HA HA WE TOTALLY APRIL FOOLS’D YA, DIDN’T WE!? When last we left year-long fatass, Peter King, he was acting like the Ravens signing Elvis Dumervil had anything to do with John Elway snubbing Baltimore in the draft 30 years ago. PK also said everyone in Jacksonville is gonna go buy Brad Meester jerseys because he readily accepted less money since he’s old and almost out of the league.
But what about this week? Did you know the NFL today is different than that of the ’50s? The ’60s too! What a crazy time warp futurescape the league leaped into sometime between Woodstock and when Joe Mauer turned 30. READ ON.
Two deals feel inevitable this morning: Carson Palmer to Arizona, Matt Flynn to Oakland. They make too much sense not to happen. Sense, yes. Whether they’ll solve problems in quarterback-needy places … that’s another issue.
In other words, they make sense, even though they don’t. I THINK.
Palmer has a much better chance when it comes to raising Arizona than Flynn has to save Oakland.
Every signing is better if it provides an opportunity for a trite movie reference.
How I see the deals going down, and probably in this order — assuming they happen, and I feel strongly they will:
Whew. Slow down, champ. Can’t keep up with this breakneck pace. How about you be a dear and toss in a few unnecessary clauses and equivocations to give the reader a chance to catch his breath? Three just isn’t enough.
Palmer to the Cardinals. It’s likely Oakland gets a fourth- or fifth-round pick in return, and Palmer, 33, signs a deal commensurate with his recent performance but recognizing his chance for a revival playing for Bruce Arians and playing with Larry Fitzgerald.
“Hold the phone, guys. I see this contract offer only acknowledges my recent shittiness. Can we get some boilerplate language that says I could maybe play better, unless I don’t?”
I understand why Palmer wouldn’t take a financial haircut in Oakland: I wouldn’t have either, knowing the Raiders were a short-term place and understanding if he held his ground, the Raiders might enable him to go to a place that fit him better.
This understanding contingent on Carson Palmer being a white guy.
A couple of things about this move that I like: Last year, I remember going to Indianapolis to write about the Colts when Arians was the interim coach. “I hate the West Coast Offense,” Arians said. Arians wanted a big-armed quarterback stretching the defense, and it showed in Luck’s numbers.
Indeed. He threw a ton of interceptions.
In 2012, Luck had the second-longest average pass length in the league, 10.17 yards downfield.
Ah, the Sex Cannon metric.
Match that with Palmer’s desire to show he can be the big-armed thrower Arians needs. Believe me, Palmer chafes at the impression he doesn’t have the arm he used to.
And by gum, Arizona is going to give him the chance to prove that he doesn’t.
In his first half-season with the Raiders, he was among the NFL’s yards-per-attempt leaders, because coach Hue Jackson liked to stretch the defense.
He also had more interceptions than touchdowns.
Let’s not be delusional about Palmer.
“Sure thing” – Straw person
You can’t say he’s a premier player anymore, but you also can’t say he can’t play.
You can say he’s an underwhelming stopgap, but you can’t deny some degree of whelming will take place.
He threw for 4,018 yards, and his interception percentage (14 picks on 565 attempts, 2.5 percent) was lower than that of Drew Brees and Eli Manning. He wants to play the Arians way.
Alternating between chucking it deep, throwing bubble screens and getting hit eight times per game is more attractive to quarterbacks than I would have thought.
I believe Arians is the best coach in the league for Palmer.
Because we’re going by process of elimination?
Does that mean Arizona will contend? I doubt it sincerely.
BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY CAN’T STILL PLAY!
The leaky offensive line must be significantly better to give the immobile Palmer a chance to play well. But of all the quarterbacks on the market or in the 2013 draft, Palmer gives the Cardinals the best chance to be competitive as the fourth-best team in a suddenly very good NFC West.
Palmer gives the Cardinals their best chance to finish dead last with the prettiest corpse.
Flynn to the Raiders. It’s a smart move for Oakland, even if it’s risky; Flynn has started only two games in the NFL. One was a colossal performance as he threw for a franchise-record six touchdowns against Detroit on the final Sunday of the 2011 regular season. It was against Detroit, granted. Awful secondary. And you can’t overpay based on that game against a toasted secondary.
Unless you’re the Seahawks and already did.
But a mid-round pick and the prospect of a low-round conditional choice is not overpaying for Flynn, who McKenzie helped scout before the 2008 draft.
I always love when an exec or a coach gets praised for bringing in an iffy player they saw something in, like, five years previous. That never goes wrong!
