Don’t you love the smell of Free Agency? For players, today was the equivalent a child in a candy store. Big money was on the table and several players took various deals. At the same token, big money was on table and some players had to cut their share in half to remain with their respective teams. However, if they thought taking a pay cut was unfair and blatantly disrespectful, GM’s decided to part ways with their “overpaid” compadres (Sorry Nnamdi Asomougha* Spell Check couldn’t help me with this one).
Stars like Mike Wallace, Danelle Ellerbee(Go Dawgs), Paul Kruger, and 95% sure I’m retiring but not really Tony Gonzalez. These players all cashed in today. While at the same time, players like Nnamdi Asomougha*, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and veteran defensive back Antoine Winfield were all released today. Free Agency started yesterday when the Seahawks traded for multi-purpose receiver Percy Harvin from the Vikings for a first round and third round picks. Social media went into a frenzy when the defending champion Baltimore Ravens traded away clutch WR Anquan Boldin to their Super Bowl opponent San Francisco 49ers for just a blatantly disrespectful 6th round pick. But has next year’s landscape changed that much.
Vegas has the Seahawks and 49ers as favorites next year. Well if these teams were not in your top five anyway, you already lost your bet. Both teams are physically strong on defense, strong running game with dual threat QB’s, and both are led by strong willed coaches. The following favorites include, Denver, New England, and a rising Atlanta team. This is 90% of America’s top 5 teams coming into next year anyway. Denver, led by Manning and on defense by the sack machine that is Von Miller, are a thorn to anyone’s side. Then, it’s New England, the gold standard in the NFL, need I say more? Atlanta is a team now with Gonzalez back is a top 5 offense giving Matt Ryan many weapons to choose from. My only questions with Atlanta are on defense with an undersized, overpaid secondary, weak defensive line, and the mental makeup of the team. Making the playoffs and winning a playoff game isn’t a successful season; the only team in the NFL to have a successful season is the Ravens.
Free Agency opening day is always exciting, but just to see contract numbers and where marquee players land. Maybe my opinion will change when I see where Steven Jackson, Greg Jennings, and Dwight Freeney land. If Green Bay can sign Jackson, then I replace them with ATL as the 5th seed. Looking at each conference, there is no doubt the NFC is more loaded. SF, Sea, ATL, GB, NO, NYG, Det, Wash all have a case to be the best team. However in the AFC, it simply battles down to Den, NE, Hou, and Bal. Each of these teams were the favorites from their respective conferences, and after day one of free agency, not much has change.