When last we left three-minute country visitor, Peter King, he boasted about obtaining exclusive computer renderings of a new St. Louis stadium that will probably never exist. Important stuff, that. If you’re an NFL team in search of a real locker-room guy who’s also a pro’s pro, Peter King suggested every white free agent on the market.
But what about this week? Well, Peter wants to make it clear that it isn’t right that Ndamukong Suh is getting more money than J.J. Watt and doesn’t even have to pay state income tax. IS NOTHING JUST IN THIS WORLD? No, obviously not, but you should still go ahead and READ ON.
The headlines this morning, on the eve of the explosive, money-burning-holes-in-NFL-pockets 2015 free market:
What Peter does with this week’s column is present abbreviated takes on news stories that happened over the weekend on the first page, followed by more detailed takes on the same stories on the next page. I would like to assume this is because he knows only the truly masochistic have the patience to trudge through his entire column, though I know well enough to realize PK just enjoys repeating himself ad suicidum.
GO EAST, YOUNG PROSPECT. It’s not the Wild West in the 2015 NFL marketplace.
Horace Greeley references right off the bat! Now I know this week is going to be a treat. If it’s not the Wild West, then, what is it?
It’s actually the Wild East.
WICKY WILD WILD
[In which a giant mechanical spider complains about the cold weather and goddamn spring taking forever to arrive]
CHIP KELLY HAS DENUDED THE EAGLES.
YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE RACIST SHIT THAT RILEY COOPER HAS TATTOOED ON HIS DICK!
If wideout Jeremy Maclin signs with Kansas City on Tuesday, which appears likely (according to Chris Mortensen), that means in the span of 12 months the Eagles coach will have gotten rid of the three biggest offensive weapons on the team: Maclin, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. Imagine if Kelly uses Nick Foles in a gigantic package to move up from the 20th spot in the first round April 30 to pick Marcus Mariota. (Hmmmm. Trading up for Mariota. Where have I heard that before?)
Yup, he includes a link to his mock draft to offer proof of his soothsayery, as though Chip Kelly trading up for Mariota wasn’t something that a bunch of people have been speculating about for a while now.
KAEPERNICK IS ON THE TRADING BLOCK? An eyebrow-raising report late Sunday night from the West Coast had the 49ers shopping around quarterback Colin Kaepernick. GM Trent Baalke quickly denied it. No idea what to believe, but if the Niners are nutty enough to trade Kaepernick with no QB currently behind him on the roster, it means 2015 truly is a bridge year. Coach Jim Tomsula could go 3-13 and there would be no heat on him—only on Baalke and Jed York.
If the Kaepernick trade story is indeed just a bullshit rumor, as the team says, it’s a perfectly manufactured one; I’ll give it that. I’m willing to believe just about any stupid thing that is being attributed to the 49ers at this point. Hell, this is the team that traded FOR Blaine Gabbert last year. If you told me they were waiting for another team to sign Gabbert so they could trade for him again, but this time with Kaepernick, I’d probably buy it.
Which brings us to where I think the biggest news should be made this week. And if it’s not, one owner in Florham Park, N.J., will be quite beside himself.
Peter goes on a long tangent about how there’s a ton of pressure on the Jets to make noise in free agency because the Dolphins and the Bills are also making moves. It’s an odd tone from someone who goes out of his way to smugly inform fans that smart teams generally avoid making splashy moves in free agency.
The key times (Eastern Time) and dates for the NFL’s free market:
All right, a schedule of upcoming league events. This certainly isn’t something that people either already knew or could have easily found out via Googling.
Oh boy, stuff that already happened!
Teams could start negotiating with free agents. Contracts could not be signed, however, for 76 hours from that time (three days and four hours). But the NFL is going to realize soon—if it hasn’t already—that the only thing NOT getting done in this legal tampering period is teams getting signatures on contracts.
Tuesday, 4 p.m.: 2015 league year begins. Trades allowed. Free agency signing period begins. Will there be any, like, actual news when tomorrow afternoon rolls around?
Probably? Even if not, what does it matter? Wouldn’t you rather have the news sooner, anyway? Is there some sort of magical experience that comes with a flood of free agent signings being announced late on a Tuesday afternoon?
