NFL Free Agency: The Chicago Bears and 5 NFL Teams Losing in Free Agency
The 2011 NFL free agent spending spree is drawing to a close, and there are more than a few winners and losers emerging from the frenzy.
While teams like the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles are busy making shrewd pick-ups and bolstering their rosters with talent, other franchises like the Chicago Bears and New York Giants are giving their fan bases something to grimace about.
There's never been a period like this in NFL history, where an entire offseason of decision making happens over the span of less than a week.
With that in mind, here are five NFL teams that are definitely losing in the free agent market.
5. Washington Redskins
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It's going to be a rough year for Washington Redskins fans, as Dan Snyder and the boys are up to their usual ways of doing business: badly.
Let's look at the positives, first. Washington finally traded their problem child defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth was one of the worst free agent signings in NFL history and a headache from day one as a Redskin.
Since then, It's been all downhill for Washington. They traded quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for some footballs and helmets (two future sixth-round draft choices). Another one of their "marquee" transactions was signing defensive tackle Barry Cofield (a 4-3 defensive tackle) for the team's 3-4 defensive scheme.
Then, Washington overpaid for 30-year old former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jammal Brown. Brown was a sieve last season.
Head coach Mike Shanahan's iron fist mentality combined with the reckless spending of team owner Dan Snyder has led the Redskins to compiling one of the worst rosters in all of football for 2011.
How can anyone be excited about a football team whose quarterbacks are John Beck, Rex Grossman, and Kellen Clemens?
4. Denver Broncos
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When the Denver Broncos squandered the best trade asset they had in quarterback Kyle Orton, Denver found themselves among the biggest losers in all of free agency.
It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Denver would trade the embattled Orton to a number of interested NFL teams. The San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Tennessee Titans were among a few of those teams.
In the opening hours of free agency, all reports indicated that the Miami Dolphins were the team most interested in making a deal and wanted one done as soon as possible. But the Broncos never made a move, and while every other quarterback-hungry team found other options.
Outside of the Orton debacle, Denver's few additions via free agency have been linebacker Nate Irving and defensive end Derrick Harvey.
Getting nothing for Kyle Orton when the franchise clearly sees Tim Tebow as the future starting quarterback was a very poor decision for the struggling Denver Broncos.
3. New York Giants
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The New York Giants are losing big time in free agency because while their division rival Philadelphia Eagles are raking in the best talent available, New York has done virtually nothing.
The Giants started by cutting a lot of long-standing veterans like center Shaun O'Hara, team MVP offensive guard Rich Seubert, and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard. Then, they upset star defensive end Osi Umenyiora by refusing to raise his pay or grant him a trade to another team.
And while the aforementioned Eagles were signing players like Vince Young, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Cullen Jenkins, the Giants were busy bringing in David Baas, Chris White, and punter Steve Weatherford. Oh, don't forget about quarterback David Carr either.
Thankfully for New York, it appears they will be able to keep running back Ahmad Bradshaw, but even that deal was like pulling teeth.
All in all, for a team that's trying to return to the playoffs and compete for an NFC East crown, they sure don't have a sense of urgency to do so.
2. Buffalo Bills
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When the Buffalo Bills allowed middle linebacker Paul Posluszny to walk out the door, the poor got poorer and the dreary Bills proved why they have one of the league's worst front offices in the NFL.
Posluszny was the heart-and-soul of the Bills' defense and an integral part of the rebuilding process in Buffalo. The void in talent and leadership lost with Posluszny's departure will leave an indelible mark on the team for the next few seasons.
Buffalo has tried to cover up for the loss with the signing of Green Bay castoff Nick Barnett. Barnett is a solid player, but he's not the leader nor the tackling machine that Paul Posluszny was. Along with signing 19 undrafted free agents, the team has brought in versatile wide receiver Brad Smith and perennial back-up quarterback Tyler Thigpen.
The Bills already had a lot of obstacles to overcome going into 2011, but losing their star defensive player, coupled their minimal impact in the free agent market make Buffalo a team with many regrets in 2011 NFL free agency.
1. Chicago Bears
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Without a doubt in my mind, the Chicago Bears have been the most baffling team in the NFL so far in 2011.
Chicago was a pleasant surprise in 2010, narrowly losing in the NFC Championship game to the Green Bay Packers. They looked like a promising team going into 2011. Then, general manager Jerry Angelo inexplicably decided to gut key players on the roster.
They traded talented tight end Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a third-round draft pick. His replacement? Former Steelers blocking tight end Matt Spaeth, who caught a whopping nine passes in 2010.
Then, Chicago brought in a pair of Dallas Cowboy castoff receivers in Sam Hurd and Roy Williams.
Roy Williams was at one time a Pro Bowl receiver under offensive coordinator Mike Martz with the 2006 Detroit Lions. They also signed defensive end Vernon Gholston, a former top-six NFL draft pick who has yet to record a sack in his esteemed four-year career.
The most disappointing move of the weekend was letting center Olin Kreutz walk away from the Bears. He was the leader of the Bears decrepit offensive line and provided leadership that they desperately needed. He may not be the Pro Bowler he once was, but his presence with the Bears brought intangible value.
Chicago's moves are so inconsistent that I don't know what to make of them looking into 2011.