Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday April 23, 2007 3:05AM; Updated: Monday April 23, 2007 3:38PM
Let's say you're slotted behind the Bucs and thinking about moving up. If Calvin Johnson gets picked at No. 2, do you think he's going to ask for less than Bush got? Last year, the difference between the second and fourth picks, over the first four years of their respective contracts, was $13.4 million. That's $3.35 million a year, for the difference of two lousy slots in the draft. Have you heard how many people in the league in recent months are screaming about the financial injustice at the top of the draft? Well, you now know what that means.
One other point to be made from the Bucs' standpoint. Along with wondering if Johnson might be there at No. 4 anyway, Tampa Bay has to think: It's insane to move up unless we think the player we're after is going to be the difference in making the Super Bowl in the next year or two.
That's the last reason they won't be moving up: In the most recent 23 drafts, nine receivers have been picked in the top five of the first round. Only one (Irving Fryar, New England, 1984) made an appreciable difference in helping his team get deep into the playoffs, and you've got to put an asterisk next to his name.
New England was 8-8 in 1983 and traded up with Cincinnati to get the top pick in 1984 to select Fryar. The Pats went on to play in the Super Bowl following the '85 season and had a short-lived tenure as a competent team. I would argue that it is virtually impossible for a wide receiver to turn around a team with many holes -- and Tampa Bay's geriatric defense looks like Swiss cheese right now.
Reminds me of last year before the draft when then-Houston GM Charley Casserly, trying to gauge interest with teams below him for the first overall pick, called New Orleans, Tennessee and the Jets. Casserly asked Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, "You interested in moving from four to one?''
"Sure,'' said Tannenbaum. "What else are you going to give me for it?''
On Saturday, Tampa Bay GM Bruce Allen took a break from draft meetings -- the Bucs spent the weekend getting their board straight on sixth- and seventh-round picks -- to hear my windy, much-too-long theory about how he wouldn't be trading up.
"What do you think?'' I said.
"It appears you've done a lot of work on this,'' Allen said, chuckling. "It appears you're not full of it, I'll say that. But in general, I don't think one draft has much to do with another. I don't think last year's draft, and the money that was spent, will determine what we do this year.''
We then sparred about the money being spent and other topics. "I've never thought spending money at the top of a draft was out of whack,'' he said. "Do you think Bill Polian and the Colts think they spent too much to get Peyton Manning?''
No. But do you think the Chargers (Ryan Leaf) and Cards (Andre Wadsworth) like the value they got with picks two and three of that same 1998 draft?
"Will you tell me what you think the chances are of you moving up?'' I asked.
"No, I won't address that,'' he said.
Why would he? But Allen's too smart to spend the Glazer family's money foolishly. That's what he'd be doing to deal with the Lions this week.
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