Of Cam Newton and an athlete’s loss of innocence

To read my Wednesday column on Cam Newton, click here.

  1. Great central theme! Really smart, very intuitive, and it seems to fit across all sports, across all time. You left so much out there, so many examples, I am left wanting more.

    Who else did you think of?
    Jordan (pre/post James);
    Tiger (pre/post Rachel);
    Steve Young?

    How many guys lose their innocence away from the field and never reach their potential? Aldon Smith?

    What about guys who seem coated in Teflon? Tom Brady

    And guys who get their innocence back and then improve? Alex Smith

    You must have had a really good time as the Panthers pool reporter, glad to see you made something of it. Nice topic, man. Good stuff.

    1. CFC didn’t say why he’s leaving the blog.
      My guess, way too much drama going on here and less football talk.
      HiTop also left. :(

  2. Cam and the rest of his crew got caught up in the hype and were not ready to play. Now that they have been there done that I expect this group will win several. They are a very good well coached team. Did Cam lose his innocence? He rode the smiling, giving footballs to kids after TD’s, dancing in the end zone until Super Bowl Sunday.. Hopefully he realized all that means is nothing when you lose the big dance. League MVP but who perceives him that way right now? Gotta be prepared and focused on Super Bowl Sunday..

    1. Agreed. The entire team, including Cam, appeared to get caught up in the Super Bowl week hype. They didn’t bring their A game, and Denver did. Cam was off target early. J. Stewart was slowed by an injury he suffered in the first qtr. The receivers dropped numerous catchable passes. And every bounce of the football, and every call, went the Broncos way.

      I still believe the Panthers are the better team and if they played 10 games, Carolina would win 7 of the 10. But, the moment got the best of them. Denver’s veteran leadership was probably the difference. Not only do I expect Cam to rebound, I expect the Panthers to be in the Super Bowl conversation again next season.

      1. That game was like a light that shone down and exposed Cam Newton’s character for what it was. Not impossible to recover from, but not easy either….

        1. Being a poor sport and/or an a-hole has little to do with a person being a successful athlete. Pro sports are littered with stars who are more a-hole than anything else. And, by the way, a person doing a ton of charity work doesn’t mean they’re not an a-hole in their day to day life.

            1. I don’t know if you still have the game on your DVR, Razor (or anyone else, for that matter), but take another look at the fumble that Newton didn’t try to recover. Tom Tolbert had an interesting take on that play and I just re-watched the play with his commentary in mind. Tolbert’s thought was that Newton initially thought he was going to scoop the ball up and run with it, but by the time he realized he wasn’t going to be able to he had overrun his chance to dive on the ball. I have to say, looking at the play with that in mind, it’s not completely implausible.

              Thoughts?

              1. When I saw it, the first thing that came to my mind, and I said it to my wife before the announcers made their comments, something to this quote by T. J. Ward, “If he would have touched that ball, I was going to hit him right in his face, and I wasn’t the only one,” Ward told Mike Silver of NFL.com. “We were hungry for that one. We saw that ball and it was like hyenas on an antelope. And I don’t know — maybe he needed to stay healthy for next year.”

              2. When Cam was stripped of the ball, I thought he knew it was on the ground, but was just thinking about how he screwed up instead of diving on the ball to cover it like a grenade to save his fellow guys in the bunker.
                Cam looked disinterested and observational.

              3. Have either of you looked at the play again, with that possibility in mind? BTW, eyewitness accounts, especially those in the heat of a game, aren’t always reliable. If you’ve played anything you know that’s true. An opposing player, who has a heat on against Newton to begin with, isn’t going to necessarily be the most reliable when commenting on something he saw from his angle, once, during live action.

                Having said that, Newton was probably trying to avoid getting hurt. He’ll never tell the truth if he was, so we’ll never know for sure.

                The thing that I couldn’t believe is, after that fumble, when a teammate was called for pass interference on third down he fell on the ground and started rolling around and making faces, as if to say, “how could you blow the game for us?” If I had just fumbled (for the second time), directly accounting for a Broncos TD (for a second time), I would be playing it pretty straight on the sidelines, but not Cam. No way. It’s look at me, all the time, every time.

              4. Ex, yes, I thought that the fall down was pretty bogus. He definitely let his emotions get carried away. Joe Cool would never roll around on the ground like that.
                And yes, not getting hurt was another factor in his hesitancy.

    1. You guys are so hypocritical that it is amazing. You all slaughtered Smith for the same problems that Kap is having. Smith has gone on to be a respectable quarterback and Kap is on a sliding slope. I don’t think that Kap has the capacity to recognize his own faults and really grow into the leader that any team needs. Cam is also a gifted athlete, but neither of them seem to have the maturity to guide a team to a Super Bowl win. Jim Kelly was a great QB, but he could never win the big one. I know, it is a team effort, but the leader also has to have the ability to lead as well as having all the talent in the world.

  3. Whats the fascination is beating down Kaep. Put any QB in Kaep’s shoes with that sieve of Oline the last few years and they would look like Cam did when he was pressured in the superbowl. The coaching staff and management of the 49ers haven’t done right by Kaep. It would be interesting if you wrote objectively and didn’t let your disdain and biases bleed over into your articles. I fear you will be regulated to an observer like the rest of us because the players wouldn’t give you the time of day because they think you will try to do a hatchet job on them. Quite unfortunate because I think you have some talent as a writer Grant.

  4. Cam Newton and the Panthers did not play as well as Payton Manning and the Broncos, by far.

    Manning is a leader; Newton leads only himself.

    That picture of the whole team pointing to the sky, looking for “Superman,” while championship game was still being played shows how much class Newton and Panthers have – none.

    1. True, the Broncos played better than the Panthers, but you should take a closer look at the Broncos’ offensive stats, in general, and Manning’s numbers, in particular. The truth is, neither the Broncos offense nor Manning did very much in the game. In fact, Manning had the lowest QBR of any SB winning QB. Let that soak in… The. Worst. Ever.

      After Sunday’s game, Manning should replace Trent Dilfer as the player mentioned when talking about Super Bowl QB’s who’s team won in spite of their terrible play.

  5. “He (Kap) still is searching for his mouthpiece on the canvas like Mike Tyson against Buster Douglas.” ~ Grant

    I like it. Nice description.

    1. AES,

      IMO: As with so much of Grant’s writing, the analogy in his article seemed pretty good, humorous and on point, even. The problem is, also like so much of Grant’s writing, when you think about it, that analogy falls apart. Equating CK to Tyson in the Buster Douglas fight implies a single event that led to CK’s poor play, when in reality his decline was a slow, steady regression. CK’s decline is more like a tire on a car with a slow leak, you can see it getting lower day to day, but you can still drive ok, up until the time that you can’t.

        1. I wasn’t addressing the issues with the FO, only the trajectory of CK’s regression. Slow and steady, not precipitous, as Grant implied.

          1. I think your slow leak reference applies to Harbaugh’s last year, but as soon as Tomsula took over, the precipitation took over…; > )

            1. Razor, if you’re just trying to be funny, that’s cool, but if your telling me what I’m saying, then I have to take exception.

          2. Ex,
            I took Grant’ analogy as Kap trying to find his way after losing it not so much how he lost it.
            Just my personal take.

            1. AES,

              Understood and you’re obviously entitled to see it how you do. There are lots of ways to look at things. I didn’t mean to sound like I was trying to change your mind, but it probably came off that way.

        1. Well, Cam and Kaep were both drafted the same year and both have lost a SB, so I could see how Grant wanted to associate them together. They both are big and fast, both have similar skillsets and both have gotten rattled.
          Kaep has steadily regressed since then, so the mouthpiece analogy somewhat fits, but I can also see your point of view.

            1. Those minorities, that Grant didn’t notice, don’t ever seem to be able to play QB well enough to satisfy some. They always seem to fall into the “great athlete but …” bucket. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

  6. Buckner recorded an incredible 28 of 76 tackles inside the red zone, including eight on goal-line stands vs. the opposition. Very impressive….

    1. I’d love to get Buckner, but I have read too many reports indicating that he won’t fall past the Ravens.

      1. Might be, the more tape they look at and the fact he played through a wrist injury the last 6 games and didn’t really miss a beat, will only make him a more enticing selection that early….

  7. I knew Denver would rattle Cam because after he built up a 31-0 lead against Seattle, he came off the field yelling -‘I know I am freakin losing my cool!!’ after the Seattle defense made them punt.
    Unlike Joe Cool, Cam crumbled like a cookie.

  8. Grant I swear if you post another Newton article I will hunt you down and shake some sense into you. I believe i’m in the majority here when I say I don’t care in the least how he behaved in his press conference. Please, please, pretty please move on to 9er news.

