- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Flooded free agent market, but no superstars
The secret meetings and late-night flights on private jets might still be a part of this year’s NFL marketplace.
Ah, but for glam, glitz and pure mega wattage, no one will come close to reprising the free agency frenzy that caught the country’s attention last year when Peyton Manning was wooed and wowed from coast to coast before finally settling on Denver.
Most of the big names in this year’s class of free agents aren’t even BIG names. They’re not even BIG stars. Certainly not in Manning’s class.
But this crop is more about aging defensive players like Charles Woodson, Brian Urlacher and Ronde Barber. And then are some solid but hardly unforgettable receivers and running backs: Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace, Reggie Bush and Michael Turner.
When full free agency begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. EDT, with all 32 teams under the $123 million salary cap, the bidding wars might be furious for a while. Or perhaps not, considering the dangers of signing players beyond their peak years to rich deals that can financially hamstring teams in the future. The stakes are high.
“We did this study to try to determine what the hit rate was,” says Bill Polian, who built the Bills, Panthers and Colts into Super Bowl teams and now is analyst for ESPN and SiriusXM. “It ends up in our study being about what it was for the draft, right around 50 percent, slightly above that.
“You then get into the qualitative judgment or subjective judgment of `at what cost?’ So player A, who cost you $12 million a year, is he a success if he starts or is he a success if he helps you get to the playoffs?”
The number of free agents who helped their teams get to the playoffs last season is impressive. From the Super Bowl rosters alone are Baltimore safety Reed, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and LB-DE Paul Kruger; 49ers safety Goldson, DT Isaac Sopoaga, TE Delanie Walker and WR Randy Moss.
Both backfields are loaded with candidates without contracts. Joining Reed, Goldson, Woodson and Barber among defensive backs available are Aqib Talib, Brent Grimes, Kenny Phillips, LaRon Landry and brother Dawan Landry, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Keenan Lewis, and Quentin Jammer.
Polian warns about one position being a risk in the draft: wide receiver. But he says in free agency, that’s not necessarily the case.
Do owners and general managers take a chance that each of those perennial Pro Bowlers have enough left to bring more than experience and leadership to their teams?
“There are clubs, we were one of them, that said if a guy’s 27 years of age or above, we’re probably not going to go for a long-term deal at big money,” Polian says. “But if you feel you’re one quality receiver away and the physical exam turns out to be OK, you might do it. Again, that is what makes free agency interesting.”
What also made the grab bag of extra interest was a three-day window allowing teams to talk to representatives of unrestricted free agents. The idea was to eliminate tampering.
“I think it’s fair to say that everybody will be interested to see how it works out, what the results of it are,” Polian said. “I wouldn’t say everybody was enthusiastic about it. We all had some reservation.
“But, on balance, I think it’s fair to say that we felt that it was something that would at least bring some organization to what had been a very chaotic process. Agents can talk to clubs, they can go back to the old club with what one would assume would be a bona fide offer or some parameters. They can gauge who is interested and who is not interested.”
Beginning Tuesday, NFL fans’ interest surely will rise, even if no footballs are being thrown or kicked.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow