With allegations that NFL and NBA games are rigged, every MLB player is on steroids, and that 75 percent (or some other made-up percentage) of pro athletes cheat on their wives, the current state of professional sports calls for a little bit of rest and relaxation.
We can’t be sure about the level of corruption in sports, what goes on in player’s heads, and what lengths these athletes will go to, in order to preserve their fame and fortune.
However, what we can (and continue to) do, is speculate, analyze, and predict.
Without further haste, here’s a good, hard look at all the big names that are being thrown around in retirement and trade rumors, as well as a final verdict on the player’s status for the 2010 NFL season:
Favre is 40 years old, is fresh off a demoralizing loss, and is beaten and bruised. He deserves to take all the time he needs to come to a decision on his retirement. Well, this time, anyways.
But let’s face it. Outside of getting beaten to a pulp by the New Orleans Saints “Let’s break Favre’s legs” defense, the guy had one of his best seasons in his career, led the Minnesota Vikings to a game within the Super Bowl, and was arguably one of the top five quarterbacks in the league all year.
He may be tired, sure. But if he’s the competitor we’ve all grown to love and cherish, there’s no way he’s passing up one last shot at a title. It didn’t happen this year, but with a year with the Vikings under his belt, 2010 could truly be the year that we see Favre go out on top.
Verdict: Favre returns
Warner reached the Super Bowl last year and brought his Arizona Cardinals into the second round (let alone the post-season) for the second time in two years.
That alone makes him a God in the desert land, and at 39, he’s probably safely assuming another magical run just isn’t in the cards. True, he’s young than Favre and has just as explosive of an offense backing him, but Warner has never been mobile, spent his last game with a head that was “bumpin’”, and is starting to get in the way of the Cardinals’ future (Matt Leinart).
There’s no doubt that Warner’s return would keep the Cardinals as playoff contenders and possibly still reasonable Super Bowl contenders, but with Anquan Boldin getting closer and close to a trade, and after seeing just how far away the Cardinals are from the Saints, Warner may finally believe that “it’s time”.
That, and Warner has admitted in recent interviews that football just “isn’t fun” anymore.
He and the Cardinals have a press conference schedule for this Friday, and we highly doubt the veteran quarterback is halting everyone’s day just to smile and say “I’m coming back”.
Verdict: Warner is done
Issue: Trading Block?
Donovan McNabb is making it sound like there’s a fuss about nothing, and that he and everyone else wants him to stay in Philly.
Tell that to Kevin Kolb.
McNabb even said that Andy Reid wants him back, although the most we’ve gotten out of Reid was that he “expects” McNabb to be back.
Now there are full-blown trade rumors (which mean absolutely nothing until something happens), and there is also even speculation (there’s that word we all love) that McNabb could be Minnesota’s next one-year wonder at quarterback if Brett Favre retires (he won’t).
Philadelphia can get a lot more for McNabb than he’s worth, as the market for a quarterback in free agency is, well, non-existent. McNabb would be the cream of the crop, and would likely cost any potential trade partner a first rounder, or at the least, a handful of picks.
The Rams have been in strong rumors that involve McNabb’s teammate, Michael Vick, and since Vick can be had for much cheaper, that’s a dead end. Cleveland could be a hot spot with no real quarterback on the roster, while Mike Holmgren would love to bring in a West Coast passer who knows what he’s doing.
Buffalo would be a bad destination for McNabb, but he could be reunited with Terrell Owens (Yay! sarcasm), and they are in need of a guy who can, well, pass.
The 49ers have Alex Smith, but to say Mike Singletary is booming with confidence in Smith or at all committal towards him is to, well, lie blatantly to the police, even as they show you the video tape that clearly shows you committed the crime they are accusing you of.
Last, but not least, the Jaguars have all kinds of problems, but landing McNabb gives them an upgrade at the position, while potentially drafting Tim Tebow gets them Florida’s viewership. It’s a win-win-lose. McNabb would be the one losing there.
However, while all of these scenarios will be played over in our heads until training camp hits, none of them really fit snug.
