What Does $5,371,570 Buy You These Days?


Days since the draft: 19; Number of rookies signed: 0; Number of stories from the local media covering the negotiations: 0; Total value of stories appearing in the local media: Worthless!

The local media members had their opportunity.  They had John Fox cornered during the recent luncheon at the Charlotte Touchdown Club.  How many questions did Fox have lobbed his way about contract negotiations with the team’s draft picks?  Zero.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  Not nary a one!

So, we are to take it that the media are on top of the story, huh?  There they were – 600 people in the room with the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and not one of them thought about asking him if they are close to signing Jonathan Stewart or Jeff Otah to a contract?

Okay, we know how this game is played – players get signed in the order they were drafted in most cases.  That gives the teams and the agents a starting place for negotiations.  I still can’t believe that the team hasn’t at least approached the players’ agents with some semblance of a contract number, though, and the local media (I’d call names but you know and they know who they are) can’t seem to think of such an important question.

The Carolina Panthers have been allotted a rookie pay pool of $5,371,570 to pay their rookies but that’s a number they can work around with bonuses, prorated monies and really creative contract numbers.  That number ranks seventh in the league.  (The Chiefs got over $8 million and ranked first.)

What I’m still not understanding here is this – we have been bombarded by stories of that worthless, cheating, hunk of lard from New England and his video tapes but we can’t get any of these journalistic monoliths (ESPN, NFLN, FOX Sports, or our established local reporters) to run even one story on where the league’s first-round draft talent stand in contract negotiations?

What have we gotten instead?  Let’s recount…

Steve Smith is throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game.  I got a warm fuzzy.

Jonathan Stewart might be returning kickoffs for the Panthers.  It’s news but how can he return kickoffs, take a handoff or even be part of training camp if he isn’t signed to a deal?

What else did we get from that 600-person crowd facing John Fox?

Question:How many games are you going to win this year?

Or how about this?

Question:Are the Panthers going to make opposing defenses not double-team wide receiver Steve Smith this season?

Well, gee, we thought we’d make opposing defenses triple and quadruple team him!  DUH!

This is what passes for serious journalists?  Where are the tough questions like, “Coach, do you prefer the toilet paper flap to hang out the front or the back?”  How about, “Coach, do you squeeze the toothpaste from the middle or from the end and roll it up as you go?”

If the local media, and national media for that matter, will be ignoring it, I can assure you, I won’t.  Hey, I’m just a blogger but I can see the importance of these contract numbers even if these educated pansies don’t.

Why am I ripping these guys a new one, you ask.  I’ll explain it like this – they are supposed to be our eyes and ears, the guys who get us the inside dope, the scoop.  They’re failing as usual.  They’d rather ask “Is there any additional pressure after two consecutive non-winning seasons?”  Seriously, that was one of their questions!  Unbelieveable!  I only wish the coach had said, “You’re too stupid to ask me any questions!  Get them outta here!”

We have $5,371,570 to spend (more or less).  The clock started ticking the day the draft ended.  Days until the start of training camp (as of May 16th): 72.  We’re counting even if nobody else is.