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LKelley67 04-26-2005 11:26 AM

Cap Crunching
Kool asked in the Ho Wad thread what would constitute a crisis to those who do not currently see the perils of keeping Howard. My thought was, to some cutting AB and his escalating salary might do that for some. So, I googled to look up his current contract numbers and came across this WWL artcle I had not read before--

Perhaps the biggest complain and/or gripe I hear from Saints fans is, “We should’ve kept Jake!� Yeah, I know, Delhomme has gone onto bigger and better things (a Super Bowl appearance, for instance) while the Saints continue to wallow in mediocrity. For those fans—hell, for most fans—Aaron Brooks is the problem.

Aaron Brooks' numbers indicate he is not worth the same salary as a top five quarterback.

“Get rid of Brooks!� they shout at the top of their lungs to a choir of the already converted. “Brooks Bashers� know how to mobilize and get their voices heard, especially following a turgid performance by the embattled quarterback. Each of them wishes to be the one to personally give A.B. his walking papers. To a certain extent, I agree with these rabid fans.

Brooks is partly to blame for the Saints’ woes in recent years. His play is inconsistent and he lacks certain leadership skills necessary to push this team over the hump. This should be nothing new to most of you. Over the past couple of months, I’ve read many e-mails and listened to many callers on the radio suggest the Saints go in a different direction regarding quarterbacks. Some of these folks are the ones who would mention the name of Jake Delhomme in the same breath as John Paul II.

Allow me to play the role of Rick Pitino. “Folks, Jake Delhomme is not going to come through that door.� There; I said it.

With that out of the way, other fans seem to insist on acquiring one of a few QBs new to the free agent market. Here is where I differ from most Saints fans: I don’t think we need a new starting quarterback; rather, this team desperately needs a more than adequate backup quarterback. In my universe, Todd Bouman simply will not do. Over the span of an eight year career—or a possible 128 regular season games since ‘97 season—Bouman has played in 26 regular season games and started in three of them. Three; and that was in 2001 for the Minnesota Vikings.

Want to know Bouman’s passer stats with the Saints? Bouman played in four games, going 7 of 13 for 81 yards and a touchdown, with a passer rating of 98.6. I have strong doubts this guy could come in if Brooks were taken out of the game and post a good game behind center. That is part of the reason why we need a better backup.

Here’s another reason. While I wouldn’t classify myself a “Brooks Basher,� I’m definitely not in the “Brooks is great� camp, either. The problem with Aaron Brooks is not that he’s terrible; he just isn’t good enough. I’ve watched Brooks get sloppy and grow complacent over the years as an unchallenged starter. Despite his own claims when he demanded a new contract a few years ago, Brooks is hardly worth the money of a top five quarterback in the NFL. And perhaps that is what angers “Brooks Bashers� the most: he doesn’t play up to the level he claims he’s capable of.

To prove my point, I compared the 2003 total salaries (a combination of base salary, signing bonus and other bonuses) of the top nine passer rated quarterbacks from 2004. Why the 2003 salaries? Because acquiring the 2004 salary information of even one player from the NFL Players Association is like trying to cram Star Jones into one of those ridiculously undersized dresses she struts around in on the red carpet. Zing!

(Special note: I didn’t include Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger in the equation, even though he’s ranked in the top ten in passer rating, because he is a rookie and I couldn’t get his salary info.)

See this guy? He won three Super Bowls in four years. His salary was smaller than Brooks'. Anybody have a problem with this?

The top nine passer rated quarterbacks in the NFL are (in order): Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper, Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb, Trent Green, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Chad Pennington and Brad Johnson. The average total salary of the above mentioned nine guys—in 2003 money—is $5.91 million.

