Mailbag: At least one per team
stephen in nashville writes: Hi Paul. Love your stuff and listen to you in the mornings with Frank, Kevin, & Mark. I am a little confused as to how all these teams are "signing" these undrafted players immediately after the draft. What happens if they sign to the minimum then get cut? Are they paid on a daily basis somehow? It just doesn't make much sense to me, especially in how it would apply to the cap. Or does it not apply to the cap until they hit a certain day right before the season starts? thanks, stephen
Paul Kuharsky: Only the most expensive 51 players count against the salary cap at this point in time -- it kicks up to 53 at some point late in the preseason so teams have to be prepared to make that fit.
All these guys get now are small signing bonuses. (Some of them are not that small, but compared to the ones the picks get, they are). None of the minimum base salaries they are slated to earn materialize with regard to cap or have any real-dollar impact if they aren't on the roster when the season starts.
As of last year, rookies got $800 a week during camp, veterans $1,100. That is not cap-counted salary.
Tom in Nashville writes: What exactly has been the rap on the Titans' Chris Henry? I know his selection was something of a surprise, apparently based on his impressive physical scores (speed, etc.) as demonstrated in the combine and workouts and not based on his actual output in college. Clearly he hasn't delivered. Why not? What does he lack? Where has he shown to be deficient in actual game situations? Just curious...
Paul Kuharsky: He lacks instincts and vision. Doesn't seem to know how to find daylight. I remember him getting nailed by Darrell Reid on a kickoff return in the 2007 season finale in Indianapolis. That kind of sums him up. He thought that in an NFL game it was appropriate to stop, as if the Red Sea would magically part in front of him, and he'd be able to start again.
Travis in Boston writes: Hi Paul -- I've read a couple places that the Texans are shifting to the 3-4 this season. Do we know this for sure? The only mentions I've seen hint that it's a definite possibility, but I havnen't seen anything concrete. Would love to hear your thoughts. Travis
Paul Kuharsky: Selective writing is never going to happen, but we need more selective reading, I think.
The Texans have no such plans to my knowledge and I'd be very surprised if they did. They don't have the personnel for it.
Aaron in NJ writes: Loved the help and hurt section. I kind of see Jason Jones as a similar player as Justin Tuck. I also know that JJ has experiance as a DE. Because of the crazy depth at DT the Titans now have, do you think they would consider moving Jones to the end position, similar to what the Giants did with Tuck? Appreciate it.
Paul Kuharsky: The Garden State is close to my heart.
They could kick Jones out some if they like a matchup or feel like things stack up well that way. But long term, when they have issues at end and not at tackle, I doubt they'd move him full-time for how much they've talked of him being a tackle.
Brian in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: The Cox pick is really stirring up some interesting dialogue. Per Ask Vic today it appears that he was coveted and the selection may not have been as much of a reach as some thought. I'm still withholding judgment until I see him play but I'm curious as to what you're hearing about how liked him and where in the draft they wanted him.
Paul Kuharsky writes: I wouldn't expect anyone from inside team HQ to say anything different. I've heard Cox was viewed as a sixth-rounder or seventh-rounder by a lot of people. The Jags need to know not just how they like him, but how everyone else likes him so as to not overdraft him.
We have to wait and see how he looks, of course.
But if you get him in the sixth and talk him up, the expectations are still on a sixth.
If you take a guy viewed as a sixth-rounder in the third, trading a second to get the pick, well, before he does a thing he's viewed with second-round expectations and will get third-round money. Things are tougher on both sides as a result.
Cameron from parts unknown: I know that the Texans selected a lot of defensive help during the draft, except for the two tight ends. Although they had the third best offense and twenty second ranked defense, do you think that not taking a skill position such as a quality Wide Receiver to go along with Andre Johnson will hurt the Texans' chance of making the playoffs?
Paul Kuharsky: No, they are in good shape at receiver. A late pick might have been insurance for Kevin Walter, who could be in line to be an unrestricted free agent next year.
Brian in Lynchburg, Va., writes: Hey Paul, as a Titans fan looking at our roster after the draft I'm noticing a few positions that seem really crowded, first is running back, which you dealt with a little bit in an earlier blog post, but there were two others I'd be interested in your perspective on, tight end and defensive line. Right now we have four tight ends that could get a roster spot (ESPN shows five on our roster, but the top four are clearly Scaife, Crumpler, Stevens, and Cook) but I don't think we'd carry four tight ends into the season so I'm wondering how you would sort those guys out. At defensive line I feel that we've kind of overcompensated for the loss of Haynesworth and now have too many dlinemen, I see 11 that I feel could make an impact given the opportunity (ESPN lists 16 players among DEs and DTs, but I think the top 11 are Kearse, KVB, Brown, Jones, Marks, Haye, Ball, Ford, Hayes, Vickerson, and King) but obviously we won't keep 11 defensive lineman. Since we have so many guys at these positions I feel like we're going to have to cut a few quality players at those three positions, who do you think makes the cut at RB, TE, and DL?
