Friday, March 28, 2008

Obama and Pennsylvania

Looks like Senator Bob Casey will be endorsing Obama today. I'm not really sure what all these endorsements mean, but at least Casey can try to put his contacts to work for Obama. It should help Obama make inroads with Pennsylania voters.

Obama is going to be spending the next week in Pennsylvania. It will be interesting to see how/if the poll numbers change in a week. My guess is that we will see a significant move toward Obama as he wins over voters.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

U.S. Sovereignty Lost

I have written about the explosion of our National Debt under Bushie, and the fact that he has allowed foreign governments to increasingly pay for the debt and the deficits he has been responsible for. Horrible economic policies that have ensured that the U.S. will be influenced by foreign governments, including many of our enemies.

Most Americans are ignorant of the basic facts regarding Bushie's policies, and many ignorant Bushie lovers actually believe that his policies have been helpful. The fiscal conservatives and Wall Streeters have abandoned Bushie and the Republican Party in large numbers. It is mostly the ignorant "social conservatives" who don't know any better who defend Bushie.

Today's Washington Post has a great front page article that talks about the fact that U.S. financial institutions are being bought up by foreign governments through their "sovereign wealth funds." Essentially, these funds are funded by foreign governments who put their money into "funds" and buy up our assets. The story starts by explaining how Kuwait bought up $3 billion in Citigroup and $2 billion in Merrill Lynch. These investments pale in comparison to the $900 billion sovereign wealth fund that the Saudis are now preparing to unleash on the world.

Thanks to Bushie's economic policies, he has devalued America, and then, thanks to his ridiculously foolish foray into Iraq, he has exploded the price of oil. This has enriched Middle Eastern governments and given them unprecedented wealth that they are now going to use to buy up America. When Saudi Arabia owns the U.S. banking industry, there won't be any way to stop the funding of terrorist organizations - in fact, at that point a significant portion of the interest payments that Americans make on their houses, cars, big screen TVs, and credit cards will be going to fund madrassas, terror organizations, and weapons that will be used by our enemies. It is a sick joke that I am sure our enemies are laughing at. Unfortunately, it will prove to be true.

Politics Notes

The latest NBC/WSJ poll shows that all of the hoopla and hype about the comments made by Obama's pastor and the speech he have on race in America didn't really amount to anything. And, Obama still holds a 2 point lead in the race against McCain.

Let me make a general comment about the polls - they don't mean anything right now. There is too much flux and change, and way too much time before the general election to put any stock in the Obama vs. McCain polls.

As I have stated, there is no real way for Clinton to win the nomination. She is effectively done, but is simply going through the motions hoping that some major skeleton comes out of the closet about Obama. Unlikely, but I suppose it is possible. She leads by about 15-20 points in Pennsylvania right now. But that will tighten and the way the delegates are distributed, it will likely end up as a near draw, but a small Clinton victory nonetheless. Then, she will get trounced in North Carolina and she will be beaten in Indiana. I expect that she will drop out at that point.

Don't believe all the "Dems are tearing each other apart" and "It is going to the Convention" nonsense. The race is not close and it is likely that Obama will extend his lead. The super delegates are not going to overturn the popular vote and the pledged delegate counts - they are going to just confirm Obama as the candidate. All of the gloom and doom for the Dems that is being portrayed in the media is just for ratings. It is about as real as "The Sky Is Falling" argument that Chicken Little made. Obama will be the nominee.

Then, as the economy remains sour and the violence in Iraq again ratchets up, Americans will be begging for change. Obama will win comfortably.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Iraq War

It has largely been off the front pages. But we just lost our 4000th soldier this past week, we are still spending $10 to $12 billion per month, and violence is again ticking up. People should recognize that there will be no victory in Iraq, because the enemy will never, ever be completely destroyed.

Here are our three choices.

1. We continue to try to plug the dam with our thumb and just stay the course. The civil war will continue indefinitely, but we will hold back some of the killing, although it will be more of an up-and-down situation. That is, some months we will see more violence and others we will see less. In the end, we will leave with nothing more accomplished than where we are today, and we will leave a pro-Iranian Shia theocracy in charge.

2. We commit to a 30 year program (that we would still need to design and implement) and work to build social structures and schools that bring Sunni and Shia together to learn to live together in harmony for a generation or two. Then, perhaps after spending about $20 billion per month, we might actually have real peace in Iraq. The Shia and Sunni would hold hands and sing Cumbaya as we departed. I think this is ridiculously impossible, but at least it would be a plan that we could try out.

