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NFL Free Agency Winners & Losers

By on March 12, 2014

The 2014 NFL Offseason has started out with a bang! On the first day of free agency, over $1Billion worth of contracts were dished out, a future Hall of Famer was released, and the 49ers were wheeling and dealing late draft picks for veterans.

Here are the winners and losers across the NFL from Day 1 of Free Agency:

 

Losers:

Oakland Raiders – The Raiders had the most salary cap space in the NFL to start the new league year but fumbled away their opportunity to significantly improve at a very early stage in this process. The late Al Davis may have been losing his touch towards the end of his time as the owner of the Raiders, but at least he did it with flair and bravado. The Reggie McKenzie era just appears to neglect logic and strategy.

Credit: Kelley L Cox

Credit: Kelley L Cox

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie allowed versatile DE Lamarr Houston to walk and sign with the Bears, leaving a hole in the defense. The Raiders then signed injury-prone Tackle/Guard Roger Saffold from the Rams for almost $8M more than their own free agent Tackle Jared Veldheer, who signed with the Cardinals. The shrewd move to keep RB Darren McFadden on a 1-year deal with only $100,000 guaranteed is the only thing keeping the Raiders from earning an “F” for their free agency moves thus far. Grade: D

Reggie McKenzie is going to have to learn the hard way that you must keep your homegrown players over signing another teams’ castaways.

 

Dallas Cowboys – In an act of irony by the football gods, Forbes’ most valuable NFL franchise came into free agency with the least amount of money to spend.

After having one of the historically bad defenses in NFL history, it’s obvious where the Cowboys need to improve this offseason. The problem is, you need cap space to sign players because they don’t work for free Dallas Cowboys merchandise. Sorry, Jerry Jones.

Credit: Vernon Bryant

Credit: Vernon Bryant

So what does Jerry do when he desperately needs more playmakers on defense? He releases the Cowboys all-time sack leader, DeMarcus Ware at the age of 31. So after years of royally screwing up the Cowboys salary cap by keeping veterans past their prime, Jerry Jones refused to find a way to keep the best defensive player he has ever drafted in his tenure as the Cowboys Owner and GM. Grade: D-

Now the Cowboys are left with a HOF-sized hole in their porous defense and the only starters projected to return on the defensive line are DE George Selvie & DT Nick Hayden.

And as it turns out, old rubber bands do not function as hamstrings and the oft-injured WR Miles Austin was also designated as a June 1st cut. Austin hasn’t been the same since signing a long term deal and will be remembered as one of the many horrible contracts Jerry Jones was responsible for.

 

Cleveland Browns – The Browns have been one of the most maligned NFL franchises in the past two decades since their return as an expansion team. They continued this trend on the first day of free agency with moves that are equivalent to treading water.

Credit: Jennifer Stewart

Credit: Jennifer Stewart

On February 26th, the Browns released their 30 year old MLB D’Qwell Jackson in a salary cap move. They also chose not to re-sign or franchise their 27 year old SS T.J. Ward. They then proceeded to sign 32 year old MLB Karlos Dansby and 29 year old SS Donte Whitner to long term deals. If they are looking for a fresh start on defense, that’s fine. No one would argue when you have a new coach bringing in his own defense, but signing two older players at the same positions makes absolutely no sense. Grade: D-

Browns GM Ray Farmer needs to pray that Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel falls to them at #4 in the 2014 NFL Draft…

 

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One Comment

  1. BC Spiel

    March 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    This is the problem with national writers. They do not know the intricacies of each team. D’Qwell Jackson and TJ Ward (and I like both guys) were bad in coverage. They got burnt continually. The Browns saw this on the film, and upgraded in that area. How many game changing plays did TJ Ward and D’Qwell Jackson make in their careers? I can think of a Ward pick six against Buffalo last year. One. And I have seen every Browns game but one since 99 (do not judge me, kthanks). How many game changing plays have Dansby and Whitner make? Numerous, just last year. Good, solid veteran acquisitions to an already young, talented defense.

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