NFL 2011-2012 Off-Season Pre-Draft Catch-All

last I checked even without a bounty the players are getting paid to hit the other players..

hard.

The Texans will be keeping Arian Foster for 5 more years! Lot of happy folks in Houston today, including his agent, who I heard on the radio. Foster has been very classy his whole career, despite being the most underpaid player in football. Never complained, and now he's gotten his money at last. Kudos to him and GM Rick Smith.

Looking unlikely that they'll be able to afford Mario Williams, unless he really doesn't care about money.

LeapingGnome wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

Now, of course, the act of paying players like this is not legal, so, OK, the coaching staff deserves a punishment for that. But it's a violation of conduct, not a competitive issue and certainly not something worthy of so much scandal.

I forget, is this really a team paying players? Some of the early reports I saw were players paying players, which I don't see how you get in the middle of, what they do with their money is their business.

Unless new information has surfaced since last I read, none of the money used came directly from the Saints organization. Most came from the players, and some came from Williams, who also organized and oversaw it. Apparently, his superiors had at least tacit knowledge of it but, unlike what was said in an earlier post, it did not (paraphrased) "go from the GM to the HC to the DC." This is not some sort of top-down instruction but more like a "rogue" middle-manager incentivizing his employees. Upper-management may avoid looking too hard because they approve of the results. Some may think the distinction superficial, but I would disagree.

As for the entire situation, we've always given the proverbial pat on the back for big hits and the ones that take out the other guy are the biggest of all. In this case, the hand that provided that pat was lined with green. I don't sanction it because it's against the rules, but as stated or implied by *Legion*, TheGameguru, and others, it's nothing new and certainly not worthy of so much scandal.

I have a hard time getting overly worked up about this bounty situation (can we please stop -Gate'ing everything? It's dumb).

Were the hits that the defenders made legal hits? If so, discussion over. A legal hit is a legal hit is a legal hit, regardless of if the guy gets a few grand if that legal hit results in an injury.

And if the hits were not legal hits, then they should already have been punished as a result of being illegal hits. It's not like it would have been a secret. There were 7 officials, 70,000 fans, and ~10 cameras watching the hits.

Now, of course, the act of paying players like this is not legal, so, OK, the coaching staff deserves a punishment for that. But it's a violation of conduct, not a competitive issue and certainly not something worthy of so much scandal.

ESPN has dropped to new lows with this whole Bounty nonsense.. if there ever was an organization that completely to the man could just talk ridiculous amounts of nonsense and hyperbole ALL while blatantly being hypocritical its this organization. It's no wonder I can't even stand watching or listening for more than 5 minutes anymore.

I agree with all of you that football is a violent game, and that rings of players probably have arrangements like this with each other on a semi-regular basis. However, I think the penalties for the bounty program are going to be severe, but not because of the bounty program itself. If it were simply a matter of players paying small bounties to other players in the locker room, my bet would be that the NFL would have ended the investigation in '09 with a (probably nonpublic) slap on the wrist for the players involved. However, everything I have read indicates that multiple players and Saints personnel lied to NFL investigators during the initial investigation and maintained these lies until proof was uncovered this year. I think that punishments will be MUCH more severe because of this cover-up. In an era when the league is likely conducting numerous internal investigations to prepare a defense for ongoing litigation they simply CANNOT allow players/coaches/management to lie to league investigators.

Adding in the fact that coaches were involved in the prize pool as well certainly doesn't help the Saints' case. Additionally, I could have swore on Saturday that I read hints that cash for the pool may have come from another 3rd party source as well. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name or which article I read it in Saturday, but my impression was that it was someone already under investigation by the league for somehow improperly buying and selling player's playoff/Super Bowl ticket allocations?? If any allegations of third party participation in these pools is true, it raises all kinds of "integrity of the game" issues having to do with gambling, etc. (I wish I could find the article I read this in- maybe something from SBNation?)

Penalties will be severe because Williams is a character and harsh penalties make the commish look good.

I was outraged at first but meh. Like Hockey, Football is developing an identity problem. It seems identification of what actually is happening to players (specifically head injuries) who play contact sports is outstripping treatment and prevention.

This was just another way for the team to reinforce the philosophy that yes we play a contact sport and yes we want you to knock the living stuffing out of the opposition. In the NFL especially where the contracts are not guaranteed this was just another way to convene the message of what coaches expected of the players. Its cost vs benefit. NFL tried to curtail this with heavy fines and suspensions so teams counter this by offering up more money to keep them hitting hard.

From a fans perspective you either accept people can get seriously injured and still watch or tune out. I don't watch MMA because I don't enjoy seeing crumpled bodies hitting the ground to get pummeled on even more. Its honestly a very slippery slope though.

