Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday Sports Round Up: NFL Free Agency

Day 2 of NFL Free Agency and even a "Sports Geek" like myself is having trouble keeping up.  So I am keeping this as round as simple as possible...

Wes Welker heads to Denver

Whatever the breakdown in the relationship between the New England Patriots organization and Wes Welker, that breakdown turned out to be a benefit for the Denver Broncos.   According to reports Welker will be a new target at the price of 12 million over 2 years.  Not a bad deal for a guy who has been one of the top 5 receivers in the league for the last several years.  You think Peyton Manning had a great year last season just wait and see what Peyton does with Tom Brady’s ex-favorite target.   

Danny Amendola Replaces Welker in New England

Amendola has been compared to Wes Welker and the comparisons are abit uncanny.  Both went to Texas tech University, started their NFL careers as talented Special Team return specialists who were converted in talented Wide Receivers who led their former teams in receptions.  And, of course, both guys are under 6 feet tall.  But at 27 years of age, Amendola was considered to be more valuable to the Patriots compared to the 31 year old Welker.  Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh Daniels featured Amendola when he was head coach in St. Louis so it is easy to think that McDaniels told management that Amendola could replace Welker in their offense.

Reggie Bush enhances the Lions offense

The Detroit Lions made a major upgrade by signing Reggie Bush to a 4 year, 16 million dollar contract.  The Lions, who have been in search of a talented, consistent running back since the retirement of Barry Sanders, have finally landed a talented running back with a track record.  The last couple seasons Bush has grown as a player on the field and in the locker room showing his value as starting NFL running back.  The Lions have upgraded their offense by gaining a balanced offense and taking pressure off QB Matthew Stafford and record-breaking WR Calvin Johnson.


Mike Wallace gets paid in Miami

Watching Mike Wallace’s press conference was comparable to listening to a guy who is exciting about getting a nice, new car for his birthday: “Im excited to be here”, “I love the south”, “This offense is going to be exciting”, “Good, young group of guys”, and my favorite “next season is going to be exciting”.  With his new money, Wallace should definitely buy a Theasaurus.  Meanwhile, this is a solid move for the Dolphins in get one of the top speed receivers in the NFL who can stretch the field and has a track record of scoring touchdowns.  But losing Reggie Bush means the Dolphins need help at running back but whether they address that need through free agency or the draft, only time will tell.

Buffalo Bills show Ryan Fitzpatrick the door

After giving him a chance as a starting quarterback the last couple seasons the Bills were dissatisfied with the Harvard graduate who had almost double the interceptions compared to touchdowns during his tenure in Buffalo.  The irony is that Fitzpatrick had trouble with consistency while playing for an offensive minded coach in Chan Gailey.  Ultimately, their new head coach Doug Marrone wanted to start fresh so expect the Bills to draft a quarterback in this years draft and don’t be surprised if that QB drafted is a guy who ran Marrone’s offense at Syracuse: Ryan Nassib.  Meanwhile, expect Fitzpatrick to have a future as a solid backup QB somewhere in 2013.


Chip Kelly sends a message in his first NFL offseason

After releasing Nnamdi Asomough, Cullen Jenkins, and Mike Patterson, the Eagles have signed Nose Tackle Isaac Sopoaga, Cornerback Bryant Fletcher, Safety Patrick Chung, and Tight End James Casey.  What do all of these new Eagles have in common?  Versatile and talented players who did not demand big money while being willing to buy into Kelly’s vision for the 2013 Eagles.  After leaving the University of Oregon the big question was how would Chip Kelly handle the NFL and the simple answer is he is taking a page out of Patriots playbook concerning free agency.  Kelly, who was brought in many years ago to consult the Patriots on the best way to utilize their hurry up offense, seems to have taken some tips; especially the idea that big name stars are not important to be a winning team.  Converting a roster to compliment Kelly’s offense and defense systems is always a process that takes some bold moves to make happen.


Is it “Culture Change” or “Rebuilding” in Baltimore after winning the Super Bowl?

Ray Lewis and Matt Birk retire, Danelle Ellerbe and Paul Kruger bolt for “greener pastures”, Anquan Boldin was traded away for low value draft pick, and Ed Reed is testing his value in the free agency market.  We hear all the time from the sports media about how “great” and “smart” Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is and his track record shows he is a good talent evaluator in the NFL draft.  But Ravens fans have to wonder “what is the plan” because the Ravens have been unloading players as opposed to rebuilding for another run at the Super Bowl.  If the Ravens miss the playoffs next season the fans and media will point at Joe Flacco’s 6 year, 120 million contract as the reason why the team couldn’t afford any talent that was needed to win football games.

So who is left in free agency

Well as of early Wednesday night, there is still a plethora of talent to be signed in free agency.  2012 St Louis Rams Steven Jackson and Brandon Gibson are seeing what is out there for them away from the team that drafted them.  Multiple time Pro Bowlers James Harrison and Charles Woodson looking for new teams as their careers begin the reach the “twilight years”.  Talented young cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Sean Smith are seeing how much teams value their services.  Menawhile talented veterans with some miles on their careers, Dwight Freeney, Adrian Wilson, Bernard Pollard and John Abraham, all looking for new homes after their old teams considered them “expendable”.  And of course, Greg Jennings and Ahmad Bradshaw are two former Pro Bowlers who have had injury issues in the past that are hanging over their heads as they search for new football homes.  The NFL landscape is constantly changing as the balance of power shifts as players pick new homes and teams have to worry about salary cap restrictions.

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