Fantasy Four From the Diary of a Wanna-Be GM

Cortland Lee

I had big aspirations of being an NFL General Manager growing up and still some part of me believes it could still happen. An NFL general manager typically earns a six-figure salary with many additional perks and is charge of player movement, hiring (and often firing) of the coaching staff, and overall football operations. It’s a very big responsibility and unless managing a fantasy football team qualifies, I have absolutely no experience. To attain a GM posiition in the NFL you either have the lucky swimmer of an already established GM or owner, or you have to start your way at the bottom as an coach or area scout. Scouts usually have a playing history and a keen eye for individuals they believe to have enough talent to excel. That I have! But……I am not a scout. Sigh.

So I live through fantasy football, twitter spats, and drunken conversations with my friends on who we think will be the next hall of famer. Not until recently did I think, why not show some strain of intelligence on the topic by writing your thoughts down. Ah ha!

Now you get experience my fantasy general manager life through this blog post.

Here are some NFL deals that most likely won’t happen but should be considered:

 

Ryan Mallet to Jaguars for a 2nd round pick

Mallet will be entering the last year of his contract in 2014 and I am sure the Patriots don’t want to have a mulit-million dollar clipholder on the roster. Brady’s recent contact extension makes him a Patriot until 2017 and Mallet is eager to play. Mallet gives Jacksonville a legit signal caller and allows them to trade down into the draft for more picks or take Jadeveon Clowney.

Big Ben to the Chiefs for Alex Smith & a future pick

I am not sure how, but the Chiefs are an instant contender with the addition of the future hall-of-fame quarterback. Big Ben is unhappy with the offense in Pittsburgh and is looking to add to his jewelry collection before the sun sets on his NFL career. Let’s face it – Alex Smith is horrible and won’t take the Chiefs to the promise land. He has one year left on his deal which he signed in San Francisco and the Chiefs are too talented to turn the controls over to an experience quarterback. Both the Steelers and Chiefs will be very near the cap next year so this deal may very well not be plausible but it sure sounds good.

Adrian Peterson to the Falcons for Jaquizz Rodgers & a 1st round pick

Listen, I know the Falcons neglected the pass rush in 2011 to get Julio Jones and this is their chance to get perhaps the best prospect in the last ten years but we are talking about Adrian Peterson. We all know Matty Smirnoff Ice is an average quarterback and guess what, the Falcons know this as well, but they had done a great job surrounding him with weapons. Adrian Peterson is quickly approaching 30 and is on the back end of his prime years. The run game drastically improves and makes Atlanta a contender again. Minnesota gets some value back and is able to rebuild and perhaps replace Jared Allen if he leaves in free agency.

Arian Foster & Andre Johnson to Anywhere

The RB-WR combo will account for nearly 20% of the cap next season. Matt Schaub’s contract will likely be terminated next season meaning the reigns will be turned over to Case Keenum.  Due the Arian Foster’s fragileness, GM Rick Smith will likely be forced to resign RB Ben Tate. This gives Houston a young nucleus of Keenam, Tate, Hopkins, Posey, and Graham (if resigned). Andre Johnson would be a great fit for the New England Patriots young and struggling receiver corp. Johnson could contribute right away while mentoring young wide out Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. Foster is going to be a tough sell to any NFL team due to his durabilty issues and almost $30 million left on his deal. The Cleveland Browns will have a good amount of cap space next year and have a huge hole at the RB position. Foster pass catching skills work well in Norv Turner’s offense provided GM Michael Lombardi finds a signal caller.

Good Job Pacers…But Don’t Stop Here

Cortland Lee

Growing up in Indianapolis, I have watched the Pacers go from awful to contenders, from contenders to perpetual mediocrity; and to now we have a team of young contenders. Although I am not a fan personally, but it is nice having a winning team in the city as it brings excitement to the community and more attention on the city. Attention like this attracts events to the city like the Big Ten Football Championship and Super Bowls.

With that being said, I would like to see them remain contenders by keeping this team together, but that is going to require Donnie Walsh and Kevin Pritchard to get to work. Here are a few things I’d like to see:

Keep the frontcourt together

This is the easiest step but probably the most expensive. Signing Paul George to a max extension is a no-brainer. He is the new face of the franchise and future NBA superstar; he’s basically the Andrew Luck of the Pacers. With Roy Hibbert already locked up, David West’s 2-year, $20 million deal expires June 30th, 2013. Not only has West played big for the Pacers averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in the regular season, but he has been a great leader showing great mental strength and gives the Pacers buckets in rough stretches. He could easily demand a Kevin Garnett-eqse extension (3 years-$36 million) but I am not sure the Pacers can afford it.

Upgrade The Backcourt

Part of the issue here is youth. George Hill-4yrs D.J. Augustine-4 yrs Sam Young-3 yrs Lance Stevenson-2 yrs Ben Hansbrough-R. Since 1999 every NBA Finals has featured the Spurs, Heat or Lakers. All of these teams had great backcourt players: Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Dwayne Wade, Tony Parker, Gary Payton. Adding some veteran guards could help the Pacers off the bench & provide veteran leadership to a young group. Which brings me to my next point…

Upgrade the Bench

Every championship team has a solid bench. The Pacers don’t have one. They don’t have a player on the bench with more than five years of experience or that even averages over double figures. That must change.

