I had this thought about a week ago and never had time to pop it up here for your response. With Andrew Luck visiting the Colts and Redskins yesterday, I figure now is as good of a time as any to see what you all think.
When the Colts last had the number one pick (1998, the end of my Junior Year in High School) it came down to two quarterbacks. Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. We all know how that decision changed the face and direction of our beloved franchise.
Back in those days we did not have Twitter, Facebook, NFL Network, Colts fan blogs, PFT, etc that allowed the coverage of every trip and comment made during any meeting. We were not privy to the information that we are now. Now we know what each of these prospects had for lunch. Back then we were lucky to find out before the draft that Leaf was scheduled to meet with the Colts at the combine and stood up then coach Jim Mora and president Bill Polian.
That would have made up my mind for me. If I were deciding between to potential employees and I had them even on my "ability" scale and one of them decided not to show for a scheduled meeting, my decision would be an easy one. I don't care how much talent you have. If you can't show up for a meeting with your potential employer, I don't want you.
Let's fast forward to this year. JUMP!Let me be clear, Robert Griffin III has not pulled anything like what Ryan Leaf did and I am not making that comparison. I don't even really see the two situations as similar.
This year, it's clear who the number one pick will be. We have known for two years who the number one pick would be. I would go so far to say that if Luck had left Stanford after last year, the Panthers would have taken him over Cam Newton.
What is unique about this year is that everybody knows this fact, including Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck. If everyone knows who the pick will be, what leverage does the team have to get a cap friendly deal like the one signed last year by Newton (4yrs/$22 mil)? The answer is whatever leverage can be created.
That's where Jim Irsay is right now. By trying to schedule a meeting with RG3, who everyone knows will not be taken by the Colts, he is trying to create leverage in the Andrew Luck negotiation. There is no decision here. Only politicking and positioning. If Griffin makes it seem like he's not willing to go to Indy, there is no leverage.
I know that the new CBA limits what each pick can get to an extent, but there are still levels within those numbers that can be more or less team friendly. By creating the illusion that there is still a decision to be made, Irsay may be able to create some leverage for his position in these negotiations.
My question for you is, are you OK with this? It's rather underhanded and demeaning to ask a player to come in and put on a show for you when you know full well you aren't even considering drafting that player. The Colts have built a reputation on being the "good guys" in the NFL. The words "high character" and "good citizen" have meant more than "exceptional athlete" for a good many years now. Let's be honest. That persona endeared the Colts to what was a basketball first, blue collar state.
You OK with being a team that uses whatever tactics are available to gain any kind of edge? It's a shift for us. Don't get me wrong, this isn't Spygate or Bounty-geddon. But underhanded tactics will turn off some fans.
Personally I have no problem with it. Get the best possible deal for the team. Don't stoop to cheating on the field or under the table bonuses. If I have learned one thing about the NFL this off-season it's this: business rules all.
If this move gets us an edge in the salary-cap area, I'm all for it. If this move motivates Andrew Luck to revive a Manning-esque quote ("If you don't take me I'm gonna kick your butt for the next 15 years.") then go for it. Irsay is using the only tool he has available right now. I applaud him for it.