Bill Conlin Could've Been a Helluva Blogger

Bill Conlin Could've Been a Helluva Blogger

As most of you have seen by now, the biggest turkey this weekend has been Bill Conlin, who lashed out against bloggers via e-mail exchanges with Crashburnalley's Bill B. With every exchange, Conlin upped the ante of his invective, finally ending it by naming the Jewish people he knows and reciting the Bill of Rights in defense of his careless-if-not-actually-racist remarks. This of course has only brought about a new day's discourse, such as that of John Braittan from The Progenitor of Severe Gluteal Discomfort, who has an interesting response to Conlin's latest missive. Bill B. has also put together an FAQ regarding some of the questions he's facing in the aftermath, his tone different than in his original e-mails, which were fun but barbed for sure, intended to elicit a response, which he got.

Although I find it continuously interesting, I try to steer clear of  engaging in the Bloggers vs. Print Journalists War that seems to be escalating, because I honestly like print journalism and its personalities quite a bit. As a blogger, I'd have a lot less to talk about without the work they do every day, a fun job that has to be incredibly difficult. Their ability to build relationships and gain access to people and private institutions while remaining objective and interesting commands respect. I couldn't have been happier to hear that the Daily News's subscription base just saw its first annual increase in a decade.

However, I can't with any honesty say I've ever been a big Bill Conlin fan.

Much more after the jump...

Conlin's work fails to reach many readers of my generation, and his pomposity
alienates him from readers of numerous age groups, or at least this has
been my experience. He continues to hold an esteemed professional
position that would seem to disprove this sentiment, so what do I know.
I also love it when I find myself really enjoying one of his columns,
which still happens sometimes (and the theme is that I am occasionally reading him, so he's succeeding there).

But what strikes me as particularly odd in all of this concerns that
which I dislike most about Conlin—that too often he overly injects
himself and his beliefs into his work, straying too far from "just the
facts" reporting and climbing onto stilts to sit at his typewriter.
Some people probably love his work for this exact reason. When I open a
newspaper or visit a site like Philly.com, I'm more of a Todd Zolecki
fan, someone who gets inside the story and shares exactly what's going
on, without a lot of BS and bloviating. Why does this distinction
strike me as odd? Because Zolecki's work rarely if ever leaves me with
the sour taste of someone just spouting their (often negative)
opinions, which, oddly enough, I encounter much more frequently in
blogs. I don't mean any disrespect to blogging in this regard (um,
obviously); strong words and first-person pontification fit the medium
very well. I just find it amusing that Conlin hates something that can
at times closely resemble his own chosen style.

It's easy to understand where Conlin is coming from though. He's an
elder statesman, a man of tradition, and something of a grouch, and
across all professions, guys like him hate change. Tim Panaccio, on the
other hand, has a blog, as does Zolecki,
though they do it very differently than most of us and probably don't
piss Conlin off nearly as much. Blogging has changed the way in which
people get their sports information for better and for worse, but many
bloggers make every effort to credit the mainstream press outlets we
read and learn from on the daily. Enrico emphasized the importance of
this from the day I started posting here.

Guys like Bill Conlin stir things up. Bloggers do as well. I'd never
heard of Crashburnalley before its author crossed paths with Conlin (an
even more memorable entrance than Kramer's back-less tux twirl, Bill
B.). But Conlin should be interested to know that before all this, I
hadn't read or heard a thing about his original article on Jimmy
Rollins either. But I could read their exchanges and the reactions
they've spawned for hours.

Wayne Simmonds gets engaged during Flyers' bye week

Wayne Simmonds gets engaged during Flyers' bye week

So far, 2017 has been a pretty big year for Wayne Simmonds.
 
In addition to being named to his first All-Star team this year, Simmonds clearly had big plans on how to spend his bye week away from hockey, before returning to play the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. He popped the question to his girlfriend, Crystal Corey, and she said yes.
 
Simmonds announced the engagement on his Instagram.

11,700 feet and she said YES! I Love you @cryscorey đź’›#SimmondsandSimmonds

A photo posted by Wayne Simmonds (@wayne17simmonds) on

Simmonds is the second Flyer to get engaged this season after Claude Giroux popped the question in December.
 
