Jerome Simpson Gets Another Chance, For Some Reason


Yes, Jerome Simpson is back in the NFL. For some reason, the San Francisco 49ers yesterday gave the numbskullish former Vikings WR a two-year contract.

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San Francisco met with a pair of cast-off receivers this week, Simpson and Ted Ginn, and decided to go with Simpson. Despite three arrests in the past two years, Simpson gets yet another shot.

At least this time it’s not the Vikings getting suckered.

The Vikings last year of course were themselves ready to give Simpson another chance despite his three-game suspension for an offseason DUI arrest (his second season-opening suspension in three years as a Viking). That was until Simpson got busted for pot possession during the summer.

The third arrest was one too many for Rick Spielman and the Vikings, who finally told Simpson to take a hike. In moving on from Simpson, the Vikings cleared a space in their receiver corps for untested Charles Johnson, a move that turned out to be incredibly fortunate both for Johnson and the Vikings.

Johnson’s stellar play vindicated Spielman in his decision to dump Simpson, but really, no vindication was needed. The Vikings never should have stuck with Simpson after his DUI arrest. That it required a third arrest for them to finally realize Simpson was not worth the trouble…well, it’s testament to Jerome Simpson’s mysterious power.

What is it about Jerome Simpson? Why do teams in desperate need of wide receiver help continue turning to this man as a solution?

We know he has great physical tools, that has been demonstrated time and time again. But as gifted as Simpson may be, he’s never really shown much ability to translate his talents into on-field performance.

Simpson is one of those players who will always wow you on the practice field only to disappoint you on actual game days. He’ll flash just enough big play ability to make you overlook the reality that he is a horribly undisciplined, sloppy, at times disinterested football player.

The analytics tell the story on Simpson. In 2012, Football Outsiders ranked him 84th in DVOA (adjusted value above average) at the wide receiver position. In 2013, they bumped him all the way up to 70th.

Just going by pure on-field performance, you can make a strong case that Simpson should have washed out of the league several years ago. Add the off-field issues and it seems like it should have been a slam dunk.

But Simpson is back again, on a two-year deal this time. The move is more puzzling than the Vikings’ head-scratching decision to bring Simpson back last year after his DUI arrest.

It’s more puzzling even than the Vikings’ move to re-sign him two years ago with a bump in pay despite his complete lack of production in 2012.

You can’t even use youth as an explanation anymore. Simpson is nearing 30 and hasn’t played a down since 2013. Certainly there are more interesting options at wide receiver?

What do the 49ers see in Simpson? For years, we were told that Simpson had a chance to be the deep threat the Vikings were missing in their offense. But Simpson never materialized as a consistent threat down the field or anywhere else on the field.

Simpson has proven to be far more of a threat to himself than any defensive player. But, here he is back in the NFL. On a two-year deal.

It makes no sense. But obviously Simpson’s talent continues to dazzle people. Coaches still think they can squeeze water from this particular stone.

Front offices continue to be willing to take a chance on this man despite his complete idiotic self-destructiveness. It’s almost becoming comical.

It’s a lot easier to appreciate the comedy of the situation when it’s not your team that is spending money on Simpson. For the first time since 2011, the Vikings are off the Jerome Simpson hamster wheel of stupid.

I would wish Simpson good luck in San Francisco but luck has nothing to do with it. The man clearly has mad con artist skills to go with his impressive leaping ability. If only he ran routes and caught footballs as well as he sells himself.

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