3. We leave. We could save billions of dollars and countless lives of our soldiers.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Clinton Has No Chance

Like I have been saying for a couple of weeks, Barack Obama will be the nominee for the Dems. Politico is running a story that explains why.

The idea that Clinton may still pull it out is simply a farce. That said, I don't mind her hanging around because it is forcing Obama to face some of the criticisms and attack ads that are sure to come from the Republicans.

With Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama, I think superdelegates are going to line up behind Barack. I think he will tighten the race up in Pennsylvania and then cruise to victory in North Carolina. If Clinton stays in beyond Pennsylvania, it won't be much past North Carolina. This won't go to the convention and people who think it will are just fooling themselves.

Friday, March 21, 2008

U.S. National Debt Owed to Foreigners

My last post updates our National Debt, but the thing that is most horribly pathetic is the explosion of debt owed to foreigners. Bushie has overseen and endorsed a policy that is rapidly impacting the future sovereignty of the United States.

In order to fund his massive (record) deficits, the U.S. has had to borrow heavily from foreign governments and foreign central banks. The money we get to finance the Debt and deficits is raised through the sale of U.S. Treasury Securities (i.e., government bonds and government notes).

Currently, foreigners hold over $2.4 trillion in U.S. government debt (i.e. Treasury Securities). We owe them this money!

Back in 2000 (when George W. Bush took office), foreigners held $1.1 trillion in U.S. government debt.

Of particular note, in 2000 China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan held $153 billion in U.S. Treasury Securities and OPEC (which includes Iran) held $43.6 billion. Today, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan now hold $586 billion and OPEC now holds $141 billion of our debt.

The National Debt situation is bad enough, but the U.S. banking and financial industry is now completely infiltrated by foreign investors and relies on foreign investment in order to operate. I have my opinion about the risks and benefits of giving foreigners more control of our debt and thus more control of our economic independence. You can look at the numbers and decide for yourself if you think it is wise.

U.S. National Debt

Most Americans simply do not know what the facts are about our economy. For anyone who is interested in facts and is willing to look at actual numbers, here are the National Debt figures provided by the U.S. Treasury Department.

3/21/08 - $9.38 trillion (current as of this post)
9/30/07 - $9.00 trillion
9/30/06 - $8.51 trillion
9/30/05 - $7.93 trillion
9/30/04 - $7.38 trillion
9/30/03 - $6.78 trillion
9/30/02 - $6.23 trillion
9/28/01 - $5.81 trillion
9/28/00 - $5.67 trillion
9/30/92 - $4.06 trillion

Look it up for yourself at the U.S. Treasury Dept.

Unless you believe the U.S. Treasury Dept is lying, you can see the dramatic increase under George W. Bush.

Under Clinton, the National Debt rose from $4.06 trillion to $5.67 trillion. Thus, it rose by a total of $1.61 trillion. This represents a 39.7% increase over Clinton's eight years in office [($5.67 - $4.06)/$4.06]. Keep in mind that by the end of Clinton's term we were making payments on the Debt and working to reduce the figure.

Under Bush, the National Debt has risen from $5.67 trillion to $9.38 trillion, for a total of $3.71 trillion. This represents a 65.4% increase over his term to date [($9.38 - $5.67)/$5.67]. It is a remarkable explosion of debt and it is worsening. This is just a simple, plain fact.

Obama Notes

Looks like some folks at the State Department were snooping into Barack Obama's passport and travel records. Two contractors were fired and a third was "disciplined" (whatever that means).

At a minimum, the actions were in violation of State Department rules and if they passed information on to outside parties, then the acts were illegal. This didn't happen just once or twice, but three times. This is not surprising, given how shoddy government oversight has become.

It could be Republican operatives or it could be Clinton operatives, who knows? The State Department has claimed that it was innocent snooping by a couple of individuals who just were curious. Right! We'll see how this all turns out, but I am not confident that there will be any real investigation.

On the positive side, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico is set to endorse Barack. He is influential among superdelegates and has significant ties to party insiders. It seems to me that Barack Obama is clearly going to win the popular vote and the pledged delegates - so he should be the nominee. There are a lot of insiders and long-time Dems who are tied to the Clintons and they do not want to cross them. But in the end, it will be Obama. I think folks like Richardson, who endorse now will be the ones who benefit the most when Obama becomes President. They will have shown loyalty and tipped the scales in favor of Obama, when the outcome was still perceived to be in doubt.