Finally, what are the chances Flynn becomes Oakland’s answer at quarterback? Thirty percent, maybe?
Uh oh, that’s a SUB-LEGIT-ISH PERCENTILE! But he just told us this was a smart signing.
That’s about 25 points higher than Palmer
Ah, I see. Only a five percent chance for Carson? Not a lot of legitishness at all. He must have had to dig far up his ass to pull out that completely made-up figure.
with his salary, which the Raiders just weren’t going to live with. I can’t sit here and say the Raiders will get themselves a great player. I can sit here and say the Raiders are taking an intelligent calculated risk for the right price.
“I can’t say Matt Flynn is good, just slightly less disastrous than Carson Palmer. When you can turn your teammate from a flaming wreckage into slightly smoldering rubble, you do it!”
So what does this do to the draft?
Arizona with Palmer. Oakland with Flynn. And, on Friday, Buffalo with the signing of Kevin Kolb to a two-year contract. Teams with major quarterback needs are making moves.
Hilarious moves doomed to failure, but moves none the less.
Want to see an NFL record for teams trying to trade down? Tune in to this draft.
Just an NFL record? Why not a world record? Be not afraid to invite representatives from the Guinness books to track this incredibly pointless stat.
Gil Brandt has been visiting colleges to scout players since 1958. That season, around the middle of the year, he dropped into Purdue while working for the Rams to scout the seniors, and a coach said to him, “Gosh, Gil, you’re the third scout we’ve had in this year.” As if that were some sort of big number. Brandt laughed about it Saturday. “Now,” he said, “a normal day in the fall would be seven scouts at a place like Purdue.” Brandt said 16 teams showed up at Louisiana-Lafayette’s Pro Day, and 23 at Louisiana Tech’s. “Scouting used to be a one-story motel out in the country,” Brandt said. “Now it’s the Sears Tower. And growing.” With the latest twist being jacked-up budgets for psychological testing; the next frontier, if you listen to Brandt.
The business of NFL scouting has witnessed remarkable change and expansion in the brief period of more than half a century? Jesus, before you know it, teams will be testing players for moon rocks and gamma rays and pod people, along with other things people thought were future-y in the ’50s.
And so what has all this information mining told Brandt about the 2013 draft?
“A totally unique draft,” he said. “I don’t think when we look at this draft five years from now that we’ll have as many Pro Bowlers in the top 10 than you had in either of the last two drafts. Like, I think if Ryan Tannehill were in this draft, he’d be the top pick
Totally unique, except those handful of other drafts with sparse headline QB talent.
— and he was [eighth] last year. Here’s how I’d put it: Between 11 and 50, there’s a lot of good players. But they’re very close between 11 and 50. And I’d say if you took the 45th player in 2013, he’d be slightly better than the 45th player in 2012. That’s the strength of this draft — the depth.”
Tremendous year to have the 45th pick. Kudos to the Chargers for having it. Sucks for the Saints to be striped of it. Don’t worry, they’ll do everything in their power to trade their first-round pick to acquire it. Just one a dizzying record amount of trade downs. As a draft, this one will be the tradedowniest.
Tweetup time in Arizona.
I’ll be running (okay, slowly jogging)
(okay, riding a Segway wearing a sombrero and a burrito in one hand)
Pat’s Run, the 4.2-mile race in Tempe, Ariz., that honors the memory of the late Pat Tillman, the Cardinals safety who left the lucrative life of the NFL after 9/11 to serve in Afghanistan and was tragically killed on duty in Afghanistan in 2004. And the night before the race, I’m going to host a Tweetup along with some Cardinals. The details:
What: Peter King’s Pre-Pat’s Run Tweetup, hosted by @AZCardinals.
When: Friday, April 19, 5-7 p.m.
Where: Tom’s Tavern, 2 N. Central Ave., downtown Phoenix …
Admission: $40, which includes two drink tickets, food (pasta stations, to get prospective runners ready for Saturday morning’s race) and a football panel. All of the $40 will go directly to the Tillman Military Scholars program.
That’s all well and good, but who the fuck has to carb load for a 6K run?
Quote of the Week I
“The thing about the draft no one’s found out how to measure yet — and it’s hard, and they’re trying — is a lot of college guys, when they make money, they stop working the way they worked before they got the money. The way this works, whatever you did last year to get good, you’ve got to do more now to stay good. And that’s how a lot of players fall off. They don’t learn that.”
— Longtime NFL scout and current NFL.com draft czar Gil Brandt, 80, to me on Saturday, discussing the science of drafting.