Paul Kuharsky: They won't have a problem carrying those four tight ends if they need to, and they'll need to barring they decide Crumpler is finished. Ahmard Hall doesn't and won't have a backup fullback. If he goes down, they go tight-end heavy and they kind of buy themselves the space there. (They ended the season with four, if you count Casey Cramer as a tight end instead of a fullback, which is how they continue to label him for some reason.)
I hit the running back pecking order in the post you mention.
Defensive tackle: Tony Brown, Jason Jones, Jovan Haye, Sen'Derrick Marks, Kevin Vickerson.
If all are healthy and those 10 need to become nine -- they finished with nine last year -- I presume Vickerson would be the odd man out. Second most at risk would probably be Ball. It's possible they could get a pick for one of those guys if they time things up correctly and someone is in dire need on the line.
Nick in Columbus, Ind., writes: I wish all of the pundits would stop "hinting" at the fact that the Donald Brown pick was an indictment on Addai. Everyone is doing this without even mentioning the fact that we lost Rhodes to the Bills. Rhodes has been an integral part of the Colts run game for I believe 7 of the last 9 seasons. 1 year he was injured, the other year he spent in Oakland. That may have something to do with this pick, and the fact that they won the Super Bowl with a 2 back system, and are probably going to return to the 2 TE 2 RB sets, as opposed to the 3 wr sets. I would just like one "expert" to mention one of these facts. Did Addai struggle last year? Sure. He was also running behind a horrible line and was dealing with injuries. In fact I think most of Rhodes big contributions last year came through the air. I am willing to give Joseph the benefit of the doubt for one year, after he ran for over 1000 yds his first 2 season in the league. That being said, Joseph needs to prove to his doubters this year that last year was the fluke, and the first two years were him. Should be fun to see him and brown together, if Gonzalez can step up and one of the other TE's can be servicable on the opposite side of Clark, this could be a great offense. Always enjoy the blog! GO COLTS!
Paul Kuharsky: I don't believe I've hinted that Addai is in any sort of jeopardy. They want to be like a lot of teams and have two good options. Anytime a first-rounder is spent on your position, it likely means at least something about your standing. It's certainly different for Addai than if they'd re-signed Dominic Rhodes, wouldn't you agree?
But if Addai's drop-off was more than him being hurt and the line being a mess, it'll be nice to have a top-flight alternative in crunch situations, no?
Bishoy in Nashville writes: There are many rumors that Tennessee is pursuing Anquan Boldin. How valid are these rumors, especially since the Titans just drafted a receiver in the 1st round. Wouldn't Tennessee be an ideal organization for him as they are one player away from going to the super bowl, and he would have almost no competition to be the number one guy and he could also help the Titans mold Kenny Britt into a polished receiver? Wouldn't it make sense for both sides?
You ask if it doesn't make sense for both sides, but offer no indication of what Arizona's side would be.
Adam in Alexandria, Va., writes: Hey Paul, two questions: Is there anything to preclude teams from drafting a player with a compensatory pick, then immediately trading him to another team? Are agents generally able to negotiate any additional cash/guaranteed money for players drafted in a certain round where the team traded a higher pick in the following years' draft to get that pick?
Paul Kuharsky: It comes into play for negotiations for sure. But I think in a broad sense, guys get paid based on where they were actually drafted. You'll hear a lot of GMs and coaches not offer up where they had a guy rated, because they know if they say their sixth-rounder had a fourth-round grade, the agent will come in saying he deserves fourth-round pay. Fact is, there is a rookie pool and if guys outside the first round don't sign until last of their class, they run the risk of getting less than their share.
Good question on compensatory draft picks being used, then traded. I don't know the letter of the law, but that sure seems to break the spirit and I don't recall seeing it happen.
Brian in Clarksville writes: Hey Paul, So I had head and read that the Titans could have picked an OLB on the first day as a potential replacement for Keith Bulluck as he has one year left on his current contract. Of course with them taking an ILB, and not until the 4th round, I'm hoping that means the team feels like they can sign him (which I hope, he's easily my favorite player of the past 8 years). Is that the case? Also, I don't know how well you follow it but how does next year's LBs draft class look?
Paul Kuharsky: I don't think they know if they want to sign him or not -- have to see what he's got left and the parameters of what he's looking for. But no, they don't have a replacement on the roster unless Stanford Keglar makes a huge leap. No idea on next year's LBs, sorry.
And finally, a shoutout to Kyle in Santa Barbara. He sent me his mock draft before things started, and nailed three out of four AFC South first-round picks, missing only Britt. You'll have to take my word for it, though, because I'm obligated not to link to him as he was a bit profane.