Usually NFL Free Agency is a period of time that occurs in late March to early April but this year was an unusual offseason that included a lockout that kept football fans everywhere on the edges of the seats wondering if there would be a season in 2011. Fortunately the conflict dubbed “Millionaires vs Billionaires” came to end. The end of the lockout meant an immediate overflow of transactions by all 32 teams in the National Football League. After just one week after the CBA agreement had been made around 1600 transactions were made around the NFL. Today we’re gonna look at the best and worst signings , cuts and trades around the league in the 1st week of Post Lockout football.
Because everyone loves a winner we’ll start with the teams and owners who put one in the W column before the preseason has even begun.
Philladelphia Eagles– The Eagles are the clear number 1 winners of the NFL FA Frenzy because of one bigtime player. Nnamdi Asomugha (Picture below) the guy that the average football fan has never heard of because QB ‘s just don’t throw his way. He was the top target of teams like the Jets, Ravens and Texans (Who answered their need but would’ve liked to get the big guy) but chose the Eagles who gave him the contract he deserved and a solid defense that already included CB Asante Samuel and acquired pro bowl corner Dominque Rodgers- Cromartie from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for back up QB Kevin Kolb. Which brings to my next point…. Back up QB. The Eagles also picked up Vince Young from Tennessee who has been having problems with the QB for nearly 2 years. So look for another troubled QB like (Mike Vick) to get an intervention and work in a system that needs a running QB that can make plays on both the ground and through the air.The Eagles also picked up two big boys up front (DT Cullen Jenkins and DE Jason Babin) who should both have major impacts in the trenches.
2. New England Patriots The Pats are always winners but they really stepped up to the plate this past week with two of the most surprising moves of the last few years. What the boys from New England were able to do was get great talent with HUGE egos for nearly nothing. They started with the acquisition of Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth who had a miserable time in DC to say the least. The Pats sent a 5th round pick to the skins for the hefty DT who has a problems his size if not bigger. The 2nd move made by the Patriots was one that they had made nearly 3 years ago (acquiring Randy Moss ) only with a new team and a new receiver. Chad Ochocinco who had been begging top get out of Cincinnati for what seems like 3 years now and has landed himself in probably the best situation possible for any aging receiver with some talent… A trip to work with QB Tom Brady and a great system under coach Bill Belichick. So we’ll see what the Pats can do with these troubled minded players who posses major talent.
Ochocinco and Brady
3. New York Jets– The Jets over the last 3 years have been the biggest trun around team in the NFL. With a young solid QB (Mark Sanchez) , a strong smashmouth defense and the coach that every player in the league wants as their coach (Rex Ryan) Gang Green is just entertaining to watch and even better to root for. Even as a Giants fan you gotta love the passion of the Jets on the field and in the stands. This offseason they had some key recievers on the market and signed the biggest one (Santanio Holmes). Even though they came up short on the Nnamdi sweepstakes the Jets still made a splash by signing WR Plaxico Burress who will be a HUGE target for “The Sanchise” all over his field but especially in the red zone. The Jets were a team that didn’t need to go out and make a splash because they have all the pieces right in front of them. But still managed to make their presence felt on the market.
1. Seattle Seahawks– They lose their franchise QB Matt Hasselback to the Tennessee Titans and brought in QB Tavaris Jackson to take the reigns of the franchise and compete for the job. But the seahawks who still have RB Marshawn Lynch who is fresh off is amazing run the produced earthquake like energy from the 12th Man in seattle but for another year the Seahawks will be in another rebuilding year and may be win the weakest division in football (NFC West).
2. Dallas Cowboys– Get no one big for another year and are just getting older year by year. They also traded away WR Roy Williams and dropped veterans like RB Marion Barber and OT Marc Colombo who were both leaders in the locker room and on the field. America’s most hated team will have to work hard for a spot this year but I don’t see any success for them in Big D.
3. New York Giants– The Giants once again have done NOTHING! They have released their left side of the offensive line (including Rich Seubert who is Coach Tom Coughlin’s son-in-law) and center Shaun O’Hara. They also have yet to sign RB Ahmad Bradshaw who if not signed will be missed greatly in the backfield for big blue. But by far the biggest failure for the Gints was their loss in the pursuit of WR Plaxico Burress who is wearing the wrong color jersey in East Rutherford. Plus they may get stuck with an angry and selfish DE in Osi Umenyiora
This year more than ever the NFL can be characterized as the “No Favorites League”. With there being no clear favorite or undefeated team that has been dominating the rest of the league. The top teams in both the NFC and AFC each have at least two losses. One of those teams is the New York “Football” Giants. Here in NY the talk of the town was about the loudmouth Jets whose coach speaks for its fans in a very blue-collar like manner. Don’t get me wrong the Jets are still a good team but they are not yet a GREAT team. The Jets are hyped similar to the New York Mets. Most Jets fans are Mets fans which is why they look forward to football so much cause they hate baseball season. My point in this comparison is year after year the Mets like the Jets are projected to be great and make a run and overtake the Yankees or in this case the Giants. This seasons Jets team reminds me a little bit of the Mets back in ’06. The Mets had a young nucleus with players like Jose Reyes, David Wright and big time players like Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. But what happened to the Mets in that season was they had a let down when Carlos Beltran watched strike 3 go by. I haven’t figured out who these players are on Gang Green but one thing’s for sure, they will be let down again!!
