Originally posted on Speculative Sports  |  Last updated 3/21/12

Alex Smith signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers. KRON 4 news in San Francisco reports it is for $24 million ($2 million less than Matt Flynn’s three-year deal) with $16.5 guaranteed ($6.5 million more than Flynn).

Yet ESPN and NFL Network continued to cover the Peyton Manning signing by the Denver Broncos ad nauseum. Naturally the Broncos next move—trading Tim Tebow, who heroically led his team to the second round of the playoffs and even more heroically replaced Brett Favre as the current media obsession, to the New York Jets—got a lot of press.

This trade helps neither side. The Broncos get a fourth- and sixth-round pick for a winning quarterback and a seventh-round pick. As Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com pointed out, the Jets get a ready-made quarterback controversy with the man they just locked up to be their QB of the future, Matt Sanchez. Already, Tebow’s new teammates are voicing displeasure with the move.

But all of that can take a back seat to the news that the league has settled on a punishment to the New Orleans Saints for the bounties placed on opposing players. The official NFL announcement includes the following punishments:

  1. One-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton and indefinite suspension for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt will miss six games.
  2. Forfeiture of $500,000 and second-round picks in each of the next two seasons by the Saints.
  3. Participation by those involved in programs to teach fair play, safety and sportsmanship to prevent bounties at all levels of football.

Consider that SpyGate—a far less egregious violation that puts no one’s health at risk and probably offers less competitive advantage—cost the New England Patriots half the money and picks, and this is about right. Whether coaches were complicit or woefully negligent, they must also be punished.

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