    1. Old Coach,

      I’ll write Grant’s next article for him:

      Tell me who you would like the 49ers to pick up in free agency, and why?

      Shoot, while I’m at it, I’ll write the next one, too:

      Tell me who you would like the 49ers to draft, and why?

      1. No, George, I am not a genius. Bill Walsh was a genius.
        However, I am smart enough to know that my posting on the site is making you mad, so expect a blizzard of posts.;p

  9. OT, or better yet, On Topic, what are the Niners biggest needs for the draft? What parameters will be the guide for Baalke to use?
    First of all, no red flags. If a player has an ongoing drug problem, he should not be even considered. If he even raised a hand against a woman, he should be considered radioactive. If Spence has conquered his demons and is clean, he MAY be selectable, but only after a thorough vetting process.
    Second, no undersized players like Borland. He was a wasted pick.
    Third, no ACL players, no matter how talented. Stick with healthy players, because they are more durable. I know, I know, some will cite Frank Gore, but he was an exception to the rule.
    Fourth, allow more input. Stop the secret name in an envelope crap. Actually, given that one of Baalke’s entire draft classes was a bust, I hope they let Chip select the first 2 picks, and let Baalke select the rest.
    Fifth, study Bill Walsh and glean from his past drafts what his strategy was and how he assesses players. Try to emulate Trader Bill and shoot for another 86 draft.

      1. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Spence is the best pure pass rusher in this draft. It would not surprise me in the least if Baalke were to make him the surprise pick like Aldon Smith. He’ll need to show well at the combine in pass coverage, something he wasn’t asked to do, and of course alleviate his character concerns. I also think if does all that, he won’t get past the Buccaneers at 9….

      2. Grant

        Leonard Floyd from Georgia is as explosive as anyone I’ve seen on tape, and he is much longer than Spence, and without the past E problem.

        But are you now saying Baalke might draft an Ecstacy addict?

          1. Sen

            I agree about ecstacy, but Grant said Spence was an addict and the 49ers should therefore not sign him.

            I asked someone I know about whether she thinks it’s addictive, and she said, unequivocally yes, from personal experience.

          1. George

            Thanks for that. Maybe the reason he looks so explosive is that he is so light!!! How much did Aldon weigh coming out?

            1. I can’t complain Scooter, thanks for asking. Anxious to get to the combine. I will say a prayer for your good health. I like many others on here appreciate the time you take out to interact and provide your valuable insight….

        1. I’d be surprised if Baalke drafted Spence due to the current number of OLBs on the team and Spene’s past drug problem. That said, I myself wouldn’t be opposed to drafting Spence as you can’t have too many pass rushers.

              1. I just assume he’s gone already :-P

                I’m thinking Lynch, Harold and maybe Tank will stick. Brooks will be let go before FA starts. Lemonier will be a camp casualty. So room for 1 or 2 extra OLBs.

                I’d love them to pick up a guy like Tamba Hali in FA that play 1 or 2 years while they develop an early round pick.

            1. I’m hoping they let Brooks and Lemonier go, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still with the team. After all, Baalke kept Brooks around for the 2015 season despite Brooks being in the doghouse for a good portion of 2014.

              1. MWD

                I think Brooks, Bethea, and Dorsey will be cut to save $$ and continue the youth movement. Brooks is surely a goner, and I think Baalke will do everything in his power to pry Irvin from Seattle. That way, if he does take Spence or Floyd or another EDGE player, he’ll have leverage after the 2016 season when it comes time to offer Lynch an extension. The Baalke way is becoming clear around these parts.

              2. I sure think Brooks will be gone, but I expect them to keep both Bethea and Dorsey. Both guys are on quite reasonable contracts, and this team needs some veteran leadership on D.

                Also, if they cut Dorsey and lose Williams, there will be a pretty big void at NT.

              3. Either would be a mistake. Dial is best suited to playing DE in base 3-4. Yes, he played some NT in 2014 when injury forced the team’s hand, but DE is where they’ve been grooming him. He’s an emergency NT, not a full time NT. And Purcell just isn’t that good. A pre-season hero.

                Why get rid of Dorsey anyway? He’s a cheap vet that can play any of the 3 DL positions in base 3-4, and either DT spot in 4-man fronts. Wouldn’t make much sense to me without a ready made replacement for him.

              4. I think it’s a good bet Dorsey begins the season on the PUP list and we won’t see him until week 6….

              5. Quite possible razor. If they lose Williams it would be a good idea to draft a DL that can play some NT, while also providing potential as an interior pass rusher (a la Hargrave).

              6. Scooter

                I think Dorsey could be retained, for the good reasons you point out below, but I don’t see them keeping Bethea, because doing so would keep Tartt off the field, unless they decide to play with 3 safeties. And Reid is already a team captain, so why keep Bethea? Reid, Tartt, McCray, Ward? I don’t know. It’s interesting.

                They might also be thinking of putting Tartt in at ILB, but that would be a bigger shift than is expected.

              7. I think that big-dime LB/S role is exactly what they envision Tartt playing for the time being. He showed some promise as a safety, but he also made quite a few mistakes. He’s not proven he’s ready for the full time role as yet, and no need to push Bethea out with so much cap space already available. Let him sit and learn for another year. Injuries happen, so he’ll likely get his opportunities.

                Ward will continue to play the slot CB role, as he’s the 49ers best slot CB.

      3. Although, Spence doesn’t fit the body type Baalke covets. So, though it’s in the realm of possibilities, it certainly fits one of their biggest needs, I doubt he’s their man.

        My top 3 guesses @ #7, round 1:

        3) Buckner
        2) Jack
        1) Goff

    1. Borland was a wasted pick because he’s a pus_y, not because he was undersized. In case you weren’t paying attention, I’ll fill you in on something people quickly came to understand………Borland’s instincts made up for his physical shortcomings. He had a sensational rookie season and seamed poised for a fantastic career. Then, rather than holding himself accountable for entering the NFL draft, and pretending to be interested in having an NFL career, he decided to retire after his promising rookie season, and punishing the 49ers for taking a chance on him despite his physical shortcomings.

        1. I didn’t say he wasn’t Seb. I said it had nothing to do with being “undersized” as you seem to think. If it was his lack of prototypical size that was the reason it was a wasted pick, that would be another one on Baalke. It wasn’t. In fact, his instincts more than made up for his physical shortcomings.

      1. Borland should have been sued and held liable for fraud. I was all about that back when it was happening, but nothing came of it. There was no way to quantify the injury to the 49ers, though it was significant.

              1. I actually think they should, but collective bargaining forecloses that possibility. The Borland situation was never even considered, so teams never tried to account for this, but they might in the next CBA. The injury to the team is not limited to the return of the signing bonus only, because of the wasted draft capital, which we’ve seen enumerated in a points system, but never in terms of real dollars. Therein lies the intrigue.

        1. YES HE SHOULD HAVE Sil! Absolutely. Not because he decided to walk away from his career after one season, because of CTE concerns. Because, from what he has iterated, he had those concerns and was leaning towards walking away prior to the draft, and didn’t inform teams of his lightweight ( and pus_y ) intentions! Therefor, he entered into the draft fraudulently, IMO.

          You are spot on again Silicon Chip. Our minds think a lot alike!

          1. The 49ers should have sued him for fraud that is. Because, he was leaning towards walking away prematurely before he even entered the draft!

      2. 49reasons,

        Are you building your own Grant like list of scapegoats? You make it sound like Borland volunteered for a suicide mission and then faked a section eight to avoid completing that mission to your satisfaction.

        1. HT

          There’s plenty of evidence to show that Borland went into the draft process knowing he would only play one year, which he should have disclosed to teams, since there is a 4-year mandatory contract for every draft pick. Signing that document was fraudulent. He should have fully disclosed, then lived with the results, which would have been going into camp with some team as an unstated rookie FA

            1. HT

              Are you a lawyer?

              Actually, my point has all the merit in the world, and it’s an interesting question in the field of sports law, a new question that is being considered precisely because of Borland.

              The breaching party owes the non-breaching party. As proof, I offer you the fact that Borland paid back a prorated portion of his signing bonus to the 49ers.

              1. Borland paid back a prorated portion of his signing bonus because he didn’t play the years the prorated portion of the signing bonus was for. He had no choice but to pay it back and his doing so is in no way proof that he breached contract. He simply retired.

                Everything I read on the subject indicated that Borland started having doubts about playing football after he became a pro and started researching concussions.

              2. Sil, many times players and the team that signs him do not expect the player to fulfill the last years of his contract. Is that proper? Should the team have to pay the player the full amount even if he is slowing down?

              3. ExG

                He started that concussion research when he was at Wisconsin and told his parents he wouldn’t play out his contract before signing it, from my research.

