Free Agency Initial Impressions

Generally, my free agent assessments come later in the spring after I’ve had a chance to break down the film (my film study starts next week). But the buzz is loudest right now. So, that said, here are some initial impressions on the NFL’s big offseason moves thus far.

Albert Haynesworth – Washington Redskins

Dan Snyder has done it yet again. And that’s not a good thing. Since Snyder bought the team, the Redskins have made a habit of signing overpriced free agents. How has it worked out?

Haynesworth is potentially the most dominant defensive player in the NFL. But what people seem to forget is that for the first five seasons of his career, he was an underachieving first-round draft pick. It wasn’t until he reached a contract year in ’07 that he exploded. He topped his ’07 season with a career-year in ’08 – another contract year, of course.

Haynesworth has the tools to thrive, but with a record $41 million guaranteed, it’s doubtful the motivation will be there. Even before he signed, Haynesworth raised some red flags in my eyes by saying “I just want some money.”

DeAngelo Hall – Washington Redskins

I find it hard to believe that there were other teams out there willing to pay Hall anywhere near $15 million in guarantees. Washington gave him $23 million. Hall is a great talent…if he’s playing zone coverage.

Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel – Kansas City Chiefs

My initial impression was that New England should have gotten more than just the 34th overall pick in the draft. But keep this in mind that the man pulling the trigger in Kansas City is new GM Scott Pioli, who just came over from the Patriots. If you’re New England, negotiating with Pioli would be like playing poker against someone who can see your cards. The Pats deserve the benefit of the doubt that they got all the value they could for Cassel. Vrabel, by the way, is probably crushed about getting dealt to a rebuilding franchise at this point in his career. His acquisition suggests that Kansas City will be switching to a 3-4 defense in 2009.

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