Some notes on Rolando McClain, and how he might fit in with the NFC East teams

Whenever a player of note is released, fans of the other 31 teams will often begin to picture that player in their team’s colors. Yesterday, the Raiders waived Rolando McClain, as expected. McClain was the 8th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and has prototypical size/speed (at about 6’4, 260) for an inside linebacker in the NFL, and he’s still only 23. He wasn’t a bad player in Oakland, but clearly he has been a disappointment for an 8th overall pick.

Let’s just list some notes on McClain in bullet-point form:

• McClain had a very good season, statistically, in 2011. The number that stands out is McClain’s 5 sacks that season. However, they’re a little misleading. I took a look at the tape, and two or three of them weren’t legit.

  1. One of them was a trick play by the Bills, in which the QB threw backwards to the WR, who then looked to throw the ball down the field. Nothing was there so the WR ran around in the backfield for a while before eventually being tackled by McClain. Apparently, you get credited for a sack when that happens.
  2. On another sack, McClain got credit for pushing Caleb Hanie out of bounds. Hanie threw the ball away before he stepped out of bounds, but the officials ruled him out, thus giving McClain the sack.
  3. A third sack came against the Packers, and while it was legit, it came when the Raiders were losing 46-7.

• There’s baggage:

  1. In January of 2011, McClain pointed a gun at somebody and fired it next to his head. He was convicted of third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, menacing, and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail for each offense, totaling 180 days. The charges were eventually dropped when the victim opted to stop pursuing prosecution.
  2. He was suspended for two games in November 2012 for reportedly getting into a verbal argument with head coach Dennis Allen. Details on the nature of the argument are murky, but it was serious enough for Allen to suspend a starter for two games.
  3. In January of 2013, McClain was issued a ticket, which he reportedly signed “F*** Y’all” instead of his name. He was arrested for providing a fake name to police.

Is McClain just young and immature? If so, maybe he can grow up. Or is he just a colossal dickhead? Either way, there are risks if you sign him. Do you want that guy in your locker room?

• It wasn’t just the disciplinary reasons why McClain was waived. He was making far too much money for what he was worth. Per Yahoo:

McClain had $10.31 million remaining on his five-year, $40.25 million rookie contract and is scheduled to earn $4.255 million in total cash compensation 2013 and another $6.055 million in 2014.

Ah, remember the days when rookie contracts were beyond ridiculous? If McClain clears waivers on Monday, or rather, when McClain clears waivers on Monday (nobody is touching his contract with a ten foot pole), he’ll be free to sign a new contract with any team.

• The Cowboys and Redskins probably can’t sign him even if they wanted to, and I don’t think he makes much sense for either team anyway.

• The Giants could be an interesting landing spot. They recently signed Dan Connor, but his contract is not of the “this guy is definitely making the team” variety. McClain would be an upgrade over Connor in terms of ability. If you’re the Giants and McClain can come cheaply enough, maybe you let him battle it out with Connor in camp. Perhaps Tom Coughlin can instill some discipline into McClain.

• The Eagles are also an interesting option. For one, according to Chip Kelly, “Big people beat up little people.” As mentioned above, McClain is “big people” at 6’4, 260. DeMeco Ryans can be cut at any time with no penalty. That’s not supposed to sound like I’m kicking DeMeco out the door. However, if you bring in McClain, he proves to be more behaved, and DeMeco doesn’t play well going back to the 3-4, maybe McClain can be your ILB in 2014 and beyond. The Eagles did watch tape on McClain when it was thought the Raiders would cut him during the season. (h/t Tommy on that find). Plus, McClain would be another one of those former high school stars that the Eagles seem to gravitate toward. McClain was the 35th ranked high school prospect by in 2007.

McClain is an intriguing talent. Somebody will take a chance on him.

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  1. FUCK Y'ALL!! says:

    Jimmy wants McClain’s balls alright!!

  2. brisulph says:

    Man, the BBV crowd were ht and heavy for him a few years ago… Giants dodged a bullet there (presumably fired my Rolando).

  3. NYG_Slater says:

    This guy is an assclown jimmy. he fricking fired a gun next to a guy’s head than paid him to drop the charges………please don’t even consider writing that off as a simple maturity issue……I mean Gronk has maturity issues, McClain is well beyond that.

    As for his fit with the giants, I’d be worried if we have a strong enough locker room (on defense) for him. Obviously, the giants aren’t close to the bengals or something, but we just lost osi, canty and Phillips, we might lose tuck + Rolle next year. Most of our remaining vets are on 1 year deals and than we have a bunch of kids, one of which, JPP MIGHT have a ‘maturity’ issue (he throws people into aquatic therapeutic devices)…..Overall, I’d rather stay away.

    But yea, tubgate is a sign of a maturity issue….McClain is certifiable–he should be in jail.

    1. Just to be clear, I happen to agree it’s a lot more than lack of maturity. Just didn’t offer my opinion on that in the article.

  4. […] Fennelly: Dansby will not play for the minimum, so scratch him off. Urlacher’s skills have diminished to the point where he won’t be much of a help to the Giants. McClain could interest Jerry Reese, but they haven’t made any overtures as of yet. He’s only 23 and -as we have said- a change of scenery could be just what he needs to fulfill his potential, but he has baggage the Giants may not be able to get past (READ). […]

  5. Mandmeisterx says:

    Which team prefers players with an affinity to grab their own balls?

  6. mjoedgaard says:

    I would really like for the Eagles to take a flyer on him

  7. dannymac056 says:

    Good article. I was never a big fan of McClain’s game. People on BBV wanted him bad. I like him way better in an odd-front base D.

    Off topic Jimmy, but totally agree with your comments on NFLN lately. What the hell. You’ve got a few guys like Davis, Casserly, and especially Mayock, that are really good at their jobs. Then you bring them down with Warren Sapp, who is several hundred pounds of terrible. Dukes and Baldinger are the same story, though not quite as awful. Really disappointing.

    1. dannymac056 says:

      To clarify though, I wouldn’t complain if the Giants signed him. If Dan Conner was an upgrade over what they had going on last year (and he was), then McClain would be far better.

    2. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Yeah, I wake up most days around 6, sometime a little earlier, sometimes later. I’ll start writing and I’ll have NFLN on low in the background, and almost every day, I have to rewind it on the DVR to make sure I heard some kind of idiot statement correctly. But you’re right. Sapp is useless, Dukes is worse. Baldinger could be OK if everyone wasn’t the best or worst whatever in football history. They’re trying to cater to casual fans, which makes zero sense, because casual fans aren’t watching NFL Network.

      Mayock is good. So is Bucky Brooks. Greg Cosell. Why can’t we get THOSE guys some more airtime?

      Instead they’re talking about whether or not there’s alien life somewhere else in the Universe. That’s not a joke. That was a show topic one day. And holy shit, can we please effing stop it with the Leon Sandcastle stuff? It’s ridiculous.

      You’d think a show dedicated solely to the NFL would be a can’t miss concept. Nope.

      1. deg0ey says:

        For serious. The ‘casual fan’ is gonna be watching Sportscenter or something like that, not spending their money on an entire channel dedicated to a sport they only have a passing interest in. I guess it’s easier for the network to fill the day with endless fluff than produce enough good content to fill an entire schedule.

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