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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Talented Mr. Angelo? Part Deuce

The final phase of a GM's job is free agent and trade acquisitions. So today we'll review year by year some of Angelo's biggest signings and trades, and the grade I assign each transaction, and each year.


Free Agents-

Ted Washington DT- A.
Ted Washington was crucial to the defense during their 2001 run, and was a key defensive player in Gregg Blache's scheme

Keith Traylor DT-B+.
Not exactly as good as Ted, but a very serviceable starter for several years.

Fred Baxter TE-C
. Baxter put up forgettable numbers (27 rec, 199 yds, 2 tds) in 19 games as a Bear. Avoids a lower grade due to forcing the Bears to move him after criticizing John Shoop.

Larry Whigham DB
-D. A former Pro Bowler with the Patriots, Whigham played sparingly and never recorded an interception as a Bear.

Danny Wuerffel QB
-A. The guy gives up football and becomes a preacher, then a hurricane destroys his home. This is pure sympathy. 3rd stringer for one year who never played a down. Took Cade McNown's roster spot, and thus the A.

Alfonso Boone DT-B.
Though never spectacular, Boone was a pretty solid backup defensive tackle in 6 seasons as a Bear.

Trades- Traded QB Cade McNown to the Dolphins for a 6th round pick. A+++

Overall Grade for 2001: B


Free Agents-

Chris Chandler QB- D.
Signed to back up the inconsistent and fragile Jim Miller, Chris Chandler could never A) stay healthy or B) play well.

Henry Burris QB- F. An interesting project had he not been forced to, you know, play. Sucked horribly when he did. Dropped after one year.
Overall Grade for 2002: D-


Free Agents-

Kordell Stewart QB-D.
Inconsistent at best, fucking awful at worst, Kordell was one of the biggest in a long line of flops in the attempt to address the QB conundrum through free agency.

Desmond Clark TE-A. Tragically underutilized in his first three years in Chicago, Desmond has been an absolute stud for Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, and pairs with Greg Olsen for one of the best tight end grops in the NFL.

Overall Grade for 2003: C+


Free Agents-

Jonathan Quinn QB-F.
Oh God. Just Awful.

Thomas Jones RB-A. The only bad thing about this signing was letting the man go. Forte eases some of the pain though.

Qasim Mitchell T- D-. Played the most important position on a line that gave up a Bears record 66 sacks.

Jeff George QB- C. Simply a desperation move, never saw the field.
John Tait T-A. Has been solid at either tackle position since joining the Bears.

Ruben Brown G- B. Hurt for much of 2004, gave the Bears a solid 2005 and 2006 before crapping out in 2007.

Hunter Hillenmeyer LB- A. We constantly look for his replacement, and yet he's been a solid starter for almost five seasons.

Chad Hutchinson QB-C. Its not like we had too many options.

Traded Marty Booker to Dolphins for Adewale Ogunleye- A. Wally's been pretty solid and Marty's back, so win-win.

Traded 6th round pick for FB Bryan Johnson- C. The guy could never stay healthy. Ever.

2004 Overall Grade: C+


Free Agents-

Muhsin Muhammed, WR- B-.
Never really was worth the big contract and his hands were a lot more suspect in Chicago than they were in Carolina

Fred Miller, T-B. Like Ruben Brown, provided a solid 2005 and 2006 before crapping out last year.

Roberto Garza, G- B+. Consistently effective starter at guard.

Brandon McGowan S- B. Played fairly well at times for a guy from whom nothing was expected.

Marc Edwards, FB- B.
Solid stand in during one of Bryan Johnson's many injuries.

Robbie Gould, K- A.
Fantastic kicker. Period.

Jeff Blake, QB- B.
Played pretty well in his only appearance.

John St. Clair, T- B+. Has been a big part of the offensive line's surprising resurgence this year.

Trades- Traded 7th round pick to Dolphins for LB Brendon Ayanbadejo. B.

Overall Grade for 2005: B+


Free Agents-

Ricky Manning, Jr. CB- C+.
Was pretty effective during the 06 run, but disappeared last year.

Brian Griese QB- C-. In a way was almost as responsible for this wesbite as was Kyle Orton. Just not in a good way.

Dante Wesley CB- C. Not much of a contributor outside of special teams.

2006 Overall Grade: C


Free Agents-

Anthony Adams DT- B.
Not soo shabby backup/substitute.

