NFL Free Agency 2012: Report Card Grades for the 5 Biggest Deals

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The NFL’s annual free-agent shopping spree has shifted into low gear and the rush to judgment is on.

So, did I get there first?

In other words, take these grades with proper perspective, and understand that they will change depending on how teams draft and otherwise complete their rosters.

Right now, we’re looking at these deals in something of a vacuum—comparing each player’s relative merits to what the market says they’re worth. When we mix in a bit of context, we do so with caution, knowing full well it could do a 180 in the coming months.

All that as disclaimer, what do I look for in a free-agent deal?

Money. Fit. Flexibility.

It sounds simple. A team’s goal in free agency should be to get a player at or below market value that both fills a pressing need and offers them financial flexibility long term.

If only it were that easy.

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