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A.J. Smith - Its the highway or my way

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    [​IMG]

    These quotes may end up being costly

    By Nick Canepa, UNION-TRIBUNE COLUMNIST
    Sunday, June 13, 2010


    A.J. Smith loves to gather great quotes from great thinkers. The Chargers’ general manager has several, framed, in his office, featuring words from the likes of Winston Churchill, Maya Angelou and Gen. George S. Patton. This one, from Abraham Lincoln, strikes his particular fancy: “It is important for people to know you walk among them without fear.”
    So how about this quote, from Fearless A.J. Smith: “I am not here to give out life passes. It is not my job.”
    Smith is responding to the latest turmoil surrounding his football team. As you may know, two very important offensive players — left tackle Marcus McNeill and wide receiver Vincent Jackson — are restricted free agents. Smith put a rich tender tag on their toes.
    Meaning: They could have gone elsewhere until April 15, but a team that wanted them — if the Chargers didn’t match the offer — would have had to surrender first- and-third-round draft choices. Clubs were loath to do that, even if the players are young and of Pro Bowl caliber, such as McNeill and Jackson.
    OK. You must understand that what drives Smith, what consumes him, is getting to a Super Bowl and winning it. But, can he do so without his best wide receiver and a left tackle who is by several hundred yards the best he has at protecting the vulnerable flank of quarterback Philip Rivers?
    The Chargers are fully capable of being good without them. But can they take the next step? I don’t know if they can. It’s going to be asking an awful lot, and this hasn’t been the greatest playoff aggregation to begin with. They will have trouble even winning the AFC West without them.
    Smith is making contingency plans, having pushed his cart through the veteran free agent market this past week and signing left tackle Tra Thomas and wideout Josh Reed. But he’s been around long enough to subscribe to my theory: The only way you replace an All-Pro is with another All-Pro.
    “Do I realize it will be more difficult trying to win a championship without key players? Absolutely,” he says. “But teams win championships. There’s always the opportunity for someone to step up due to circumstances — injuries or otherwise — and make names for themselves.
    “Obviously, I’d like to have all our best players playing and happy, not injured. It’s the ultimate, but the ultimate doesn’t usually take place. There’s going to be a debate; Everybody has an opinion of what they would do in this situation. But we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the San Diego Chargers.”
    Smith has sent the pair letters reminding them that, if by Monday they don’t sign the tender offer — which would guarantee them more than $3 million each to play here in 2010 — they could take a huge salary hit of about $2.5 million apiece and make just 110 percent of what they made in 2009.
    “We sent the letter because I’m here to do what’s in the best interest of the Chargers,” Smith says. “We didn’t have to send it. I don’t know if other teams have done it — and I don’t care.
    ”All we can do is line up the best players three-deep and hope our heckuva football coach (Norv Turner) does a great job. But, yes, I imagine it would make it more difficult if we don’t have them out there.”
    Thus far, McNeill and Jackson have been as defiant as their boss. By all accounts, they’re ready to sit out all — or at least part — of 2010 without a long-term agreement. I believe Smith should take care of these guys — he’s done it with lesser players in the past — but it isn’t going to happen now for reasons the GM explains.
    Still, by playing hardball with someone who can throw it much harder than they can, McNeill and Jackson could be getting some bad advice here. A lot of people think they will come to their senses by Monday and sign their tenders, which they should, but don’t count on it.
    It sure doesn’t appear they’re going to be making more than $3 million elsewhere anytime soon. There’s a lot of unknown hovering over the NFL right now. The players very well may be locked out in 2011 if the owners and the union can’t reach a collective bargaining agreement (the owners still get $4 billion in TV rights money, games or no games).
    “My philosophy has not changed,” Smith says. “I believe in identifying and rewarding our own players. But we’ve slowed it down; all this uncertainty has made us a little bit nervous. Maybe our position will be different in a month or two months, but we’re taking it slow right now, and we’re not the lone ranger here. It’s happening throughout the league. We’re offering these players over $3 million to be Chargers.
    “We have a situation here now. We’ve had a lot of ’em. We’ll have more.”
    Smith said the following in capital letters:
    “This is a very difficult year for the NFL; a very frustrating year — for the players, no question, and for the teams. I can’t say what they’re thinking. If they don’t sign, we’ll move on without their services.”
    Move on, yes. But probably not far enough.
     
  2. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    I love AJ.
     
