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Fu to New England?

April 14, 2001 by Steel Phantom

Stillers face RB decision:

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.









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