If free agency is like the single’s scene, then this free agency period is like a speed dating event where if you don’t find a match by the end of the night, you risk being alone forever.
Free agency is a strange thing. It can be good for some and cruel to others. And since the lockout ended, this free agency period has completely changed the dynamic of so many teams. Some teams have really filled some gaps that caused them problems last year. Texans, with the worst secondary in the league, terrible against the pass, acquired a cornerback and a safety. Last year, they allowed a league high total of 33 touchdown passes. Hopefully with this addition, they will have a more well-rounded defense to bolster their overall game. Leading the offense is an ever-improving Matt Schaub, pro-bowler Andre Johnson and break-out star running back, Arian Foster.
Other teams, while above average last year, have done everything possible in free agency to ensure a playoff bid. The Eagles seem like an unbeatable team with the additions of cornerbacks Asomugha and DRC, running back Ronnie Brown, offensive lineman Mathis and Jenkins and Babin on defense, as well as backup QB Vince Young. Rumor has it, they even reached out (unsuccessfully) to Randy Moss. The Eagles were already a good team, but now they are a great team. With Vick and Reid at the helm, they have so many weapons to choose from, they will be virtually unstoppable. This is assuming that everyone stays healthy, which likely wont happen. Vick’s style of play puts him at great risk. And with Young as the backup QB, I’m not confident that these weapons will mean anything without the right cannon to shoot it from. But nevertheless, the Eagles went on a spending spree and it paid off—giving many good orphaned free agent players a good home in the city of brotherly love.
The Vikings stay even at offense. They gain Donovan McNabb, who will have a better year in Minnesota than he did last year in Washington, but lose Sidney Rice, who would have arguably been the perfect compliment to McNabb’s deep passes.
Other teams like the Cowboys are just struggling to stay under the new salary cap, being forced to cut needed players. Other teams made lots of room under the salary cap, but are doing nothing notable with it. The Redskins are having a quiet free agency period. Getting rid of McNabb and Haynesworth freed up a lot of space under the cap. They added to the running game, acquiring ex-Cardinal Tim Hightower. They replaced Haynesworth with Cofield and also acquired a cornerback and defensive end. They’ve spent most of the time, however, re-signing some key free agents, most notably, Jammal Brown and Santana Moss. But the Skins have been quiet. Maybe this is a good thing for a team that has imploded time and time again with their strategy of giving away high draft picks for sparkly big pro-bowler names who are slightly past their prime, or throwing huge contracts to people who don’t deserve it. Maybe this is a new era. But I wish, as a Redskins fan, there was something more exciting happening. Maybe I’m part of the problem of why the Redskins culture has been so fixated on short term gains, sacrificing long term success.
So as I look at the free agents still out there, I can’t help think that they will get scooped up at some point. But then there are casualties. There will be some who won’t find homes, won’t find matches. Some might retire, some might hang around, hoping to get picked up during the season. Some will just fade away. But when players aren’t re-signed and are cast off into the vastness that is free agency, it’s important to remember to think of it as an opportunity. ”Don’t think of it as you’re fired, think of it as you’re free”.