Following initial free agency flurry, big-dollar deals will come to a halt
Aside from the initial big-money free agent deals -- which will slow down in a hurry -- observations include the Ravens defense, Karlos Dansby and the quarterbacks in this year's draft class.
Some observations following the first day of free agency.
The numbers game: When you consider the flood of players on the street, it will soon be a buyers’ market. The big-dollar headline deals we are seeing will quickly come to an end and the 400-plus players still waiting for a deal will cave.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 455 veteran football players looking for work and that doesn’t include the restricted free agents. Considering all the signings to date just fewer than 90 players received a contract or tag.
In April, 256 rookies will be drafted and most of them will make teams, which puts the 400 veterans in a bigger bind. If teams are willing to wait a week or two they can start grabbing good players at half price. For example, there are 52 wide receivers and 48 corners looking for a contract.
If your team has a starting QB on a rookie contract: Teams like Seattle, San Francisco, Miami, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Minnesota and Tampa Bay are in the driver's seat to be aggressive in free agency because their quarterbacks are taking up such a small amount of space under the salary cap.
As one head coach said to me this week, "now is the time to build up our roster with quality veterans and make sure we have a good young team when it’s time to pay the QB."
Don't forget the quarterbacks in Round 1: The popular opinion is that the 2013 quarterbacks in the draft aren’t worthy of a first round selection. Get ready for the signal callers to creep back up the draft boards.
Buffalo just released Ryan Fitzpatrick and there’s no chance Tarvaris Jackson is their QB. Philadelphia just got back from a visit with Geno Smith in Morgantown. The Matt Barkley pro day hasn’t occurred yet, and when it does, he will gain momentum.
It’s going to be tough for Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Oakland, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo and the Jets to all say they are waiting until a later round for a QB. A GM can get fired for picking the wrong QB too early but he can also get fired for passing a QB that goes on to play well.
The Ravens defense: In a blink of an eye, the Ravens defense has changed. Gone are Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbee, Paul Kruger as well as the release of Bernard Pollard. You have to wonder if Ed Reed ever comes back.
I wonder who carries on the great Ravens tradition of defense. Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh will figure it all out but for now there is some trepidation among Ravens fans.
Thoughts on Karlos Dansby: I talked to Dansby today and he said five to six teams contacted him as soon as he was released by the Dolphins. Dansby has played every linebacker spot in both the 4-3 and the 3-4 defenses.
I could name 12 teams that should go after Dansby: Baltimore, Atlanta, N.Y. Jets, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, Giants, Chicago, Minnesota, New Orleans and Seattle.
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