1. Based on what I keep hearing on the talk shows one of the major topics is what are the Pats going to do about Matt Cassel. Well here are my humble opinions.
a. You DON'T franchise him. Its just too much money. If you DO franchise him, its because you have set up a deal for him that he will agree to. That means the Pats's compensation, Cassel's compensation (future contract) will all have to be pretty much agreed to PRIOR to the franchise tag being put on. Also to franchise a player merely to trade him is specifically against NFLPA rules. That's why everyone concerned will have to be on board for a franchise tag to work. AND since its highly unlikely that the Union, the Pats, the team looking to trade and the agent will all be on the same page; that's why the Franchise move will NEVEr work.
b. Don't forget that the Pats believe that Kevin O'Connor is a BETTER QB prospect....you know, a guy who actually has started some games while he was in college. Its not like if the Pats lose Cassel the cubbard will be bare for a back up
c. IF the Pats truly want to get something in the trade market for Matt THE ONLY way to do it is to extend his contract BEFORE the end of the season, as in RIGHT NOW. Cassel has 6 more regular season games left, as well as up to 4 more game in the post season. Brady's sudden injury is just further proof that your next play in the NFL could be your last one.
Sure he's the flavor of the month TODAY, but if he got hurt next week, all the millions he is seeing in his future could be just dust. Not only that, what if he sucks for a couple of games. Its not like it hasn't happened before, even great QBs have gone through some bad stretches. Hell Kurt Warner has gone through some bad YEARS.
What I propose is the Pats make him an offer to extend his contract to 2009. It would be an $8MM deal with a $5MM signing bonus. That way the kid would get paid $5MM for THIS year and at least $3MM for next year.
What this really is a way for the Pats to get control of him in the off season. It pays him RIGHT NOW and gives him GUARANTEED financial security for his family IMMEDIATELY. It also doesn't REALLY effect his contact opportunities for the 2009 season. The second year of the contract would be torn up in a new 3-5 year deal that he'd sign with his new club. He could also work out a deal with the Pats that there would be certain teams that they COULDN'T send him to.
Litterally, in exchange for instant financial security the Pats are given the opportunity to get some draft/player compensation, without really impacting Cassel's future compensation. Both sides win.
d. Don't forget that the WORST thing that happens is Cassel becomes a FA, leaves the team and goes on to become someone else's starter. Well that would probably mean that in a future draft the Pats would most likely pick up a 3rd round comp pick. Which doesn't suck.
2. Another hot topic today was whether officials in the NFL should be made full time because of all the blown calls that have cropped up this season. I CAN'T DISAGREE with this proposal more...for the following reasons
a. First you would lose a SIGNIFICANT number for good respected and effective officials who WOULD NOT give up their day jobs to work full time. It would take SEVERAL years for the league to make up that kind of loss of experience
b. I don't believe that making the officials full time would improve the officiated that much IF AT ALL. Baseball and Basketball officials are ALL full time, year how often do we go nuts over some of THEiR calls.
c. The fact is not how bad the refs are, but HOW GOOD THEY ARE!. Think about it. In every game each team gets over 75-90 plays on offense (regular offense and in the kicking game. Conversly about 75-90 on the defensive side. On every one of these plays.there are 22 players creating 11 possible interactions (or more).
Now if you multiply the LOW side of this it would mean that in every game there are at LEAST 825 interactions between players that the refs have to make decisions on, and that doesn't include alignment and formation calls. If you multiply it by the 16 games each week, you have over 13,200 potential decisions. AND how many to they ACTUALLY get wrong each week. 2..3...4 Thats not a bad percentage..doncha think. If we give DON'T give them the benefit of the doubt and say its 5 errors each week that you mean the refs error rate would be 5 out of 13,200. I'd take that kind of error rate any day.
Given the speed of the game, the size of the players, etc., it shouldn't be a shock that they ever get it wrong. What we should be amazed at is how many time THEY GET IT RIGHT!!!
d. Finally why are we asking the officials who are human to be required to execute to a higher level than the players they are governing. I keep hearing that we should make the refs full time so that they can watch film, and keep up with the rules more. Thats BULL. Who practices more than pro football players. Who spends more time at their craft than Pro football coaches. Does they ever make any mistakes. HELL YEAH. At a lot higher rate than the refs. Its call being human.
BOTTOM LINE the guys who are refing the game KNOW THE RULES BETTER THAN ANYONE. Making them full time wouldn't improve the knowledge they ALREADY have. Already, every week they go through mountains of preparation. They don't just show up to the game.
HEY there are going to be mistakes. THere have ALWAYS been mistakes. ITS PART OF THE GAME. Don't change the game, especially when making refs full time WOULDN'T improve the quality of officiating in the FIRST PLACE.
3. The Randy Moss watch has already begun, see Felger. I like Felger but this is just another media creation. When there is no story..... CREATE one
4. If the Pats beat Miami on Sunday, I predict the team will finish the year 11-5 (this prediction comes with the standard injury indemnification clause, as if the Pats could absorb MORE critical injuries.) You heard it here first...or second....or third.