News: Gosselin: For team builders, cap is continuing challenge

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Rick Gosselin: For team builders, cap is continuing challenge
    49ers, Panthers among successful 2003 teams already in need of fixing

    07:42 PM CDT on Saturday, July 17, 2004
    Rick Gosselin
    Inside The NFL

    The Green Bay Packers won five NFL championships in a span of seven years in the 1960s. Ten starters from that first championship team in 1961 were still starting when the Packers won that fifth title in 1967.

    When Pittsburgh won its first two Super Bowls back-to-back in 1974-75, 20 Steelers started in both games. When Pittsburgh won its fourth Super Bowl in a span of six years in 1979, 10 of the 1974 starters were still on the field.

    Continuity has historically been a key ingredient in a championship team. But not any more. The salary cap has changed all that. You can no longer keep what you build.

    New England has won two of the last three Super Bowls (in 2001 and 2003), but only 10 players started for the Patriots in both games.

    "It's the reality of this system," Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. "You're going to lose guys."

    Hurney should know. His Panthers enjoyed the greatest season in franchise history in 2003, winning their first NFC championship and pushing the Patriots to the final seconds of the Super Bowl in a quest for an NFL title.

    Five months later, eight starters are gone from that Carolina team. Guard Kevin Donnalley retired, offensive tackle Todd Steussie and cornerback Terry Cousin became salary-cap casualties, and guard Jeno James, tight end Jermaine Wiggins, linebacker Greg Favors, cornerback Reggie Howard and safety Deon Grant left in free agency.

    But the Panthers didn't take the hardest hits in the NFL this off-season. Pity the San Francisco 49ers.

    They fielded a Top 10 offense in 2003 but lost their starting quarterback (Jeff Garcia), halfback (Garrison Hearst), both wide receivers (Terrell Owens and Tai Streets) and tight end (Jed Weaver) this off-season.

    In all, the 49ers lost nine players who started a combined 124 games in 2003. Seven starters are gone from an offensive unit that ranked sixth in the NFL in 2003.

    The New York Giants and Washington Redskins fired their coaches this off-season. Heading out the door with Jim Fassel (New York) and Steve Spurrier (Washington) were many of their players.

    Nine starters are gone from a Washington team that fell to 5-11 last season. Seven starters are gone from a New York team that staggered home 4-12. New York's departing cast combined for a league-high 127 starts, and Washington said goodbye to 119 starts.

    Change can be good for a bad team. That's what the Giants are Redskins are hoping, anyway. But not so for a contending team.

    "I think you need to have 10 to 15 percent change each year," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "But I don't think you need that 25 to 40 percent."

    Newsome did the best job of holding together a contending team from a year ago. His Ravens won 10 games and an AFC North championship. They return 21 of 22 starters, including all 11 on a defensive unit that ranked third in the NFL.

    The Ravens lost a league-low six starts, including five by wide receiver Marcus Robinson. But Baltimore may have upgraded itself at that spot with the acquisition of Kevin Johnson, who is younger, faster and has been more productive in his career (332 catches) than Robinson (218).

    Kansas City is another defending division champion that survived the off-season. The Chiefs also return 21 of their 22 starters from a team that won 13 games in 2003.

    Kansas City could have retained all 22 of its starters, but opted not to match an offer sheet the Chicago Bears gave transition player John Tait, who started 16 games for the Chiefs at right offensive tackle.

    That would have made Tait the highest-paid blocker on one of the best lines in football – a line that already includes Pro Bowlers in tackle Willie Roaf and guard Will Shields. So the Chiefs let Tait go and acquired veteran John Welbourn from the Eagles in trade to replace him.

    "I've always believed in continuity, consistency," Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said. "If you can create that, I think you have an excellent chance for success. Every time you put a new part in, there's an opportunity things won't work the same way.

    "There's no guarantee we'll be 13-3 again. But I think having this many guys return certainly helps our chances."

