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Evaluating the 1 year "prove it" deals from the past season

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BradyManny, Apr 12, 2008.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    So far, the Patriots have made a series of "prove it" deals, most recently and notably with Bryant and Hobson. They took two guys who have started and played well and signed them for vet min for 1 season. The club gets a potential steal for a season while the player gets the chance to prove his worth on the best team in the league, inevitably leading to either a solid contract with said team or a cash-in elsewhere.

    Let's see how this strategy worked for the past season for 3 somewhat situations, and I'm including Stallworth and Washington's deals as this type of "prove it" deal:

    RANDY MOSS: A+
    I'm not even going to add commentary to this. It goes without saying.

    KELLEY WASHINGTON: B
    Didn't work out for Washington in terms of dollar bills, but he seems happy as a Patriot, and I think we all appreciate and respect that. In terms of what the Pats got, well they didn't need Washington's services when it came to pass-catching, but he proved an ST gem and may contribute as a receiver this season. All in all, a good signing for both parties involved.

    DONTE STALLWORTH: C
    I may be in the minority, but I was pretty disappointed in Stallworth's play, and I think if he had been able to play at a bit of a higher level and contribute more than just YAC capabilities, then the "blueprint" that teams adopted to use against this offense would have failed miserably. I believe that if Chad Jackson develops into the threat he was drafted to be, he will be a huge upgrade over Stallworth. Donte proved to be a poor deep threat, was terrible on jump balls, had occasionally shaky hands, earned Brady a few picks, never seemed to grasp the offense, and didn't contribute much at all in the intermediate passing attack. All that said, he was an explosive and deadly guy with the ball in his hands, but we needed more from him. Ultimately, this deal worked out better for Donte. Just by having Brady toss him a few balls around the line of scrimmage and let him run, he ends up signing a bloated deal at the end of the season.


    I look forward to seeing how the Hobson/Bryant/Webster/Sanders deals pan out, b/c I think particularly the Hobson/Bryant deals have a lot of upside and were really steals for the Pats.
  2. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I liked Stallworth for his YAC abilities, but there was a definite decline from the first half to the second. Additionally, while I normally hate dealing with rumors, it was rumored that he was Shockey-like in his route running. If that struggle with running the right routes is true, it's easy to see why he wasn't brought back given the nature of his contract.

    I wanted Stallworth back, but I think that may have been because being with Brady/BB enhanced his resume quite a bit. His DVOA numbers jumped tremendously from even his past two 'great' seasons to this past season, so I think I may have bought into the Patriots factor a bit too much on him. However, I also think that Stallworth has the physicality to be effective on slant routes, and the team just didn't run all that many of those with the outside wide receivers last year.

    All the above being true, I really don't know how to grade him. I'm with you on Moss and I think Washington did fine, though he was not an impact receiver like some of his earlier supporters thought he would be.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Don't get me wrong, I think Stallworth is a valuable receiver - just not the man for what the Pats needed. When we signed him, we didn't know we'd have Moss, the shape of the offense wasn't clear. Stallworth was probably penciled in as the deep threat before we got Moss. And I agree that the team needs their other outside receiver to head over the middle more, and whether Stallworth can do it, we didn't really get to see. But Chad Jackson thrived at that in his final season at UF and is built - as others said in the recent CJ thread - like a linebacker. Truly, IF and I know it's a big if, but if Chad Jackson pans out, he will be the perfect addition to the offense.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  4. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Don't let Deus hear you say that the lack of a deep threat alternative to Moss had any adverse effect on the offense.

    He gets very upset when anyone suggests that - and will "prove" that Gaffney, Welker and Faulk are all players who "stretch" the defense and caused defenders to pull coverage away from Moss (I guess they would have put 4 guys on Moss without them!)
    ;)

    Of course I very much agree with you - and certainly hope that Jackson has a big season. I think having an additional deep threat (and no, I don't consider Gaffney a deep threat) makes Moss even MORE productive than he was last year.

    Why Stallworth didn't contribute more or wasn't used more as a deep WR I'm not sure. While many say he was "confused" by the playbook I don't think running fast and deep is considered by many to be all that complicated.

    It will be interesting to see if the offense does make any adjustments next season. The "Reporter Who Cannot Be Named" recently suggested that the team was concerned about an overly Moss-centered offense that in turn allowed defenses to limit Moss's effectiveness, and wore down Moss as the season went on. Pretty much exactly what my concern was in questioning why McDaniels didn't better utilize an alternative deep WR in his playcalling.

