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NFL 2009 Free Agency: Winners & Losers

Football ManiaxsSenior Writer IMarch 4, 2009

 

The NFL free agency period is in full spin.

This is the exciting, or depressing, time of the year when teams either sign big name players, or lose stars to other teams. As usual, there was a lot of movement on the opening weekend of free agency. There are more signings to come, but the early part is proving to be exciting.

We're still waiting to know the fate of Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, LaDainian Tomlinson, Chad Johnson, and Plaxico Burress among others.

Remember that with 32 teams in the NFL, I can't mention every signing that every team made. I tried to balance out my choices among the various divisions and talk about the signings that could have an impact.

Who are the five teams that I think did very well for themselves and the five teams that I think needed to do better?

Winners


1) Kansas City Chiefs:
I think the Kansas City Chiefs have established themselves as the big winner of free agency.

Not only do they add a potential franchise quarterback in Matt Cassel, but they also added a veteran linebacker (Mike Vrabel) to their front seven. All for the price of the 34th pick in the draft. That’s a very cheap price to pay to add talent of that caliber.

Tyler Thigpen did some good things last year. He had 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also had a 54.8 completion percentage and 76.0 QB rating. Could he have improved on that total? Absolutely. But could they just go into the season with Brodie Croyle as their only insurance policy? No way.

If Cassel shows what he showed in New England last year, it is most likely going to be better than what Thigpen brings to the table. Either way, the Chiefs should have improved play at the quarterback spot.

Tony Gonzalez said he would consider staying with the Chiefs and backing off trade demands if they showed they were committed to improving the team. Bringing in Matt Cassel goes a long way toward doing that. So does bringing in Matt Vrabel.

Vrabel will be 34-years-old when the season begins. However, he brings three Super Bowl rings from his Patriots days, and is just a year removed from 12.5 sacks. He brings leadership to a defense that is starving for it.

Let’s not forget the Chiefs still have the third pick in the draft. They can use that to select an offensive lineman. They can go with more defense to bolster the front seven. They can use that on Michael Crabtree to give Cassel another quality target to go with Dwayne Bowe and Gonzalez.

We might still see the Chiefs add some cheaper veteran players as free agency progresses. Right now, they have improved their team drastically for a very cheap price. A great job for a team that has been at the bottom over the last two years. This could be the move that rejuvenates this franchise...

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