Welcome to The Tangent: Your #1 source for NFL analysis and opinions from blogs written by a strictly decent amateur. As a weekly staple in your commute, lunch break or lavatory visit, The Tangent will provide nothing but the most slanted, one-sided discussions and room temperature still-water takes on all things NFL. If you are unsatisfied with the content and discussions, you are probably within the majority, so feel free to drop some questions or comments into the email KalineSports@gmail.com
While it doesn’t get my blood flowing to all the right places like Sundays in the fall, NFL Hot Stove (would baseball people get self-righteous about that use of the term?) still keeps me glued to NFL Twitter. Reports on this, reports on that, from all the big-swinging dicks of the NFL media that feature an overabundance of the word sources and per. The Football off-season is a steady meal that comes to you like any $50 billion dollar restaurant that loves to gratify itself would serve it. You first must bask in the ambiance of the featured dish–whether it be the combine or draft. Pay no attention to anything else, for we do not care about Kobe’s swan song or the Warriors record breaking win; Jeff Fisher and the Rams just made a trade!
Part one of this fine dining experience is Franchise Tag deadline, served with a healthy portion of predictability and a splash of tension, with a side of street free agents. The template for this space-time always involves the obvious application of the tag, followed by comments from the player or reps that reads as follows: “Of course I want to be here, but I don’t want to play on a one year deal” OR “I won’t be taking a home-town discount.” Riveting and surprising material from the yearly Franchise Tag proposition.
I will say this: I have learned something new every off-season about the Franchise Tag and it’s family of tags. Each years’ newfound knowledge has more wondering if the fine print of these tools that make the off-season interesting sometimes are just made up on the fly. You don’t get to dominate the headlines 12 months a year unless you are throwing some impromptu wrinkles in the contracts and team-issued tags that make for some drama.
Last season, I learned what the Transition Tag was when the Dolphins applied it to then future New York Giant Olivier Vernon. For the uninitiated, it is basically a half-ass Franchise Tag with a bargaining chip for the team and an incentive for the player. Teams can leverage players to sign long-term contracts more favorable for the team, and players can be paid the average of the top 10 his position of 120% of his previous years salary, whichever is greater. A clause in the tag states third-party teams can freely negotiate with the tagged player, and affords the issuing team the right of first refusal.
If another club offers a contract to a transitioned player, his original club has seven days to decide whether to match that offer or not. If the original club agrees to match, the player is forced to sign with the original club at the terms agreed to in the offer by the other club. Similar to restricted free-agents, a third-party can sign a player to an offer-sheet and the original club has the right to match and sign the player to that contract. In the case of Vernon, the Dolphins rescinded the tag foreseeing other ball clubs would throw more money at him than they cared to match.
How about the non-exclusive versus the exclusive Franchise Tag? They’re two shades of the same color to most people. That metaphor is pretty accurate considering the Giants didn’t care to differentiate the two when applying the Franchise Tag to Jason Pierre-Paul. Pundits were wondering why the Giants didn’t invoke the picket fence of the exclusive tag that prohibits third-party teams from negotiating with the player. There is no prohibitive cost difference between one or the other, so financially it is negligible.
HOWEVER, there is a clause in the non-exclusive tag that has just come to my attention (see my above theory on impromptu wrinkles). If an outside team signs JPP to an offer-sheet, the Giants can collect two–COUNT EM–first round picks. At best, the Giants resign a thoroughbred pass rushing circus freak to a deal and sail towards next season with that coveted defensive continuity OR some smuck for a GM signs Jason Pierre-Paul to an absurdly rich contract and the Giants fence them for some highly rated draft picks. That is pushing the limits on human stupidity, a topic that seemingly loves to reinforce its staying power and depth. So Jerry Reese, my cap is tipped to you! I see the intelligence in your ways. Jerry Reese to me:
We haven’t seen the transition tag applied yet, but teams laid the franchise tag on players left and right. Jason Pierre-Paul, Kirk Cousins (exclusive), Le’Veon Bell (exclusive), Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones, Kawaan Short and Trumaine Johnson all received the tag from their respective ball clubs. A premiere pass-rusher getting tagged does not surprise me in the slightest bit. Plenty of no surprise to go around as far as pass rushing tag victims were concerned. Just some quick tangents on a few of the aforementioned players:
- How is Trumaine Johnson going to make at least $16M this year? And excuse my french, but what the fuck are the Rams doing? I was very critical of their front office last off-season when–despite moving on from Chris Long and James Laurinaitis to seemingly free up cap space–they let Janoris Jenkins walk (I’ve since rescinded that criticism-thanks Les Snead!) and Rodney McCloud walk. Now they are going to hitch their wagon to a middle of the road CB at a price that they could have kept Jenkins at. Hindsight is certainly 20-20, but even after cleansing the coaching staff of the supposed problem it seems as though the real issue lies, as Bunk Moreland would put it, in a suit and tire wearing mothafucka.
- I’d like go back in time to 2014, when Kirk Cousins looked like a human fart wearing shoulder pads and Washington was basically laughed at for an entire calendar year. Cousins has wagered on himself twice now and is in like for a payday so astronomical and oddly warranted considering the situation. Washington stunk to high hell in the aftermath of the RGIII saga, having been fenced by the Rams for three 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick (who to no one’s surprise did nothing but add warm bodies with those draft picks). Having Cousins be a late and unheralded addition in that Washington draft class and turn out to be the quarterback he is is nothing short of a blessing. Regardless of whether or not you view Cousins as a true franchise quarterback, the point is Washington lucked out in the hardest way by having a beyond reliable insurance policy in Cousins. Have you seen the price to move up for a franchise quarterback in the draft these days? If I’m a Washington fan and Dan Snyder himself is willing to donate that flesh and blood it seemingly takes, maybe I consider moving around for the answer. Albeit, there was a very recent cautionary tale against hitching your wagon to a signal caller that explodes for a part of a season in Nick Foles. Major props to Cousins though for basically throwing a football into a pile of money despite the early part of his career being totally uninspiring. There was a point in 2014 when I figured he would throw an interception every time he dropped back to pass.
- There is no denying the caliber of player Le’Veon Bell is when he is healthy. Or disciplinary good graces. Yet it doesn’t appeal to me, committing big and long-term money to him. For what other issues plague the Steelers, I don’t foresee Bell’s presence being the balance tipping factor. Keep in mind they got the doors blown off them in New England, and Bell hasn’t shown any quality tape as a corner back.
- Don’t give me credit for predicting the Jets would absolutely clean-house because my seer-like wisdom ends at about there. They cut ties with Mangold, Revis and Marshall, with Sheldon Richardson and Eric Decker up next on the chopping block. If you are a Jets fan, you can block out the forthcoming seasonal misery by falling in love with either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. That’s where this green and white ship is headed. If you truly care for keeping up with the Jets 2017 season without committing yourselves to enduring pain, the back-page of the New York Post has all the comedic relief in their Jets oriented headlines. Also, LOVE the rumor of the Jets offering him a contract extension and him saying “I want to win a championship” *mic drop*.
- I know Adrian Peterson as many things, but it’s nice to have a quality news broadcast that humanizes the otherwise machine-like running back like so:
This reporter processed all information in this situation at molasses level speed. Aside from the subject being named Adrian Peterson, he is a 6’4 225 lb black hercules whose body mass index is a number of sub-atomic levels. I assume the profession of this guy is body builder, LeBron or football player. Better to play it safe than sorry in labeling someone other than what you directly observe them as.
E-mail questions or comments to Kalinesports@gmail.com. Seriously, make my brain hurt with some of these questions.