I know Obama will face a tough campaign by McCain, but I cannot believe that Americans are going to go for a 72 year old guy who admits to not understanding the economy and who thinks the Iraq war is a great idea.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Halliburton Killing American Troops

Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, has caused 12 American soldiers to die of electrocution because of their incompetence. Guys are in the shower and then get electrocuted because KBR fails to properly ground electric water pumps. They short out and send electricity through the water which kills our guys.

What an f'ing waste! But, don't worry KBR/Halliburton shareholders, Dick will make sure that they get a huge no-bid contract right before he leaves office so that their record profits will continue on for a couple more years.

U.S. Budget Figures

Many Americans do not understand the National Debt versus the Budget Deficit. The National Debt is the total amount of debt the U.S. has at any given time. The Budget Deficit is the shortfall the U.S. Government has in any given year. If there is a deficit it means that the government spent more money than it took in.

Think about it like this. If you have a $500,000 mortgage, your total debt would be $500,000. But in a given year, you only have to pay for that year's payments. If you could not make all of the payments that year, you would have a deficit in your household budget. When the government does not have enough money to pay all of its bills in a given year, it has a deficit.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports real economic figures. If you look at Table 1 of the CBO link, in the column that is second from the right, you can see the total annual budget deficits (and surpluses) of the U.S. Government. Here are the figures:

1992: -$290.3 billion (deficit)
2000: $236.2 billion (surplus)
2007: -$162.0 billion (deficit)

With the slowing economy, the current deficit for 2008 looks to be over $400 billion. It will likely surpass the record 2004 deficit of $413 billion, but we will have to see.

A quick look at the CBO figures shows that every year under Clinton saw the deficit shrink, until the last three years when we had growing budget surpluses (the government spent less than it took in - a good thing). Clinton's economic record shows an improvement from the $290 billion deficit he inherited to a $236 billion surplus ($536 billion positive turnaround). However, Bush took the $236 billion surplus and will have turned it into a $400 billion deficit ($636 billion negative turnaround).

These are facts my friends - not spin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stocks Sink

After yesterday's "dead cat" bounce rally, a good percentage of the gains were given back today with the 300 point rout.

My fear is that with all of the extra liquidity the Fed is pumping into the banking system, inflation will continue to rise. The end result will be further sinking of the dollar, higher rates, a slower economy, and difficulty financing our enormous national debt.

There was an interesting story in the Post this week about the increasing number of businesses that are accepting Euros in DC. It used to be that the dollar was king, but increasingly around the world, people want other currencies because of the dollar's demise.

Couple of Thoughts on Dem Nomination

The story is that Michigan and Florida are not going to do revotes. They were stripped of their delegates for moving up their primaries. Without Michigan and Florida, Clinton's slim hopes of overtaking Obama become near impossible.

I think Obama gave a great talk on race and religion yesterday. He did what he had to do and in my opinion rose above race to talk about higher ideals. I loved it.

Pennsylvania will be an interesting state to watch over the next several weeks.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

U.S. GDP Growth

Well, looks like Bushie has led us into a recession. That is pretty tough to do - just doing nothing usually will result in 1-2 percent growth.

By comparison, let's look at the real growth of GDP under Clinton and Bush. This is the best measure of the growth of the U.S. economy.

The actual figures are available at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Here are the GDP figures in current dollars:

End of 1992 - $6.5 trillion
End of 2000 - $10.0 trillion
End of 2007 - $14.1 trillion

So under Clinton, GDP grew by $3.5 trillion and under Bush in 6 years it has grown by $4.1 trillion.

However, the percentage growth shows that GDP growth was much faster under Clinton. The economy grew by 53.8 percent [(10.0-6.5)/6.5] under Clinton versus 41 percent [(14.1-10/0)/10.0] under Bush.

We will have to see what the final numbers are, but the rate of economic growth is slowing quite rapidly.

Republicans love to tout Bush's fiscal performance and say that Bush was able to keep economic growth going. It is a joke. Under Carter, the economy grew and he did it without exploding the debt. The four years under Carter saw GDP grow from $1.885 trillion to $2.917 trillion. So we saw GDP grow by $1 trillion and 54.7 percent.

U.S. Government Spending and Revenues

There are a number of great myths that many Republicans have about Clinton's economic performance versus George W. Bush. I have talked about debt accumulation at great length on this blog, but when we look at growth in government spending and revenue collection, Clinton's performance was far, far better.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports real economic figures.

If you look at Table 1 of the CBO link, you can see the actual outlays (spending) of the U.S. Government. Here are the outlays:

1992 - $1.38 trillion
2000 - $1.79 trillion
2007 - $2.73 trillion.

The President's current budget proposes spending more than $3 trillion.

Using these figures, we can see that government spending under Clinton grew from $1.38 trillion to $1.79 trillion. This comes out to $410 billion more per year than the last year of Bush Sr. But, by the end of this year, George W. Bush will have added about more than $1.2 trillion in new annual government spending (it will be more when all is said and done).

As a percerntage, Clinton grew annual government spending by 29.7 percent [(1.79-1.38)/1.38]. Bush has grown annual government spending by 67.6 percent [(3-1.79)/1.79].

Republicans like to say that the tax cuts increased government revenues to record levels. Under Clinton, revenues rose by about 90 percent (about $900 billion in new revenues). Under Bush, revenues have risen about 25 percent (about $500 billion).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Debt Owed to Foreigners

The Treasury Department just updated the amount of U.S. debt owed to foreigners. We now owe foreigners $2.4 TRILLION.

The Chinese hold almost $600 billion of this debt (when you include Hong Kong and Taiwan), and OPEC holds $141 billion (OPEC includes Iraq, Iran, and Venezuela). It is pathetic.

Republican Handouts

The next time a Republican complains about a social welfare program being a drain on taxpayer resources, just remind them about the $200 billion taxpayer-funded bailout Bush - in concert with the Federal Reserve - is implementing right now to help Wall Street investment banks. Basically, the Fed is paying Wall Street for $200 billion in financial losses resulting from bad mortgages so they won't collapse.

So all of the deregulation and lack of oversight that Bushie put in on the nation's investment banks have come home to roost. Now that the banks are failing, is Bushie letting the free market work and allow some of these firms to fail for poorly investing their money? Nope. He is bailing them out because these are his people.

The $200 billion dwarfs all social welfare programs in this country - by a long shot. I might not be as bothered if the CEO of Bear Stearns returned his $20 million to $40 million that he earned in salary and bonuses last year, but what are the chances of that happening? ZERO!

People Will Wake Up

As I have been saying for several years, the debt problems of this country that have resulted from Bushie's tax and economic policies - as well as his unsuccessful foray into Iraq - are resulting in major problems.

The worst part is that we are nowhere near the bottom. The stunning fall of Bear Stearns is just one more step in the destruction of the American financial system. I fully expect to see significant losses and bankruptcies to continue for at least the next year.

Americans are beginning to recognize the precarious situation the nation is in. I do not believe that most Americans understand the depth of the problems, but I do sense that they recognize that the problems are severe. People need to wake up to the fact that Bushie has sold off America and has done more damage to American sovereignty than any President ever has. America is not free - it is owned by foreign investors. Bushie has sold our nation to the highest bidders and it will take decades to undo his mess.

As a starting point, we need to get out of Iraq. Spending $12 billion a month to prop up an impotent and corrupt Iraqi regime that is friendly to Iran is just stupid when our own financial institutions are crumbling.

The second big thing that has to be done is that we have to invest in clean energy technologies. We need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and put our people to work by building the energy infrastructure of the country.

People need to stop whining about what Barack Obama's pastor said in a sermon years ago and focus on the economic realities facing the nation. I, for one, think the voters will because things will be worse in 8 months and the American people will not go along with a guy (McCain) who says he doesn't understand the economy and that we should remain in Iraq for 100 years.

the beginning of When Bushie leaves office, he will be recognized as being not only a horrible president, but the person who has

Bear Stearns and the Economic Meltdown

The Fed cut the overnight lending rate to 3.25 percent in an effort to make it easier for banks to borrow money. The fact is, the U.S. banking industry is on the verge of a major disaster. Bear Stearns, one of the largest investment banks in the nation, was destroyed last week as a result of the subprime mortgage mess. On Monday last week, Bear Stears was trading at about $70/share. On Friday, it had fallen to $30/share.

Over the weekend, a major Chinese investment bank pulled out of its agreement to lend $1 billion to Bear. That effectively killed the company and yesterday it was announced that JP Morgan was offering to buy Bear for $236 million, or about $2/share.

Thus, the firm went from being worth $8.3 billion to $236 million in just one week.

The worst part of this is that we have not seen the bottom yet. With every collapse of the American banking and financial situation, foreign investors and investment banks gain an even tighter control on everyday Americans. They own our national debt, are buying our firms on Wall Street and Main Street, and are increasingly owning our home mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt.

Thank goodness we are spending $10 billion to $12 billion a month in Iraq so the Iraqis can build their country free of outside foreign influences (dripping with sarcasm).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Obama Will Win Mississippi Today

He will score a 18-22 point victory in the Mississippi primary today. He will further solidify his lead over Hillary and people will again start to question why Hillary is even in the race.

I have no problem with Hillary staying in, I just think she is wasting time and money. Obama's pledged delegate lead is not going to evaporate with upcoming contests. Even if she wins in Pennsylvania - and I think Barack is going to win there - it would only be by a couple of points at most. She won't net out enough delegates for it to matter much. Then, in North Carolina, Barack will just clean up and further increase his lead.

I don't see any scenario that ends up with Hillary getting more pledged delegates. The super delegates are not going to go against the will of the people. All those talking heads and Republicans who are saying there will be a big, divisive fight are just being ridiculous. This is all going to get wrapped up before the convention and Obama is going to be the nominee.

Couple of Economic Thoughts

The Fed is pumping in $200 billion into the American banking system to try to make credit more available. This is being done by selling more U.S. debt (largely to foreign investors). In my opinion, this is bad policy. We need American consumers to start saving and not spending. I say let interest rates rise and banks tighten credit terms. We have to wash out all of the bad loans and bad credit. Will it be painful - you bet. But it is necessary.

Most of this new debt that will be used to create cash will undoubtedly come from foreign funds, investors, and central banks. All it means is that more of America will be owned by outsiders and they will have an even bigger say in our financial markets. You don't have to be a Ph.D. economist to understand the risks of doing this.

The additional cash also has another consequence - it will further devalue the dollar and spur inflation. Any short term gain we may get (and I am not convinced we will get much of one) is going to be offset by higher prices a few months from now. With oil at $108 barrel right now, imagine what it will be as inflation rises - $120/barrel? $130/barrel? We will be looking at $4.00 a gallon by summer.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Economic Meltdown

The debt and deficit problems are bad enough, but the dollar is at an all-time low against major currencies and home mortgage defaults are at an all-time high. The Dow closed down more than 200 points today. I think we are looking at sliding stocks for an extended period because I don't think we are anywhere close to the bottom on the housing crisis. The housing crunch is going to continue to hammer away at the banks and going to deflate personal spending. On top of that, the falling dollar is making it increasingly more expensive to import all of our oil needs - unfortunately at a time when oil is continuing to rise.

My guess is that we will see the Dow fall another 1200 or so points. My target number for the next year is about Dow 10,800 (closed at 12,040 today).

It is going to get a lot worse than it is today.

Obama Notes

Barack Obama raised an astounding $55 million last month. He was riding a wave of momentum and we'll have to see if that continues this month.

For all of the talk about Hillary winning three out of four states on Tuesday, the bottom line is that she will only net out about 10 delegates and will still trail by about 135 as the campaign moves forward.

With Wyoming and Mississippi set to vote and expected to go to Obama, any net gain will be wiped out by next week. Let's assume that she wins Pennsylvania - it is similar to Ohio. She will still lose badly in delegate-rich North Carolina. I would bet that any victory that she might win in Pennsylania will me much more narrow than the victory Obama will get in North Carolina.

This past Tuesday gave her some life support for a few more weeks, but personally, I think it is time to pull the plug. I am not one to say that she should get out for the good of the party - I think the race continues to generate great interest and bring out a lot of new voters. But anyone who thinks Hillary is going to overtake Obama at this point is not being realistic.

All that said, that is why we play the game. It is possible that some new revelation about Obama emerges and dooms his candidacy, but the chances of that seem remote.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Good NIght For Hillary

I have to hand it to her, she did make up some ground last night. It looks like negative campaigning worked again. I don't think the negative campaigning by Clinton convinced a bunch of Obama supporters to switch, I think it just stopped the momentum Obama was building and kept her supporters from switching over.

In the end, the results from last night won't be enough to overtake Obama and frankly, I don't think they should be that surprising. I think people who say Hillary is back are reading more into the results than they should. Two weeks ago, Obama was more than 20 points down in both Ohio and Texas. He lost Ohio by 10 points and the Texas primary by 4 points. The Texas Caucuses will probably go to Obama by about 10 points and in the end he may even net out more delegates than Hillary in Texas.

Wyoming votes this Saturday and Mississippi next week. If Obama wins those two races it will show that he is right on track.

I do think that Obama is going to have to sharpen his rhetoric against Hillary. It is unfortunate that they will have to beat each other up for a few weeks, but that is politics.

Marty Booker Coming Back

The Bears shored up their receiving corps with the return of Marty Booker. With Booker, Devin Hester, Mark Bradley, and Rashied Davis they are fine, but it would be great to have one more legitimate downfield threat.

However, again, I want them to focus on rebuilding the O-line.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Obama vs. Clinton

Today is another huge day in the race for the Democratic nomination. Of course I am hoping that Obama can break through with a win in Texas and Ohio. He will probably win Vermont big, but lose Rhode Island in a tight matchup. Texas looks more likely for Obama than Ohio, but we will have to see.

I have been really disappointed in Hillary's rhetoric about Obama being nothing more than an orator - that he is somehow an empty speech-giver. Her ad with the kids sleeping and the phone ringing with the announcer saying that something bad has happened somewhere in the world and then asking, "Who do you want to pick up the phone" is just plain offensive. She wants to argue that she has better experience than Obama, but just look at the record.

On the single biggest foreign policy decision of our time - the authorization to use force against Saddam - Obama was right and Clinton was wrong. On top of that, Hillary didn't even read the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) before she voted to give Bush the authority to attack Iraq. So she was lazy and wrong.

Hillary is trying to scare up votes with her ad and her rhetoric. It may or may not work, but frankly, what I like about Obama is he has a message that is exactly the opposite. He is not appealing to our worst fears, he is appealing to our hopes and dreams. He also is tapping into a vein of support for the idea that it won't just be him to solve all of our problems - we will do this together. The "Yes We Can" motto is hitting the right nerve at the right time.

Couple of Football Notes

Favre is retiring (supposedly). That changes a lot for the Packers, but they should be able to move on with Rodgers and the good young team that they have.

Bears traded Griese to Tampa for a 2009 draft pick (undisclosed, but probably conditional on how much Griese plays). Good move, now they can draft another young guy and hope they can develop him over a couple of years.

The Bears rescinded their contract offer to Pro Bowl Special Teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo. His asking price was too high for a special teamer and he wanted to play more on defense. The problem for him is the Bears are already loaded at linebacker and they have a lot of guys who can play special teams. It is too bad, but the Bears are going to use the money to extend Devin Hester - obviously a much better use of the money.

I heard Mike and Mike talking about free agency today and the point came up that I agree with - most of the guys who are signing the big deals (they mentioned Berrian) are worth nowhere near the amount of money they are being given. For the most part, the great players get locked up before free agency and the ones with flaws are the ones who become available. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but it is largely true. You have to be able to draft well and develop players to succeed in the NFL. That is how the Giants did it. That is how the Patriots did it. That is how every Super Bowl winner has done it. Free agency will allow you to get one or two contributors, but it won't solve a player personnel problem a team may have if they don't know how to draft.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Briggs In, Berrian Out

Lance Briggs resigned with the Bears. He signed a 6 year, $36M contract with about $13M guaranteed. It was essentially the same contract that he could have gotten last year. The fact is that he is a good system linebacker and a sound tackler, but he is not a huge impact guy. He doesn't get sacks and he doesn't get interceptions. I'm glad he is back.

Bernard Berrian somehow convinced the Vikings that he was worth 6 years and $42M ($16M guaranteed). I think he is a poor route runner and he has suspect hands. But, he does have speed. The Bears would have never paid him that much and I'm glad they did not franchise him. I think he is a strong Number 2 receiver, perhaps a 1A, but he is not a Number 1 receiver - at least not yet. I think the Vikings are going to find that out.

The Bears have to address their wide receiver depth issue. I like Mark Bradley, but he is unproven. Devin Hester will get more touches, but he had trouble learning the offense. The Bears have money and will find a way to make it work. I still hope they upgrade their offensive line first.