a four year deal with the Rams this offseason for $17 million and a $9 million signing bonus.

Call me crazy, but I think we overpaid for Brunell’s services. To boot, we gave Jacksonville a high third-round pick for the trade and will incur a big cap hit when Brunell retires in 2006 or 2007. I said it then, I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it when we are in the playoffs – this was a bad move.

CHAMP BAILEY-CLINTON PORTIS

Last year I was speaking with a friend of mine about the ultimate fantasy team and I told him that I’d like to have Clinton Portis in my backfield. I have no doubt that Portis will break the 2,000 yard mark this season or next and he will make defenses think twice about blitzing on every down to crush our quarterback. For the first time in three years, our defense will be able to sit on the sidelines for more than 5 minutes at a time to rest and watch our running game wear down opposing defenses. In my opinion, Portis brings no fewer than three wins to our team.

Champ Bailey is a true player and man; he’s got class, heart, and the ability to shut down opposing wideouts on nine out of ten plays. It is also more difficult to find a good cornerback than it is to unearth a great running back.

However, simply because one quality type of player is harder to come by doesn’t mean that he’s worth more than a quality type of player that is easy to find. Bailey was beaten on numerous plays last year and may have lost a step and while he could control one side of the field, Clinton Portis will help the ‘Skins dominate the entire field, if not the entire game. Moreover, it was well known that Bailey did not want to stay in Washington to see how coach Gibbs panned out.

So, I said so long to Champ, hello to Portis, and I defended the trade as an overall good move on the part of the Redskins. Nevertheless, I think the ‘Skins would have been better off to trade Champ for say a first and third rounder (even if Champ is worth two first rounders). We’ve got major holes on the defensive line and we have numerous other less-glaring holes on both offense and defense. I’d have preferred to trade Champ to Minnesota (who has plenty of cap room to accommodate a big contract and a need at cornerback).

SEAN TAYLOR

I haven’t had the pleasure of watching much of Sean Taylor play in college, but I do know that he is special. Taylor will offset the loss of Champ Bailey in our backfield, scare wideouts running slant and crossing routes, and will be much cheaper to sign than say a wideout, running back, defensive lineman et al picked with the 5th overall pick.

However, as I said before the draft, I would have preferred to trade down to New England. Bill Belicheck was supposedly enamored with Taylor and if we could have pulled it off, I would have liked to have traded the 5th overall pick for New England’s two picks in the first round (picks 21 and 32).

As noted above, we have some big holes to fill on both sides of the field and could use an influx of young, relatively cheap (vis-à-vis free agents), and very good players.

THE RESULT

In sum, we lost Champ Bailey, a third rounder, a second rounder, and spent our 5th overall pick on Sean Taylor in order to gain Clinton Portis, Mark Brunell, and Sean Taylor. To me, that sounds like a push – we gained as much as we lost.

In retrospect, if I were the GM of the ‘Skins, I would have kept all my picks by trading Champ for two picks and picking up a quarterback in free-agency and I would have also traded down out of the 5th overall draft selection.

Knowing now how the draft played out, with all of the above mentioned picks, I would have drafted:

1. Steven Jackson #19 (for Bailey from Minnesota)
2. Kenechi Udeze #21
3. Jake Grove #32
4. Randy Starks #41
5. Derrick Straight #72
6. Chris Cooley #82 (for Bailey from Minnesota)

For me, the above seems to fill a lot more holes (even if they are with rookies), is more cap-friendly, and will make our team better with age, not worse (like the Brunell deal and the trading of our picks did).

hurrykaine 07-22-2004 02:43 PM

Great analysis Ramsey fan, but the caveat must be that instead of draft picks like Steven Jackson/Kevin Jones who are unproven at the pro-game, in Portis, we're getting a proven performer who is also a great blocker and has decent hands.

The Bailey trade has indeed left a hole in the secondary, but look for Smootie to be more dominant this year, and as you mentioned, Sean Taylor can go a long way in alleviating any weaknesses stemming from Bailey's loss.

