2009 NFL's Free Agency Winners and Losers

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2009 NFL's Free Agency Winners and Losers
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

On March 3, I wrote an article recapping the big winners and losers of free agency for the opening weekend.

Now that a month has passed since free agency opened and most of the desirable players were signed, I am ready to hand down my final verdict.

No grades, this is a pass/fail class. Some of the teams are going to be the same and some are going to be different. Let’s start with my five winners.


Winners

1) New York Giants:  I love what the New York Giants have done this offseason. Their top priority had to be keeping Brandon Jacobs. He is the heart and soul of their dominant run offense. They were able to lock him up a four-year $25 million contract, which was huge.

That allowed them to part ways with Derrick Ward, who played big for them the last two years, but was replaceable. Having Ahmad Bradshaw gives them good running back depth.

Then they went out and dramatically improved a defense that was already one of the best in the NFL. They signed DT Rocky Bernard, DE Chris Canty, and LB Michael Boley to contracts. They also have Osi Umenyiora coming back from knee injuries.

These additions are going to help DE Justin Tuck stay fresh all season and are going to make one of the premier defenses in the NFL that much better.

The only concern on defense is that Steve Spagnuolo is now with the Rams as their head coach. New defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has been with the team as a linebacker coach since 2005 and has a lot of experience with the system.

He should be a good fit for the Giants and with the talent he has to work with should be able to keep the good times rolling.

Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin have done an excellent job of drafting in recent years. The New York Giants have the 29th, 45th, 60th, 91st, and 100th picks in the NFL draft. They could use some more secondary depth on defense.

They also have to address the wide receiver position, with Plaxico Burress' future in doubt. His court hearing has now been pushed back to the middle of June. Burress playing football in 2009 looks like less of a reality by the day. No one really stepped up in his absence last year. They need more talent there.

They might be able to work out an Anquan Boldin trade with those picks or use them to find some solid young players in the draft. With those picks, they are in great position to improve on a team that was 12-4 in 2008 and dominated the NFC until the last month of the season.

The Giants look to be one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, thanks to a free agency period that saw them really upgrade the defensive side of the ball.

2) Kansas City Chiefs: Last offseason did not have a good feel for Kansas City Chiefs fans. While they arguably had the best draft in the NFL, it came at the expense of trading Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings.

The result was a team that got younger, but not better. The Chiefs got worse in 2008, going from 4-12 in 2007 to 2-14 in 2008. As a result, Scott Pioli replaced Carl Peterson as GM and Pioli replaced head coach Herman Edwards with Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley to mark a new era in Kansas City.

The Chiefs have been busy ever since. They acquired QB Matt Cassel and LB Mike Vrabel for a second round pick from the New England Patriots. Cassel gives them a quarterback that they can build around, and Vrabel gives them veteran leadership on a young defense.

Some teams would have stopped there, but the Chiefs have made some under-the-radar moves. They signed G Mike Goff away from the Chargers to improve an offensive line that is among the worst in the NFL since Willie Roaf and Will Shields retired.  It makes them better and hurts division rival San Diego.

They signed Bobby Engram and Terrance Cooper to improve a wide receiver corps that, with the exception of Dwayne Bowe, was absolutely abysmal in 2008.

The Chiefs still have some issues to resolve. Tony Gonzalez is not happy and is still requesting a trade. Larry Johnson is still with the team, but many are speculating he won’t be back.

Keeping Gonzalez has to be a priority. Without him, Bowe remains their only really dangerous target and that would really hurt Cassel’s ability to move the ball through the air.

The Chiefs have a good draft situation. They have the third, 67th, and 102nd pick in the draft and have resolved their QB situation. They can either trade down from the third pick and acquire additional picks, or they can draft a stud at the top of the draft and maybe find another starter or two with those lower picks.

