The appeal of NFL free agency possesses the same motive as the draft: get a player that will address a need.
And the expectancy of that filled void for those who missed the postseason, well, is actually making the postseason. At the very least continued improvement goes without saying; however, no Super Bowl opportunity is presented without qualifying for January either.
And there were definitely some interesting acquisitions from the non-playoff teams when the new league year kicked off. Here, we check out those players who propel their new homes into the postseason mix next season.
Who wins the NFC North in 2013?
Reggie Bush: RB, Detroit Lions
According to Tim Twentyman the Lions' official website, Reggie Bush came aboard last week.
This was a key addition for Detroit's offense, because Bush proved to be a reliable dual-threat back in with the Miami Dolphins. He developed as an every down ball-carrier and produced 2,660 total yards between 2011 and 2012.
The downside was Miami not presenting the consistent passing game to work in a dependable play-action. Fortunately for Bush, the Lions offer Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson which will prevent opponents from isolating the ground game.
Plus the NFC North must still improve defensively and Detroit has the personnel to score at will.
Jake Long: Tackle, St. Louis Rams
It took a while, but the Rams reeled in Jake Long out of Miami, per Pro Football Talk:
Jake Long agrees to terms with Rams, per league source.Chooses St. Louis over Dolphins.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 18, 2013
He's remains one of the NFL's best offensive tackles and Long's established talent is a perfect fit in St. Louis. The NFC West is a tough division that's won by controlling the line of scrimmage and Long's tenacity suits well.
After all, the guy is a four-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro selection.
Long will provide a excellent edge pocket protection for Sam Bradford, and the Rams can then field great balance to move efficiently. Given that they went 4-1-1 in the division last year, 2013 has increased expectations.
Dashon Goldson: Safety, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ranking 32nd in pass defense last season and giving up 30 passing touchdowns, Tampa Bay bolstered its coverage with Dashon Goldson via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com:
Former 49ers S Dashon Goldson agreed to terms on a five-year deal with Tampa Bay. Really. We're sure.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2013
On the bright side regarding the Buccaneers' pass defense, they did manage to record 18 interceptions.
Still, Tampa plays in the pass-oriented NFC South and adding Goldson ensures a more commanding presence back deep. Possessing the size to roll down for a blitzing 'backer or field awareness to read in Cover 1 or 3, Goldson's instincts will generate more turnovers and get Tampa to force more punts.
The past two seasons he has accounted for 136 tackles, 20 defended passes and nine picks. Already presenting a solid run defense and balanced offense, improved coverage puts Tampa Bay in the postseason picture.