McNabb will likely sign a one-year extension, placing us right back in this same situation next season. If Kevin Kolb is Philadelphia’s quarterback of the future, they’ll make the move next year. But McNabb is 33, not 38, and the Eagles still have the tools to contend for the Super Bowl.
Verdict: McNabb isn’t going anywhere
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Issue: Trade Block, for real.
This isn’t to say that McNabb is untouchable (he definitely isn’t) or that the Eagles aren’t entertaining offers (they are), but let’s just say Vick is guaranteed to be playing elsewhere, while Philly still likes McNabb enough to keep him around for one more year.
The top (and possibly only) two true options for Vick is to go back to a dome team, St. Louis, or go to Buffalo, where they need a quarterback that can avoid sacks and keep plays alive.
Going to St. Louis would allow us all to see, once and for all, if Vick still has legs that can excite the world, and if he can make something out of nothing with the worst receiving corps he’ll have had in his career.
If Vick goes to Buffalo, you can count on the Vick/Owens combo happening, as Terrell Owens would undoubtedly love to play with Vick, and vice versa.
Truly, both teams would be perfect fits for Vick. And since Chan Gailey (Buffalo’s new head coach), just got done working with an athletic quarterback at Georgia Tech for four years, and worked with Kordell Stewart years ago, this seems like a match made in heaven.
The Ras are more likely to draft a quarterback with their first pick, than tie their already sunken ship to a guy who can’t guarantee he can rise it to the surface.
Verdict: Vick goes to Buffalo
Issue: Trading Block?
Don’t let Brandon Marshall fool you. He wants out of Denver, and he wants out now. He’s playing nice so he can earn a fat contract with his new team, as well as maximize value so Denver is willing to ship him elsewhere for the right price.
How about a nice swap of disgruntled receivers between the Broncos and Arizona Cardinals? Sounds perfect, right? Please. If Arizona loves Early Doucet and Steve Breaston enough to get rid of a stud like Boldin, why would it be any different with Marshall?
Keep your ear to the ground and listen up for any more rumors of Marshall going to Seattle, as that has been the top rumor, and continues to be one of the most likely.
Nate Burleson is a free agent, Deion Branch is a scrub, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh didn’t do what he was paid to do.
Another possible suitor has to be the Baltimore Ravens, who are expecting the ageless wonder, Derrick Mason, to return, but would probably love it if Mark Clayton was the one pondering retirement.
Come to think of it, I think I just convinced myself out of calling a Marshall-to-Seattle trade.
While Denver won’t feel great about trading Marshall to an AFC team, the wide receiver-hungry Ravens will give them Clayton and a pick (or two) they can’t refuse. It’s that “Jay Cutler Saga” all over again, except this time people actually care.
Verdict: Marshall goes to Baltimore.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Issue: Trading Block?
Boldin is in the last year of his deal, has been unhappy for the past two seasons, and is very likely going to lose Kurt Warner.
Losing a future Hall of Famer and inheriting “Mr. Hot-tub” Matt Leinart will affect a prima-dona receiver’s out-look on his contract status. Believe that.
Boldin is more than ready to jump ship, and with two receivers that are more than capable of filling in for him, Arizona won’t struggle to let go of Boldin. However, they will hold on long enough to get all that they can out of him.
The Cardinals will try to get two high picks and/or a receiver in return (just in case their current two back-up plans fail), and aren’t very likely to let him loose in the NFC, either.
The New York Jets are saying they’ll tender Braylon Edwards for a season at the highest amount, but what happens when Anquan Boldin becomes available? A number of combination could come forth, but one could be Edwards signing and going to Arizona, or New York passing on “Mr. Drop” altogether, and sending their first pick away to snatch Boldin.
But they aren’t the only teams trying to lock-down a stellar receiving corps. The Baltimore Ravens, while likely pursuing Brandon Marshall more strongly, will be in the mix, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are in desperate need of weapons to help prove their trade and signing of Matt Cassel was a good decision.
If Kansas City is willing to give up the right amount of picks, this trade could actually happen.
Verdict: Boldin goes to KC