    Of course my contention that our offense would have benefitted by having an alternative deep threat being "disproven" by Deus - I suppose if Belichick did make such an adjustment it would undermine those who think that the #1 offense doesn't need any improvement, just as Belichick discounted the notion after the 2006 season that the #7 offense was just fine with only Caldwell and Gaffney at WR.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  5. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    From a purely "GFY" perspective, it would be wild if Chad showed himself to be the player the Patriots thought he might be this season. His high end is combining Stallworth/Moss speed with an ability to round crisp routes as a #2 outside receiver paired with Moss.

    Guys like the ESPN crew would be apoplectic.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  6. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Stop lying about what I posted. It's pathetic and should be beneath anyone who posts on this board.
  7. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I don't think Stallworth qualified as a good deep threat opposite Moss. IMO, he didn't get great separation and showed poor timing and hands on a few deep balls thrown his way (ie the interception in the Colts game) and maybe lost the faith of Brady/McD in that role.

    Chad Jackson not only provides a potential deep threat, but also the guy for the intermediate game, running posts or slants or anything taking him inside. Really, I can't wait for even the friggin passing camp, b/c just watch, Chad Jackson is going to re-gain that hype he had going into TC before his injury rookie year.
  8. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Co-sign. Perfectly said and more succinctly than I could've.
  9. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I don't think there's any argument based on Stallworth's production - nor your statement that he had few deep balls thrown his way. Which was it? Probably some of both.

    I just know that neither Gaffney nor Faulk nor Welker, regardless of what stats anyone attributes to them, are considered deep threats.

    Maybe Stallworth's 19 ypc average in 2006 was an aberration, and he's really NOT the deep threat we all thought he was. I think the Browns think they're getting someone who can stretch the offense this season, so we'll likely find out.
  10. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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  11. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...ead.php?p=833018&highlight=Gaffney#post833018

    Sorry - slightly off topic, but since I'm being called a liar, I figured I should just post your own statement about Gaffney being a deep WR.
  12. Deus Irae

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    Being used deep does not make one a "deep threat", as anyone who understands what's meant by "deep threat" knows. Of course, you yourself already know that (your frequent citings to Gaffney's YPC are testimony to that) and are just being dishonest again. Keyshawn Johnson, just to point out one prominent example, says "hello". If you don't want to be called a liar, stop lying.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  13. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Gotcha. So you're saying that Gaffney was used deep. And you're saying Stallworth was used deep. ("the numbers prove it" as you said.)

    But you're saying they are NOT deep threats.

    I honestly had NO idea you were making that sort of distinction. When you said Gaffney was used deep for some reason I assumed you were saying he was used as a deep threat. Please accept my sincere apologies.

    Of course, my contention also was that Stallworth was NOT a deep threat - and it seemed to get you very upset... causing you to go to great lengths "prove" that both Stallworth and Gaffney were used deep (though apparently you were not asserting they were deep threats.)

    Surely you can understand my confusion.

    It's funny - all this time I thought you were DISAGREEING with me - when in fact you're now making clear that you AGREE with me that neither Stallworth, nor Gaffney, nor anyone else presumably, was serving as an alternative deep threat to Moss - which in turn had some negative consequences as both I and BradyManny2344 pointed out!

    We should probably make the distinction here that when saying we want to see Jackson used deep - the REASON we want him to be used deep is to make him a deep threat WR who AWAY from Moss, with defenders knowing that too much coverage on Moss can leave them burned by Jackson (but not Gaffney - as you assert that while he is used deep he is not a deep threat).

    Forgive me for stating what's obivous to you, but your verbiage is a little bit confusing to me sometimes. From hereon out I think that when anyone refers to things like "Maroney being used as an RB" they should make the distinction that he's actually a "running threat" - lest anyone make the same mistake I did with Deus.

    In any event, back to the topic at hand, in regards giving Washington a "B" I actually might go further - but of course that's all special teams. It could be Washington has something to contribute as a WR as well.

    On Moss as an A+, I'd reiterate the point re: Stallworth - that if there's an alternative deep threat on this team, Moss' overall numbers could go down this season, but that Moss' value and ability to free himself up would actualy INCREASE when we need him most.

