The end is near, Rick Spielman ... that is of course if it is true that we are creatures of habit and that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. In the book of +/-, Spielman has a string of major gaffs directly attached to his name ... with his climb to absolute power ... subtracting Mark & The Zig Master. So with all these major failures, one might be wondering exactly how Rick Spielman has survived and why he just might have a future in Minnesota.
The reason for Spielman's survival is in understanding that we all make mistakes, but more importantly, Mark & Ziggy have to allowed the absolute power of this position to be able to make major mistakes (Greg Jennings Contract ... Christian Ponder). You're just not allowed to repeat these monumental mistakes ... no matter who you might be able to blame ... where the rope and the tightening noose are clearly apparent. The only question is, has Mark & Ziggy selected the right individual that can learn from his mistakes and have the versatility to adapt.
With the pending 2014 salary cap, it is apparent that this franchise has the ability to keep any free agent that it so chooses. For Rick to succeed he must change course and invest inward in his core ... and leave the high priced free agents ... with all their foibles ... at the door.
As a creature of habit, Spielman has been talked into coveting players like Greg Jennings, and most recently Josh Freeman, paying exsorbitent sums to get a free agent that can easily be nullified by the top 12 teams that will qualify for the commissioners playoff tournament. On the other hand, he could have over paid, slightly above market rates, for his own free agents like he did when he resigned Phil Loadholt. If Rick has learned anything at all, he should now clearly see that he should be signing his own versatile free agents, along with solid-value-underutilized-versatile 5th year free agents to solidify his team. He has the cap space where he can dominate this position. High priced free agents are a complete waste of this franchises resources as the team needs can be solidified in other ways. History is now indicating that Rick Spielman has learned this valuable lesson as the Sea Hawks are now laced with Percy Harvin's heavily laced contract ... along with everything that has gone along with it ... while securing valuable draft picks for our franchise. Spreading the wealth internally... is a motivational carrot ... that is invaluable to both the integrity and the continuity of the teams directives. Greg Jennings is nothing more than a petulant move ... a knee jerk reaction ... with long term ... long lasting effects, within our division. As a business ... no one has a personal problem with Jennings ... its the hog-tied contract containing all those franchise assets.
To go along with Spielman's gaffs, he has also acted decisively, which has rewarded the Zig Master in a long term way. For example, when he played the Brown's in a recent draft, which coveted Trent Richardson, Rick benefited immensely by playing Tampa Bay off Cleveland where the Browns paid a high ransom just to move up one spot in the draft. That victory has now made it possible for Rick to drop out of this years 8th pick, if he so chooses, and if the quarterbacks drop as expected, Rick should clearly drop the sledge hammer on this years 9th, 10th and 11th pick. When Rick stated that he was looking for 10 picks this year, he wasn't thinking about 7th-rounders and he really doesn't have a choice, as indicated below. Rick clearly needs to fill allot of roster spots. The 8th pick is clearly on the block as there is a definite blue chip talent available at 8 that does not fit our future scheme and old Rick's days of reaching for QB's are over. Keep in mind that there will be a significant price paid within the draft when three (3) quarterbacks fall prior to that 8th pick that will absolutely unhinge the the middle round of the draft as there is a significant reason to covet one particular player in that order. Last year, we paid a large ransom to the Patriots to select Cordarrel Patterson. I know, not a bad move as he has a great deal of promise, but that move helped the Patriots make the playoffs as it infused that team with a great deal of young talent. Just look at how the Browns are loudly announcing their intentions in the direction of Johnny Football in the hopes of misdirecting their true intentions as way too many experts believe that Manzeil is a project, one step away from Teebowing, as he could be a major risk to any team that selects him early in the draft.
What Mr. Spielman needs to learn and focus on, to survive the perils of this league, is to put less and less into the big home run in free agency, and focus more and more on what it is that coaches do. Player invest heavily into power and skill development whereas coaches invest huge sums of time trying to dissect weaknesses that they can exploit. In short, what good is Cordarrel Patterson or Greg Jennings, for that matter, if your team has glaring holes to exploit just about everywhere. In other words, it's better to spread around the cap, overpaying for core & depth rather than investing in a home run hitter that was someone else's problem to begin with. In other words, high priced free agents, more times than not, will always be a mistake. Keep in mind that Reggie White ended up in Green Bay because that where God wanted him to be (Jared Allen was a trade ... Hutchinson was a poison pill).
With this stated our money should be heavily invested in core players with versatility. In the scheme of things Everson Griffen, Toby Gerhart and Joe Webb are as versatile as any players throughout the league and each will prove to be solid values. These three players should be signed well before considering a player like Jared Allen or even Kevin Williams as they represent Absolute Value ... price in relation to goods and services.
As for the draft, it is clear that the Vikings cannot afford to covet any quarterback in the first round. If you had that intention then you should of continued with Christian Ponder throughout the 2013 season. Instead you invested in Matt Cassel ... the right move ... turning the keys over to him for 2014, only to have it thrown in your face. No problem. Good luck finding a starting spot with a similar upside that this franchise had laid at your feet. In fact, an open offer at 85% of what either Matt turned down ... or what you may have offered in a back room deal... should now be publicly offered in response ... as the grass is never greener. It's called ... crawling through the supplicant door as he has no intention of playing anywhere other than in Minnesota in 2014. There has to be a real cost for listening to an agent that has a one track mind and that doesn't truly give a lick about his client. Just sit back and relax as there is a future contract available for Matt in 2015 ... that is if he builds on 2013 Viking resume. Keep in mind that contracts are not always bid upward because Matt ... we care ... but not that much. Just because you can't see or even imagine our opening day quarterback without you doesn't mean that he's not real and will be ready to roll this machine.
Here's the rub. No matter what he says. No matter how hard he pounds his feet to covet and move up in the draft. Norv Turner can be relied upon to find his pure passing threat nonetheless without making this move. He'll do it by looking at cards. What I'm talking about is playing 7 card stud ... where this franchise will get to look at 9 solid cards where most will only gets to look at 7 or less ... that trail off. Don't be afraid to draft more than one quarterback.
As for the interest in Sam Bradford, I'd trade Ponder for Bradford straight up, offering a 1 year 5 million dollar contract. Anything beyond that offer would require a brain scan.
Allow me to explain why the above 3 are so important to sign to long term contracts. For too long we've been ignoring the 10% rule where you must replace or upgrade the bottom 10% of your roster. Instead, we've had too many of the upper 10% pilfered from our roster. Here's the list of players that either will not or should not be apart of our 53 man roster come opening day in 2014:
Jared Allen: Free Agent. Love to have apart of the roster. Too
expensive to solidify a complete roster. Transition