As for the D-line, on paper it doesn't look like much, but a lot depends on how Greg Williams uses the personnel we have - last year Edwards could've done a lot better with the sorry line we had, had be been more creative with his schemes. Lavar and M. Washington can both get decent pass rush pressure on crucial downs (just watch some Colts games from the last two seasons). IMHO, the arguably the biggest upgrade to the skins (other than Gibbs coming back) this season has been in the Defensive Coaching staff - greg williams, Dale lindsey greg blache - these guys could be def. coords anywhere in the league. I say the addition of these defensive coaches is worth atleast 2 games.

As for Brunello di montaclino, hell yes we overpaid for him.

memphisskin 07-22-2004 04:14 PM

Love the draft class you proposed, but that team does seem a bit young for the plan that the Skins FO has been following.

Quick thoughts,

Portis/Bailey trade- Whatever. We could have used the 2nd round pick, but again is it enough to hold up on acquiring a back who's AVERAGED 1500 yds and 15 tds? Dallas is going with "Orange" Julius Jones because they didn't want to give up a 2nd rounder for Corey Dillon. We could have kept the pick and drafted Tatum Bell ourselves, but instead we get one of the top 5 backs in the league. Win-win.

Brunell for the 3rd rounder- We could have waited and I'm sure our price was more than any other team, but maybe Brunell would have wanted to go somewhere else. Again a high pick to lose, but now we have a veteran qb, and I like Gibbs' track record with qbs. I mean Mark Rypien won a SB MVP!

Sean Taylor - I've heard the talk that the 2nd safety off the board was pretty good too. And the K2 talk will heat up again if he has a monster year. But no matter. Taylor was compared to Ronnie Lott. Combine him with LaVar and you've got two heavy hitters on defense. I've seen Taylor play, the games I saw he was making plays all over the field. Blocking punts, returning punts, making hits, knocking down passes, intercepting balls, taking interceptions back for scores. He is a difference maker. We will love him. Big, fast, strong.

Hogskin 07-22-2004 04:31 PM

You are forgetting a major fact. Your draft list looks good to you on paper, but 75-80% of the drafted players NEVER live up to their potential, and most never pan out AT ALL. Repost this 10 weeks into the season, and see how it looks then.

RedskinRat 07-22-2004 05:25 PM

I wondered why you've been so quiet, Ramseyfan...

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 06:23 PM

[QUOTE=hurrykaine]Great analysis Ramsey fan, but the caveat must be that instead of draft picks like Steven Jackson/Kevin Jones who are unproven at the pro-game, in Portis, we're getting a proven performer who is also a great blocker and has decent hands. [/QUOTE]


It’s true that Portis gives us a proven performer and that Stephen Jackson is far from a guaranteed success. But, remember that this difference is reflected in the two types of players’ contracts. We paid through the nose to get Portis whereas the Rams will pay a pretty modest price for the draft’s top back. The simple fact is that you can’t keep trying to get proven performers via free agency, they are too costly and if they blow out a knee you up sh-ts creek without a paddle.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 06:24 PM

[QUOTE=BossHog]Why have all these WRs on the roster of a heavily used TE offense? Question number two. Do you think we will aquire another FA before training camp?[/QUOTE]

I thought the same thing about how heavily stacked we are at wideout. I was sure that Gibbs would orchestrate a trade for a TE or O-linemen using one of our wideouts. But, the good thing about Gibbs is that, unlike Spurrier, he’s going to use the talent he’s got to produce wins – even if that means adjusting your template bread-and-butter system (in Gibbs’ case a run-first offense).

I think that we will definitely acquire another free agent before or during training camp, but I don’t see us making any surprising splashes for a name-you-know free agent. We’re too close to the cap ceiling to get anyone noteworthy without restructuring a deal – like Chris Samuels’ (whose agent appears very unlikely to redo another deal in the midst of a Samuels’ slump).

Gibbs appears to have a lot of faith in coach Williams’ defensive scheme and ability to compensate for holes on defense. Unfortunately, I think Williams’ ability to compensate for such holes is VASTLY overrated. Williams had some awesome personnel last year and that is the main reason why the defense was rated #2 in the league. Does anyone remember that in 2002, the Bills offense was a powerhouse but the defense stank? Where was Williams’ genius then?

I’m not saying that Williams is not a very good coach – he is a very good coach. But he had plenty to work with in Buffalo whereas he has close to nothing to work with on our defensive line. I didn’t buy our linebackers compensating for a poor dline last year and I don’t buy it now. We need better ends and tackles period.

