Walk on the Wild Side: 2011 NFL Free Agency

Does this look like Korea to you? Corporal Chad "Klinger" Ochocinco (near right) might say so. Can you guess who Frank Burns is in this picture (far left)? Photo by Navin75

Thursday nights, I join my fellow Footballguys.com staffers the fantastic Cecil Lammey and the incredible Sigmund Bloom on The Audible Roundtable  at 10pm-12am EST on Blog Talk Radio. We talk about the week in football, share fantasy football strategies, and answer listener questions. 

If you aren’t aware, Lammey and Bloom built this show into one of the most popular – if not the most popular – fantasy sports show on iTunes. Bloom suggested I post the written version of my segment “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” I hope you enjoy as much as he did.

Welcome back to Take a Walk on the Wildside, otherwise known as the place where I get free license to pick on Cecil Lammey and not get my ass kicked.

Not that I’m a scrawny guy. I’ve got the slight height and reach advantage on Big Mex and depending on what Cec is doing, conditioning might be a push.

However, Lammey has the nut-job factor. You know, like Curly in the Three Stooges episode where he’s the boxer whose lights stay on despite all vestiges of rationality leaving the house (seven-minute mark)  whenever he hears Pop Goes The Weasel.

No officers, I was just standing there listening to Wildman pop off about Mikel Leshoure running like he was a scat back and this red light washed over me. Next thing I knew, Wildman was on the floor unconscious, Bloom was stuck in the fireplace flue, and you guys were on top of me. That mace is still stinging my eyes! Why am I still wearing these bracelets???

Cecil is the kind of guy I’d much rather have on my side – unless I have 20 yards, his back to me, and a shotgun loaded with large game tranquilizer.

I thought it was appropriate to relate the stupidity of crossing someone like Cecil  Lammey because with free agency underway, I’d to list the transactional equivalents of NFL teams playing Pop Goes The Weasel to a stadium filled with Curly Howards and Cecil Lammeys.

Nate Davis and Tarvaris Jackson

The headliner is the case of Nate Davis. Yes,  Nate Davis the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who the NFL turned their noses up to despite the fact that if I had to pick a QB from the 2009 draft class based on pure ability I’d take him over all of them but Matt Stafford.

The reason for the snobbery was a learning disability that I always felt was much ado about nothing. Now I believe I have ammunition to prove it.  More on that later.

First was the idea that Davis didn’t work hard enough. Sorry, but from what I’ve heard from interviews of guys like Drew Brees, if you’re not the first or second quarterback on the depth chart then the team isn’t giving you a lot of reps in the first place. So the work ethic rationale being an issue for Davis was questionable, at best.

This is especially when it is coming from a defensive-minded coach who was forced to stick with the team’s No.1 overall pick from a few years ago who had yet to show signs he was remotely worth that selection.

Then throw in the context of a former employee of the 49ers who I spoke to who claims that prominent vets on the team loved Nate Davis and wanted him to get real playing time.

Also there’s Chris Collinsworth, who might be one of the more critical TV analysts in the game. He criticizes players for what they do wrong even when they make productive plays. But when he saw Nate Davis against the Vikings in the preseason last year you could hear him gush with sheer childlike joy over the quarterback’s potential.

I’m telling you this because the Seahawks picked him off waivers this winter and then promptly cut him.  And whom do they trade for after letting Matt Hasselbeck go? Tarvaris Jackson, perhaps the least instinctive natural passer of any reserve with…excuse me while I try not throw up in my mouth a little bit when I say this next phrase… starter potential.

So after all of that, where does Nate Davis – the QB labeled by some front offices, media and fans for being intellectually challenged and lazy – wind up?

Only the team that quite possibly has the hardest working, smartest, and savviest QB in the history of the league. The team that values smart, instinctive, naturally passing quarterbacks. The team that needs a viable quarterback this year as insurance for Peyton Manning who has 4-6 weeks to deal with a neck injury and will likely give their next two quarterbacks on the roster extended time in the preseason.

This will be Nate Davis’ chance to prove that the 49ers and Seahawks don’t know a quarterback from a cornerback. And I think he will.

As for the city of Seattle, I worried about you guys.  I tweeted the Jackson acquisition was a disaster and you know what happened? The American Red Cross immediately followed me. They know your city is going through a state of emergency. I’m sending them there next week.

Then again, maybe they’re savvy like General Motors,  seeking bailout money so they can get the equivalent of Andrew Luck within a year.

Carolina Panthers

I'm naming Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams "The Big "F-U Crew," on behalf of all fantasy owners in 2011. I don't know whether to curse you or admire you. Photo by Kevin 813.

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, thanks for giving fantasy owners a big F-U this week. I don’t know whether to curse you or cheer for you.

If you two truly think you’re better with each other than getting the chance to be a feature back then I suggest you get some counseling for self-esteem issues.

If you’re doing it because you think the team is going to a lot better and you’re loyal, I commend you – despite the fact I want to organize a fantasy boycott on the Panthers organization.

Makes me want to become a Cackalacky.

Washington Redskins

Apparently, the Cougars have a long-term thing for John Beck. Not these Cougars. I just couldn't resist. Image by GUS314159

If you’ve seen my recent blog post on John Beck,  I think he could surprise. By the way, my post has developed quite a following on the Cougar Board. Disappointing it’s not the Cougar Board you’re thinking though.

Cougar Board.

I just like saying that.

My high school mascot was the Cougar. I’m sure my principal is thanking the good Lord every day that the connotation of Cougar I’m referring to wasn’t around in 1986.

Anyhow, this isn’t about your taste in quarterbacks or your smart choice in keeping Santana Moss. However, your choices with running backs is killing me. Roy Helu. Evan Royster. Ryan Torain. Keiland Williams.

Shane Draughn?


I’m sure one of them will get people excited for two months just like we’ve seen from several Denver backs in Mike Shanahan’s tenure who flashes long enough to tease people and then faded away from memory.

For the love of all things ground game, get Joseph Addai or Ronnie Brown!

Just because you took a chance on Larry Johnson and it failed doesn’t mean you have to give up on veteran free agents.

Cincinnati Bengals

Last but not least, Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals. You have the opportunity to trade Carson Palmer, a player who hasn’t looked consistently good since 2006, but still has decent enough stats and cred to earn your team something to build on. Instead you’re going to posture and threaten to pull an Al Davis.

But I have some advice for you Palmer.

Take heed of Chad Ochocinco, who finally escaped because, like Cecil and Curly Howard, he understood that there’s nothing scary to authority than irrational behavior.

Name changing.

Proposing to cheerleaders after touchdowns.

Racing horses ala bad Jesse Owens publicity stunts.

Considering an MLS career.

Bull riding.

Befriending Terrell Owens.

You name it, he’s done it to convince Mike Brown he’s crazy.

In fact, if 85 didn’t get freed by September, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Ochocinco pulled a Corporal Klinger, donned skirts over his uniform, and ran post routes in drag.

Hell, I’d do it to get out of Korea…err, Cincinnati.

My apologies to Cincinnati. You’re not Korea, but there is a DMZ line between your city and the Bengals facilities. If I could send a S.W.A.T. team or better yet the Israeli army to win your freedom from the threat that is Mike Brown I’d do it.

Here’s an idea. Maybe Palmer reports to camp and plays in some of those numbers that Ochocinco pre-ordered from Lane Bryant.  Or better yet, Palmer can use that contract money to order enough for every member of the Bengals and the 330,013 citizens of the city for game days.

Why not? It probably would have worked for Chad…

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