I'm sick and tired of "die-hard" fans moaning and groaning about their team not signing the biggest, best, costliest free agent on the market. Seems like everyone's complaining that their team is tight and not willing to spend the money necessary to bring a Super Bowl to their hometown.
I myself am guilty of being cynical, too; but I have realized something that a lot of successful teams have already figured out. You don't win championships through free agency. You win championships through the NFL Draft.
Sporting News reports that of the players on the six teams that have won championships this decade, 220 have been selected to the Pro Bowl. And of those 220, an overwhelming 185 were still on the team that originally drafted them.
That's a staggering 84 percent. Wow.
And every player named to the Pro Bowl from the Colts this decade was drafted by the Colts. That's 39 of 39, or 100 percent. That should tell us something.
Players that are available in free agency are available for a reason. Great players are offered extensions before free agency is an option. Solid O-line or D-line men are rarely available, because their teams lock them up with their first chance.
More often than not, if a player is allowed to go into free agency, there's something about him that led his team to decide that was the right thing to do. Was he disgruntled? Was he injured? Was he not worth as much as he thought he was? Was he a casualty of the salary cap?
The Washington Redskins illustrate perfectly that free agency does not guarantee championships. Instead of an infusion of talent, what they get via the market is someone else's problem at a very high price.
The "contract year breakout" is also something teams should become more perceptive of. The number of guys who do phenomenally to earn some guaranteed money and then quit is ridiculous. It happens every year!
Since I am a member of Chief Nation, they are the team on my mind.
Do I want them to go out and prove to me that they are doing all they can to make the team better?
YES, but I know now that the way for them to do that is through the draft.
Use free agency to fill holes and add depth. Find players yet to reach their full potential. Sign veterans to fill holes.
Do not spend millions on the best available! Save that money to sign draft picks and build your team from the inside-out, not the outside-in.
History and the numbers do not lie: Homegrown talent brings rings.