NFL Quick-Hits: Smith dealt, Ryan’s future big pay day & more Revis mess

I. Alex Smith is a solid fit for Andy Reid’s offense in Kansas City and he truly was the best option available this offseason. Geno Smith doesn’t scream “franchise quarterback” and it would have been a tough sell to the fan base to re-install Matt Cassel as the starter while patiently waiting for a better option to come along. Smith was that better option.

That said, a second-round pick and a condition third-round selection that could turn into another second-rounder was a steep price to pay for Smith. Yes, he was having an excellent season before suffering a concussion in mid-November and yes, he should be able to effectively run Reid’s West Coast Offense. But the reason Jim Harbaugh stuck with Colin Kaepernick last season when Smith was healthy is because he knew the Niners were more explosive offensively with Kaepernick under center. Granted, Kaepernick adds another dimension by running the Pistol offense but Smith will prevent Reid from threatening opponents downfield on a consistent basis. Can the Chiefs win with Smith in the time being? Sure, but this move only delays the inevitable, which is that at some point Kansas City will need to draft and develop a young franchise quarterback for the long term.

II. Now that we know the annual average ($20.1 million) of Joe Flacco’s new deal, as well as the guaranteed portion ($52 million) and how much he’ll receive over the first three seasons of the contract ($62 million), there’s absolutely no reason why the Falcons shouldn’t re-sign Matt Ryan well before the end of the 2013 season. Flacco has eight more postseason victories under his belt, but it’s not as if Ryan is on the decline – on the contrary, he’s only going to get better. He posted career numbers last season with Michael Turner barely churning out 3.5 yards per carry. Imagine what Ryan could do against a defense that also had to worry about stopping Steven Jackson (or any other running back that didn’t have cement blocks for feet). The new floor for contracts involving franchise quarterbacks as been set following Flacco’s agreement with the Ravens. The Falcons would be wise to be proactive because with Ryan set to become a free agent in 2014, there’s no sense to wait.

III. Jake Long isn’t going to get the $11 million that he/his agent is asking for on the free agent market. He’s coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons and has also dealt with various injuries over that span. Granted, he’ll be 28 by the start of the season so if he can stay healthy he still has plenty of good years left in the tank. But in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, this was a bad year for him to hit the open market. A team would either have to be crazy or desperate to fork over $11 million per year after what Long has shown the past two seasons.

IV. This situation involving Darrelle Revis and the Jets is ugly. It’s believed that he’s seeking $16 million annually and $60 million guaranteed on his next contract, which would make him the highest paid defensive player in the league. If he holds out this summer, then the final three years of his contract won’t void and he’ll be “stuck” in New York until he becomes a free agent in 2017. Meanwhile, the Jets only have him signed through 2013 and former GM Mike Tannenbaum left the team in cap hell before he was let go at the end of the season. Thus, the Jets could trade Revis, but his value couldn’t be lower coming off knee surgery. Plus, from a scheme standpoint, Revis means more to Rex Ryan’s defense than any other player on the Jets’ roster. If you’re trying to win, it behooves you not to get rid of its best defensive player. Then again, it’s not as if the Jets are going to compete any time soon. Not with Mark Sanchez under center and an overall lack of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. If new GM John Idzik wanted to start fresh, trading Revis, saving the cap space and acquiring a couple of picks might not be a bad idea. (Even if the Jets aren’t getting max value on their return.)

V. The Falcons’ decision to release John Abraham, Michael Turner and Dunta Robinson turned heads last week but it’s simple cost versus production. Turner no longer has the ability to create on his own and managed just 3.6 yards per carry last season. Robinson is coming off his best year in Atlanta but he’s maddeningly inconsistent in coverage and the Falcons probably could get better, cheaper production out of Brent Grimes assuming he’s healthy and they re-sign him. After racking up 10 sacks, Abraham was clearly the most productive of the three but he’s no longer an every-down player and GM Thomas Dimitroff recognizes the need to find younger pass rushers. By releasing these three players, Dimitroff created roughly $18 million in cap space. That money can be used not only to sign Matt Ryan to an extension, but also get younger and/or better at running back and up front defensively.

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General manager wants Revis to retire a Jet

General manager Mike Tannenbaum told ESPN radio that he expects Darrelle Revis to retire a Jet, indicating that a long-term contract could be coming for the cornerback soon.

From the New York Post:

“Our expectation is he’ll retire a Jet many years from now,” Tannenbaum told ESPN Radio.

“We have reached out to his agents and we’ll see where that process goes,” Tannenbaum said.

The Jets are saying all the right things, but until they draw up a contract and Revis signs it, then what Tannenbaum says means nothing. Things look good, but contract negotiations are always sticky, especially with the threat of a lockout coming in 2011.

That said, it appears that a long-term deal is likely to be signed before the season, which is what Revis wants. The Jets really have no choice but to pony up for him, seeing as how he has established himself as the best cover corner in the game.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Will Darrelle Revis hold out if he doesn’t receive a new contact from Jets?

Darrelle Revis, whose contract is set to void after 2010, expects the Jets to give him a new deal before the regular season starts. They said they would, and he trusts them.

But if push comes to shove, will he hold out? While recently speaking at the Jets’ Florham Park facility in New Jersey, Revis may have provided insight to that question.

From the New York Post:

“We’ll figure it out when [the start of camp] comes.”

Revis said he “believes [the Jets] at their word.” But he quickly added, “When you go back on your word it’s a problem.”

“We have a bunch of months to get things done,” Revis said. “I trust [Jets management] . . . but I also know this is a business as well.”

Seeing as how the Jets didn’t abide by Leon Washington’s wishes for a new contract last year and then traded the running back to Seattle during the draft last month, Revis has reason to be weary that he may not get a new deal. He also plays for a team that just dumped Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca in order to recoup some of his huge salary. (Although as many Jet fans will note, despite his Pro Bowl appearance Faneca didn’t play well last year.)

That said, Revis is the best cover corner in the NFL, and good defensive backs are hard to come by. If there were one position on the field outside of quarterback that a team would want to splurge on, it would be cornerback because good ones are such a rarity in the league. (Look at the deal the Raiders gave Nnamdi Asomugha in February of last year.)

Chances are that the Jets and Revis will come to a deal before the season starts. But if they don’t, a player’s best bargaining chip is a hold out. It sounds as if Revis wouldn’t hesitate to hold out if the Jets fall back on their word.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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