02 May 2007

The NFL age bug bites yet again

While Keyshawn Johnson was working as a draft analyst for ESPN on Saturday, he couldn’t understand why teams wouldn’t pick Dwayne Jarrett. Little did he know that the selection of Jarrett would possibly mean the end of his playing career.

Johnson was cut by the Panthers Tuesday as the club “wanted to go younger” and thus no longer wanted the soon-to-be 35-year-old and former No. 1 pick. On Saturday after Jarrett was drafted, Johnson was excited about the pick because it would give him the chance to tutor a fellow Trojan. However, he’s not going to get that chance.

While this may seem like just a salary cap move, it represents more than that. It also shows years in the NFL can be equated to dog years more than any other American pro sport. In no other sport could a player with the talent of Randy Moss be traded for a fourth round pick. Likewise, in no other sport could a running back like Thomas Jones be dealt for the right to swap second round picks.

Not only do deals like those, which have become a dime a dozen in the NFL, show how NFL veterans depreciate like a Ford Taurus, but they also show the extreme value that is placed on draft picks. (Well, except if you are the Miami Dolphins.) I mean, Trent Green was being offered for a sixth-round pick! While he may be no Peyton Manning, he’s at least started in the NFL, something of which a number of sixth-round picks will never do. (Not counting Tom Brady.)

As for our pal Keyshawn, he basically has two options: (1) play as a possession receiver for close to the league minimum or (2) try to make this whole NFL analyst thing a full-time job. I’m guessing that he would only take option one if a team came calling that could get in theory could get to the Super Bowl.

So, JaMarcus Russell, enjoy the moment now, because it might not get better than this.