Posted: Tuesday May 10, 2005 3:46PM; Updated: Tuesday May 10, 2005 5:54PM
After being selected No. 6 overall, Kellen Winslow was injured in Week 2 of 2004 and missed the rest of his rookie season.
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During the offseason, the Monday Morning Quarterback Tuesday Edition will feature Peter King's mailbag and nothing but the mailbag ...
WHAT WILL THE BROWNS DO ABOUT KELLEN WINSLOW? From Drew Johnson of Cleveland Heights, Ohio: "Brownsville is in mourning over our cursed team. But we're also really ticked off at Kellen Winslow and would love to see the new management take a stand against their tight end. What do you think will happen to Winslow? Will they cut him?''
I don't think so. But make no mistake: Cleveland's upper management is extremely ticked off about WInslow's action. My educated guess is, once Winslow gets on the road to recovery and can think clearly (I may be assuming too much there), the Browns will tell him something like this: According to neighbors, you were still limping after breaking your leg last year. Then you went and got a motorcycle and, in violation of your contract, not only rode the thing but rode it dangerously, doing wheelies and other stunts a neophyte rider wasn't ready for. We'd like you to stay in Cleveland, but we're not going to pay you to be hurt. We're taking X amount of dollars back (pick a figure; my guess is somewhere around $5 million) and we'll put some of that money in lofty incentive clauses down the road so you'll have a chance to earn some of it back if you become a great player.
I think the Browns have to take a big chunk of money back. I can also tell you this: GM Phil Savage is getting an earful from peers in the business, who are urging him to cut Winslow and make a statement that his team isn't going to do business in a shoddy, unprofessional way anymore. I don't think that's the statement the Browns will make, but they must be tempted.
KING, YOU ARE A MANAGEMENT LACKEY. From Terry Brown of Chicago: "Nothing gets me crazier than your repeated endorsement of players taking less than they deserve 'for the sake of the team.' What a load of nonsense! In fact, the Tedy Bruschi story is exactly why they should fight for every dime. If that poor guy can never play again, are you telling me he couldn't use the couple of million more of signing bonus he could have received from a team willing to pay fair value? Let us know the next time you waive a raise from SI so they can use the money to retain other great writers and beat the pants off of ESPN. What a joke!!''
Fair enough, Terry. But there are two things you're forgetting. One: Bruschi wasn't a free agent last year. He would have been one this year. He did his contract with the Patriots last summer, before the final year of his old deal expired. So he actually earned a signing bonus before last season. Had he been a free agent this year, he wouldn't have earned a dime from anyone until the team verified he'd be healthy enough to play. So by signing the "undervalued'' contract last year, Bruschi actually made more money than if he'd gotten stiffed this spring. Two: In baseball, contracts for, say, Yankees players exist in a vacuum. What Gary Sheffield gets really has no bearing on Jaret Wright's salary, because George Steinbrenner can afford it if he can stomach the luxury tax. In football, what Tom Brady earns absolutely has a bearing on what his teammates make. By Brady taking less than he could have, the Patriots can build a better team. Do you not see that?
MORE PATRIOT FALLOUT. From Russell Levine of West Orange: "Peter, love your writing and usually agree with your opinions. While I concur that Tom Brady is in a perfect situation and may have been wise to sign the deal he did, I can't say the same about Bruschi. If he can never play again, do you think some small part of him might wish he'd taken the money that was out there in free agency? I'm sure he'd say no, but if the stroke leaves him unable to play, he'll be figuring out how to live the rest of his life on a contract that was half as big as it could be. We love team-first guys who show they aren't just about the money, but it doesn't mean it was necessarily the right decision.''
Russell, see my answer to the question above. And understand, too, that Bruschi is a normal guy. I talked to him at the Super Bowl about it and he knew that he was making a life choice by taking less to stay in an ideal situation. It was tough to leave money on the table, but he knows he's dependent on others to win.