Few teams can find a player like Matt Cassel in free agency and keep their first round pick. The Chiefs look to be in excellent shape to improve their team in 2009 and possibly compete in an AFC West that was pretty mediocre last year, with San Diego winning the division at 8-8 in the final game of the season.

3) New York Jets: I think they did a great job in free agency. They started by hiring a star defensive coordinator in Rex Ryan as head coach. Then they added a number of quality players to a defense that was in need of an overhaul.

DE Marques Douglas, DT Howard Green, ILB Bart Scott, LB Larry Izzo, FS Jim Leonhard, CB Lito Sheppard, CB Donald Strickland were all acquired during the 2009 offseason.

Helping matters further, Douglas, Scott, and Leonhard all played for Ryan when he was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore.

That gives him an amount of good players who are familiar with his system, which should also help the returning players for the Jets to pick up Ryan’s new system.

The Jets were a mixed bag on defense last year. They had the seventh ranked rush defense, ranked sixth in rushing touchdowns allowed, and seventh in rushing yards per attempt allowed.

They were a respectable 18th in points allowed, and 16th in yards allowed. Not great, but it gives Ryan something to work with. They also recorded 40 sacks.

The problem was that they couldn’t stop the pass. They were 29th in yards allowed and 23rd in touchdown passes allowed. Quarterbacks averaged an 86.2 QB rating against them, which is too high.

Scott and Shepherd figure to step in and be immediate starters. The other players may compete for starting jobs, but if nothing else will add critical depth.

The Jets have a much-improved defense going into the 2009 season. They have the talent in place to be a Top 10 defense.

The problem going forward for the Jets is on offense. Brett Favre is no longer the quarterback. That leaves Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff to fight it out for the starting job.

Ratliff has yet to throw a NFL regular season pass. Clemens has a career rating of 59.3 with five career touchdowns and 11 picks. It is as weak of a quarterback situation as any team in the NFL.

The Jets also lost several offensive weapons. WR Laveranues Coles was released and has since signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. TE Chris Baker was cut and signed by the New England Patriots. TE Bubba Franks has not yet been resigned.

That leaves Jerricho Cotchery as the No. 1 receiver, Chansi Stuckey as the No. 2 receiver, and Dustin Keller as the tight end. That is probably one of the weaker starting units at wide receiver in the NFL.

Those offensive losses offset some of the gains they had on defense. That is going to put a lot of pressure on 31-year old Thomas Jones to repeat his 290 carries for 1,312 yard and 13 rushing touchdowns.

Jones is not happy about his contract and his protesting by skipping voluntary workouts.

While his numbers increased due to the additions on the offensive line in 2008, it also improved because defenses were worried about Brett Favre in the passing game. If they do not add anyone else, teams should be able to put eight in the box to stop Jones.

The Jets aren’t going to be the favorites to win the AFC East. However, they really didn’t have a lot of avenues to improve the offense in free agency, so they did the best that they could and really improved their defense.

With the 17th, 52nd, and 76th picks in the draft, they figure to be able to address the quarterback and receiver positions. The only promising QB on the market was Cassel, and the Patriots were not going to trade him to the Jets.

If the Jets use those draft picks right, they might be able to contend for a wild card spot in 2009. Jets’ fans should be happy about that, considering how their season ended last year.

 

4) Dallas Cowboys: I think the Cowboys are finally starting to get some things when it comes to building a team. Instead of trying to sign the big free agents at top dollars, they are making the smaller moves that help win championships.

They signed DE Igor Olshansky, who has experience in the 3-4 with Wade Phillips when he was in San Diego.

They signed LB Keith Brooking away from the Falcons. He is a five-time Pro Bowler that is getting up in age. He will turn 34 in October, but he still had 102 tackles for the Falcons in 2008.

Then they traded for veteran QB Jon Kitna, which is huge if Tony Romo gets hurt. They couldn't afford to have Brad Johnson backing up Romo again. That was a disaster that really hurt them for three weeks in 2008.

to billsThe next thing they did was start subtracting negative personalities from the locker room. Adam “PacMan” Jones was the first to go. He was released on Feb. 9.

Terrell Owens was the next to go. The Cowboys cut him on March 4.

Finally, they axed SS Roy Williams. Williams is a five-time Pro Bowler, but had become a liability in pass coverage in recent years and was injured much of last season.

He has been unhappy for sometime and granting his release request was probably in the best interest of the club.

It did hurt that they not only lost DE Chris Canty, but also that they lost him to division rival New York. It hurt that they traded their first round pick in 2008 for WR Roy Williams. That leaves them without a first round pick in 2009.

That said, the Cowboys had two first round picks in 2008 that produced promising young players RB Felix Jones and CB Mike Jenkins.

They still have the 51st, 69th, and 101st picks in the draft. Dallas is relatively young at many positions and really didn’t need to obtain a lot of talent in the draft to be competitive in 2009.

Its main goal in 2009 was improving the locker room and signing some solid character veteran players. They get an A-plus for that.

The team still has a lot of talent on the roster and should be able to compete with the New York Giants for a division title. Hopefully for the Cowboys, those additions by subtraction will pay off this year.

5) Denver Broncos: Anyone who has been reading my column knows that I have been pretty critical of the Denver Broncos for the way they have handled the Jay Cutler situation.

While I believe that Cutler deserves some blame for what has transpired in Denver, I think that rookie GM Brian Xanders and rookie head coach Josh McDaniels have done an awful job in the way they handled this since the botched trade.

It makes me wonder if getting rid of Mike Shanahan was really that good of an idea. Had they handled this correctly, I probably would have the Denver Broncos towards the top of my list.

Regardless of what you think about Shanahan no longer being there or the Cutler mess, there is no denying that the Broncos have added a lot of talented players in the offseason.

The Broncos have added a lot of running back talent. J.J. Arrington comes over from Arizona and gives them help as a receiving back and a return specialist. Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan will compete for the starting running back job.

Chris Simms gives them a solid back up in case Cutler goes down with an injury or is traded. WR Jabar Gaffney gives them another weapon in the passing game.

On defense, the big addition was safety Brian Dawkins. He brings a veteran presence to the secondary. They also added DT Ronald Fields, DT Darrell Reid, LB Andra Davis, CB Andre Goodman, and FS Ronaldo Hill. That should help improve a defense that performed terribly in 2008.

They still have some holes to fill. They cut CB Dre Bly, DE John Engelberger, and DT Dewayne Robertson. Those were necessary moves, but they still have to find replacements.

They also have some high draft picks. They have the 12th, 48th, and 79th picks in the draft. They have to concentrate on adding some size on their defensive line. They also need some help at the linebacker spot.

However, so far in free agency, they have added a lot of quality players to both sides of the ball. It should make them a better team in 2009, provided Cutler stays with the club.

If they can resolve their squabble with Jay Cutler or work out a trade that gets them Brady Quinn and another high draft choice, they may be in position to compete in the AFC West in 2009.

You can’t lose in the hype of the Jay Cutler controversy the fact that they added a lot of good veteran players who will help the team improve in 2009.

Now here are my five losers of the NFL Free Agency Period. That doesn't mean they have to pack in their 2009 season. It means they have to hope they have good depth in place and that they have a lot of work to do in the April NFL draft.

 

 
Losers

1) Baltimore Ravens: This is a team that has been really depleted by free agency defections and salary-cap related releases.

ryanThe offseason started with them losing defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to the New York Jets. They signed Ravens Linebackers Coach Mike Pettine to be his defensive coordinator.

Then the Ravens players started defecting. ILB Bart Scott signed with the New York Jets to have FS Jim Leonhard and DE Marques Douglas join him. Then CB Corey Ivy signed with the Cleveland Browns. CB Chris Carr signed with the Titans.