Key offseason points to address

Danny Granger has one year left on his contract. The emergence of Paul George makes him expendable. David West, Sam Young, & D.J. Augustine will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Tyler Hansbrough will be a restricted free agent (qualifying offer).

Don’t Hate The Player….Or The Game

Cortland Lee

There’s an old urban saying, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” but I say don’t hate either.

Although Miami Heat Forward and reigning NBA MVP Lebron James didn’t make the latest Forbes Most Hated Athlete List, I am positive he is still in the subconscious hate file of those who have been temporarily distracted by Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o…but why?

Lebron is clearly the best basketball player in the world and I will not argue that point. If you disagree, you are simply wrong. Lebron is on his way to completing 10 seasons of averaging 28 pts-7 rebs-7 asts. He has earned 9 All-Star selections, 7 First-Team All NBA selections, 5 First-Team Defense NBA selections, NBA Rookie of the Year, 4 NBA MVP awards, 2 NBA All Star MVP awards,  and 1 NBA Championship in which he was named Finals MVP.

Usually players are liked and respected simply because of their performance; not the case with Lebron.

So was it “The Decision?”

Did a 75-min national television special where Lebron announced he would be making a job change effect the way fans perceive him? He didn’t refuse to play for Cleveland, he didn’t hold out, nor did he create an issue detrimental to the team.  He signed a contract with Cleveland; he fulfilled his obligations of the contract, and moved on.

How many of you would take a job in Miami, FL with better pay and better opportunities to succeed? You don’t have to answer that.

Job researchers estimate the average American will hold seven different jobs in his/her lifetime. That estimate does not include internal transfers, promotions and demotions either. Oh, you mad he had the decision televised? The show raised $7 million that was donated to various charities. How much money have you raised for charity lately?  

Oh , you say he ruined his legacy by teaming up with Dwayne Wade. Did Moses Malone ruin his legacy signing with the 76ers and winning a championship in Philadelphia with Dr. J? What about Clyde Drexler signing with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston? Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining forces with Paul Pierce? See what I did there?

What’s wrong with the to desire the win? Lebron even took a pay cut in order to play for the Miami Heat in hopes of winning championships.

I have read and heard every excuse under the sun. The truth is, unless he has personally done harm to you, there is really no reason to hate Lebron. I am personally not a fan of Lebron James, but he is a tremendous talent and I respect his game. I don’t cheer for him, but I don’t boo either. Turn off Sportscenter, ignore Nike’s advertising campaigns and think for yourself. You don’t have to be a “witness,” but there is no reason to hate such a great talent.

 

 

 

Urlacher Probably Head to the Hall, But Is He Overrated?

 Cortland Lee

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has announced via Twitter that he will retire from the NFL after 13 seasons, all with Chicago. Urlacher comments, “I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regret.” Urlacher became a free agent at the end of the 2012 season after failing to reach a deal to return Chicago. Urlacher was unwilling to play for a $2 million offer from the Bears.

Urlacher’s eight pro bowl selections, four all-pro selections, and franchise high 1,084 tackles will most likely get him into the Hall of Fame but I am not sure he is truly an elite player. On a team anchored by defense, Urlacher only appeared in the playoffs a hand full of times registering three wins, 32 tackles, four interceptions, and two sacks. Urlacher was very average against the run especially when ran on straight ahead. He also benefitted from good interior lineman who could stop the run and a Tampa 2 scheme; which had him dropping back in coverage a lot, masking his deficiencies. I would argue that Lance Briggs is just as good, if not a better player. Briggs in 10 seasons has amassed 884 tackles, 13 forced fumbles, 17 INTs, and 12 sacks compared to Urlacher’s 816 tackles, 8 forced fumbles, 17 INTs, and 37.5 sacks in his first 10 seasons*

What I am basically saying is that I believe Brian Urlacher is overrated.

He was voted the second most overrated player in the NFL in a Sport Illustrated poll in 2006 by other NFL players. Any decent player who plays middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears will always be revered by the fans and the media due to the history of the team and the success of the position. I simply believe he was put in a good situation with good teammates around him, a good defensive scheme, and good coaching. Simply put, when I think Dick Butkus, Jack Ham, Mike Singletary, and Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas…I don’t think Brian Urlacher.

 

*Statistics from ProFootballReference.com

 

San Francisco, Houston get Super Bowl bids: Who’s next for 2018?

Cortland Lee

The NFL has officially announced sites for Super Bowl 50 in 2016 and Super Bowl 51 in 2017. Super Bowl 50 will be held in San Francisco’s (or Santa Clara’s) Levi Stadium and Super Bowl 51 will be held at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The city of Miami, FL, who has hosted 10 Super Bowls, was due for a bid but has been unable to secure financing for much needed stadium improvements. There are two huge characteristics the NFL likes in Super Bowl host sites: climate and facilities.

