Winners and Losers of NFL Free Agency So Far

Matt CullenAnalyst IMarch 2, 2009

Only a few days into free agency, but so much has happened. The best defensive player in the league has a new team, one of the three star Ravens LBs has a new team, Matt Cassel has been traded, Jay Cutler reportedly almost traded, and as awkward as it feels, Fred Taylor and Brian Dawkins will officially be suiting up for different teams.

More big names are still out there such as Ray Lewis, Kurt Warner, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Derrick Ward, Derrick Brooks, and Jeff Garcia, as well as possible trades involving Anquan Boldin or Julius Peppers.

Here is a quick look though at the winners and losers of free agency so far.


Washington Redskins

I like Jason Campbell's arm and I think he has better targets to throw to than are given credit. Daniel Snyder, known by many to be a younger and similarly nutty version of Jerry Jones, is making the right move signing Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $110 million contract.

As shown by the Pittsburgh Steelers this past year, if you can develop the best defense in the league, you will find yourselves in any game.

The Washington Redskins will obviously have to prove it on the field whether they have the best defense in the league but when you have a top five defense already, you sign an unstoppable DT in Albert Haynesworth, and your one issue was pressuring the QB...well, you are beginning to make your case right there.

Expect Haynesworth to be worth about eight sacks by himself, free up Andre Carter on one end to have a comeback season and maybe even Jason Taylor too.

The Washington Redskins' defense just got a whole lot scarier.

Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel for only a second-round pick? It's hard to believe that the Patriots wouldn't be able to get more for the two men than that, but that's how it went down.

I sense some skepticism about how Cassel will do leaving New England, I think he will be very good still throwing to Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. Scott Pioli seems to be turning the 2-14 Chiefs into a contender overnight.

Denver Broncos

Quietly putting together a pretty good secondary signing a warrior and future Hall of Famer in Brian Dawkins as well picking up Renaldo Hill from Miami.

Denver has also signed RB Correll Buckhalter, WR Jabar Gaffney, and appear to be close to signing Derrick Ward as well.

Jay Cutler may not be the happiest camper in the world right now hearing that the franchise QB may have been traded but I expect this situation to be happy.

To sum things up right now in the AFC West; it still sucks to be a Raiders fan.


Philadelphia Eagles

Jeffrey Lurie should not feel safe walking in the streets of Philadelphia. The Eagles have taken advantage of being $40 million under the cap by:

1. Letting the heart and soul of the defense Brian Dawkins jump ship to Denver.

2. Trading Lito Sheppard.

3. Appearing to now be out of the running to sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

If this is how you go about trying to sell Donovan McNabb that you are trying to win now, well I suggest you try something else. It has been a dark weekend in the City of Brotherly Love.

New York Giants

I see a difference between the Washington Redskins signing the best defensive player in the league for $100 million to fix their one weakness on defense when their big need (Offensive line) probably should be addressed more-so through the draft.

The New York Giants signing two DTs that are solid at best (one transitioning from DE) at $58 million to be a part of a rotation of defensive lineman where they were already strongest while their biggest weakness (Wide Receiver) stares them in the face in the form of T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Is the Giants' defense better this today than it was last week? Absolutely, and it sure is hard to criticize Jerry Reese with what he has done, but I think their money could have been better spent elsewhere.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This last spot was hard, thought about Houston who traded the guy that I think was their best QB on the roster in Sage Rosenfels and replaced him with Dan Orlofsky.

Ultimately though, I am going with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; it's hard to believe that this team was 9-3 at one point during this past season.

They did trade for the very talented TE Kellen Winslow Jr. but they now have no QB to throw to him as it appears that Jeff Garcia is done there, Warrick Dunn is gone leaving them with just Cadillac and and Earnest Graham at RB (Both coming off season-ending surgeries), they cut ties with WR Joey Galloway, as well as LBs Derrick Brooks and Cato June.

Jim Bates is very capable of building this defense up once again but for now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be a non-factor in the NFC South.


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