2012 NFL Free Agency: 5 Teams That Will Need to Make a Big Splash
NFL free agency.
For some, it is a possible panacea—an opportunity to find that one missing piece.
For others, it turns into a nightmare as high-profile signings lead to high expectations and then utter disappointment (read: Philadelphia Eagles).
Regardless of the potential risks, there are several teams that need to make a big splash in free agency this offseason, whether it be to reload, retool or rebuild.
New England Patriots
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It might seem a bit odd that a 12-3 team is the first team on this list. The reason for its inclusion can be boiled down to one man—Tom Brady.
You see, the New England Patriots have a finite amount of time left with arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history. At 34 years old, Brady isn't getting any younger.
Therefore, the Patriots need to add a couple of players on both sides of the ball to maximize the amount of time they have left with Brady.
Defensively, they need to add someone in the secondary. The whole unit is a mess.
The Patriots defense ranks last in the NFL in total yards per game (412), yards per play (6.2) and passing yards per game (254). The unit also ranks 29th in the NFL in third-down conversion (44 percent).
Offensively, the unit is one of the best, yet still doesn't have that deep threat. Whether the team re-signs Wes Welker, it should go after a deep-threat in the offseason.
Since Bill Belichick likes working with players with baggage, he should go after Cortland Finnegan (Tennessee Titans) and DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles) to shore up his offensive and defensive units, respectively.
Finnegan can add that toughness that the defense is lacking and Jackson can bring the speed that the offense needs. Plus, both players might be available on the cheap because of their little preseason hissy fits.
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It's hard to believe how quickly the Indianapolis Colts have gone from perennial playoff team to bottom-feeder of the NFL.
Whether it's Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck or Bert Jones taking the snaps, the Colts need to find new center to replace the ancient Jeff Saturday who is 36 years old.
Nick Hardwick (San Diego Chargers) might be a good fit here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Raheem Morris is likely to be history as head coach of the Tampa Buccaneers. The days of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being a dominant defense are also history. The triumvirate of Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch has been replaced by Larry, Curly and Moe.
The Bucs defense ranks dead last in the NFL in points allowed per game (29.9). It also ranks 30th in yards allowed per game (392.2) and 24th in passing yards allowed per game (242.5).
If Mario Williams (Houston Texans) doesn’t get the franchise tag, the Bucs could go after him or Robert Mathis (Indianapolis Colts) to bolster the defensive line.
Finnegan or Carlos Rogers (San Francisco 49ers) could be courted to strengthen the secondary if available.
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If Blaine Gabbert is the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars, then the team needs to surround him with players.
To call the Jaguars offensive pathetic is an insult to the word "pathetic." The unit ranked dead last in the NFL in points per game (14.9), yards per play (4.1) and passing yards per game (140.5).
A deep threat like Jackson or a steady guy like Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints) could go along with Maurice Jones-Drew to give the Jags some firepower.
Jermichael Finley (Green Bay Packers) could also be brought in as a binky.
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What's NFL free agency without Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins doing something absolutely mind-boggling?
Look for Snyder for overpay some aging payer way past his prime and unable to contribute anything significant to the team.
I'm betting on Matt Birk (Baltimore Ravens) for that role.