The Indianapolis Colts may be undefeated, but that hasn't stopped fans from mulling future losses.
Many fans have written in over the last two weeks contemplating what's going to happen with the most important player not in the holy trinity of Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James. That would be wideout Reggie Wayne, a prospective free agent on the verge of maxing out his tax bracket.
With Wayne and James due to hit the open market this offseason – barring the franchise designation – the recent contracts of Manning, Harrison and Brandon Stokley have set up an interesting scenario. More than likely, someone has to go. But fans believe (or is it hope?) the Colts can retain both. Wishful thinking? Not if Manning and Harrison are willing to restructure their deals.
I also heard from an army of Seattle Seahawks fans who think I unfairly slammed an entire fan base. Not to mention the typical influx of Chicago Bears readers who are eagerly anticipating my laptop meal. And in miscellanea, we have a guy who thinks Brad Johnson was a sub-par Super Bowl quarterback, a Quincy Carter search party and someone who thinks perfection is more memorable than a Super Bowl ring.
All in all, it was a big week for the mailbag. So keep the responses coming, and try to include your first and last name and your city and state. As usual, my comments are in italics.
To the mail …
FUTURE FREE AGENTS ("Free-agent forecast," Dec. 7, 2005)
I'll respectfully disagree on the possibility of Reggie Wayne leaving Indy, if only because he doesn't want to be the next Peerless Price. When Price was in Buffalo, he put up such great numbers that Atlanta signed him even though he was franchised by Buffalo. Considering he was recently dumped by Dallas, it didn't work too well. Money shouldn't be an issue with Reggie. The only thing that will bug him is that he'll always be No. 2 behind Marvin Harrison.
Terre Haute, Ind.
If the financial amounts are drastically different, then money will definitely be an issue. And I'm not sure that Peerless Price is a good comparison, either.
What are the chances that Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison are asked to renegotiate their contracts to keep all the boys together for say three more years? If I was those boys, I would not let Edgerrin James or Reggie Wayne get away.
I would say the chances are very, very good. Manning is almost a certainly. Obviously it wouldn't be a pay cut. It would simply be some shuffling of dollars.
The Colts just signed their third and most often injured receiver – Brandon Stokley – to an extension last year. I do not remember what the terms were, but anything substantial would definitely leave many scratching their heads if Indy lost a better player like Reggie Wayne.
If the Colts win the Super Bowl, Jim Irsay will bring back the entire team. Harrison and Manning will restructure to keep James, the franchise tag will go on Wayne and Mike Vanderjagt will be the odd man out.
I think that's a fairly good guess at a possible scenario.
If the San Diego Chargers make the mistake of letting Drew Brees get to the free-agent market, they would be foolish. Why fix it if it isn't broken? This team is averaging 30 points a game and Drew Brees is partially responsible. When LaDainian Tomlinson has been slowed down on occasion or hampered with injuries, Brees has answered the call for leadership with flying colors.
Staten Island, N.Y.
Did you forget about Terrell Owens? Why wasn't he in your top 10 free agents for next year?
San Pedro, Calif.
I thought a lot about Owens, but until he's released, I can't include him on the list.
In your latest article, you said:
"With the $90 million (salary cap) figure in mind, the next three teams with the most cap space … will be Cleveland ($29 million) … unlike Arizona, all three of those teams will see a significant portion of that money evaporate while re-signing important pieces."
Doesn't "re-signing important pieces" imply that you have "talent?" If so, how in the world does that apply to Cleveland?
As a Seahawks fan, I will boycott every game from here on out if they don't show Shaun Alexander the money. The guy may have a great line, but he is also a great back and deserves to be rewarded.
THE LAPTOP BOAST ("Read and React: Dinner reservations," Nov. 5, 2005)
I know you made a silly statement about eating your laptop if the Chicago Bears win the NFC North, but I don't want you to do that. Instead, just admit that the Bears are indeed a good team. Like you, I never imagined the Bears doing so well. But hey, stuff happens.
