The New Free Agent

By Chris Pine
Jets Staff Writer
September 26th, 2003
The Tuna arrives Sunday in stop two of his former team tour
The Tuna arrives Sunday in stop two of his former team tour
I have decided not to write an article this week about The Jets upcoming game against The Dallas Cowboys. I know this leaves a lot of opportunities on the table. I could write about the Jets dismal season thus far. I could try and predict the outcome of this game; although after last week’s debacle against the Patriots I may never predict another Jet game again. I could even write about Bill Parcells returning to the sidelines and facing his former team, go over the roster and see which players are still on the Jets since he left. I am not doing that though because to be quite honest about the whole thing the Jets really disgust me. So I will not talk about the game coming up this Sunday. I will however turn my attention towards a trend that seems to have been forming over the last few seasons in the National Football League that Bill Parcells actually personifies. The head coach: The new free agent.

With salary cap casualties that teams have to endure annually you really don’t see many players stay with one team for their entire career anymore. You even hear about many players taking pay cuts to ensure that they can stay with their current team. It actually makes me laugh when players like Lawyer Milloy and Laveranues Coles complain about some perceived slight against them or ludicrous claims regarding a lack of respect shown to them by their former team when said team does not re-sign them for the dollar amount that the player desires.

They players wanted free agency. This is their chance to make the big bucks that they have been dreaming about since college. If there was one thing I respected Keyshawn Johnson for it was his ability to grasp this concept. Keyshawn knew it was about the money and had no qualms letting everyone know it was about the money. Say what you want about him at least he knows what the deal is. Now though there aren’t many big money contracts being thrown around for today’s NFL player. You aren’t going to pay four or five players on your team a combined forty percent of your available salary pool. It doesn’t make sense.

Coaches are a different story altogether. You can pay them whatever you want if you’re an owner. It is ridiculous the way the salaries have escalated and these salaries are only going to get bigger as time goes on. Coaches are going to be a real hot commodity. Since you can’t bring in all of the top-notch players then you can just do what everyone else has done and pry away a better team’s coach.

Thinking about it. It really did all start with Bill Parcells and The Jets many years ago when they stole him from The Patriots. Then we saw The Pats return the favor luring away Bill Belichick. Jon Gruden was basically traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for some draft picks and cash. Imagine that. Does this mean that The Bears could just call up The Titans and make them an offer for Jeff Fisher one day? I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens to some coach somewhere.

Then there are the new coaches. Gone are the treadmill coaches such as Norv Turner and Ray Rhodes. Now you either pay big bucks for a college coach ala Steve Spurrier or you bid with other teams for the new hot coordinator. My theory only has holes in it when discussing Marvin Lewis but we all know if he was white he would have landed a head coaching job right after the Ravens won the Super Bowl. The racism rampant in the league deserves it’s own column one day.

I truly believe we will see a time when teams just work on taking the head coaches away from other teams every year. You don’t think some owner would part with three million to acquire the services of Bill Cowler? How hard would it be for Steelers’ ownership to turn that down? This is the face of the NFL today folks and it wears a pair of headphones.

Picks Week Four

Man did I get lucky last week. I thought for sure the Giants were going to blow another game. Then there was The Brown’s and that 91-yard drive to put them over the top in their victory over the 49ers. I am telling you I am lucky. Now I am at a more comfortable 5-4. Meanwhile the coin is flipping to a 4-5 record. This could be the week I get totally humiliated.

Game 1: Tennessee at Pittsburgh My pick: Pittsburgh The Coin: Pittsburgh

It looks like we both agree that The Steelers are taking this game at home. I hate making this pick. I really like The Titans. I just think that with the team a little banged up (as always) and playing at Ketchup Stadium The Titans will have a hard time. I will secretly be rooting for them though in hopes that Bill Cowler gets so angry his entire chin explodes.

Game 2: Kansas Coty at Baltimore My Pick: Kansas City The Coin: Baltimore

George still thinks that this Ravens team has some life in it while I think coach Billick has got nothing left. This team is a strange mix of old and young. I think they can show some flashes of brilliance but the magic has been taken out of this rabbit for a long time. Of course this is really just another case of “Chris Pine the Bandwagon Jumper” as I jump from The Bills to The Chiefs. They look great. Of course now Priest Holmes will get knocked out of the game. Trent Green will throw four picks and Dick Vermeil will cry.

Game 3: Atlanta at Carolina My Pick: Atlanta The Coin: Atlanta

Do these match-ups suck this week or what? It took me forever to decide on a game. I went with the one I thought was the most even. The coin got so disgusted it actually exploded in mid-air. What can I say about this game? I see a really boring game where the punters are locked in a duel of wits, each vying for the coveted coffin kick. I see a crowd of people unable to tell me the names of the starting quarterbacks and wide receivers on both of these teams. I see many football fans changing the channel. George just likes those Zolcor commercials with Dan Reeves and wants to see that the old guy does well and stays away from the fried foods.

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