    The Patriots, by the way, lost only three primary starters (players who started at least half their team's games) this off-season: guard Damien Woody, defensive tackle Ted Washington and defensive end Bobby Hamilton.

    E-mail rgosselin@**************

    Here's a list of starters lost and the combined number of starts lost (least to most) by each NFL team this off-season, plus the key player departure. Teams that won division titles in 2003 are in bold face:

    Team - Starters - Starts Lost - Key Loss - Games

    Baltimore 1 6 WR Marcus Robinson 5

    Kansas City 1 16 OT John Tait 16

    New Orleans 2 24 FB Terrelle Smith 10

    Green Bay 3 30 DT Gilbert Brown 14

    St. Louis 2 35 DE Grant Wistrom 16

    Cleveland 3 39 G Shaun O'Hara 14

    Houston 3 40 OT Greg Randall 16

    Jacksonville 3 44 CB Fernando Bryant 16

    Indianapolis 2 45 LB Marcus Washington 16

    Arizona 3 45 CB David Barrett 16

    Tennessee 3 46 DE Jevon Kearse 14

    Buffalo 3 47 CB Antoine Winfield 16

    New England 3 48 DE Bobby Hamilton 16

    Pittsburgh 3 50 LB Jason Gildon 16

    Seattle 4 53 S Reggie Tongue 14

    Atlanta 3 62 CB Juran Bolden 8

    Cincinnati 4 63 RB Corey Dillon 11

    Minnesota 5 66 LB Greg Biekert 16

    Dallas 4 68 WR Joey Galloway 14

    Detroit 5 72 LB Barrett Green 16

    Tampa Bay 4 75 DT Warren Sapp 15

    Miami 4 77 OT Todd Wade 16

    San Diego 4 77 WR David Boston 14

    Denver 4 81 HB Clinton Portis 13

    Chicago 6 86 DE Phillip Daniels 16

    Philadelphia 6 93 CB Troy Vincent 13

    Oakland 4 103 HB Charlie Garner 10

    NY Jets 7 110 LB Marvin Jones 16

    Carolina 8 115 S Deon Grant 16

    Washington 9 119 CB Champ Bailey 16

    San Francisco 9 124 QB Jeff Garcia 13

    NY Giants 7 127 LB Dhani Jones 16
  2. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    The great lost we suffered with our starting rb ;)
  3. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    You gotta be kidding me.
  4. Roughneck

    Roughneck Active Member

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    You ain't lying big dog.
    Sure, just change "Pity" to "F***" and we have a deal.
  5. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Been doing that deal for plenty of years now. :D
  6. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    That cheesy Dwight Clark miracle catch set the Danny White era into a tailspin.
  7. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Gotta disagree with that. Danny White melting down after "the catch" when he could have led us back for the win put us in the tailspin. All we needed was a FG and "the catch" would be just another highlight reel clip.
  8. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    Interesting article LTN. Thanks. Gosselin always has some unique spins.
  9. Bluefin

    Bluefin Well-Known Member

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    So, the Cowboys lost 4 starters and 68 games started.

    Galloway, Edwards and Ekuban accounted for 45 starts last year, who is the fourth missing starter and how did he account for 23 starts (Ryan Young had 8 starts)?

    I guess Mother Goose is referring to regular starters lost and overall starts by the team lost?

    And replacing Galloway with Keyshawn Johnson and Ekuban with Marcellus Wiley isn't losing anything, it's improving.

    Ryan Young was physically unable to play at a starting level and Kurt Vollers is a better back-up than starter. The winner between Torrin Tucker and Jacob Rogers should be an improvement over last year's right tackles, IMO.

    The only question is at right cornerback.

    Rio, despite his lack of playmaking ability, started 48 games in his four years with the Cowboys.

