Big Names, Not Game
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According to NFL.com's official list of free agents, there are 379 players whose 2009 team is listed as the illustrious TBD.
According to the list, nine of those players have been franchised, 54 are restricted free agents, 56 have been released and 260 are listed as unrestricted free agents.
That's enough players to fill seven full NFL rosters, with eight guys left for the practice squad. Of course, it would only work if you want those seven full NFL rosters to absolutely stink.
There aren't a lot of stars left at this point in free agency. NFL teams will be looking more for depth and the "right fit" for their system than the big splash to excite their fans. Sure, there are some names, but can any of those names live up to what they once were?
Take Jeff Garcia for example. He leads a crop of underwhelming free agent quarterbacks that includes Rex Grossman, Byron Leftwich, Gus Frerotte and Joey Harrington. There's not an available quarterback out there that one of the 32 teams would ask to lead their offense for any situation other than a complete emergency.
The running back crop has some big names like Warrick Dunn, Shaun Alexander, Ahman Green and Deuce McAllister, but those four players are well past their primes. In fact, adding in Rudi Johnson, the five former-feature backs combined for 1,759 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
In other words -- Adrian Peterson (1,760 yards, 10 touchdowns).
The wide receivers may have the biggest names of all, with the likes of Marvin Harrison and Joey Galloway looking for work. There is a reason T.O. found a job in two days when 30 other wide receivers are available. He's productive. They aren't.
After catching 10 touchdown passes on just 38 receptions (and 629 yards) in 2007, Jacksonville's Reggie Williams was expected to break out last season. Instead, he caught just 37 passes for a paltry 364 yards and three touchdowns. Now he's looking for work.
And how is it possible that Detroit has THREE wide receivers on this list? Did they field any other positions on that team? How did Matt Millen ever keep his job that long?
There are some pretty good players still available on defense (please don't expect me to name any of them) and some undoubtedly helpful special teamers -- if you don't count the kickers (Matt Stover, John Carney) who seem closer to teeing up buckets than meaningful field goals.
Teams will find good players who have great seasons. There is still a lot of solid depth out there. And it's the NFL. Some player who signs late will end up making a huge play in a big game to reward his team for taking the chance when 'nobody else thought I could play.' It happens every year. But the one thing that seems evident -- at this stage in the game -- the Redskins are clearly the offseason champs yet again.
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Posted by: ozpunk | March 11, 2009 4:57 PM
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