Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mistake or Not? The Drew Brees situation

I guess it's about time I share my thoughts on recent happenings in the NFL's offseason.

Today's topic: Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers

I think San Diego is taking the biggest gamble of anyone this year. Before the Brees defection, I felt the Chargers (despite missing the playoffs last season) legitimately were capable of making a strong SuperBowl push this coming year. Now I don't think that happens. I said it during the season and I'll say it now. If they choose Rivers over Brees it will be a decision they regret. They are banking (or rather G.M. A.J. Smith is) on Philip Rivers making a Carson Palmer like transition. Good luck with that. If I was Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, I wouldn't hold my breath. Now if Rivers impresses or Brees shoulder makes him into another Chad Pennington, then obviously they made the right move but if your going to gamble, don't you take the higher odds? The odds would say that Brees has a better shot of rehabbing and continuing his rise as a Pro-Bowl caliber QB than Rivers has of becoming as good as Brees . And even if he does, it will most likely take at least 2 seasons as a starter for him to really become that good. Even Carson Palmer had a one year transition (albeit a pretty decent one) before he broke out. More often than not it turns into a situation of continually waiting for the light to turn on (Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller, etc.). With the Chargers looking better the last couple of years than they have since their SuperBowl year of 1995, fans aren't going to be patient with a step backward.

The interesting question in my mind is what would A.J. Smith have done if Brees hadn't got hurt. Would he still have thought Drew's price tag was too high? Would both quarterbacks still have been around this next season? Would he trade Rivers or would he still have wanted to develop him because he drafted him? Logic says that the Pennington-like horror scenario couple with the nightmare of trading Rivers who then turns into Carson Palmer would be what drove him to let Brees walk. But pride often trumps logic. I'm not so sure Brees wasn't gone no matter the circumstances.

I also have to question Brees' choice of New Orleans. I know they made him feel all warm and fuzzy and he really hasn't gotten that with the Chargers but could he have gone with the Dolphins or stayed with the Chargers for just a little less guaranteed money? Unless it was an eye-popping amount there is no reason to go to a re-building club with a winning history worse than the team you just left. The Dolphins are ready to win now and Brees could have been the missing link. Plus it's Florida for Hell's sake. Other than some hurricanes what's not to like? Again unless his other offers were significantly and ridiculously low then joining the Saints will be something he might regret in a year as well.

I'll have more to say on other off-season moves next week.

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