Posted: Monday October 16, 2006 10:03AM; Updated: Tuesday October 17, 2006 1:40AM
The Awards Section
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger entered Sunday's game against the Chiefs with seven interceptions and no touchdowns.
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
Offensive Player of the Week
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh. There were a ton of great offensive days in the NFL on Sunday, but no one entered Sunday with the pressure Roethlisberger faced. He responded by leading Pittsburgh to a 31-0 halftime lead, going 16 of 19 with two touchdowns and no interceptions. This is the Roethlisberger of the last two years -- a complimentary player with no ego who's happy to let his running game and defense be the headline acts.
Defensive Player of the Week
James Hall, DE, Detroit. It's hard to have a better game if you're a defensive end, unless your name is Julius Peppers. In the Lions' first win of the season, 20-17 over Buffalo, Hall had 3.5 sacks (for a loss of 30.5 yards), seven tackles, two additional quarterback hits and one forced fumble. Beware, Chad Pennington. You're next for Hall.
Special Teams Players of the Week
Josh Brown, K, Seattle. Has a kicker ever had a better quarter in NFL history? I mean, ever? Brown hit a 49-yarder, another 49-yarder, then, with time running out, a game-winning 54-yard field goal to beat the Rams in one of the best games of this or any other year.
Casey Cramer, TE, Tennessee. Bursting through a seam in the Redskins' punt-block team, Cramer bore in on punter Derrick Frost and blocked his punt midway through the third quarter. Bad move for Washington, good move for the Dartmouth grad Cramer. With Tennessee already up 20-14, the blocked punt skittered back through the end zone for a safety, upping the lead to eight points.
Coach of the Week
Sean Payton, head coach, New Orleans. When he opened training camp in July, Payton told his team, "You're playing more than a football season. You're playing to help a city heal." He has reminded his players of that a few times, and the NFL's Little Team That Could has done nothing but respond. I remember thinking when I left their camp in Jackson, Miss., on July 30: Poor Sean, they'll be lucky to win four games.' They've won five, and Halloween is still two weeks away.
Stat of the Week
RandyMoss' contract is the stat of the week, and the stat of the next 36 hours, with the trading deadline Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.
First, I don't think he'll be traded. But let's travel down the investigatory road for a few moments. The most sensible thing would be for a team to offer a conditional third-round pick and a contributing player, with an asterisk. The offer could be this: We'll give you a third and a starting player for Moss, but if he's still on our roster on March 1, 2007, the pick will improve from a third- to a first-rounder. This would offer the acquiring team, and the Raiders, some protection. Moss has 2½ years and $25.85 million left on his contract, and even if you traded for him thinking you were going to hang onto him for the rest of his contract, you'd want the option of dumping him right after the season if he turned into a cancer.
For the record, there are 10 teams that have the cap space to add Moss without cutting another player: Arizona, Buffalo, Cleveland, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, New England, Philadelphia, San Francisco. But as of Friday, none had shown any interest in doing so.
Moss' 2006 salary is $7.25 million. He's due to make $9.75 million next year and $11.25 million in 2008, the final year of his contract. Let's talk about the money the Raiders would save by trading him, and the cap impact. For the final 11 weeks of the season, Moss will make $4.85 million. If the Raiders trade him, that's a savings in hard dollars between this year and next year of $14.6 million. And if you know the Raiders' fairly tenuous cash situation (they are in the lower quartile of revenue-producing franchises), that is not an insignificant consideration.
Now for the cap ramifications: The Raiders would save $4.85 million on their 2006 salary cap with a trade. If Moss is traded anytime between today and June 1, the charge on the Raiders' 2007 cap would be $4.04 million, which is the remaining pro-rated portion of the bonuses given him on his current contract.
So with the Raiders playing horribly and going nowhere this year, there are many factors that say: trade the man. But understand two other factors. Al Davis does not make a decision as big as this quickly, or readily; remember how his indecision helped kill the chase of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino last offseason. And the Raiders are loath to admit a mistake, which is what they'd be doing by dumping Moss 21 games after trading a high-first-round pick and starting linebacker Napoleon Harris for him.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
The end of Mike Williams, another colossal failure of a Matt Millen high-first-round draft pick, is near. And one other thing related to this: The 2005 Hofstra starting wide receivers, Marques Colston and Devale Ellis, both started in the NFL on Sunday.
Wide receivers active for the Lions on Sunday against Buffalo: rookie free agent Ellis from Hofstra, rookie free agent Shaun Bodiford from Portland State. Wide receiver inactive for the Lions on Sunday: Williams, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, out of USC.
Detroit passed on DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman to pick Williams. Think they'd like to have that one back?
Ellis started in a three-receiver set for Detroit. Colston started opposite Joe Horn for New Orleans.