NEW ORLEANS — Random musings in the midst of all manner of March Madness:
It’s been a good week for O. Perry Walker alums.
On Tuesday, wide receiver Mike Wallace made one of the biggest splashes of the NFL’s free agency period when he signed a five-year, $65 million contract with the Miami Dolphins with $30 million guaranteed. Some might argue the Dolphins overpaid for the former Pittsburgh Steeler, but in Wallace’s case, speed pays, not kills.
Then on Thursday, Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis came home to the Saints for $26.3 million ($10.5 million guaranteed).
League experts are saying Lewis is a bargain — a young, fast-rising player who led the league in passes defended last year coming to a position of need. And when it comes to the Saints defense, there are nothing but positions of needs.
One can wonder why the Steelers weren’t willing to pay the going rate to keep Lewis. But their cap problems and Lewis’ desire to swap one black and gold uniform for the one he saidys he always wanted to wear made it possible.
So now, the ex-OPW Chargers, ex-Steelers who were third-round draft picks are going their separate ways.
However, the Dolphins are scheduled to visit the Saints this season, which means for the first time Lewis and Wallace will be going head-to-head. Should be fun.
mThe Saints aren’t done looking for starter-quality free agents. James Harrison is a familiar name who could bring a boost as a pass-rushing outside linebacker. But a younger, albeit less-proven player would be more affordable.
From here, the best target is offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who revived his career during Baltimore’s Super Bowl but seems ready to move on.
With Jermond Bushrod gone, backup Charles Brown is just too injury-prone to be counted on to protect Drew Brees’ blind side.
mAnyone reading Alexander Wolff’s outstanding history of the birth and death of the Big East Conference in this week’s Sports Illustrated will realize how ridiculous it would have been for the league Tulane is joining in 2014 to retain that name instead of essentially selling it to the seven breakaway Catholic schools who also are claiming Madison Square Garden for their basketball tournament.
As for Tulane and the others, reports are the consultant-recommended “America 12,” was rejected by league members mainly because these days having any number included in your name is a bad idea.
Look for Tulsa to become the newest member of the former Big East once the Conference USA basketball tournament, which it is hosting, ends on Saturday.
m Johnny Manziel doesn’t have to actually attend class at Texas A&M, but he hasn’t been able to find the time to come to New Orleans to pick up his Manning Award.
School officials promise the Heisman Trophy-winning Aggies quarterback, who is matriculating exclusively online, will do it after spring practice.
But forgive skepticism about them actually delivering him. Like the Honey Badger, Johnny Football don’t seem to care.
If Manziel doesn’t make it, he’ll join 2012 winner the fellow star from the Brazos Valley Robert Griffin III in snubbing the Sugar Bowl and the Mannings. And Griffin’s family lives here.
m Finally, six months ago The Advocate launched its New Orleans edition.
Now, here we are, one day past the Ides of March. And unlike Julius Caesar, we’re still standing.
For that, we humbly and sincerely thank you.
One thing though — Why don’t other months have ides?