There are a lot of people happy with the results of this year's free-agency -- which isn't hard to understand when you consider those people just made themselves a bundle.
Forget the lottery. You want to make it big? Join the NFL, and let your contract expire. Then sell yourself to the highest bidder.
Eighteen millions dollars for a fullback? Today's rich are the not-so-famous. A week ago, we checked the first weekend's activity. Now we're back with the scoreboard after 10 days.
Three teams free-agency helped
|Adalius Thomas should be a perfect fit in the Patriots' defensive scheme. (US Presswire)|
Seattle: Yep, the failure to sign Kris Dielman was a blow. So the Seahawks re-upped Floyd Womack and will have him as their left guard. Given the choice, I'd take Dielman, too. But they didn't have a choice. They offered him more than San Diego, and Dielman chose the Chargers. OK, so there's one opportunity lost. But then the club signed Patrick Kerney and Deon Grant, and both moves make them better on defense. Yeah, I'm wary of Kerney, and I wouldn't pay the money Seattle did, but is he a better pass rusher than Grant Wistrom? You bet. Kerney is a high-motor guy who can get to the pocket and create havoc. The knock on him is that 1) he will turn 31 and 2) that he's coming off a pectoral injury. But he was the top defensive lineman in free-agency for a reason: He's a solid pass rusher who can play the run. Grant is a safety with great hands and great range, solid in coverage and underrated as a run supporter. Basically, he's a better all-around player than Ken Hamlin, which means the Seahawks just traded up.
San Francisco: How could free-agency not help these guys? The 49ers had zillions of dollars in cap space. Now, that doesn't mean I like their moves. Getting Nate Clements was big. Paying him $22 million in guaranteed money was fiscally irresponsible, but welcome to today's NFL. Michael Lewis is OK as a safety, but for those who think he's a solution to the 49ers' secondary woes, keep this in mind: He was a second-stringer in Philadelphia. Sure, he once was a Pro Bowl starter, but that was 2004. In 2006 he was benched midway through the season. Nevertheless, he helps a defense that allowed an NFL-worst 412 points. The signing I do like is linebacker Tully Banta-Cain. The guy can rush the passer and will help on special teams. Ashley Lelie? Don't like him. He was a bust in Denver and Atlanta, and I don't know why anything changes here. But give the 49ers this: They didn't invest a lot in him. So it's a gamble. It's a small one. What I want to see is what happens when Jerry Sullivan gets a hold of him. Sullivan is one of the top assistants in the business and might, just might, be able to make something of Lelie.
Three teams free-agency hurt
Tennessee: The Titans have done next to nothing other than re-signing Kerry Collins ... Kerry Collins? ... and throw goodbye parties for former starters. They let their top running back walk. They let their top receiver go, too. That's OK if you have suitable replacements, but I don't see any on the horizon. So Tennessee wanted Stallworth. Great. He's gone, too. I'm not sure where the Titans are headed; all I know is the club keeps subtracting bodies.
Buffalo: The Bills lost their top cornerback in Clements. They lost their top tackler in linebacker London Fletcher. Then they dealt away their top running back when they swapped Willis McGahee to Baltimore for three draft picks, two of them this season. Those are significant losses. OK, so the additions of Derrick Dockery, Langston Walker and Jason Whittle improve the offensive line. That's a bonus for young quarterback J.P. Losman. But the Bills are not better now than they were a month ago. There is talk of adding Corey Dillon or Chris Brown at running back, but forget it, fellas. Dillon is beaten up, and Brown can't stay on the field. Take your chances in the draft. There is enough at the position there that Buffalo can help itself in the second or third rounds.
Baltimore: The Ravens made up lost ground with the addition of McGahee, but they had to spend three draft picks -- including two this spring -- to acquire him. Now let's look at what else they sacrificed: linebacker Adalius Thomas, tackle Tony Pashos, defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin and fullback Ovie Mughelli. So Jacksonville overpaid for Pashos. He not only started with Baltimore; he started 16 games. So what? So only one other offensive lineman on the Ravens (Mike Flynn) did that. And his loss means the Ravens could -- depending on what Jonathan Ogden does -- be looking at two tackle positions to fill. Remember, this was an offensive line that allowed just 17 sacks, second only to Indianapolis. Thomas was the big-ticket item, and he was gone the minute Baltimore passed on making him a franchise player. The All-Pro linebacker did a lot of things for the Ravens defense, and all of them good. Subtract 11 sacks, 106 tackles and the eight positions he played, and your defense is bound to suffer.
Three teams I don't get
Houston: I'm sorry, but signing Ahman Green does not fix your running game. The Texans drew up an $8 million check this season for a guy who missed 13 of his last 27 games and who, at 30, is winding down. The past two years he averaged 3.8 yards per carry and produced five 100-yard games. He had 10 in 2003. This is just another reason why the Texans should've drafted Reggie Bush or Vince Young with last year's No. 1 pick. Heck, Young is a quarterback, and I'll take him as a running back over Green. When you make a mistake on a top five draft pick it can take years to correct. Look what happened with San Diego and Ryan Leaf. The Texans just lunged at another pitch outside the strike zone, and it will cost them -- both at the bank and on the field.
Tampa Bay: I just don't know what the plan is ... if there is a plan. The Buccaneers re-sign Chris Simms, then bring in Jeff Garcia. OK, that's good for Garcia, not good for Simms. Then they sign tackle Luke Petitgout after the Giants pass. Listen, New York needs offensive linemen like the Mideast needs peace, so when the Giants give up on a guy -- particularly someone who was their starting left tackle -- you have to wonder what's left. So I wonder. Patrick Chukwurah? My lasting memory of him was blowing cookies on the field against New England. I know he can play, but he was strictly second team on a Broncos defense that faded down the stretch. You sign him, let Dewayne White walk, and that's supposed to be a good thing? Sorry, don't get it.