Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Brees’s deal tops Manning’s

Brees deal sets new bars for average, guarantee

The whopping $60 million in guaranteed money includes $40 million fully guaranteed, and $20 million in guarantees presumably based only on injury until 2013, a function of the NFL’s outdated and unrealistic “funding” rule, which requires a team to put in escrow now any fully guaranteed money due in the future.

To review, only the $18M 2012 salary of Peyton's five-year, $96M deal in Denver is fully guaranteed. If he's on the roster on the last day of the 2012 league year, his $20M salaries in 2013 and 2014 will be guaranteed, with the team holding an out for the 2014 salary in the event of a reinjury to Peyton's neck.

Essentially, barring another neck injury, Manning is guaranteed $58M in his deal over three years, while Brees is due $60M in guarantees over three years, also barring injury. In terms of average annual value, Brees's $20M comes in just ahead of Manning's $19.2M/year.

Isn’t KC supposed to have the most supportive fans?

Big shot: Bill Self homers — yes, homers — in losing cause

Fans booed K.C. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel during introductions, but gave him polite applause during his at-bats.

At least Broncos fans don't boo their own players - amirite Kyle Orton? Can't wait for the Brady Quinn billboards to go up in Chiefsland. (via PFT)

Chargers would rather fill Qualcomm with Chiefs fans than lower blackout threshold

Chargers Now Actively Trying To Sell Tickets To Chiefs Fans

To head off embarrassment, yesterday the Chargers sent out an email blast to a number of Chiefs blogs, including Arrowhead Addict.

The good news is, that Chiefs game will be on NFL Network, so with any cable game, it’ll be shown on local TV no matter the attendance, so Chargers fans will be able to watch the game. With the Chargers seemingly on the downswing, that might also be bad news.

This is quite the pathetic aftermath to the story we noted on Tuesday regarding the Chargers' understandable reluctance to lower their blackout threshold. You stay classy, San Diego.

ESPN: It helps to have great young players

Young and (better be) ready in the NFL

The 32 players picked in the first round of the 2011 draft played an average of 13 games in the 2011 NFL season. And that counts those who missed time because of injury, such as Prince Amukamara, and project quarterback Jake Locker, who played sparingly in only five games. Half of those 32 players started at least 14 games as rookies and 10 started all 16.

What this tells you is that now, when you evaluate a player you’re considering taking in the first round, you’re asking yourself all of the normal questions about whether he can play, learn, behave and lead, and you’re also asking whether he can do it right away.

We were originally sharing this for the sake of the quotes at the end from Foxy regarding Von Miller. But upon further review, we have to file this column under Everything We Write Must Unearth a Trend, Even if We Make It Up from the John Clayton School of Football Journalism.

Yeah, amazing that so many first-rounders played last year - and that Cam Newton and Von Miller were so incredible must mean that the times, they are a-changin'. To see how well that holds up, let's randomly go back 20 years to the 1991 Draft and see how much those first-rounders were coddled, because surely that was a different era of pro football.

Hmm, those 27 players averaged 13.1 games played as rookies, despite Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich being among the worst first-round QBs in NFL history (each of them played in just one game that year). This is totally different from 2011 in that...well, it isn't. We'll grant that last year's rookies did start more games than did the 1991 rookies (only five guys started 14 or more games). But we'd need snaps data to truly know how much everyone played.

Just wait until Andrew Luck and RGIII are struggling come Week 4 of this season, and Clayton & Co. pronounce that the trend of playing rookie QBs is a foolish one.

Matt Prater: Livin’ it up at the Hotel Ca-La Quinta

Broncos Kicker Matt Prater Inks Four-Year Deal, Preps to Move Out of Hotel

What are you going to do to celebrate your new deal?: “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I’m looking forward to, I’m actually in the process of looking for a condo or townhouse, because I’ve actually lived in a hotel for the last five years. So I’m excited about moving out of the hotel.”

Why were you living in a hotel for five years?: “Because I bought a house in Florida a couple years ago and just out here, it was real convenient for me. I was going two years in a row on a one-year deal so I didn’t want to buy a place and have to move.”

I think it's safe to say Matt Prater likes hotels a lot more than the average bear:

The incident started just before 3 a.m. on Aug. 2. Police were called to the scene of a hit-and-run accident at 9280 E. Costilla Ave., just outside the Hyatt Summerfield Suites...The witnesses said the driver fled into the hotel's lobby...After the accident, she and the man went into the hotel to get a room, but the hotel was full...Police ultimately found Prater at the nearby La Quinta hotel.

Although it's not clear if Prater has made La Quinta his hotel of choice during the last five years, I think we can all sleep better knowing their corporate slogan: "La Quinta takes care of everything, so you can take care of business kickoffs and extra points."

We can only imagine Prater's vigor were he to stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before a game.

Barnwell: Broncos should be going Moneyball route with its kickers

NFL's Frequent-Flier Phenomenon

But it’s not entirely clear that Matt Prater was an above-average kicker in 2011, and Denver’s decision to lock him up represents one of the many ways in which organizations fool themselves into spending money in the wrong places…he’s now hit 78.4 percent of his field goals across five pro seasons. That ranks 37th out of 44 regular kickers over that time frame, so it’s safe to say that Prater’s not known for his accuracy.

As for the walkoffs, while they were valuable, they’re far more indicative of opportunity than skill…Consider that Prater had three game-winners in overtime this past season and just one over his previous four years in the league.

Denver’s thin air allows them to get more out of average kickers than anyone else in football. They should use that to their advantage and exploit a built-in market inefficiency by being thrifty at kicker and applying the savings elsewhere. Instead, the Broncos have handcuffed themselves to a known mediocrity for years to come.