If only it were that simple.
Being a transplanted Michigander (Muskegon) and still a diehard Detroit Lions fan that lives in Bears/Rams country, I thought of a fate to supplant your "laptop lunch." How about you have to go back to the land of the Lions and digest one more of their defeats. Cruel, I know, but I'm sure Bear fans might think of that as your just "dessert."
I'd rather eat my laptop.
No need to eat that laptop. The Minnesota Vikings are going to take the showdown at the dome, and the division along with it. All you have to do is score a touchdown against the Bears and then withstand their aggressive field-goal unit.
St. Paul, Minn.
SEATTLE FANS ("Read and React: Merciless in Seattle," Dec. 10, 2005)
I just read your article bad mouthing Seattle for getting mad about your placement in the rankings. Isn't it your job to take criticism for what you write? You are a sports journalist, and of course there will always be pissed off people about what you write. This past article makes you sound like a 5-year-old going to his mommy because someone's picking on him. THAT IS YOUR JOB. DEAL WITH IT! Honestly, you just lost respect in my book.
Garden Grove, Calif.
Wow, Seattle had better be No. 2 on your list now. Looks like some of your critics had legitimate beefs with you. San Diego losing at home to Miami doesn't make you look like a rocket scientist, but hey you're human. Little kids in Baghdad are going to be shocked if Seattle isn't No. 2 now.
CPT Chris Robinson
That last sentence made me laugh out loud.
I guess some sympathy should be given to Seattle fans for all of their hate mail. After all, they get dumped on for eight months out of the year by nature, so it is understandable that they feel everyone is out to get their one bright spot. Too bad the St. Louis Rams are not at full strength, then we would really see what the Seahawks are made of in their division.
First, I am amazed that as a sports writer you would be surprised by a bunch of fans (root word: fanatics) disagreeing with your assessment of their team. Two, I didn't think I read it right, but you gave the city credit for the fans' behavior. Now I might be mistaken, but most of those fans that responded did not live in Seattle but were fans of the Seahawks.
Goose Creek, S.C.
I am never surprised by disagreement. Practically 80 percent of responses are venting over some type of disagreement. But there are some weeks where it gets taken to a totally inappropriate level.
On behalf of the overwhelming majority of Seahawks fans, I apologize for the negative emails you received regarding ranking the Seahawks behind San Diego. I don't know how familiar you are with the Seattle fan base, but I hope you know that the Seattle crowd has been traditionally respectful to all of their teams (baseball, basketball, football, college teams, soccer, etc.) and their opponents. I'm a little concerned that, to outsiders, your comments today make us sound like New York Yankees fans.
No need to apologize. Hopefully, I didn't give the impression that one week of email represents all Seahawks fans. If I did, then I apologize for that.
Making the Seattle Seahawks No. 2 may not seem like a big deal to you, but to a few thousand Seattle fans that have been waiting for this kind of season since birth, it means a lot.
Every city has morons. The majority of Hawks fans wouldn't send some of the insulting stupid things that they did. It is actually a compliment to be rated so high, as the Hawks play in a weak division. So please don't judge all of us as those idiots that wrote such horrible things. The fans, in general, are some of the best.
Ahhhhh, Charles … gonna take your diaper off and cry at some point. Geez, what a little whining baby.
Nice job calling Seattle fans horrific, subhuman, obscene, ignorant and insulting, and embarrassing an entire city in this season's most shameful offering. Way to be professional.
Note the word "some" in last week's mailbag: "A slew of your fans win the award for submitting this season's most shameful offering. I only wish I could print it all so readers could see how boorish and awful some of your fans have become."
Why didn't the New York Jets re-sign Quincy Carter? With his ability to get teams into the playoffs, it does not make sense for him not to be playing in the NFL.
Carter filed his retirement papers in September, but he is planning a return. Look for him to make an appearance on the workout circuit this offseason.
Hmmm. Can't win a Super Bowl with a sub-par quarterback? What about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins?
