Recording dooms Saints' appeals

643514.jpg

Recording dooms Saints' appeals

Weve now read the Yahoo.com story and heard the audio on Gregg Williams speech before the Saints-49ers playoff game which is the smoking bazooka in BountyGate. Put simply, the Saints got off easy.That said, we need to remember that if this had worked, if the Saints had beaten San Francisco and then the New York Giants and New England Patriots, the National Football League would never have let any cats out of this particular bag.Oh, Williams would have been retired, in that wonderfully euphemistic way that HR departments have of greasing the disobedient. And the team would have been quietly fined. And nobody anywhere would have been the wiser.REWIND: Saints punished for bounty program
But Sean Payton would have skated again, because the league would never tolerate a two-time Super Bowl winner and supergenius being publicly rebuked for something they were trying to keep on the down-low.In short, the 49ers did the league a huge favor. Alex Smith is owed a huge solid, and heres hoping now that hes been given the back of the business hand in his latest contract that someone sees fit to take care of him.Those two late scores took out New Orleans, freeing Roger Goodell to muster enough owner support to drop a bag of hammers on Tom Benson and his perpetually defiant football staff. And if you think Paytons appeal wasnt damaged by this story, youre drunk way too early.And maybe thats why the story got out. A leak to a leak to a leak to Mike Silver of Yahoo, who is not one prone to cheerfully be used by the authorities, only helps the league and hurts Payton.Then again, Payton would have been appealing his sentence to the same cop who pulled him over, so he didnt have a lot of chance anyway. This might have just been the warning shot to shut him up preemptively because the league is willing to do that, too.RELATED: Payton, Saints appeal suspensions
And frankly, while this definitively finishes Gregg Williams, it also points out how the NFL handles employees who go fingers-up to the big man. Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and by extension owner Tom Benson essentially told the league office to screw itself on BountyGate by doing nothing to change their behavior.And that is the real crime that is being punished here. Just as USC got the works for crossing the NCAA, the Saints took theirs because the weight of 31 billionaires is far greater than the weightlifting power of one.Payton is being punished not so much for his arrogance but for his cavalier dismissal of authority (and it explains why Al Davis saw such good in him). He told the league to slag off, and the league reminded him of who runs the Department of Slag.Indeed, the meeting between him and Goodell would have been a short one.Commissioner, I present today my appeal for . . . "First, stop speaking. Second, let me ask you something, you little weasel. Who do you think youre screwing with? I pick guys like you out of my teeth when I floss. I should double the year you already got and dare you to take it to court. Cross me again, and youll be volunteering to run Pop Warner fundraisers in the Okjlahoma panhandle. Appeal denied. Get out. And apologize to my secretary for soiling the couch you sat in.And then hed sit back and wait to see if Payton can hire enough lawyers to fight the league. Which he cant. Another uneven fight won by the NFL.But thats how it works in the real big leagues. Payton fought the law and the law won. Williams is one of the sidekicks in"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" who buys it in the gunfight, but Payton is definitely Liberty Valance.Who, by the way, also buys it in the movie.But for those of you who believe in tradition,. Never fear. The bounty system will never go away. Itll just become more surreptitious. It wont be advertised. Itll work just the way it always has, only on the down-low.And thats all the NFL really wanted here for the Saints to shut up about it. But Gregg Williams couldnt, and Sean Payton wouldnt, and Loomis wasnt going to buck his superiors by going to his other superior.But Alex Smith screwed them all. If there isnt some lifetime job in the league for him because of this, then the league really is filled with ingrates and brutes.Oh. I forgot. It is.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

PHOENIX -- If the Cleveland Browns’ only reasonable decision with the top overall pick consists of Myles Garrett or Myles Garrett, the 49ers have considerably more options at No. 2 overall.

After Garrett, the Texas A&M pass-rusher, there appears to be no consensus second-best prospect in the draft. So the 49ers must be open to considering almost anything.

“You got to talk about every option because you never know what will happen,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “You got to be ready for anything somebody will call you on, whether it’s a trade or not. So you got to go through those because they can happen quickly, especially when you get closer to draft day.

“Right now, it’s not necessarily in my mind the No. 2 pick. It’s taking the time to understand the whole pool of people. Who’s going to be available at two? Who’s going to be available halfway through the first round? What are the players you can get in the second and third round? That’s not something that just gets done. You have to watch a lot of tape. You got to listen to your scouts and all the homework they’ve done with the character on these guys and soak it all in for a couple of months.”

Shanahan was on hand Thursday for Stanford’s pro day, during which defensive lineman Solomon Thomas worked out. Thomas is considered a strong candidate to be the No. 2 player off the board.

But does Thomas fit with the 49ers? Under former general manager Trent Baalke, the 49ers invested their top draft picks in Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner in back-to-back years. Would the 49ers consider spending their top pick on another defensive lineman?

“It really doesn’t concern me what we’ve done in the past or what we’re going to do in the future,” Shanahan said. “It’s what we have now. If we think that player can help us and improve us, then that’s what we’ll do. You want to get the best guy possible. There are lots of options open.”

As the 49ers transition to a four-man defensive line, the team is in need or a pass-rusher. Ahmad Brooks tied with Buckner for the team-lead last season with six sacks. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch tied for tops on the 49ers with 6.5 sacks.

Brooks, 33, enters his 12th NFL season. Shanahan said he believes Thomas (6 foot 3, 273 pounds) is versatile enough to be a pass-rush threat at defensive end in the 49ers’ new scheme.

“I believe so,” Shanahan said. “I believe he can probably line up anywhere he wants. (But I’m) still not done with my research, yet.”

Thomas won the 2017 Morris Trophy, as the Pac-12’s top defensive lineman, as voted on by the conference’s offensive linemen.