They cut CB Samari Rolle and Chris McAllister to save cap space. Finally, K Mark Stover, who has been their only kicker in franchise history, is not going to be with the team as they have decided to go in a different direction.

Some of these moves were not that surprising. The Ravens knew they had to invest a lot of money in Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. They also made some good moves by signing Matt Birk at center, L.J. Smith at tight end, Domonique and Foxworth at CB. They have added some talent this offseason.

The idea is that a defense with S Ed Reed, MLB Ray Lewis, DE / OLB Terrell Suggs, and DT Haloti Ngata is still going to be a pretty good unit.

McAllister and Rolle missed a lot of time with injuries last season. Ivy only started one game. The defense was fine without them for stretches last year and has players that can step in.

The problem is that even if getting rid of every player was the right move, their solid depth now becomes starters and the margin for error becomes thinner. Injuries that were survivable in 2008 might not be this year, because that depth is not as solid as it was last year.

Yes, the only players they lost who started more than 10 games were Scott and Leonhard, so they have the potential to retool the depth in the draft.

On the other hand, to lose five players from the secondary makes you wonder if they are going to lead the league in turnovers forced in 2009 no matter what they do in the draft.

The Ravens are still developing quarterback Joe Flacco. They are pretty strong on the offensive line and at running back, but need to find more explosive receivers and probably another tight end to complement a declining Todd Heap.

L.J. Smith was signed by the Ravens, but he has been very injury prone the last two years. I'm not very high on that signing as Smith appears to be another tight end in decline.

Instead of using their 26th, 57th, and 88th picks on offensive players to get them over the hump, they are probably going to have to use some of those picks to replace the players they lost in free agency and on players they had to release. 

I’m not saying the defense is crashing out of the Top 10. Ozzie Newsome has shown that he is more than capable of replacing players who leave. What I am saying is that this team was one game away from representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.

To expect them to take the jump to AFC Super Bowl representative with all the coaches and players they lost doesn’t seem realistic either. They don’t have much time left with Ray Lewis as the leader of this defense. They have no margin for error in the draft if they want to get back to where they were in 2008. 

 

2) Tennessee Titans: The Titans did have some successes in free agency. They were able to resign Kerry Collins at quarterback and added WR Nate Washington from the Steelers. He should help their thin wide receiver core.

They were also able to hang onto FS Vincent Fuller and P Craig Hentrich.

But the elephant in the room is: Where do the Titans go without the services of Albert Haynesworth, who left for Washington and a $100 million contract? The Titans arguably lost the best defensive tackle in all of football.

The Titans were the best regular season team in the NFL last year. They started the season 10-0 and finished with a league-best 13-3 record. They did that behind a defense that ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense.

They got there for two reasons. One was a very strong secondary that featured Pro Bowlers CB Cortland Finnegan and SS Chris Hope. FS Michael Griffin had seven picks. Nick Harper was also very solid.

The other reason they were successful was a defense anchored by Haynesworth and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The Titans still have talent on the defensive line. In addition to Vanden Bosch, Jerome Kearse is still there and Keith Bullock is a solid contributor from his linebacker spot. Tony Brown is a very solid DT.

They aren’t going to fall apart on defense because one player left, even a player with the talent of Albert Haynesworth. But those guys won’t have Haynesworth taking double teams in 2009, so their job is going to be much tougher.

The problem is that they lost in their first playoff game. They still need to get over that hump, having lost their first playoff game in both 2007 and 2008.

Pittsburgh, New England, Indianapolis, and San Diego all figure to be contenders again in 2009. The Miami Dolphins are getting better. The New York Jets have been busy in free agency.

The Ravens will still be a threat. Even the bottom of the division is improving. The Houston Texans seem to be getting better every year.

In a year where they needed to get better to compete in 2009, they got worse. Even if they slip from second to points allowed to 10th in points allowed, the difference between those two rankings last year was 5.6 points per game.

