Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Javon Walker becomes the latest wildly overpaid Raider free agent

Javon Walker becomes the latest wildly overpaid Raider free agent
This is getting ridiculous.

Javon Walker, despite being nearly 30 years old and coming off an injury-plagued season in which he caught 26 passes for 287 yards, is bathing in cash this morning. Al Davis and the Raiders threw a massive contract at him, set to pay him $55 million over six years.

Walker's played in half of his team's games only once in the past three years. He's been injury prone, and he may have never emotionally recovered from the murder of his teammate and friend, Darrent Williams.

Don't get me wrong, I wish Walker the best, and if the money's out there, and someone's willing to give it to him, by all means, he should grab it and run (or limp, whatever he's capable of at the time).�

But if you're someone who wishes the Raiders the best, you might want to be a little bit concerned. They're spending money like drunken sailors in Tijuana on shore leave, and they're not even getting top-shelf liquor or disease-free prostitutes in return.

They gave Tommy Kelly the biggest contract ever given to a defensive tackle, which is difficult to justify, given that he's been largely unproductive and is coming off a major ACL injury.�

They made safety Gibril Wilson the third highest-paid safety in the NFL, and dare I say that Gibril Wilson is not the third-best safety in the NFL? If he hadn't just won a ring, he wouldn't have gotten that contract, but that's sort of Raider tradition (see also: Brown, Larry, and Howard, Desmond).

And now comes this massive contract for Javon Walker.�

They're all insane contracts, and none of them would've been given out by rational teams. But from Al Davis's standpoint, it sort of makes sense. He badly wants to win a Super Bowl, he'll need players if that's going to happen, and he doesn't know how much time he has left (sorry, Al, no disrespect intended), so who gets whoever he can. And if that means he has to overpay, well, he's certainly shown that he's willing to do that. And then some.

Javon Walker: Signs With Oakland / Yahoo! Sports

Brett Favre's place on the list of all-time great quarterbacks
If you believe in the value of statistics at all, then Brett Favre's got to be at least in the top five quarterbacks of all-time.�

Favre holds the all-time records in the following statistical categories: passing touchdowns, passing yards, completions, and wins. We can agree that those are pretty major statistical categories, yes? And we can agree that in order to hold all those records, you have to be pretty good, and you have to be that good for a very long time, right? Good.

And even if you don't put much faith in statistics, you still have to think pretty highly of Brett Favre, don't you? If you watched Favre and never saw a statistic, you saw one of the prettiest balls anyone's ever thrown, an amazing ability to improvise, a guy who was very difficult to sack, tremendous leadership, and performance in the clutch.�

I don't know by what measure Favre wouldn't be one of the top five quarterbacks ever.

Of course, Favre's career is not without its warts. If we're placing a heavy emphasis on statistics, we also have to point out that Favre holds the all-time record for interceptions thrown, which has to knock him down the list a little bit. If he gets credit for touchdowns, then he takes the blame for interceptions.

Championships are also a factor, and Favre might lose a little bit of ground here. Favre finished his career with one, while John Elway had two, Joe Montana had 4, Terry Bradshaw had 4, Dan Marino had zero, and Johnny Unitas won three NFL championships and 1 Super Bowl.

We're sports fans. We rank things and we make lists. That's what we do. And Favre's retirement seems as natural a time as any to make a list, so here's how I'm ranking the top quarterbacks of all time (and until their careers are finished, I'm leaving Peyton Manning and Tom Brady out of the conversation).

1. Joe Montana. Montana's got a 4-0 record in the Super Bowl, and a 127.8 passer rating in those Super Bowls. That's insane. That's Michael Jordan stuff.�

Montana's also got the fewest interceptions on this list, by almost 100. Yes, he was blessed with Jerry Rice and a great cast, and yes, he benefited from playing in the west coast offense. But a lot of guys have played in the same system, and a lot of guys have had great receivers, but none of them were as brilliant, efficient, and accomplished as Montana.

2. Johnny Unitas. The unique thing about Unitas was that he was Peyton Manning back when the league was full of Brooks Bollingers. He (Unitas, not Bollinger) is credited with revolutionizing the quarterback position, in terms of using the forward pass as an offense's main weapon. Today, a lot of quarterbacks put up massive numbers. In Johnny U's day, not many did.

In 1957, Unitas's second season, he led the league in yards, with no one coming within 350 yards of him. In 1960, Unitas threw for over 3000 yards. No one else even hit 2500. His numbers won't compare to anyone else's on the list in terms of sheer volume, but for his time, they were massive. If it wasn't a copout, I'd have him tied with Montana for #1. But someone's got to get the edge, and I think Montana's big game performance puts him just a smidge ahead of everyone else.

3. John Elway. Speaking of copouts, I'd also like to have the following three guys all tied. It's so hard to pick among the three. I'll stick Elway first because of the two rings, the incredible arm, one of the prettiest balls that's ever been thrown, and the most uncanny ability to feel and elude the rush that I've ever seen.

4. Brett Favre. Favre does have the 288 interceptions, but Unitas and Marino also top the 250 mark in the category, so it's not like 288 is that crazy. I give him the slight not over Marino for his leadership, the improvisation, and the fact that he broke so many of Marino's records.

5. Dan Marino. Sorry, Dan. I'll gladly acknowledge your amazing accuracy, lightning-quick release, great arm, and legendary status, but I can't do better than 5th for you here.

Ray Lewis to take a stab at Ultimate Fighting?
In a story that's roughly 100% awesome and 0% believable, is reporting that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is close to signing a deal with Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Media Take Out makes up reports:

According to a person who works at U.F.C., the Baltimore Ravens star linebacker and the league have been negotiating for months and are close to closing the deal. The insider told, "Ray Lewis was an All-American wrestler in high school, and he's just an all around bad a**. He'll fit in perfectly here."

And the insider claims that the deal wouldn't interfere with Ray's NFL career. He explained to MediaTakeOut.con, "We're not looking to sign him on full-time, just a match or two a year - and he can handpick the opponent ... He has such a big name that it will do wonders for the sport."
I guess it's believable in the sense that Ray-Ray might be a "bad a**," and he does appear to have a proclivity for violence.

But no NFL team is going to let a star player fight in the UFC. It's just not happening. Ray Lewis obviously doesn't need the money, he (to my knowledge, anyway) has no mixed martial arts background, and generally has no reason to sign up to be punched repeatedly in the face.

The only way this would be fun is if Ray's "handpicked" opponents could be anyone from the NFL, whether they were willing or not. I don't think I'd pay to see Ray Lewis get beat down (mind if I borrow that term, Wilbon?) by Rampage Jackson, but if Ray Lewis and Ben Roethlisberger were locked in a cage? Here's my $49.95.

(Big thanks: Construda)

Ray Lewis, UFC star? / Construda
NFL's Ray Lewis is Talks to Join the UFC /

(UPDATE: Yes, this story is garbage.)

1 comment:

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