As noted yesterday, I'm glad the Broncos didn't give as much of a guarantee to Prater as had been speculated. But his accuracy issues from 40-49 yards remains a serious concern, and one to keep an eye on going forward.

BTW, I've updated the distance splits on the prior columns, because PFR is oddly missing that data from 2009. So, Prater is actually 20 of 33 from 40-49 yards - not 12 of 23 - as I'd written yesterday and prior. This is a more palatable success rate, but still a very poor one, especially for a kicker with a reputation of a strong leg and a contract to match.

Legendary Broncos return man Rick Upchurch battling leukemia

Former Bronco Rick Upchurch embraced warmly by Puebloans

“I am not the first and I won’t be the last (to have cancer), so for all the cancer survivors and everybody that is going through it right now, we are all going through it together and we can defeat this,” Upchurch said.

Former Broncos offensive tackle Dave Studdard was at the event supporting his best friend. “Rick and I have known each other since 1979. He took an offensive lineman under his wing and we’ve been buddies ever since,” Studdard said.

Studdard, a cancer survivor himself, said if anyone can beat the disease, it’s Upchurch. “Anything I can do to be there for Rick, I will do it. He’s like a brother to me and I have five brothers. You could never have enough brothers,” Studdard said with a laugh. “Rick right now is just understanding what is going on in his life and it sucks. He will deal with this and he already is doing a good job of it. I will love him until we both die.”

Our thoughts go out to Upchurch, the Broncos' all-time franchise leader in punt returns, punt return yards, and punt return touchdowns. During nine seasons with Denver, Upchurch was named to four Pro Bowls, was a three-time first-team All-Pro, and dated someone who would later become far more famous than he. (via PFT)

Phrase of the day: Willis McGahee’s pimpette

A Blow-By-Blow Account Of The Fred Davis Lawsuit, Which Is The Strangest Lawsuit Involving A Female Pimp We’ve Seen Today

Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis has been involved in an 18-month legal battle that is among the strangest we’ve ever seen. Makini Chaka, a 33-year old woman that Davis alleges to be a “pimpette,” was granted a temporary restraining order with regard to Davis back in January 2011, and later sued for a permanent one…She also claims that Davis continually violates the temporary restraining order and “harasses” her, and that he “blacklisted” her from DC nightclubs with his influence, and that he once impersonated Santana Moss on the phone to keep her out of one, saying no Redskins would go if she was allowed in. She claims this has lost her business and clients, and she wants compensation. Davis says she’s extorting him.

Of course, Chaka says it’s not about money. To prove that, she boasted a bit. Davis claims she’s a “pimpette,” providing prostitutes for athletes. A man named “Prince,” who has worked as Davis’s bodyguard and is also friends with Chaka, backed up the claim that Chaka is a “madam/pimpette,” saying that it’s widely known in DC. Chaka denied that, describing herself as a “celebrity broker who organizes parties for sports and entertainment stars.” She claimed that she does well and doesn’t need money from Davis, citing that one of her main clients, Willis McGahee, “happens to be a first round draft pick. He makes over 40 million dollars… yet you’re saying that I want to get Mr. Davis for money and he’s a second-round draft pick, and his, he doesn’t even gross anywhere close to Willis.” Boom, roasted, Fred! For the record, McGahee is a veteran with significantly more career earnings than Davis, but Davis is making much more than McGahee this season. She also name-dropped Snoop Dogg, Vonta Leach and others as clients.

Moral to the story: if you must impersonate Santana Moss, do a better job of it.

Psychiatrists: ADHD meds don’t aid players who don’t need them

Is There An ADHD Epidemic in Major League Baseball?

Professional athletes will look for any edge, they said, and only those who truly require ADHD medication in order to properly function should be permitted to take it. Moreover, Dr. Hallowell added, Ritalin, Adderall and similar drugs do not produce a super-focusing effect for people without ADHD. Those drugs work by altering the brain’s chemistry. According to Dr. Hallowell, if a ballplayer’s brain chemistry doesn’t “need” altering, then he’s more likely to experience the unpleasant side effects of the drugs—like elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia and weight loss—and none of the benefits.

In the end, Dr. Tuckman noted, “when ADHD is appropriately diagnosed and the medication is appropriately prescribed and taken, it doesn’t give someone with ADHD an edge any more than giving contact lenses to someone who is far-sighted.”

The NFLPA has quite a bit on its plate at the moment; but once they get past the Saints bounty scandal, we hope they'll turn some of their attention to the Ginger Hammer's inconsistently levied and often heavyhanded penalties for ADHD medication use.

2009 Draft was so terrible, Denver’s haul doesn’t look that bad

Flash-forward: 2009 AFC West draft review

Denver collected a lot of high draft picks, but they did a poor job when it came time to turn those cards in for players…It was a lot of effort for not a lot of value.

Denver has one starter on defense, a running back that could contribute something if healthy, and a depth player at safety…In the 2009 NFL Draft, apparently getting anyone to fill a roster spot is a noteworthy accomplishment. This was not a good draft by any means.

The Broncos' performance in the 2009 Draft (the first by Josh McDaniels) was immediately panned by football analysts far and wide, and it didn't take long for Alphonso Smith to become a favorite target of the McDoofus Sux crowd. Over time, it has grown impossible for even this McDaniels apologist to suggest Denver fared well four Aprils ago. But the overarching theme to Scott Kacsmar's thorough examination of the 2009 Draft is that a lot of teams flopped.

To that end, Knowshon Moreno, who hasn't lived up to even his critics' expectations, actually has a higher CarAV (15) than twelve other first-rounders; Robert Ayers is right behind him at 14. Surprisingly, among the AFCW teams, Denver's picks have played in the most NFL games and amassed the highest CarAV.