Anticipating the end of the Pacman era

The Titans made a move consistent with a team prepared to enter 2008 the same way they entered 2007: without the services of playmaker/rainmaker Pacman Jones. The Cowboys want him and I expect a deal to be completed some time before the 2008 draft. It may not happen as soon as the Pac haters like. From the Cowboys side, this is a low-risk move to pick up a potential Pro Bowl level cornerback. If Dallas makes the deal, they will restructure Mr. Jones’ deal to make it for one year. Jones gets his new location and new start, the Cowboys get that needed second cornerback, and the Titans get rid of a headache. Some Dallas lawyer will get an excellent retainer.

The offer sheet signed on Friday with Chris Carr was another low budget, roster-filler deal. Carr has been an excellent kick returner and sometimes cornerback for the Raiders. The Titans desperately need a playmaker who can return kicks. Michael Griffin was the only guy on the team who had that ability. The Titans obviously need him to focus on becoming a top-tier safety.

The Titans also signed special-teams players Donnie Nickey and Josh Stamer. These relatively cheap moves are an attempt to open up the team’s options in the 2008 draft. Defensive end and wide receiver seem to be the top needs, although safety, cornerback, and interior line depth are important as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Titans drafted another running back. It’s a deep class and I don’t know if LenDale White or Chris Henry are going to be the answer. Chris Brown did play a role, besides making critical fumbles. He had that extra gear that White lacks. Anything Henry does in his second year, besides kick returning, please, will be a bonus.

I just found out today that the White Sox will open in Cleveland. The Cleveland/Detroit opening trip is going to be tough. I have a good feeling about this team. I think Jon Danks and Jose Contreras will be much better. The bullpen needs to be a strength. Brian Anderson and Alexei Ramirez are going to be important pieces of the puzzle. The foursome of Thome, Konerko, Swisher, and Dye are going to hit a lot of homers and drive in a lot of runs. Ramirez might start in center with Jerry Owens suffering the worst injury from a sports fan perspective, the partially torn groin. I think if there’s any kind of tear, the word “partially” is superfluous.

ESPN put together a nice series on dynasties that might have been. For Sox fans, the mid 90s represented a fantastic missed opportunity. I don’t know if you can call a team that didn’t even make a World Series a near dynasty. Heck, I was looking through the amazon.com top sports books and there was one on the Red Sox dynasty. Two titles in four years is a dynasty now? Three titles in four years is the minimum, and a four-year stretch of domination, a la the Cowboys in the 90s and the Patriots of late, seems shallow.

More important than the actual baseball season is the start of fantasy seasons. My AUBL team leads 12-0 thanks to my having As and Red Sox players while my opponent did not. My dynasty team, the Second City Swatters, completed a Titans-esque free agency period by not overpaying for players, but filling out a deep roster that will probably get me no better than third in my division.

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