The Draft Games Begin

Alex Mack will be front and center for the Browns for at least the next two years, when he will be paid $18 million guaranteed. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Alex Mack will be front and center for the Browns for at least the next two years, when he will be paid $18 million guaranteed. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I owe so many of you thanks for your kind wishes—and I owe Greg Bedard much more than that for filling in for me last week and writing this column—after the death of my brother. I appreciate the texts, emails and tweets. And now we’ll continue on.

2. I think this is the way Jacksonville could have forged a contract that Cleveland would not have matched with center Alex Mack: agree to pay him $15 million in the first year, fully guaranteed, with the option to quit the deal after one year. Many of you on Twitter have made the point over the past couple of days that Cleveland matching Jacksonville’s offer sheet means there couldn’t have been an offer to entice Cleveland to let Mack go. Well, there could have been, but the Jaguars didn’t go far enough in their offer to make Browns GM Ray Farmer blink.

3. I think all three sides in this deal won.

a. Mack won because he gets $18 million fully guaranteed over two years and the chance to be an unrestricted free agent at age 30 in 2016 (he’s never missed a start in five years), and he will have his third season at $8 million guaranteed if he gets a disabling injury in either 2014 or ’15.

b. Cleveland won because the Browns keep a rock-solid player and leader in the middle of their offensive line for what will be about 7.8 percent of their 2014 cap and 6 percent of their cap in 2015. Now the Browns don’t have to explain to their fan base why they let a top player at his position, a home-grown one, walk.

c. Jacksonville won because the Jags showed their fan base they’re serious about bidding, reasonably, for good players. My only quibble with the Jags is they took a swing at Mack, but they had to know it was virtually certain the Browns would match. I have an ulterior motive in this from Jacksonville’s standpoint: In two years, if the Jags find and develop a quarterback and are a contender, Mack could look at them and remember the favor they did him by offering him $18 million fully guaranteed for two seasons, and he could think about opting out of the last three years in Cleveland to sign in Jacksonville. We shall see.

4. I think the only blip on the Cleveland radar from this issue is Mack had to put himself out on the market and force the Browns to pay him market value for a top-five center, and if you’re Mack, a smart guy, you have to be thinking: The team I’ve played every game for at a high level had a ton of cap room available and didn’t choose to pay me until its hand was forced. I’ll remember that in two years.

Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith have been in the headlines for off-field reasons this offseason. (Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)
Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith have been in the headlines for off-field reasons this offseason. (Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)

5. I think the same thing about the Colin Kaepernick incident in Miami—whatever exactly it was, and we don’t know exactly what it was yet—as I thought about the Ray Rice incident in New Jersey in February: I’ll make a judgment when all the information is in, when we know whatever the full investigations unveil. In the Rice case, for instance, we know what the video showed when he exited an elevator with his unconscious fiancée, but we don’t know what other video evidence shows, and we do know there is some other pertinent video related to the incident. The point is, there’s no need for any final judgment on April 14, on either story.

6. I think the news nugget of the week—reported by NFL Media’s Albert Breer—was Johnny Manziel scoring a 32 on the Wonderlic test. That’s five points higher than Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson scored once upon a time, and probably goes a way toward confirming that Manziel could digest any offense.

7. I think the least surprising thing about the football world in the past few days is that Shawne Merriman has signed to do something with World Wrestling Entertainment.

8. I think I don’t know how much traction this story got in my absence, but I know how hard Jenny Vrentas and Emily Kaplan of The MMQB worked on it, and I think it’s the most comprehensive and reasoned discussion of what Native Americans think about the “Redskins” controversy. I urge you to take a few minutes and read it.