San Francisco averages high temperatures are around 60 degrees in February, and the city is building a new $1.2 billion, 1,850,000 square foot facility in Santa Clara. Houston averages highs are 65 degrees and they are expecting to add renovations to Reliant Stadium such as a digital scoreboard and video display that will top Jerry Jones’s Texas Stadium.

So here is our Super Bowl schedule:

Super Bowl XLVIII

Date: Feb. 2nd, 2014

New Meadowlands Stadium

Rutherford, NY.

Super Bowl XLIX

Date: Feb. 1st, 2015

University of Phoenix Stadium

Glendale, Az.

Super Bowl L

Levi’s Stadium

Santa Clara, CA

Super Bowl LI

Reliant Stadium

Houston, TX

Here are some of my ideas for 2018:

Indianapolis, IN (Lucas Oil Stadium)

This is a no brainer due the amount of success the city of Indianapolis had in 2012. Lucas Oil Stadium is a state of the art facility and the city is less than a day’s drive for more than half the continental U.S. Fans loved Indy’s convenient downtown setup and attractions including NFL Village and NFL Experience.

Minneapolis, MN (Metrodome Next)

After success in Indy, depending on how smoothly the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands runs, cold weather cities could begin to bid. The $975 million “Metrodome Next” could be attractive to the NFL Events Committee’s eye. Minneapolis last hosted the Super Bowl in 1992 at the Metrodome. The city has changed a lot since then with the addition of new hotels and shopping centers to the area.

Miami, FL (Sun Life Stadium)

Multibillionaire Dolphins owner Stephen Ross isn’t going down without a fight. He will eventually get his help from the city to upgrade Sun Life Stadium, and when those renovations get done, Miami will be back in the bidding. The city of Miami has hosted 10 Super Bowls, tied with New Orleans for the most of any city.

 

Hey, Michael Vick…Shut up & Play Ball

Cortland Lee

“Those people who are talking and saying that are just ignorant, and they know nothing about football. Unless they turn on the film and watch my game and see what goes on, then they’ll replace those comments with the right comments.”This was Michael Vick’s response on a Philadelphia radio station on last Saturday. His response was sparked from comments he has been receiving from critics regarding his poor play.

Vick and the Eagles have been victims of harsh criticism in the last few years and with good reason. After several winning seasons of football under, then head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles have had back to back losing seasons. In 2010, Vick took over as starting QB and led the team to an NFC East Division Championship and playoff berth. His exceptional play, after just being released from prison less than two years prior, won him 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. A successful season combined with several free agent acquisitions in the summer of 2011, led to the self-declared “Dream Team” nickname that set very high expectations for the team.  The “Dream Team” turned out to be a nightmare after finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs entirely.  The next season was even worse; losing eight straight games and missing the playoffs for a second straight year finishing 4-12.

Vick’s performance during this two-year period hasn’t been exactly stellar either. He only appeared in 23 games due to multiple injuries; went 10-13; threw for 5665 yards; 30 TDs and 45 turnovers. Now, all 45 turnovers were not Vick’s fault, but many were due to poor throws and a lack of ball security.

It starts at the top.

As starting quarterback and leader, you are accountable for the success of the team. It’s time for Vick and the Eagles to put up or shut up. Mike, if you are tired of the critics’ comments, play better! It doesn’t take a football genius to notice that you are playing bad football. We all witnessed your elite level of play in 2010 and your performance the last two years was very far from it. Man up and take responsibility for your poor play and instead of lashing out at critics in the media, show them with your play on the field.

 

 

Don’t Be Dumbbell: My Tips on Public Gym Etiquette

Cortland Lee

For those of you who read this and don’t know me, I am a frequent gym attendee. I’m not giving out any names because they are not paying me to do so but this gym is a big name around the country. I am no profession body builder, but I do consider myself to have some advanced fitness knowledge and pretty decent work ethic. I just want to provide some helpful tips to enhance everyone’s gym experience.

Well…I call them tips; others may call them “pet peeves.”

Front Lobby

Quit standing around the front desk where I check-in because you want gripe about the lack of parking, or because you want to beg the receptionist to let you in and you will pay your past due fees Friday. Nine times out of ten, I have somewhere to be after this workout, and I don’t have time to wait in line behind you in order to check in.

Locker Room

This is my biggest nerve wrecker. YOU ARE NOT AT HOME. The locker room is a public place so please have some discretion and cover yourself when you are not dressing. Do not stand around butt naked carrying on conversations about your how your Roth IRA is tanking. I understand most gyms are set up so that you can shower after your workout and head to work, but when you walk to the shower, wrap that towel you are carrying over your shoulder around your hairy rear! No one wants to see you naked. It’s gross and frankly you aren’t in very good shape.

Workout Floor

I have several points here…

First…I have on headphones, my workout is timed, and I’m jacked up on pre-workout: Now is not a great time to converse.

I am asking you how many sets you have left, but what I really mean is: Hurry up so I can use this machine!

There is only one squat rack and I need to squat, please move your bicep workout to the curl machine.

Working out in jeans and a button-up cannot be comfortable for you and it sure isn’t comfortable for me.

Also, congratulations for pushing yourself, but your excessive grunting does not help the weight get lighter.

That’s all I have.

I hope these tips help you, help us. Leave comments below on tips I missed.