              4. Sil, and the CBA gives the player the right to retire, no matter what the reasons, even though he SHOULD fulfill the complete terms of the contract.

              5. Seb

                Yes, but see the contract formation issue below. You’re also clearly not a lawyer, so it’s not really worth discussing anymore on here.

                Let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about in the abstract:

                In a parallel universe: Joe Montana and Jerry Rice are expected to go #1 and #2 in the 2020 draft. They are head and shoulders above the next best pick, Jim Druckenmiller. The 49ers hold the #1 pick in the draft, Seattle the #2 pick.

                Joe Montana tells his family before the draft that he will only play 1 year because he is worried about concussions. When he is interviewing with teams, he doesn’t mention this.

                On draft day, the 49ers draft Joe Montana, and Seattle drafts Jerry Rice. Both get the mandatory 4-year deal for rookies. All sides are happy.

                After training camp, Joe Montana retires from football, citing his concerns about concussions. This is the first the 49ers have heard of this. Joe Montana never plays a single snap in the NFL. Meanwhile, Jerry Rice, up in Seattle, goes on to break every receiving record in NFL history.

                The 49ers would have drafted Jerry Rice, if Joe Montana had disclosed his intention not to meet his contractual obligations, and to retire after 1 year. Instead, not only do the 49ers miss out on Joe Montana, but they get nothing for that #1 draft pick, when the alternative would have been Jerry Rice. The injury is not just the money paid to Joe Montana (likely reimbursed, prorated), but also the lost draft capital in the career of Jerry Rice.

              6. Sil, I am not totally naive, the CBA was a total cave in to the owners. Maybe they should stop throwing away players once they are hurt because it is a 10 billion dollar business. They do not have comprehensive health insurance, even though players sacrifice their health for a fat paycheck. The CBA is flawed and unfair.
                Borland could not anticipate that Willis would get injured, so he was allowed to play and make a boatload of tackles. If he had sat on the bench, maybe he would have been content to get a paycheck and not take those big hits that made him reassess his position.
                You are right, I am not a lawyer. but a lawyer friend said that there may be litigatory differences and complex nuances, but common sense usually dictates the outcome.

            2. The option to retire is part of every NFL contract. There are no restrictions on that option, but the contracting team holds the rights to the retiring player as long as they wish.

              1. I know, HT, but that’s not what makes Borland’s case interesting. He KNEW when he signed the contract that he would probably only play 1 year, max 2. That makes his declaration that there was an agreement to the 4 years fraudulent. I don’t blame the guy, and I’m not hurting for some sort of justice, I just think it’s a fascinating question that will gain become increasingly significant as the concussion issues become more prevalent.

              2. Maybe Jed should inspire loyalty by being loyal. Borland saw how the Niners dropped players like a piece of trash, and just did not want to be cut on the team bus.
                Ye shall reap what you sow.

              3. You seem to let what you personally think was in Borland’s mind, when he signed his contract, have some significants. What may or may not have been in Borland’s mind has no significants where NFL retirement is concerned. Retirement is carefully covered in NFL contracts and is always an option unlike military commitments. Maybe you are confused by the military “tone” of football.

                The difference between Borland and some well known players, present and past, it that he was serious and acted on his own judgement as soon as he made up his mind. He was not pulling a Marshawn Lynch or a Brett Favre.

              4. HT

                I only know what I’ve read about what Borland said was in his mind when he was going through the pre-draft process, which I stated.

                Retirement is not the issue. What I’m talking about is the subject of contract formation, which is a legal issue. If Borland misrepresented himself in the formation of the contract, then the opposing party, in this case, the 49ers, have legal recourse. You’re clearly not a lawyer, so I don’t expect you to get this, but it is what it is.

              5. Razor

                Welcome to the discussion!!! You’re also clearly not a lawyer, so you probably should stick to what you’re good at…




              6. I’m not a lawyer.

                What I understand is that the NFL employs lawyers to protect their interests with great vigor.

                If Borland’s thoughts about concussions at the time of signing his rookie contract constituted a breach of that contract, why hasn’t the NFL filed for damages? They could have him thrown in debtor’s prison if this was seventeenth century England.

                Both sides must abide by their CBA agreement. The owners can cut a player at any time as long as they abide by the contents of that individual player’s contract. The players can retire at any time as long as they abide by the contents of their individual contract.

                In Borland’s case. he earned every penny he was paid under his contract. Then, between seasons, he retired. Borland did not at any time breach his contract.

                What you suggest sounds more like a one way loyalty oath that you wish existed. Maybe rookies should be required to place on hand on a bible, the other hand on their hart, and swear to not retire until their entire contract has been fulfilled.

                You might as well maintain that the 49ers and the NFL should sue Aldon Smith for breaching his contract.

              7. We are to assume that Silicon Chip is a lawyer versed in NFL player contracts, and that he may want those contracts made more punitive toward the players.

                So be it. I pass.

              8. Looks like I came late to a fun discussion.

                I have to agree with Sil (E), both in the broad sense that Borland’s situation raises some interesting contract issues, and to a slightly lesser degree in the narrower sense that the facts are suggestive of an action for fraud (although it would not be an easy case).

                Contract law, speaking very generically, turns on two major ideas:

                1. Whether an objective observer would conclude that two or more parties intended to be bound to perform (or to abstain from performing) some action which they were not otherwise bound to perform (or abstain from performing). It is a bit more complicated than this with respect to what can be a contract, what promises are enforceable, what constitutes consideration, etc, but the above is enough for this discussion.

                2. Whether a party relied to their detriment on the promises of another party either in making or performing a contract.

                Here, the first is a given, but the second is at issue. If Borland offered overt assurances that he intended to play football, and if he knew at the time that those overt assurances were false and he offered them with the intent to deceive, and if the 49ers relied to their detriment (lost opportunity cost of drafting a different player) on such assurances, and that these assurances were a primary factor in the 49ers choosing to draft Borland, then it is possible that Borland could be held liable for fraudulent misrepresentation in the formation of the contract. This is not an easy case to make, however, as the finder of fact would have to determine the elements of tortious fraud as well as determine whether the 49ers reasonably relied on any assurances from Borland. Further, if there were no overt assurances offered or requested, then there may be no fraud by omission even if Borland knew he did not intend to play out the contract. Such omissions may run afoul of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, but then it is necessary to show Borland knew with substantial certainty he would not play out the contract, not just that he knew it was possible.

                Whether he would be liable for breach of the contract is an easy issue in that he clearly breached the contract with respect to the remaining term of the contract. However, most of these types of personal service contracts will include some type of liquidated damages (such as buyout clauses) that allow for early termination with a set penalty. This does not even include that the NFL rules (which are themselves part of a different type of contractual relationship) impose conditions on the player contracts, including forfeiture and repayment of signing bonuses, restriction against signing with other teams, etc. So, while Borland could terminate the contract at will, do so did not free him of any responsibilities for breaching the contract. And yes, this is an inequity under the current CBA, but that is what the players agreed to in return for shorter offseason workouts and restricted practices.

                Finally, to address HT’s question as to why the NFL would not take action against Borland, the answer is simple. Borland’s breach was of his player/personal service contract with the 49ers. The NFL is not a party to that contract, nor is it a third party beneficiary under the law, and only a party to the contract or an intended third party beneficiary under the contract may sue for fraud in the formation or for breach. The 49ers would have to sue. However, it would, in my opinion, not be a very productive lawsuit. The intent to deceive might be a difficult claim to support, even at the low threshold of preponderance of the evidence. Further, the 49ers would likely have to show that he made assurances on which they reasonably relied rather than just failed to make assurances. Also, damages would be hard to measure, given the nature of the draft, and the remedy would be limited to money damages, which is of little help with respect to an opportunity cost like a wasted draft pick. Thus, the team has little incentive to litigate an isolated incident, such as Borland’s, even if they would achieve a ‘victory’.

                What will be interesting is to see if such incidents become less isolated in the future. If so, some team will try a test case.

              9. HT

                I don’t know why you have such disdain for what is becoming an issue in sports law circles. I’m not making this stuff up. It wouldn’t be the NFL lawyers who would sue Borland, it would be the 49ers. The issue at question is how to quantify damages in terms of draft capital.

                Obviously, nobody is going to actually sue the player for protecting his health, especially not under the current concussion-focused, safety-first NFL atmosphere. The backlash would be driven by outrage, i.e., akin to the outrage you’re expressing. But again, I’m not advocating for anything, just posing the question.

              10. My only question is…
                how exactly could the 49ers be expected to prove that Borland knowing misrepresented his intentions at the time he spoke with the 49ers? I would argue that their is no way the 49ers could win this case and they know it.