VRENTAS: The Battle of Washington

9. I think more teams should do the human thing, the thing GM Doug Whaley and the Buffalo Bills are doing with the Easter holiday coming up and the draft pushed back two weeks on the calendar from last year: The Bills are giving their scouts and draft personnel a week off to be with their families, and to halt this paralysis-by-over-analysis that happens when you give more time to a process that already lasts a month too long. Good for the Bills.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. Remembering a most painful anniversary this week, as the city of Boston heads into an emotional week of remembering the three who died and the 264 who were injured in the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago. Peace to everyone there. 

b. What a hockey game Union (N.Y.) and Minnesota played for the NCAA championship. I watched much of it. End-to-end action for three periods, and a school with 2,200 students and zero athletic scholarships and one NHL draft choice (Union) beating a school with full scholarships and 51,000 students and 14 NHL draft choices. The score was Union 7, Minnesota 4, in Philadelphia. What effort and raw enthusiasm, on the ice and in the stands. Cool stuff. 

TALK BACK

Have a question or comment for Peter? Email him at talkback@themmqb.com
and it might be included in Tuesday’s mailbag.

c. I am a Nutmegger. The first 18 years of my life I lived in Connecticut. And so I have followed UConn sports closely over the years. I saw none of either basketball championship game, but the Huskies of both genders did their state proud last week. Congrats to the UConn men and women. Nine titles for the women now, and four for the men in the last 15 years. That is pretty amazing for a university in Storrs, Conn.

d. Atlantic Coast Conference fathers must be so pleased about excluding UConn from the ACC. What a smart decision, listening to Boston College, which never wanted a rival as dangerous in recruiting and in games as UConn in the ACC. BC got its wish, and UConn now toils in some conference invented to give some athletic orphans a port in the NCAA storm.

e. Boston College men’s basketball in the past four seasons: 52-74, zero national titles.

f. UConn men’s basketball since 2009: 104-41, two national titles.

g. Well, BC sure has a pretty campus.

h. Coffeenerdness: I couldn’t drink Starbucks while in the hinterlands of England. My brother worked for three decades for Whitbread, which bought Costa Coffee. So I drank Costa. “Starbucks had a chance,” Ken told me on our visit in March. “We went looking for a coffee company a few years ago, and Starbucks could have been it. But they drove too hard a bargain, and so we bought Costa.” Costa is at least on equal footing with Starbucks there now, and I had a few Flat Whites over there, with an extra shot. A Flat White is like a latte, with the espresso and milk mixed together better than a latte.

i. Beernerdness: Felt like a bit of an ugly American doing it, but had too much Guinness and too little of the local ales in England. Guinness was darn good, as always. 

j. Read that a Red Sox fan booed Jacoby Ellsbury on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium and called him a traitor. Well, okay. I don’t see it that way, at all, as a follower of the Red Sox. Ellsbury grew up in Oregon, went to Oregon State, got drafted by the Red Sox, climbed the ladder in the Red Sox system, played seven years for the Red Sox, lived in Oregon every off-season, and his contract expired. He wasn’t nurtured in the Sox-Yanks cauldron of the northeast. As a free agent, why should he be allowed to sign with any team except the Yankees? I don’t blame him one iota for signing with the Yankees—I don’t like it, but I don’t blame him—if the Yankees paid him the most money, and they overwhelmingly did.

k. Saw “20 Feet From Stardom” on the trip home from England. What a tremendous movie. Those poor women, basically getting ripped off for such memorable work. Excellent storytelling too, particularly on “Gimme Shelter” backup singer Merry Clayton’s story.

l. I really want to see that LBJ play on Broadway. Anyone seen it? How is it?

m. I am a basketball doofus, but if you gave me a vote for the professional team of the century, I’d pick the San Antonio Spurs. Gregg Popovich and his guys are amazing. You can’t keep them down.

n. Good luck, Jim Kelly, as you head into your second week of chemotherapy and radiation, battling the cancer in your head.

o. Bubba Watson seems like the coolest of guys. Congrats to him on a second Masters win. He celebrated by going to Waffle House with his wife. How awesome is that?

p. And you, Martin Brodeur … You are my Player of the Week, for your 688th and probably final win as a New Jersey Devil, 3-2 over Boston Sunday. You’ve been great to watch over the past 23 years.

The Adieu Haiku

Bedard can’t Haiku.
But what a job last Monday.
I got Wally Pipped!

mmqb-end-slug-square

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138 comments
REH913
REH913

hope they cancel The right reverend Dion Sanders accusing the Eagles of racism after the release of Djax. I guess he never heard of Mike Vick or just recently the 31 year old Jason Peters who is black and had a few minor law infractions. They are so racist they gave him a 3 year extension. By the way do reverends get a tax exemption? 