For an offense that only scored 23.4 points per game, that is a big deal. They are going to need everyone to step up on this team and improve.

They also need to hit a homerun in the draft if they want to contend in the AFC in 2009 without Haynesworth. A lot of things are going to have to go right for them to repeat as division champions in 2009.

3) Washington Redskins: There are two reasons I have the Redskins here. No. 1, they have done nothing to improve an offense that was among the least explosive in the NFL.

Their only signing was spending over $100 million to bring in Albert Haynesworth. Then they overpaid for DeAngelo Hall and resigned him to a six-year, $54 million contract.

Their other problem is that the Giants and Cowboys are both winners in my book, which means that two divisional rivals have gotten better in free agency and will probably continue to improve in the draft.

The Washington Redskins were 28th in points scored in 2008. They were also 23rd in passing yards, 26th in passing touchdowns, 25th in passing yards per attempt, and 22nd in rushing touchdowns.

Had it not been for Clinton Portis rushing for close to 1,000 yards in the first eight games, they probably would have been the worst offense in the NFL.

They averaged 12.5 points per game in the final eight games of the season. The Bengals finished the season scoring 12.8 points per game, which was 32nd in the NFL.  Without Portis, this team doesn’t start 6-2 in 2008.

Washington has so many questions on offense. Is Jason Campbell their quarterback of the future? Can they win with Santana Moss as their No. 1 receiver?

Will second-year players Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, and Malcolm Kelly turn into viable NFL targets? Is their offensive line still good enough?

Chris Samuels was hurt to end the season, Pete Kendall is 35 years old and a free agent, and Randy Thomas and Jon Jansen are both 32 years old.

The only certainty they have on offense is that Clinton Portis is a stud running back. The problem is that he turns 28-years old on Sept. 1 and has 2,052 carries for his NFL career.

Shaun Alexander is done as a NFL running back due to no mileage left on his tires. He has 2,187 career carries, or 135 more than Portis does.

Clinton Portis probably has one more good year left in him. He has 325 and 342 carries the last two years. You just can’t keep using a guy that much and not expect him to break down at his age.

If he breaks down, this team may not be able to score more than a touchdown a game. It probably would have made more sense to sign four or five mid-tier offensive players with a hard push towards T.J. Houshmandzadeh rather than going after Haynesworth.

While he definitely improves their defensive line and potentially increase their sack totals and interception totals in 2009, it won’t do much good if the offense doesn’t do better than 12.5 points per game.

4) Green Bay Packers: The division is there for the taking. The Detroit Lions finished 0-16 last year. The Bears were 9-7, but they are still trying to find a quarterback to compete with Kyle Orton for the starting job.

Other than Matt Forte and Greg Olson, they have very few weapons on offense. They seem to be going downhill since their 2006 Super Bowl season.

The Vikings tried to upgrade their quarterback position by trading for Sage Rosenfels. While they have a great front seven on defense, a fantastic offensive line, and Adrian Peterson, they are hardly the most formidable foe in the NFL with one of the weakest passing offenses in the NFL.

The Packers have an emerging star in Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. It is by far the best QB situation in the division.

The negative is that they were 6-10 with two of those wins against 0-16 Detroit. But the good news is that they were competitive in most of their losses.

They aren’t two or three years away from competing. A good offseason should get them right back into NFC North contention.

There is a good offensive foundation here that could be molded into division champions. In addition to Rodgers, Greg Jennings looks to be a stud at wide receiver. Ryan Grant, Donald Lee, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Brandon Jackson give Rodgers some good weapons.

This team needs to improve the offensive line with Mark Tauscher coming off injury and probably not going to be back with the team. They also need to retool a defense that was ravaged by injuries and inconsistent play. The secondary is getting old, with Woodson and Harris both in their 30s.

The good news is that the Packers have lots of cap room. According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, the Packers had roughly $36 million in cap room heading into the March free agency period.

So who did the Packers sign? S Anthony Smith. The same Anthony Smith that was put in his place by Tom Brady back in 2007 for being an idiot and running his mouth about stopping the Patriots offense and Randy Moss. They also retained restricted free agents CB Jarrett Bush, DE Jason Hunter, and DE Mike Montgomery.

I respect Ted Thompson for the value he puts on the NFL draft. The good teams are committed to hitting homeruns in the draft, not overpaying for every free agent out there. That said, the two biggest moves the Packers have made in the last 20 years are trading a first round pick for Brett Favre and signing Reggie White in free agency.

It is doubtful that the Packers would have made those moves with Ted at the helm. The cost of adding those players would have been too great for him.

This is the third straight year the Packers have been substantially under the cap and the youngest team in the NFL. Furthermore, they fired everyone not named Winston Moss on their defensive staff and brought in Dom Capers with the expectation of switching to a 3-4 defense.

Yet as of today, they have the same players on their roster that ran the 4-3 last year. They have not signed anyone that has front-seven experience in a 3-4. It appears the Packers are going to depend solely on the draft to make this transition.

It is a very disappointing turn of developments for Packer fans. You would think a GM with just one winning season in four, entering his fifth year, would be a little more aggressive and have more of a win-now approach.

It’s good that Ted isn’t bankrupting the franchise by overpaying for talent in a last-ditch effort to save his job. But it sure would be nice if he would sign somebody so that the Packers would be in better position to compete in a very winnable NFC North.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is a team that has gone through some major changes since a 0-4 collapse took them from 9-3 to outside of the NFC playoffs.

First, they fired Jon Gruden and hired 32-year old Raheem Morris, a coach who has one year of coordinator experience at Kansas State. Then they started going on a major youth movement with their players.

Jeff Garcia, Warrick Dunn, Ike Hilliard, and Joey Galloway were released in an attempt to get younger on offense. That makes Luke McCown the starter. McCown has been in the league since 2004 but has only nine career touchdowns and 10 career picks.

They actually did a good job of keeping the offensive competitive. Derrick Ward was signed to help the running game. Kellen Winslow was acquired in an attempt to get stronger at tight end, but they had to give up a second-round pick. They also resigned wide receivers Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton.

Where the changes really happened was on the defensive side of the ball. DT Jovan Hayne, DE Kevin Carter, OLB Derrick Brooks, OLB Patrick Chukwurah, OLB Cato June, and CB Phillip Buchanon were all released. The only players they replaced those guys with were Angelo Crowell from Buffalo and Niko Koutoutvides from Denver.

Some of these players had to be let go, especially on offense. The offense averaged only 22.6 points per game, which ranked 19th in the NFL.

Jeff Garcia is 39 years old and they can’t get to a Super Bowl with him. Warrick Dunn is going to be 34 years old. Signing Derrick Ward makes sense in that regard. Joey Galloway missed a lot of games and had only 13 catches on the season. I like those moves.

What I don’t like is that the defense was 10th in points allowed and ninth in yards allowed. They had one of the best pass defenses in the NFL and were a little light against the run.

Derrick Brooks made the Pro Bowl, but that was probably more of a reputation selection. Regardless, he was the leader of that defense.

Cato June is still 29 years old and could help the team win. I think they started releasing guys for the sake of getting younger without regard for what it did for their defense in 2009.

It seems hard to believe that with all those veteran guys gone that they can just plug in some draft picks and have the same Top 10 production. While players like DE Gaines Adams and LB Barrett Rudd are still young, Ronde Barber is the leader of their secondary at 34 years old. I expect this defense to drop to the middle of the pack in the NFL.

It looks more like a rebuilding effort than a retooling job. When you have a 9-7 team that crashed at the end of the season, it is bad enough. In a division where the Panthers were 12-4, the Falcons were 11-5, and the Saints were 8-8, it’s even worse.