              11. Shoupbj,

                The thing to remember is that the burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence. All the plaintiff would have to show is that it is more likely than not that fraud (an untrue statement offered with knowledge that it was untrue and with the intent to deceive in order to induce an action or to cause another party not to take an action) occurred in a situation that resulted in detrimental reliance prior to the formation of the contract. It really is not a difficult threshold to overcome. Further, a ‘smoking gun’ is not necessary. Fraud with respect to civil actions can be shown by direct evidence (emails, for example), testimony (statements made to others, which would be non-hearsay as admissions of a party opponent), or inference from subsequent actions.

                The information that is widely available from Borland and his associates is likely already sufficient for a claim of fraud to survive a pre-discovery dismissal action on failure to raise a claim. Whether sufficient evidence exists to prevail would be established during discovery, which is a standard practice in civil litigation. Not bringing a contract action is usually not so much a calculation of likelihood of prevailing as it is a calculation of whether the available remedy warrants the costs of proceeding to the point of determining sufficiency of the evidence.

              12. Silicon,

                I found a PFT article that discussed Borland’s decision to quit football. In this article it was reported that Borland told his family that he may not play in the NFL beyond one year before the season started. There was no indication whether or not this happened before or after he was drafted and signed his contract.

                Having said that, given his actions, it’s likely he was at least having some doubts about playing in the NFL before being drafted. So I definitely see your point.

                The queston is, does having some doubt about playing through a contract enough to constitute fraud? This is not to say it’s not possible that Borland had a strong feeling he was going to play only one or two seasons before being drafted, just, that given the evidence, it doesn’t seem knowable.

            1. He did cost the 49ers. He cost them 3 years of the draft capital of a 3rd round draft pick in 2014. Measuring that draft capital is the nebulous issue.

              It will be covered in the upcoming CBA, I expect.

              1. “It will be covered in the upcoming CBA, I expect.”

                Yes, and the players will let the teams push through their version in return for better meals and a half-fay off every other week.

              2. JPN

                Welcome to the discussion. Was wondering when you might show up.

                Shocking how little the players are compensated in the scheme of things. Shocking that they don’t at least demand premium health coverage for life for everyone ever given a contract of any kind in the league.

                Have you read “NFL CONFIDENTIAL True Confessions from the Gutter of Football?” by David Molk (C, Eagles), er, I mean Johnny Anonymous?

              3. I have not read it, Sil; I will have to have a look.

                I have read the CBA, and I was astounded how much player discipline authority the players ceded to the NFL and how much inequity in player contracts they allowed for not much more than what I would view as some comfort/luxury items for current players and a rather pedestrian health care package for retired players.

              4. The CBA is very disappointing. Wasn’t that DeMaurice Smith? You’d think the NFLPA would get a better deal, but maybe Goodall really is Emperor Palpatine, er, I mean Snope.

                I haven’t read that book yet either. I’m looking forward to it. And you’re excused for that typo.

              5. As I said, I’m not a lawyer, and almost never see the world in any way similar to a lawyer’s point of view.

                If I were a lawyer I might wonder how anti trust law plays into the draft. Oh, right. Congress and the Supreme Court are controlled by male want to be football players. And no fan wants billionaire owners competing in a free market for players. ;-}

                It’s seems like I allowed the “coward” post to color my view of the intent of your initial comment on this topic.

                Most current players are immortal, so it’s hard to get their attention focused on those that came before them, or on their own fate once their football career’s are finished.

              6. “If I were a lawyer I might wonder how anti trust law plays into the draft.”

                HT, the NFL is essentially a trade/service organization (which is why they were tax exempt until they voluntarily gave it up last year). It is comprised of the members of the organization (the franchised teams). Thus, it and the teams are the same, and by their willingness to be members, the owners of the teams voluntarily agree to be bound by the organization’s rules. Thus, they impose the draft structure upon themselves, and thus there is no anti-trust issue (so long as their is no collusion of part of the owners against other owners).

                From the player’s side, prospective players volunteering to subject themselves to the rules of a sanctioning body does not implicate anti-trust law as they are free to choose other leagues. Further, the mere fact that no other major football leagues exist in the U.S. does not create an anti-trust issue with respect to player choice to enter the draft.

                An anti-trust issue would arise if the NFL was using its market power to coerce players not to choose an alternative league, to coerce cities and/or private venues not to sign agreements to host teams from an alternative league, or to coerce TV networks not to broadcast the games of an alternative league (this was the major issue in the USFL v. NFL case, a great history of which can be found here: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/sugarman/Sports_Stories_USFL_v_NFL__-_Boris_Kogan.pdf). As it stands now, the NFL has no competitors that could bring an anti-trust action from the outside, so absent a showing of collusion by a group of owners against the other owners, or collusion by the owners against the players (which likely won’t happen because the CBA gives the league broad powers to restrict player salaries and movement), the NFL is pretty much outside anti-trust law. The mere fact that true composition does not exists is not relevant by itself. It would only be relevant if the NFL unfairly used its market power to prevent competition.

              7. I hate how far back I had to go to post in this discussion thread!

                Thanks for the anti trust explanation JPN. I was also wondering that if there is no anti trust issue involved in the draft or which cities get teams or in any other aspect of NFL business practice, why did pressure from congress cause the NFL to relent on their long standing black out policy?

                At the moment I can’t imagine the 49ers winning any case against Bowman in a Santa Clara County court room. ;-}

                There are times when “the law” takes the blindfold off of Justice and places her thumb on the scales.

              8. HT,

                I neglected to point out an essential point – namely that the NFL does have a limited antitrust exemption that allows it to exist without competition. As long as it does not use its market power to prevent competition, it enjoys its antitrust exemption with respect to being allowed to exist as a single entity rather than being broken up (as AT&T was).

                With respect to the draft, it is does not run afoul of antitrust law because the members of the NFL (the teams) and the players both voluntarily agree to abide by it (league bylaws + CBA). There was an antitrust lawsuit filed in 2011 during the period when the old CBA had expired and no new CBA existed, but it was mooted when the new CBA was ratified.

                The same is true with respect to location of teams – the owners agree to follow the rules when they join the NFL.

                Congress has threatened the antitrust exemption with respect to blackout policies, but the most recent issue was that the FCC repealed its rules regarding blackout of NFL games. The NFL can still enforce its own blackout rules so long as those rules are part of the NFL’s contracts with the TV networks, but they no longer have the FCC backing.

      3. 49erreasons I have to disagree with you here, watch Borland play both with the 9ers and Wisc. he was no p_ssy. He just didn’t want to end up like Mike Webster.

        1. My problem with Borland isn’t that he walked away from a lucrative career. It’s that he entered the draft knowing that he was likely going to walk away prematurely. He let both his teammates, and the organization that believed in him, despite his physical stature, down!

          He clearly doesn’t love the game, and live for the game, like all successful NFL players do. So, he should have not entered the draft. Instead, he should have signed as a free agent, as not to cost his team valuable draft stock, not to mention, leaving them in a quandary, without the means to replace him properly.

          Maybe pus_y is the wrong word. He was a FRAUD, how’s that?

          1. Your comments are quite laughable. There are a good number of former players that gave their all in the game and have paid dearly for it healthwise after they hung up their cleats. Just because Borland chose to not risk that type of lifestyle doesn’t make him a quitter, a fraud, or any deragatory term you can come up with.

            1. If he knew he would likely walk away in short order, he should have been upfront about it.

              I respect his concerns about CTE. But he shouldn’t have entered the draft if he knew he’d be walking away in a couple years or less. Yes, in my book, that’s fraud. He entered the draft under fraudulent terms.

              1. Did he know? I know that he had already begun researching concussions and CTE at Wisconsin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t fully committed when the 49ers drafted him or that he knew he would only play for a year or two.

              2. I don’t understand why everyone is saying he should have told the niners anything. If the niners never asked the question that is on them. If he wasn’t sure but wanted to give it a shot to see how he holds up is does he need to reveal this?

                On the flip side contracts are often signed that are backloaded. In this case both the player and team often know that the final years will never be seen. But, is it the obligation of the team to advise the player that there is a high likelyhood that they will cut the player before the contract escalates? And is it fraudulent if the team doesn’t disclose that they intend to cut said player before the final years hit?

                In this case they player tried it, decided it wasn’t good for him long term and walked away, giving back the majority of this signing bonus and his remaining salary.

                Why are we so upset with this? And how is this worse than what Cleveland has with Johnny Football or worse, what Boston had with Len Bias?

              3. “If the niners never asked the question that is on them. If he wasn’t sure but wanted to give it a shot to see how he holds up is does he need to reveal this?”

