Wow, what a day. By Steve Pouliot, 22 March 2012
Perhaps seconds apart, news of the Tim Tebow trade and the Bountygate penalties for the New Orleans Saints hit the interwebs, blowing up servers everywhere. Just as analysts were breaking down the suspensions for Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Gregg Williams, news leaked that the Tebow to the Jets deal may not be a deal after all. Add to the that various free agent signings and it was a historic day for off-season press for the NFL. Let's take a look at each.
The Saints penalties made the spygate penalty look like a minor traffic violation. Head Coach Sean Payton was suspended for one year. GM Mickey Loomis got an eight game suspension, while former DC and current St. Louis Rams DC Gregg Williams received an indefinite suspension. Assistant coach Joe Vitt received a six game suspension. The team was fined $500k and their second round picks for 2012 and 2013. This doesn't include the players, who's suspensions likely will be reviewed by the NFLPA before being announced by the league.
Payton is reportedly linked to an email showing he knew about the bounty program even after telling the league he did not. The email showed there was a $5000 bounty on Aaron Rogers, and was supported by Gregg Williams, according to reports. Vitt supposedly knew about the bounties and lied to the NFL investigators about it in 2010, while Loomis knew about it as early as February 2010, but didn't call for an end to the practice.
The suspensions aren't a death penalty, but they are severe to severely hurt the franchise. The penalty for Payton will set the team back more than this season. He'll come back next April having been out of the loop for 12 months. He'll be starting from scratch, if you believe that the suspension means he'll be completely out of the loop. (hint, FVP doesn't believe he'll be completely out of touch).
The second round picks her the future development of the franchise. Those players would be late round picks, but they should be contributors if not starters. Keep in mind the Saints have no first round pick, as they traded it to New England for the chance to draft Ingram.
Vitt sets the team back, as he was slated to step into the role of Payton. Loomis' suspension hurts any player moves to be made. In short, the entire franchise gets crippled for a period for more than the suspension length.
Gregg Williams' suspension is a bigger deal. His suspension will be reviewed by Commissioner Goodell after the first year, with special attention being paid to Williams' cooperation in any future investigations. That is read here that if Williams gives up names, he'll be allowed back. If he clams up, he's out. Either way is a lose-lose situation for Williams, never mind the Rams, who are innocent victims in this unfortunate mess.
FVP is not foolish enough to think the Saints are the only ones who did this. But they appear to have mishandled the situation for a very long time, arrogantly ignoring NFL officials over a three year period.
There's also folks out there who think the Saints should vacate the Super Bowl title. Whoa, dude. That's a slippery slope. Plus, there's that glass house cliche as well.
The Tebow trade really is going to be very entertaining to watch. There's zero chance that NYJ's HC Rex Ryan is going to be able to control the circus that surrounds Tebow. Ryan loves controversy, he rolls around in it like a dog playing in the snow. The first two interception game Mark Sanchez has will bring the Tebow-ciples out of the pews and they'll be looking to excommunicate Sanchez as QB.
FVP loves Tebow. He's a great human interest story. He's a leader, and a polarizing figure on an off the football field. He's the kind of guy you'd want your sister to marry. I am not so sure I'd want him as the QB for my team. It's a terrible match for him in NY. The media scrutiny will be one hundred fold what it was in Denver. Better to go to a team where he can develop than one where there will be pressure to supplant the existing starter.
As far as the Jets, this is a case of "what the hell are you thinking?" Tebow is not going to be a better QB option than Sanchez. He will be a better leader, which will be a problem in the already messed up, free thinking Jets locker room. The coaching staff an front office must think that this is the opportunity to divest themselves of Sanchez, regardless of his contract situation. Maybe so, but Tebow isn't the guy. This reeks of another Jet fiasco, plus the language in the contract they missed, which is a classic "ready, fire, aim" move by the Gang Green. How can they have not known the contract language, and then let it out that they missed it. Classic Jet move.
Gonna be fun to watch.