  3. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    :yes:
     
  4. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    The vast majority of GMs are like this, and are even more ruthless then AJ is.

    I hear constant fawning over Bill Pollian (Colts) and Robert Kraft (owner Pats) and Kevin Colbert (Steelers) and these guys routinely let go some of their biggest names for not towing the company line or because they got too big for the team. The Colts have constantly rotated their defense except for Freeney and Mathis, the Patriots have let go a ton of their big name home grown players because they got too egotistical and wanted too much, the Steelers do this constantly too.

    AJ however is the one who gets his balls busted because he plays hardball. GMs who play nice around players like this get taken advantage of and then stop being GMs shortly after their hired. You need to be tough, you need to stand your ground and you can't let players set the tone for the entire franchise. AJ knows this better then anyone. Has he played hardball too much or gone too far or in the wrong situation? Sure, I can think of a few. But players know he takes care of his own and he puts them in a great situation to win constantly. He's signed far more of his own draftees to long term deals then the Patriots or the Colts in the last half of the decade.

    To all the people who beat him upside the head for this, get over it. GMs can't be fans and can't let a single player hold the team hostage. It didn't work when LT tried to do it and I don't see it working with Jackson/McNeil
     
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  5. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    Curious to your thought on this

    I can think of the LT **** last year, but I thik that was more AJ wanting toget rid of him then and having to put up w/ LT for 1 more season, and of course the Marty thing, but I still think he was right on that one too

    IMO the only mistakes AJ has really made is drafting players that haven't lived up to their billing or draft position, but even with that he's batting much better than the rest of the league, maybe in hiring Norv instead of Singletary or Ryan (even thought all 3 have the same number of super bowl victories since the hire)
     
  6. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    That's right Beotch - Signed AJ Smith
     
  7. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Again - AJ doesn't operate in a vacuum.
     
  8. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    The media can sure blow nothing up to suit their needs. I don't see this as a big deal, either Jackson and Mcneill play or they don't. I for one, don't care if they believe they're underpaid, in fact I hope they do stay out and lose two years pay and time off their careers.

    All the companies I ever worked for the GM laid down the law, if you don't agree with it, the door still swings open and you're free to leave. Now I understand that VJ and MM are restricted FA's but that's not AJ's fault, they need to seek answer's from the union that represents them.
     
  9. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    :bolt: :yes: :tup: :bolt:
     
  10. scratchnz

    scratchnz BoltTalker

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    I have alot of respect for AJ and the way he conducts his business...hes a good GM...not great..but good.

    If we miss out on the playoffs due to bad o-line play or because we didn't have a No.1 caliber receiver out there on Sundays than AJ needs to take on the consequence and not pass the buck!
     
  11. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    AJ has done better than I thought he would taking accountability for not having a Super Bowl yet. He said during an interview on XX that he has not done the job of putting a championship defense around Philip Rivers like Pittsburgh did for Ben, and New York did for Eli.

    I hope he doesn't chase Vjack away, but if he does he better get more than a damn 3rd round comp pick for him. Next years WR crop will be the equivilant to the QB crop in 2004.
     
  12. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

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    Blasphemy, that won't happen.
     
  13. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    Hope you love him when he runs this team into the ground with the way hes been drafting lately, and then runs the actually successful picks out of town with this moronic "negotiating" and his giant ego. In the past 5 drafts (not counting this year), The only players AJ has really hit big with are VJ, Merriman, McNeill, Sproles, Vaquez, and a year from now, only 1 of those guys will be a charger

    Good job AJ, much like Beathard, you proved to be a 1 year wonder in SD and will soon run this team into the ground.
     
  14. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    AJ > You

    :yes:
     
  15. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    Considering that most players in this team where drafted by AJ and this team has been a winner for 6 years then....

    you're wrong!
     
  16. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    I do not agree.

    AJ offered them a 300% raise.

    not a bad raise if you ask me
     
  17. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    As a GM, he had one good year, the 04 draft, and hes ,making a living off that one year. The 05 draft was very good too, but it wont matter since the 3 best players he drafted that year wont be on the team a year from now
     
  18. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    I just can't see anything that AJ is doing that is in any way disrespectful to the players or trying to cheat them or short-change them in any way. The Chargers are being totally fair given the situation. So, where does the blame lie?
     
  19. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    No he didn't.... he offered them a 600% raise.
     
  20. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    yeah, For one year!
    Players in any pro sport dont play for 1 year deals unless they are on their last legs. This is the best shot these guys have to sign a long term deal.

