Thursday and Long: Redskins Shouldn't Be Drafting a QB
But there are many more reasons it doesn't make sense, not the least of which is that drafting Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen and putting him behind the Redskins' current offensive line would be a pretty sure way to ruin a promising quarterback's career before it had a chance to get started.
Jason Campbell knows this. The Redskins' current, beleaguered signal-caller was sacked 43 times in 2009. Only Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger took more sacks. Washington's offensive line ranked among the very worst in the league, and protecting its quarterback was one of the things at which it was least effective.
Yet, Campbell managed a better-than-average statistical season. He passed for more yards than Joe Flacco, Donovan McNabb and Matt Cassel. He had a better completion percentage than Tony Romo, Eli Manning and Kyle Orton. His quarterback rating was higher than those of Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan and Cutler. Campbell was no Pro Bowler, but he was no dud either. And considering what was going on in front of him on every play, his numbers look fine.
Campbell also showed, in 2009, a previously undiscovered toughness. In a lost season, behind a cheesecloth line and playing for a lame-duck coaching staff, Campbell kept getting knocked down and kept getting back up. In Washington's embarrassing Dec. 21 Monday night loss to the Giants -- a game in which nearly the entire team clearly and shamefully quit on national TV and in front of newly minted GM Bruce Allen -- Campbell was knocked out with an injury but talked his way back into the game. When no one else was trying, he remained determined to finish the game, even at risk of his own personal safety.
This isn't to make Campbell out to be the next Dan Marino. If there were a clear franchise-caliber quarterback in this year's draft, it might make sense for Washington to pick a QB at No. 4. But Bradford and Clausen come with too many question marks to make that a slam-dunk. Campbell, at 28, still shows too much promise to give up on him. And most importantly, the Redskins have bigger needs to address at that spot.
There are good offensive linemen to draft this year -- Rutgers' Anthony Davis, Oklahoma State's Russell Okung, Iowa's Bruan Bulaga. At No. 4, Washington will have its pick from among big, ultra-talented tackles. They should pick one. If you're a Redskins fan, would you rather go into next season with Campbell and an improved O-line, or Sam Bradford and the line you have now?
That answer should be easy.
Chargers to Trade Cromartie
The Chargers have been looking around to see if they can deal cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a running back, since they'll need a running back to replace LaDanian Tomlinson. But one source close to the situation said the Chargers intend to trade Cromartie regardless of whether they get a running back in return. The source said the Chargers have decided they don't want Cromartie on the team anymore, that they fault him for the big run the Jets' Shonn Greene broke against them in their playoff loss and that they may end up dealing him for the best possible draft-pick package they can get.
Cromartie's been mentioned in connection with the Cowboys and Tashard Choice, but indications are that the Cowboys intend to hang onto all three of their running backs. A more likely scenario involves Cromartie going to the Bills, who are interested in moving Marshawn Lynch and giving the starting RB job to Fred Jackson full-time.
Peppers Market a Test for Uncapped Off-Season
The Patriots still need help in the pass rush, intend to release Adalius Thomas and were working all last summer on a trade with Carolina for Julius Peppers. So they would seem to make sense as a possible landing spot for Peppers now that he looks certain to leave Carolina as a free agent.
The question on Peppers is money, and whether he'll find enough of a market for his services to get his price up where he wants it to be. Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington and Cleveland all have been mentioned as possible destinations, and many of those teams (along with New England) have the cash to get into and win a bidding war for Peppers should one occur.
Of course, this gets into the central question of this off-season: How much will teams actually spend? With no salary cap in 2010, the potential exists for high-revenue teams to break the bank to lure free agents, and right now nobody seems to know it's going to play out.
Some teams (Steelers, Lions, Cowboys) have said publicly that they plan to operate within specific budget guidelines as if there were still a cap in place. But most teams have been mum. FanHouse reached out to 14 different teams this week asking to speak to someone in management about how they expect the new rules to affect the off-season. Of those 14, eight refused to comment, two (Lions and Giants) referred us to comments team management made elsewhere on the topic, two said they would try and get somebody on the phone to talk to us but have not yet done so, and two have yet to reply at all.
So it remains to be seen what kind of market awaits Peppers, Karlos Dansby and the rest of a free-agent crop made thinner by new rules that turn 212 would-be unrestricted free agents into restricted free agents. But Peppers' case could give us a strong indication of how the off-season is going to play out.
Where Will T.O. Go?
After Matt Jones signed with Cincinnati last week and Donte' Stallworth with Baltimore on Wednesday, one league official I was speaking with wondered whether the market for Terrell Owens was drying up already. Having done some snooping around on this, I can say that I don't think those two signings affect Owens' situation one bit. I don't think the Bengals (in spite of Chad Ochocinco's P.R. campaign) ever planned to pursue Owens, and I don't think Baltimore's signing of Stallworth precludes them from pursuing Owens.
The Ravens remain a viable destination for the mouthy former superstar, who's certain to leave Buffalo after his one and only season there. Stallworth is likely an upgrade over what Baltimore had at the position last year, but he's no superstar, and the Ravens are still looking at a situation in which Derrick Mason is their No. 1 wideout. That wasn't good enough in 2009, and it's not going to be good enough in 2010.
Don't rule out the Miami Dolphins on T.O. either. And if his price drops enough (he shouldn't go down into the $700K-$900K Jones/Stallworth range, if only because he actually played int he league last year and those guys didn't), watch out for Tampa Bay as a sleeper destination for him.