Adding in the fact that coaches were involved in the prize pool as well certainly doesn't help the Saints' case. Additionally, I could have swore on Saturday that I read hints that cash for the pool may have come from another 3rd party source as well. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name or which article I read it in Saturday, but my impression was that it was someone already under investigation by the league for somehow improperly buying and selling player's playoff/Super Bowl ticket allocations?? If any allegations of third party participation in these pools is true, it raises all kinds of "integrity of the game" issues having to do with gambling, etc. (I wish I could find the article I read this in- maybe something from SBNation?)

This needs to be either verified as true or not... I somehow feel that this is being floated around to build up support for what sanctions are coming down. I would be beyond pissed if the following happened.

1. Saints are punished in any meaningful way beyond a monetary fine to a charity or something.
2. Williams is fired or suspended for anything beyond 2 games. I honestly don't believe the NFL will try and ban Williams from the NFL.. since I think he would have a good lawsuit

IF all that comes out is that the players and some coaches were "paying" players for hits. (lets face it $1000-$1500 to anyone but a min. wage NFL player is chump change)

The source told King that when Goodell first heard the allegations of the Saints paying bounties, the commissioner said, “God forbid this is true. This will be earth-shattering.”

Seriously? God this man absolutely disgusts me.

Barnwell has a good piece about the Foster, Lynch and Kicker franchise tags.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...

TheGameguru wrote:

This needs to be either verified as true or not... I somehow feel that this is being floated around to build up support for what sanctions are coming down.

If the involvement of a third party ends up being straight-up false or a twist of the facts, I believe it much more likely to be a twist by SBNation or another sports media outlet to whore for hits than a league fabrication to justify suspensions. For the league to fabricate third-party involvement to "build up support" for suspensions would be straight up dumb and unnecessary.

I agree with you that a few players giving each other chump change incentives in the clubhouse wouldn't warrant suspensions. However, as I said before I firmly believe that lying to league investigators about it does. I also believe that any coaching or Saint's management involvement also warrants stiff sanctions. Showing that the league is unable to adequately enforce its own rules either because of impotent internal investigations or complicity of team officials is just the thing that could cost the league hundreds of millions in a future lawsuit. IF they actually lied in the investigations, the league HAS to hammer those involved.

jowner wrote:

Barnwell has a good piece about the Foster, Lynch and Kicker franchise tags.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...

Excellent piece.

I believe Seattle paid Lynch because they wanted to get rid of the memory of Shaun Alexander.

Finnigan and the Titans are parting ways. I'm curious to see what team will break the bank on a "good" cornerback.

I like Barnwell and I can't argue with his excellent analysis, but I think there are a couple important factors to consider regarding Foster:

1) The Texans owed that guy for his amazing past production. Not contractually, perhaps, but they did. Paying him bought a lot of good will from the fans and the other guys in the locker room. Say whatever you will about this blocking system, but he's the guy who has been carrying the ball. 2010 would have been even more of a debacle without him - his season of performance and Andre whooping Cortland's ass were the sole highlights - and 2011 would not have seen the Texans playing in and winning their first (and almost second) playoff game without him. I would also argue that the Texans just publicly rewarded "their kind" of player, which also sends an important signal.

2) Sports are supposed to be fun. It is more fun for me as a fan to have folks like Foster who are great people, players, and success stories stick with the team. Houston loves him. Now that I'm not in danger of it becoming obsolete immediately, I'm planning on making my first jersey purchase. Fans enjoy the storytelling that goes along with sports. Great plays are always great, but great players with great stories place them into a context that creates immortality. Continuity on a team is important - not in all cases, perhaps (I'm happy to discuss the local take on Mario Williams, if anyone cares), but no one wants to just root for a team full of anonymous employees.

The Texans stood to either win big or lose big with the fans depending on how they handled this one. Everyone around here is thrilled, and they've bought a lot of good will. This helps to continue the momentum from the 2011 season. Fall 2012 can't get here soon enough!

karmajay wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
Lobo wrote:
Stele wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
Lobo wrote:

stuff

You could always become a Tampa Bay fan. ;)

Yeah... and never get to see any games on TV. It's fun. :lol:

With my beloved girlfriend as example, I fear I'd never see any games at all through the haze of my own tears.

The image of your telling one of your students that an opinion can be wrong and, by example, the opinion that the Tampa Bay Bucs are the best team in football is demonstrably wrong is forever burned in my brain.

:(

Don't worry, Karma. I still rely on those same jokes, so I expect to catch hell from my students this week. I'll get my comeuppance.

TheGameguru wrote:

ESPN has dropped to new lows with this whole Bounty nonsense.. if there ever was an organization that completely to the man could just talk ridiculous amounts of nonsense and hyperbole ALL while blatantly being hypocritical its this organization. It's no wonder I can't even stand watching or listening for more than 5 minutes anymore.

Speaking as a Saints fan, it has been nice throughout the course of this bounty controversy to be able to read this thread, wherein even the harshest, condemnatory voices are reasoned and calm. I fear, though, that the league will assess penalties with a view toward placating the wild histrionics of the wider football media and audience.

