These five offseason moves simply don’t make sense

Just because an NFL team makes a bold personnel move doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good one. Here are the five most head-scratching decisions so far this offseason:

Did Cleveland really upgrade the position by bringing in Seneca Wallace as one of its new quarterbacks?
Did Cleveland really upgrade the position by bringing in Seneca Wallace as one of its new quarterbacks?

1. The Browns get Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to replace Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. It was evident from Day 1 on the job that president Mike Holmgren was set to exorcise the ghosts of passers past. The decision to move on without Anderson and Quinn was acceptable, but the effort to upgrade with Delhomme and Wallace, Holmgren’s former backup in Seattle, was curious.

It’s unclear whether both veterans were brought in as insurance in case the team isn’t able to land a franchise quarterback in the draft or whether they are short-term stopgaps in an optimistic attempt to be competitive.

"What Cleveland is doing at quarterback is a total mystery," NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said.

Even more mysterious is why Cleveland felt the need to spend $7 million on Delhomme after he was released by the Panthers—especially considering the Browns aren’t even sure he will start over Wallace.

It’s hard to see either Delhomme or Wallace helping Cleveland (5-11 last year) win more games in 2010, given the supporting cast. It will be equally interesting to see how Anderson (Cardinals) and Quinn (Broncos) play on teams that have good offensive structures in place.

BY THE NUMBERS

Anderson and Quinn combined in 2009: 11 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 56.8 passer rating
Delhomme and Wallace combined in 2009:
11 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 65.5 passer rating

2. The Raiders make Sebastian Janikowski the highest-paid kicker in NFL history. Oakland has had plenty of personnel turnover in the past decade, but there have been two constants: Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler. Immune to the team’s numerous problems, each has been rewarded with plenty of green to stay in Silver and Black.

A year after the Raiders made Lechler the highest-paid punter ever with a four-year, $12 million contract, Janikowski received the same distinction at his position. Janikowski still has a booming leg at 32, something he proved by drilling a 61-yarder in Cleveland in December.

But with 18 missed field-goal attempts over the past three years, he has been far from perfect. That makes investing $16 million in him over the next four years seem reckless, especially for a team with many holes.

BY THE NUMBERS

Janikowski’s 2009 rankings: Fifth in FG percentage, tied for 10th in field goals made, 19th in points scored

Thomas Jones is a better runner than his Gang Green replacement.
Thomas Jones is a better runner than his Gang Green replacement.

3. The Jets release Thomas Jones and sign LaDainian Tomlinson. In the end, the Chiefs are happy Jones became available to back up their young star, Jamaal Charles, while New York seems content to have L.T. provide relief for second-year back Shonn Greene.

Although Tomlinson has a bigger name, the Jets didn’t get a better complementary veteran than they had in Jones, a popular player on a playoff team. Tomlinson will provide a pass-catching dimension—especially if Leon Washington doesn’t re-sign—but Jones has been a much stronger runner in a similar late stage in his career.

"L.T. can’t touch the production that Jones has had the last two seasons," Baldinger said. "And Jones just keeps getting better and better."

The league’s top rushing team may have sacrificed too much production for a little more versatility.

BY THE NUMBERS

Thomas Jones: 31 years, 7 months old; 2,280 career attempts; 4.4-yard average from 2008 to 2009
LaDainian Tomlinson: 30 years, 9 months old; 2,880 career attempts; 3.6-yard average from 2008 to 2009

4. The Bengals sign Antonio Bryant instead of Terrell Owens. Proponents of this move point to the fact that Bryant just turned 29 and Owens is 36. Bryant is a great talent and showed just how good he can be when he put it all together for a stellar 2008 comeback season with the Buccaneers.

Both receivers were stuck with shaky quarterback situations last season, but Owens was the healthier, more durable and more productive receiver. Owens is at his best providing a first-year impact for a contending team, like the playoff-caliber Bengals.

With all the attention Chad Ochocinco draws, T.O. would have thrived in a T.J. Houshmandzadeh-type role and as a premier red zone target for Carson Palmer. Instead, Bryant comes in as a high-priced enigma.

BY THE NUMBERS

Antonio Bryant in 2009: 39 catches, 600 yards, four TDs
Terrell Owens in 2009: 55 catches, 829 yards, five TDs

5. Kyle Vanden Bosch signs with the Lions. There’s no doubt Detroit’s young defenders will benefit from having Vanden Bosch’s smarts, work ethic and savvy around to help them grow in coach Jim Schwartz’s scheme.Based strictly on production, however, Vanden Bosch’s contract (four years, $26 million) wasn’t a sound investment for a struggling young team that consistently plays from behind.

Vanden Bosch was a great player for Schwartz in Tennessee, but that was on a loaded defense that was often protecting leads with a relentless pass rush. He had only three sacks last season, will turn 32 in November and has a history of injuries.

BY THE NUMBERS

Lions who had more sacks than Vanden Bosch’s three in 2009: Cliff Avril, 5 1/2; Jason Hunter, 5, and Julian Peterson, 4 1/2.

