Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, June 7, 2009
Side Switches Force Cherries’ Hand at Owners Meeting
Brams Deals Samuels, Brown, Chambers, and Coleman to Keep Peace
by Rip Snorter
The two months-long drama arising from requests — some would say demands — to switch positions
by Cherries’ offensive linemen Jordan Gross and Jason Brown, wide receiver Chris Chambers, and
defensive end Julius Peppers, played out to its conclusion at the EFL Owners Meeting yesterday in
Hershey. The defending champions are now able to move forward with plans for the
coming season albeit with a weakened offensive line.
Granting Gross’ request to move from right to left tackle left Delaware coach/GM Jon Brams no room
in the starting lineup for the all-star incumbent at that position, Chris Samuels. Brams
traded Samuels to New York for a 1st round 2010 draft pick.
Brown’s request to unseat all-star center Nick Mangold did not sit well with Brams. Although Brown, who
performed very well at left guard last season, likely is qualified to start in the middle, Mangold has
always played there and deserves to continue. Brown will get the chance to handle snaps for Providence.
He was dealt to the Steam Roller, along with wide receiver Mark Bradley, a member of the Cherries for all of four
minutes, in exchange for rookie wide receiver Donnie Avery and veteran guard Derrick Dockery. It is Dockery
who will start in Brown’s old spot.
Chambers wanted to move to the side occupied by Lee Evans. Although Chambers was Delaware’s leading
receiver last season, Evans is a fixture on that side. Chambers will ply his trade for Baltimore, having been
traded there for the very short-timer Bradley. Meanwhile, Avery will start opposite Evans for the Cherries.
Peppers’ request to move from left defensive end to right was amenable to Brams. Who is he to argue
with Peppers after all? Kenyon Coleman found himself the odd man out being strictly a right end. The
Cherries traded him to the Charleston Cannons even up for backup wide receiver Kevin Curtis. The likely
new starting left end, Ray Edwards, came to Delaware yesterday in not only the first trade of the day but also
one of ones the most talked about. In
that deal the Cherries sent highly regarded backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Syracuse Crush, where he is
anticipated to get the nod as their starter. Delaware
received with Edwards a 2nd round 2010 draft pick. Edwards had 19 tackles
and 3 sacks for the Crush last season as their starter on the right side.
So we saw then who has relatively more clout — Gross and Peppers. As for Brown and Chambers, and — indirectly —
Samuels and Coleman … not so much.
Coming into the meeting the Cherries had only two running backs on the roster — their starters:
LaDainian Tomlinson and fullback Tony Richardson. They bulked up that area during the meeting partially by reducing their
surplus in the defensive backfield. Last season’s starter at right cornerback, Fakhir Brown, was deemed
expendable given the addition of their highest draft pick, Brandon Carr and the readiness of
Corey Webster to ascend to a starting role. Delaware found a taker for Brown in the Baltimore Bolts, and
Brown, along with a 5th round 2010 draft pick, netted the Cherries a pair of backup running backs —
Antonio Pittman and Brandon Jackson. Earlier in the day Delaware had claimed free agent Corey McIntyre to
serve as Richardson’s backup.
Near the end of the day the Cherries acquired free agent Max Jean-Gilles to battle veterans Artis Hicks and Adam
Goldberg for the starting job at right guard. They had anticipated Chris Chester would start in that spot
when they drafted him in the 6th round, but it had become clear he wouldn’t work out, and they released
him immediately before they picked up Jean-Gilles. Regardless of whom wins the right guard job, the right side of
the offensive line is a worry for Delaware. There seems little doubt it will be weaker than last season when the
starters were Gross and the seemingly retired Shawn Andrews.
Here is the projected starting lineup for the Cherries when they line up against New York
Friday night, August 7, in New York:
|69||Jordan Gross *||LT|
|66||Derrick Dockery *||LG|
|62||Max Jean-Gilles *||RG|
|79||Willie Anderson *||RT|
|15||Donnie Avery *||WR|
|91||Ray Edwards *||LE|
|92||Maake Kemoeatu *||NT|
|90||Julius Peppers *||RE|
|39||Brandon Carr *||LCB|
|23||Corey Webster *||RCB|
|10||Jeff Feagles *||P||
|* new starter or position change|
While the Cherries were much more active in this meeting than in recent years, there was no
shortage of interesting deals not involving them. Here are the highlights:
Besides the pick the Cherries got from New York for Samuels, the only other 1st round 2010
pick that changed hands went from Baltimore to Washington. The Bolts acquired dangerous
Darren Sproles in the deal from the Capitols. Recall Sproles took 2 kickoffs and 4
punts to the house last season. In addition to the draft pick, Washington received
return specialist Dantrell Savage. I suspect Baltimore coach Franny Key has a larger role
in mind for Sproles than just returning kicks.
Some big name running backs went through a revolving door anchored in Baltimore. First New York traded Willie
Parker to the Bolts for Steven Jackson. Parker would not stay with Baltimore, however, as minutes later he
went to Connecticut in a trade which would bring Pittman, who wound up the day
with the Cherries, for a cup of coffee — make that a sip — in Baltimore. Key has evidently committed to starting
DeAngelo Williams at running back, with Sproles and Ahmad Bradshaw as his backups. This is
an interesting development as Williams averaged a paltry 2 yards per carry in 104 trips last season.
New York traded all-star tight end Tony Gonzalez to Providence for veteran wide receiver
Torry Holt and cornerback Carlos Rogers. Gonzalez led the EFL in 2008 with 93 receptions.
Rogers missed the entire season due to injury.
Baltimore sent wide receiver Randy Moss, who found the end zone only twice last season, along with
a 2nd round 2010 draft pick to Syracuse for wide receivers Laveranues Coles and James Jones and
guard Jason Spitz. Moss will team up as Rodgers’ targets with DeSean Jackson, the rookie
from California the Crush drafted in the 1st round.
The EFL website lists every transaction
that took place at the meeting.