Blog Entry

Eye on Football's free agency winners and losers

Posted on: August 4, 2011 9:00 pm

Posted by Will Brinson

Free agency isn't done yet (you can follow the latest updates at our 2011 NFL Free Agency Tracker) but wow, what a freaking week that initial run was, huh?

We saw big names sign big contracts in surprising places, we saw various players value drop tremendously and we saw the Carolina Panthers spend eleventy billion dollars*. Well, a full week in, it's about time for some knee-jerk winner/loser reactions, yes?

Philadelphia Eagles: There's no way around it -- the Eagles are the biggest winner in free agency. The last-second signing of the biggest free agent cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha, guarantees that, especially when coupled with their ability to pawn off backup Kevin Kolb for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick and then pick up Vince Young to replace him. Also, they signed everyone else available. Or that's what it feels like.

Carolina Panthers: Well, maybe "Charles Johnson/DeAngelo Williams" is a better way of putting it, because they got straight paid. So did Thomas Davis, by the by. But in general, the Panthers stepped up in a big way by bringing back a ton of their players and convincing Steve Smith to hang around and kick off the Cam Newton Era. (Yes, it warrants mentioning that Newton's reduced contract is how they're able to afford all these guys.) Even if they don't win their division -- and it's unlikely they will -- they're still reinvigorating a fanbase that was pretty complacent after last year.

Rams/Lions: Everyone who roots for these teams keeps asking why they're not spending money, and that's exactly why they're winners -- they recognized that now's not the time to go out and blow up the plan by spending a pile of cash on a big-name free agent. Both teams landed quality guys (Eric Wright for Detroit, Harvey Dahl for the Rams, to name a pair) and I'd add the Buccaneers in here but anyone who spends $19 million on a punter isn't winning.

Houston Texans: The fact that Houston was able to pick up front-seven defensive help in the draft (J.J Watt) and then swoop in on Johnathan Joseph is huge. Even more impressive? That they realized when it was time to cut bait on chasing Nnamdi and nab Joseph, therefore giving them a top-flight cornerback and a serious chance to compete and/or win the AFC South.

Roger Goodell/DeMaurice Smith: After teetering on the brink of becoming the two most-hated men in a world that features no football, Goodell and Smith rallied their troops, repaired their relationship and got a deal done that will provide labor peace for the next decade. As a result, traffic, interest and excitement for football picked up right where it left off after an amazing 2010 season. They really should just pair up for a US presidential run in 2012.

Rookie quarterbacks: Christian Ponder and Jake Locker were supposed to be starters coming out of the gate. Um, not so much -- it sure looks like they're going to be sitting behind Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck during 2011. The only two rooks who have serious shots at taking early snaps are Andy Dalton and Cam Newton, and that's only because they are actually the best quarterbacks on their team.

Oakland Raiders: It would be one thing if they just lost Nnamdi. But they also lost tight end Zach Miller, who had previously been franchised. Topping it all off? They lost Miller because they shelled out $48 million for Kamerion Wimbley. Every time you think things are changing in Oak-town, they stay the same. /Googles "Weekend at Bernie's" clips

Linebackers: Well, linebackers not named Paul Posluszny, anyway. Poz is a nice addition to the Jaguars but I'm not entirely sure they should have given him $7 million a year over six years with $15 million guaranteed, especially with other available talent on the market. That available talent -- Nick Burnett, Stephen Tulloch and Manny Lawson, most notably -- ended up getting one-year deals as a result of the market swing after the Jags' overpaid.

New York Jets: The Jets made a lot of moves and nearly grabbed Nnamdi, but losing him isn't why they're on this side of the list. They're here because they paid a lot for Santonio Holmes and still saw the overall quality of their receiving corps drop drastically. In addition, they had to give $32 million to Antonio Cromartie in order to shore up the other side of their secondary. They'll probably end up going to the AFC Championship Game (again) and we'll hear plenty of Super Bowl guarantees, but this is an offense that could struggle in 2011.

Miami Dolphins: The Fins made a splash by trading for Reggie Bush, but, um, yeah, about that quarterback situation. When was the last time you heard fans chanting for Kyle Orton? Things are going to get ugly before they get pretty in South Beach, and if their chances at landing someone who can compete for the starting QB gig went so poorly that Brett Favre has to come in, well, you don't need me telling you whether they won or lost.

* Approximate. OK, I made that number up but either way, the Panthers dropped a lot of coin.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 8:09 am

Eye on Football's free agency winners and losers

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:54 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 6:41 pm
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 5:10 pm
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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 24, 2011 11:19 am
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Since: Oct 17, 2009
Posted on: August 8, 2011 1:21 am

Eye on Football's free agency winners and losers

Could not agree with you more.  The NYJ offense is going to struggle.  The AFC LEAST will be owned by the New England Cheatriots.

Since: Nov 15, 2006
Posted on: August 5, 2011 10:44 pm

Eye on Football's free agency winners and losers

So you're giving the Eagles kudos for picking up Vince Young?  I guess you do have to snatch up those head trip QBs when thye become available.  After all, he has shown how well the back-up QB position works for him in the past.  Yeah, you're right-guys who can(and will have to) run for their lives behind that O-Line are priceless.

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: August 5, 2011 3:20 pm

Eye on Football's free agency winners and losers

Just as in the draft, it is usually premature to declare winners and losers right after the event. A team's draft may take 2-4 years to evaluate whether it was a successful or not. Free agency should have a quicker return on investment; the teams's that really "won" and those that were busts this free agency season may be known as early as mid season, certainly by the play-offs. The die is cast, let's see who comes back across the Rubicon.

Since: Nov 27, 2007
Posted on: August 5, 2011 3:13 pm

Eye on Football's free agency winners and losers

"Mark Sanchez is suspect, their running game is suspect 'cause LT is old and Greene is unproven..their defense is good but they still cant get after the QB"

This is true.  Sanchez has a  55% completion.  The RBs are by themselves(will get back to this).

LT was old last season and was still productive until trailling off in the 2nd half of the season

That happens when you get old.  The season is to long for him.

This team is ready fir a down fall.  The WR corp is down from last year.  Last year they were ranked 22nd.  Trading Bryalon Edwards for Plaxico Burress is a down grade.  Trading Jerricho Cotchery for Derrick Mason is a down grade.  Buress and Mason will be covered one on one.  This is going to give teams the ablity to stack the box.  Even Chris Johnson realized that it is hard to run when theother team stacks the box.

Defense is great and will make the Jets look better then they really are.

Since: Oct 4, 2007
Posted on: August 5, 2011 2:28 pm

Eye on Football's free agency winners and losers

How can you not have the AZ Cardinals on the winners side? What a nard.

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