Climb Aboard the Dream Weaver Train
Texans made a couple of highly anticipated moves this week, waiving
running back Ahman Green and linebacker Morlon Greenwood, but when
the announcement came, many believed the list had been missing one
or two names. Defensive end Anthony Weaver and safety Will Demps
both have sizeable base salary commitments in 2009, and neither
player seems to be a lock to be named as a starter this season.
the first major signing by the Texans after the hire of Gary Kubiak
(one I loudly
criticized three years ago), has two years remaining on a contract
that is scheduled to pay him $3.5 million this year in base salary.
Cutting him would accelerate the unamortized bonus money to hit
this year’s salary cap to the tune of $5.4 million in dead
money. Remember, that as 2009 is the last capped year for the current
Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is no significance to June
1st cuts this year. In other words, teams are not able to forward
future year’s dead money to next year’s cap, as 2010
is set to become an uncapped season without a new labor agreement.
cutting Weaver would save just $800,000 on the salary cap this season,
waving goodbye to Demps would actually save a bit more. Demps is
entering the final year of a two-year contract that is set to pay
him a base salary of $2.35 million this year. Cutting him will leave
$500,000 in his wake, resulting in a cap savings of $1.85 million.
why were both spared while Green and Greenwood are gone?
are a number of reasons. First, and perhaps most importantly, the
Texans have reasonable and more promising replacements for the departed
pair in Steve Slaton and Xavier Adibi, respectively.
the Texans have other ends on the roster (such as Tim Bulman), the
position rotates often enough that the starters alone are not enough
to get the job done. And at safety, there are plenty of question
marks already, including the fact that several aren’t even
under contract at the moment, namely Eugene Wilson, C.C. Brown,
and Nick Ferguson.
there is no urgency to let either go from a financial or salary
cap perspective. With more than $30 million and 25-plus roster spots
available (before any significant re-signings or taggings), there
is no urgency to create additional space in the locker room or on
the balance sheet. Plus, those salaries aren’t payable to
the players until the season begins. There are no roster or workout
bonuses scheduled for either of them.
might be puzzling, however, at least in the case of Weaver, is why
he isn’t asking to be cut. Surely, if fans can see the writing
on the wall that his performance has not measured up to his salary,
then it might behoove him to seek a new team in March, a time when
other teams have more money to spend. It might also be easier for
him to get up to speed with a new team at a time when camps and
offseason workouts have yet to begin.
couple thoughts, and generally, these are all optimistic ones. First,
regaining health could play a major role for each player. Weaver
struggled with injuries his first two years with the Texans, but
his play actually showed some improvement down the stretch last
season. Finally healthy, Weaver might have found a way to rebuild
his trust with Kubiak.
surprise Pro Bowl alternate after signing as a street free agent
in 2007, Demps was hampered much of the 2008 season by hamstring
injuries. He ultimately played in just nine games last year. Like
Weaver, if Demps is able to prove that it was just the injuries
slowing him down, perhaps a healthier version of him will prove
to be well worth his contracted value this season.
worth mentioning, Weaver turns 29 this summer. He is still in the
prime of his playing career, especially for a defensive lineman.
If his last few seasons were truly limited in some way by either
injury or scheme, then he is young enough to get back on track,
and he has a new defensive coordinator and line coach to help him
achieve the potential this year. At 30, Demps isn’t a young
pup anymore, but the safety position values strength and experience,
traits possessed by Demps.
count on Weaver and Demps making the Week 1 roster, but there is
a nice combination of optimism and opportunity for both to have
some hope for better seasons in 2009. Perhaps they get there with
a renegotiated salary (like Green did just before the season started
last year) or maybe each earns their starting position through the
offseason. Regardless, keeping both around a little bit longer just
might work out the best for team and player alike.
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