What We Learned This Week in the NFL Offseason:
- Dallas Cowboys reward mediocrity by giving Romo giant contract extension
- Weak QB Draft class pays off for average QB’s across the league
- Steelers host Ahmad Bradshaw but still no contract
- James Harrison still unsigned, Steelers reportedly not interested in re-signing
Apparently Jerry Jones had a few extra million dollars to burn this week as he gave Tony Romo a Joe Flacco-sized contract extension which included $55 million guaranteed. Jones made Romo the highest paid Cowboy in franchise history with the 6-year $108 million extension and made it known Spiderman-style that with great contract comes great responsibility. Jones stated,
“He is going to have high expectations. He is not going to be paid to be a bus driver.”
That could explain a lot as far as why the Cowboys have been so disappointing this past decade or so. If Romo has been splitting his duties between quarterbacking and driving the bus, no wonder why he’s not focused enough to lead the team into or deep into the playoffs. Hopefully they’ve hired a full time bus driver now and Romo can focus his entire attention on the Cowboys offense. I’m sure it’s going to work out perfectly and they’re not going to choke out of the playoffs or fail to reach the playoffs entirely at all. Another stellar business move by Jerry Jones.
Speaking of mediocre quarterbacks, the lack of quarterback talent in this year’s NFL draft class has paved the way for underperforming current NFL quarterbacks to become hot commodities. Kevin Kolb, who as you might remember, had like a half a good season in Philly backing up Michael Vick and turned that into a lucrative contract in Arizona, only to have to battle with John Skelton for the starting position because as it shockingly turned out, he wasn’t a very good quarterback after all. Kolb is expected to sign with the Buffalo Bills, who recently released Ryan Fitzpatrick. With an open spot in the desert, Carson Palmer might be headed to Bruce Arians’ offense as the Raiders might be looking to replace the aging underperforming QB with Matt Flynn. So many average quarterbacks, so little time left before minicamps start.
The Steelers hosted former Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw last week and even gave him a physical but Bradshaw left the team facilities and the city without a contract. As Craig pointed out so eloquently last week, it seems as though there’s no clear plan for the Steelers free agency this offseason. Aside from re-signing several players to recreate the 2005-2009 rosters, there has been very little progress made to address the very real needs at running back, pass rushing, and the secondary. The NFL draft is just a few weeks away and it’s starting to look like the Steelers will go pass rusher for their 17th overall pick in the first round but I can’t help but notice the glaring weaknesses in the rushing game that seems to be being ignored. I realize there is time to draft a running back in the later round and there is some speculation of the Steelers going for UCLA’s Jonathan Franklin in the later rounds since Todd Haley seems to prefer the tiny backs to the big bruisers Steeler Nation is more familiar with.
Something Steeler Nation is not familiar with still even weeks after his release is the idea of seeing James Harrison in a different uniform this season. Last week there was some buzz surrounding the linebacker as his agent released that he’d be willing to return to the Steelers. That report was quickly followed with reports from the Steelers front office stating the brass had informed Harrison they were no longer interested in him. I’m not quite sure what’s going on there but I think it’s a mistake all around. Unless there is something else going on that we don’t know about or Harrison’s agent is talking out of his ass, I don’t see any reason why, if Harrison was now willing to pay for less after testing the market and not getting any offers, the Steelers wouldn’t want to bring him back in if the reports that the coaching staff were behind re-signing him were true. I don’t get it. I don’t like not getting what the front office is doing. I feel like the Steelers ownership and front office have ran a very transparent operation for a long time, they reward players who’ve stuck with them, release players who they think cannot contribute any longer, and build back up through the draft each year. I think the policy has worked well so far but at the same time I can’t remember the Steelers having this many holes that need addressed at one time. At this point there’s nothing else to do but have faith in the Steelers, as well as criticize every move they do or don’t make until the season kicks off.