A month ago, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was released by the Washington Redskins. While the Vikings still had multi-millions in available salary cap room and linebacker is without question the thinnest position on the team, Mike Tice made it clear he wasn't going to get in a bidding war with someone else.
A month later, some have begun asking the question "where is the bidding war?"
A month has gone by without Trotter being signed. Teams like the Seahawks have expressed an interest, but no contract has been offered. In fact, coach Mike Holmgren has downplayed the situation, saying that he thinks Trotter is somewhat overrated and not a perfect fit with his defense.
For the Vikings purposes, the Henderson-Claiborne-Thomas-Nattiel-Newman faction doesn't strike the fear of God into opponents. The Vikings have bolstered their defensive front by taking Kevin Williams and Kenechi Udeze on the first round of the last two drafts. They have also improved their secondary by getting the first shutdown corner the Vikings have had in more than a decade in Antoine Winfield. Yet, linebacker has been virtually ignored and reduced with the retirement of Greg Biekert and the release of Henri Crockett.
The Vikings' motivation, pure and simple, was money. They went into the process convinced that Trotter's price would be too expensive – he'd want a long-term contract with a huge signing bonus. Well, a month later, nobody has offered him the pot of gold he and/or his agent believe he deserves.
Typically, in matters like this, the asking price goes down as the opening of training camp nears. Like it or not, players who miss significant time in training camp are more likely to sustain injuries during the season because they haven't had enough light hitting experience in the preseason and, when they take their first hits, it's at full speed with bad intentions.
Trotter's stock has dropped over the last month – that would appear quite obvious since nobody has opted to sign him. Perhaps now, he and his agent are coming to the realization that maybe a two-year or even a one-year deal laced with incentives could be the best option. From that standpoint, the Vikings would be an ideal choice.
If Trotter were to come to the Vikings, he would be an immediate starter (likely on the strong side) and give players like Mike Nattiel and Dontarrious Thomas a chance to grow into starting roles, which might have Chris Claiborne moving to the weak side and Trotter playing the strong side. Even in a worst-case scenario, he wouldn't meet the incentives and would become a free agent in 2005.
Whether the Vikings interest will pique after the Fourth of July is yet to be seen. But the timing couldn't be better to at least start making a couple of phone calls. VU will pay the tab for the calls.
Trotter's Still Out There
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