This is ALL silly. If you’re going to play “what should have been” why do it half-assed? Here is the REAL bottom line:
Coles AND Moss should be our two starting WR’s.
Instead, that money went to Pennington (whose presence behind center relegated burner Moss to possession receiver which he’s ill-suited for) and Justin McCariens. Between the two of them we’ve paid like $30M just in bonus money alone since August ’03.
Forget whether you think Moss deserved to be paid like a #1. The reality is there isn’t THAT much of a difference betwen FA contracts for #2 WR’s and #1 WR’s – not like other positions – since they’re both starters. Moss’ “blockbuster” contract with Washington (excluding the last voidable year) is 5 years/$26.5M with $11M guaranteed over the first 2 years. Avg cap hit = $5.3M. We gave McCariens a contract for 7 years/$31M with $7M guaranteed. Avg cap hit = $4.4M. So enough about not being able to afford Moss. His cap hit is $1M/yr different from McCariens – who’d done FAR less on the field at the time of his signing than had Moss. The result of the Coles/Moss trade has led us to pay Coles more money than we declined to pay before Washington stole him. Shrewd negotiator, that Bradway.
So you want to REALLY play “what might have been”? Then do away with the stupid new/extension contracts given to Chad, Martin, Chrebet, & McCareins:
QB – (Who knows who? Pinto-gton certainly wasn’t the answer anyway.)
HB – Jordan
WR1 – Coles
WR2 – Moss
If you’re stubborn enough to STILL think we would’ve had a tough time cap-wise with them, consider this: if not for letting Coles go (we thought $10M was too much guaranteed money to give him), we never would’ve had the draft pick ammunition to trade up for DRob – who we then gave $11M guaranteed money to, not including the $2M roster bonus we just gave him in the spring this year as part of that same contract. Plus we would’ve had our high 2nd-rounder back instead of McCariens in 2004’s draft as well as the picks we traded away to get DRob in the first place.
There was plenty of cap room for all these players. Viva Bradway!
* ? at QB
* Coles (instead of Wash’s #1 in 2003 that we traded for DRob)
* 1st-round pick in 2003 (traded for DRob)
* 4th-round pick in 2003 (traded for DRob)
* 2nd-round pick in 2004 (traded for JMac)
* AND more cap room available in both 2006 and 2007
You wonder how some teams can keep getting or re-signing high-priced players without “paying the piper” capwise?
* They don’t give a pair of #3 receivers starter money each.
* They don’t give a $64M contract with $22M guaranteed to a weak-armed QB who’s never played a full season 4 years into his career.
* They don’t give $46M contracts with $13M+ in bonus money to 29 year-old RB’s.
* They don’t trade three draft picks (including two first-rounders) and a $15-20M differential in cap room (over the life of the rookie contracts) for a short DT who was considered maybe the #20 player in a weak draft class 3-4 mos before the draft.
So enough of the “which one should we have had” discussion between Coles & Moss. We drafted both. Both had productive seasons for us under their rookie contracts so it’s not like Joe Horn’s surprise explosion from KC to NO. We should still have both. And much, much more.