Tuesday, 4:01 p.m.: The first signing will be announced, certainly to be accompanied by words to this effect from the signee: “I left money on the table elsewhere.”
Ha ha, those weasel players and their PR stunts! Isn’t this the attitude that people like Peter King foster by lecturing players to go to the place that gives them the best chance to win? You’d think he’d be happier that players are telling him what he professes to want to hear.
Stories of the week.
Suh will be the highest-paid defensive player ever, handily. His $19-million average (six years, $114 million, per Mortensen) beats J.J. Watt’s $16.7-million average (six years, $100 million). Silly, because Watt’s the best defensive player, hands down, in football.
Except that’s not how the free agency works.
But Watt wasn’t a free agent, and he didn’t have the leverage Suh had as a free man in a year with no front-seven player even close to his impact.
So why even bother stating all that? Because you want the world to know what an injustice it is that dirty ol’ cheap-shotting glory boy Ndamukong Suh is making a little bit more money than True American Hero of Hustling, J.J. Watt and his fake-ass log cabin McMansion.
The Packers keep wideout Randall Cobb off the free market with a four-year, $40-million deal. Sensible move by Cobb, knowing he could catch 400 balls over the next four years from Aaron Rodgers, if both stay healthy. Certainly he could have made more in Oakland or Jacksonville, and if that’s what you want to do — max out your income while you’re in your prime — that’s fine. But Cobb has a chance to be part of the best passing game in football, now, for at least the first eight years of his career. Let’s say he could have made $48 million over four in Oakland. If maximizing his money is what he wants, it’s understandable. Personally, I’d rather make $40 million and contend for a title every year than make $2 million a year more and be in a place you have no idea if you’ll ever win.
Is there any way Peter King has turned down more money from an employer? I’d think harder about this, but it would require contemplating the millions that horrible media companies would potentially offer him.
The Eagles did what you should never do with a decent player on a championship team: vastly overpay him. Cornerback Byron Maxwell agreed to a six-year, $63-million deal (a $10.5-million average). I get it, and free agency is good for the players, so good for Maxwell.
“IT MAKES ME PHYSICALLY ILL WHEN POOR, BOOTSTRAPPING OWNERS HAVE TO GIVE UP MORE MONEY THAN I ARBITRARILY THINK THEY SHOULD! AHHHH MY SIDES!”
Philly is desperate for secondary help so they overpaid for a free agent corner. It happens. Yes, they could have taken someone in the draft, but that’s asking a hell of a lot out of rookie right away.
Stat of the Week
So the Raiders must be disappointed this morning. Oakland wanted in on the Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes, but with the news Suh is Miami-bound, Oakland has to look elsewhere to spend. And that brings us to an issue no one but agents and financial planners and the free agents themselves talk about very much. The Miami franchise doesn’t have a state income tax in Florida. The Raiders do — and it’s fairly onerous.
The way he phrases that, it sounds like the Raiders have to pay income tax in Florida.
DO SOMETHING, CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATURE!
The reverse is true for the Dolphins. Miami plays at least eight games in Florida each season, so its players pay 0 percent state income tax for half the season. If you apply the same rough estimated math above, it nets out to an average of about 4-5 percent over 16 games.
That estimated 4-6 percent difference is a pretty big one. It’s a lot to try to understand — except if you’re the one being told you’ll clear $1.5 million to $2 million more per year, on average, playing in Florida versus playing in California.
That’s right – Ndamukong Suh is super duper extra greedy for choosing to play in a state where part of his income doesn’t have go to help public schools or other public goods. “Why Ndamukong Suh hates your children and wants them to fail” – tomorrow at TheMMQB.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week
Hoo boy. I had a bad feeling this would be a multiple travel bitching nugget week.
Iceland seems like a really cool place — no pun intended.
And the 320,000 people who live there are pretty cool too — based on those I met on airplanes last week. Let me explain.
“If a group of 50 people were pleasant to me on a flight, safe to assume everyone in the entire country is a nice person. It’s called sample size. Duh.”
Many of you who follow this column will recall that nearly a year ago, my brother Ken died in England. My wife and I spent four days last week in England with my sister-in-law and the family, and to save a couple of bucks plus have a fun experience, we traveled on Icelandair, the national airline of the island near the Arctic Circle. (Great thing about Icelandair: You can do a connecting flight through Reykjovik to many cities in Europe, stay up to a week, and not pay an additional fee.
