Franchising James Wrong Idea

Edgerrin James may only be twenty seven years old, but he has taken a beating since being drafted in 1999. Injuries haven?t been able to slow him down, and he once again had a phenomenal year and another trip to the Pro Bowl. With the Colts high powered offense though, don?t you think that any average running back could be successful in the system?

No one wants to dismember a franchise that has planted all the right seeds, but building other stepping stones is needed for the Colts. They?ve placed so much emphasis on their offense that they don?t have the money to bring in key free agents. In fact, the Colts 2004 roster featured 70 percent of their salary devoted to the offense. How in the world are the Colts going to get by the Patriots or any other balanced offense without the key components on defense?

Tony Dungy is a defensive minded coach, and has done a great job with the players he has brought in. At times the Colts defense seems on the brink of improving, but they just can?t piece it together. They need an additional big name on the defense to go along with Dwight Freeney and Rob Morris. Filling that void in the NFL draft is a possibility, but defensive rookies usually have a harder learning adjustment period than quarterbacks.

So by placing the franchise tag on Edgerrin James, are the Colts really doing themselves a favor? More than likely there isn?t a team in the NFL that is going to offer James a big enough contract to pull him away from the Colts. When Edgerrin James has been hurt, the offense has never missed a tick and in fact chugged along without a problem. Dominic Rhodes and even James Mungro have been fine substitutes and you would?ve thought the Colts would have looked into their direction to alleviate extra money to spend on the defense.

James is a special back, but sometimes you have to sacrifice to go in another direction. The Colts are going to likely end up signing James to a long term deal, and what?s going to happen if James gets hurt two to three years down the road? They?ll be stuck with his contract, and/or be forced to take a salary cap hit when they cut him. It?s a cruel way to look at it, but it?s been happening to the best of players lately.

Bill Belicheck has been able to devise the perfect plan, and find the right players that want to win in a team oriented philosophy. Tony Dungy and company can get the same results but it?ll take extra hard work to find defensive mind athletes that are willing to take a pay cut to get the Colts defense to the level it needs to be. Peyton Manning could throw sixty touchdowns next year, and if the defense isn?t there than they?ll face another tough exit in the playoffs.


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