Ever since Mark Davis handed control of the Raiders’ roster to Jon Gruden, it is fair to say that Gruden made a few moves that caused a raised eyebrow or two.
- He traded Kahlil Mack to the Bears.
- He traded Amari Cooper to the Cowboys.
- He signed Antonio Brown and inherited the totality of the soap opera Brown brings with him.
- He signed Richie Incognito who is no stranger to controversy – but who has been a solid citizen so far for the Raiders.
- He signed Vontaze Burfict who is the poster child for self-immolation.
The Antonio Brown Experiment in Oakland is over; the Raiders need not worry about it any longer. And if reports this morning are correct, it may be that The Vontaze Burfict Experiment in Oakland will be set aside for more than a little while. Burfict is facing a suspension from the league; by itself, that is not news; when Burfict plays a full season without some sort of league sanction, it is a story that falls into the man-bites-dog category. Burfict has been suspended twice for illegal and brutal hits on opposing players – one of which was Antonio Brown interestingly – and he served a suspension for testing positive for PEDs. CBSSports.com has a report this morning citing a Tweet from ESPN’s Chris Mortenson that Burfict may be suspended for the balance of the 2019 season.
As a repeat offender for illegal and dirty hits, Burfict seems to have shown that 4-game suspensions as levied in the past are not sufficient for him to consider changing his ways. As he was leaving the field after his ejection from yesterday’s game for another illegal hit, he was smiling and blowing kisses to the fans in Indy. I don’t know how long a suspension the league should hand down in this instance but keeping the punishment at the 4-game level would seem to be an act that condones such behavior instead of an act that censures such behavior.
Another NFL story that gets a lot of attention week-by-week is the potential contract extension for Dak Prescott in Dallas. I think Prescott is worth the market price for a young franchise QB because he has shown me that he has the talent and the focus to fill that role more than adequately. I also think that the lack of a contract extension is not necessarily any lack of recognition by the Cowboys that Dak Prescott is an important element of their team structure.
It takes two sides to reach an agreement on a contract – and it might just be that Dak Prescott and his advisors have convinced themselves that it is in their best interest to stretch out these negotiations. Of course, they would probably be willing to take a contract offer from the Cowboys that blows the lid off every previous QB deal in league history – – but absent such a blockbuster, they can hold their fire. The term of art here seems to be the Dak Prescott will be “betting on himself”.
Prescott’s contract is up at the end of this season; if I understand the terms of his deal, he will make just over $2M this year which is more than he has made in the three years prior to this one on his current contract. Given his performance, he has been an ever-loving bargain for the Cowboys, but they have no option year on his deal. If there is no contract extension signed, the Cowboys would have to put a franchise tag on Prescott next offseason and the value of a franchise tag for a QB this year is $24.8M. What that means to me is that Dak Prescott is going to get a raise to at least $25M next season; and therefore, he can – if he wishes – just play on knowing that level of recompense is about to happen. He can look at that franchise tag as his “signing bonus” for a contract extension and layer his demands from that starting point.
Last week, I mentioned that the NCAA notified Kansas University of a handful of charges that the school’s basketball program shredded several of the NCAA’s hallowed regulations and that Kansas was going to fight such allegations. Meanwhile, the NCAA announced its decision in another men’s basketball “situation” late last week when it put Georgia Tech on 4 years’ probation and banned the school from any post-season tournament activities for the upcoming season.
The most salacious violation of NCAA recruiting rules involves a Georgia Tach assistant coach who arranged for a potential recruit to visit the house of a program booster who then arranged for the recruit to take a trip to a strip club where the recruit had access to $300 to spend in the club. The more mundane violation of NCAA recruiting rules involved another booster offered impermissible benefits to a player who was considering transferring to Georgia Tech to the tune of “thousands of dollars in the form of shoes, lodging, clothing, transportation and meals.”
Here are the important sanctions levied upon Georgia Tech basketball:
- Four years on probation – and a loss of one scholarship in each of those 4 years.
- No tournament appearance at the close of this season.
- A fine of $5K plus 2% of the men’s basketball budget for 2019.
- A slew of reduced permissible recruiting activities for the next 4 years.
- “Disassociation” of the school and the assistant coach involved here.
- “Disassociation” of the school and the two boosters involved in the actions here.
In no way do I intend to prejudge the validity of the allegations made by the NCAA regarding the Kansas program. I would note, however, that if this is the level of punishment that the NCAA is ready to hand down to a recognizable basketball school such as Georgia Tech for behaviors that are nowhere near as flagrant as the behaviors alleged in the Kansas affair, it might be a good idea for the Kansas braintrust to consider the possibility of a negotiated settlement rather than risking a complete loss. Just a thought…
Finally, Dwight Perry had this observation recently in the Seattle Times:
“The Miami Dolphins — outscored 102-10 in their first two games — are so bad that five SEC teams are already trying to get them on next season’s nonconference schedule.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………