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Smart NFL teams spend little in free agency

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by mkapp, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. mkapp

    mkapp Cheesehead

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    Dallas Morning News

    March 18, 2008
    The Dallas Morning News

    Mar. 18--I love what the Green Bay Packers have done thus far in free agency.

    Nothing.

    Absolutely nothing.

    The Packers haven't signed any players in free agency nor have they lost any. The Indianapolis Colts also haven't signed any players.

    Football is figuring out what baseball discovered in the 1970s -- you can't buy a championship. Which is contrary to public perception.

    There's a frenzy in the fan bases of 32 NFL teams each off-season. Spend. Buy free agents. The bigger the contract, the better the signing. If you're not spending, you're not trying to get better as a football team.

    Au contraire.

    The Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks each signed a free agent to a contract in excess of $39 million last off-season. In addition, the Washington Redskins gave aging middle linebacker London Fletcher a $10 million signing bonus, and the Jacksonville Jaguars gave journeyman offensive tackle Tony Pashos another for $9 million.

    All the while, the New York Giants were sitting out the spending spree. To borrow a Jerry Jones term, the Giants were "keeping their powder dry."

    The Giants wound up signing one free agent to fill a specific hole on the depth chart, bottom feeding in late March for linebacker Kawika Mitchell. They gave him a modest one-year, $1 million deal.

    Mitchell is now wearing a Super Bowl ring -- and 2007 multi-millionaires Leonard Davis (Cowboys), Eric Steinbach (Browns), Nate Clements (49ers), Patrick Kerney (Seahawks), Fletcher and Pashos are not.

    In 2006, the Indianapolis Colts signed only one free agent, and he wasn't even a position player -- kicker Adam Vinatieri. The Colts wound up winning the Super Bowl.


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    In 2005, the Pittsburgh Steelers also signed only one free agent -- wide receiver Cedrick Wilson -- to a four-year deal worth less than $10 million. He didn't even start for the Steelers. But guess who won the Super Bowl that year?

    Free agency never has been and never will be the answer. Teams are realizing the game's best players no longer become free. So the smart teams invest their salary cap dollars in re-signing their own players.

    Back in the 1990s, you could sign a difference-maker like Reggie White or Deion Sanders in free agency. But with each passing year, the quality of free agents decreases, yet the quantity of the money increases.

    I had breakfast with an NFL head coach last week, and he shook his head at the fiscal craziness, saying that average players are getting superstar money.

    There were 112 players signed in free agency through the end of business last week. Only 28 of them were primary starters in 2007.

    The annual list of signees has become a litany of older players (safety Sammy Knight and offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Damien Woody), players coming off injury (guard Justin Smiley, defensive tackle Chuck Darby and cornerback Jason Webster), players who have lost starting jobs (running back Chris Brown and defensive backs Drayton Florence and Tank Williams) and underachievers (offensive tackle Kwame Harris and wide receivers Jerry Porter and Keary Colbert).

    In short, expendable commodities.

    Talented young starters still in their 20s such as running back Michael Turner (Atlanta), linebackers Landon Johnson (Carolina) and Demorrio Williams (Kansas City), and safety Gibril Wilson (Oakland) in this year's class of free agents are few and far between every off-season.

    You can count on the fingers of two hands the free agents this decade who have played to the level of the money and duration of the contract.

    So the smart teams don't overreact to the market and offer superstar money to non-superstar players. You rarely get what you hope for -- and what you pay for -- in free agency. The smart teams don't sign contracts they will live to regret -- teams like Green Bay and Indianapolis.

    --

    I think that sounds like a great Super Bowl pick for this season!
     
  2. PackOne

    PackOne Cheesehead

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    Out of Dallas? New respect for their journalists.
     
  3. DGB454

    DGB454 Cheesehead

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    Funny... I just read this amd was going to post it. Strange it came out of a Dallas journalist. I agree with his logic though.
     
  4. Jamie

    Jamie Cheesehead

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    I'm gonna start looking for Super Bowl tickets now, lol.
     
  5. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

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    This brings up old memories of debates with other members especially during this time of the year.

    I thought it was a great read and an accurate one. I do believe free agency can be used but a team like the Jets are just going overboard right now.
     
  6. eap33

    eap33 Cheesehead

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    Case in point - Raiders!

    $55 million future problem. I'm gonna love rubbing it in my UPS drivers face all year.
     
  7. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    There just doesn't seem to be the high quality players in FA that there was in the mid 1990's. Alot are washed up players that get the big money based on what they DID, not on what they will do.
    Look at what the Texans dished out for Ahman Green. He WAS great, but just doesn't seem to have it, or be able to remain healthy now.
    I like Green, but couldn't see paying him that high salary at the END of his career.
     
  8. Vikeman

    Vikeman Guest

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    Teams who over-indulge in free agency usually do so because of bad drafting. The Vikings 2004-2005 draft is a prime example.

    2004

    1 20(20) Kenechi Udeze* DE Southern Cal disease/unknown
    2 16(48) Dontarrious Thomas OLB Auburn gone
    3 25(88) Darrion Scott DE Ohio St. gone
    4 19(115) Nat Dorsey* OT Georgia Tech gone
    4 23(119) Mewelde Moore RB Tulane gone
    5 23(155) Rod Davis ILB Southern Miss gone
    6 19(184) Deandre Eiland S South Carolina gone
    7 19(220) Jeff Dugan TE Maryland 4th string

    2005

    1 7(7) Troy Williamson WR South Carolina bust/gone
    1 18(18) Erasmus James DE Wisconsin bust
    2 17(49) Marcus Johnson OG Ole Miss 3rd string
    3 16(80) Dustin Fox CB Ohio St. gone
    4 11(112) Ciatrick Fason HB Florida gone
    6 17(191) C.J. Mosley DT Missouri gone
    7 5(219) Adrian Ward CB UTEP gone
     
  9. spardo62

    spardo62 Cheesehead

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    I have said it before, that teams are better learning to manage their money and deal with salary cap restrictions than even 4-5 years ago. With that being the case the only players hitting the market are on the downside of their careers, badly flawed, injured - or all of the previous - yet they command superstar money and signing bonuses.

    Actively playing in this field is a formula for long term trouble and, as we have seen, very little short term success.
     
  10. KGB94SACKEM

    KGB94SACKEM Cheesehead

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    Does any of this crap matter though. There is no REAL formula. It may give people stuff to do by over analyzing stuff but the truth is

    SMART TEAMS WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS!
     

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