                As I stated above, if the 49ers did not seek assurances and Borland did not make any, then it becomes a more difficult case. However, there is a implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing that is an aspect of any contract formation. If Borland knew (an important state of mind) that he would not play more than a limited portion of the required rookie contract term but he failed to make that known in a situation in which the omission would be a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (such as if the other party to the contract relied to that party’s detriment), then he could be found liable for breaching the implied covenant (and note, this is different from fraud, which would likely require false assurances be made).

                With respect to so-called back-loaded contracts, the issue is not whether the parties contemplated the contract ending earlier or not, but whether the contemplation was known during the contract formation. NFL player contracts are allowed to include early termination clauses. This is a known condition and is not hidden or omitted by the team. Further, early termination clauses may include liquidated damages amounts, meaning the value of the breach is pre-agreed upon and determined in the contract. The early termination is still a breach, but it is a breach that has been contemplated by the parties. This is a different issue than a known future breach contemplated by one party prior to formation but not communicated to the other party or memorialized in the contract.

              4. “In this case they player tried it, decided it wasn’t good for him long term and walked away, giving back the majority of this signing bonus and his remaining salary.”

                Correct – he breached his contract then followed the early termination provisions of the contract (and the CBA, which governs the terms of the contract). The issue is not the breach. The issue is the formation, and what, if any, assurances were made. and what, if any, detrimental reliance resulted. These are two separate issues.

              5. JPN,

                I wasn’t arguing the legality in this case, just questioning why so many are upset regarding something that is pretty much part of doing business in the NFL.

                As to the contracts. I fully understand that they have out clauses but that wasn’t why I brought it up. I was merely drawing a parallel as both sides could in theory claim wrongdoing.

                I would argue the simple reality is that this is not a fight the NFL would want to pick. They are winning on most every front of terms of player signings, so why would they want to potentially open this up for review? Especially when its a singular incident that could make the shield look bad when brought under the spotlight.

              6. ” I was merely drawing a parallel as both sides could in theory claim wrongdoing.”

                The proposed parallel is illusory.

                “I would argue the simple reality is that this is not a fight the NFL would want to pick.”

                This is not the NFL’s fight as they are not a party to player contracts. This type of issue would arise between a team and a player.

              7. So you don’t think the NFL would care about a player contract dispute that is bound to give them a ton of negative publicity and continuously bring media attention to its concussion issue? I find that hard to believe. Even if they are not supposed to step in, its hard for me not to imagine they wouldn’t say anything to the York’s.

                Not trying to be a smart ass, but I am curious about this.
                Since Borland gave back the portion of his salary owed, and the majority of his bonus, what would the niners be arguing he defrauded them of? If its the draft pick I’m assuming they would need to place a monetary value on it? If so would it then need to be argued that his intention was to defraud them of the draft pick?

                BTW I went back and looked some of the old articles. From what I have read Borland admitted to concerns but wasn’t that frightened of concussions until he took a hit from Will Tukuafu in training camp. That’s when he advised his parents he probably wouldn’t be able to play for long. This might also explain why the niners didn’t pursue the a fraud case.

              8. ShoupJ

                The goal of this type of civil law claim is to recover damages. The fascinating question, which you accurately identify, is how to quantify the lost value of the Rd 3 draft pick for 3 of the 4 years. The fact (if proven) that Borland omitted or misrepresented the material fact that he never intended to live up to the terms of the contract, coupled with the 49ers reliance to their detriment (the loss of a player who made no material misrepresentation), might be measured in the production of that player, or better stated, the draft capital of a Rd 3 pick from 2015-2017 seasons.

                This is what makes the question interesting. The NFL is not a party to the contract, and therefore has no claim in the law suit. You are correct that the negative publicity would hurt the NFL (moreso the 49ers), but this is incidental, and there is tortious conduct or breach that would give rise to damages.

              9. “So you don’t think the NFL would care about a player contract dispute that is bound to give them a ton of negative publicity and continuously bring media attention to its concussion issue? I find that hard to believe. Even if they are not supposed to step in, its hard for me not to imagine they wouldn’t say anything to the York’s. ”

                The NFL almost certainly would care. They would just not be a party.

                As for reports, they offer sufficient evidence to bring an action. Whether evidence exists to prevail would be determined in discovery (which is much more thorough than reading past articles). As I wrote above, the determination is less on whether prevailing is likely as it is in whether the remedy is worth the effort. And as Sil points out, that is a difficult determination to make.

              10. “If so would it then need to be argued that his intention was to defraud them of the draft pick?”

                No, Borland would not need to intend to defraud them of a draft pick. The issue is fraud in the inducement of the contractual relationship. The injury would be lost opportunity due to the 49ers detrimental reliance. The mere act of giving fraudulent assurances (if there were any) on which the other party relied is sufficient without the person offering the fraudulent assurance intending to any particular injury to the other party.

              11. Silicon,

                Could Borland then argue that there was a high probability that a 3rd rounder would be worthless as Baalke was drafting :)?
                Baalke’s counter argument being that 3rd rounds have been one of his better rounds given Bowman, Culiver, and Borland were drafted there.

              12. “Could Borland then argue that there was a high probability that a 3rd rounder would be worthless as Baalke was drafting :)?”

                I know you are joking, Shoupbj, but yes, that would be a legitimate argument as to the value of the lost opportunity. Well, not just Baalke’s drafting, but the uncertainty of the draft in general. That is part of why the damages issue is the important factor, not the likelihood of prevailing. The 49ers might prevail and end up with almost nothing to show for it (or, if the court did not award costs, actually pay out more to litigate than the value of the damages).

              13. JPN,

                The fact that is doesn’t involve the NFL directly may be legally correct, but to think that in the world of the NFL that the NFL isn’t deeply involved in this issue is incomplete.

              14. “The fact that is doesn’t involve the NFL directly may be legally correct, but to think that in the world of the NFL that the NFL isn’t deeply involved in this issue is incomplete.”

                They are two separate issues, and the latter has no place in a legal analysis. Its place is in a strategic analysis, which is not always the same as the legal analysis. ;)

  10. Eric Branch – in his recent article, link below – suggests that the 49ers should use the same approach as Denver to build a championship team – that is mostly via free agency. Yet, Baalke is on record as saying “you build through the draft. You supplement your roster with free agency.”

    Baalke’s strategy works only if you draft well and we all know his draft track record isn’t that great. The way to overcome shortcomings of drafting prowess is to bet on proven players via free agency. They have the cap space now and there are damn good free agents available this year. Let’s see what they do … interesting times are ahead.

    http://www.sfgate.com/49ers/article/Do-it-like-Denver-How-49ers-could-follow-6815674.php

    1. I think Baalke should fill out the depth with second tier F/A’s and signing their own. Then use this draft to target guys like Spence, Ryan Kelly, Carroo, Antonio Morrison, Hargraves and Vernon Adams….

          1. I can only give you what I like in the first round. Stanley, Buchner, Jack. I like your pick of Kelly, after all I been on board with a center pick last year and more so this year. I didn’t like Adams at Oregon but I think my dislike stems from the transfer more so then his ability. He learned the Oregon system in two weeks and at times looked very very good. The thing I like most about Adams is he is familiar with the system. He is also mobile and has a good arm. Seems to me it would be a good fit for the Niners/Chip.

            I am old school and still believe defenses win championships so I tend to draft in first two rounds defense. Stanley is an exception.

            1. Right now, NFL draft prospects rates Kelly as the 35th best pick in the draft. All I know is, he didn’t give up a sack in 2 years, agile and able to target blocks on the move, extremely intelligent. I think he’d have the best chance to supplant Kilgore in this years training camp….

              1. What I have seen the Redskins might take him in the third. I do like him and I do value the position, I wouldn’t be upset with a second round pick.

              2. I do not agree to invest a second rnd pick in a center. I think Kilgore is a solid starter with Martin who has a chance to be very good once he improves his strength. He is only 22 years old. It takes times for kids that young to develop. Fix the line through free agency and continue to draft defensive players. That’s what Balke does very well. If A Davis comes back it’s HUGE! I think Thomas replaces Boone and will be very good. I think that knee injury was a lot worse then antispated.. This line has potential to be very good. Let’s not forget how well T Brown played. Slide A Davis to RG..

              3. Kelly may be intelligent, but if he’s extremely intelligent they probably shouldn’t draft him. He might conclude, after playing for one year, that retirement is his best life option. ;-}

              4. Martin is young, but I haven’t seen anything to give me hope other than his youth. Kilgore has played maybe 12 games in 2 years. Kelly in my opinion would be a significant upgrade. Wouldn’t surprise me if Ryan, along with other Tide players were discussed while Chip was visiting….

              5. Martin was also playing with Garbage around him most of the year. I will even include Boone as playing very poorly at times. There is a lot of responsibility for a center. Especially a 21 year old last year.. I guarantee you grows a lot this year. A better proven O line coach will help too.

