Tuesday, March 11, 2008

DOH-mer Of The Week- Al Davis

Skins fans found a new best friend for the free agency period , and it’s called the salary cap. This newfound buddy has created a barrier between Daniel Snyder and any unnecessary overpriced bonehead trades and acquisitions he could have possibly made. Be thankful for your regulator, because some other fans weren’t as lucky.

In Oakland, Al Davis is throwing his money around and not getting much in return. In fact, I think the dollars would have been better spent touring strip clubs with Pacman Jones. At least you can get a rise at a nudie bar, where free agency has left the Raiders dollars short and--- still limp.

The Raiders actually began on high notes. They retained the services of cornerback Nnmandi Asomhuga and re-signed running back Justin Fargas. But then our DOHmer went spendthrift crazy, making some very questionable free agency moves. Old Al Davis always has a vision, but unfortunately, the rest of us can never see it.

The Raiders acquired former Broncos receiver Javon Walker. I can’t say it was a difficult grab, since Denver appears happy to see him go, and he didn’t exactly interview with many teams, though others “claimed” to have interest. I guess he knew a sucker when he saw one, and targeted my DOHmer. Walker’s former coach, Mike Shanahan, says he needs microfracture knee surgery. I’m not going to pretend I’m a doctor and know exactly what it is, but any person needing that sounds like a hobbler to me. But let’s always look on the bright side, since every cloud has a silver lining. Walker should be the first on the practice field each day, considering the handicap parking spaces are always closest to the stadium entrance.

Davis served up a 6 year $55 million dollar deal for Walker, and he’ll receive $16 million over the first two years. The package also features $11 milliion in guarantees. The Raiders allowed Jerry Porter to leave, and picked up this new “No. 1” receiver that caught 9 passes for 67 yards and no touchdowns in his final 14 games as a Bronco. If they were willing to spend that kind of money, Randy Moss was available and shopping himself across the NFL, so why not throw the money in Moss’ route?

---wait. Randy Moss? Didn’t he already play or “not play” for them? Moss did say he and Daunte Culpepper had thoughts of re-uniting through free agency, so hell, why not roll a fatty and let them take a cruise?

An even bigger head-scratcher came before Walker ever limped his way into Davis’ office. Al had already stuffed the pockets of Tommy Kelly (who?) with a 7 year $50.5 million deal, that gave over $18 million in guarantees. I realize Warren Sapp was retiring, but I didn’t know his paycheck would become an addition to anyone fitting the jersey. If I knew this, I would have increased my daily intake of calories and tried walking on to the squad. Sure, the public may not know who I am, but that didn’t stop Kelly from cashing in. Kelly played in just 7 games last season. The Raiders finished 31st in the NFL against the run. I guess Davis feels the absence of Kelly was the reason for opposing runners leaving cleat marks on the chests of his defensive line. Oakland went 2-5 in the first 7 games with Tommy, and finish 2-7 without him. I don't know about you, but with or without him, I see consistency.

In case you’re not keeping count, which I am, that’s $105.5 million on two very questionable players, and $29 million in guarantees. Sure, I know Tommy Kelly has the versatility to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, but who the hell cares? Shouldn’t he be a proven beast in either of those, before making him one of the highest paid defensive tackles in the history of the NFL? You drafted a franchise quarterback in 2007, and here we are one year later, and he still has no true target. Here’s a suggestion, now that I take a good look at the two packages, why not put the stationary Javon Walker on the defensive line, and line up Tommy what’s-his-face at receiver?

For the record, let’s mark this free agency period on the calendar. The Raiders went 4-12 in 2007. Let’s check back in 9 months to see if the new money bags helped in any way to improve the team. If they can accomplish this, I will give myself the title of DOHmer of the year. But I’ll tell you right now, I’m feeling very confident.

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