So even though I’d like to see a big name come into camp to help out our dline, I don’t think one will since we have placed too much stock into Williams.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 06:25 PM

[QUOTE=Hogskin]You are forgetting a major fact. Your draft list looks good to you on paper, but 75-80% of the drafted players NEVER live up to their potential, and most never pan out AT ALL. Repost this 10 weeks into the season, and see how it looks then.[/QUOTE]

I must respectfully take issue with the claim that 75%-80% of draftees do not live up to their hype. For player who does not meet expectations, you’ve got one who exceeds them. I would say that most early round picks pan out. Jessie Armstead, Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Steve Smith, Laveranues Coles, Stephen Davis, Jeremiah Trotter, Rock Cartwright, Patrick Ramsey, and Darnerian McCants are just a few examples of Redskins (from various rounds) who I think exceeded expectations (if you consider where they were drafted and how they turned out).

You’ve got to draft well or you just can’t be a successful franchise for more than one or two years. I’m a firm believer in gambling on the draft. Also, don’t free agents represent a gamble? Dan Wilkinson, Dana Stubblefield, Marco Coleman, Bruce Smith, Jeremiah Trotter are just a few examples of huge free agent letdowns.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 06:26 PM

[QUOTE=memphisskin]Love the draft class you proposed, but that team does seem a bit young for the plan that the Skins FO has been following.QUOTE]

I like young teams, they tend to overperform for their price tags and all you can do is get better. Old teams tend to have a one or two year window of opportunity to make a run for the Lombardi and then either dismantle or fall apart from old age.

My answer to every NFL personnel problem is DRAFT, DRAFT, DRAFT and DRAFT well.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 06:26 PM

[QUOTE=RedskinRat]I wondered why you've been so quiet, Ramseyfan...[/QUOTE]

I've been prepping for law school and busting my butt on this never-ending case at the law firm I'm working at.

Dana87 07-22-2004 06:44 PM

Thank God
 
No offence to [COLOR=DarkRed]Ramseyfan[/COLOR], but all I can say is thank God your not the Redskins GM. You would rather have a bunch of unproven talent then proven leaders and winners. While I would agree that I would have liked to not give up 2nd and 3rd round picks, that was the price to get proven players. Living in Jacksonville I have had the opportunity to watch Brunell every year since '95. He is a winner and will mentor Ramsey very well. A 3rd round pick is a small price to pay for a QB that will lead us to the playoffs then show Ramsey how to follow in his footsteps. He is far better than any of the free agent QB's that came available ie... [COLOR=Red]Garcia, Couch, Testaverde, Blake[/COLOR]. As for trading Champ Bailey who no longer wanted to be a Redskin even after Joe Gibbs came back, I can only say See Ya! Clinton Portis is a rare talent that you would never dream of being able to get before you heard the deal was in the works.As far as drafting a RB to carry the load for Gibbs' offense, I didn't see a back in the draft I would trust. There are alot of backs that look great in college and get fans all excited about there potential and then don't do anything in the Pros ie... [COLOR=Red]Thomas Jones 1st RND, Curtis Enis 1st RND, Rashad Sallam 1st RND, Ron Dayne 1st RND, Tim Biakabatuka 1st RND, TJ Duckett 1st RND[/COLOR] just to name a few. Brunell & Portis will make things much easier for WR's Coles, Gardner, McCants, & Thrash. When all is said and done Redskins Fans will be glad that Joe Gibbs is calling the shots in DC, and until I have 3 Super Bowl trophies in my show case I will refrain from second guessing him.

Shane 07-22-2004 06:55 PM

The way I look at the new players is they will help us be a better team. To take the team to the next level at this stage, we need a super talented quarterback who has more than the comparatively tiny experience that Pat Ramsey has. Brunell is a guy that I believe will excel and be one of the top quarterbacks in the league this year. He is special and he is a perfect fit for a Joe Gibbs run offense, especially with the awesome protection Joe Bugel's men will provide for him. Ramsey will be there to fill in if Brunell does get nicked up, and meanwhile he is getting the training that really almost any very young quarterback should get before being thrown into the fire.