              6. He also only had a year of experience at the position. He’s susceptible to swim moves and still has balance issues and trouble mirroring defenders and consequently over extends to hit them. I’m leaning towards bust on this guy because he hasn’t improved whatsoever. He’s horrible. Kelly has had 3 years starting at center and has been the quarterback of the offensive line. He would solidify the position and ensure there’s a pocket to step up in and deliver the ball….

              7. I guess we will find out but you can bank on the Niners not drafting a center in rnd 2.. There are important needs.

              8. I loved your idea of Spence in Rnd 1.. You mentioned it before anyone and I think your on to something. Obviously free agency is going to tell us a lot going forward to the draft. I believe if they go Spence or even Jalen Smith who progressing very well from what I hear. I think Balke will lean on chip for a Wr.. Two guys to keep in mind are Doctson and Boyd.. I think both got a shot to be number 1 wrs. It might take a trade up to the mid 20s to get Doctson. I see trading up this year more then any other year since Balke has been in charge. Expect the Niners to be aggressive this year.

              9. The 49ers already have a number two receiver in Smith, and that’s how I view Doctson. I wasn’t big on Boyd but Scooter really likes him. That’s good enough for me, but I really like Carroo, who I think has a shot at being a number one….

              10. Boyd is underrated in my opinion.

                Actually, that’s probably not correct. I think he is correctly graded as a borderline round 1, but more likely top of round 2 prospect. I just think there are a couple of WRs rated ahead of him that are overrated.

            2. Ya scooter knows his stuff as do you. I have watched tape on Caroo and he looks smooth. Nothing real special about him though. Smelter could be a wild card. He looks very promising on tape at Georgia tech. I like Treadwell but I worrie about his speed. Plus can you really take him over a spence, Buckner, smith or Jack. I don’t think so.

              1. Does Anderson, DeAndrew White, and DeAndre Smelter are all going to make the 49ers 53, along with Torrey Smith. That leaves 2 spaces available, if Chip does as he normally does and carries 6 WRs.

                FA(s)?
                Another guy currently under contract(s)?
                Draft Pick(s)?

                Choose any 2.

              2. You also have to look at what Walsh said about drafting D and O players. He said D players tend to be better sooner because they’re playing with instinct and athleticism, which exist independent of scheme and coaching. He said O players tend to take more time to develop. That’s not to say O players shouldn’t be taken in the 1st Rd, but for a team like the 2016 49ers, there is more value in taking an immediate difference maker, either at EDGE, ILB, or DE/DT.

        1. I’m predicting that Adams will be considered a second or third round pick after the Combine and his pro day.

          1. I think the earliest Adams get drafted is the late third but most likely the 4th. Not too many teams will take a flyer on him cause there is very little tape. I think the Niners will target him in the 4th.

            1. The tape that is available shows a confident field genral Rebuild. The only area of concern that I have noticed so far is that Adams can be a little off target with his throws at times.

              1. I like the way the ball explodes off his hand when he throws too. Nice and tight spiral. He already shows the poise in the pocket and the presence of mind to look off and shoulder fake….

              2. That pretty much sums up my field general quote Razor. I would also add that he shows leadership while on the field. His draft comparison is Russell Wilson, but I see a mix of Drew Brees and Russell Wilson when I watch his tape. Adams is fast becoming my draft crush.

              3. MW and Razor I agree 100 percent with you guys about Adams. He has that “it” factor. I’m a big supporter of kaep especially in Chips system but if we move on from him and draft Adams to groom behind gabbert I will be pleased. I hope our FO share the same mind set.

      1. Hayne’s neck will not protect his brain from following Newton’s First Law of Motion.

        Thou musn’t recoverth thy fumble?

  11. I don’t get this column. After being #1 pick and a few years of not living up to it, called a bust by many, wasn’t this season already Cam’s comeback? He has demonstrated he can pick himself off the mat. The loss is likely just a bump in the road on what will probably be a long career of highs and lows.

    1. There is always that segment of the public that needs to trash someone. I personally enjoy picking on Baalke and Jed. The only troubling aspect of that for me is that they never notice me pecking at their ankles.

  12. All this Newton brouhaha reminded of Peyton’s infamous quote after playoff loss: “I’m trying to be a good teammate here, but we had problems with protection.” So much the team player!
    And then there was the loss to the Saints in Super Bowl 44, where he didn’t shake hands with Brees, Payton or anyone else – instead making a bee line for the Colts’ locker room.

    1. Or maybe Cam could have gotten his girlfriend to channel her inner Gisele – “my boyfriend cannot f—king control the ball and catch the ball at the same time”

    1. Two position groups I see changing right off the bat. CB with Apple moving into the second position and LB with Lee moving ahead of Ragland. Impressed he has my guy Willie Beavers rated at 5 in the OT position. Was hoping he’d be there in the third round but not so sure now….

  13. DiAndre Campbell is a possible addition to the 49ers 53-man roster in 2016. A native of Oakland, CA, he stands 6’2″, weighing 206 pounds, and covers 40 yards in 4.5 seconds. He is only 24 years old, and this will be his second year with the 49ers. He recently reflected on Black History Month:

    “The Black Panther Party was started in Oakland in 1966 to uplift and empower the communities and minority groups that didn’t have a voice. Their 4 desires were EQUALITY in Housing, Education, Employment, and Civil Rights. They were claimed to be Public Enemy Number One by the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover and a threat to the US Government while they made great strides in implementing programs to help out local communities. From the Free Food Program to help feed those who couldn’t afford to feed themselves to Free Medical Health Research Clinics to provide basic health care for those who could not afford it, they made a huge impact in a positive way for over 200,000 people in the Oakland and San Francisco area.”

  14. The nicer, kinder, Seb, after apologizing to Grant and stating he will change his ways…
    Now this.
    Seb, you are a hypocrite.

    sebnynah

    February 10, 2016 at 10:23 am

    No, George, I am not a genius. Bill Walsh was a genius.
    However, I am smart enough to know that my posting on the site is making you mad, so expect a blizzard of posts.;p

    1. TrollD, get a clue. I put a ;p after, so I was JOKING. I have not sent a blizzard of posts, but with you, I might make an exception.

  15. Meet the new Seb, Same as the old Seb, after vowing to Grant he’d change his posts:

    A frivolous old Bishop from Rome
    Spent a million to spruce up his home
    Every Sunday at eight
    He’d pass around the plate
    After preaching prudence from his tome

      1. It’s the magic of Chip Kelly or maybe Colin got picked for the Pro Bowl in 2012, but was otherwise busy. I can’t imagine including any thing about the Pro Bowl in a topic headed by Bold NFL Predictions.

      1. Yep. Irvin scares me as a FA option because the likely cost simply doesn’t match his level of play so far in his career. I don’t mind spending that sort of money on a guy like Malik Jackson who has been one of the best 3-4 DEs in the NFL the past couple of seasons, but not on an OLB that has yet to prove he’s more than a complementary pass rusher.

      1. HT

        The article, if you read it, and Bennett, if you’re familiar, illustrates that Irvin’s value might be measured by more than just number of sacks.

        Look at Von Miller; his ~14 sacks are impressive, but equally impressive are his coverage skills and his nose for the ball in creating fumbles.

        Maybe Irvin brings that too.

    1. And people were balking about overpaying Malik Jackson? At least Jackson has shown he can be a force even without the gaudy stats. Irvin’s output meanwhile has been pedestrian at best since he entered the NFL.

      1. I’m on record saying the 49ers should sign both Jackson and Irvin, at $9M and $7M respectively, or something like that. They can afford it. If Irvin doesn’t want that, fine. There are more DTs and DEs available too. Jaye Howard.

    2. Why does everyone like this guy so much? 22 sacks in 4 seasons with that secondary, with 5.5 last year?
      It doesn’t seem like the productions matches the hype.

      1. ShoupJ

        I personally like the idea of taking Irvin because he is an important piece in the Seahawks defense. He is always around the ball in all the games I’ve watched, and he has received top-tier coaching during his brief NFL career. Michael Bennett is the terror on that defense, but as pointed out above, Irvin has been learning the same multi-faceted skill set, and would be a dynamic piece in any defense that uses disguise as a major component. Irvin also fits an ideal physical mold, and is still young.

        Add to that the fact that Baalke wanted him badly (it is reported), and you have good reason to believe it might happen.

  16. Dee Phiant

    What a great read that was! Thanks for sharing. I always knew Peyton was a terrible postseason QB, an all-time choker, and obviously a d-bag of the highest order (Papa John’s, really? Have you no taste? Have you no dignity? John Schnatter is a horrible human being) when it came to his marketing persona. That “Budweiser” shilling he did was so funny. Sure, he’s got a lot of money, but he is a terrible person.

