Now that the first few days of free agency have passed, it’s finally time to take a step back and take a breather and see the landscape of the NFL and what teams have done over the past four days. It’s been amazing to see how some players that are downright average secure deals that make your head spin. It’s a “win now” league, and there is no question that some teams pushed the panic button over the weekend and yesterday to sign players, some more than once. Here are some players and teams that were big winners and losers over the first big wave of free agency:
What were you Thinking: Oakland Raiders – As if overpaying a ton for a player who only played seven games last season (Tommy Kelly) was not bad enough, the team then went out and basically overspent in a big way for Giants free agent safety Gibril Wilson. They gave him a deal worth $39 million, and this for a player that has 11 career interceptions. Don’t the Raiders have quite a few holes on offense to fill. As for Kelly, he has just 13 career sacks, is coming off a torn ligament in his right knee, and is going to try and play a new position in 2008, but for some reason the team threw him $50.5 million. Can you say a bust in the making?
Are they ever going to get this right?: Cincinnati Bengals – It’s been a strange few days for the Cats down in the Queen City. First they felt they had a deal done with the Lions for DT Shaun Rogers, and even had an article on it on the teams official website. Then, after that deal fell through, the division rival Browns swooped in and grabbed him. Fast forward to a few days later, the team had a deal in place for Jets DT Dwayne Robertson, but again, the deal for some reason went down the drain. While the team finally was able to get a DE in Antwan Odom, but their trend of having deals done and then them falling apart is disturbing.
The checkbook is wide open: New York Jets – Boy oh boy, the men in green are spending money like it grows on trees, from giving OG Alan Faneca $40 mil over 5 years with $21 mil guaranteed, to LB Calvin Pace (6 years, $42 mil with $22 guaranteed), then OT Damien Woody (5 years, $25.5 mil, $11 guaranteed), the Jets are on a historic spending spree. Those three players combine for $107.5 mil with $54 million guaranteed. If these guys don’t pan out, the Jets could be a bad football team for a very long time.
If he’s this good, why has he been on four teams in four years?: Donte Stallworth – Here in Cleveland the city is buzzing about the moves the Browns made, and two of the three (Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers) are good ones. The one that is a bit of a head scratcher though is the 7-year, $35 million dollar deal with $10 guaranteed to wide out Donte Stallworth. While the Browns did need to add another receiver, Stallworth has had lapses the past few seasons, which is why this will be his fourth team in four years. Last season he started strong for the Pats, but then by the end of the year was an afterthought in their offense. Focus and staying on the field are two big concerns about Stallworth.
Is he really worth it?: Kawika Mitchell – Let me see if I get this right, last offseason Mitchell signed a one-year deal, making $1 mil with the Giants. Then, after an okay season, 87 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one pick, the Bills rush right out and throw at him a five-year deal worth $17.5 mil with a $3.5 mil signing bonus. Yes, he’s only 28, but at the same time, this seemed to be another panic signing by a team that should have taken a look around before totally overspending for this average player.