Thursday, May 17, 2012


I now believe every allegation that the NFL has on the New Orleans Saints.  Did they have bounties?  Of course.  Did they get caught using franchise money for the bounties?  I'm sure.  Are the suspensions warranted - absolutely! - Certainly as warranted as the suspension given Cole Hamels after he admittedly plunked Bryce Harper. (Of course, Jordan Zimmerman should have been suspended as well but that's another story for another time.)

The reason I'm certain these allegations are true you ask?  Because you have to be downright foolish to let Drew Brees get to this point in the contract negotiations and that kind of stupidity has to pervade the entire franchise. 

The Saints knew this contract was coming up.  They watched Brees have another sensational season at the helm putting in his best statistical season as a professional; career, franchise and NFL records for 5476 yards passing, 71.2% completion rate and 342 pass yards per game.

Will Drew Brees ever be this good again?  Doubtful.  But has he earned every cent of his contract and more?  Absolutely. 

Drew Brees has to be asking the Almighty what more he needs to do?

Franchise quarterbacks are rare.  So rare in fact that if you look historically since 1970 at quarterbacks drafted in the first round, meaning the intent of becoming a franchise QB, the average number of starts for all those quarterbacks (85, not including the four taken this year) is 78.  That's under five seasons worth of starts.  Considering the investment made in the past in these guys coming out of the first round, particularly in the last 20 years, that's not a great return on investment.  Only 28 of those players (some still active) have made 100 or more starts giving their owners six full seasons.  So a little more than one in four will make it that far.  Familiar names that didn't make it to 100 starts include:

David Carr
Tony Eason
Bert Jones
Jim McMahon
Chris Miller
Chad Pennington
Doug Williams

Names that didn't make it to 78 starts and some active guys that still won't include:

Todd Blackledge
Kyle Boller
Tim Couch
Jim Druckenmiller
Rex Grossman
Joey Harrington
David Klingler
Ryan Leaf
Byron Leftwich
Chuck Long
Tommy Maddox
Mark Malone
Todd Marinovich
Cade McNown
Rick Mirer
JaMarcus Russell
Akili Smith
Andre Ware

Recognize some of those?  All these quarterbacks and more were drafted in the first round.  All of them failed to be true franchise quarterbacks that warranted their first round selections. 

Keep in mind that if a first round pick such as this fails, it has numerous repercussions.  The first is who might you have taken instead that would have filled a different positional void on the team.  The second is the fact you still don't have a reliable field general leading your offense.  The third are the budgetary problems most of these guys cost their teams (the new CBA has since rectified some of that issue).  Lastly, it may have cost or cost the current management one or more jobs in the future, leading to a rebuilding that could take years.

Yet the New Orleans Saints, having essentially stolen one of the best franchise quarterbacks from San Diego for nothing, have tagged Brees with the franchise label but haven't worked out a long term deal.  This, on the heels of their GM, Head Coach and several key franchise players facing season-long or partial season suspensions.  The franchise is a mess right now, and perhaps the one guy that can right the ship for not only the ownership in New Orleans, but for the season-ticket holders and fans is still without a multi-year deal.

So I believe the Saints must have done everything wrong the NFL has accused of them.  Because any team ownership not smart enough to make re-signing Brees as easy as possible can't be smart enough to cover their tracks when committing questionable acts.