Man this took forever to do. Good thing it was extremely slow at work yesterday or never would've finished it in time. Sheesh. I only post once every two years or abouts, so I guess it should be a long one.
Since I'm clearly acting as the GM for the purposes of this exercise, then I suppose Nix has been fired. As the new GM, I pledge to watch the mouths of my scouts very carefully, and the minute they stop throwing words at me, tell them they are wrong and go my own way.
I did struggle with this decision a bit, but Gailey has got to go. Its hard for me, in year three of a re-build, to retain a coach who's only wins this season have come against teams that were absolute dumpster fires when we played them. Four losses by 20 or more points and some historically bad defense did not help his case.
In his place, we'll hire Dave Toub, special teams coordinator of the Chicago Bears.
There isn't a coordinator in football who's unit has been consistently better than Toub's. Chicago's special teams have ranked in the top five units in Football Outsiders rankings since 2006, including the number one spot four times. He's doesn't quite have the background diversity of a John Harbaugh, but I'm betting on him being as good. Toub will choose his own coordinators.
I think this community is in general agreement as to who's worth keeping around, so this likely won't surprise anyone. I've rolled $7 million from the previous years' cap, so I have $22 million to work with. Here's who I'm retaining:
Jairus Byrd: Yep. 5 years, $40 million ($8mil cap hit)
Andy Levitre: Consistency matters. 6 years, $36 million ($6mil)
Kyle Moore: Solid depth with upside. 2 years, $3 million ($1.5mil)
Leodis McKelvin: I will not overpay, but McKelvin sees it my way (because this isn't real). 3 years, $9 million ($3 mil)
David Nelson: 2 years, $2 million ($1 mil)
Donald Jones: 2 years, $1.5 million ($750,000)
Chad Rinehart: I like Rinehart, but would you trade him straight up for a 3rd round pick? Yes you would. Original round RFA tender ($1.26 mil cap hit)
Total cap hit is $21.51 million dollars, which leaves me with a whopping $490,000 to work with. Time to do some cuttin'.
Eradicating the Dead Wood
That sounds so dramatic.
A lot of blame (rightly) is placed on the head coach or coordinators for lack of good leadership, but you never see the same blame laid at the feet of the team leaders. That changes this year. There are a lot of older team leaders below. Its time for the young vets to step up and lead. Here's who gets their pink slip:
Chris Kelsay: I actually think Kelsay's gotten a bit better with age. He's also known nothing but losing and is overpaid. Kyle Williams becomes the undisputed leader of that front seven. Saves $4.175 million.
Terrence McGee: I can't tell if he's any good anymore, because he's never on the field. Saves $2.1 million.
George Wilson: Step on up to a leadership role Byrdman. Saves $3.375 million.
Brad Smith: Not money well spent. Saves $2.75 million.
I've saved an additional $14.4 million, which bring me to $14.89 million in cap space.
Now that I've dealt with my current roster, its time to evaluate what we still need. Looking it over I see we have needs at...&^%&$ everywhere except RB and DT. Again.
I kid, slightly. Priority is QB, LB, CB, playmaking WR, and rotational DE. I'm not overflowing with cap space and I'll need to save $6 million for the rooks, so I'm going to be judicious. Here's where I'm going:
Keenan Lewis, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Lewis has quietly had a pretty good season for the Steelers, particularly in the slot where the Bills have struggled. I suspect the Steelers would like to re-sign him, but I'm banking on them being too wrapped up with their UFAs on the offense. 4 years, $14 million ($3.5 mil)
James Casey, FB, Houston Texans: More of a move TE than a true FB, I want even minor weapons wherever I can get them. He's caught 50 passes for 579 yards and 4 TDs over the last two years. 3 years, $4.5 million ($1.5 mil)
That cuts me down to just below $10 million. That gives me cap for rookies and some wiggle room for signing any unexpectedly available veterans.
