The power balance of the entire NFL is about to shift.
Every year, it does. Sometimes it only shifts a little. Sometimes the whole league gets a shock to its system. Whether big or small, the coaches and general managers of the NFL know it's coming, and they've spent all winter preparing for it.
That's what free agency does in the NFL. Ever since R.C. Owens became the first NFL player to switch teams (in 1962), free agency has given players the ability to choose where to play and—ostensibly—where the good teams will be.
Think about the Denver Broncos. They weren't supposed to be any good in 2013. Maybe OK, but not Peyton Manning good. How about the San Diego Chargers? They've lost so much talent in free agency over the past decade, they could be considered a minor league team for the NFC South.
If the NFL draft is meant to be a great equalizer—giving bad teams a shot at the best players—the free-agency period is anarchy at its finest. Teams have little control over what happens, and coaches are tasked with recruiting like their college peers, hoping that they get their man.
The teams that make the best choices (or have the most discretion) during free agency are often the teams that come out on top. It isn't about signing the most players (see: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2012); it's about finding the right player at the right place for the right situations.
The teams that do that will likely see the competitive balance of the NFL shift their way sooner rather than later.