Just How Safe is Ahman Green?
the Texans were preparing to kick off their offseason earlier this
year, I was often asked about my expectations of any notable cuts.
After looking at the 2008 salary cap estimates, my answer was always
the same: "Probably not".
was a conclusion made upon a quick study of the players highest
on the cap food chain, comparing the 2008 cash outlay and the amount
of dead money left if released. The simple analysis produced clear
results at the time.
far, so good. June 1st has come and gone, and maybe outside of the
release of Steve McKinney, I suppose I'm looking pretty smart. But
my point is not to waste precious blogosphere space to gloat since
if you were to ask me the same question today, I'm not so sure I
would have the same answer.
I'm plucking away at the keyboard here to say that the money game
is still afoot, and I think that might be especially true for one
top paid player in particular, Ahman Green.
I am of the opinion that, if healthy, Green is the best running
back on the roster. I have a sense that the Texans think so as well
given that Green is expected to make more than double of what the
team gave his closest backup, Chris Brown, and that includes all
the income anticipated on Brown's 2008 W-2, i.e. his base salary
and his entire signing bonus.
given the talent disparity displayed by their compensation, not
to mention that it's almost July and the guy is still rostered,
Green ought to be safe, right?
Green, 31, is coming off a season that did little to help him alleviate
fears of the effects of his advancing age. He managed just three
games with more than a dozen carries in 2007 and never once amassed
more than 73 yards. And yeah, I did say this was the team's best
option to carry the football. Not a pretty picture, is it?
here that if Green doesn't find a way to stay healthy through training
camp, he'll be gone before the season opener in Pittsburgh. And,
if he is sent packing, then as a June 1 cut Green only carries $1.25
million in dead money on the 2008 salary cap, actually saving a
couple million in cap space should the team be looking for an alternative.
of an alternative... In spite of signing Brown and using a draft
pick on Steve Slaton, not to mention the anticipated returns of
Chris Taylor and Darius Walker, it should come as no surprise to
hear rumors of the Texans talking with free agent running backs,
namely former Bears bust Cedric Benson.
former Longhorn teammate of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan
(aka "Baby Shan" around these parts), Benson has had his
problems both on and off the field. If you aren't familiar with
them, I'll wait here while you Google them for yourself. Just know
though that if you see him driving around town, it's because he
used a breathalyzer to start the vehicle, so yeah, I'd pull over
and stay out of his way to be safe.
an unstable Green (and an almost as unstable collection of backfiled
reserves), the Texans ought to be as paranoid about their running
back situation as Benson is after a few tokes on Lake Travis.
while Benson has been a flop to date as a pro, he is a former first
round pick capable of running inside and falling forward for four
yards a carry. If Ron Dayne can have even a modicrum of success
in this offense, then there is certainly some hope that Benson,
freed from a historically inept offense in Chicago, might be able
to finally pay dividends on his draft day expectations.
is not out of harm's way yet, and with his medical charts reading
like a Latin translation of Atlas Shrugged, I'm not using
ink when writing his name on the depth chart just yet.
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