I’m not clairvoyant so picking winners and loser in free agency thus far is the equivalent of picking red or black at the roulette table at 2 in the morning. I could be right, but chances are whatever I think I know will change come opening day.
I can only base my opinions off of what I know from experience, or what I think I know from watching the same teams make the same mistakes year after year. Like how the Oakland Raiders constantly pick up free agents from the New York Giants only to watching them drain them of cap space and fade off into second and third string purgatory on another team.
That being said this is my winners and loser of free agency so far.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is the first off season that Lovie Smith and Jason Licht get together with the Buccaneers and they are sure making it worth it. They’ve managed to bring in DE Michael Johnson, OT Anthony Collins, CB Alterraun Verner and DT Clinton McDonald, four players who should make an impact in their respective positions.
You would think that those four moves would have been the biggest headlines to come out of Tampa Bay so far this off season, but nope.
The first move I’ll start with is the one I actually question why. Now I understand why they brought in quarterback Josh McCown, but to name him the starter over Mike Glennon before he even signed on the dotted line is a resume statement I can’t get behind. Smith isn’t an offensive guru, but he should know better. I liked what Glennon had to offer and I think with time he could be legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL, but we might have to put all that on ice for now.
Did I mention that Tampa Bay brought in tight end Brandon Myers…so yeah not everything they are doing is all candy canes and gumdrops, but you have to take the good with the bad much like the next move.
Darrelle Revis was set to make $16 million, if you are willing to pay a man $16 million I will not call him overpaid, but the Bucs weren’t willing to make it rain on Revis Island so they sent him packing. I get it they tried to trade him but no one was going to take on all of that. Also financially after signing Verner it doesn’t make sense to keep Revis around with that kind of price tag. (Spoiler alert the team that signed Revis is also a winner) I’m not going to say that Smith and company didn’t take a gamble by letting him walk, because they did…but it could be for the better.
One thing is for sure this team, on paper, looks a hell of a lot more competitive than they did last season.
Winner: Denver Broncos
Let’s be honest losing Eric Decker didn’t hurt the Broncos as much as it helped the Jets by gaining him. They still have Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, and Demaryius Thomas and not to mention Andre Caldwell isn’t too shabby.
Sure they might want to beef up their offensive line a tad; they’ve done a number on their defense. It seems the Broncos took an honest look in the mirror and went after some serious needs. While they let veteran cornerback Champ Bailey walk prior to the start of free agency the seemed to do alright at finding his replacement. The signing of Aqib Talib seemed like the perfect chest move by John Elway and company, at the time. They were able to take away a key piece from a direct competitor, granted that void was later filled by a better player.
Denver didn’t stop there, they continued to load up on defensive talent signing defensive end DeMarcus Ware and safety T.J. Ward both considered top free agents. The Broncos have let some talent walk, but I have a feeling aren’t finished just yet.
Losers: Cowboys defensive line
The salary cap can be your friend or it can be you enemy, as is the case for the Dallas Cowboys. They were forced by the almighty hand of the salary cap to cut Pro-Bowl DE DeMarcus Ware and let defensive tackle Jason Hatcher walk (unfortunately for them he ended up signing with rival Washington Redskins).
Have no fear they signed someone who couldn’t even start for the 4-12 Jaguars last year in Jeremy Mincey. Chances are depending on how they draft Mincey might get called upon to start. Another high profile name the Cowboys signed is Terrell McClain a defensive lineman who couldn’t start for the 2-16 Houston Texans.
Don’t worry Cowboy fans they have shown interest in former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, no really they might look to add the former first round pick as a backup for Romo. Honestly the Cowboys are trying but with little space to move its hard for them to make an impact, the draft should shine a little bit of light on them
Winner: Darrell Revis
I’ve been picking teams so far but let’s be real this guy is the winner more so than the Patriots are right now. With a guy like Vince Wilfork asking for a release, it’s hard for me to call them winners. Sure they’ve signed Revis, and will most likely get a 2015 compensatory draft pick for Talib’s departure, but Revis is getting paid.
This season alone he will make up to $12 million with the team, there is also an option in his contract for next year...priced at $20 million. To me that kind of money makes you a winner.
Lost in Translation
Oakland Raiders- That Roger Saffold mess would have them posted up in the loser corner but with the signings of Austin Howard, Justin Tuck, Tarrell Brown, Antonio Smith, and LaMarr Woodley it’s hard to call them losers. It’s also hard to call the Raiders winners given their track record so for now they are just lost in translation.
Cleveland Browns: Just like the Raiders the Browns are a team I’m just not ready to call a winner…but they could be. They added the right pieces all over the field and could very well be a quarterback away from winning the AFC North. Imagine that, the Browns in the playoffs.
Jaguars: I put them here because their offensive prevents them from being a winner, but their defense has me thinking sleeper team. It’s no secret that Gus Bradley is a defensive minded coach and if he can keep luring in the Seahawks free agents he might be able to recreate at least some of the magic in Seattle.
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