In 2003, Aaron Brooks made $7.5 million in total salary. His 2004 passer rating was 79.5, good enough for 17th overall in the NFL. Still not convinced Brooks is unworthy of his high salary? I did some digging with the help of some guys in the Sports Department, and found out Brooks is scheduled to make the following base salary over the next several years:

2004 – $3.25 million

2005 – $5.5 million

2006 – $6.25 million

2007 – $7.25 million

Mind you, I’m not factoring in a signing bonus and/or other bonuses. That information is even harder to come by. To be fair to Brooks, though, I’m not sure if his signing bonus will continue to be paid off in the coming years. But still, is Brooks worth a base salary of $5.5 million this coming season? I’d say no. Here’s more food for thought: my inside source, “guy who knows a guy,� told me a couple months ago that Brooks’ total salary from last year (2004) was third highest in the NFL, behind Culpepper and Manning. I don’t know about you, folks, but when I think of the three best quarterbacks in the league, I certainly don’t envision Aaron Brooks standing next to Culpepper and Manning. I could easily name ten guys whom I’d rather have as starting QBs over Brooks.

While it sounds like I’m throwing Brooks under the bus, I’m really just trying to jumpstart the man’s career, because it’s been on life support these past two years. I believe that Brooks needs to feel challenged for his job. With somebody who is more than capable of replacing him standing on the sidelines, Brooks will be under pressure to produce. Some of you might say, “Kevin, Haslett wouldn’t take Brooks out before, what makes you think he’ll do that now?�

To that I’d say, good question. I think the reason Haslett never replaced Brooks was that maybe he didn’t believe the guys on the bench could get the job done. Now, with a former starter on the bench, Haslett might be more likely to yank Brooks if things go sour during a game.

JKool 04-26-2005 11:47 AM

Cap Crunching
Unless Brooks shows up like a mo fo this year, we should be looking to trade him next year. (Probably for a LB or DT, if things continue as they are now.)

However, with no \"proven\" viable replacement, there is no reason to trade him now. (Not to mention his accelerated signing bonus.)

If A-Mac is all that, Brooks is gone. Get what we can for him. If I had to guess, I\'d say Howard is worth way more on the trading block.

LKelley67 04-26-2005 11:51 AM

Cap Crunching
let\'s just pray for 12-4 or 4-12. strong playoff run or new regime, clean house and start again. i can live with either one.

JKool 04-26-2005 12:11 PM

Cap Crunching
I\'m not going to pray for 4-12.

Let\'s say we\'d had a higher pick this year, we still would have taken Brown (I suppose, if we\'d had 1-5 we may have had a tougher choice - my guess is we would have traded down rather than take Edwards or one of the RBs. Ask the 9ers how excited they are about having to take Smith #1.)

There are too many variables in losing. Having a high pick doesn\'t guarantee that we\'ll get our next savior.

I thought that a mediocre year last year would lead to a regime change. I guess I was way wrong about that. I suppose, there may be some argument for losing in that, but otherwise, I can bring myself to do it.

LKelley67 04-26-2005 12:16 PM

Cap Crunching
yup, my emphasis win and win legitimately and strongly (not some limp noodle into the playoffs 8-8) OR rebuild. just puhleez not another 8-8 schitzo performance over n over.

JKool 04-26-2005 12:22 PM

Cap Crunching

Zulu--King 04-26-2005 03:16 PM

Cap Crunching
There\'s still room for AB in AZ, and I\'m sure we can get a #2 for him. I\'m hoping A-Mac comes through, so AB can start over in greener pastures(pun intended)

Also, these other QBs have mega bonuses, and that isn\'t factored in to their salaries. Weren\'t we paying 5 mil for Hand?

I\'m hoping for a decent run, since I think a poor showing will help usher the Saints clean on out of the city.

natedogg02 04-26-2005 03:52 PM

Cap Crunching
Getting rid of AB would be stupid. I wonder what game\'s you guys have been watching. AB is not the only reason we have been subpar. Sure he makes a few mistake\'s but no more then any other QB. The reason we are subpar is because we never show up as a team. There is always at least one phase of our game that dose\'nt show up. Either our D, O, or ST fails to show up. Sure sometimes its the passing game, but its no more him then it is, WR dropping passes, or the O-line not blocking, etc.
I think if we could ever get our TEAM firing on all 8 cylinders, AB would flurish, prob be a Probowler.

ssmitty 04-26-2005 07:41 PM

Cap Crunching
we can\'t afford to pay howard either...............but yet, we still have money to burn...............smitty

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