This time sucks, nothing is happening in Texans nation and I really miss reading Beefy's smart ass comments so I figured I would give him and the rest of you guys some fodder for comments. Fine, you don't want to comment, that's OK with me, I'm done with my board exams and I'm seriously bored now. This is more for me than anyone else.
I know this point has been beaten to death but I figured I might just try to put it all together. I wonder what is going through Rick Smith's mind right now with all the contracts he has to deal with. There's Demeco, OD, Dunta, Chester Pitts, K-Dub, Steve Slaton...ugh...who else? Maybe Andre in a year or two?
Alright, I guess we have to start somewhere right? So, Demeco is a leader on the defense and one of the top MLB's in the league. How much do you guys think he's worth? Is MLB a position where you invest $20+ mil guaranteed these days? Personally I feel that this is one guy that we need to lock up even though a few of the national writers feel that this isn't a position that you invest a lot of money in. I say that if there is one player that we can't afford to lose it's Demeco. He wears the headset and is an upstanding guy who plays hard and practices even harder, please Rick Smith, pay this man.
So let's move on to OD. Personally, I just don't think that he's worth anywhere near Winslow money. I love this guy and I have seen him make catch after catch for a first down and I can't tell you how much I appreciated that. But come on (and I know Chris will make excellent points against my point of view), if we can't sign him to a multi year deal that makes him maybe the 3rd or 4th top paid TE in the league, it just isn't worth it. Rick Smith has a lot of tough decisions to make, he has to think about Mario becoming a free agent very soon. Yah, he could franchise Mario for 11+ mil but Mario is a guy that we cannot afford to lose. I truly feel that Mario and Andre are the only real "franchise" players that we have and there is absolutely no way that they could be replaced. If it comes down to overpaying for OD or saving a little for Mario, I'm definitely taking Mario. Though I love OD and think he has some great talent, I honestly feel that he could be replaced in a year or two so I am all for Rick Smith (RS) taking a harder line with him.
I know it was a long time ago but I made my feelings toward Dunta very clear in a loooong drawn out post. I don't know how much I need to elaborate right now except to state that none of us can possibly know how much he was offered (even though Pancakes said it was $23 million), but I just don't see the logic in overpaying or even offering market value for this guy. Yah, he's a warrior, but if media reports are accurate, he's a greedy warrior who has overstated his value immensely. I don't mind seeing him go. In fact, if he plays his heart out and returns to shut-down corner form, I would love to see Rick Smith tag him again after this season and then trade him for a 2nd round pick.
Chester Pitts is taking up over $6 mil in cap space this season, and rightfully so. He has been a mainstay on the offensive line and I have all the confidence in the world that he will earn every penny of that money. But the question is, does Rick Smith offer him an extension? I guess it depends on how our new C/G Antione Caldwell pans out. If he can make a name for himself in training camp and the preseason and maybe take over one of the starting jobs during the season, then I can see Chester becoming another salary cap casualty. Again, we have to think about resigning Mario and anticipating Andre's request for a new contract (he's the best in the league but isn't going to be paid as such in years to come).
K-Dub is a fantastic #2 receiver who has really earned a chance to show his potential under Gary Kubiak. This is a guy that, by all accounts, is insane about his conditioning and recovery and works as hard, if not harder, than anyone on the team. Even though we are deep at WR I feel like this is a guy that Rick Smith needs to pursue very hard in negotiations. Again, I don't feel like a ridiculous offer is valid, but he deserves to be paid as well as the top #2 WR's in the league. I look at players as replaceable or not replaceable, and K-Dub would be tough to replace. He knows his role and he allows the best WR on the planet to shine.
Slaton may very well be the toughest decision that RS has in the coming years. The guy is phenomenal and has exceeded any expectation that even the most optimistic fan could place upon him. He's even gained 10 lbs this offseason and is working harder than ever. In particular, I love the fact that he just "hands the ball back to the ref, act like [i've] been there before" when he scores a TD. You know this guy is gonna want to get paid big time during or after this season. Is he worth it considering the fact that Mario's contract is coming due? I think so. I think if super Steve is willing to take reasonable money then we cannot let him go. Even though this system lends itself to late drafts picks becoming stars, I think that this guy is special and that he should be in a Texan's uniform for years to come. I think Maurice Jones-Drew money is appropriate.
Just to start some converstation, if I were Andre Johnson, after this year (maybe even during the year) I would make a big push for a new contract. RS got this guy for relatively cheap and he doesn't have many good years left so it would make sense for the absolute best WR in the NFL to get some guaranteed money. If you thought things were interesting right now, I have a feeling thing are gonna get even more interesting during and especially after the season.