So NFL Free Agency got underway this past Tuesday at 3 o’clock pm Eastern Time. I have been deeply engrossed in all of the on-going rumors and signings as well as the gauntlets that have been thrown down (see former Panthers and new Ravens WR Steve Smith and Seahawks rambunctious corner Richard Sherman.)
My first reaction is what the heck happened to the class of receivers? Excluding Steve Smith, who joined the party late, this was supposed to be a killer class of mainly number 2 and slot receivers. Eric Decker is the only big name to sign anywhere new so far, signing with the New York Jets. One can argue Golden Tate is a big name too but not on the same level as Decker. Hakeem Nicks (1-yr deal with the Colts) would fall into this category too if he had scored a touchdown in 2013 (you can’t blame Eil for that.) Guys that were supposed to be moving simply didn’t work out that way. The Eagles ruined a lot of the fun by resigning both Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin before they hit the open market.
Still, I am surprised that there has not been more interest in New England’s latest slot monster Julien Edelman. Wes Welker commanded a lot of money when he hit the open market last year. Edelman put up comparable stats to Welker of 2012, acting as Brady’s only reliable receiver, yet he only has interest from the Cleveland Browns. That doesn’t seem to make sense to me. I would have thought the Jets would have shown some interest. Or even the defending champion Seahawks, who lost Golden Tate to the Lions. I just don’t get how Edelman does not have more interest.
One signing that has left me scratching my head is the Raiders’ signing of Justin Tuck, and not on the part of the Raiders. Tuck is 30 years old and likely has 2 or 3 years left in the tank before he hangs up his cleats. For a player who is looking to wrap up his career, I don’t get the choice of the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are in full scale rebuilding mode and are in an increasingly difficult to win AFC West. The Raiders lack talent on both sides of the ball and don’t seem to have much of a rebuilding plan in place. Tuck clearly wanted to return to the Giants as he offered them a chance to match his deal from Oakland, but New York declined. My only conclusion is that Tuck felt like the Raiders were his only option to continue playing.
One last thing I want to touch on is how scary the New England Patriots defense might be in 2014. With the signing of former All-Pro Darelle Revis (whose contract is downright ridiculous but that could be a whole other blog post), Bill Bellechick now has the ability to lock down half of the field in theory. That means that one of the greatest defensive minds of all-time in the NFL now has the liberty to get creative with his blitz. If the Patriots sign ex-Seahawk corner Brandon Browner as well, that could spell trouble for the rest of the AFC. The Patriots still have some holes to fill at safety (reunion with Brandon Merriweather or bringing in former Falcon Thomas Decoud possibly) and with offensive line depth. This team will add a tight end and middle linebacker in the draft for sure and they will be down right scary to play in 2014. I cannot wait for the Broncos-Pats match-up this time around where both teams are absolutely loaded.
That’s all I’ve got for now, hope people enjoy the first real blog post I wrote.