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There he is again
1) Teams with full cupboards and winning records will draft for quality and depth. They will also get selectively raided by teams that need a few good pieces.
This is the New York Giants, who may lose Mario Manningham and Osi Umenyiora. They will draft a bunch of linemen on both sides of the ball and sprinkle in some backup running backs and wide receivers with potential.
2) Teams who think they need a few good pieces to get over the top will search for veterans who were successful in a different system and hope for the best.
The Patriots have now acquired free agent WRs Randy Moss, Deion Branch (this time) and Chad whatever-he’s-going-by-these-days. Except for picking up Wes Welker, this has been a disaster.
There are no shortage of WRs who will line up to catch passes from Tom Brady, so some trades will materialize. Particularly current Rams WR Brandon Lloyd.
New England may wait and trade for a few cheaper prospects a la Welker. But they need to try again for a deep threat. Preferably one with a bit more stable psyche than Mr. Moss.
3) Teams that are the NFL version of Swiss cheese will go back to the drawing board. They will reach in the draft and dump expensive veterans who have anything left in the tank.
The Indianapolis Colts are cleaning house. I doubt that any of the premier free agents will be back “in the horseshoe” in 2012.
Take Reggie Wayne. You really don’t want to be an upper-30s wide receiver on a team that might as well put up its own billboard announcing that it is in rebuilding mode. Pierre Garcon and Robert Mathis will follow Wayne out the door.
Behind them will be every decent veteran. Within two years, the horseshoe will fit on an entirely new set of Colts.
First to go may be center Jeff Saturday. Hopefully, he’ll land with you-know-who somewhere and play another couple of seasons. But he has made quite a few television appearances and his invaluable contribution to the lockout negotiations may even lead Saturday in an entirely different direction.
Offensive lineman Ryan Diem is 32 years old. Start packing.
Pro Bowl pass-rusher Dwight Freeney and DB Antoine Bethea should leave now while they can still start elsewhere.
This carousel of win, lose, draft, trade ultimately determines a franchise’s success. The Pittsburgh Steelers are at a tipping point. They must get the next generation in place for all three levels of the defense and they are in danger of losing one of the fastest wide receivers in the NFL.
In typical Steelers fashion, the team has wasted no time in restructuring the contracts of essential veterans Ben Roethslisberger, Willie Colon, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley. So now they can take care of those missing (or aging) pieces.
Several years ago, when Tony Dungy first retired from coaching, Bob Costas asked him on NBC’s Sunday Night Football if he had a different perspective on the game.
Dungy new viewpoint is that, when you are in the game, it is too easy to be distracted by great individual talent when what ultimately matters is overall franchise structure and quality.
He hastened to add that, of course, he would never have turned down the opportunity to coach. . .Peyton Manning.
Google “franchise stability” and the Steelers come up. Really. It does. And people wonder why they are in the Super Bowl twice a decade.
Perhaps the Steelers, Patriots, Packers and Giants could hold class for the Browns, Raiders and Redskins. No, I guess not.
As for Peyton Manning, please check out my Huffington Post article on No. 18 and Mr. Irsay's boxing match.
Or, check out what the NFL Combine and Miss America have in common.