Love Ed Reed or hate him, we can all agree that Wednesday was easily the biggest day of the Texans' offseason thus far. I just can't believe I missed it. If only I'd been paying closer attention to Twitter.
It's not often you can live chat with Texans cheerleading coach Alto Gary on the official team website. I'm so pissed at myself right now. All I can think about is how long I have to wait now until I get to ask her, "What's your policy on dudes trying out?"
In other Texans news from Wednesday, Brice McCain officially signed his new contract, free agent punter Shane Lechler prepared to visit Houston, and #ReedWatch finally came to a close. Of course this would happen right when I get the idea to start calling it #BattleReedWatch.
So it's official, almost. Former Ravens safety and future Hall of Famer Ed Reed has come to terms with the Houston Texans on a contract of uncertain duration and value. And the Houston Chronicle's Jerome Solomon somehow thinks this gives him the green light to put a completely random photo of Frederick Douglass side by side with Reed in his column about why it's a good move. The numbers were still being negotiated at the time of publication of this post, and there is a pretty wide range of figures being reported across the media. Our lawyerly leader covered it all this pretty well in this video:
Whatever the cost may end up being, Texans fans already have their barometers for grading the deal as smart or stupid: Glover Quin's new contract with Detroit.
Quin got a five-year deal for $23.5 million from the Lions, $5.25 million of which was guaranteed signing bonus money. The average per year salary, including guaranteed money, is $4.7 million.
Reed will certainly not get a five-year deal. Nor will he get a four-year deal. Unlike the 27-year-old Quin, Reed will turn 35 in September and can't command much longevity in a new deal at this stage of his career. This is a win-now move by the Texans, who clearly disagree with certain Battle Red Blog writers about which is the better player between Quin and Reed. Reed made $7.2 million last season in base pay, counting for an $8.5 million cap number. He failed to find the one team in free agency willing to throw market price to the wind and take a shot on an aging veteran/former star at those numbers. This led him into the arms of the Texans, whom it turned out were not being made the victim of a #DeepSteelBlueBalls leverage campaign after all.
The most common figures being reported on Reed are those cited by the Chronicle's Tania Ganguli: three years, $12 million, with an unknown amount guaranteed. (ESPN's AFC South correspondent Paul Kuharsky reported that Ganguli was saying two years, but I see no evidence of this in her actual story.) Asserting that the per year average would be higher, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora had reported early Wednesday evening that the deal was likely to average between $5-$6 million a season. La Canfora tweeted some more details later that night:
Maximum value of Ed Reed's deal with the Texans is $16 million for 3 years. Very strong deal for an older safety, especially in this market— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 21, 2013
So that's three years at an average of $4-$6 million a year. But how much guaranteed?
Aaron Wilson, the @RavensInsider who writes for the Baltimore Sun, may have provided the answer earlier in the day. Wilson - officially no longer Scott Templeton in my book - tweeted rumors of a two-year deal, albeit with a large amount of guaranteed money:
Hearing Ed Reed got as much as $7 million total guaranteed on his two-year deal, per a league source.— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 20, 2013
Obviously, if you're a Texans fan, you like the sound of this better because you are only signing him to a two-year contract. The $7 million in guaranteed money really doesn't indicate how much the base pay would be, which is a great example of how ill advised it can be to try and write an analysis without first gathering the intelligence.
Quin is making $4.7 million a year in Detroit and has a very cuttable contract after year two if need be. That is hard to top from a team's standpoint. Still, if Reed ends up coming cheaper than Quin on an annual basis, the argument against this move becomes harder to make. If he's slightly more expensive, the argument against it becomes easier. If the deal is for three years, the reaction will be more negative than if it's just for two. A two-year deal, especially with low guaranteed money after the initial base year, would make it hard to hate.
