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  1. #1
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    Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    LAS VEGAN HITS JACKPOT: Hartwell goes to Falcons
    Linebacker says he signs $26 million guaranteed pact
    By MARK ANDERSON
    REVIEW-JOURNAL

    Monday, March 21, 2005
    Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal

    Linebacker Ed Hartwell did not panic when seemingly every other NFL free agent had signed.

    "I think I wanted to wait, and patience is a virtue," he said. "I wanted the right situation and the right team."

    Hartwell, who went to Cheyenne High School and lives in Las Vegas in the offseason, said he found that fit Sunday. He said he has signed a six-year, $26.24 million guaranteed contract with the Atlanta Falcons that includes an $8 million signing bonus.

    Guaranteed NFL contracts are virtually unheard of anymore because of the risk of injuries.

    "It's a great agent," Hartwell said of Harold Lewis. "Other than the money, I'm excited to go to Atlanta. It's a great organization. Arthur Blank, the owner, is a great guy, and the head coach (Jim Mora) and defensive coordinator (Ed Donatell) on down. It's a great team on the verge of a Super Bowl run."

    The Falcons went to the NFC Championship Game last season before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.

    They are most noted for an offense led by quarterback Michael Vick and running back Warrick Dunn. Atlanta's defense ranked in about the middle of the league.

    "We never had the offense in Baltimore like they've had in Atlanta," said Hartwell, who spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Ravens. "They definitely have a lot of great players. If you put together that great offense with a great defense and play together as a team, it could be an unbelievably good future."

    Hartwell signed to be an integral part of that future, and the Falcons obviously were interested in one of the NFL's most-noted free agents. ESPN ranked Hartwell (6 feet 1 inch, 250 pounds) as the league's No. 5 free agent.

    He is coming off a season in which he made 96 tackles while playing in Ray Lewis' shadow. Hartwell's career high was 142 tackles in 2002.

    Hartwell said 17 clubs expressed interest when the free-agent period began and told Lewis to organize the effort to pick the best one. Lewis previously said he set high contract standards to weed out the teams that weren't serious.

    Though Lewis did not talks specifics, the asking price reportedly was $4 million annually. Hartwell made $1.348 million last season.

    In the end, Hartwell said he chose Atlanta over Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City and Seattle. He said the offers were about $3.5 million to $5 million annually.

    "I told my agent I didn't just want the highest payday," Hartwell said. "If one team offers $5 million and another $4.8 million, I wasn't going to automatically sign for $5 million because it wasn't just the money. I definitely wanted to go somewhere I would be happy. Atlanta is now my second home because Vegas is my first home."
    Why in the heck would Atlanta sign Hartwell, a guy who has been playing in the shadow of Ray Lewis in a 3-4 scheme, to a six year GUARANTEED contract? This works out great for Hartwell, but horrible for the Falcons should he not be as good as advertised or become injured.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    The blurb on KFFL indicated that Hartwell gets $10M in salary during the first two years, so it sounds like the cap hit for the first year is in the $5M to $6M range.


    That's more than the Rams are paying for Claiborne and Coakley combined.

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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    The blurb on KFFL indicated that Hartwell gets $10M in salary during the first two years, so it sounds like the cap hit for the first year is in the $5M to $6M range.


    That's more than the Rams are paying for Claiborne and Coakley combined.
    And in the last few years of C & C's contracts, we can cut them cap savings. If Hartwell can't play without Lewis, Atlanta is screwed.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  4. #4
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Atlanta's entire livelihood rests on the shoulders of two players: Vick and Hartwell. If either of these guys goes down, they are screwed, BIG TIME!

  5. #5
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    And in the last few years of C & C's contracts, we can cut them cap savings. If Hartwell can't play without Lewis, Atlanta is screwed.

    He has ALREADY proven he can play without Lewis. In 2002(Lewis was hurt most of the year) he recorded 142 tackles and 3 sacks. In SUPPORT of Lewis hes had 90+ tackles in each of the last 2 seasons. Hardly big doubts about this guys ability. This is a 250lb MLB you can BUILD a D around for years to come...something the Rams DESPERATLEY need. Claibourne has proven himself ill motivated and over the last 2 seasons, injury prone. I guess you get what you pay for. Lets hope the guy can stay healthy and the last 2 seasons were NOT a trend.

  6. #6
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo Ram Fan
    He has ALREADY proven he can play without Lewis. In 2002(Lewis was hurt most of the year) he recorded 142 tackles and 3 sacks. In SUPPORT of Lewis hes had 90+ tackles in each of the last 2 seasons. Hardly big doubts about this guys ability. This is a 250lb MLB you can BUILD a D around for years to come...something the Rams DESPERATLEY need. Claibourne has proven himself ill motivated and over the last 2 seasons, injury prone. I guess you get what you pay for. Lets hope the guy can stay healthy and the last 2 seasons were NOT a trend.
    I believe I've posted this before, but I'll do it again...

    Birthdate
    Hartwell - 5/27/1978
    Claiborne - 7/26/1978

    Hartwell is actually older than Claiborne.

    Stats over the past 4 years
    Hartwell - 64 games, 337 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 int., 7 pass def., 4 FF
    Claiborne - 56 games, 355 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 4 int., 18 pass def., 3 FF

    Hartwell's avg guaranteed money per year = $4.373 mil
    Claiborne's avg guaranteed money per year = $1.2 mil

    Hartwell is having to change positions this year.
    Claiborne will for the first time in his career not have to switch between OLB and his natural ILB. He will finally claim the ILB position as his own (where he has had all of his pro success)

    We can discuss prior stats, age, experience, or current situations, but I don't think any of them will show that Hartwell is nearly 4 times (per contract comparisons) as Claiborne. In fact, I think one would be hard-pressed to show that Hartwell is indeed better than Claiborne.