1st Round, 6th Overall- Matt Barkley, QB, USC
I knew I wanted a QB so I sat down and watched games of Glennon, Barkley, Bray, Wilson, Dysert, Jones and Nassib (I figured Smith wouldn't be available). I hadn't watched Barkley at all this season, and expected to be underwhelmed, but was pleasantly surprised. He's got accuracy you can't teach, and frankly his arm is better than I was led to believe. Check out his first TD throw in this year's Oregon game. Barkley launches the ball from his 19 and it lands in Lee's hands at Oregon's 25. Thats 56 yards in the air, no slowing up by Lee, ball thrown away from the defender who was on Lee's outside shoulder. I think he's going to be a good one.
Note: I liked Glennon just a hair less for what its worth, so I wouldn't mind him being the pick in the actual draft. I liked Dysert quite a bit too. Check out the throw about three minutes in from the shadow his own endzone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmMa5Nv2zoI. Rolling right, slightly across his body but dropped in between three defenders (and of course, dropped by his receiver).
TRADE: 1st Round, 19th Overall- Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
Trading up is fun! I suspect that the Giants feel like they've got a championship roster but just underachieved this year. I offer up the 41st overall pick (490 points) this year next year's 1st rounder (580 points) for the 19th overall selection (875 points) and a 4th rounder this year (no. 114 overall).
To be honest, I have no idea where this guy is going to go (I've seen him picked from 5th overall to 27th overall and even out of the 1st round), so I settled on somewhere in the teens. I thinks Nepenthe88 hit it on the head with this guy- how many 6'7" 240 pound guys do you know that can cover receivers? He's got the size and athleticism to potentially match up against Gronk or at the very least could add some weight and become a pass rushing force. A creative defensive coordinator is going to love this guy.
3rd Round, 72nd Overall- Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
He isn't 6'4" and he isn't Tavon Austin, he Bailey has been a consistent producer for WVU. Bailey's got good speed, runs excellent routes and fights for the ball downfield.
4th Round, 103rd Overall- Blidi Wreh- Wilson, CB, Connecticut
Possible he'll go higher than this. Good blend of size, athletic ability and experience.
4th Round, 114th Overall- Kenny Tate, OLB/SS, Maryland
A bunch of Rumblers have their eyes on this guy, so I'll defer to better opinions than mine.
5th Round, 134rd Overall- Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
I wish I could tell you what exactly is wrong with this guy that he's rated as a 4th or 5th prospect. Maybe someone else has done more homework on him. He just finished an exceptional senior season with 45 receptions for 722 yards and TDs. Thats 16 yards a catch folks.
6th Round, 169th Overall- Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg
Only played football as a senior in college, but despite that managed to rack up 13.5 sacks last year. Still very raw, but has lots of talent and the work ethic to succeed. Father played in the NFL with the Dolphins.
7th Round, 234rd Overall- Cierre Wood, RB Notre Dame
This might be late for him, but damnit I'm tired.
Here's what we ended up with, pre-UDFA signings. Rookies in italics. Once I landed Lewis I moved Aaron Williams over to S.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Barkley
RB: CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson, Cierre Wood
FB: James Casey
WR: Stevie Johnson, TJ Graham, Marcus Easley, Donald Jones, David Nelson, Stedman Bailey
TE: Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Travis Kelce
OT: Cordy Glenn, Chris Hairston, Erik Pears, Sam Young, Zebrie Sanders
OG/C: Andy Levitre, Kraig Urbik, Eric Wood, Chad Rinehart
DE: Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Kyle Moore, Larry Webster
DT: Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Alex Carrington, Torell Troup
LB: Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard, Arthur Moats, Nigel Bradham, Chris White, Dion Jordan, Kenny Tate
CB: Stephon Gilmore, Ron Brooks, Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers, Keenan Lewis, Blidi-Wreh-Wilson
S: Jairus Byrd, DaNorris Searcy, Aaron Williams, Mana Silva
Specialists: P Shaun Powell, K Rian Lindell, LS Garrison Sanborn
Seriously, that took a long time. Huzzah for futile exercises!
Fire away people.