Congratulations, Wayne!

2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, C: Cash money or Kelce?

2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, C: Cash money or Kelce?

Time to talk everybody's favorite Eagles whipping boy, or one of them in Jason Kelce, who's viewed very differently by fans than he is his peers. Case in point, it might surprise some readers to learn Kelce was named a second alternate to the Pro Bowl for 2016, which means a lot of NFL players and coaches must've been voting for him.

We know Eagles fans weren't coming out in droves. Yet if we were to go off of only the respect people around the league have for Kelce, he's considered one of the top eight centers in football. That ranking also happens to be roughly commensurate with his salary cap hit for 2017, which is currently 10th at the position, according to OverTheCap.

That's still going to be high for many critics that say Kelce is too undersized and has become too frequently penalized in recent years. It's especially high when you tell some of those same people the Eagles could save nearly $4 million by going in a different direction.

The trade or release of Kelce would free up $3.8 million to be exact, although once again, that's before we consider the cost of replacing him. And unlike other areas of the Eagles roster, there really isn't a young prospect waiting in the wings to take over, even somebody who is maybe only a year away from being ready to take over.

So if the Eagles were to get rid of Kelce, they would have to pay somebody to replace him. Granted, only 14 centers carry a higher cap number, and many starters make half of the six-year veteran's money, so there are cheaper options available — although, what kind of quality is the offense getting for that price?

Kelce is a perfect example of when the grass isn't always greener. There are some big, mauling centers around the NFL, like the Pouncey brothers, and who doesn't love that? But while Kelce isn't necessarily going to rip anybody's spine out at the point of attack, there probably isn't a better center in the league at pulling or blocking at the second and third levels. He's a unique player from that perspective, something people tend to forget.

The Eagles are not going to upgrade the position by going significantly cheaper. Kelce can hold his own in pass protection, and he's elite when the play design allows him to get into space. There's also something to be said for his knowledge of the offense, in addition to the rapport he's building with Carson Wentz.

Best case scenario, the Eagles are probably replacing him with Stefan Wisniewski, who the club paid $2.76 million in 2016. Figuring a raise, that's most of their cap savings right there, and Wisniewski is not nearly as decorated or so widely respected by his peers. There must be a reason for that.

Kelce is pretty good.

CENTERS UNDER CONTRACT

Jason Kelce
Age: 30*
Cap Number: $6,200,000

The bigger issue with Kelce is he's approaching his 30th birthday this year, although many centers enjoy lengthy careers, especially the guys who play more of a finesse game. And if the Eagles do want to start thinking about the future, it might help if they begin developing his replacement now. Kelce will be much easier to move on from in 2018 in terms of the salary cap, so if the Eagles draft somebody this year, theoretically they could move on next season. Keep in mind, Kelce was a sixth-round pick, and the club got a lot of mileage out of him, so it doesn't have to be a major investment. Plus, if that doesn't work out, renegotiation could be on the table, with Kelce's cap hit reaching $7.2 million in '18, but only $1.2 million of prorated signing bonus left on a contract that runs through 2020. The Eagles will be looking to reduce their costs, while Kelce will want some financial security.

Josh Andrews
Age: 26*
Cap Number: $615,000

Andrews joined the Eagles as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State in 2014, and after a few years of clinging to the practice squad and on the 53-man roster as a reserve, finally saw his first action on offense this season. He played one snap at center against the Ravens in Week 15. Andrews can also line up at guard and has played special teams, though spent most of '16 inactive. He seems like a bit of a Chip Kelly outcast at this point, although it's difficult to put him in a box with so little actual experience. Is Andrews somebody who simply hasn't been given an opportunity and could fill in capably for Kelce, or will the Eagles feel the need to find competition for his roster spot?

Aaron Neary
Age: 25*

Neary originally joined the Broncos roster as an undrafted rookie, but found his way to the Eagles practice squad following his release. The Eastern Washington prospect was a two-time All-American at the Division I-AA level. At 6-foor-1, 305 pounds, Neary is considered undersized, like Kelce, which suggests this organization wants nimble centers like that. While he's probably a ways away from having any impact, the Eagles signed Neary to a futures contract at the conclusion of the season.

* Age as of 12/31/2017