EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will continue to write a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2005 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.*
As the news of Orlando Pace's re-signing with the Rams leaked out Tuesday evening, Texans fans reacted with a full range of emotions. Some were disappointed that the Texans missed out on landing one of the best tackles in the NFL. Others were relieved that the Texans didn't give up the farm and mortgage the team's future by giving up multiple first round draft choices and tens of millions in salary to a player, albeit a Hall of Fame caliber player, entering his ninth season. Still others were flat out angry that the deal fell through, feeling that the Texans were used as a pawn in the negotiations in the same way the Carlos Beltran deal with the Mets came down a few months back.
First things first: Please stop the Beltran analogies because that's an apple and this is an orange.
Second, and more important, was this all a ruse, set up by Pace and his agent to get St Louis to up the ante? Not entirely.
I believe Pace was seriously considering leaving the Rams. He seemed to be growing tired of repeated franchise tags, even though it guaranteed him a handsome salary year-to-year, it gave him no future beyond the current year. He wanted security. At least as much security as a multi-millionaire can get.
After the Texans made an initial offer Monday night, the Rams probably looked at their future, swallowed hard and blinked. Welcome back to the Martz Mania, Orlando. Maybe that was the design all along. At least the Rams are stuck with the bill and not us.
From reports, the Texans made a reasonable offer, one that was good enough to grab Pace and the Rams attention but not as good as the two first-round picks that the Rams wanted in return.
I had serious reservations about giving up two first round picks. That's a steep price considering the Texans would have had to throw in $16 million or so in signing bonus, other guaranteed money and fat base salaries out to the year 2012. Maybe if we were "one player away" and this was the final piece to make the Super Bowl, but not now.
A first rounder and a third rounder? In a minute. A first rounder and a second rounder? Probably. Two firsts? See you in St Louie, Orlando.
First rounders are gold and are critical to the continued development and viability of the team. Some may argue that with Pace, the Texans would have been a playoff team so those first rounders would have been something like a low to mid 20's overall pick so it's not like we were giving up a shot at a top ten guy for two straight seasons. True, but that also means that the Texans first pick in the draft for two years straight would be something like the 55 th pick overall assuming the Texans made the playoffs. I don't know about anyone else but even with a future Hall of Famer at left tackle, I don't like the sound of that.
Add to that the fact that without a first round pick for two seasons, there would be more pressure on the Texans to fill voids with free agents. But since the Texans have given large contracts to several veteran players recently (Todd Wade, Robiare Smith, Gary Walker, Marcus Coleman, Seth Payne, and Aaron Glenn to name a few) added to the fact that David Carr is due a large option bonus this season and young stars like Andre Johnson, Domanick Davis, and Dunta Robinson will be more expensive to keep in coming years, it's easy to see how the financial noose can tighten quickly around the necks of teams who don't spend wisely.
Anyway, so the Pace thing didn't work out. Yes it would have been nice to see him in Deep Steel Blue, but it wasn't meant to happen. Maybe now we'll see someone like Alex Barron or Khalif Barnes come our way in the draft. Give the Texans credit for trying to improve the team in a big way, but also give them credit for not selling the farm on one great player in a very tempting situation.
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