Traded Chris Harris to Carolina for 5th round pick-D.
Traded 6th round pick to Washington for Adam Archuleta, S-D.
Traded Thomas Jones to Jets for switch of 2nd round picks-D.
Traded conditional pick for Darwin Walker, DT-D.

Overall Grade for 2007: D+.


Free Agents-

Brandon Lloyd WR- B.
Can turn this into an A if he Ever gets back from his injury and resumes production.

Marty Booker WR- B. Has been a solid veteran leader on this team and has made some great plays this year.

Overall Grade for 2008: B.

Jerry's Overall Grade (2001-2008) on Free Agents and Trades: C+

So overall his Win-Loss record merits a B, his draft picks a B+, and his Free Agents and Trades a C+ for a B average. Comprehensive evaluation gives Jerry Angelo a passing grade with room for improvement, though one variable which must be taken into account is the horrendous state of the organization he inherited, which in the eight years before his arrival (1993-2000) had effectively bankrupted the team's talent through mismanagement on the part of Dave Wannstedt, Mark Hatley, and Michael McCaskey. During that time the team went 51-77 and made such horrible first round choices as John Thierry, Rashaan Salaam, trading a first round pick for Rick Mirer, Curtis Enis, and Cade McNown. So overall Jerry's resuscitation of the franchise (as well as the fact that I now know he is Not to blame for David Terrell) merits an extra notch and puts him in the B+ to A- range.

The Talented Mr. Angelo?

There have been many polarizing figures in Bears history. Rex Grossman has his ardent supporters and the thousands who boo his every move. Fans often took different sides in support or opposition of former Bears coach Dick Jauron, as many nowadays are taking sides for and against Lovie Smith (your humble narrator is for), fans were split on those who hated Dave Wannstedt and those who Really fucking hated Dave Wannstedt. One of the more divisive characters in recent Bears history has been Bears GM Jerry Angelo, who first took the reigns of the team in 2001. The two opposing sides on Angelo usually amount to this.

Pro Angelo- Angelo makes solid draft choices in the later rounds, he has managed the cap while fielding a competitive team, he has a winning record, three division titles, and a conference championship as GM.

Anti Angelo- He gives up too many good players (Roosevelt Colvin, Thomas Jones, Chris Harris, etc.), his first round picks often suck (David Terrell, Marc Colombo, Michael Haynes, Cedric Benson), he's not really responsible for most of the team's success.

So where do we begin in evaluating the real value of Mr. Angelo?

The easiest to calculate is his win loss record as general manger. Since taking over the Bears in 2001, Angelo is 65-56, which ranks 11th in the NFL over that period and 5th in the NFC since that period, thats the upper third of the league, although not top ten or particularly outstanding, so I give him a B. here's the records of all 32 teams since 2001:

1. Patriots: 92-29
2. Colts:84-37
3. Steelers:79-41-1
4. Eagles: 77-44
5. Packers:73-48
6. Broncos:71-50
7. Seahawks:69-52
8. Chargers:67-54
9t. Titans:66-55
9t. Ravens:66-55
11. Bears:65-56
12. Giants:64-57
13. Bucs:63-58
14. Cowboys:62-59
15. Jaguars:61-60
16. Rams:60-61
17t. Jets:59-62
17t. Panthers:59-62
19. Chiefs:58-63
20. Falcons:57-63-1
21. Saints:56-65
22. Redskins:56-65
23. Vikings:56-65
24. Dolphins: 55-66
25. Bengals: 51-70
26. Bills:50-71
27. 49ers:49-72
28. Browns:48-73
29. Cardinals:46-75
30. Raiders 42-79
31. Texans:35-70
32. Lions:31-90

Another category I used to evaluate Jerry Angelo was draft-pick retention. This I defined as the number of draft picks that he's chosen over the years that remain on the Bears roster. The Bears under Angelo have made 77 draft picks since 2001, the most by any NFL team over that span. They retain 28 of those 77, a success rate of 36%. Granted, most NFL teams have long since parted ways with even their successful picks of the 2001 or 2002 drafts given free agency and the like, but it was just easier to count the entire body of work. The Bears total number of draft picks that remain on their roster that have been chosen over the last 8 years qualifies them for 9th out of that time period, here's how the rest of the NFL stacks up [number of picks retained/picks taken (number of first round draft picks retained/number of first rounders taken)]:

1 .32/70 (8/8) Ravens
2. 31/67 (6/6) Colts
3. 29/68 (5/8) Seahawks
4. 29/67 (4/6) Eagles
5. 29/70 (4/7) Packers
6. 29/70 (5/10) 49ers
7. 29/74 (4/6) Titans
8. 28/63 (8/8) Cowboys
9. 28/77 (4/8) Bears
10. 27/58 (5/9) Cardinals
11 .27/62 (4/9) Lions
12. 27/62 (7/8) Chargers
13. 27/66 (8/9) Panthers
14. 27/66 (6/8) Bengals
15. 27/68 (6/8) Jaguars
16. 26/58 (4/7) Giants
17. 26/61 (8/8) Steelers
18. 26/64 (5/10) Raiders
19. 26/67 (8/9) Patriots
20. 25/70 (5/6) Buccaneers
21. 24/60 (7/8) Texans
22. 24/66 (5/8) Falcons
23. 23/72 (5/10) Rams
24. 22/64 (6/7) Chiefs
25. 22/57 (7/9) Saints
26. 21/56 (6/9) Jets
27. 20/68 (6/9) Bills
28. 20/59 (5/8) Browns
29. 20/49 (3/6) Redskins
30. 19/56 (4/8) Vikings
31. 19/60 (4/7) Broncos
32. 19/60 (5/6) Dolphins

Now there's a couple ways to look at this. While several of the teams in the top ten in draft pick retention are also in the top ten in wins (Colts, Seahawks, Ravens, Titans, Eagles, Packers), three of the least successful teams (49ers, Cardinals) are also in the top ten. The reasons for their high ranking is mostly attributable to rebuilding programs that have kept almost every pick from the last few drafts on the roster with an emphasis on youth over experience. The Patriots and Steelers compensate for their somewhat low rankings on overall draft pick retention with incredible success rates on their first round picks, with 8/9 for the Patriots and 8/8 for the Steelers. Angelo has notoriously struggled in the first round, as only 4 of his 8 first rounders remain on the roster, with Rex Grossman sure to be gone after this season. What's remarkable is his ability to overcome these failures. Round by round here are Angelo's picks (current roster members in bold)

1st Round (4/8)- David Terrell, Marc Colombo, Michael Haynes, Rex Grossman, Tommie Harris, Cedric Benson, Greg Olsen, Chris Williams

2nd Round (4/8)- Anthony Thomas, Charles Tillman, Tank Johnson, Mark Bradley, Daniael Manning, Devin Hester, Dan Bazuin, Matt Forte

3rd Round (6/10)-
Mike Gandy, Roe Williams, Terrence Metcalf, Lance Briggs, Bernard Berrian, Dusty Dvoracek, Garrett Wolfe, Michael Okwo, Earl Bennett, Marcus Harrison

4th Round (6/10)-
Karon Riley, Alex Brown, Todd Johnson, Ian Scott, Nathan Vasher, Leon Joe, Kyle Orton, Jamar Williams, Josh Beekman, Craig Steltz

5th Round (5/14)-
Bernard Robertson, Bobby Gray, Bryan Knight, Bobby Wade, Justin Gage, Tron LaFavor, Claude Harriott, Craig Krenzel, Airese Currie, Mark Anderson, Kevin Payne, Corey Graham, Zack Bowman, Kellen Davis

6th Round (1/8)-Adrian Peterson,
Jamin Elliot, Bryan Fletcher, Joe Odom, Brock Forsey, Chris Harris, JD Runnels, Tyler Reed,

7th Round (3/11)-
John Capel, Bryan Anderson, Alfonso Marshall, Rod Wilson, Trumaine McBride, Aaron Brant, Ervin Baldwin, Chester Adams, Joey Larocque, Kirk Barton, Marcus Monk

As you can see, Angelo's shooting .500 in the two money rounds, the first and second, but compensates for it with a 60% success rate in the third and foruth rounds. Many people criticize him hard for missing on so many first rounders, and with good cause, but in my opinion many of those big money misses like Cedric Benson are quite compensated by a third round gold mine find like Lance Briggs, or a fourth round STEAL LIKE KYLE ORTON. Since he's in the top 10 in the NFL in overall draft pick retention, I'm giving him an B+, falling just short of an A since I really hated David Terrell and Cedric Benson.

So in both the win category, and the draft pick category, Angelo is at least a B average, not greatness, but pretty solid. Tomorrow: The Free Agents and Trades. I know you're riveted.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, Angelo was hired AFTER the 2001 draft, which absolves him of the blame of that awful draft class. I really don't feel like editing all of this to make the change, so just ignore David Terrell, Anthony Thomas, and friends. My bad.