    Lets just say one of them break his leg half way through the season, you think any team is going to give them these big time contracts coming off a serious injury? Why do you think players hate the franchise tag (except Sproles and Peppers)? Sure it gives them a huge raise, but no long term security, which is what players want. VJ and mcneill deserve long term deals, unfortunately for us (and for rivers), they will get them, next year with a different team
     
  21. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    LOL... Chargers are a perenial contender now and the web board GMs feel that AJ has done the team wrong.

    Can someone point me to a GM who's every pick was a super star?

    I wonder how many people like RIP have been involved in any of the conversations between the team and these stars? How many of us would not do a job that would pay us nearly 4 million in one year?

    Funny thing is IMO that the people who argue AJ should cave to the 'stars' would be the first to hang him if the whole team got into the habit of holding out and fleecing the team for more cash...
     
  22. scratchnz

    scratchnz BoltTalker

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    At the end of the day...most of the other holdouts around the league will sign their tenders and turn up to practice! Probably cause even thou they have been holding out, there as been some kind iof positive dialog surrounding a future long term contract!!

    I have a feeling that is not the case in San Diego, hence the players are standing their ground...fair enough if thats the case.

    I understand why the Chargers are doing what they are doing...its their right! But is it in the best interests of the franchise????

    Is it really?????
     
  23. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    This is such a stupid thing to say. Obviously no one HERE would turn that down, but these guys arent in the same position.

    But, hey would you turn down a $8 an hour job doing the same thing youve always done? Cause im sure people who are making pennies a day that would kill for that job right now, hell im sure there are hundreds of thousands in this country that would at this point. So are you going to leave your job and take that one? NO? Why not?

    These guys are not going to take 3mil for 1 year when they see similar players making 8-10mil per AND HAVE LONG TERM DEALS, and it makes no sense to assume they would
     
  24. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Based on what exactly? Do you recall Antonio Gates' last hold out? The one where once Gates spoke with AJ he signed the contract? Everyone was saying AJ was the bad guy there too... Turned out to be just speculation based on... a steaming pile of speculation...

    AJ is business, but he takes care of his boys. You talk about what is right for the franchise. Tell me, would your boss simply pay you more because you want more? How about your coworkers? Where would he/she/they draw the line?

    The fact of the matter is that the CBA has messed up the landsape, especially where long term contracts are involved. That is not AJ's fault, but it would be if he mortgaged the teams future for a couple of hold outs.

    My youngest son wont be able to drive until he is 18 now. He doesnt like it, especially because his older brother is about to start at 16. I tell him that is the way it is and to deal with it.

    Marcus and VJ need to realize the Chargers did not create the CBA situation and they need to deal with it, it is the way things are right now. They probably will not get a long term deal till they are in camp.

    So how much do you want the future mortaged for these two players? A 600% pay raise isnt enough? What is? What is enough to make you happy with AJ? :icon_shrug:
     
  25. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    So, it would be ok if we signed them long term, they break a leg, and the owners are out millions?

    :icon_shrug:
     
  26. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    Ok lets talk stupid. Stupid is trying to equate millionares to $8 an hour jobs. So am I to assume that a 600% pay increase is less to a millionare than it would be to someone making $8 an hour?

    Is that truely the premis of your argument RIP?

    You also seem to believe that players do not play on one year contracts? Really?

    You also seem to be forgetting that the best way to get a long term contract IS TO BE IN CAMP!
     
  27. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Oh I see your point. Yeah, that didnt work out for Drew Brees or other players did it?
     
  28. ChargerRay

    ChargerRay Producer/Host of BoltTalk Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    I support AJ's decision not to extend long term contracts at this point. But why not offer Jackson and McNeill say 5 million to play this year? They both earned it. He's willing to overpay for a 3rd down back in Sproles. That should make both players happy enough to sign.
     
  29. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    If VJ and McNeill want to sit let them. I'd make damn sure to let them know not to come back until the labor issue is resolved.
     
  30. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    A.J. Smith - Its my way or the highway

    I would note just to keep some of the doom and gloom away that the Saints did win the Super Bowl with their left tackle out the entire year. Other teams have reached the super bowl without a top receiver. So its quite possible we can be a super bowl contender even without McNeil or Jackson, but I do agree that we are best with both of them. And if we make it deep into the playoffs without McNeil and Jackson, what leverage do either have especially with their reputations tarnished

    Food for thought
     

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