Every offseason, the NFL media machine latches onto a few stories and strings them along for as long as possible, because otherwise they’re afraid no one will tune in. Personally, I’d much prefer that all the NFL shows use this time to do a series of “the man behind the facemask” human interest stories. Every NFL player has a story, let’s get to know them a bit. But no, instead you’re going to hear the latest “news,” and of course that includes “Billy heard from Susie that Michelle said that Tommy doesn’t think Brett Favre is going to retire.” Well, I’m already tired of hearing the following storylines, and I’m going to go ahead and ruin the endings for you.
Brett Favre will not retire. Favre doesn’t have the “I want to go out on a good note” element of Elway’s personality, and even if he did, throwing a pick to lose the NFC championship in overtime is not a good note. Nothing about his play indicated that he’s on his last legs, or that he can’t do it again, and retiring now would seem to say “Well, I’m pretty sure that’s the best I’m going to get. It’s been real, y’all.” Not a Brett Favre kind of message.
Michael Strahan will not retire. He’ll be very tempted to, because he is much more of ****-tale ending sort of a guy. But the reason is simple. He needs the money. His divorce settlement was ridiculous. And he really picked up steam towards the end of the season, so he’s got another year in him. If Spagnuolo had taken a head coaching job, maybe he’d head off to the broadcast booth to save having to learn a new coordinator’s ways. But he’ll be back for a shot at a repeat.
Chad Johnson will be traded. The demand for wide receivers is quite high, and Cincinnati is getting tired of Johnson’s shenanigans. With T.O. and Randy Moss helping their teams to the #1 playoff seeds this past season, some teams will believe they can do the same. It might be on draft day, when a team who was looking to take Malcolm Kelly loses out when he’s snatched the pick before. They might offer that first-rounder for Johnson, and the Bengals will take it like they take an ibuprofen for each headache Ocho Cinco gives them.
Lane Kiffin will not be fired before the season starts. Even in his senile idiocy, Al Davis probably knows he won’t find a coach willing to work for him, especially not this late in the offseason. Instead, he’ll wait until the Raiders lose a few games so it looks like Kiffin’s fault and fire him during the season, promoting Rex Ryan to interim head coach.
Dan Snyder will not sign a lot of free agents. With an entirely different coaching staff, players aren’t going to be as inclined to restructure contracts to make cap room. The future doesn’t feel as safe. Thus, the Skins, who are currently over the cap, will not be able to afford anybody new.
Donovan McNabb will not lose his starting job yet. Did anyone actually look at his stats from 2007? They were pretty good. The Eagles got some momentum going at the end of last year, and his chemistry with Kevin Curtis is starting to look pretty good. He’ll be back, and if he does well, fans will forget about Kevin Kolb.
Matt Ryan will hold out of training camp. It’s par for the course by now. The Falcons aren’t going to just throw him all the money he wants, and he’s got a tough agent in Tom Condon. Thus, some veteran schmuck is going to start the first six games or so for Atlanta.
Shaun Alexander will play for the Seahawks in 2008. The fact that he remained the starter all season long even though Maurice Morris played better tells me that Holmgren & co. still think he’s their guy. At least to the degree where his value to them is higher than his value would be to any other team. He’ll get brought up in trade rumors, nothing will happen, and the ‘Hawks will try and see if the line was a problem and bulk that left side back up a bit.
Randy Moss ain’t goin’ nowheres. There’s one thing we forget about Randy Moss when comparing him to Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. Moss is smarter and wiser (two different things, though similar) than the other two by far. Owens is mentally unstable and lacks self-control. Johnson is an idiot. Moss knows New England holds the path to the Hall of Fame for him, and he’ll stay put, even though they won’t pay him what Jacksonville might offer.
Thankfully, the other big questions will be answered soon. Where will all the big free agents end up, who’ll draft Brian Brohm and where, and what rule changes we’ll see in 2008.