Mailbag: Why Mario will get paid big bucks

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
10:12
AM ET
Trace in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: I keep seeing all these things about making Mario Williams the "highest paid defensive end in NFL history." Why is this? I mean, he's definitely good, but he's coming off an injury, and he's not even the best DE in the league, much less "in NFL history."

Paul Kuharsky: Not just the highest-paid defensive end in league history, but the highest-paid defender in league history.

It isn’t about being the best defender in league history. It will be the product of several things: He’d be the most impactful defensive free agent coming available. Such commodities can rarely be had for just money. Prices go up each year and the best guy in each, more expensive year, has a chance to get near the top. Williams' physical skill set and body are ridiculous. Pass-rushers may be at an all-time high in value -- it’s such a quarterback league that flustering the quarterback is the next most important thing to having a quality QB.

It’s also not about what he’s done, it’s about what he will be expected to do.

And the next time a top pass-rusher comes available, Williams will become the highest-paid in history. A lot of it is dumb luck on the timing and coming free.

Kevin in Richmond writes: Will the Titans still be eligible for a compensatory draft pick if Randy Moss is signed by another team or does his retirement negate that?

Paul Kuharsky: While the compensatory draft pick formula is complicated and secret, it’s intended for a team to be compensated if the free agent losses it suffered outweigh the free agent gains it made.

What loss did the Titans suffer with Randy Moss? They let a guy they didn’t play reach free agency, and he wasn’t signed elsewhere. I can’t imagine he factors into the compensatory draft pick formula on their behalf.

Ryan in Omaha writes: I read up on that article about Josh Scobee possible on the franchise candidacy for Jax and I can't see that as making any sense at all! Can you explain the logic of throwing 2 million dollars to an upper echelon kicker for a year when we could tag Jeremy Mincey or more likely Dwight Lowery for a year and get a lot more bang for that buck, am I right?

Paul Kuharsky: Two million isn’t a lot in relative terms. I don’t see how you can complain about spending $2 million on Scobee and say you’d rather spend $10.6 million on Mincey. Mincey is not worth close to that. Lowery is good and needs to be re-signed. But $6.2 million seems pretty high for him too.

Tony in Austin, Texas, writes: I agree with your assessment that Titans Safety Griffin has been inconsistent and underperforming. But to upgrade, they need someone better to replace him. Do you see any F.A. candidates? Their draft position doesn't lend itself to picking up either of the top 2 safeties without reaching. I think they need to Tag Griffin, no?

Paul Kuharsky: Well two upgrade candidates have disappeared. SF’s Dashon Goldson and Oakland's Tyvon Branch have been tagged. Washington’s LaRon Landry and Jacksonville’s Lowery may still hit the market.

Even if you don’t get one of them: Do you pay Griffin $6 million out of some sort of fear? You don’t think they can find a safety who can play as poorly for say, $3 million?

Kyle in Kihei, Hawaii, writes: Are there NFL rules prohibiting teams from loaning players to other teams? If Peyton is healthy, why not keep him for a couple more years and loan Luck to the Redskins for cash considerations. I can't get Schefter or @JimIrsay to pay attention to me (although the Rams and Eagles scouts said this was a creative idea) so forward this to the Colts brass so they can at least get it rejected by the competition committee themselves.

Paul Kuharsky: What would the Redskins gain by borrowing Luck? They could develop him to hand him back to the Colts only to have a gaping hole at the spot, again?

What would the Colts gain by lending Luck (beside borrowed time for Manning)? A team isn’t going to hand a guy of such value over to a rival to train in different methods, to get hurt in a different stadium, etc.

Can you imagine the Colts playing the Redskins and setting their own pass-rushers free on their loaned-away franchise quarterback?

It works for some international soccer clubs, not for the NFL.

Mr. Marsh in Dallas writes: Wow, I originally thought this was a comparison article. The column started out discussing RG3 and Luck and their interview performances. But somehow it ended up being an propaganda piece for Luck. One more example of why more diversity is needed within the media.

Paul Kuharsky: I presume you are talking about this piece, though you did not specify.

I don’t really get how diversity is at question when I am writing from my point of view and what I believe will be the Colts’ point of view. Luck is better. I believe so. Every scout and coach I have talked to believes so. The Colts are going to draft him, which more than suggests they believe so.

I don’t know why I would pretend otherwise. Writing well of the best guy is now propaganda, huh?

Joe in Louisiana writes: I seen one story about a month ago about Titans fans trying to advertise for Peyton to come back to Tennessee.... is this talk a dead trend or is there still a chance he could come and be a Titan in the state where he had so much success?

Paul Kuharsky: I don’t really understand the state part of it. Surely he could have success in Washington or Florida as easily as in Tennessee, no? I don’t see geography playing any role in linking the previous and future success.

Some fans have pushed for it. The Titans have made it clear it’s not going to happen.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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