Regardless of what the final contract states, there will remain an anti-Reed camp at Battle Red Blog and a pro-Reed camp. The leader of the former will bookmark this "Star Wars" spinoff video for quick retrieval whenever he wants to make this point in the future:
Robot Chicken: This Deal's Getting Worse All The Time (via adultswim)
Whereas I, as a member of the other group, am already thinking about buying a new Battle Reed jersey when they come out. Need to get one of those new Nike ones anyway.
The thing that matters most, of course, is what thespian Alec Baldwin thinks about the situation. And though we don't have any quotes from him in reaction to the actual signing with Houston, his radio interview with Andrew Luck on Monday allowed Baldwin to make it plenty clear how highly he thought of the former Raven.
Alec Baldwin: Who drove you nuts this season in the defensive backfield? What team drove you insane?
Alec Baldwin: The Ravens.
Andrew Luck: Yeah. 'Cause they - you're taught there's a structure to defense. If one guy's blitzing, someone else should be covering his spot.
Alec Baldwin: Sure.
Andrew Luck: If you're playing cover three, you have three guys dividing the field in a third--
Alec Baldwin: There's a consequence to everything they do.
Andrew Luck: Yeah - then you should have a corner on the right, a safety in the middle of the field, and another corner on the left. Ed Reed - he's everywhere; he's down on the box, he's on the line of scrimmage, he's running - he's responsible for the middle zone, and he's all the way over in you know-
Alec Baldwin: He's a warlock. (NOTE: The Merriam-Webster definition of this word is "a man practicing the black arts: sorcerer.")
Andrew Luck: Yeah, he's a renegade, but he does it, I think, because he understand football so well and studies the offense. He says, "Okay I know when they're in this formation and there's these five.
Alec Baldwin: And that's an innate skill people have. It's like a God-given skill they have.
Andrew Luck: I think it is, but I also think he works at it and watches film -
Alec Baldwin: Sure. Both.
Alec Baldwin, ladies and gentlemen. He may not be a sports expert, but he's not nearly as bad as Liam Neeson.
Liam Neeson Swears Live on Sportscenter (Better Quality, Includes Tebow Question) (via giddyup523)
("You're speaking ancient Arabic to me, boy." Easily the best example of the if-you-were-not-a-foreigner-this-would-have-been-an-extremely-racist-comment.)
In other Texans news, career Raiders punter Shane Lechler is coming in for a visit on Thursday. Lechler is a Sealy boy and an Aggie to boot, and as Tim noted, an extremely expensive punter. He is also really good at punting. But so is last year's punter Donnie Jones, a free agent who set team records for gross and net yards in his lone season as a Texan. Jones made $825,000 last season, while Lechler made $3.8 million with a cap hit of $4.9 million. Jones will get a raise, but so will Lechler most likely.
I swear to God, if we let #BarwinHouseParty die because of our desire to land a punter, it will be an even worse reaction than two valet dudes finding out Neesons and Bruce Willy got cast in the same feature film.
Around the NFL:
Who's laughing now?
Not you, Brian Urlacher. Just as the end of the Ed Reed era is upon the people of Baltimore, Chicago fans are going to have to get used to not seeing you suiting up for the Bears any longer. So are your teammates, who took the news as hard as I've ever seen football players take news like this:
Lance Briggs, Urlacher's tag-team partner at linebacker, was too emotional to talk about his friend's abrupt departure when contacted by phone Wednesday. Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings had a difficult time coming to grips with the news too.
It doesn't sound like you're leaving on the best of terms, either.
It was not a negotiation it was an ultimatum. Gonna miss my teammates. snip.ps/ultimatum— Brian Urlacher (@BUrlacher54) March 21, 2013
Perhaps it's time for you to challenge Bears management to an honor du-elle. The ultimatum that you referred to as "insulting" and "somewhat of a slap in the face" was exactly that. The one-year, $2 million contract offer carried only $1 million in guaranteed money, with little hope of winning a Super Bowl to motivate you. Considering you came into offseason negotiations asking for a two-year, $11.5 million deal, you'd think your first shot at free agency would have garnered a little more enthusiasm from the Bears than that. Thirteen seasons in this league. If that's all she wrote, it was a great ride.
