Monday, March 2, 2009

Len Pasquarelli doesn't like to go out on a limb

In a recent free-agent winners and losers column, ESPN football writer Len Pasquarelli praised the Washington Redskins as a winner for their free agent additions of Albert Haynesworth and Derrick Dockery and the decision to bring back DeAngelo Hall. Pasquarelli wrote:

Despite not qualifying for the playoffs, the Redskins still ranked fourth in the NFL in overall defense in 2008. Adding Haynesworth and keeping cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who started the last seven games after replacing Carlos Rogers, will make this an even better unit. ... Bringing back guard Derrick Dockery for a second tenure, after his release by Buffalo, will bolster the interior offensive line. Maybe this is the year that owner Dan Snyder is known for winning more than just the free-agency sweepstakes in the spring.

Pretty nice stuff, huh? He seems rather optimistic about the whole thing, but he's right. The moves should make the Redskins better, especially since they fill positions of need.

So then I figured, hey, Pasquarelli already considers the Redskins to be winners, why not see if the Cowboys were listed as losers for signing Keith Brooking, a 33-year-old linebacker, to a three-year deal and then trading Anthony Henry, a decent cornerback, to the Lions for the 36-year-old Jon Kitna to be the team's backup quarterback. Yeah, the latter moved saved about $4 million in cap room, but it left the Cowboys with very little depth at corner.

Anyway, much to my surprise/amazement, the Redskins somehow managed to be listed at the top of the losers' list as well. Pasquarelli again wrote:

Wait a minute, the Redskins are listed above as the big winner in free agency. How can they also be a loser? Easy. If Dan Snyder's pricey additions are no more successful than the high-profile players he has signed in the past, the Redskins' owner will have wasted a lot of money. And in this economy, with the crowds at the amusement parks he owns shrinking noticeably, squandering money is not a good thing. ... If Haynesworth and Hall play to their capabilities, the Redskins will be in the playoff chase most of the season. But if they play like most of Snyder's past free-agent signings, the only title Washington will win once again will be the league's springtime championship.

Stop me if you've never read something like that before about the Redskins, but what exactly does that even mean? Is squandering money a good thing in any economy? Who cares about Snyder's bank account or his amusement parks? Is it even worth saying that if the players actually play well, the deals will make sense? What's wrong with making an actual prediction; is it that hard to do? How many more rhetorical questions will I ask in a row?

Not to be outdone, "leadership" managed to find its way into the group of free-agent losers. But after having one team make both lists, I guess I should have figured it was coming.

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