Clip-and-Save List of the Week
A couple of weeks ago, I illustrated how poor an unrestricted free-agent class there was, because all fourth- and fifth-year players whose contracts expire and who would normally be on the street won't be after this season ... if 2010 is an uncapped year.
Under terms of the uncapped year, players have to finish six credited seasons of play and be unsigned to be unrestricted free-agents. All evidence points to 2010 being played without a salary cap. If that's so, then the list of restricted free-agents will be, by far, the best ever, because it'll include all the fourth- and fifth-year unsigned players.
Restricted free-agents require compensation for the teams losing them, and with the number of quality free-agents on the list, the compensation probably won't be as heavy on some of the RFAs. The list of the top 70, as rated by me, show that San Diego GM A.J. Smith has his work cut out for him to make sure all of his prime players don't want out the door next March.
When you have average to above-average NFL starting players as the bottom end of a 70-deep class of restricted free-agents, it's an unprecedented class.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
This is what you call an evisceration of a football team:
Since Week 17 of the 2008 season, 30 Kansas City Chiefs have departed -- 20 active players, five on injured-reserve, five on the practice squad. Only two have found jobs on active rosters in the NFL: tight end Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta) and defensive end Jason Babin (Philadelphia).
Come to think of it, that's also a reflection on a new broom (Scott Pioli/Todd Haley) sweeping clean, and the philosophical difference about players between the Carl Peterson and Pioli regimes. What a huge number of wasted Chief draft picks.
Enjoyable, Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
Three German tourists walked into a Starbucks at Seventh Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan Saturday morning. This particular Starbucks is a touristy place. Two males, one female. One male had a little Canon camera and took a photo of the 50ish man and woman walking into the coffee shop, then of them in line at the coffee shop (from three different angles), picking up the drinks at the coffee shop, sitting at a table at the coffee shop. They noticed me staring in amazement at all the photos, and the photographer said to me, "Coffee!'' I nodded. "Everyone likes coffee!'' Then he went over to the shelf with souvenirs on it and picked up a mug and held the mug in front of himself and took a picture of that.
You see all kinds of things in New York.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of Week 1:
a. I read in several places Sunday that Richard Seymour, after saying all the right things in his opening press conference in Oakland, is a blissful Raider. "Seymour Happy to be With Raiders,'' the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times headlined its Seymour story. Come on. I've talked to two people very close to Seymour, and he was decidedly miserable about the trade from New England. The headline could be "Seymour Says He's Happy to be a Raider,'' but to say someone's happy to go from a Super Bowl contender to the losingest franchise in football over the last six years -- while making the same amount of money and having to move his family in the first week of a new school year -- is preposterous.
b. Adam Schefter reported Sunday that all signs point to Michael Crabtree re-entering the draft in 2010. Interesting decision. There is no way -- and if I'm wrong on this, I will fire myself -- that Crabtree would get picked better than 10th in the 2010 draft without playing this year and having the over-inflated salary demands he has. Thus, he would make less, and perhaps significantly so, than the five-year, $27-million deal (approximately) that he's been offered by the 49ers this year, and for what? Because he's angry he's not the highest-paid receiver in this draft. If he re-enters the draft, it's a decision he'll regret the rest of his life.
c. No team ever looks good playing Tennessee.
d. The Jets don't look exactly like the 2008 Ravens, but they do leave some black-and-blue calling cards.
e. Matt Hasselbeck can play better, but if you root for Seattle, now you know you have a chance to win every week.
f. Rookie Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott didn't like what he saw in the preseason, obviously, but blessed relief came in the opener at Carolina. TGFD (Thank God For Delhomme), because the Eagles held Carolina to 169 yards and three of 19 third-down conversions. A terrific opener for McDermott and the Philly D.
h. Brady Quinn held his own against a very good defense, but he hardly put a vice-grip on the starting job in Cleveland.
i. No blackouts this week, because San Diego and Detroit were on the road. Get ready for some blackout news this week.
j. Still no progress in vetting candidates and hiring Mike Pereira's successor as NFL officiating czar. The process starts anew this week at the NFL offices in New York.
k. Is it just me, or are we manically concerned a little too soon with an event that's two years down the road -- the job action?
l. Check out my Tuesday column for thoughts on the Packers' win over the Bears ... and what it means to the future of Aaron Rodgers.
2. I think there's a better chance than ever that Bill Cowher will come out of retirement and return to the sideline for the 2010 season. Cowher, 52, started his third year in the CBS studio Sunday.
3. I think the most interesting thing about the two new NBC guys is that they weren't pining for the field at any point over the weekend. I asked Rodney Harrison during rehearsals Saturday at the NBC studios in New York if it felt strange to not be preparing to play a game for the first time on a September weekend in 30 years. Until you mentioned it, I hadn't thought of it,'' he said. "I'm over it. It's over.'' Same with Dungy, who was so OK about his new life that he had breakfast with the national president of the Parent Teachers Association Sunday morning, when he'd normally be getting his game face on. It impressed me that both thought they were where they were supposed to be this weekend.
NFL Truth & Rumors