Evaluating NFL Free Agency Thus Far- by Dustin Brewer

It has been a glorious start to NFL Free Agency (Peace Out Fitzy!) and Dustin breaks down all the moves so far, which teams have made the best moves so far and which current Super Bowl Champion teams are doing everything they can to be mediocre.

Two days ago, we ushered in the start of the 2013-14 NFL Season and players have been switching teams at a breakneck pace. Despite all the high profile signings and amid some shocking cuts, there are still some high quality FA players still looking for a team and more importantly, a contract.

Winners:

  • San Francisco 49ers-Anquan Boldin. Imagine being the 49ers, you came within a questionable no-call of overcoming the largest deficit in Super Bowl history. You’re retaining almost your entire core group of players that brought you within inches of a ring and suddenly, you get a phone call; Anquan Boldin, the star WR on the team that beat you, that could’ve been MVP, is yours for a few late-round draft picks. You’d have to be crazy not to at least entertain the thought that this is some Harbaugh collusion, but it comes down to the Ravens not wanting to spend what Boldin thought he deserved after they broke the bank with QB Joe Flacco. 49ers Key Departures: Dashon Goldson-S
  • Denver Broncos- Wes Welker. Yes, the Broncos got bounced by the eventual champions after their defense failed to realize that a team facing a 4th and 20 with 10 seconds left in the game would more than likely just attempt a hailmary. In that game, Peyton Manning showed all the old tendencies he was criticized for during his time in Indy after a fantastic regular season that culminated in a Comeback Player of the Year Award. The consensus for this team was that they just needed a few more pieces to help put them over. Well, today they landed a huge piece: slot receiver Wes Welker. A lot of speculation was made that the Patriots were keen on resigning him at the request of Tom Brady, but in the end, it looks like the Broncos deal was just too sweet. A two year, $12 million deal is perfect for both sides; Welker gets a pretty sweet payday for a slot receiver, and Denver gets another weapon for Peyton Manning to make another run. Welker is essentially a rental for as long as Manning can stay competetive but if the goal is to win a championship, then the Broncos are on the right track. Broncos Key Departures: None
  • Buffalo Bills- Cutting Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sometimes to win Free Agency, all you have to do is trim the fat. Trim the Harvard-graduating, interception throwing, game costing fat. That the Bills also cut Nick Barnett and saw Shawn Merriman retire, suggests something that I find too good to be true; someone in the Bills front office is paying attention. Bills Key Departures: Ryan Fitzpatrick- QB, Nick Barnett- LB, Shawn Merriman- LB.
  • New England Patriots- Danny Amendola. You take the good, you take the bad, you mix it up and there you have; the Patriots. Ask any Pats fan and they’ll likely tell you that they’re bummed Welker is gone, but that it doesn’t sting too bad knowing that Danny Amendola has already been signed to replace him. Amendola, when healthy, is a younger, faster and about to enter his prime Welker that hasn’t dropped multiple passes in close playoff games. All that’s left is signing WR Greg Jennings and going undefeated again…  Patriots Key Departures: Wes Welker- WR, Aqib Talib- CB

Losers: 

  • Baltimore Ravens- Greedy Flacco. “Joe Flacco, you just won the Super Bowl; what’re you going to do now?” “I’m holding out for such a ridiculous contract, my team won’t be able to resign anyone else!” A six year, $126 million contract has plugged up most of Baltimore’s spending ability, which has caused major shakeups already to the roster of the defending champs as well as the retirement of newly minted ESPN personality Ray Lewis. They still have RB Ray Rice and WR Torey Smith to carry the offense, but the real liability will be the D, they likely can’t afford to keep S Ed Reed and have lost Lewis as well as Paul Kruger, weakening a defense that didn’t really show up until Ray Lewis hit them with the metaphorical Deer Antler Spray known as “Announcing Retirement.” Ravens Key Departures: Ray Lewis- LB, Anquan Boldin- WR, Ed Reed- S, Paul Kruger- LB 
  • New York Jets- Adding David Garrard to Compete with Mark Sanchez. Can this team be annexed from the league yet? They’re going to trade their best player at some point (Darrelle Revis) and their most needed upgrade is at the QB position, yet, all they’ve done to bolster that position is sign David “Haven’t Played in a Game Since 2010” Garrard, giving them a QB rotation of; Mark Sanchez, Garrard and Timmy Tebow. Jets Key Departures: Fans with any interest in winning.

We’ll See: 

  • Detroit Lions- RB Reggie Bush. Bush has shown streaks of what everyone expected he’d be in the pros, just at a wildly inconsistent and injury prone rate. The Lions absolutely needed to up their Run game to provide help to QB Matthew Stafford and unstoppable WR monster Calvin Johnson. If the gamble works, the Lions could return to their 2011 form and put last season’s debacle behind them. Lions Key Departures: Cliff Avril- DT
  • Seattle Seahawks- WR Percy Harvin. Essentially in the same situation as the Lions. The Seahawks have made some good moves already, but the Harvin move is the crown jewel, provided he stays healthy. Prone to migraine headaches and playing Special Teams has made him seem a little more injury prone than he may be, but until he proves it with a full season, the question will be asked.  Seahawks Key Departures: Russell Wilson to the Bills  None

Notable Free Agents Still Available:

  • WR Greg Jennings: (Signed with the Minnesota Vikings)
  • OT Jake Long
  • S Ed Reed
  • RB Michael Turner
  • LB Dwight Freeney
  • RB Steven Jackson: (Signed with the Atlanta Falcons)
  • WR Victor Cruz
  • DE Osi Umenyiora
  • LB Brian Urlacher
  • CB Nnamdi Asomugha
  • RB Ahmad Bradshaw
  • S Bernard Pollard
  • S Charles Woodson

Dustin Brewer is co-creator of HefferBrew. He’s petitioning the city of Buffalo to make 3/12 a holiday. Stay tuned to HefferBrew.com or on Twitter @HefferBrew for all the latest Free Agency news.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s