Well said. In fact, there should be a premium placed on players who accepted money and benefits while playing at college. They used to the glory boy lifestyle! It won’t mess them up once they hit the pros.
Quote of the Week IV
“At best he’ll be a post-draft signing, but if I were to guess, I think his career is over.”
— SiriusXM NFL Radio host Pat Kirwan, on Brandon Jacobs and the precipitous decline of his career.
Classic case of a player overplaying his hand, if you ask me.
By which you mean being fat, old and injured?
Quote of the Week V
“I lived a lifestyle like 90 percent of ballplayers. You sat around and had six beers after a game, went to dinner and had another six, and then guys are calling you to a bar where you’re drinking more.”
— San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Scott Proctor, talking about the change in baseball clubhouse drinking from ample to nearly nonexistent, to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
BUT WHAT OF THE FRIED CHICKEN!? THE BEER WAS ONLY HALF THE PROBLEM! When will baseball heed the example of the 2011 Red Sox and eliminate all fun things from the life of its players?
Stat of the Week I
For his 14 starts, 17 touchdown throws and 83.2 passer rating in two Arizona seasons, Kevin Kolb made $20.5 million.
Add the $12 million Kolb made his last year in Philly (2-3 in five starts), and you’ve got a pretty nice way to make a living. A pretty battered way too: Kolb’s been beaten up regularly over the last three years.
Calculate how much money he made per battering, you’d have a solid Darren Rovell nugget.
Stat of the Week II
Aaron Rodgers has 19 more career touchdown passes than Bart Starr.
Rodgers’ single-season career low in touchdown passes, in five starting years: 28.
Starr’s single-season career high in touchdown passes, in 14 part- to full-time starting years: 16.
Well, that should change soon enough. With all the whizbang modern NFL technology that Gil Brandt has discovered, receivers will time travel back to the ’60s and catch Bart Starr touchdowns, thus evening the count and probably wiping out my family through some quirk in the space-time continuum.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I
Final Four contestant Wichita State is 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament
A team still alive in the tournament is undefeated? WEIRD!
including a six-point win over the No. 1 team in the country, Gonzaga. Wichita State was 0-2 versus Evansville this year.
Syracuse, also in the Final Four, went 4-5 in the last three weeks before the tournament.
Teams that got hot in the tournament weren’t hot at some other point in the season? How can this be? I believe this basketed ball is near to madness!
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II
La Salle, of Philadelphia, flew from Philadelphia to Dayton, then from Dayton to Kansas City, then from Kansas City to Los Angeles, playing four games in three time zones in nine days.
Louisville, of Louisville, bused 77 miles to Lexington for the first two games of the tournament, bused home, then bused 112 miles to Indianapolis to the next two games of the tournament.
Top-seeded powerhouses get more advantageous scheduling than schools no one cares about? WEIRDLY WEIRD
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Food in Seattle. Underrated, and it has been for the last few years.
Because of the remoteness. Food goes bad by the time it reaches civilization.
Pizza, especially. Serious Pie has become a can’t-miss stop whenever I am in town. Serious Pie believes the more olive oil the better, and I’m on board with that.
Because pizza is so much better when it’s actually garlic bread.
I just had a great evening at Elemental Pizza in University Village last Wednesday (see “Beernerdness” below), with a terrific thin crust pie. And a year or so ago, I sampled Ballard Pizza; a little thick for my taste, but good crust nonetheless, and terrific tomato sauce.
Good, but a little too pizza-y for my tastes.
It’s not just coffee anymore.
Don’t forget the grunge and Frasier!
Seattle’s my favorite pizza town.
“Also my favorite little charming quarterback town.”
Tweet of the Week I
“What else were cowboys going to do than work out a deal w qb Tony Romo? Tell me 3 other VIABLE alternatives better than Romo.”
— @alex_flanagan of NFL Network and NBC Sports.
What she said.
Indeed. There’s no one better immediately available. Better give this pretty decent quarterback $100 million.
Tweet of the Week II
“Btw peeps are arguably the worst candy/snack/sugar ever. I mean they are utterly disgusting to me. But please enjoy”
— @SimplyAJ10, Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones, on Easter Sunday morning, on the marshmallowy Easter treat, Peeps.
What he said.
Take that, candy that people use to make dioramas.
Tweet of the Week III
“Wichita State to the Final 4. Didn’t even receive a single point in either preseason poll. Wow.”
— @BFeldmanCBS, college guru Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.
SHOCKERS SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think I like Kevin Kolb as a Bill
Quick reminder that PK thought that the Raiders signing Matt Leinart was the best free agent acquisition last year.
but if he thinks Doug Marrone is done acquiring passers, he’s crazy. Still think the Bills pick a quarterback in the first or second round of the draft.
