During draft, Polian will assume his free agents aren’t coming back


So we’ve started banging out team needs for the upcoming draft, with the Rams, 49ers, Giants, and Cowboys already on the site.

One problem we’ve encountered when coming up with the needs: Deciding how to factor in impending free agents.  It’s difficult to know who may be re-signed, and who may not even be unrestricted based on how the CBA is worked out.

Colts G.M. Bill Polian has a simple solution when it comes to coming up with draft needs: Assume the free agents are gone.

“I think you have to go into the draft and say, ‘Anybody who’s out there [as a possible unrestricted free agent] is not coming back,'” Polian told ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky.

“Now, that’s for draft purposes. Don’t misconstrue what I am saying. That’s for purposes of evaluating players in the draft.   We hope like the devil to get Melvin Bullitt back. I don’t know if we will or we won’t.”

Most teams will probably take a similar approach.   It’s just another reminder that this year is very different, and teams have to adapt unusual strategies.

It’s also another way that this current crop of free agents will lose out.   No matter how the CBA is settled, we don’t think impending free agents will be paid quite as much when some roster holes are filled by rookies.

Desperation equals dollars on the free agent market, and teams may feel less desperate after April.

23 responses to “During draft, Polian will assume his free agents aren’t coming back

  1. Polian would be among the worlds dumbest people if he doesn’t re-sign Peyton Manning. He’s the reason the Colts are playoff contenders…….some years!

  2. Free agency after the draft would save the owners money. With draft picks and holes filled up, owners wouldn’t feel desperate to fill a hole before the draft not knowing if a player at a position of need would be there when they draft.

  3. That’s the way to make friends Bill! It’s also reflective of the rift that has opened and will continue to between the players and the league.

  4. I swear all these anti-owner comments are coming from “hidden” players trying to justify themselves.

    @ballen7 :

    Irreparable harm? Who cares?!! What about us? It’s the truth and I hope the Vets are afraid that the NFL is going to hire a younger player before looking at them. This is the road they chose to take. Just like every other job in the world…if you aint the best at what you do then you can be replaced. Just sayin…

  5. I think that’s what every team has to do. For example, the Packers and Ted Thompson probably need to draft believing that if there is a 2011 season, Cullen Jenkins, James Jones, Brandon Jackson and Colledge will all be gone. I don’t see how any GM could act differently given the circumstances.

  6. Good philosophy Mr. Polian— I’ve adopted similar philosophy as it relates to the NFL season in 2011.

    Who’s the best UFL team out there?

  7. damn this guy has such a big mouth, and its obvious this is directed at Peyton. i mean cmon Melvin Bullitt? lol

  8. @northeastern31

    I really don’t care either way. But the players were just in court yesterday claiming that the lockout should be lifted because it was causing irreparable harm. Then in the middle of the judges deliberation, he comes out and says that the veterans will be replaced. Not Smart.

    And to keep bringing up what that fans want it silly. Nobody cares what the fans want obviously.

    Plus the players want the lockout lifted, first and foremost. As a fan, I’d think you’d be in favor of that.

  9. The irreparable harm is self inflicted. The FA’s should have told the union* to make a deal instead of walking out and decertifying.

    Polian would be a great GM in Dallas. I don’t think the Colts will take a QB in the first round. Maybe take Andy Dalton in round two. Manhunts still goat a couple of years in him and he’ll come around after this suit garbage is over.

  10. I see what you are saying ballen7….

    I myself cant bring myself to have any sympathy for the players. They are employees ( who are paid very well) , they can leave at any time (retire) , and they are the ones who walked away from one of the best jobs a football player could ever ask for. Y’know….they dont pay themselves.

    The owners on the other hand have A) Invested huge $$$ , are the EMPLOYER, and in my own opinion they have the right to pay who they want.

    If the players are going to fret over all the extra garbage and walk away I hope the owners put them back in their place.

    An owner run NFL is way better than a bunch of pre-maddona’s holding OUR NFL hostage.

  11. ballen7,

    “Plus the players want the lockout lifted, first and foremost. As a fan, I’d think you’d be in favor of that.”


    Wasn’t the “what is best for short term” done the last CBA and what brought us to here? Sometimes what is best short term is not best long term. A lot of fans realize this.

    I still personally think the lockout would be good long term. Both sides then will feel a pinch in their wallets. Both sides will realize they need to work together and both sides need to concede on some issues. Once both sides are knocked down a few notches, then we would see a fair CBA for both the players and owners while the fans still get bleed dry of money. Might not be the popular opinion and of course both realizing what I just wrote before any actual games were missed would be the perfect scenario. I just don’t think it will happen. They both are too dang stubborn.

  12. With what looks like no decision coming from Court until late April and an Appeal for sure to come after that. When a deal finally does come there will be no time for Free Agency for many teams as they will be way to busy trying to sign the bunches of Free Agents almost every Team has.

    The Free Agents that got the deals done prior to the Lock Out had some smart Agents. Many Teams have stated that even if and when Free Agency happens this year they will not be big players.

  13. northeastern31

    I’m not saying that your aren’t correct and I don’t want to get into a union/non union arguement here. But you can never fault anyone for doing what’s best for them based on the rules that are in place.
    Just like the rules said the owners could opt out of an agreement they agreed to in the previous CBA, the rules(law) also say that if the players decertify(whether it’s a sham or not) they can’t be locked out unless they are a union. They filed the paperwork. That’s the law.
    The owner’s in the long run don’t have a lot of leverage other than the fact that they won’t go broke before the players. The judge pretty much hinted that fact to them with the hopes of not having to be the one to make the decision.

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