I think we can all agree that the Bears special teams last Thursday weren’t…special. In fact, they were awful. Eric Weems has always been one of my favorite players since he taunts a lot. I am just a sucker for guys like that, what can I say. But he really looked like garbage last Thursday. In his defense, it wasn’t like he had a really good chance to get it rolling, as he was getting hit around the ten yard line on some of the kickoff returns. He still looked bad, that notwithstanding.
Having never played professional football, I can hardly imagine what it must be like to be a kick or punt returner. Unless you go out of bounds, you are going to get smashed and wrecked every time you touch the ball. If it were me, I would just go as fast as I could with all reckless abandon possible, for two reasons.
One, you are going to get creamed, so you may as well go for a TD while you are waiting for your “medicine”. Two, maybe you can do some damage to a few players if you are running hard enough. You are going to take damage anyways, so hopefully you can wreck some of the opposition along the way.
I looked at the contract of Weems and it would suck to cut him, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. We are looking at $600k worth of dead money, but we would save $730k on the cap if we cut him. The math looks like this:
Salary: $730k, Signing bonus: $500k Workout bonus: $100k
So his total cap hit this year is $730k + $500k + $100k = $1.3mm. If we cut him, we eat the $500k and $100k in dead money, but would save the $730k off of the cap, making his total cap hit $600k if we cut him. Easy?
Anyways, I don’t think the Bears will cut him since he is also a (half assed) backup receiver, but I decided to take a look at what some of the other return guys are making in the NFL. I am going to look at their cap hit, versus their annualized salaries, as to me, the cap number is the real economic indicator. Taking a whole summer studying and trying to understand the cap will do that to you. I am also going off of some current depth chart projections, so some of this may change as we get closer to roster cuts. Also realize that many of these guys are still on their rookie deals, so their numbers are artificially lower than the vets. It is still important since we can just go out and get a crazed rookie from the SEC at any time as well. I am featuring kick returners only (sometimes teams have a different guy returning punts).
Atlanta – Devin Hester: $1.833mm. Hester sucked out loud last year and we were all screaming for him to be cut so I won’t be hearing any of this “I wish we had Hester back Hestering himself” nonsense.
Green Bay – Micah Hyde: $539k
Minnesota – Cordarelle Patterson – $1.641mm
New England – Josh Boyce – $614k
San Fran – Parrish Cox – $695k
Seattle – Percy Harvin – $13.4mm
Denver – Andre Caldwell – $1.15mm
Pittsburgh – Dri Archer $546k
Dallas – Dwayne Harris – $655k
Indy – Donte Moncrief – $555k
New Orleans – Traveris Cadet – $571k
NY Giants – Trindon Holliday – $700k
Cincy – Brandon Tate – $1.024mm
So from this small sample, we can see that Weems is on the upper end of the chart, as far as cap hit goes. The outlier is Percy Harvin, but we all saw what he did as a receiver and returner in the Super Bowl – he was awesome – so I will let that go. With a $1.3mm cap hit, Weems is definitely not getting good value for the Bears in what appears to be a “disposable” position. Tough to make a living being a return guy, like Hester did. Recognize any of the names on the list besides Weems, Hester and Harvin? I recognized Patterson and Hyde because they are division rivals, but I have no clue who the rest are. Most are used up vets that the teams are getting for a discount on the cap number or rookies. So Weems needs to get better FAST or the Bears are on the bottom end of value at this position.
A few more thoughts. Why the fuck not give Jordan Lynch a shot? I have seen him play several times over the years and have no qualms in saying that he would throw himself all over the field on every play.
Lastly, I agree with what Fro Dog has been preaching on these pages for a long time. If dumb Lovie and his dumb sidekick Mike Martz wouldn’t have put it in Hester’s head that he could be a wide receiver, I wouldn’t be writing this post and he would still be our kick returner.