Now back to the main point of this post – the NFL being a” no favorites” league. The Giants this year were supposed to be the last place team in the NFC East with a young “Inexperienced” Defense and a “Highly Overrated” QB, Eli Manning. But boy oh’ boy were those predictions off. The Giants this year are ranked 7th in Passing with the deadly combination of Eli Manning and 2nd year wide-out Hakeem Nicks and they are ranked 2nd in both rushing and passing defense. Not to shabby if I do say so myself. Big Blue has also been helped by the progress of RB Ahmad Bradshaw who has taken over the starting role for Brandon Jacobs who has also fit in nicely to his new spot as a back up.
On the flip side of things the Dallas Cowboys were given the title of “Team to Beat” in the NFC before they even started practicing. The Cowboys have been in my book the worst team in the league or the unluckiest team in the league. I say unluckiest because they have lost their starting QB Tony Romo, who like his team, is highly overrated and the recent firing of head coach Wade Phillips adds to the mess. The thing that surprises me is that even when you look at the Cowboys on paper they really don’t look good at all. In fact they look terrible… With Tony Romo who I think is a true back up QB, an aging line that couldn’t block an old woman and an aging defense who has one or 2 good players (Keith Brooking and DeMarcus Ware). Hopefully the Cowboys received a wake up call and will use their top 5 draft pick wisely and grab one of the many outstanding QB’s in the upcoming draft.
As you have seen there are two major factors or groupings that help classify the teams in the greatest professional sport. You have the overrated like the Chargers , Cowboys and Vikings. And you have the underrated teams like the Chiefs, Giants and Falcons. There will always be a debate especially with teams who are from big market teams but the true beauty of this whole thing is that we never truly know who will win. Anything can happen so I guess we’ll all just have to keep on watching…..
With only one week left until the NFL’s annual draft we here at Sport’s Haven are trying something new.We will do a draft preview and offseason in review for all of the division’s with Mike doing the NFC and myself doing the AFC. Don’t worry we will still have our 2 round Mock Draft page. Now let’s get to it today I will talk about the AFC East which includes the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. I will go from worst to first from the 09-10 season which means the Buffalo Bills are on the clock!!!
Buffalo Bills – Last season Buffalo had some major problems one being another failed experiment of Terrell Owens and some major injuries headlined another disappointment as the Bills finished with a 6-10 record. One thing that the Bills have had major problems with over the years is the QB Position which is one of their positions needed and with the 9th pick overall in the draft a QB will likely be taken. Another need is definitely the offensive line. With these things in mind the likely targets are Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, Texas QB Colt McCoy or use their early 2nd round pick to select Tim Tebow after picking the best Lineman available in the 1st. My final Pick: OT Bryan Bulaga then Tebow in 2nd round.
Miami Dolphins – The Miami Dolphins had a tough year in 09 starting out 0-3 then ending the year on the same low note. Bill Parcells made a splash for his fish by bringing in star wideout Brandon Marshall and All-Pro Linebacker Karlos Dansby who will both have major impacts on the Dolphins. The Dolphins last draft selected a speed cover corner in Vontae Davis who had 49 tackles in 9 games last season and a wildcat QB in Pat White. With their 12th overall pick look for the Tuna to pick between local South Florida pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and Texas stud Sergio Kindle who both will be used as hybrid pass rushers. Or the Fish may go another route and take an exciting speedster like C.J. Spiller of Clemson or WR Golden Tate. My final pick: Jason Pierre-Paul will replace Jason Taylor as rush end
New England Patriots- The Patriots who have been the dominant football franchise over the last decade got a sickining reality check when the New York Jets came out of nowhere to win the AFC East divisonal title. What the Pats lacked last season was a dominant OLB to dominate and control to edge. Also the once great reciever core took some hits from last year with some major injuries to Wes Welker and a less effective Randy Moss. In last year’s draft the Pats took Saftey Patrick Jung who played alot last season and selcted Julian Edelman in the 7th round which helped them cope with the injuries to Welker. For this year when the Patriots go on the clock with the 22nd pick in this years draft look for them to maybe take a Sergio Kindle or Clemson’s Ricky Sapp to fill that OLB void. My Final Pick: Ricky Sapp; strong, athletic and explosive plus Kindle will be off of Board
New York Jets- The once phrased “Same Old Jets” looked like nothing that could even be compared to that phase. With the additions of the hardcore Rex Ryan “Kill E’m All” style and Bart Scott the Jets had a truly suprising year to say the least with a winning season, Division title and to cap it off an AFC Championship game appearance. The Jets had a very busy offseason… Parting ways with Thomas Jones, Lito Sheppard and Kerry Rhodes while adding stars Ladanian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie . Now to the draft board… when picking for a Rex Ryan style team you need a criteria of a hard-working, hard-hitting and aggressive individual on either side of the ball some names come to my mind very quickly. Names like Michigan’s Brandon Graham and Everson Griffen of USC come to mind if they want to improve the linebacking core or DT’s Ben Price of UCLA and DT Jared Odrick can be options if Kris Jenkins’ health isn’t where it needs to be. My Final Pick: Everson Green; fits Rex Ryan’s style on Defense. My next post will be on the AFC North and hopefully we will have some NFC stuff up ASAP. Adios