Contrary to popular belief, both optimists and pessimists contribute to society, though in significantly different ways. The optimist, you see, invents the airplane, while the pessimist invents the parachute... Yet while we can cut the pessimists in the world some slack, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Jacob Lacey was short on praise in the 2011 NFL season by about 100%. The prevailing opinion around the forum seems to be that if the optimist provides the airplane and the pessimist provides the parachute, Jacob Lacey must provide the upside-down pitchfork for the erstwhile parachuting survivor to land on top of.
I knew that the Colts would soon be making a personnel decision in the upcoming weeks about this beleaguered and yet once promising player, and placed him as a possible candidate for a debate between my Heart and my Mind last Thursday night, as voted by the readers of my blog. Lacey won by double digits, and so Thursday evening (Between nose-blowing sessions) my Heart and my Mind launched into the debate about whether or not to keep him.
I put the question to my Heart and my Mind this way: "What do you think the Indianapolis Colts should do with Jacob Lacey? Re-sign him or release him?"
My Heart made the opening statement. "Well, Jacob Lacey certainly struggled this past year, but who didn't? This was a 2-14 team. Every player on the squad felt repercussions. Lacey deserves a new contract, but not for a starting position. He is better served as a nickel or dime corner, and should be paid accordingly."
My Mind chuckled. "Heart, if you keep bringing every free agent we discuss back to this team you'll be over the salary cap before you ever draft a single player. As far as Lacey is concerned, this past season not only exposed his weaknesses, but italicized them, bolded them, underscored them, and then proceeded to highlight them in bright red. Other teams have seen that film too, and he'll never be effective again as a cornerback in this league. He should be released. You're talking about a guy who dropped from 69 tackles his rookie season to 51 and 48 the last two years. He dropped from 13 pass deflections as a rookie to 2 and 6 the next two seasons. He dropped from 3 picks his first season to 1 and 1 the following years. And all of this---while having more playing time on the field and having multiple years to learn the defense!"
My Heart frowned. "Let me give you some of my statistics, Mind, to let you know where I'm coming from. Jacob Lacey certainly has regressed in the last few seasons, but the reason is because he has been forced into a starting role versus the opposing team's best or second best receiver. As a starter in 2011, Lacey allowed a completion percentage of 73%. In 2010, Lacey allowed a completion percentage of 74%. Both of those years, Lacey was playing the other team's best wideouts. However, in 2009, when he played as a nickel and dime package cornerback, he allowed a completion percentage of only 51% and allowed only 5 yards a catch, which incidentally was the 8th lowest in the league. In 2009 he also defended a TD pass, forced 3 fumbles, intercepted 3 passes, and had a pick six. I think my view that Lacey should play as a nickel/dime corner is amply justified, then."
"I see your point, Heart," my Mind replied, "But I believe that my point is justified as well that he has continuously regressed each season. The Colts need a starting cornerback, not another 2nd and 3rd string situational football player! There are plenty of cornerbacks better than or equal to Jacob Lacey around the league who the Colts can sign who would probably cost less than Lacey. Not re-signing him would also free up needed cap space."
I proceeded to end the debate on that note. I asked, "Okay, you've both had a chance to present your views. If Jacob Lacey was re-signed by the Colts, what kind of contract should he get?"
My Mind said, "Well, he signed a 3 year $1,175,000 deal in 2009, and I don't think he's done much to merit a raise. I'd give him an identical deal at best."
My Heart stated, "I'd offer him a 3 year deal worth $1.8 million. It increases his pay enough to reward him for the solid play he'll give the Colts playing situational football in a nickel or dime package, but keeps the cap down on a workable level."
I have placed an outline listing the viewpoints of my Heart and Mind below.
My Mind: Release Lacey!
1. He Is Regressing
2. He Is Not Starting Material
3. He Will Cost Too Much To Keep For Simply Situational Football ($813,000+ Cap Splash Last Year) *Salary $480,000
My Mind: Re-sign Lacey!
1. He Is A Solid Nickel/Dime Corner
2. He Doesn't Give Up Big Plays (Allowing 5 Yards A Catch) *In 2009
3. He Is An Inexpensive Option (Average Pay For A Corner is $1.1+ Million)
Well, I hope you enjoyed the debate between my Heart and my Mind. He was actually a very tough player to analyze; the corner position is not easily assessed and Lacey has been radically inconsistent. Still, he looked good as a situational player in 2009, and the stats were positive. His 51% completion allowance in 2009 matches up with Revis' 41% in 2011 pretty well, if you ask me. But, hope you enjoyed this past week of free agency! Next week we'll focus in on a new subject, and I'm always open to ideas.
God Bless America! 'Til next week!