You can make that argument with Trent Dilfer in Baltimore, but I'm not sure I'd label him as "sub-par." Average would be a better word. Tampa Bay? I definitely wouldn't lump Brad Johnson in the "sub-par" category. As for the Redskins, their quarterbacks all had good years in each title season.
How can people hate on David Carr so much when the rest of the Houston Texans is SO horrible? Andre Johnson hasn't played almost the whole season, Domanick Davis has been hurt the past couple of days and the offensive line is the worst in the NFL by far. I am a HUGE Indianapolis Colts fan, but it's just sad to see when we go down there and kill them every time and they put the blame on Carr when he gets sacked 50 times by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
You told a New England Patriots fan, "Go hang out with people who have spent their lives following Arizona or Detroit and get some perspective." It's true. The 15,000 remaining Arizona Cardinals fans really do deserve plaudits for staying loyal despite the losing seasons, Bill Bidwell and the least intimidating uniforms in the history of the NFL. As a long (long!) suffering Cincinnati Bengals fan, I can only offer this – when the worm finally turns for your team, you'll savor every single beautiful second of it.
Patriots fan here. Something is definitely up with the crowds at Gillette Stadium. I don't know if they're spoiled or what. Some claim it's the stadium itself. I think it might have more to do with ticket prices, if you know what I mean. That said, I take issue with your comment you made about Patriots fans getting some perspective. It wasn't much more than a decade ago that the Patriots were grouped in with such notoriously bad franchises as Arizona and Detroit. So I'd say that most lifelong Patriots fans have plenty of perspective.
That's a great point.
I believe the Chargers have been saving Shawne Merriman for the Colts game. You haven't heard much about Merriman these past few weeks. Why? To keep the Colts from thinking about him too much. I predict a Merriman, lights-out show against the Colts with the Chargers pulling the upset: 31-21 BOLTS.
Valley Center, Calif.
Teams pushing for the playoffs don't "save" anyone.
I know the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" type of league, but why does everyone talk about the Jacksonville Jaguars' "soft" schedule? Everyone seems to forget them beating Seattle, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, rather focusing on their wins against Arizona, Cleveland and Houston.
Point Edward, Ontario
The "soft" label is referring to their final stretch of games. Not the whole season.
Three-peat or no three-peat, I'm just waiting for New England to ruin Peyton's perfect season and send him home for the year. Just like always.
What, exactly, is media "respect"? And what does it get you? What would make these fans happy? "YOUR TEAM IS GREAT" headlines? Who cares?
I'm sick of sportscasters saying forget the perfect season and go for the Super Bowl. I even heard one say historically the Super Bowl winner is more important. Really? Who won the 1973 Super Bowl? 1974? I don't know. Who has had a perfect season? The 1972 Dolphins, everyone knows that. I'm not saying the Super Bowl isn't the goal. But if you want to be remembered, be perfect.
Let's give Nick Saban some credit. After reading his it-doesn't-matter-if-we-win comment a few weeks back, I thought the Miami Dolphins would flounder. But they actually have playoff hopes now.
Don't you think Clinton Portis has quietly put together a nice season?
College Park, Md.
He's definitely bounced back, but he still doesn't appear to be the same player that lit the league up with the Denver Broncos. Obviously, a lot of that has to do with the scheme and the players surrounding him. Regardless, Portis has once again established himself as one of the top-10 running backs in the league. I wouldn't go any further than that, though.
Hey, Charles I'll make you a deal. I'll eat the laptop if the Bears win as long as you make the Sunday Night Football crew "disappear." It boggles my mind how three guys can get so orgasmic over a guy like Brett Favre throwing a five-yard pass to an open guy like it just won the Super Bowl. I am guessing they are done announcing after this year and that is a gift all us NFL fans should cherish.
I'm not going to trash anyone, but I have to admit, I turned down the volume late in that game because I got sick of hearing about Favre. I didn't think the commentary was anywhere in the realm of objectivity.