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GM Smith does best for Chargers with L.T.'s contract extension

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]

    March 11, 2009
    By Clark Judge

    Once again, a lesson was learned in San Diego, and the lesson is this: Don't mess with A.J. Smith. When the Chargers general manager wants something he usually gets it. This time he wanted a restructured deal for star running back LaDainian Tomlinson, a contract that would give the club the necessary cap relief for 2010-11 so it could handle upcoming negotiations with linebacker Shawne Merriman, quarterback Philip Rivers, tight end Antonio Gates and cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

    And he got what he wanted.

    Of course, it wasn't without anguish and alleged threats and feelings getting hurt, but so what? All is well that ends well, and this one ended with the team and player shaking hands on a new deal. Yet taking on Tomlinson and asking him to rework a contract that would have paid him $24 million the next three years somehow made Smith a villain, and I'm not sure why.

    He needed to re-do a big contract. Tomlinson was the logical guy. So Smith approached him, setting off a chain of events that portrayed him as the Ebenezer Scrooge of GMs. People said he was crazy, insensitive and mean. Now, they simply call him arrogant because he had the temerity to ask ... no, demand ... that the team's star player, maybe the most decorated player in the history of the franchise, restructure his contract to make its life easier in the coming years.

    I mean, how dare he? Well, I'm sorry, but if I'm a Chargers fan, I'm glad he did.

    Smith's job depends on the success of the team he runs, and the team he runs has been to the playoffs four of the past five years. Of course, Tomlinson is the primary reason why. No running back has been more productive the last five years, but it's not the last five years that are Smith's concern. It's the next three, with 2010 looming as an uncapped season and 2011 as a potential lockout.

    Smith has a raft of star players to accommodate then, and he will try to accommodate as many as he can. And that's where Tomlinson comes in. Smith has two plans for those years -- B and C, as he calls them -- and he knows what he must do to make them work. One of his first goals was get Tomlinson to reduce his cap numbers for those years to open the door for others and minimize the risks of losing them to free agency.

    So he sought a renegotiation and got what he sought. What's the problem?

    Yeah, OK, he screwed up when he mocked a Tomlinson statement on his website. Smith admitted it, and he apologized. People assumed team president Dean Spanos took him to the woodshed and demanded the mea culpa, but they were wrong. Smith simply woke up one morning, read what he said in the paper and realized it looked worse than it sounded.

    And it sounded pretty, well, insensitive.

    So he apologized, moved forward and now has a settlement with Tomlinson that will allow the Chargers to move to the next step -- which is to seek a long-term deal for running back Darren Sproles, the club's franchise player, and pursue renegotiations with its core of star players. Sounds good to me. Yet Smith's critics won't let it go, reminding him that it took a lot of anguish -- and maybe some hard feelings -- to get to where the Chargers are now.

    Well, big deal. It happens. That's why they call it a business. Smith did what he had to do, and he did it. He hammered out a deal that was as good for the team as it is for the player. And let's be honest here for a minute, people: While Tomlinson is the heart and soul of the franchise, he's also a descending star. Yeah, I know he was hurt last year, but he turns 30 in June, and his numbers decreased the last two seasons.

    Where he ran for 28 touchdowns in 2006, he ran for 15 in 2007 and 11 in 2008. Where he averaged 5.2 yards a carry in '06, he averaged 4.7 in '07 and 3.8 in '08. Where he averaged 113.4 yards rushing per game in '06, he was down to 92.1 in '07 and 69.4 in '08. I don't have to draw you a picture. He's not the same player, and I want to meet the person who argues Tomlinson gets better, not worse, with age.

    This is a back who has carried 2,657 times, exceeding 312 carries in all but one of his eight NFL seasons, and that one year was the last year. Granted, the Chargers offensive line wasn't all that terrific last season. But neither was Tomlinson, and it sure looks as if his career is declining -- which it usually does for most big-time running backs around the age of 30.

    Tomlinson had three years left on his original deal, with salaries of $8 million in 2010 and $9.275 million in 2011. And while he deserves to be compensated, he doesn't deserve to be compensated more if he's producing less. Smith understood that because it is his job, and the problem he had was not communicating that to Tomlinson as much as it was communicating it to the public.

    "L.T. knows how I feel about him," Smith said. "He knows this is a business. He knows that a general manager's job is difficult and that it must deal with all sorts of things. He knows my personality and knows I have nothing against him. He also knows what it's like to be criticized when people came after him after he was hurt against New England [in the 2007 AFC Championship Game] and couldn't play. He's been through this as well. We're fine."

    Tomlinson also should've known what Smith -- and the Chargers -- were doing here. They're preparing for 2010-11 so they're not caught with cost overruns; so they don't have to do what, say, Baltimore did in 2002 when it shook down the roster to clear cap space and was forced to endure a 7-9 season.

    There was a feeling that if Tomlinson and the team hadn't reached an agreement that the Chargers might have traded him or outright released him, but subscribers either don't understand Smith or the club he runs. The problem was not 2009. It was the last two years of Tomlinson's contract. Smith wasn't seeking relief for now. He was seeking relief for the years when he expects a spate of big contracts.

    So Tomlinson wasn't in danger of getting cut this year. Though Smith didn't come out and say it, my guess is that if the two sides hadn't reached a deal on a new contract he would've called off the search, had Tomlinson play this season, then tried the whole thing a year from now.

    As for the trade talk, Smith said he never considered peddling Tomlinson ... nor would he, unless Tomlinson asked. And Tomlinson never asked, he said.

    "The only thing I'm extremely happy about," Smith said," is that we wanted him to be here badly, and he wanted to be here badly. And that has happened. He knows this wasn't about '09, as people have focused on; it was about the last couple of years [of his contract]. Everything moved forward with Tom Condon [Tomlinson's agent] and L.T., and now everything's terrific."