    I'm very optimistic Pete Hunter is ready for the challenge, but it's the biggest question when it comes to replacing starters lost.
  10. The Realist

    The Realist Well-Known Member

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  11. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    From the very first part of the offseason, I have been untroubled by that right corner position. I've seen Bill develop corners before, notably Marcus Coleman. I had interest in Winfield, but after he was gone, it was rejoicing in this corner that they didn't bite on a Shawn Springs level, near end of career type.

    Teaching a corner is not the easiest process in the world, and sure Hunter is going to get toasted on occasion, but the very fact Bill has the faith he can man the position adequately while he's learning says a lot to me.

    I'm psyched to see Bill take on another kid like he did with Coleman, a similar physical type. The situation is quite similar to NY. There Bill had Aaron Glenn, a shut down corner in his prime. Tnew is less experienced, but has just as much ability. Bill had a reliable nickle in Ray Mickens, and Mitchell HAS to play that part to make it work. Bill had a very good hard hitting, run stopper in Victor Green at SS, Here he has Woody and Roy interchangably. He had nothing but a revolving door at FS, that was and still is a big hole in NY, but even with Roy's less than Pro Bowl coverage skills, he's better than what Tuna had.

    It's going to be flat out FUN watching Bill work with Pete Hunter. Not for Pete, but for us. :D
  12. DallasEast

    DallasEast Cowboys 24/7/365 Staff Member

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    Gosselin's is right on the money. The current CBA rules have effectively removed dynasty from the NFL vocabulary. Luckily for Cowboys fans, we were privileged with the last true dynasty under Jimmy Johnson [and Barry Switzer in the post-JJ era].

    Oh what interesting times we NFL fans live in.
  13. junk

    junk I've got moxie

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    But you know what? I think it is for the best. It was frustrating to see that great Dallas team of the early 90s get torn apart by free agency, but the NFL should be the model for all pro sports. Hockey is in serious trouble. If baseball hadn't had the juiced ball homerun derby a few years back, it would be floundering even worse than it is. The NBA has turned into a terrible product. The NFL has their ducks in a row. It hurts to see a player that your team drafted and developed leave, but it is probably for the best.
  14. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    Points well taken Junk.


    What was wrong with the product in 70's, 80's and early 90's? I don't think the NFL was hurting. Every year the fan base was expanding--the sport was growing. TV contracts kept getting bigger.

    I remember arguing with my friends back in 1980 about which sport was the most popular in the US at the time. MBL or the NFL. Even then, the NFL was arguably #1.

    The NFL has been the top sport for a long time. While there have been positives associated with the cap there have also been an equal number of negatives.
  15. junk

    junk I've got moxie

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    Agreed. But times have changed. Free agency didn't really come about until the 80s. That is the key. In order to grant players their freedoms to choose teams and salaries, you need a firm cap to make it work.

    Look at baseball without a cap. Players are making $20 mill per year. Crap players are overpaid and the Yankees get whoever they feel like. Meanwhile, teams like Montreal don't even have a home and churn out tons of talent that they have to get rid of because they can't afford it.

    NFL superstars are well paid, but not ridiculously well paid. The only teams that struggle real bad do so due to their own ineptitude or salary cap issues.

    I hated it when it was tearing up the last Dallas dynasty, but I have changed my tune.
  16. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    I liked it when we had the advantage. I like "advantages". Especially those that benefit me!

    Yes, if I were ever a pro-wrestler I'd be one of those guys that brought a foreign object to the ring. :D
  17. junk

    junk I've got moxie

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    Great, if I ever meet you, I am going to get smacked in the back of the head with a metal folding chair the first time I turn around. I see how you are. :D
  18. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    Or I might resort to the tongue depressor jabbed into your windpipe!
  19. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    So you don't remember that near TD pass Danny White almost threw after "the catch"? Doesn't seem like he melted down to me.
  20. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    You know in my book Rack, Danny White is the 3rd greatest Cowboy QB of all time behind Roger and Troy. I think White led the most prolific passing attack the Cowboys have ever had.

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