Here's What I'm Thinking...

Joe Robbins

Thinking can be a dangerous thing for some people, and down right terrifying for anyone who knows me when my gray matter starts to churn. I get these bright ideas every now and then on any number of subjects. Today, I fix my vast intellect on NFL free agency, and who the Rams should try to sign. It shouldn't be too bad, right?

I'm beginning to think the salary cap doesn't matter, or at least matters less than we as fans think it does. With all the money an NFL team has to spend during a given year, it may sound limiting, but it's not. The NFL has taken money's ethereal nature to new heights. But NFL owners are smart guys, and kind of titchy when it comes to letting anyone know how they spend their billions of dollars. Therefore, I've come to the conclusion they hired the guys at the I.R.S. - who write those baffling explanations on how to use a tax form - when they created the language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement pertaining to player contracts. They also hired tons of former Arthur Anderson accountants. Ever wonder what happened to those guys? Well now you know: They must be working for the NFL. I think they have a deal with the U.S. Justice Department too. All those junk bond guys who went to prison need something to do as they while away the years. Bernie Madoff has to be the guy who came up with the contracts that say they're worth $100 million, but are really worth less than the paper they're printed on.

Free agents aren't all that free, are they? With all the different kinds of free agents - restricted, unrestricted, exclusive rights... I would have thought the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment set EVERYONE free, but nooooo! Now I'm not saying NFL players are slaves, or even very well paid indentured servants, but come on! Free agency has 32 Mason-Dixon lines written into it's legal language. I wonder why manufacturing unions didn't write something like this into their deals? Outsourcing jobs to other countries? Nope, you better look at paragraph 347 pertaining to job location change. It's something about exclusive rights...

*** I take a break here for a lunch consisting of pasta primavera and Tylenol ***

Looking at the St. Louis Rams, I've decided they have somewhere between $8.37 and $948 billion to spend this year in free agency. Going with the larger number - since I'm a glass is waaaay too full kind of guy - the Rams use the money to build a time machine. They sign Walter Payton, the Fearsome Foursome, Andy Robustelli, and most every guy in the Hall of Fame - paying them at their former rates too. The Rams win the next 27 Super Bowls until an sports agent builds his own time machine and screws everything up. I reeeeally like sports agents...

The media loves free agency, and with social media they don't even have to write a column to share their hot rumors. Twitter, Reddit, and text-ing have given us a minimal character snap shot of what's to come when someone actually writes a story. Talk about "Spoiler Alerts"... I wonder if TV networks will come up with a Twitter based sitcom? The entire script would be 140 characters long, so more time for commercials, right? Who says I'm not an innovator?

*** BREAKING NEWS: Hawaii is closed due to a bizarre Pilates based sickness they've traced to a visiting SBNation writer and his wife. ***

Since I was in "thinking mode", I decided I'd better run what I'd written by one of the monster intellects of our day - Ramdude. His name is a little misleading, and I'm pretty sure he discovered computer RAM... Anyway, here's his critique:

"I don't blame folks for being a little concerned - the strong get stronger and here we sit (us and the sad, sad Cardinals). Doesn't mean the boys up front yonder don't have a plan, but we seem to be givin more blood than gettin lately. But fear not! The youngest team in the NFL kicked some serious butt last year, and that was with a whole new front office to get used to. A lot of hair gel and mustache wax later, we've got 2 first round picks and a fist full of newly minted cap cash to spend. No achy braky heads or premadonners for us. We'll get what we need with a little change to spare and not mortgage our future on yesterday's news. That time machine thing sounds pretty damn hot too!"

Yes, some may call it folksie wisdom, but when you clear away the detritus, you can see he completely agrees with me, and is going to give me money. Am I right?

That should do it for now. I don't want to unleash all my intellectual power on you at once. Don't try to figure out how my mind works. Many have tried, and only Ryan has caught a glimpse of my vast puddle, er, uh, pool of knowledge. Suffice it to say that I'll continue to fixate on the inner working of the NFL, and pass on my thoughts to you from time to time. You can thank me later...

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