Regarding his contract, the key element is not the total dollar figure of the contract but the way it is structured. The way you compared it to Bulger is not the way a capologist would look at it.

Is he worth it? I believe he will be crucial in our success and that he would be much better for our team than any other quarterback we could have brought in here.

Regarding Clinton Portis and Champ Bailey - Bailey's attitude would have been a painful detriment to what the Redskins are building right now in my opinion. He didn't want to be here, and I think he will be much happier in Denver where he'll be the toast of the town. There was no question he had to go in my view. Clinton Portis provides incredible ability and I don't have a problem with adding the draft choice for him. Bailey we have already replaced with some very capable defensive backs led by Shawn Springs.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 06:59 PM

No offence to Ramseyfan, but all I can say is thank God your not the Redskins GM.

[B]Yeah thank god we have Danny Snyder running the show because without him, we wouldn’t have been winning all these years since he took over. [/B]

You would rather have a bunch of unproven talent then proven leaders and winners.

[B]No, I’d rather have proven leaders and winners, but you simply can’t afford to do that constantly a la Snyder-GM approach. [/B]

While I would agree that I would have liked to not give up 2nd and 3rd round picks, that was the price to get proven players. Living in Jacksonville I have had the opportunity to watch Brunell every year since '95. He is a winner and will mentor Ramsey very well. A 3rd round pick is a small price to pay for a QB that will lead us to the playoffs then show Ramsey how to follow in his footsteps. He is far better than any of the free agent QB's that came available ie... Garcia, Couch, Testaverde, Blake.

[B]
He is better than the other free agent QBs and I never said he wasn’t. But he’s 34, cost a bundle, and has a history of injuries.[/B]

As for trading Champ Bailey who no longer wanted to be a Redskin even after Joe Gibbs came back, I can only say See Ya! Clinton Portis is a rare talent that you would never dream of being able to get before you heard the deal was in the works.As far as drafting a RB to carry the load for Gibbs' offense, I didn't see a back in the draft I would trust. There are alot of backs that look great in college and get fans all excited about there potential and then don't do anything in the Pros ie... Thomas Jones 1st RND, Curtis Enis 1st RND, Rashad Sallam 1st RND, Ron Dayne 1st RND, Tim Biakabatuka 1st RND, TJ Duckett 1st RND just to name a few.

[B]I think Jackson will be more than good. I’d like to have Peyton Manning, Patrick Ramsey, Marvin Harrison, Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis, etc. on my offense but you just can’t afford to do that. You can’t be stacked at every position with great free agents, you need those young, unproven players to build a franchise…..unless you’re talking fantasy football. [/B]

Brunell & Portis will make things much easier for WR's Coles, Gardner, McCants, & Thrash. When all is said and done Redskins Fans will be glad that Joe Gibbs is calling the shots in DC, and until I have 3 Super Bowl trophies in my show case I will refrain from second guessing him.

[B]Wow, well then, I guess there isn’t much to discuss. I’m not the type to defer to anyone. If I think someone, even someone like Gibbs is doing something stupid, I’ll say so. Gibbs, who is probably one of the best coaches in NFL history, makes mistakes and when it comes to the salary cap, he’s as much of a novice as I am.[/B]


Sorry about the sarcasm….no offense intended.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 07-22-2004 07:07 PM

Regarding his contract, the key element is not the total dollar figure of the contract but the way it is structured. The way you compared it to Bulger is not the way a capologist would look at it.

[B]Even if a contract is heavily backloaded, which Brunell's is, you've still got to look at that $8.6 million signing bonus and know that we are going to take a $5 million cap hit if he's cut after 3 years. You can't avoid that unless you plan on having Brunelll here for the next 5 or 6 years.[/B]

Regarding Clinton Portis and Champ Bailey - Bailey's attitude would have been a painful detriment to what the Redskins are building right now in my opinion. He didn't want to be here, and I think he will be much happier in Denver where he'll be the toast of the town. There was no question he had to go in my view. Clinton Portis provides incredible ability and I don't have a problem with adding the draft choice for him. Bailey we have already replaced with some very capable defensive backs led by Shawn Springs.

[B]Bailey did have to go and I said asmuch in my original post. However, I just don't think we did what was best (even if what we did was good).[/B]


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