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Organic Email Chain: Which player deserves freedom?

Time for another wildly natural organic email chain from the Around The League team:

From: Rosenthal, Gregg
Sent: Thursday, July 3, 2014 12:17 PM
To: Sessler, Marc; Wesseling, Chris; Hanzus, Dan; Patra, Kevin

*There is nothing more American than an artificial sports argument, so let's celebrate by handing out independence to someone who deserves it. What player would you give his freedom to, allowing him to leave his current NFL team? *

MS: First name that comes to mind? Andre Johnson.

After faithfully toiling for 11 seasons in Houston, this potential Hall of Famer sees what we see: The Texans are in rebuild mode on offense.

With 3,005 yards off 221 catches over the past two years, Johnson at 32 is far from finished. The Texans can get value for him in a trade, and do the right thing in the process by letting Andre spend his final few years with a serious chance at a ring.

DH: I'm picking another wide receiver, which perhaps makes sense. Is there anything more depressing than watching an elite pass-catcher wither away on a team with sub-standard quarterback play?

That's why I'm going with Larry Fitzgerald. You're not going to talk me into Carson Palmer being the answer for any team in 2014, and it's been a long time since Fitzgerald was making magic with Kurt Warner (Fitzgerald played wide receiver at the highest level I've ever seen during the 2008 playoffs). That memory is why I'd love to see Fitz -- who at 30 should have a couple of prime years left -- paired with a stud QB. Tom Brady nods his head wildly.

KP: Let's continue the run on receivers with another who should be allowed to flee the stench of losing: Calvin Johnson.

Megatron has endured more than any other Hall of Fame-caliber receiver. He's been the only good player on an 0-16 team. He's been asked to carry the load on his own while potential sidekick after sidekick failed miserably. He's played through an assortment of injurers, including broken fingers, because he knew that when he wasn't on the field the offense couldn't score. He did all this without a uttering a peep in terms of a complaint.

The most dominant receiver of this era deserves a chance to play for a contender. Why bail now when the offense has more potential than ever? Because the Lions have been rebuilding since Barry Sanders faxed his retirement to The Wichita Eagle.

GR:Calvin Johnson was the first name to come for me as well. It's not just Matthew Stafford I don't fully trust. It's Lions ownership.

Which leads me to Tony Romo. The Cowboys haven't been an awful franchise since Romo arrived, but that's because he's been a top-10 quarterback. The team's front office -- led by owner Jerry Jones -- constantly has chosen self-generated hype and short-term thinking over long-range planning.

Romo could have won a Super Bowl with a team like the '07 New York Giants or a franchise like the Steelers. It would be great to see him freed from Dallas while he still has a few good years left and prove he hasn't been the biggest problem in Big D all along.

CW: Surprised Gregg didn't go with his boy Fred Jackson.

This category is brought to you by Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald, who have been tasked with corralling errant passes from the likes of Brian St. Pierre, Jimmy Clausen, Chris Weinke, the off-the-couch version of Vinny Testaverde, Randy Fasani, David Carr, Matt Leinart, Max Hall, Derek Anderson, Ryan Lindley, John Skelton, Richard Bartel and the inimitable Brett Basanez.

In their honor, I bestow this year's award upon Andre Johnson -- a man fully aware of his own plight.

DH: I don't get this Calvin Johnson chatter. Is he not playing for a team with pieces in place to contend for a division title? Does Matthew Stafford not have the potential to be a top-10 quarterback? There'd be a line out the door of wideouts who'd kill to be the No. 1 guy in Detroit.

MS: I'd like to play this game in reverse: Can we liberate what might be the AFC's most talented team on paper -- the Cincinnati Bengals -- from Andy Dalton?

KP: Dan, the British didn't "get" why America wanted to be independent, either.

DH: You have a point there. Wait, do you?

CW: Analogy overload.

KP: Clearly, it's that you're British.

GR: I no longer am sure what you guys are talking about, so I'll answer Sessler's Bengals freedom plea. I would like to give Cam Newton relief from his Carolina receiver group, have him trade places with Dalton, and see how that works out. Of all the great young quarterbacks in the league, Newton is the one that I worry will get limited long-term by his surrounding parts. The Panthers can't expect their defense to be that dominant every year.

KP: I'm betting there's some silly Cowboys fans who would want to excommunicate Romo under this scenario. The reason I bring this up is because it would put Brandon Weeden in the catbird seat for a starting job and we could re-run the greatest Gregg Rosenthal post of all-time.

DH: Brown-noser.

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