My only problem with the Texans so far this off-season:

They didn't lock up Chris Meyers. They must have someone in the wings that looks even better (Rick Smith has done us proud so far), but man does this rub me the wrong way. They've had O-line issues since the whole Tony Boselli debacle. Now the line is finally starting to gel and they let their pro-bowl center walk. Brilliant!

Gumbie wrote:

Finnigan and the Titans are parting ways. I'm curious to see what team will break the bank on a "good" cornerback.

Hah. No departing Titan ever makes it to free agency without getting Gumbie downplayed.

No starting corner in 2011 gave up fewer yards per catch than Finnegan.

While I agree with Fedaykin that it is nice to see a guy like Foster get his payday, I can't say that I'm happy that the Colts will be stuck seeing him twice a year for the forseeable future.

hoppa: As I understand it, we haven't lost Meyers (or anyone) yet, right? Several folks I've heard from/read believe that keeping Foster and likely not keeping Mario means we'll have the dough to keep Meyers.

It is downright hilarious how quickly Rick Smith's reputation had been reversed in Houston, btw. Before this year, everyone on the radio thought he was a complete moron. Now we feel like he's a genius. I think it's clear now that he has done a great job over time. Wade helped a lot as well; I think it's really impossible to know who is responsible for what. Was Smith's performance being hamstrung by a bad DC before? Or did the personnel just happen to finally gel this year with the acquisitions of Watt, Joseph, and Manning? I'm sure it's a combination of everything, but it certainly was a dramatic reversal.

garion333 wrote:
jowner wrote:

Barnwell has a good piece about the Foster, Lynch and Kicker franchise tags.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...

Excellent piece.

I believe Seattle paid Lynch because they wanted to get rid of the memory of Shaun Alexander.

They want to forget he was MVP, set a record for TDs in a season, led the league in rushing? Not sure what you are referring to, except maybe his injuries at the end of his career.

Jasonofindy wrote:

While I agree with Fedaykin that it is nice to see a guy like Foster get his payday, I can't say that I'm happy that the Colts will be stuck seeing him twice a year for the forseeable future.

Yeah Foster turned out to be really good. He's come a long way since his choke artist fumble days at Tennessee. Man, he caused me alot of heartache back in the day.

*Legion* wrote:
Gumbie wrote:

Finnigan and the Titans are parting ways. I'm curious to see what team will break the bank on a "good" cornerback.

Hah. No departing Titan ever makes it to free agency without getting Gumbie downplayed.

No starting corner in 2011 gave up fewer yards per catch than Finnegan.

I like Finnigan I even met guy in January. He's a good player and even better for the community in Nashville. At the same time I'm really glad they didn't pay him the sh*tloads of money he wanted. He wants top 5 money and he's not a top 5 corner. Alot of people in Nashville feel the same way.

Oh and when do I downplay Titan free agents? VY? Lol how did that work out for the Eagles?

Gumbie wrote:
Jasonofindy wrote:

While I agree with Fedaykin that it is nice to see a guy like Foster get his payday, I can't say that I'm happy that the Colts will be stuck seeing him twice a year for the forseeable future.

Yeah Foster turned out to be really good. He's come a long way since his choke artist fumble days at Tennessee. Man, he caused me alot of heartache back in the day.

Interestingly, Foster had relatively few (I believe 5 career) fumbles at UT; apparently, they all came at such terrible times that they really colored his perception there.

Also, fun fact: That Bill Barnwell article has been renamed. I'm guessing ESPN is a little tired of headlines with racial overtones (It was "Why is the NFL afraid of the dark?" above a picture of Arian Foster).

LeapingGnome wrote:
garion333 wrote:
jowner wrote:

Barnwell has a good piece about the Foster, Lynch and Kicker franchise tags.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...

Excellent piece.

I believe Seattle paid Lynch because they wanted to get rid of the memory of Shaun Alexander.

They want to forget he was MVP, set a record for TDs in a season, led the league in rushing? Not sure what you are referring to, except maybe his injuries at the end of his career.

I was just kidding, but was specifically referring to them making him, at 28 or 29 years old, the highest paid RB (at the time) and getting next to nothing back from the investment, which is basically what the article is talking about.

Peyton gone from Indy. Texans to own their division indefinitely.

You knew it was coming, there was no way they were going to pay him the 28 million. Now it is just a question does he retire or sign somewhere else. If he is healthy I think he will sign somewhere else just to prove he can still play.

What is kind of sad is the guy was considered the best QB in the NFL for a decade, he has played for them for what, 12 years, two years ago he was in top form, he misses a year to injury, seems to be coming back well, and now he is cut. Just shows how little loyalty there is to the players in the NFL, at least on the Colts.

Just shows how little loyalty there is to the players in the NFL, at least on every team.

The thing is, Leap, I'm not sure Manning is showing good signs of coming back. I think he wants to, and will sign on somewhere. If he's the old Peyton, it's a coup for that team and a gigantic black eye for the Colts. If he's a shadow of his former self, Indy will be (quietly, I suspect) vindicated.