    I recently learned about that sexual harassment incident, but I was unaware that he doubled-down against her in a book. I also didn’t know that he used thugs to get the HGH distributor to clam up. Lots of good stuff in that article.

    Peyton Manning is a schmuck and a fraud.

      1. I’ve heard he is a completely different guy outside of the public eye. The proverbial snake in the grass.

        Not to mention how horribly he played QB this season. The Broncos won despite Manning, that’s for sure.

    1. I’m not going to comment on Payton, but it was pointed out that while Budweiser was very happy about what Payton had to say, they didn’t pay for his plug. It seems that Payton owns two Budweiser distributorships and was pugging his own businesses.

  17. After some reading over on ganggreennation.com, they expect that if Wilkerson gets the franchise tag, his number will be $15.4 million assuming that the salary cap is set at $153.4 million. As of Feb 8th, there’s been no indication of any contract talks or progress on a new contract.

    Assuming a 2016 salary cap of $154 million, the Jets currently have $14.7 million in cap space while the niners have $57 million (spotrac.com). It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

      1. There was one post over at that site where they expect that Wilkerson will be franchised and then traded to Green Bay for their first pick.

            1. Not a chance. Too many other needs, and a DT rich draft. The highest I’d give up is a 2nd for him, but no way the Jets will agree to that.

            2. A first round pick should be all that any team should be willing to give up due to Wilkerson’s late season injury.

      2. The Jets could be thinking along the lines of a tag-n-trade with the emergence of Richardson and last years first round pick, Williams. They’ll have a two-week window beginning Feb. 22. I highly doubt any team would give up two first-round picks to pry away Wilkerson, but the Jets could trade him after he signs the tender. I think the Chiefs did this with Allen when Hali was an up and comer. Pretty sure they got a 1st and a 3rd….

        1. The Jets could be thinking along the lines of a tag-n-trade with the emergence of Richardson and last years first round pick, Williams.

          Or they could be thinking that they can replicate what the Seahawks have done.

          1. Do not know why the Jets would be willing to lose Wilkerson. He is a big reason why they were the number 2 run defense in the league. Re-signing Fitzpatrick should not break the bank.

            1. It comes down to how much money the Jets are willing to commit to their DL. They have two of their starters as FAs this year (Wilkerson and Harrison). Of those two players, only one of them has a ready made, top end replacement already on the roster (Wilkerson), as they have two former first rounders that also play 3-4 DE/ 4-3 DT (Richardson and Williams). Wilkerson will also cost significantly more than Harrison to re-sign.

              Basically, they have already planned ahead for this loss, and with their salary cap situation pretty tight Wilkerson is expendable.

              1. Love this breakdown. However, there is some concern in NYJ about Richardson after his incident with the police chase. Wilkerson might be the better character guy, and it would be Richardson who is gone, while Wilkerson stays.

  18. As I’m looking at cap space numbers over on spotrac.com, it seems to me to be important to note how many players are currently signed by a team when comparing cap numbers across different teams. For example, the Niners currently have 63 players signed and $57 million in cap space. The average age of the signed players is just under 25. The Seachickens have 40 players currently signed and $29 million in cap space. Average age is 24.5 years. Although Oakland has $79 million in cap space they only have 44 players signed.

    I’d expect then, that Seattle will most likely not be an active participant in free agency; instead preferring to resign some of their current free agents. Also, I think Bennett and Chancellor will demand to renegotiate their contracts.

    The Niners, on the other hand, could/should be very active; however, I’m not convinced that Baalke will be able to deal with the sticker shock. Still, Jed indicated that the team would be active in free agency so……

    1. cubus – great breakdown. Conventional wisdom says you can’t buy championships, that winning teams build through the draft, and that “we are only a new player or two from a Super Bowl” is a trap that poor GMs fall into.

      It looks like Elway said “conventional wisdom is an oxymoron” to great success.
      I think the Broncos are an outlier. I still favor building through the draft with careful FA spending.

      Maybe for every twenty teams thinking “we are only two new players from a Super Bowl”, one or two (like Denver) actually are.

      1. B2W, I think it is important to make the right selection, like Bill Walsh did, or you could be like the Browns, pick high every year, but still not do well.
        I think the best strategy is to sign good free agents that fill all the holes, then draft for the future.
        I think the worst thing to do is save millions while the good players are signed away, then be desperate and gamble on picks that are thrown into the starting lineup too soon.

    1. Niners will take a pass rusher. With the return of AD, and an anticipated acquisition of a veteran FA, only if Tunsil is available should the Niners consider an O lineman. Think Stanley is good, but he has struggled in a few games.
      Niners should select either Buckner, Jack, Ragland or Spence.

      1. You say they’ll take a pass rusher, then two of the four players you mention are ILBs, not pass rushers. I don’t understand.

        1. Scooter,

          I’m seeing Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith being talked about as ILBs but also EDGE players …

          I’m confused somewhat here. I think we are seeing the shift in D personnel based on the passing attack focus. See Bucannon, Chancellor, Tartt … see also Von Miller, playing everywhere, dominating everyone.

          1. Jack and Smith are not edge players. Their pass rushing skills simply aren’t up to it. They are generally considered as OLBs in a 4-3, which is where the confusion usually lies.

        2. Jack is best suited at ILB, but some scouts believe he can convert to OLB as well, and Ragland was asked to practice at OLB during the leadup to the Senior Bowl with reports saying that he impressed some teams during that time.

          1. Can you please find me a report saying they believe Jack can convert to 3-4 OLB? I’ve not seen anything. I know they say he can play 4-3 OLB, but not 3-4 OLB.

            Ragland played some OLB at the Senior Bowl. This is true. But they primarily played a 4-3 base D at the Senior Bowl. He was playing OLB in a 4-3. Perhaps he can move outside in a 3-4, but its a stretch.

            Out of Jack, Ragland and Smith, Smith is the only one with much of any experience playing as an edge player. He played DE as a freshman. But he’s better suited inside as he doesn’t have the pass rush moves to be dominant on the edge.

              1. Are you serious? That is a list of all 4-3 and 3-4 OLBs combined. They do not differentiate the positions on the CBS lists. They are not saying they think Jack can play 3-4 OLB. Or do you think Su’a Cravens and Deion Jones are being considered a 3-4 OLB too?

            1. Scooter, we have gone round and round over this before. I think Chip wants to be flexible, so they can morph between 3-4 and 4-3 quickly. They need players who can be versatile enough to play both ways, and the players need to fit into a hybrid system that will allow the LB to rush and also be fast enough to drop back in coverage.

              1. I agree there will be some flexibility, but you still want people that specialise in certain roles. You are saying they need to improve their pass rush, and should take a pass rusher. That usually references edge players and some interior DL. Rarely refers to ILBs, though they will also be used in that role on occasion.

                Ragland seems a very odd inclusion when saying the team needs to add a pass rusher unless you see him primarily playing the edge. And I don’t believe his skills match that skill set.

            2. Also please note that I never said anything about either player being able to play OLB in a 3-4 defense.

              1. All you needed to do was follow the conversation for it to be clear we were talking about 3-4 OLBs, as we were talking about the 49ers taking them to play OLB.

              2. Actually , you’re the only one that has mentioned 3-4 OLBs Scooter. This thread started out with a QB and converted to talking about pass rushers in general. And yes the 49ers are expected to remain a 3-4 defense, but as Seb has pointed out the team is expected to run a hybrid form of it, so we can’t necessarily rule out the possibility of a prospect drafted at one position playing another in this same defense.

              3. Are you now telling me you think ILB is synonymous with pass rusher? When referring to pass rushers, it is edge players or pass rushing interior DL people are referring to.

              4. No, I’m saying could draft a 3-4 ILB and have him switch to the outside whenever they implement a 4-3 defensive look.

              5. Never said he was. Seb was the one who presented the idea, and you asked why he had two pass rushers and two ILBs listed. I just pointed out that Jack Ragland were being looked at as OLBs as well. Of course this was before Seb said he was referring to a pass rusher and and ILB as what positions he wanted to see addressed in the first two rounds which resulted in you pointing out his faux pas.

              6. So in the context of my pointing out to Seb that Jack and Ragland weren’t really pass rushers (which is what you replied to), what were you trying to convey?

        3. I saw Ragland showcase his versatility in the Senior Bowl. You are right, I never really wanted Jack, but he is very popular with many posters on this site, so I included him.

          1. I really don’t understand why a team picking at #7, if they wanted an edge player, would reach for a thumper MLB that *may* have the potential to switch to the edge in a 3-4 (but has yet to show he can do it on the field). Why not just take one of the edge players available?

            ILB and OLB in a 3-4 are very different positions and skill sets. Ragland, if drafted by the 49ers, should just be kept at ILB.

