Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Big Give Back

So a day after Peyton Manning signs for less money to make sure that the Colts have enough cash to cover the rest of the roster... Ben Roethlisburger is restructuring his deal with the Steelers. It's not quite the same as Manning's move, in that Ben isn't giving back cash, but more just allowing the team to do some creative accounting to get under the cap. But it still makes a man ask, why is this only happening with QBs?

The answer, of course, is that it's not: plenty of guys (Brian Dawkins in Denver did this the other day, and Philly Fan of course noticed and was bitter) do this to stay on the team. But you don't see it happening for stud WRs, RBs, or any other position, just because QB is a different world. A world in which you can be expected to hold the job for a decade or more. Hell, even Kerry Collins started for that long, and very few people were ever excited at the idea of Kerry Collins playing QB for their team. The reason why is that unlike every other position on the field, the QB makes money and probably doesn't get hurt. Nnamdi Asomugha signed for less than market value to wear green, which let the team have enough to go after Cullen Jenkins. It just didn't get noticed as Big White QB Is So Selfless.

So the bigger question, really, is why this doesn't happen more often, or when this will become expected to the point of peer pressure. Why isn't Phillip Rivers deferring cash to keep both Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd? Why didn't Tony Romo put some money back on the table to keep Roy Williams or Marion Barber? Why couldn't Mark Sanchez go to a minimum deal so the Jets had enough to keep Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith? And why does the league even allow punters and kickers to play for anything but minimum wage?

The answer, of course, is that those teams really didn't want to keep cap casualty vets. The Steelers wanted no part of Antwan Randle-El, just as the Cowboys wanted no part of Barber and Williams. The salary cap is just the excuse used to move on from a veteran that wasn't a bad guy or obvious problem, but certainly wasn't getting better or delivering value. And this is America, where we don't expect the well-off to give back, even when it makes sense; that's socialism, after all. And it's noteworthy that Manning could more or less play for free, given the commercial money he makes; that story isn't duplicated.

And before I put this one to bed, a small question... why aren't coaches' salaries part of the salary cap number, and subject to the same pressure? Or general managers, or the owners that take a profit from their team every year?

That's my cue to laugh my dry, mean little anti-rich laugh, and go back to watching the games. And noting how only Star QB is going to get that media knob slob for caring so much about winning as to provide money for everyone else...

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