StanLa
StanLa

Don't get too high on U-Conn. I heard they were going to invite a student to play next year

help4mac1
help4mac1

Had a heart attack on 1 Feb and was lucky a woman who was very good at CPR was passing by in her car. I ignored some symptoms and was otherwise very healthy. The doc told me only 10% survive something like this. If you need a stent Mr King, get it.

TexasDoorman
TexasDoorman

Mr. King,

I hope you will find some peace after the loss of your brother.

I have two brothers, both living, that mean the world to me. 

Your words about your loss resonate with many of us.

I thought about you and your brothers and me and mine.

That is a compliment to a writer. You made me think. 

You made me appreciate.

Best wishes to you. 

leonardosobe
leonardosobe

Let me guess............. most will be Felons by the time they depart the NFL.

wlewisiii
wlewisiii

I'll stick to NFL Yesterday and keep the money in my wallet rather than Goodell's thankewverymuch. 

dennis
dennis

Recently, I've been worried that Goodell would take away free NFL on TV as a way for him to satisfy his greed for more money. Still worried, even after the interview. Don't trust the commish after the false 50,00 pages of evidence and what he fabricated against the Saints. And Peter, that photo of you in 1978 proves you were a non-football playing nerd. The one thing missing from your writing is the inside knowledge from the point of view of a man with the passion to succeed at a violent sport. For you, risk-taking is trying a new coffee.

joebdox
joebdox

Peter,


Thanks for mentioning UCol's victory in the NCAA hockey championship. But have your editors lose the (N.Y.), OK?


It's just UNION, like Yale or Harvard or Stanford or Baylor. Would you say Bosox (MA) or 9er's (S.F.)????

dawgpoundgal
dawgpoundgal

I believe the whole Alex Mack situation was caused by his agent, not Mack.  His comments before and after Cleveland matched the Jaguars offer seems to support that.  His agent was just looking for a bigger payday.

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

I saw Savage play several times this past season.  He was a bright point in the usual mediocre Pitt football offering.  Given that he played well with a terrible offensive line and so-so receivers, he could do well in the NFL. 

tonybot3
tonybot3

C'mon now Mr. King.... Mack can't be upset by Cleveland.... He's the top paid center in the entire league. Cleveland was ready to pay him that money even BEFORE the Jags stepped in, via the transition tag.   Its not like they were holding out on the guy.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Aldon Smith will remain on the 49'ers roster until he is arrested and put in jail. They are an organization that has sacrificed everything for a winning record. The league will have to be the ones that take action, if any is required. 

FootPrints
FootPrints

PK not getting to over, but I'll say a Rosary for you in all happenings..

BenjaminSargo
BenjaminSargo

Heres a revelation...........  of the 1st 100 picks..maybe 3 will be white.

Jim21
Jim21

My condolences to Peter King. I have to say though, I liked MMQB beetter when Greg did the column. More concise and just football. It was refreshing to say the least. 

Scramble
Scramble

Brown's fans will be thinking why aren't we making the playoffs with a 9 mil a year center, yet the Ravens let a 7 mil a year center walk and won the super bowl with a 3 mil a year center. How many ways can Brown stain their fans.

David G
David G

Mr. King, It will be interesting reading to see what you will write about Aldon Smith.  That coupled with the Von Miller story in Denver.  Beginning to look like teams need to really check the on players stability away from their teams.  I thought Von messed up pretty bad.  Smith makes Von look like an amateur.

HorizontalGophers
HorizontalGophers

Peter,

It's been an emotional time - pop a tall one, turn off the world and catch last night's episode of VEEP. Best one yet and the best favor you could do for yourself. For what it's worth. 

WR2

tojo45
tojo45

Beautiful piece on the services and events.   I'm sorry for your loss.  

GeorgeLovell
GeorgeLovell

Peter I'm so sorry for your loss.  It seems like your brother had a good life and was loved by many people and in the end, that's all that really matters.

