I was in Vegas this weekend, and Woody and I cruised the sports books at several casinos Saturday to check out the lines on the upcoming baseball and football seasons. I’ve been interested in placing a bet on the Chargers to win the 2007 Super Bowl for a couple of months, because I look at the roster and see a bunch of young talent, their holes appear to be easily addressable with the acres of space they’ve got under the salary cap, and Chargers general manager A.J. Smith knows more about football than I do. The wildcard appeared to be quarterback Drew Brees’ health–pop and I were at the Denver game where Brees took that hit from John Lynch that tore his
rotator cuff labrum. Last I’d heard about that, Brees was ahead of schedule in his rehab, and the Chargers appeared to be handling things proactively and had made him a contract offer.
So I felt pretty smart when I got 15-1 odds on the Chargers at the Palms.
Turns out I should have been paying a little more attention to things on the home front, because I get back to town and all kinds of nonsense has broken loose. Now the thinking is not only might the Chargers not lock down Brees long-term, but he might have played his last game in a Chargers uniform. The team has through March 3 to sign him to a deal, but they’ve already said they won’t be franchising or transitioning him, meaning there’s virtually no chance he’s back this year if they don’t come to a multi-year agreement.
I can understand the team’s trepidation in giving Brees a large contract while his throwing shoulder is a mosaic of torn tissue and there’s some question he’ll be able to throw an NFL-caliber medium to long pass. I mean, nobody wants to be where the Jets are with Chad Pennington. But I’ve said before that Brees has done the best quarterbacking I’ve ever seen from the position over the past two years, and the guy’s 27. Quarterbacks play until they’re 40 if they want. Philip Rivers might be the cat’s pajamas behind center–he’s certainly got the pedigree–but Brees has earned the benefit of the doubt as far as I’m concerned, and I’m really, really surprised the Chargers aren’t covering themselves by committing $9 million to him for 2006. I know, that’s a lot of money, but it’s less than half the cap room the team has available, meaning they can still make plenty of noise filling holes in free agency if they like, and if Brees proves healthy, they can get a king’s ransom for him (or a duke’s ransom for Rivers) after the season.
Like I said, I’ve been very impressed with Smith’s performance as general manager, and if he pulls off a long-term deal at reasonable cost and risk with Brees, he’s a friggin’ genius. But I’m not very comfortable with the way things currently stand, and I wish I could get take-backs on my Super Bowl bet.
Enough of the gloominess. Here’s a shot of Brees’ intro at the game Dad and I were at:
We were in View, way up near the top of the Q. Thanks for the awesome camera, Santa.
The thing I like best about this picture is Steve Foley.
That’s the only dance move I know too, Steve.