OH MY GOD THIS IS SO BORING NOBODY CAREEESSSSSSSSSSS
We didn’t have a chance to spend extra time in Iceland on this trip, but we wanted to see it briefly anyway.) So the trip was New York to London, JFK to Heathrow, through Reykjovik, on Tuesday evening. We had a fairly quick connection, 45 minutes, on the way over, and so we had to hustle off the plane to make the connection. One problem: I’d fallen asleep after finishing the LeSean McCoy-to-Buffalo column top for my Wednesday column with my cell phone in my lap, and so when we landed, my cell phone had disappeared. “You have to find it!” said one of the flight attendants, on her knees, looking for it under the seats. “The cell phone, it is your life!” After a few minutes of looking, two of the flight attendants said we’d better go, because we’d miss our plane, and I quickly figured, painfully, that the 787 phone numbers in the memory could be replaced (I need to save them daily, not semi-monthly)
And now you know the whole point of this story was for Peter to mention how many important contacts he has in his phone. He has the numbers for all five of Roger Goodell’s cell phones, even the one he takes to the secret bunker he hides in after fucking up everything.
and I’d get going. “If we find it, we’ll get it to you on your connection!’’ one of the women said. All the flight attendants were from Iceland. Quite accommodating and friendly, as it turned out.
So unlike flight attendants, who usually try their best to elbow you in the face while throwing your bags out of overhead compartments.
Dejected, I walked to the Heathrow gate. The London flight was leaving in 20 minutes. I hate replacing cell phones. Monstrous pain. We were second in line for the connection when one of the flight attendants rushed up and said, “We found it! So happy we found you!”
Thanks, Icelandair. I’ll be back.
You telling me the flight attendant didn’t prank call Greg Schiano even ONCE? Or send hate speech out from PK’s social media accounts? I hope that flight attendant never learns the motherlode of potential mischief they once held in their hand. It could ruin them.
Skip this section if you don’t care
Because the previous 400 words of inane travel banter was essential reading, you see.
but for those who wonder what Iceland is like, I was outside for about three minutes on Saturday. Three minutes in March, anywhere, is an absurd period of time to judge any place
but here was my snapshot: The sleet pelted my face sideways, the wind whipped at 30 mph minimum, and the darkened sky look menacing. An hour later, as we taxied to leave, the sun was out, and it was setting. I loved it. A totally different world.
Sweet, that sounds like a totally awesome country to visit for three minutes.
MORE? Ugh, kill me now.
I met a businessman from Denver on one of the Iceland legs. He does a lot of business in Iceland. We talked about the Broncos (he is a big Broncos fan, and is not confident in Peyton Manning), and he pulled out his cell phone at one point. He showed me a photo from 3:13 a.m. from a date last June, at the airport in Reykjovik. It was bright, a lovely morning. Or evening. I couldn’t tell.
But in June near the Arctic Circle, it’s light for most of the day and night.
Oh my God, you’re telling us about another country based on your experience looking at some dude’s cell phone photo? Is there nothing so banal that Peter won’t include it in this column? “Then get this: I looked in the pouch in front of my seat and found passenger safety information! Iceland has that too! What a country!”
Ten Things I Think I Think
I think I’m not in the Chip Kelly’s-an-idiot camp, the same way I wasn’t in the Jimmy Johnson’s-an-idiot camp 25 years ago.
Not saying anyone should dismiss Chip Kelly, but if we’re going by Peter’s track record of loving coaches, Chip ain’t in the best company. You definitely don’t want to be lumped in with Greg Schiano, Tony Sparano and Mike Munchak.
Also, OF COURSE Peter doesn’t think Chip Kelly is an idiot. Up until recently, a weekly feature in PK’s column was a supposedly insightful quote from Chip Kelly. Though leave it to Peter to do a 180 on him within the span of a few months and hope no one notices.
I think Percy Harvin has fallen to earth with a thud, first with the trade for nothing (Seattle will get the Jets’ sixth-round pick in 2015 for giving New York the 2.5-month rental of Harvin last fall) and now with his imminent release by the Jets. Amazing to me that a man who was in contention for the 2012 MVP midway through that season has fallen so far that two receiver-needy teams tossed him away in the span of six months.