They have a big question mark at quarterback, they still need receiver help, and they have a lot to replace on defense. That is too many questions in that division.

That’s also a lot of upgrades with limited draft picks. Tampa has the 19th, 81st, and 120th picks. Their second-round pick now belongs to Cleveland thanks to the Winslow trade.

They are probably looking at getting one, maybe two starters in the draft. We’ll see if that is going to be enough to compete in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.

That’s my take on the NFL free agency period. There are still some free agents left who may excite some teams. Most of them are veteran guys who have lost a step and will need to take pay cuts to continue their NFL employment. Here are my Top 10 remaining free agents on the market:

 

Top-10 Free Agents Left 

1) Derrick Brooks:
He’s an 11-time Pro Bowler that is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. He turns 36 years old this year, but he would be an excellent addition to the Colts or Bears, two teams that play the Cover 2 scheme that Brooks has ran his entire career. I am surprised Indianapolis hasn’t signed him yet.

2) Torry Holt:
The seven-time Pro Bowler finished with less than 1,000 yards for the first time since his rookie season. Has a chronic knee problem that is worrying to some teams. Right now, the Titans and Jaguars appear to be the front-runners. He can help those offenses improve their passing attacks in 2009.

3) Jason Taylor: The six-time Pro Bowler had a disaster of a season in Washington. Plagued by injuries, he recorded only 3.5 sacks. He is rumored to be headed either back to the Dolphins or possibly to New England.

He’s probably more of a third-down pass rusher than an every-down player at this point in his career, but he could help a playoff team in the right situation.

4) Roy Williams: The safety ran out of favor in Dallas as he was a coverage liability. According to a March 19 Boston Herald article, he has already turned down an offer and visited the Bengals.

If that is true, it doesn’t speak well for the team he turned down. He was expected to have a couple of more visits and hasn’t signed anything to date. He can still stop the run with the best of them and could really help the right defense.

5) Marvin Harrison:
He’s going to have a real tough sell. Not only was he old and ineffective, but also he was old an ineffective with the MVP quarterback of the NFL. Holt can at least say he played on a 2-14 team with Bulger in and out of the lineup and an offensive line that couldn’t block long enough for Holt to get open.

Harrison didn’t succeed in one of the best situations in the NFL. I expect him to end up with a job if he wants one, but he might have to wait until a team has some injury issues at WR.

6) Orlando Pace: The Ravens reportedly offered him a minimum contract, which caused him to visit Chicago. He has been injured the last couple of years, but when healthy he was arguably the most dominant OT in the NFL. He’ll be 34 this year, so he shouldn’t expect a mega deal.

7) Jeff Garcia: ESPN's John Clayton reported that he has received zero interest in free agency. He is probably going to have to wait until training camp if not the season for a starter to go down and get another chance.

He has great value as a backup and is a smart player who needs to be in a West Coast offense due to his lack of arm strength.

8) Chris McAlister:
A couple years ago, he was one of the top five cornerbacks in the game. Now he has been cut. So far, I haven’t heard any reports of him going anywhere, but this is the type of player that the Patriots always seem to sign.

He has lost a step and isn’t a shutdown corner at this point, but if he was willing to move to safety, that could really help some of the Patriots’ secondary issues.

9) Dre Bly: He turns 32 this year and Rotoworld thinks it will be hard for him to find a starting job in the NFL in 2009. He is probably going to have to wait and see what comes his way.

10) Warrick Dunn: He will garner some interest as a third-down back, but so far he hasn’t gotten an offer. He may have to wait until some running backs get hurt or wait until after the draft to see what his options are.

I would think he would be a great complement to Tim Hightower in Arizona. They could use a third-down weapon like him out of the backfield to complement their two Pro Bowl receivers; Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

Those are my thoughts on the free agency period.

What is your take on the free agency period?

 

Are you happy about how your team did or disappointed and looking toward the draft to ease your sorrows? Let me know your thoughts.

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