    In short, A.J. Smith got what was best for his team. What is so wrong with that?
     
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  2. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Most important verbiage in bold.
     
  3. Layne

    Layne Banned Banned

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    Great article...hopefully people will see what his true motives were from the beginning. No matter what tactics are used he gets the job done for the team and ultimately for the fans. I just hope he gets credit when we do win it all, like hes been given credit for all the mistakes that players have made over the years.:tup:
     
  4. VikingBolt

    VikingBolt BoltTalker

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    Glad it's settled for once and for all.

    (P.S. nope, haven't quit yet :( ... )
     
  5. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    How can you not like AJ Smith? :icon_shrug:

    This dude is all balls. (Thats what she said)
     
  6. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    Rep to Clark Judge!
     
  7. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    I love Smith. He isn't a touchy-feely sort of guy, but he gets the job done and understands the big picture. If he can lock up all of our star players, that would be incredible. I wish we could extend Merriman now. He's going to have a monster year.
     
  8. Osmekaman

    Osmekaman BoltTalker

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    The good thing for LT and Bolt fans who want to see him here till end of his career (the majority??), it looks as though AJ agrees.
    If not, why the fuss?
    If, as many reports are suggesting, this is a one year stay of execution, why wouldn't AJ just pay up this year (as he is doing) and release LT next year.
    He has no trade value due to age and respect so, to my mind, the only logical conclusion to this whole exercise is to keep LT for the next 3 years, allowing negotiating room for other stars.

    It also knocks on the head any notion of drafting RB in the first 3 picks (unless Sproles should go).
     
  9. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    AJ is a saint. [​IMG]

    And LT is not. :abq1:
     
  10. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    [​IMG]

    :bow:

    Nice to see the some good press about the Chargers. Great read!
     
  11. Harley

    Harley BoltTalker

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    when's LT reporting for surgery?
     
  12. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    :icon_eek:
     
  13. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    he doesn't need surgery so he's not having surgery. np~
     
  14. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

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    good news, good article .. good season - we'll hope, pray and see.
     
  15. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    Funny how fans like to gloss over the fact LT still has a detached adductor tendon. I understand there are five adductor tendons (maybe I dreamed that stat anyway) LT has 1/5 of his **** missing.

    When he ran for his last TD, maybe the second to last TD, his right leg swung out....as though someone was pushing on his right knee outward. It was an odd look and I could help but think "oh ****". I can not shake it and it did not look good. I hope LT does not pull a Merriman. If LT needs the surgery, get it done - NOW. Man oh man I was thinking this but YOU had to be ballsy enough to post it. Tits. :tup: Hopefully, LT gets his revenge and then some but not like Merriman...You know what I mean. :bolt:
     
  16. reddenedbeard

    reddenedbeard Well-Known Member

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    I don't know but I'm guessing that the whole detached groin thing would have been part of the contract talks. :icon_shrug:
     
  17. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    On the Dan Patrick show he mentioned he was running and cutting and feeling good. :icon_shrug:

    The proof will be when he hits the second level, can he still leave guys with broken ankles holding their jocks.
     
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  18. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    I don't think LT has signed yet... But doesn't LT have to pass a physical... :icon_shrug:
     
  19. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    Merriman passed the Chargers so called "physical" yet we all saw what happened. :yes:

    Ya know what I mean Vern ?
     
  20. reddenedbeard

    reddenedbeard Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking to GOD or AJ? .. :abq1:
     
  21. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    I wonder if a detached adductor tendon can heal buy it self...

    Oh Please GOD heal LT... :yes:


    [​IMG]

    In Jesus name... :tup:
     
  22. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    :lol:


    Yes...The real One...


    [​IMG]
     
  23. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    If this dudes post is correct, there may be one person who benefits from this detached tendon. LT's wife. :lol:

    http://www.profootballtalk.com/2009/01/03/lt-has-totally-detached-adductor-tendon/

    cliffclav says:

    January 3rd, 2009 at 1:52 pm
    Isnt that the tendon that a person would get snipped if he wanted to make his Mr. Dingle longer? Dang some guys have all the luck…………
     
  24. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    I think the only problem with the tendon is the possibility of the injury recurring. From what I've heard it's easier to have that happen again, like almost all injuries, once it has happened. But with this it's not at all a certainty so it is a gamble when you choose. apparently the surgery has very, very little to do with such an outcome.
     
  25. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    LT needs to put the Kimbo Slice workout regimen behind him & get back to what he was doing during all of those good years. I know that age is a big factor, but he has foregone surgery, signed a contract, & needs to do whatever it takes to get his *** in top physical condition to play an entire season of football - including the post-season.

    I'm glad he's here. I sincerely hope that Norv gives Darren plenty of touches in order to utilize his skills & keep LT as fresh as possible.

    And i hope that Hester shows us why he was worth a 2nd & 5th. He's not a FB. Don't try to make him one.
     
  26. fan4ever

    fan4ever BoltTalker

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    You know, with all the bla-bla-bla there is going around saying LT is losing a step I would like to remind the world that in order for a play to gain yards is that the 11 guys on the offence can out manuver or out smart the 11 guys on the other side of the line. Oh yeah, coaches, training, natural ability...You don't make holes without blocking. We have also telegraphed our plays like waving flags. Run on first down, run on second down, throw on third make it or punt. (damn we gotta good punter) The point being, LT made a lot of yards (something like 5th in the AFC 10th overall) hurt. He still played all he could. I wonder how many wooses out there can say the same. NONE
     
  27. sdjase

    sdjase BoltTalker

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    It will be interesting to see if he can pull it off with Rivers, Merriman and Gates in the next round.



    http://www.sdstadium.org
     
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