MMQB - Yes - Peter King

I was going to put this in a fanshot  - but thought that it might be a better fit here..... read on

I was thinking about all the cautionary tales we'd heard about free agency, about how even though the NFL was killing the salary cap, most every team was going to sit back and let the market settle because the pool of available players was so weak. No fourth- or fifth-year unrestricted free agents, which took 212 players off the market. And other than Julius Peppers, no real stars to throw sick money.

Well, nothing changed. Absolutely nothing.

Look at the number of players earning at least $2 million a year who changed teams on day one of free agency in 2009 versus 2010:

Day 1 Signings (2009) Old Team New Club Day 1 Signings (2010) Old Team New Club
DT Albert Haynesworth Titans Redskins DE Julius Peppers Panthers Bears
TE Chris Baker Jets Patriots TE Brandon Manumaleuna Chargers Bears
S Renaldo Hill Dolphins Broncos RB Chester Taylor Vikings Bears
WR Jabar Gaffney Patriots Broncos DE Kyle Vanden Bosch Titans Lions
C Jason Brown Ravens Rams WR Nate Burleson Seahawks Lions
RB Fred Taylor Jaguars Patriots QB A.J. Feeley Panthers Rams
OL Stacy Andrews Bengals Eagles CB Dunta Robinson Texans Falcons
S Brian Dawkins Eagles Broncos DT Justin Bannan Ravens Broncos
LB Michael Boley Falcons Giants S Antrel Rolle Cardinals Giants
LB Bart Scott Ravens Jets LB Karlos Dansby Cardinals Dolphins
n/a n/a n/a CB Nathan Jones Dolphins Broncos
Day 1 Trades (2009) Old Team New Club Day 1 Trades (2010) Old Team New Club
#LB Mike Vrabel Patriots Chiefs *CB Antonio Cromartie Chargers Jets
TE Kellen Winslow Browns Buccaneers WR Anquan Boldin Cardinals Ravens
n/a n/a n/a DT Corey Williams Browns Lions
* - Trade actually completed at 10:45 p.m. Thursday, 75 minutes before free agency opened
# - Trade included QB Matt Cassel, but that part of it wasn't announced until Day 2

What changed? Nothing that I see. Two big defensive linemen, Haynesworth and Peppers. Two big linebackers, Scott and Dansby. Two fading backs, Taylor and Taylor. Two name safeties, Dawkins and Rolle. A few trades, none earthshaking. Good teams knew which important players to keep. Indianapolis kept an offensive cornerstone, center Jeff Saturday, last year, and a defensive leader, Gary Brackett, this year.

One more point about the value of splurging: In 2008, as a precursor to their Super Bowl seasons, Arizona and Pittsburgh signed no one from other teams in the first two days of free agency. In 2009, as a precursor to their Super Bowl seasons, New Orleans and Indianapolis signed no one from other teams in the first two days of free agency.

That's the thing about free agency: We celebrate it like it's a huge event, like if you get nothing done the opening 72 hours, your season's down the drain. Bills fans harmed themselves over the weekend. Bucs fan are mutinous. On Sunday afternoon, Washington GM Bruce Allen put free agency in perspective quite well, saying, "Free agency isn't a day, and it's not a weekend. We think free agency runs 'til the first day of training camp. Let's see who you have a couple of months from now, not just who you have after a couple of days. What difference does it make when you sign them, if they help you?''

I don't want to over-chart you, but check out this list of the top-paid wide receivers in free agency last year, and what happened to them:


Free Agent Wide Receivers On The Open Market
Player Team 2009 Earnings Receptions Yards TDs 2010 Team
Antonio Bryant Buccaneers $9.8 million 39 600 4 Unemployed
Laveranues Coles Bengals $9.75 million 43 514 5 Unemployed
Nate Washington Titans $7.8 million 47 569 6 Titans
Michael Clayton Buccaneers $7.5 million 16 230 1 Bucs
T.J. Houshmandzadeh Seahawks $7.5 million 79 911 3 Seahawks
Terrell Owens Bills $6.5 million 55 825 5 Unemployed
Brandon Jones 49ers $5.4 million 1 18 0 49ers
Torry Holt Jaguars $3.5 million 51 722 0 Unemployed


Eight players who struck it rich, who combined to earn $58 million last year -- and none of the eight made the Pro Bowl, none of them had 80-catch seasons.

There's a clarion call out there, and it's screaming: Free agency is vastly overrated.


Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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