All week long it's been the story du semaine. From yahoo to SI to ESPN, it's "The Bears screwed the Ravens! Somebody should do something!"
At the risk of giving this story even more coverage, it's about time that we, the fans, voiced our opinions on this "important" issue. Follow me to the clearing at the end of the jump and we'll do just that.
Jerry Angelo often sets himself up to be viewed as the NFL jester (sometimes unfairly), so it's hard to feel bad for him in this situation. He stepped in it. It's that simple. There is no justifying the fact that he screwed the proverbial pooch on the protocol and left the Ravens hung out to dry on their pick. I'm not going to sit here and try to justify the snafu with sentences like: "The Ravens still got the player they wanted, so no harm no foul." or "The Ravens did the same thing in 2003!" because there was potential for harm, and for all we know, there was harm. Maybe another team wanted that pick in trade, but got word a deal had been done with Chicago. It's pure speculation, of course. But it is within the realm of possibility, which is all that should need to be proven.......if the NFL had any rule in place against an error in draft trade protocol, which it doesn't.
But then, this article isn't titled "Did Jerry Screw Up?", is it? We all know he screwed up. The question is: "Should he have handled the situation differently?" For me, the answer is a loud and proud "Hell no!"
"But wait! He messed up and cost the Ravens a 4th round pick! That's not right!" .....And? Did the Bears break any rules? Nope. Did Angelo apologize like a gentlemen? Yep. Did the Ravens end up pretty much exactly as they would have been if they hadn't been involved with the Bears? Most likely (though this is where that whole trade to other teams thing comes in....).
But none of that really even matters. Jerry Angelo could have looked a lot better around the league by giving up that 4th round pick, and wouldn't have suffered as much at the hands of Bears fans, considering that so many already consider him an idiot. But he stuck to his guns and refused to give up the pick. His job isn't to make the networks happy. His job is to do everything in his power to make the Bears better. Giving up the 4th round pick (and thus missing out on Stephen Paea) wouldn't have made the team better. It might have made Angelo look more honorable to the networks, but it would have hurt the Bears. And that absolutely should have been the only thought on his mind at that point. Jerry isn't paid to worry about the Baltimore Ravens.
And even the idea of him looking better to the talking heads by providing restitution to the Ravens isn't exactly a set-in-stone deal. You can be sure that the same writers who have been on his case for not fairly compensating the Ravens would have been focusing instead on the fact that he was inept enough cost his team a 4th round pick because he couldn't keep track of the phone. And probably would have seen an equal number of sport pundits who lambasted him for giving up a pick the league wasn't requiring him to part with.
And I honestly couldn't care less if the league changes the rules regarding this procedure. In fact, I hope they don't. In my eyes, Ozzie Newsome was as much the fool as , if not more than, Jerry Angelo was. These kinds of things have happened before (and the Ravens should know all about it, considering that they were involved in a similar situation in 2003, though I'd like to note that contrary to what you may have seen posted all over the internet, the Ravens didn't screw the Vikings in 2003. In fact they were the ones who got screwed there, too. Ask me about it below if you're interested). Knowing this possibility exists, however small, teams doing trades should have someone ready to make the call to the league with their selection if they haven't received confirmation before the end of their pick window. This just seems like a simple CYA solution that you would think Ozzie Newsome would understand considering the past. I have little sympathy for the Ravens, here. Sorry.
In the end, Angelo screwed up but it turned out to be in Chicago's favor. To handle the aftermath any differently than Angelo did would have been worthy of a good firing. As it stands, kudos to JA for not shoveling dirt on himself and the Bears after an honest mistake. Some will call me a "homer" (and they'd be right), but were the Packers in the same position, I'd be saying the same things about Ted Thompson that I'm saying about Jerry Angelo.
Well, my friends, I've said my piece. Now it's your turn. Let your voices be heard below, no matter whether you agree or disagree. This is your place to be heard! Sound off Bears faithful and Bear Down!