Denver is looking for someone to solidify its pass rush. Though John Elway says the team retains heavy interest in resigning Elvis Dumveril, the Broncos have also scheduled meetings with free agents Dwight Freeney and John Abraham. Freeney was scheduled to have flown into Denver Wednesday night, while Abraham is due in the Mile High City Thursday.
Dumervil, unsurprisingly for a man who just lost $8 million because of his agent's incompetence, is reportedly "not overwhelmed" with the offer the Broncos made to him. Aaron Wilson, meanwhile, reports that the Broncos would prefer to keep Dumervil over Freeney.
The lesson remains: get a fax machine before you get an agent.
The Tuck Rule is dead. Long live the Tuck Rule.
Easily one of the Top 10 "Man How Badass Would It Have Been Had Twitter Existed When" moments of the nascent 21st century, but perhaps only the second most painful event a team from Boston put Oakland fans through in that decade alone.
Adios, Tuck Rule.— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) March 20, 2013
Okay, it was the most painful. I take it back.
Charles Woodson is obviously stoked.
The unanimous reaction among NFL running backs to the new rule on lowering the helmet? Not good.
This is part of the reason why:
Amazing Reggie Bush Punt return!! (via MrLsusaints14)
New Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians hopes to gain approval from the league office that would allow him to rock his beloved Kangol hats on the sidelines next season.
Bruce Arians says he's going to talk to the league, see about being able to wear his Kangol on the sideline. Yes.twitpic.com/ccy02w— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 20, 2013
Yes, these are the kinds of hats that the Notorious B.I.G. used to wear. Arians apparently has over 20 of the hats in his closet, of all sorts of colors. There's no reason for the league to reject the request, as it would just be another potential moneymaker for the NFL if Arians' look took off.
Mike Shanahan thinks Robert Griffin III needs to become smarter about when he puts his body in harm's way and when he doesn't. In other news, someone else was being a huge hypocrite on Wednesday as well.
Back to the Important Stuff
Like me missing that live chat with the Texans cheerleading coach, and why I regret it. Here are the greatest hits of what I found from the chat after it was over:
1) "On the Nose" producer (and fellow Strake Jesuit alum) Drew Dougherty actually answering a question about cheerleading, and answering it with confidence.
Just the entire way he words it is fantastic.
2) The obligatory, "What if a chick is fat?" question coming from a person named Chris.
Chris can be a girl's name, but the nature of the question, plus the fact that Chris is a guy's name about 98 percent of the time, makes me give this comment the gold medal.
And how about the reply from Alto! "There are a few quick-fix products like a belly wrap." Followed by, "God made us all beautiful in our own right" talk. Please, Alto. This profession is so geared towards the type of body that men pay to ogle at that it's a wonder the girls don't just start dancing on the goal post during their routines, hoping to make it rain even in a stadium with a retractable roof.
3) Then there's poor Melissa, who is clearly insecure about the scars she suffered in a car accident.
Leave it to Alto to be diplomatic on this answer: Just put makeup on them. If that doesn't work, you better be the best dancer this coach has ever seen.
4) By the time someone asks about braces, Alto has gotten so tired of manufacturing fake answers designed to mask the superficiality of her profession that she just tells the girl straight up, she needs to have them off.
And that's IF you make it to the finals.
5) How much makeup is too much makeup?
Alto refocuses everyone on the chat with this simple reminder about the Golden Rule of NFL cheerleading: "You need to look your best."
6) This last one requires no commentary on my part.
But I'll comment anyway: pole dancing, man. In the end zone.
Texans Instagram Moment of the Day
Just had to get in a shout out to all my Jesuit homies out there, even if a) being on a head nod level with Ogbonnaya, who was two years my junior and a star athlete when I didn't even play football, hardly consists of us being homies, and b) he would be disgusted by my Strake cheerleader Halloween costume pictured at the beginning of this story.
That was a really fun costume to wear. You could cheer for anything that was happening around you. Even if you had a cut on your arm or a fat belly.