This story appears in March 25’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

Just because an NFL team makes a bold personnel move doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good one. Here are the five most head-scratching decisions so far this offseason:

Did Cleveland really upgrade the position by bringing in Seneca Wallace as one of its new quarterbacks?
Did Cleveland really upgrade the position by bringing in Seneca Wallace as one of its new quarterbacks?

1. The Browns get Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to replace Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. It was evident from Day 1 on the job that president Mike Holmgren was set to exorcise the ghosts of passers past. The decision to move on without Anderson and Quinn was acceptable, but the effort to upgrade with Delhomme and Wallace, Holmgren’s former backup in Seattle, was curious.

It’s unclear whether both veterans were brought in as insurance in case the team isn’t able to land a franchise quarterback in the draft or whether they are short-term stopgaps in an optimistic attempt to be competitive.

"What Cleveland is doing at quarterback is a total mystery," NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said.

Even more mysterious is why Cleveland felt the need to spend $7 million on Delhomme after he was released by the Panthers—especially considering the Browns aren’t even sure he will start over Wallace.

It’s hard to see either Delhomme or Wallace helping Cleveland (5-11 last year) win more games in 2010, given the supporting cast. It will be equally interesting to see how Anderson (Cardinals) and Quinn (Broncos) play on teams that have good offensive structures in place.

BY THE NUMBERS

Anderson and Quinn combined in 2009: 11 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 56.8 passer rating
Delhomme and Wallace combined in 2009:
11 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 65.5 passer rating

2. The Raiders make Sebastian Janikowski the highest-paid kicker in NFL history. Oakland has had plenty of personnel turnover in the past decade, but there have been two constants: Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler. Immune to the team’s numerous problems, each has been rewarded with plenty of green to stay in Silver and Black.

A year after the Raiders made Lechler the highest-paid punter ever with a four-year, $12 million contract, Janikowski received the same distinction at his position. Janikowski still has a booming leg at 32, something he proved by drilling a 61-yarder in Cleveland in December.

But with 18 missed field-goal attempts over the past three years, he has been far from perfect. That makes investing $16 million in him over the next four years seem reckless, especially for a team with many holes.

BY THE NUMBERS

Janikowski’s 2009 rankings: Fifth in FG percentage, tied for 10th in field goals made, 19th in points scored

Thomas Jones is a better runner than his Gang Green replacement.
Thomas Jones is a better runner than his Gang Green replacement.

3. The Jets release Thomas Jones and sign LaDainian Tomlinson. In the end, the Chiefs are happy Jones became available to back up their young star, Jamaal Charles, while New York seems content to have L.T. provide relief for second-year back Shonn Greene.

Although Tomlinson has a bigger name, the Jets didn’t get a better complementary veteran than they had in Jones, a popular player on a playoff team. Tomlinson will provide a pass-catching dimension—especially if Leon Washington doesn’t re-sign—but Jones has been a much stronger runner in a similar late stage in his career.

"L.T. can’t touch the production that Jones has had the last two seasons," Baldinger said. "And Jones just keeps getting better and better."

The league’s top rushing team may have sacrificed too much production for a little more versatility.

BY THE NUMBERS

Thomas Jones: 31 years, 7 months old; 2,280 career attempts; 4.4-yard average from 2008 to 2009
LaDainian Tomlinson: 30 years, 9 months old; 2,880 career attempts; 3.6-yard average from 2008 to 2009

4. The Bengals sign Antonio Bryant instead of Terrell Owens. Proponents of this move point to the fact that Bryant just turned 29 and Owens is 36. Bryant is a great talent and showed just how good he can be when he put it all together for a stellar 2008 comeback season with the Buccaneers.

Both receivers were stuck with shaky quarterback situations last season, but Owens was the healthier, more durable and more productive receiver. Owens is at his best providing a first-year impact for a contending team, like the playoff-caliber Bengals.

With all the attention Chad Ochocinco draws, T.O. would have thrived in a T.J. Houshmandzadeh-type role and as a premier red zone target for Carson Palmer. Instead, Bryant comes in as a high-priced enigma.

BY THE NUMBERS

Antonio Bryant in 2009: 39 catches, 600 yards, four TDs
Terrell Owens in 2009: 55 catches, 829 yards, five TDs

5. Kyle Vanden Bosch signs with the Lions. There’s no doubt Detroit’s young defenders will benefit from having Vanden Bosch’s smarts, work ethic and savvy around to help them grow in coach Jim Schwartz’s scheme.Based strictly on production, however, Vanden Bosch’s contract (four years, $26 million) wasn’t a sound investment for a struggling young team that consistently plays from behind.

Vanden Bosch was a great player for Schwartz in Tennessee, but that was on a loaded defense that was often protecting leads with a relentless pass rush. He had only three sacks last season, will turn 32 in November and has a history of injuries.

BY THE NUMBERS

Lions who had more sacks than Vanden Bosch’s three in 2009: Cliff Avril, 5 1/2; Jason Hunter, 5, and Julian Peterson, 4 1/2.

This story appears in March 25’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

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