Just amazing that a player who had half of a good season three years ago could lose value for doing next to nothing since.
I think Vince Wilfork to Houston (with Romeo Crennel and Bill O’Brien, his former Patriot pals) makes the most sense to me.
Nice of Houston to designate itself as the permanent home for all New England castoffs, as if that model of winning hasn’t been proven an abject failure like 20 times now.
I think it will be fashionable around Philadelphia to believe that a 32-year-old running back is a poor substitute for LeSean McCoy. But Frank Gore, in my opinion, will be a superb signing because:
a. Gore is a north-south physical runner, more of what Chip Kelly likes in a back.
b. Gore, in his past four years, at 28, 29, 30 and 31, missed zero games playing this bruising style.
c. Gore is consistent to a fault. He has rushed for between 1,106 yards and 1,214 yards per season in the past four years. In the past eight years, he’s averaged between 4.1 and 4.9 yards per carry.
d. Gore will lead by example. Kelly’s not much for the holler guys.
No holler guys. Definitely no hooting guys. Guys that scream the N-word in public, though? Those are just fine.
7. I think by Thursday, everyone will be very familiar with free-agent cornerback Buster Skrine. He’s the Cleveland corner, a middle-class player at a vital position who won’t cost what a premier player costs. He’s also the type of player — maybe the fifth or sixth cornerback in the pool — who will make more than he should.
It’s almost as though the way football is played now puts a premium on secondary play! WOWWEEE
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
c. The British do love their Indian food. As do I.
“And I didn’t even have to colonize them first.”
d. And so I saw a couple of good movies while on my time away.
Normally, I try not to subject you all to Peter’s takes on movies that came out months ago. This one is kind of instructive, though.
e. “Whiplash.” Wow. What a job by Miles Teller. Never heard of him before this movie. So many people who figure, “I will survive anything, even the most abusive stuff you could imagine, that is put in my way on the road to success,” will love this movie. Because very often, it’s about what you have to overcome to make it in the big time. It can be awful. It can be abusive. It can be hurtful. That is what you see in this movie. And Miles Teller’s character, somehow, makes it. It’s a terrific movie.
f. J.K. Simmons reminds me of Bill Parcells. He really does. The music teacher in “Whiplash” is an abusive type. And so many of you out there will recognize someone you have known in Simmons — which is why he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
I’m not sure why some people see Whiplash as a parable for the merits of hard-ass coaching/teaching. [Spoiler alert] In the end, Simmons’ character ends up losing his job (for driving another student to suicide) and the main character drops out of school. Yeah, there’s one last concert where the drummer kid is finally awesome, though that’s only after everything is fucked. Oh, and Whiplash includes a scene where the main character’s car gets jack knifed BY A FUCKING SEMI and not only does he survive but he gets up and runs straight to a concert to perform. DA FUQ?
I do see the resemblance to Parcells, however. Mostly because Simmons’ character calls people fag a lot.
h. Beernerdness: If you have a chance to try Einstok Icelandic White Ale, do it. It’s a classic white ale, the kind with coriander and spices you’d pay $3 for a bottle of in America, and you do not have to pay $3 for many beers in the store in America. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
“This beer tastes expensive. You should try it.”
i. Coffeenerdness: The flat white at Costa Coffee in England is darned near close in quality to the flat white at Starbucks. Not quite as intense an espresso experience.
Nice try, Brits. Thought you could beat us in the chain coffee wars, did you? Should have learned the first time that the US of A don’t settle for second place in loftiness.
j. Daniel Von Bargen, Kruger on “Seinfeld,” is dead at 64. Best scene with him: at the Costanza home, on Festivus.
k. In Von Bargen’s honor, I believe we all should make a donation to The Human Fund.
You know, Kruger was only in four episodes of the entire series (post-Larry David departure at that). I realize people can’t really control what they’re remembered for, but it’s a little strange to see an actor with 85 TV and movie credits be mostly remembered for one role that wasn’t even that significant. That said, this made me realize there are thousands of people who will only ever know me as the guy Peter King drove insane, so best to move on from this line of thinking.
The Adieu Haiku
Free Agency’s here!
False hope. Dan Snyder. Haynesworth.
Big winners draft well.
Hmm. Remember the
Pats got Revis and Browner
in FA last year?