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Cap guys vs Football guys ( nice read)

Kentucky Jet

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POSTED 8:30 a.m. EST; LAST UPDATED 9:58 a.m. EST, February 13, 2006


We've written several items over the past few weeks regarding the growing front-office tug-o-war between the "cap guys" and the "football guys."

The term "cap guys" refers generally to business types with no experience playing, coaching, or scouting pro football, but who made their mark by navigating the salary cap and negotiating contracts fitting thereunder.

"Football guys" are the folks with the experience drawing up X's and O's, breaking down film, and/or crisscrossing the country to eyeball college players.

With the promotion of confirmed cap guy Mike Tannenbaum to G.M. of the Jets, the debate has gone to a new level. Some football guys believe that Tannenbaum's inexperience in the football side of the business will translate to doom for the franchise, since he doesn't and won't have sufficient respect from the scouts or from the coaching staff, as an evaluator of personnel, when he breaks the tie on draft day between the guy the coaches want and the guy the scouts are recommending.

But there's two sides to every story. And the cap guys have a perspective on this, too. Part of the sense we're getting is that the cap guys think that the football guys might be trying to make what they do seem so specialized and difficult as a defense mechanism.

Says one league source: "Today's NFL is a business as much as it is a game. An organization cannot be successful without a good coach, a good personnel director, and a good cap/contracts guy. It seems is the en vogue thing to do is for 'football guys' to trash the 'non-football guys.' I find it amusing that it's okay for a 'football guy' to want to fool around with the cap and contracts, which is becoming more and more prevalent, but it's taboo for a 'non-football guy' to opine on whether an athlete can walk and chew gum at the same time."

And it's possible that, when it comes to being a G.M., the question of whether the guy has a football or cap background is irrelevant. The bigger issue is the guy's ability to run the operation.

"The G.M. . . . has to be an outstanding administrator," said the source. "The structure can work with a head coach G.M., a football guy G.M., or a non-football guy G.M.

"Every structure, no matter what the structure is, must have . . . the head coach, the top football evaluator, and the cap/contracts/football ops guy. The key is that people don

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