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Sunday, May 3, 2009
Mailbag: 'Shut up and do their jobs'

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Lee from Chandler, Ariz., writes: In regards to Anquan Boldin and Darnell Docket, they need to shut up and do their jobs, for which they are well compensated. There are a ton of us peons who will NEVER make as much money in our lifetimes as they make in one game. I love football and can't wait for September. I don't care if Boldin gets traded or not. He needs to "don't worry, be happy!"

Mike Sando: The Cardinals can bank on lots of people taking that view. I have taken that view at times. A little balance doesn't hurt, though.

  2008: Best of Anquan Boldin
  NFL.com Video
  Check out the top highlights of Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin from 2008.

People less frequently rip teams and owners for pocketing more in 5 minutes than some people will earn in their lifetimes. And we all know teams will not shut up and suffer underperforming players. Teams will release underperforming players and tear up their contracts without flinching.

Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett know they have short and unreliable windows in which to maximize their values. While it is indeed bad form to complain about riches, I think it's fine for players to use the leverage available to them for improving their financial situations. I just think some ways are more agreeable than others.

Boldin has crossed the line or come close to it at times, but he has generally "shut up and done his job" during the season. He was a Pro Bowl player last season. Also, Dockett stepped up and played very well in the Super Bowl.


Craig from Tempe writes: Hi Mike, My question of the Rod Graves and Anquan post was directed at Rod, not Anquan. To be more clear, Do you think Rod Graves has the skills to manage the Cardinals to the next level?

I believe Rod should have addressed the Anquan situation with clarity by either 1) deciding what you want for him in trade and making it happen 2.) deciding you're going to re-sign him for what he wants or not, or 3) deciding if the team is going to stand firm on the contract and say nothing further about the situation to anyone, including the press. Again, I believe Rod Graves is not the one to who can take the Cardinals' front office to the next level. He is holding the franchise back by the way he has handled these players over the last few years and it shows.

Mike Sando: The Cardinals would benefit from a stronger general manager who takes charge publicly in some of these situations, I think. The head coach can certainly benefit when the GM plays the bad-guy role in negotiations, when needed. I thought Whisenhunt could have used a GM to play that role when Boldin criticized him personally before last season. It shouldn't come to that.

In Graves' defense, he presumably manages the team how ownership wants him to manage it. The Cardinals have employed him for more than a decade, promoting him to GM and keeping him in that role.


John from St. Louis writes: Hey sando thanks for taking my question last week. Now i keep hearing the rams didnt take Rey Maualuga (which I'm happy about -- I prefer James Laurinaitis; i think he'll be a great player) because he had off-feild issues. But our third-round draft pick, correct me if im wrong, has a DUI. So my question to you is why say it if you're just going to draft someone the next round with off feild issues? Thanks alot Mike

Mike Sando: You're welcome. First, the Rams haven't said anything publicly about their reasoning on Maualuga, so it's hard to hold them accountable for a discrepancy. Second, any concerns on Maualuga would be relative to Laurinaitis in affecting which middle linebacker the Rams were going to draft in that range. In the third round, the team might have valued Bradley Fletcher far above other prospects, at which point the team was willing to assume the risk.

Also, Rams general manager Billy Devaney said he viewed the DUI as a one-time incident and not reflective of the player's overall character. Teams often say they're more concerned about patterns of behavior than exceptions to patterns of behavior.


Max from Seattle writes: Thanks for keeping us up to date on all of the West movings and shakings ... I just had a thought reading the articles praising Deon Butler's speed and his possible offensive impact, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how his presence on the field every day may strengthen the Seahawks' secondary. They have been prone to giving up the big play, especially to speedy wide-outs, and now with a prototypical speed guy to play against every day, will they be more prepared for some of the leagues other burners?

Mike Sando: His speed can't hurt. I did see Butler catch one in front of Marcus Trufant before breaking into the clear Saturday. Trufant didn't necessarily blow a coverage -- it was not known exactly what the Seahawks were trying to accomplish in the deal -- but Butler did break away quickly. Young receivers are notorious for flashing ability and then fading away over the course of a training camp, specifically during exhibition games, so we'll have to see how Butler maintains his impressive start.


Bobby from Redwood Falls, Minn., writes: Assuming Walter Jones (LT) and Mike Wahle (LG) are healthy, who do you think will start on the Seattle offensive line opening day and why?

Mike Sando: I'll go out on a limb and say Max Unger finds his way into the lineup one way or another. His situation bears watching. With Unger onboard, Chris Spencer can't afford to miss time with injuries. History tells us Spencer will miss time at some point. This time, the Seahawks might have someone ready to take his job.


Drew from Sacramento writes: I have heard a lot of talk of the possibility of trading one of the 49ers' first-round picks for Julius Peppers. While I believe he is an amazing player I do not think this is very logical for many reasons. First, correct me if I am wrong but don't Peppers, Terrell Suggs, and SHawne Merriman all become free agents next year? To me, they are all very similar and would satisfy the need for a pass rusher. This would allow the 9ers to pick up a pass rush wi
thout having to use a first round pick.

I believe that the value of those first round picks next year will be great. As of right now in early projections they are both top 10 picks. With these the 9ers would have the possibility of addressing qb as well as safety considering there are two exceptional players at both positions (Bradford and McCoy, and Berry and Mays respectively). Do you believe this makes more sense for the 9ers addressing their team needs as a whole?

Mike Sando: Yes. I would be reluctant to trade a first-round choice for a player who will also command a massive contract. In this case, Peppers arguably hasn't been consistent enough over the last two seasons to warrant that level of investment.


Oz from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., writes: Mike - You keep giving the 9ers (and to a lesser extent SEA) credit for getting a 1st rounder next year. How that that help them in 09? Shouldn't they try to be competing for the division this year? Isn't it expected that you get a quality player/contributor/starter out of a 2nd round pick?

As a Cardinals fan, I am elated the 9ers traded their 2nd rounder this year. SEA did the same but managed to get back in the round with Unger and even recouped their 3rd with Butler. I think both teams could have done alot more for their prospects for this upcoming year.

I will worry about both teams having a 2010 pick when that time comes. A lot can change. In that vain, I wouldn't be lauding their prospects for their draft until you see what they do in 2010.

Mike Sando: Adding first-round picks in the future is a good thing as long as the price wasn't too high. In this case, the 49ers and Seahawks found value early in the draft while strengthening their positions in 2010. The moves won't help the team if Aaron Curry, Michael Crabtree and the 2010 first-round choices do not meet expectations. I would consider that to be a given, however, and not grounds to disqualify these teams' moves from praise.