We don’t know when free agency will start. We do know that the craziest period of NFL player movement is on its way, which gives front offices a unique opportunity to separate from one another.
“What’s going to happen is you’re going to have some inexperienced general managers and owners go crazy early on,” one longtime G.M. told SI.com’s Don Banks. “They’re going to think, ‘I’ve got to go out and do something crazy. This is my window of opportunity.’ But I think that’s absolutely the wrong move.
“There are so many free agents and so many guys out there that if you’re just patient, you can wind up with some good players at really good value and not put yourself out there [at risk] with a couple mega-deals.”
We agree with all of that, especially the good value part. There are essentially two free agent classes available because of the restrictive 2010 rules. On top of that, teams were hesitant to hand out long-term deals before the lockout, which left even more quality players available. On Friday’s PFT Live, we talked about the impressive depth of this free agent group.
Good front offices should be able to find young, quality value without overpaying. Still, some teams will go gaga for veterans.
“That’s going to happen, I promise you,” the general manager told Banks. “A couple of these guys are going to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be aggressive. We’ve got a fat wallet and we’re raring to go.’ I just hope those teams are in our division. Because when you go back over the history of free agency, it rarely works out with the big-money guys. Just look at the last five years or so, with Albert Haynesworth, Joey Porter or Terrell Owens.”
Front offices may only get a few days to learn the new rules before they start spending. It’s going to be a fascinating time to watch how teams work.
This free agent period should reverberate for years after, rewarding those teams that were most nimble and wise identifying talent.