After an amazing day of playoff football yesterday, the NFL has never been more popular. But the drama on the field has been competing with stories surrounding player safety, and following recent stories about RG3 suffering a brutal knee injury, test results showing that Junior Seau suffered from brain damage and Bernie Kosar explaining how he’s being treated for the aftereffects of concussions, we now have an explosive profile of Jason Taylor by Dan Le Batard that will surely shake up the already hot player safety debate.
Basically, with this story, Jason Taylor will become the poster child for the crazy NFL player who will do almost anything, take any pain medication, have any procedure, to get back onto the football field. Of course the NFL teams, coaches and doctors are often willing accomplices, and they contribute to this warrior culture. But this mindset is deeply rooted in the players themselves. It’s taught from an early age, but in many ways it’s just an example of how many people are wired in general. The bonds created by team sports have roots in our tribal nature, and many players willingly assume the risk of playing football, and Jason Taylor said he would do it all again, despite how crazy that might sound.
You have to read the article to get an appreciation for how far Taylor was willing to go. The scenes of him getting excruciating shots in his feet will shock many of you. With the backdrop of the concussion lawsuits against the NFL, this and similar stories will be cited often in the upcoming debate.
The deal is a good one for Miami, as Taylor will earn just $1.1 million in base salary, with incentives that could bring him another $400,000. He had been contracted to earn more than $8 million with Washington this season.
Rumors have linked Taylor to Miami since he was let go by Washington earlier this year, but the Dolphins seemed to be unwilling to go that route as they attempted to build their roster through the draft and younger free agents.
But coach Tony Sparano told Joe Rose on 560-AM on Tuesday that, with the draft complete and still lingering needs on defense, the front office would be taking another look at the Taylor situation this week.
“My heart has always been in Miami,” Taylor said in a statement. “I’m truly motivated to call myself a Dolphin again.
This is just another example of Bill Parcells getting the best of a situation. Taylor pissed Parcells off last year when he skipped the Dolphins’ voluntary off-season workouts and stated how he wanted out of Miami. So Parcells found a dope in Daniel Snyder and shipped Taylor to Washington for a second round pick in 2009 and a sixth round pick in 2010. And look how everything turned out – Taylor is back in Miami at a drastically discounted price, the Dolphins drafted Pat White with that second round pick, they still have the sixth rounder in their back pocket for next year and the Redskins are left with nothing.
During a radio interview this morning on Miami’s 790 AM, Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano admitted the team was re-considering the possibility of bringing back free agent defensive end Jason Taylor, who is also on the Patriots radar.
”Yeah, we’re talking. When I say ‘we,’ it’s myself, Jeff (Ireland, GM), and Bill (Parcells, head of football operations) have talked about Jason and had several conversations about it,” Sparano said. “We’ll revisit it now that the draft is over and we’re getting ready to look down the road at OTAs here pretty soon, so we’ll revisit it again and see where we are.”
When asked if the Pat’s interest in the veteran free agent would influence Miami’s decision, Sparano answered, “It doesn’t affect us one way or another. I think that at the end of this process it’s going to be about – from our end – our interest in Jason and how we see him fitting into our plans. If at that point he ends up in another place, that’s nothing I can control.”
Previously, the Dolphins stance on Taylor was that his re-signing might stunt the growth of some of their younger players, particularly Matt Roth.
As long as Taylor doesn’t hold the Dolphins over the coals in terms of a contract (and why would he at this stage of his career?), signing him seems like a no-brainer. Teams are always in need of quality pass-rushers and Taylor could instill some leadership for a young Miami defense. The Dolphins could sign him to a one-year deal and if he’s ineffective, they can move on next year.
The Providence Journal is reporting that free agent defensive end Jason Taylor is close to becoming a member of the New England Patriots. Some within the organization believe a handshake agreement is already in place.
The Journal also notes:
From the moment he hit the free-agent market, New England has been targeted as a likely destination for the six-time Pro Bowler. Pats’ owner Robert Kraft said Taylor can become a Patriot if that’s what he wants, and it’s hard to believe head coach Bill Belichick would put up much of a fight given his history of fairly gushing over the former Miami Dolphins’ star.
Belichick has always had an eye on acquiring Taylor, and it wouldn’t be too impossible to believe that a playbook would be given him to study over the summer months. This would allow Taylor to spend time with his family and then sign an agreement with the Pats prior to the start of training camp. Belichick has made similar concessions in the past with other veteran players, including QB Vinny Testaverde, who was allowed to miss a majority of training camp a few seasons ago.
The club did not draft a pass-rushing outside linebacker last weekend, and Taylor could help fill that void.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft has said if Taylor, 34, wants to play in New England, it could happen.
The team appears to be stepping up its recruiting efforts, as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported yesterday that the Patriots have “strong interest” in Taylor, who plans to make a final decision within two weeks.
Taylor has also spoken with the Dolphins, although they haven’t been aggressive, and the Buccaneers are another option, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, has ties to Taylor from his tenure as Miami’s defensive coordinator.
I’m a little surprised that Taylor hasn’t already inked a deal with New England, although that might indicate that his first choice is to re-sign with the Dolphins. It doesn’t appear that Miami is interested, however, so his options seem to be limited. If he truly wants to try and win a title before he retires, it looks like New England is his best shot.