              1. Ok, ya caught me in a faux pas. At least I did not say Shaq Lawson. You did not like him, and he is a 4-3 LB

              2. Why wouldn’t the 49ers grab an ILB from the FA class, since ILBs are cheaper on the FA market than EDGE players, and take the best EDGE they can in the draft?

                That’s the way to think about it. Find the positions that become the most expensive to acquire in FA, and use draft picks to secure those players. At this juncture, those positions, in order, are QB, EDGE, DL/CB

                If you want Kirk Cousins, he’s going to cost you $13M minimum, but he actually wants $16M-$19M, and he’s middle of the road. Some are saying Luck’s next contract will exceed $200M. If you want Von Miller, he’s looking to become the highest paid player in the league, which would be more than Suh’s $19M. Same with Josh Norman.

                So, if you want impact players and not pay for them, you draft them. So, don’t draft an ILB with the first pick. Draft Spence or Buckner or Goff or Ramsey. I’m sold on Spence or Buckner/Nkemdiche. Apparently, as Razor pointed out, you can’t have both.

              3. Seb, Lawson isn’t a 4-3 LB. And I have since explained why I have changed my mind about his potential to play OKB in a 3-4.

              4. Yep, and I am saying like others have, that the coaches may switch their designation like Bruce Miller who went from a DE to FB.

              5. Do you mean they may see Lawson as an OLB in their 3-4, or are you suggesting he could play another role? If the former I agree, as that is what I said. If the latter, what other role do you foresee and why?

              6. Sil, assuming Kaep is still a Niner QB, with Gabbert also, the need to pick a starting QB is way down on the list of needs. Also, this QB draft class does not have a slam dunk playoff caliber QB, so it would be better if they draft defenders and an O lineman with their early picks, and select Adams, Hogan, Dak Prescott or Jacoby Brisett in the later rounds.
                I agree, Baalke must get a veteran ILB as a Free Agent, but hope they draft one, too.

              7. Like MW said, Chip wants versatility, so I think they will play the 3-4, but switch to the 4-3 depending on the offensive formation.
                Maybe Shilique Calhoun might be a good choice, because I read that he could play both, and might still be available at 37.

              8. Seb,

                It feels weird to write it, but I think the 49ers are happy with the QB situation, and there’s no way they’ll take one. Kaep was an all-time great QB for a minute, setting records, beating Rodgers, Brady, Brees, etc …, and Gabbert was a #10 draft pick that Baalke apparently loved. Then Baalke went out and traded for him, then re-signed him. In 2015, he played remarkably well behind the worst OL in the history of the NFL, and looked like he might be something, if given the chance. And, of course, he got Jack Hammer’s approval.

                Niners don’t need to go with OL in this draft. They’re covered there if Bam comes back and they get a couple of cheap vets in FA.

                What they need are EDGE guys and DTs. Cosell just said that he thought that Malik Jackson was the best player on the field in the Super Bowl, better than every other player on the field, including Von.

                I want Josh Gordon. I’ve always wanted Josh Gordon. If Baalke can do anything to swing a trade for Gordon, say a Rd2 or Rd3 this year, he should do it. DO IT, TRENT.

                Gosh, it’s SO strange to be considering a $68M 49ers FA period. So many options.

              9. Ack, Sil, you cannot be serious. Gordon may disappear in a puff of smoke. I admit he has skills, but he is the last FA WR they should go for. I would rather they sign Kyle Williams.

              10. Seb

                True story, bro. Josh Gordon. Best WR in the game in 2013. Obviously do the due diligence, but for the sake that all that is oily, get the guy in here. Where else can we find a #1 WR? Niners tried to get him in 2013/2014, good thing they didn’t back then, but why not now? Cris Carter got his act together after Philadelphia and talked his way into the HOF. Gordon is a once-in-a-lifetime talent.

              11. Knowing the luck of the present Niners, Baalke will praise him and talk about a big contract, and the next day, Gordon would implode like Alldone.

  19. Geoff Schwartz, on Chip Kelly, his OC at Oregon in 2007:

    “Schwartz, 28, was a senior at Oregon when Kelly became the offensive coordinator/QB coach in 2007, a year prior to the Ducks finishing just a game above .500. In Kelly’s first season coaching Schwartz and running the offense, his team finished 9-4.

    ‘He brought a new energy and a new, obviously a new offensive system and just kind of a breath of fresh air into the program,’ Schwartz said of Kelly. ‘I just remember the confidence that he gave us, just ’cause he’s such a confident coach and if you made a mistake there’s no repeating it. If you messed up forget about it, let’s go. Let’s go faster, let’s score points, let’s just keep going, and going, and going.'”

  20. Speaking of jurisprudence, I wonder how the NFL has actively ignored and suppressed the dangers of concussions with all the evidence of CTE, yet no one is holding them accountable? At the minimum, the league should have a better retirement plan and a decent health plan for their retirees. These players have sacrificed their bodies and their health, yet have little help. Maybe every team should establish a legacy program, and organize at least basic health coverage for former players. Maybe the league should establish trust accounts for each player so they are not broke 5 years after playing like some players who find themselves in that position. Maybe they should give basic money management advice and counseling.
    I would like to see the CBA torn up and a reformed system put in place that is fair to all.
    The NFL should acknowledge that playing with 3 days rest, does not allow players to heal enough, so they should be smart enough to be able to use the bye week to make a schedule that allows teams to play 2 games in 3 weeks, with 10 day rest periods. With the Bye, instead of a 7 day and 14 day recovery period, they could have two 10 day periods with a game played on Thursday. In fact, maybe they should eliminate a preseason game, and use that extra week to accomplish the same goal of 2 games in 3 weeks, with 10 day rest periods. This would allow for Thursday Night Football, without the lack of recovery time. Players hate playing in a meaningless game with a dire chance of getting injured. 3 preseason games could still give ample looks to decide rosters, and I would go further and expand the season 1 more game with only 2 preseason games. Mollify the players by designating the 22 starters as ineligible to play so they would not get injured, and allow the second and third string to play more. Just food for thought.

    1. Clarification. Designating the 22 starters being ineligible would only happen during the preseason games. The starters would still get paid, but the bubble players will be able to compete and be assessed and analyzed to help the coaches decide how to compose the 53 man roster.

  21. Grant:

    A short while ago you said EDGE rushers are more important than interior rushers. I argued that Donald, Wilkerson, and Watt proved otherwise. Then, in SB50, Von Miller went nuts, so it would seem you were validated.

    However, Greg Cosell went on record yesterday as saying Malik Jackson was the best player on the field on Sunday, and in the discussion liked to below, Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks discuss the depth of the DTs in this class, highlighting their importance as passrushers by saying they collapse the pocket and make it possible for the EDGE guys to get in there.

    https://www.nfl.com/now/10103061-7033-0000-0063-5397962427e9?campaign=tw-nf-sf20724755-sf20724755

    They seem to like Buckner, of course, but then they praise Sheldon Rankins for his nonstop motor, and your guy, Vernon Butler from Clemson, as a dancing bear who, at 330 lbs., moves like a guy who weighs 280.

    This is an ongoing discussion to be sure; it’ll be interesting to see where the $$$ are going. A couple of years ago it was OLBs who made the scary money, but now we’re looking at Suh at $19, with Wilkerson and Donald coming up soon, with Leonard Williams coming a little down the road. Miller will get top price with his next contract, but maybe (according to Cosell) the smarter money is spent on Jackson.

    1. Cosell is full of beans. Von Miller clearly was the best player on the field. He forced two fumbles which were the difference in the game.
      Interior rushers are important because they collapse the pocket so the QB can’t step up. But the edge rushers are the ones who actually hit the QB most often. The Niners get good inside push from Armstead and Dial — opposing QBs simply don’t have step up into those two because the Niners edge rush is abysmal.

      1. Ok, Grant ..

        are there any FA Edge rushers you’re looking at ..?

        or … any from the draft, you like… and if so..
        where … would you take him ?

        1. or… Grant ..

          here’s a thought …
          How bout a thread on possible draft picks ..
          You state your man-crushes .. (with video links)
          and let everyone do the same ?

          (Hey .. it’s a good way for me to learn about
          the ones everyone here likes)

          1. Grant, I agree with your prediction of an edge rusher at 7. Although I believe the guy will be Spence when the combine is over. I also think Niners would take Buckner over Lawson. I see Lawson in a trade back scenario with the Rams or Eagles who might want a QB…

    1. Austin Johnson or Ronnie Stanley. QB can be igonored after they draft Vernon Adams, the plug and play stud from Oregon who knows Kelly’s offense.
      WR’s can be found in the later rounds now that Kelly is on the team and can recognize late round gems (hopefully better than Baalke).

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