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Perilous move

Edwards leaving Jets for Chiefs is bad for the NFL

Posted: Monday January 9, 2006 12:24AM; Updated: Monday January 9, 2006 4:50PM
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Herman Edwards
Herman Edwards' departure from the Jets to the Chiefs will cost K.C. a fourth-round draft pick.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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"I'm going to be here. No question about it. We got a big job to do here and I'm going to work hard to get it done.''
 -- Jets coach Herman Edwards, to me, in November.

"I addressed that six weeks ago. I still stand on what I said. I'm the coach of the Jets. The season will end and we'll try to get things going in the right direction. I've always been happy here. I like it here.''
 -- Jets coach Herman Edwards, at a Dec. 29 press conference.

"You know they've got to have something to write. I'm going to be here.''
 -- Jets coach Herman Edwards, to me, on Dec. 29.

FOXBORO, Mass. -- What on earth is going on in this league?

Forget for a moment the lack of honor from Edwards, who was introduced on Monday as the Kansas City Chiefs new coach, reportedly for $12 million over four years. Think instead of the impact of what he's done, and what the Chiefs have done by trading a fourth-round pick (a four!) to acquire Edwards from the Jets.

This idiotic, tail-wagging-dog story raises four disturbing questions.

1. Why is it still permissible for a coach with years left on his contract to orchestrate, either tacitly or not, his exit from a team?

2. Why didn't Jets owner Woody Johnson say: "Herm, I'm not doubling your salary after you went 4-12 this year. You're going to have to suck it up and work for the $2 million agreed upon in your contract.''

Players work under contracts they don't like all the time. I'm sure coaches do too. Edwards should have done the same.

I understand that by the end Johnson was ticked off at Edwards and not in the mood to give him anything. But the message should have been sent unwaveringly to Edwards and his representative months ago by Johnson that the contract was not going to be redone.

3. Why is the league sitting idly by and basically allowing coaches to be traded for draft choices? Is it in the best interests of the league for a coach with a perfectly valid contract to be traded? And to be traded for the absurdly low price of a fourth-round draft pick?  Do you honestly think the value of a coach who has led his team to the playoffs in three of his five seasons is worth a four? That's absurd enough. But the NFL, in letting a trade like this to happen, is prolonging a practice that is slowly but surely become a sordid, greedy part of the NFL.

What's to stop Houston owner Bob McNair, who has more money than he knows what to do with, from nudging Bill Belichick's agent, winking and saying: "You know, I really like Bill. He's such a great coach.'' All of a sudden, Belichick tells Bob Kraft after the season: "I don't want to work here anymore unless you pay me $9 million a year.'' We'd all be naïve to think something like that would never cross Belichick's mind if he thought he could have a better deal somewhere else.

4. Why didn't the Jets charge the Chiefs with tampering? Could it possibly be because Chiefs president Carl Peterson is the mentor and former boss of Jets GM Terry Bradway? Bradway, in this case, is the steward of an NFL franchise, not Peterson's pal. It is absurd and borderline irresponsible that the Jets got a fourth-round pick as compensation. They could have gotten more by charging the Chiefs with tampering.