Let the Debate Begin

When the season is over a lot of things happen.  Players empty their lockers, workout schedules are imminent while coaches and general managers begin going about the business of football.

But when the fans feel that the season ends prematurely even more happens.  Debates begin and rage throughout the off season.  We’re just getting started with what promises to be the most divisive of them – the Jake Delhomme debate.  There’s time remaining to get to all the other debates that are sure to start up in the coming weeks.

We’ll start with Adam Schefter of NFL Network who quotes some numbers for us.

Now the question becomes what will happen to Delhomme, especially considering that he carries a team-high $11 million salary-cap figure for next season. If the Panthers release Delhomme, they would save a whopping $6.325 million against next season’s salary cap — perhaps enough to pursue another quarterback such as Cleveland’s Derek Anderson or even Michael Vick.

Those are not good numbers.  Ouch!  Can anyone honestly say that Jake Delhomme should demand $11 million next season?  I’m no math genius but those numbers just don’t add up.

Here’s the part that disturbs me the most about what Schefter wrote – Derek Anderson or Michael Vick?  I’m sorry, given the choice of Jake Delhomme or Derek Anderson, I take Delhomme.  And I would have to find another team to root for if Michael Vick came to town.  I won’t even discuss that and I can’t understand any fan who would.

Sports Illustrated has this nugget.

Especially with a decent number of quarterbacks available via trade or free agency, and with Delhomme due to earn $5.325 million in 2009. One thing’s certain — there will be plenty of voices in Charlotte calling for the team to bid farewell to Jake. Ever since Delhomme exploded onto the scene in 2003, there has been periodic whispers and concerns that he’s simply not good enough to be a high-end NFL quarterback. If there was any doubt, last night’s performance removed it. And here’s something to keep in mind: At one point in the 2008 offseason, agent Bus Cook was privately saying that Brett Favre wanted to play for the Panthers. That said, some might argue that Favre already was playing for the Panthers last night.

Now, I’m going to be sick.  Please let the talk of Brett Favre stop right there!  He required a private office in New York, rarely spoke to his teammates and made Jake Delhomme look like Dan Marino.  Shoot, down the stretch, Favre made Chris Weinke look like Dan Marino!

Next, our local media weighs in.  Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer summed it up like this.

Delhomme remains the quarterback that took Carolina to the Super Bowl after the 2003 season, the NFC Championship Game two years later and to a 12-4 regular-season record this season.

We all saw what the Panthers looked like without him in 2007.

But we also all know that there is a Good Jake and a Bad Jake – who appeared in the playoffs once before, when Delhomme threw three interceptions at Seattle in the 2005 NFC title game.

And although Bad Jake hasn’t climbed out of his dungeon very often this season, he reappeared Saturday.

And he ruled the night

Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette had some thoughts.

Don’t expect Saturday night’s miserable performance to cost Jake Delhomme his starting job next season with the Carolina Panthers.

Coach John Fox said despite Delhomme’s six turnovers in Carolina’s 33-13 NFC Divisional Playoff loss to Arizona, he still views him as the team’s starting quarterback heading into the 2009 season.

Fox said “I can promise you” Delhomme’s performance wouldn’t change his commitment to Delhomme in the future.

“I can’t predict what’s going to happen,” Fox said. “I don’t know where anybody is going to be next year for sure. But that’s kind of my thinking, yes. But it’s a little early to be thinking about next year. I want to get through this one first.”

Fox believes Delhomme simply had a bad day.

The debate has just begun.  There is more to come even if it means that it will deafen us all.

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Tags: Brett Favre Carolina Panthers Derek Anderson Jake Delhomme Michael Vick

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