As I am sure most of you have as well, I have had a miserable weekend. Aside from having to spend most of it with friends and relatives who happen to be fans of the 49ers, Patriots, Broncos, and Saints (he didn't have much to say), I have been forced to watch my beloved team, that I have been devoted to since their inception, strip itself of, well, seemingly anyone who would do what players are paid to do; compete.
While Smitty is my favorite player of all-time, Newton is my favorite since he entered the league, and the events that have transpired this weekend have caused me to think how I'd feel in his shoes. And I can't say I'd blame him if he left us next year.
The last 5 days or so have been a roller coaster of the worst kind; one that only goes down. For a quick recap, The Carolina Panthers, let go of their X, Y, and Z wide receivers, and their bench warmer WR Hixon. That means Steve Smith, #1 WR in Panther history, Gone. Brandon LaFell, who I would never argue was "elite", "premier", or even a "solid threat", but I would venture to say he was consistent, and a solid option on a team who has neglected the Receiving Corp since before Newton brought his talents to Charlotte, let go. Teddy Ginn, someone who we took in, when every other team had cut ties with him and deemed him nothing more than a specialist, he scored 1 less touchdown in 1 year in Carolina than he had his entire career as a receiver, leaves after we made him look good enough to want to pay to play for your team.
Oh, also, we only have 2 linemen to protect our Franchise right now. And maybe a few DB's would be nice, in case we end up playing a team who passes the ball occasionally.
I have wanted for 2 years or so now for us to TRADE or move one of our two lotto winning RB's who really have limited our ability to build, Charles Johnson contract is more in line with his performance and circumstances at the time made it make sense, but Stewart doesn't play but gets payed like a featured back, Deangelo may be older but has proven he is more worth their huge contracts. We cut Steve Smith to save money; maybe we should look in the backfield.
To my main reason for this post, Wide Receivers. We have none.
Since free agency, most of us were sure Hakeem Nicks was on his way. Gone. Sanders would be a nice fit along with a drafted WR and resigning LaFell so Cam has 1 target who he has chemistry with. Sanders, Gone, LaFell, Gone. Edelman? Gone. Golden Tate? Gone. Andre Roberts, taken.
When you strip a team of EVERY receiver they have, you better have a couple sure things pen in hand, about to sign on the dotted line. Where do we stand now? Kenny Britt is viable, but looks like he will be joining LaFell to solidify a powerhouse in NE.
What are our best options now? Signing the likes of James Jones & Jerricho Cotchery to anchor our passing game, get a Miles Austin or Devin Hester to see how they would fit in the slot, and then drafting a WR. I think a plan along these lines is our best shot at building a group that could succeed. Ideally, also pick up a player or two like Robert Meachem, Santonio Holmes (I regret typing that), and Austin Collie of the streets for training camp to compete for the positions behind Jones and Cotchery or Jones and Austin. None of these guys have much leverage to push for a heavy contract and they all have a lot to prove to show they still have it. When it settles, maybe we can start the season with a new and improved group of Jones, Cotchery, perhaps Austin/Hester, and our draft pick.
As for CB's, last year we had below average play, as it stands we have NO play at the positions. If we had the funds DRC would be awesome but I don't know that he fits our locker room, I think that we could make an low offer for Carlos Rogers likely to cover the slot, Josh Wilson as a starter, players like Aaron Ross, etc. Bottom line, we have nothing, there are only so many picks in the draft, we need linemen and DB's assuming we get WR's soon.
It's a shame that there were so many good players available and they came and went because of poor money management from the past the came back to haunt us. I still wish we would have looked harder at our RB situation before dumping 80 million on guys who split the ball and one who never plays.
Just my $.02. If we don't get Jones and a Cotchery or Austin or a player along those lines, before we draft a WR, it won't be pretty.
The Shame of it all?! This is a 12-4, #2 seed in the NFC we are talking about. In a couple weeks they have become a team that looks like the Raiders. When you are 12-4, you don't need to "rebuild", you do like the Niners, Pats, Broncos, add a couple pieces to put you over the top, not gut your team in every sense of the word.