A Matt Barkley-Kevin Kolb suck-off would be quite entertaining.
4. I think Mike Shanahan would agree with you, President Obama, when it comes to Robert Griffin III. Seems when the president and the quarterback met at the regional final in Washington Saturday, Obama told Griffin to protect himself. Good thought.
Lofty thought. PRESIDENTIAL thought.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. “Shame on us if we’ve forgotten [Newtown],” the president said the other day, talking about stalled legislation on tougher background checks for gun buyers. Shame on all of us.
Shame on all the zero people who actually forgot about Newtown. Also shame on Obama for giving PK fodder for further lecturing on Newtown awareness.
b. Happy baseball season. Six months of box scores! Good times.
c. And welcome to the American League, Houston. Good choice, even though it’s a death wish in that AL West right now. The Houston-Texas rivalry’s going to be good, in time.
I too look forward to the contest of which Texas market can care less about baseball.
g. I’m a firm believer that the only people who care about your fantasy team is the owner of said fantasy team. But this is the baseball team I drafted the other night (and I’ve had better):
I have no problem with people talking about their fantasy team(s). But leave it to PK to make it obnoxious by taunting his readers with the statement that they shouldn’t care then sharing his roster anyway.
Buster Posey catcher, Mike Napoli first, Dustin Pedroia second, Acides Escobar short, Kevin Youkilis third, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Trumbo in the outfield, Lance Berkman the DH (with David Ortiz on the bench.
Ha, Pedroia, Youk, Ellsbury and Ortiz. It’s like a parody of what PK would draft. Loftiness is WEIRDER than fiction.
n. As you know, I’m no NBA guy. But when Kobe Bryant passes Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, well, that’s worth an MMQB shout-out. I really admire Bryant, playing through injury and showing such a great will to win. He’s like Derek Jeter.
Good to see that Peter has obtuse baseball comparisons for all sports he doesn’t know shit about.
p. What gall by Steve Alford. Ten days after agreeing to a 10-year contract to stay as coach of New Mexico, and 10 days after the university issued a press release quoting Alford as saying, “There is no other place I would rather coach than at UNM,” Alford jumped to UCLA to coach the Bruins. At least pretend like the words coming out of your mouth are the truth, Steve.
q. Many layers to the story. First, it takes two to tango. If colleges put some teeth in these one-way contracts — which are 100 percent slanted to the coaches, usually with limited buyouts in them — then we wouldn’t see such shams.
r. The college basketball defenders say, “Well, he hadn’t signed the contract yet.” Bull. He agreed to terms with the university, gave quotes to the university PR department for the issuance of a release saying he agreed to a new 10-year contract, and did so freely. I know college coaches leave all the time. But who makes a deal for a decade and then takes the first bus out of town?
s. Now, many of you on Twitter said Alford just did what you do in America when you have leverage. You use it. Scores of you said, in effect, writers jump to different papers and magazines and TV places all the time. True. We do. But most writers work for papers and magazines without contracts. I never had a contract at my two newspapers jobs, nor for the first several years I worked at SI. With no contract, you’re free to go at a moment’s notice. And the college coaching contracts are so weak and one-sided that they mock the word “contract.”
It’s an awesome sight to watch Peter King argue with himself until he’s proves his original stance to be idiotic. One of the few pleasures of slogging through this shitheap every Monday.
u. Beernerdness: I owe Steve Rosen, the co-owner of Elemental Pizza in Seattle’s University Village, a huge thanks. I had my rotisserie league baseball draft Wednesday night, and I was in Seattle while the other 11 guys in the league were in New Jersey, and buddy Sam Farmer hooked me up with Steve, who gave me a table with power outlets and wifi to do my draft. And I have to thank Steve for something else: having Manny’s Pale Ale on tap. That’s only one of my five favorite beers in the world — fresh, crisp, lighter than most pales I’ve had, very malty. And the pizza … Steve, you’re on to something. Good music in the house too.
“They played “Mambo Italiano” and drowned the pizza in oil. Best pizza since the Olive Garden!”
v. Joe Mauer turns 30 in 18 days. Where’d the time go?
/consults the wall where I’ve scratched a tally for each MMQB I’ve had to suffer through
Oh, it doesn’t feel like it’s gone fast at all.
The Adieu Haiku
Trade Flynn to Oak-town!
That’s right: All we are saying
is give Matt a chance.
Happy April Fools
Too bad the joke is on me
See you all next week