    But hey, just my opinion.
    Last edited by HUbison; -03-22-2005 at 05:48 PM.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  7. #7
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Hartwell almost never played as a rookie so those 4 year comparisons are pretty misleading. In fact its virtually 3 seasons(EH) to 3-1/2(CC). Claiborne has been employed as an expected defensive LEADER in his last 2 situations so he SHOULD be posting FAR BIGGER #s than EH. Reality is EH has played in SUPPORT of the games BEST LB in 2 of those 3 seasons and yet his #s are very solid in comparison. When one of the leagues WORST defenses wants to jettison you without a care I think its a major red flag. How about the injury factor or the fact that he came into camp at over 270 lbs? Let me guess...the Rams know some great secret that the rest of the league doesnt? Perhaps the genius Marmie can wave his magic wand and cure all the ills which are seemingly attached to Claiborne. Based on Larry's NFL track record, I wont hold my breath. Is he a $$ bargain? Sure. Again...I think theyll get what theyre paying for...hopefully MORE! Atlanta may have over paid for EH but his health and conditioning/motivation have never been an issue that Ive heard of. I hope this works out for the Rams.

  8. #8
    talkstoangels61 Guest

    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    If what you say( HUbison) ......Looks like we got the better of the two deals!

  9. #9
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Hartwell almost never played as a rookie so those 4 year comparisons are pretty misleading. In fact its virtually 3 seasons(EH) to 3-1/2(CC).
    You're right they are misleading. The truth is Hartwell has played in more games than Claiborne yet Claiborne still has the better stats.
    Claiborne has been employed as an expected defensive LEADER in his last 2 situations so he SHOULD be posting FAR BIGGER #s than EH
    If so, both the Lions and Vikings hid it well. The Lions drafted him and promptly moved him away from the middle and put him on the outside due to the presence of All-Pro ILB Stephen Boyd. Then he signed a bid FA deal with the Vikings and they moved him outside after drafting EJ Henderson. If they wanted him to be a leader they have a funny way of showing it.
    Perhaps the genius Marmie can wave his magic wand and cure all the ills which are seemingly attached to Claiborne. Based on Larry's NFL track record, I wont hold my breath
    Well, we do agree here. I'm not ready to join the Marmie fan club yet either.
    I hope this works out for the Rams.
    And we certainly agree here as well. Hartwell would have been a great pick-up, but giving Claiborne his first opportunity to claim the ILB position from day 1 may bring about the results that made Claiborne a top 10 pick before his rookie year.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  10. #10
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by talkstoangels61
    If what you say( HUbison) ......Looks like we got the better of the two deals!
    Well the stats and contracts are all fact, but where they go from here is all speculation from anyone and everyone. But hopefully, we did get the better deal.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  11. #11
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    You're right they are misleading. The truth is Hartwell has played in more games than Claiborne yet Claiborne still has the better stats.
    Come on man...get REAL. In 2001 he played BEHIND Ray Lewis and Jamie Sharper! He was a ROOKIE and by most accounts he never even saw the field on Sunday. He may be credited with SUITING UP in 16 games but he virtually NEVER PLAYED. He was credited with 6 total tackels that season. I would liken it to Kennedy in his rookie year. He suited up in and was credited with 13 games but those of us who watched the games know the guy virtually NEVER PLAYED. Some folks live to pretend like they know it all.

  12. #12
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo Ram Fan
    Come on man...get REAL. In 2001 he played BEHIND Ray Lewis and Jamie Sharper! He was a ROOKIE and by most accounts he never even saw the field on Sunday. He may be credited with SUITING UP in 16 games but he virtually NEVER PLAYED. He was credited with 6 total tackels that season. I would liken it to Kennedy in his rookie year. He suited up in and was credited with 13 games but those of us who watched the games know the guy virtually NEVER PLAYED. Some folks live to pretend like they know it all.
    Fargo, all I can give you is stats. If you have seen all the Ravens games from 2001, then you are ahead of me. However, I have not and therefore as I just said, I can only relay the facts.

    And while I shouldn't even respond to your personal attack that punctuates your remark, I will say this....I have no interest in showing you how much I do or do not know. I'm only relaying facts regarding the comparison of Hartwell and Claiborne.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  13. #13
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo Ram Fan
    Some folks live to pretend like they know it all.
    I love whenever people make personal attacks toward someone because they disagree about an opinion. :bored:

    I'd love to see this debate continue, but if doing so means taking shots at other posters, then it's not worth it.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo
    Come on man...get REAL. In 2001 he played BEHIND Ray Lewis and Jamie Sharper!
    Fine, in an attempt to show you what a sweetheart I really am, let's look at just the last 3 years (in which Hartwell has started every game)

    Stats over the past 3 years
    Hartwell - 48 games, 331 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 int., 7 pass def., 4 FF
    Claiborne - 40 games, 236 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 5 int., 14 pass def., 2 FF

    Hartwell's avg guaranteed money per year = $4.373 mil
    Claiborne's avg guaranteed money per year = $1.2 mil

    I guess I still don't see how Hartwell is worth nearly 4 times as much money.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Hartwell signs guaranteed contract with the Falcons

    Hartwell will probably do a good job in Atlanta, but there's no way the Rams should have gotten into a bidding war in that price range. Instead, they got two players, Claiborne and Coakley, who will both be starters and provide much needed upgrades in the LB corps.

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