NFL FREE AGENCY FRENZY 2009
Franchises with wishes to improve their stock in the upcoming NFL season are in a frenzy of big name players, big money contracts, and even bigger negotiations.Â Within a period of less than 24 hours more than 30 players changed their zip codes as a result of a fast-paced endÂ to the month of February.Â These are some of the key signings, impact trades, and bold moves that may make the difference in the fall.
Albert Haynesworth, DT – Washington Redskins~ Daniel Snyder’s newest prized possession.Â The Redskins signed Haynesworth to an obscene $100 Million, 7-year contract that includes 41 million in guarantees.Â There is no question that Haynesworth is one of the most dominating presences in the game but it seems like an awful high price to pay for a ST that has yet to playÂ a full 16-game season.Â Regardless, this move should vastly improve Washington’s run defense as well as their pass-rushing prowess.
Bart Scott, OLB – NewYork Jets~Â Bart Scott followedÂ former Baltimore coordinator Rex Ryan to the big apple and he’llÂ help create one of the best inside linebacker tandems in the league, playing alongside David Harris.Â The Jets will be paying Scott about $8 Million a year for his services but his leadership and experience with Rex Ryan is apparently worth that much to GM Mike Tannenbaum and he thinks Scott might be the key to fixing the J-E-T-SÂ D-E-F-E-N-S-E.Â It remains to be seen as to what kind of leader Scott will make, as Bart has been known to loose his cool….Â see: Bart Scott & The Yellow Flag
Matt Cassel, QB – KansasCity Chiefs~ Scott Pioli must have some kind of pull in NFL circles because he ripped the Patriots off in a blockbuster deal that gives the Chiefs both quarterback Matt Cassel and outside linebacker Mike Vrabel both for a mere 2nd round pick in this year’s draft.Â It remains to be seen how the Chiefs will address Cassel’s contract but they have basically turned a 2nd round pick into a starting quarterback and a solid veteran presence on defense.Â I still don’t understand how New England could accept this deal but we’ll have to see how Casselfares next season before we put the final grade on this one.Â This move bumps the stock of both Tony Gonzalez & Dwayne Bowe dramatically.
Kellen Winslow, TE – TampBay Buccaneers ~ Cleveland finally gave up on Soldier Winslow and won’t have much in the way of replacing him, while TampaBay has a quality possession Tight End who poses mismatches all over the field.Â Winslow was acquired for a group ofÂ undisclosed draft picks, which will likely be very similar to last year’s Jeremy Shockey deal which netted the Giants 2nd & 5thround picks.Â Regardless, if Winslow has a season anything close to 2007, this should be a scream of a deal considering Winslow is still fairly young.Â Winslow’s fate is still VERY much dependant on who the Bucs replace Jeff Garcia with.
Jason Brown, OG – St Louis Rams~ Steven Jackson owners may now begin licking their respective chops.Â Â The Rams were able toÂ lock downÂ the best and most versatile interior lineman available on the market.Â The deal is worth $37.5 million over five years, with $20 million in guaranteed money, paid out in the first two years.Â It’s nice to see the Rams at least trying to address their most glaring need which isÂ protecting Marc Bulger and blocking for Steven Jackson.Â
Stacey Andrews, OT – Philadelphia Eagles ~ The Eagles have shown an honest commitment to the ground game to start free agency with the acquisition of the super-sized Stacey Andrews, brother of current right guard Shaun Andrews.Â It’s expected that the two will man the right side and provide ample lanes for Brian Westbrook to run through.Â It remains to be seen if Philadelphia will acquire another running back to help improve short yardage plays and red zone situations but I see Westbrook’s draft stockÂ staying very stable.
Brian Dawkins, S – Denver Broncos ~ The emotional leader of the Philadelphia Eagles will be changing uniforms for the first time in 13 years.Â Seeing Dawkins in a Broncos uniform will be as strange as seeing Favre in a JetsÂ jersey or Joe Montana in Chiefs attire.Â This is one of the most surprising moves thus far and it’s also one of the better moves the Broncos made.Â Not only is Dawkins still a ferocious hitter but he’s a coach on the field as well a tremendous presence in the community.Â Implementing this new 3-4 system won’t be easy but having a saged veteran such as Dawkins will make the change easier on the young players, assistants, and the coaches.Â Dawkins set the tone for the Eagles defense for years and it’s to be hoped that he can do the same thing for Denver in 2009.
Fred Taylor, RB – NewEngland Patriots~ Fred Taylor is going toÂ a teamÂ that many quality running backs have gone to finish their careers…Â NewEngland.Â Fragile Fred is going to share carries with the likes of Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and BenJarvus Needs A New Name.Â The up-shot for Taylor is that this willl be the best offense that he’s ever played in but the knock is that he’s in an even worse share-carry than before.Â This is basically another ringing endorsement to draft Maurice Jones-Drew in the first round of your next fantasy draft because with Taylor gone, MJD will be the center-piece of the Jags offense.
Antonio Smith, DE – Houston Texans~ The Texans have been looking for a suitable compliment opposite Mario Williams for a while now and Smith is definitely a good pass rusher but it remains to be seen as to how he will adjust to a new system, as the Texans will remain primarily a 4-3 scheme.Â The one plus is that the Texans line does feature 3 first round draft selections.(Travis Johnson, Super Mario, & Amobi Akoye)Â The deal is rumored to be worth $35 Million over 5 years with $21 million guaranteed.Â This should add to Houston’s already quality set of pass rushers.