Sunday, March 1, 2009

Free Agency: Slowdown

After a busy first 24 hours of free agency, things have mellowed out a bit. If this is your first time following the NFL Free Agent market, then this may have come as a bit of a surprise to you. As with most free agent markets, there is a flurry on the first day when everyone becomes available, then things ease off a bit as players start to weigh their options and agents try to drive the price of their client through the roof (see: Drew Rosenhaus). Players are now making visits to various teams in various cities and trying to swing the best deal for them.

Kansas City made the biggest news over the weekend with new GM Scott Pioli trading his second-round draft pick to the Patriots for Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel. Honestly, some may think Vrabel is washed up and slow (which is for the most part true) but with all the youth in the Chiefs locker room, he will provide a good veteran presence and help the team, particularly the defense, come together as a unit. On the other side, the signing of Cassel pretty much ensures the Chiefs won't be taking Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez with the #3 overall pick (as I predicted in the team preview, proving once again why you shouldn't come to me for predictions). Will the Chiefs go with linebacker Aaron Curry from Wake Forest who had a stellar workout at the combine and is impressing everyone? Or will they go with someone like Brian Orakpo or Everette Brown who could play defensive end in their 4-3 scheme and do what no one did for them last year: pressure the quarterback.

The two teams who are known for playing on Thanksgiving Day also made a trade over the weekend, with the Lions sending quarterback Jon Kitna to Dallas and receiving cornerback Anthony Henry. While the Cowboys secondary wasn't great, Henry (who had 50 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception last year) becomes the best player in Detroit's secondary overnight. The Lions had only 4 interceptions last season, with no player having more than 1. Henry, who has 29 picks in his 8-year career, including 6 in 2007, instantly becomes the #1 corner on Detroit's roster. With the trade of Kitna, this almost ensures that the Lions will be taking a quarterback with the #1 overall pick.

Denver signed Brian Dawkins to a 5-year deal. Dawkins is 35. There's no way he plays until he's 40. This is a joke. Signing old guys to big contracts is never a good idea.

The Rams signed former Ravens center Jason Brown. This was a good move for the Rams who are trying to shore up their offensive line for the future. Adding a tackle like Jason Smith (Baylor) or Eugene Monroe (Virginia) with the #2 pick in the draft only makes too much sense now.

Houston signed former Cardinals DE Antonio Smith to a big contract to play opposite Mario Williams. Anyone who had the Texans taking a defensive end in the draft is now shaking their heads. Early prediction: Texans draft a cornerback or trade down to take a safety later. If the Steelers are looking to move up to take a corner, this could be a suitor.

Patriots signed Fred Taylor. No real comment here. Taylor has been solid throughout his career, but he has been plagued by injuries lately. Whatever. With Brady back, New England might average 6 carries a game. Maybe.

Saints re-signed linebacker Jonathan Vilma. This was a good move for them. By the way, since the move to 8-divisions in 2002, the team finishing last in the NFC South has won the division the next year in all but one year. That year was last year and the team that finished last the year prior (Atlanta) came within one game of the division title. New Orleans will make a run next year. Count on it.

Nobody wants me on their team.

To wrap up with some Steelers news (or lack thereof)...

The Steelers, as always, have been quiet in free agency. Starks is franchised and they'll be working on a contract with him. Kemoeatu is signed and an offer was tendered to Colon, which means unless someone out there is willing to give up a first round draft pick for Colon, the starting offensive line from the Super Bowl will be intact for next year. There are definitely some people out there that don't like Kemoeatu and weren't high on the signing, but hey...we've got the guy with the best neckbeard in the league.

No comments: