When I sat down with Eric DeCosta over the weekend, among the many things we discussed was Rex Ryan and how fortunate the Ravens were to retain his services. I mentioned to him a poll on 24×7 last week asking visitors to our site who they would prefer to keep if they could only keep one â€“ Rex Ryan or Adalius Thomas. Eighty-four percent of the voters said Rex Ryan. DeCosta quickly concurred.
â€œRex is the guy that makes it all happen. Without Adalius Thomas, what were we No. 1 this year? What are we going to be this year, fifth, sixth without AD? I can live with that. Without Rex Ryan we change our entire culture on the defensive side of the ball and in the locker room. [Rex] is a tremendous motivator, the players love him, heâ€™s firm but heâ€™s also lovable. Heâ€™s brilliant, does an awesome job and weâ€™re very lucky to have him.â€
â€œWhat will probably be our best offseason acquisition is Rex Ryan.â€
You can hear my interview with DeCosta in its entirety here.
It was certainly a shock to no one that AD left the Ravens for greener pastures but his destination was a mild surprise. In the end it appears that AD did not want to stray from the east coast and that factored heavily into his decision to choose New England over San Francisco.
"If it was all about money,” San Francisco coach Mike Nolan said on Saturday, "I don’t think we would have been outbid. But in the process of interviewing him Friday and him talking to me, I could see that some of the things I wanted to see happen weren’t going to happen. I think geography had something to do with it.”
Over the weekend, GMâ€™s spent money like it was burning holes in their pockets. There were certainly a few head scratchers that leave me pondering, â€œWhat were they thinking?â€
Head scratcher No. 1: Nate Clements, the 27 year-old corner gets $22 million in guaranteed bonuses and an 8 year, $80 million deal that is back loaded. With the enforcement of NFL rules slanted towards offenses and leaving corners with very little margin for error, this one seems like a reach to me. Clements will turn 28 during the â€™07 season and that means heâ€™ll be 35 when the deal ends. Something tells me the Niners will be carrying some dead cap dollars on their books in about 4 years or so with this deal.
Head scratcher No. 2: Leonard Davis gets a $50 million contract from the Cowboys over 7 seasons, including an $18.75 million signing bonus. Davis was the No. 2 pick overall in 2001 by the Cardinals where he spent four seasons playing guard and the last two as a tackle. If Davis was that good, you might think the Cardinals with plenty of cap space would have re-signed him to help protect Matt Leinart. Davis can get a bit lackadaisical and doesnâ€™t always compete which could explain why he has never been a Pro Bowl participant despite brute strength that suggests he should. With big dough in the bank, what will motivate him now?
Head scratcher No. 3: Does Tampa really need 3 quarterbacks to compete for a starting position? Recently the Bucs re-signed Chris Simms for $5 million and now they will be paying the same amount to Jeff Garcia. If Jake Plummer changes his mind and decides to un-retire and report to Tampa where he picks up a check for $5.3 million, what a mess that would be! All that money and all that confusion and for what?
Head scratcher No. 4: This oneâ€™s a two for one specialâ€¦Eric Steinbach goes from Cincinnati to Cleveland and picks up a $17 million bonus and a seven year deal for $49.5 million. Not too shabby for a slightly undersized guard who at times struggles against powerful defensive tackles.
Then thereâ€™s Ralph Wilsonâ€™s surprising plunge into his wallet handing out 49 big ones to Derrick Dockery, former guard of the Washington Redskins. The word on Dockery is that he is an ascending player with upside. Apparently the Bills agree but why give such a big tip when the meal hasnâ€™t even been served?
Head Scratcher No. 5: Ahman Green gets a four-year, $23 million contract that includes between $6 million-$7 million in guarantees. Green is 30 years old and arrives at his new digs with some durability questions. What if the Texans have a shot with the No. 8 overall pick to land Adrian Peterson?
I suppose you should expect such things from a team that passes on Reggie Bush and Vince Young, overpays Tony Weaver and then talks about unloading a No. 1 overall pick from 2002 (David Carr) after committing to him less than 12 months ago.