    I know that must sound strange to those of you who would assert that as the #1 ranked offense in the league that there could be any question as to improvements in players or playcalling, but indeed, limiting the focus on Moss through the improved utilization of another deep WR can ensure that Moss can make the biggest plays when we need him the most.

    As such I'd give Moss an A - leaving the A+ for this year when hopefully there will be someone on the other side of the deep field from him.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  14. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    The Moss deal increased in value when he re-upped for three

    more years. It will be interesting to see whether any of the

    recent signers show enough to be offered a long term deal.
  15. Rob0729

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    I would agree with these grades although Washington may be a bit high since he provided zero production on offense even with being a spectacular special teamer.

    I agree Stallworth was a disapointment. I had really high hopes for the guy when we signed him, but he was far too inconsistent. I know people want to blame McDaniels for his failure, but I think you accurately explained why he never really caught on why STALLWORTH squandered his potential.
  16. Rob0729

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    BTW, I have some high expectations for some of our one year prove it deals this upcoming season. Guys like Hobson and Bryant will come in with lower expectations than Moss and Stallworth did last year. I think that will help them to acclimate to the system without the pressure of being a star from day one.

    I do think Hobson was miscast in NY. The guy is built like an ILB for a 3-4 and his strengths and weaknesses seem to make him more effective inside. I think the Jets could end up regretting him like they did misusing Roman Phifer or James Farrior only to see them excel at the next team they went to.

    I am liking what I am hearing about Bryant. Considering he came from a horrible team, he could be a diamond in the rough.
  17. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    There's another interesting notion to the 1 year Prove It deal as well

    I've heard a few fans here lament that we're not signing guys to Two Year contracts - concerned that shoiuld the players "prove it" in year 1, we don't have them on the hook for another cheap season.

    Of course, from the player's standpoint, they have little to gain and everything to lose.

    I think the players who have the greatest potential demand the one year deals, where the guys a tier below will agree to a two to three year deal knowing that's the price they pay for limited guaranteed money, or even just for the privelege of being signed.

    In addition to that there's a higher incentive for 1 year players to contribute immediately.

    While there's a trade off knowing they could well be gone after 1 year, I think typically one has a pretty good chance of resigning such guys for "fair" contracts as if they do well they do well after one year. Barring a pro-bowl year, the offers of increased money likely wouldn't be all that different throughout the league and they might well view it beneficial to remain in the system in which the were productive.
  18. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Getting back to the original topic - given the way Stallworth's contract was structured, I never expected him back for a second season - regardless of how well he performed on the field.

    After Moss was signed, I wondered if Washington would even make the team. It was great to see him swallow his pride and accept his role of a special teams player, and do what he was asked to do in order to help the team win. A lot of other players would have pouted or at least bolted in the off-season for a chance to play somewhere else. The guy did show some promise in his first two seasons with the Bengals when he got a chance to get on the field, which was not often behind Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry.
  19. RayClay

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    Not everybody can be a star, you need complementary players. I'm not one of the "we need 5 deep routes on every play" guys. Dante was good after the catch, but he's not half the complementary receiver Gaffney will be IMO.

    Gaffney knows his role and runs good routes. He'll watch the play and Brady and make adjustments that will make him valuable. It's no mistake that players like troy Brown and Faulk have a huge impact with this team because they think and practice to take what the defense gives them and work on communication with Brady.

    We have plenty of receivers that could go deep if necessary. Deep passes are a rarity, not common place, in offenses. Moving the chains is still what counts.
  20. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    No - but I'd definately say Moss and and our offense would have benefited from having someone else, aside from Moss who could keep defenses honest. With Moss and only Moss as a deep WR, DBs could key on Moss and only Moss for thier deep coverage.

    It's in our best interest to have someone else who concerns DBs as a deep receiver. I'm not talking about a ton of deep catches. Just enough so DBs know if they double and triple cover Moss they'll be burned by someone else deep.

    We never had that this season. We thought we did in Stallworth - and I think DCs did too at the beginning of the season - and indeed there was at least one game (Dallas) where I think Stallworth did in fact did burn DBs when they were too focused on shutting Moss down. But while Stallworth was guy who was a consistent deep threat concern in Philly (even with limited games and only 38 receptions) that wasn't how he was used here.

    So I do hope that Jackson can do what Stallworth couldn't next season - i.e. be a consistent enough deep threat for DCs to know that too much coverage on Moss will leave them vulnerable on the other side of the field.
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