Stillers face RB decision:
Thus spoke the Post Gazette this morning.� The New England Patriots have offered Chris Fuamatu-Ma�afala a contract and the Stillers have until Friday to decide whether to meet the same terms.� Those were not disclosed but rumor has it that the Pat deal is at about $750K.� Currently, Fu�s RFA tender is in the low $500 range; it may take, say, another $250K to keep Fu in B&G for one more year.
If the FO folds, then Fu is gone and the Pats will provide the Stillers with a 6th round draft pick.� You might remember that, last October, the Eagles, having lost Duce Staley for the season, were interested in dealing for Fu.� Tough to say what a playoff-hopeful team would have offered but, and I�m only guessing now, it was more than a single 6th.� If so, by refusing to deal then, the FO effectively traded down.
Not too bright and things could get worse.� The PG article speculates that, if the Stillers match, they may cut Richard Huntley.� If so, this would reduce their stable of RB while netting nothing, not even a 6th, in return.� This is madness; when Huntley was an RFA last year, he attracted an offer from Miami.� The Stillers matched that then, spurning a 4th round pick in the process.� If the FO cuts Huntley now, they will have traded, at minimum, a 4th for a 6th.� If the Eagle deal was for something better than a 4th, then there is your margin.� Dazzling foresight.
Supposedly, the cost to keep all the 2000 RB in 2001 is just too darn high.� Well, let�s see; in 2000, the Bus made about $4.3M base.� In 2001, his base will be less than $500K. Hunt�s 2001 base is about $1.25, up from $500K in 2000.� That�s $4.8M combined in 2000 and about $1.8M in 2001.� The savings is about $3M; Fu and Amoz together won�t get that and so, in sum, the RB stable will cost MUCH LESS in 2001 than in the previous campaign.� That seems to be very good cap management; why screw it up with some panic move that nets nothing for a quality contributor like Huntley?
A 6th is too cheap for Fu and, if the FO just cuts Hunt, they should be compelled to take urine tests every hour on the hour, forever.� There are issues with both players; Fu gets hurt, Huntley has had fumble problems.� However, they�ve both made contributions whenever they were called upon.� Both have been effective 3rd down backs. Both have played well on coverage teams; in fact, the (3) backup RB are better than most of the current backup defenders playing on those units.�
The solution is obvious; cut Simmons or Shields and match the NE offer.� Either Logan or Alex has replaced Simmons in the dime; Shields is so far down on the S depth chart that he could put in for submarine pay.� Those players offer nothing, or very little.� In contrast, Fu and Hunt have done everything asked of them and done that very well.� The Stillers should deal out of RB soon, but not now.� Wait until other teams start losing RB in camp or early next season; make the deal when the market is high.�
I don�t think that will happen.� I do think the FO will, again, allow circumstance to dictate their fate.� What�s happening today was entirely predictable; hell, I predicted it last month.� Look for Fu in NE and for the Stiller�s to select, say, a pass-catching TE or 3rd string QB with their first pick in the 6th.