ReadIt
ReadIt

Anyone else's office get a little dusty reading this? Sorry for your loss PK, great to see all the love and support your family has from both sides of the pond.

ashoreinhawaii
ashoreinhawaii

My brother and I were having a conversation about how the NFL never allows itself to portrayed in movies, how overprotective they are of their brand.

Along comes "Draft Day." From the reviews I've read it appears to be one big commercial for the NFL and ESPN.
No interest. Bad enough I have to endure Chris Berman, and all those other not-funny braying jackasses on ESPN - Herm Edwards, et al.

JohnMatuszak
JohnMatuszak

peter king was seth rogen before seth rogen was seth rogen

Milldog13
Milldog13

Condolences on your brother. Some of your best writing regarding your time in England. Felt like I was there. Glad there were so many to help ease his wife's burden and to help celebrate his life.

delmail333
delmail333

Clowney will be the #1 pick & worth every pennie of what ever he signs for ( think millions ) & the Texans Owner is also a USC Grad which also helps !, Johnny Football should have stayed in school, I mean 2 years worth will not take him far ( And this was after being schooled in his Dorm his last year ) & not in a class room .

He'll get killed in the NFL, Just watch !

Plainview
Plainview

Peter King and all of his brothers in that picture remind me of Mungo Jerry.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

It’s what the NFL wants but more mock-drafts & “need to know” about the biggest crap-shoot, market push in America, a dice roll that more often than not come up snakes-eyes, even for prized 1st-rounder draftees, we “need” like we need more Super Bowl hype in January.   We’d all do better in spring spending more time on the already ares & weres. 


As for Rolapp’s TNF sell: until they stock it w/ some top-tier tussles, in vintage Texas lingo, ‘that dog won’t hunt.’  Football is king (no pun) but even monarchy can wear thin.

JamesPate
JamesPate

Don't get me wrong on my comment, I love all sports and wish I  could have  somehow  played in all of them. I did alittle football  jr. high and high school . Point being i never was any good . My comment is,  over the yrs. now how come the players   being drafted are Afican-American, you hardly see any white players( afew playing). It just seems too me the white guys quit playing. The same goes for NBA and baseball. Don't get me wrong if you play ball of any kind, God Blessed you with it. I know i sure  wished I could have, the money is. good ,but too play is BETTER.I don't want any drama just interested.

MikeBailey
MikeBailey

It seems to me that Tom Savage has Jeff George written all over him.

Mike26
Mike26

@leonardosobe  What a winner YOU are!  You're right:  99.99% are felons when they leave the league.  

Mike26
Mike26

@dennis  "False 50,000 pages"....time to accept the reality that your thugs messed up dennis and move on.

joe1025
joe1025

@joebdox There are Union Colleges in other states, so they are distinguishing it from those. It's the same reason they always use Miami (FL) and Miami (OH) when reporting football scores.

Mike26
Mike26

@joebdox  No, it's Union, NY.  You're a tiny college no one's ever heard about before and won't again.

andye2007
andye2007

@Jim21  Seems a bit callous to mention that in the the same message containing your condolences.  

Buck2185
Buck2185

@Plainview Peter looks like someone you would want to keep away from your children......

Bruce Poff
Bruce Poff

Hey James! Ur wrong about whites & blacks in MLB ! Only 8% of the players in MLB are African American! Better recheck ur research numbers! LoL

Wombat
Wombat

@JamesPate  I don't know... but I did notice recently that I see no kids playing outside in middle America any more. Perhaps it is partially a symptom of WOW and Facebook? Heck, I have a kid that has "texting dates"? What the bleep is that?

clt0002
clt0002

@MikeBailey  People were fawning over George. That's not really the case with Savage. They just love his arm. 

JohnMatuszak
JohnMatuszak

@MikeBailey  i don't see that..George was the #1 overall pick wasnt he? highly touted as the strongest arm ever

brettwolfe
brettwolfe

@Mike26 @joebdox  Well, Mike,smart people have heard of Union.  It's a top 50 ranked college.  And the Dutchmen are not a One Hit Wonder.  They've been to the Frozen Four 2 of the last 3 years.

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