While I get a lot of my sports reads from the blogosphere, ESPN.com is still a go-to site for me. However, my visits have somewhat decreased lately because of questions I have about their stories. I just came across a Sal Paolantonio article discussing the huge contracts going to so-so defensive backs (there words, NOT mine). The article was meant to be about DeAngelo Hall's "$70 million" contract with the Raiders, but naturally the first name mentioned? Nate Clements and his "$80 million" contract.
As you may have noticed, I've put quotation marks around the dollar figures. I'm pretty sure most NN readers realize that Nate Clements contract may technically be for that much, but in reality it may not come in at much more than half that. The last couple years of the deal are huge numbers that won't ever happen since it'll be re-structured or he'll be cut. While I don't know the specifics about DeAngelo Hall's contract, it wouldn't surprise me if it is similar structured (of course this is Al Davis, so who am I kidding, right?). So right off the bat, Sal makes no mention of this when discussing the PHAT Nate Clements contract.
My second problem with the article is when he discusses the Clements signing and subsequent results in a little more detail:
Let's look at the San Francisco 49ers. In 2007, they jumped at the chance to sign Clements from the Buffalo Bills. The Niners' deal with Clements was eight years for $80 million. And what did the Niners get? From 2006 to 2007, the opposition's passing yards went up (from 3,817 to 3,826), interceptions went down (from 14 to 12) and sacks went down (34 to 31). And that's with the NFL's defensive rookie of the year, linebacker Patrick Willis.
I won't call Sal a moron, but as I recall, we had more cap space than most teams this year even after all the money we spent last year. Plus we had enough space to sock some money away for next year. So tell me Sal, how is that possible if we destroyed our cap space with the signing of Nate Clements? Furthermore, Sal, you clearly did not catch the 49ers in action and see the contributions Nate Clements made. If Nate was truly going to earn all $80+ million I'd expect miracles and walking on water. But in reality, I'm quite happy with the direction he has taken the defense and with the addition of Justin Smith and possibly a Quentin Groves or Jared Mayo, it will only improve.
So I guess this is just a rant against the powers that be at the world wide leader. I'm of the opinion that this is lazy reporting. Feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong.