There is no denying that World Class speed is THE difference maker for Calvin Johnson among his National Football League peers. Of course, what separates him from a World Class sprinter who has tried to break into the NFL is that he runs the routes, makes the catches and even blocks as well as or better than anyone else in the League.
There is no doubt that the drafting of JaMarcus Russell is made doubly worse because the person who was drafted after JaMarcus was Calvin Johnson. But, what if Al Davis and his beloved Oakland Raiders could land the next Calvin Johnson for the NFL minimum?
You may think that I am insane, but, in all reality, I am an evil genius. ;)
According to the new CBA, which I have read:
Article 133, Section 1 of the CBA
(b) The League may elect to allow some or all Clubs to add to their Practice Squads one additional player, who shall not count against the limit above, whose citizenship and principal place of residence are outside the United States and its Territories ("International Player"). The League’s election in any one season shall not determine or affect its election in any subsequent season. Such International Players shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment that apply to other Practice Squad players except that they (1) may not, during the term of their Practice Squad Contract, negotiate or sign an NFL Player Contract with any Club; and (2) may not practice with any Club following the last Conference Championship Game unless both Conference Championship teams have such a player. In addition, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4 below, such International Player shall be eligible to serve on a Practice Squad for three additional seasons after the completion of the player’s year(s) as an International Player. As set forth in Section 3 below, the weekly salary for such International Players shall not be included in the employing Club’s Team Salary and shall instead be deducted from the calculation of the Salary Cap in the same manner as any Player Benefit Cost.
Yep, that's right, the Oakland Raiders could send a scout around the World with a sack of footballs, a chalkboard, playbook and plenty of chalk in search of an extremely fast person who would want to learn the American game of football.
Think about it. If football can be a natural talent, as it seems to be the case with Calvin Johnson, should there not be another CJ or two SOMEWHERE around the World?
This is where the inevitable Usain Bolt reference makes an appearance, but, I want to go deeper.
What about finding an 18-19 year old with natural football skills and developing him on your squad for three years. Unlike the other eight players on the practice squad, this player is untouchable for three years by any other team. Once he is promoted, you can sign another one.
So, why hasn't anyone done this yet?
Maybe after this article, they will get the message and we will see 32 more potential stars in a few years. That would be sweet!
I mean, there has to be a fat Polish kid out there booming the heck out of the futbol, who is too slow to keep up in Soccer who can take Sebastian Janikowski's place in a few years...right?