A narrative has emerged in recent years that spending in free agency never helps a team improve itself right away, or at all. And while that may be the rule, the Giants became a pretty strong exception a year ago.
By plunking down big money on defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and defensive lineman Damon Harrison, the Giants instantly improved their defense, propelling the team to its first playoff berth since 2011.
This doesn’t mean a team like the 49ers and Browns can spend their way to a postseason appearance, but it’s not impossible. And the possibility of a team becoming a contender is part of what every team needs to do in order to sell hope and, in turn, tickets, jerseys, hats, and other things that separate fans from their money.
Only one team wins the Super Bowl. The other 31 need to make money. And money gets made by making fans want to spend it. They want to spend it if they think the team can win.
The effort to make them think the team can win includes signing free agents. Whether they actually help the team win is a different issue for another day.