Friday, February 24, 2006

Sans Stats

It’s Friday, which means it’s Sans Stats time. If you’ve been keeping up with your reading this week, you’ll know that I’m trying new things like crazy, and Sans Stats will be no different. In an attempt to add structure to this weekly feature (which can be likened to Aaron Gleeman’s Link-O-Rama with some added inane commentary), I’m going to tear down the wall and start anew. So brace yourselves, all 50 of you, because you’re in for a ride on the random train. Here’s the week in sports, goofiness, and goofiness in sports.

We’re going to start off local with a team that is very dear to me, the New York Jets. So dear, in fact, that I still haven’t taken down the “Where we thank Terry Bradway for stepping down” tag line. The team made a big splash this week, as the Two Utes (as coined by Pro Football Talk editor Mike Florio) made their first round of cuts. And I have to say, I’m impressed with the cajones demonstrated by the two right off the bat. Ty Law, Jason Fabini, Jay Fiedler, Jerald Sowell, Lance Legree, Barry Gardner, and Harry “Hank” Williams, Jr. were the names dropped, but that’s not the whole story.

I expected Curtis Martin’s contract restructuring to be quite a process, meaning I obviously underestimated both the new Jets regime and Martin. There haven’t been any publicly released numbers relating to Martin’s new deal (not that I’ve found yet at least), so I can’t speak to the quality of the deal. But it seems that this was a mutually expedited process, making me much more optimistic as to the actual cap savings.

A second round of cuts is rumored in the near future, with Chad Pennington and Kevin Mawae heading the new pack. Pete Kendall may be along for the ride as well. I like Kendall a lot, but as an aging lineman with a hefty cap number, the team will be better off with the savings than the player. Especially because there is little to no shot of finishing out of the cellar in 2006.

There’s plenty more to say about the 2006 Jets, but we can save that for another time. After all, there is more to cover today, like my favorite story of the week. Former Yankee Roberto Kelly has resigned as manager of the Team Panama in the WBC, citing a lack of support from Panamanian baseball officials. I never did see him as the manager type. But then again, I guess no one saw Terry Francona as the manager type during his playing days.

Making for a New York-related trifecta, the Bulls were not able to find a trading partner for former Knick Tim Thomas. Gee, what a surprise. You think the Bulls might want the $13 million in cap savings? Yeah, that would be smart. So many great Zeke jokes to drop in here; I just can’t choose the one that fits best.

Keeping with basketball, Sebastian Telfair was suspended for two games as a result of being armed for a team flight. He’s got a good story, though. “Telfair told authorities the gun was his girlfriend's, and he grabbed her bag accidentally when leaving Portland.”

What kills me is that there was no follow-up to that. Obviously, the authorities could determine if it was in fact his girlfriend’s bag. So why not report that? Isn’t that significant? Regardless, I don’t think the “girlfriend’s bag” story would have worked had Telfair been bound for a flight on Continental.

This time of year is both the most agonizing and most interesting in the NFL season. Agonizing because everything is moving at a Giambi pace, interesting because everyone is speculating, speculating, speculating. There’s not a topic up for grabs, whether it be the draft, the combine, Daunte Culpepper’s future, or whether or not the Jets will cut Chad Pennington (please do, by the way).

The most entertaining speculative topic: Shaun Alexander. Wasn’t before? Well, he is now after opening negotiations for a long-term deal at eight years, $80 million with $22 mil in guaranteed coin. Remember, folks, LaDanian Tomlinson signed an eight year, $60 mil contract with $20 guaranteed last year, and he got that at age 26 (league years). Alexander will be 29 when the season starts. Suffice it to say he’ll surely be shaving a few digits off his initial proposal in the near future.

Other tidbits I picked up at Pro Football Talk (I know, I plug it a lot. But not without good reason. Great news site, and as one mainstream source recently said, they have a “good field goal percentage” with their rumors.)

The Ravens rejected an offer from the Redskins for LB Ray Lewis, who is reportedly disgruntled. The Cowboys have also been linked to R-Murder, though no formal offer has been made. There is always talk like this at the beginning of the off-season, peeved superstars trying to force their way out. Sometimes it works (Vince Carter), sometimes it flops (Manny Ramirez). I honestly think that Lewis will find the door before camp opens. With the team declining to slap Jamal Lewis with the franchise tag, it seems the team is headed in a new direction. Unfortunately, that direction still involves Kyle Boller.

The Jets are supposedly looking into swapping picks with the Saints in order to take Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler with the second overall pick. I just complimented Man Tan a few paragraphs ago, and already I’m slapping my forehead at their thoughts – or supposed thoughts. Yes, it’s a wonderful idea to throw a rookie QB head first into an offense with no blocking. The Jets are poised to cut 3/5 of their offensive line. This does not bode well for any incoming signal caller, never mind a rook.

We’re going to close this week’s Sans Stats with the New York Knickerbockers, who this week have traded for point guard Steve Francis. This gives the team the highest paid backcourt in the league with Francis and Stephon Marbury. Of course, this tandem needs a fitting moniker, and I think my buddy Jon hit it dead on. Frankenbury. That is all.

That’ll just about wrap it up for this week. This was a very local edition of Sans Stats, and who knows, maybe it will stay that way. Or maybe not.