Re: Bill Bilichick Making Statement....... and HE HAS TO
posted at 3/6/2010 2:02 PM EST
So the smart alternative, which is what you were saying before, would be to court (behind the scenes I suppose) a man who may or may not be a free agent by 2010, and has never played in your system, while at the same time allowing the plan B player (who was obviously worth something to the team, even as plan B) get ticked off anyway?
Number one: regardless of whether Vince was plan A or plan B, they could have given him a bump to keep him happy in the circumstances you outline. While his motivation is guaranteed by his next contract anyway, given that psychology, it doesn't matter because you are worried about 09. Hence, the refusal to bump his salary is insubstantial to any Peppers vs Wilfork argument. It is just a contour of your present relationship with VW, and should have been addressed regardless of whether you are letting Fork play the plan B role.
Number two: There is no guarantee they would even get a chance to negotiate with Peppers. Forget about signing him. They don't even know if he is going to make it to FA. That is before navigating the open waters of the NFL spenders.
Business smarts? Late in 2008 my GM comes to me and says, here is our plan going forward: We wait to see if Carolina lets Peppers go, and if they do we go into tepid negotiations for a DE/OLB convert. Failing this we sign VW as a NT in the second richest deal ever given to a DT.
If this was his plan A, I would fire him on the spot for building plan A around three crucial unknowns -- whether he reaches FA, whether you can negotiate for him in FA, and whether he can even play for your team.
That is fantasy football, not real business.
The real history:
Again, keeping it simple here. Wilfork opted to not hold out. Seymour held out, and was given a raise then re-upped. If he had opted to hold out, something might have been done earlier. We don't know how NE would have reacted, but the fact that both sides were negotiating at the time likely played a large part in VW's decision to not hold out, as did the fact that VW's rookie contract wasn't exactly rich enough to make him want to sit out.
They had been actively negotiating (in one way or another) since last summer. The upward pressure of the Haynesworth deal put them at loggerheads. The downward pressure of the Casey Hampton deal, along with the looming possibility of a lockout brought the deal back to where it should be.
The Pats got market value for a top three NT. That is pretty *smart* considering the absurd deals on the FA market. Vince is now happy, NE is happy. Now they can move on to addressing other positions via the draft, FA, or whatever.
Peppers was likely never anything more than a lowball offer. They sent it out there, and very wisely declined to even dip a toe in "$15.5 million per" waters for an admittedly dominant player with a history of nagging injuries, suspect motivation, who enters the last season before what could be a pre-lockout season already on the wrong side of 30.
The Wilfork deal is separate. And unlike what the OP said, is NOT a statement of any sort outside of the fact that it states VW's value to the team.