This entire excerpt is taken from Peter King’s MMQB Mailbag.
SHED NO TEARS FOR CHRIS SIMMS. From Steve Stone, of Tampa: “Please don’t go out and buy a hallmark card for Chris Simms. In your MMQB article, you imply that the Bucs are doing an injustice to Simms by holding on to him and should put him out of his misery by releasing him. The local media in Tampa are hammering the Bucs and also share the same sentiment. I have a problem with this.
“The Bucs last year went out on the limb and committed millions of dollars to Simms at a time when his football playing career was in jeopardy. When the contract was signed, Simms could not even throw a football 15 yards, and received little interest from the other 31 NFL teams. The Bucs were not obligated to sign him to a multimillion dollar contract, but they did the right thing, which is seldom seen in the NFL, and paid him after he gave up his body for the team and provided him financial security. After watching Chris play while he was healthy, an argument could be made that the Bucs paid too much for his services based on his stats and performance prior to the injury.
“Now a year later, the Bucs should just release Simms after investing millions of dollars in him. Simms needs to come to training camp, fight for a roster spot, prove he is healthy and honor the contract he signed. The Bucs are doing nothing wrong by holding on to him and trying to get some return on their investment. If he proves healthy and is one of the top quarterbacks, he will either make the team or possibly be traded to a quarterback needy team.
“Peter, if misery includes the $5 million earned last year for not playing a down, please let me know what line to get into to be miserable. I would be happy to trade places with him if he has it that bad. I’m glad the Bucs are always looking to upgrade the most important position in football, which is more that I can say for some teams (see Chicago Bears). Also, can you move the Bucs down a few more spots in your rankings? The Bucs seem to play better when they get no respect from the media.”
Steve, this might be the best letter in MMQB history. Well thought-out, reasoned, smart. Thanks for writing it. It caused me to re-think my opinion on the issue and look into it a little bit more. Yes, the Bucs re-signed Simms for a $3 million signing bonus and a $2 million salary in 2007 — on Dec. 27, 2006, after Simms ruptured his spleen and there was some doubt whether he would be able to play at a high level again. If he makes the Bucs this year — which I doubt will happen — Simms will make $2 million in salary, plus a $1 million roster bonus. I’ve also learned this: The Bucs did not get an offer from any team during the draft. They’ve had some conversations, but no solid offers recently.
Steve, you’re right — the Bucs deserve the right to try to get something for Simms if they can. Now, I would also say this. Chris Simms has been nothing but a classy, hard-working kid for the Bucs since he was drafted, and he got a serious injury for them when he was doing everything he could to help them win. As soon as they determine they won’t be able to get anything for him, and as soon as they’re convinced he’s got no future in Tampa, they’ve got to do the right thing and let him go.