I sent John McClain some questions this morning about Pacman and the events surrounding his suspension.
I'm surprised Jones was suspended the entire season. At the NFL meetings in March, word got around that he would be gone for the year. Then, word went around that it would be half a season after Roger Goodell talked with coaches, owners, GMs, etc. Considering Haynesworth got five games -- the longest in his category in history -- I thought Jones would get eight, especially considering he hasn't been convicted. Obviously, Goodell believes that with the union's support, he's on firm ground.
How does this affect the Titans draft strategy? Do you think they will use the #19 pick on a corner?
The Titans already needed a cornerback. They also need at least two cornerbacks and two receivers. I don't see how they can avoid taking a corner in the first round. There are good ones available, starting with Leon Hall, who'll be gone by the time they pick. But there are a lot of good ones who'll be available in the second half of the first round. I expect them to draft a corner in the first round and a receiver in the second unless they give up a second-round pick for Michael Turner, which I wouldn't do.
How does this the Titans pursuit of Michael Turner?
I'm not in favor of giving up second-round picks for backs, especially backup backs. Yes, Turner is in demand, but with all the picks the Titans have, if they do their homework, they should be able to get another back to go with LenDale White. If they trade for Turner, it tells me they don't have confidence in White. If a team uses a second-round pick on a back, and the job should be his in the second season, and they're looking for someone else, that's not a good sign. I think Turner will require at least two picks, including one in the second round. I wouldn't do it. They knew Pacman would be suspended at least half a season. That's why they signed Nick Harper. But they also know they need another corner desperately. And they better not blow this one like they blew the Andre Woolfolk pick.
There is talk of the possibility it could be just a 10 game suspension. What has to happen for that to be the case?
If Pacman complies with the guidelines and does everything the league requires, including clearing up his legal problems in Las Vegas and Atlanta, and stays out of trouble without any more incidents, he can be reinstated after 10 games. That means he'd have to become a model citizen. What are the odds of that? Do any of us truly believe he won't get in trouble with the cops again? It might be his fault or someone else's fault, but with him reporting to the Titans only once a week, do we really believe he'll avoid the wrong people and stay out of the wrong places? Hopefully, he will. Hopefully, Roger Goodell has gotten his attention. Jeff Fisher has been trying ever since Pacman arrived in Nashville. What I like about the suspension is that Pacman can't blame the media. I watched his interview on the NFL Network and heard him say that if people would just sit down with him for five or 10 minutes, they could see the real Pacman. Well, if he hasn't spoken to the media between last season's thug comment until the NFL Network interview, how could anyone possibly know anything about him other than he's a great player who can't stay out of trouble? If he does become a model citizen -- what are they charging for a frontal lobotomy these days? -- he'll be reinstated by Goodell after 10 games. It would take him a couple of weeks to get into playing shape, and he'd be available for the last four games. The Titans could be in a playoff race. Remember, it's not what you do in September and October but November and December. If this happens, the fans should give Jones a standing ovation in his first game back at The Loo because it'll mean he has, indeed, turned around his life and become a model citizen.
What happens to the money the on the Titans side that they owe Pacman this year?
Pacman will lose his base salary unless he returns after the 10th game. Then he'll be paid like usual. Players are paid over 17 weeks. The Titans will carry his salary and pro-rated signing bonus under their cap just as they would as if he were playing every game. If he doesn't comply and is, indeed, gone for the season, not only will he lose his base salary, but the team is expected to go after the prorated portion of his signing bonus under the terms of his original contract. He'd lose more than $3 million. He might wish he had that rain money back.
Is there any scenario where the Titans just go ahead and cut Pacman? What would the cap implications be in future seasons?
If they cut him, his base salaries would be off the books, but his prorated signing bonus this season would count under this year's cap. The rest of his prorated signing bonus would count under next year's cap. That's if they waited until after June 1 or, under a new rule, designate him now as a June 1 casualty without having to wait. They can designate two players as a June 1 casualty under this new rule. They won't cut him, though. Roger Goodell wants teams to follow his lead and do everything they're supposed to do to get their suspended player to follow the strict guidelines during his suspension.
This is completely off the Pacman subject, What is going on with Fisher's contract extension? I am getting a little nervous about that.
Every time I talk to Fisher, I ask him about his extension, and he tells he it won't be a problem. I think they're waiting until after the draft. I imagine it'll be in June.
John obviously doesn't have much confidence that Pacman can clean his act up. Honestly, I don't either but I sure hope he does.
His take on Turner was interesting. I agree, especially at this point, that the Titans cannot afford to give up a 1st or 2nd round pick for him.
I just asked him the Fisher question because I knew he would have something positive to say. We need all the positive thoughts we can get at this point.