Thursday, January 05, 2006


Today, Shaun Alexander was named the MVP of the NFL. Once again the clamor for the Hawks to sign Alexander to a long term deal is at a fevor pitch. It is time to put emotion aside and look at this realistically.

First, let me establish one thing. Alexander was unreal this year. Since his off year two years ago he has been brillant. He is the best player in the world right now.
Their is not anything more you can ask from him.

With that said, re-signing him to a long deal seems to defy logic.

Any deal you sign him to will be for his 29 year old season, his 30 year old season, 31 year old season, 32 year old season and most likely his 33 year old season.

We all can agree that for the 29 year old season he is likely to be terrific once again. However, what happens after that.

Here is a breakdown of all the backs in the NFL who ran the ball in the 2004 season that were either 30 or over this season. Plus, I added two interesting cases of guys who had too many carries before 30.

This year – 30 + running backs - in order of age
Corey Dillon (31)– came off a career year at 30 but at 31 fell off considerably
Warrick Dunn –(31) career best year at age 31. Martin a likely parallel.
Curtis Martin (32) – shattered every age precedent in the game until this year at 32
Marshall Faulk (32) – won the mvp at 27, good at 29, slipped at 29 and disappeared at 31.
Priest Holmes (32) – brilliant from ages 28-30. Over 380 touches each year. Done at 31.
Eddie George (32) – peak at 27 broke the carries #, slipped at 28-29 and done at 30
Charlie Garner (33) – 27-30 strong, slipped at 31 out of the league at 33
Jerome Bettis (33)– at 30 he slipped and had some bounce back at 32 but at 33 is finished and has gone from a 300 carry back to a 200 carry back if that.
Garrison Hearst (34)- died at 31
Emmitt Smith (36) – 30 he was still at his peak, slipped at 31-32 and done at 33.

Two other interesting cases
Ahman Green (28)– 2003 he carried 355 times and has not been the same production or health wise
Fred Taylor (29) – 26,27 terrific, banged up but good at 28 and major slip at 29.

These trends seem to show the Hawks can anticipate production at age 29 and 30. Then some slippage at 31 and by 32 that their will be very little left in the tank.

The real problem will be that as Alexander moves into his past peak years the Hawks or whoever signs him will be paying him for MVP production. That is not likely to take place.

One other note, no running back has ever won the MVP twice.

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