Last year, the Eagles won the Free Agency PR title and were promptly awarded a berth in the 2011 Super Bowl. Hmmmm. Is “oops” too strong a word?
The actual Free Agency winner was the guy who laid in the weeds, dodging bullets and stink bombs, and charged out when nobody was looking to grab a few guys who were left in the dust of the marquee players’ parade. Our very own Executive of the Year, Trent Baalke.
No one wins Executive of the Year twice in a row, but Trent doesn’t have to rebuild an entire secondary this year, either. Last year, fans watched the premier FA cornerbacks get gobbled up in the first week, while Baalke did nothing, despite the 49ers’ deperate need for a CB. In the second week, Baalke signed Carlos Rogers, who’s reputation was not exceedingly high and his head was more famous than his hands for failed attempts at interceptions. Baalke also signed Donte Whitner while Donte was on a plane flight to sign with Minnesota. Both players had all pro type years and helped anchor a surprisingly good secondary.
This year, the 49ers need a WR. Don’t expect them to bite on the expensive models that promenade their wares during week one of FA. After all, if Ted Ginn and Josh Morgan had not been injured for the title game, the 49ers would have had a defense stretching deep threat and a solid third down receiver and much better results in the passing game. So the situation at WR is not as dire as has been advertised. Of course, both of these guys are FAs, and it’s unsure if they will return, so maybe it is dire.
But it’s still a week and a half till free agency commences, and the top stories of moment are Peyton Manning and Bountygate. We may not have a lockout boring us this year, but these two items are closing in on the dreaded Yawn Zone.
In 1992, the 49ers had a similar scenario as the one captivating Indianapolis. A revered legend comes back from a year on the shelf, the team has a young QB ready to assume the throne, and the legend is sent packing. Joe Montana went to KC and made them interesting for two years before retiring. The 49ers continued for eight more years of excellence. Manning will go somewhere, make a team interesting for a couple of years, then retire, also. Indianapolis will struggle a bit at first, then have another ten years of excellence. Montana might have won another SB for the 49ers, but Manning cannot win another one for the Colts. The only team that makes sense for Manning is the Jets. All the other SB contenders don’t need him and why would Manning eke out another year or two on a non-contending team, with only the flimsiest of SB possibilities?
Bountygate has tabloid ghoul appeal, for sure. This scribe called the Saints pre-season blitzing last year a bush maneuver. Maybe it was even more bush than I imagined. The 49ers got even the old fashioned way by beating the Saints in the playoffs. The Saints went into that game on an unbelievable roll and their momentum was stopped cold by the 49er defense and The Kid From Snowy Utah. They have been staggering backward ever since. We all know what sort of trash talk that team will be getting all next year, long after fans have moved on to the next tongue wagging scandal.
Nobody has yet pointed to even one dirty play by the Saints, however. The same cannot be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have been warned, but never investigated or fined. That tells you all you need to know about this witch hunt. Roger Goodell has carefully selected a poster issue for his phony concerned about health crusade. With an eye toward the class action law suit by former players trying to capitalize on the concussion issue. This bounty business can be pointed to as an example of players themselves purposefully hurting each other, diluting the blame for long term injuries away from the league. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business now and everybody wants to get a finger in the pie. We all know what that means: LAWYERS. Lots of them.