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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Should Dolphins be miffed that Parcells recommended Ryan to Jets?

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan looks on while his team plays the New England Patriots during their AFC Divisional NFL playoff football game in Foxborough, January 16, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Former NFL player Marcellus Wiley once told me that if you took Bill Parcells out to a practice field and told him he only had five minutes to evaluate 100 players, he could still tell you the strengths and weaknesses of every man on that field to a T. So it’s not surprising that the “Big Tuna” knew that Rex Ryan was going to be successful in the NFL.

According to a report, Parcells advised Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum to hire Ryan two years ago. In fact, had Parcells not be so close with current Dolphins’ head coach Tony Sparano when they two of them coached together in Dallas, he would have hired Ryan in Miami.

“Yes, that’s correct,” Parcells said.

“I was very impressed with Rex when I met with him,” Parcells said Tuesday night by phone. “I could just sense that, ‘Hey, this guy’s going to have a chance.'”

“I had a fierce rivalry with Rex’s father when I was coaching the Giants,” Parcells said, “but I held Buddy in high regard. What made Buddy a dangerous adversary was that he knew what he was looking for personnel-wise, and Rex is the same way. That’s a pretty good head start for Rex because there are quite a few coaches in this league who don’t know what they’re looking for.”

Parcells was very clear in the interview that he takes no credit for Rex’s development, or even for Tannenbaum’s decision to hire him. And why would he? He still receives paychecks with the Miami Dolphins’ logo on it, so why would he want to admit to helping a division rival?

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Elvis Dumervil’s injury, Darrelle Revis’ holdout and the New York Jets

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 16: New York Jets Darrelle Revis poses for a portrait on March 16, 2010 in New York, New York. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson saw the news that Broncos’ linebacker Elvis Dumervil suffered a torn pectoral muscle yesterday.

The conversation probably went something like this:

“We’re f*&%ed with Darrelle Revis, Woody!”

“Now, now – maybe he didn’t hear about this, Mike.”

“It’s all over the f*#&ing news, Woody! Get your head out of your a$$!”

Dumervil led the league in sacks last year while emerging as the Broncos’ best pass-rusher. He also had just signed a lucrative six-year, $61.5 million contract just three weeks before suffering the injury. Now he’s likely to miss the entire season and Denver is up a creek without a paddle in terms of his contract. (Even if the injury keeps him out of football this year, the Broncos still have to pay him.)

One could only imagine that the injury reinforced to Revis the need for him to continue to holdout. He already has former Jet Leon Washington in his ear about what could happen if he plays on a one-year contract, and now Dumervil’s injury serves as yet another reminder to 1) get paid and then 2) play.

The Jets want Revis to either play on a restructured one-year deal or sign a long-term agreement that will pay him slightly less annually than the Raiders are paying Nnamdi Asomugha. But Revis wants neither – especially not the former. Had Dumervil not signed the six-year agreement before suffering the injury, there’s no way the Broncos would have paid him after he tore the muscle. He would have probably had to produce another double-digit sack season just to justify a long-term deal because all of the leverage he got from his performance last year would have flown out the window.

If the Jets were hoping that Revis would blink first, they may be waiting a long time in light of Dumervil’s injury. It might be time for Johnson and Tannenbaum to pay Revis what he wants and call it a day.

Jets sign Rex Ryan through 2014 season

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24: Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets, looks on during warm-ups before playing against the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports writes that the Jets have rewarded head coach Rex Ryan with a two-year contract extension.

The new arrangement transforms his deal to last through the 2014 season, something the team also announced Friday that they did for general manager Mike Tannenbaum last month with a new five-year deal.

It’s unclear how much new money Ryan received, but clearly the Jets believe they have their answer at head coach for the foreseeable future. It’s certainly odd that an NFL head coach would get a new deal after just one season. But it shows just how much faith that owner Woody Johnson has in his current head coach.

I was shocked it took until last year before Ryan got his first chance to become a head coach in the NFL. His brashness may have rubbed some front office types the wrong way in interviews, but the Jets obviously love him, as do their players. While he only has one year under his belt, he has already made believers out of everyone who follows the Jets.

Revis, Jets need to be more reasonable about contract situation

Darrelle Revis wants to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.

The Jets want to give him a new contract, but they don’t want to pay top dollar for him.

Both need to step back into reality.

Revis has emerged as the best cover corner in the NFL. That moniker used to be in reference to Nnamdi Asomugha, which is why Al Davis gave him a $45.3 million contract in February of 2009.

But Davis is also completely out of his mind. The first two years of Asomugha’s contract ($28.6 million) are fully guaranteed. Another $4.7 million is available through incentives and in order to keep the cornerback under contract through 2011, the Raiders must pay him either the franchise number for quarterbacks that year, or $16.875 million (whichever is greater).

That’s what Revis wants from the Jets. Actually, he actually wants a contract larger than that and is willing to skip training camp until he receives it.

There’s no question that Revis is underpaid and if it’s true that the Jets didn’t offer him any guaranteed money in a recent proposal, then he was right to call their offer “an insult.” But if you’re GM Mike Tannenbaum, it wouldn’t be a good business decision to pay Revis what Asomugha makes. Asomugha shouldn’t even make what Asomugha makes and that’s not a dig on his ability as a player, that’s just stressing that his contract is ridiculous.

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