Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Crazy NFL Offseason

It's been really interesting to watch just how fast the NFL offseason has gone. It's like the teams pick which free agent or two they are interested in, throw a ton of money at them, and the player quickly accepts. Here are some thoughts on the offseason.

My favorite signing is the Lions' acquisition of Jon Kitna. This guy is a really good QB. He was one of the best QBs in the NFL just a couple years ago and is relatively young. He was artificially devalued simply by the fact that he wasn't starting the last couple years. I'm not sure I'd rather have him than Drew Brees, and they are being paid wildly different amounts. He also is a great fit for Detroit. He won't cause problems if Joey Harrington isn't able to step up, but he has the potential to run with the ball if he is given it. Very smart move.

I also love the Dolphins' acquisition of Daunte Culpepper. I have no idea why he wasn't able to garner more interest on the market. There are only so many top level QBs in the game, and I tend to think Culpepper is one of them. Unquestionably he benefited from having Randy Moss. But has he gone down in value so much the past year? He would have fetched a king's ransom at this time last year. You don't just give away talent like this. It also accentuates how much value teams place in draft picks, which makes the Redskins' throwing around of the picks like party confetti to look all the dumber.

I would have been surprised if the Eagles worked out a trade for T.O. I tend to be in the "he's not worth the trouble" camp, so I hope he does sign with the Cowboys. It was just a few years ago they dumped off Antonio Bryant in spite of his talent for the underwhelming Quincy Morgan. Obviously Owens is a greater talent, but he'll cause problems no matter what Parcells and Jerry Jones think.

The Cardinals have had a great offseason, with Edgerrin James and the underrated Kendrick Clancy. On paper they have all the talent they need to compete, and I like Dennis Green as a coach, but ultimately, they still are the Cardinals, so I expect something to go wrong. The easy favorite for the source of that is of course Kurt Warner.

I'm not sure any center is worth what the Browns gave LeCharles Bentley. It seems to me one of the most ineffectual positions on the football field. Yeah you can direct the line, but you're not in about as weak of a position as anyone to set up plays on your own, so you can't make a difference. And I've never card much for Joe Jurevicius, so I'm not a fan of the Browns offseason.

The Redskins, of course, made their usual bold moves. I'm excited about the season because of Saunders, Williams and Gibbs, but I don't think they improved all that much given the amount of money they spent. I'm torn on what to think about Sean Taylor's legal predicament. I tend to not like to see anyone have their life ruined, even if they have done something very wrong. And he is an explosive player. But he seems like a real lowlife, and I half hope he does end up in jail.

I'm not sold on the Broncos throwing a lot of money at Gerard Warren and Courtney Brown. These guys have been underachievers their entire careers, and them having better seasons in their contract year raises a serious red flag. That phenomenon isn't as pronounced as in MLB, but particularly for a DT, you need to have motivation. They could very well go right back to being busts now that they have fat contracts.

It was interesting to see the Rams throw as much money as they did at Isaac Bruce. Obviously they think he has more left in the gas tank than I do. They are in a better position to know, but we will see if they are right.

I like the Drew Brees signing from the Saints' perspective but not Brees'. He played himself. He could have ended up in a great position in Miami and instead he's stuck in an awful one in New Orleans. That team isn't going to be very good, and I think it's going to take a hit on his reputation. I think the Chargers would have been better off keeping him over Rivers, but given the problems he will have with the Saints, I doubt anyone will be making that argument.

I love the Panthers' signing of Maake Kemoeatu. I think this could have a similar effect that the Rod Coleman signing had on the Falcons defense. If Kris Jenkins is healthy, the Panthers' D could be amazing. I think they're a legit Super Bowl contender, and would be one even more so if they decided against re-signing DeShaun Foster and instead picked up a FA or drafted someone with a better probability of staying healthy.


Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

Daunte hasn't gotten the job done in the playoffs yet and other then that wildly successful season he had in 2004, he really has been nothing above mediocre and I really disagree that he's a top-flight talent. Give me a disciplined pocket passer over Culpepper and I'll take him every day of the week (evidence: Brad Johnson). Although I do think the Vikes desperately need to trade up in the draft now to grab one of the three studs Leinert, Young, or Cutler, as Johson is not the long term solution... and what does Chester Taylor do for the Vikings? Add another mediocre running back to the Fiason, Bennett, Moore, and Whizzy Smith backfield.. Vikes are in trouble.

Culpepper is damaged goods too, which isn't good.

I disagree with your assessment of the centre position too. Robbie Tobeck is a big factor in Seattle's running game and the Vikings struggled this year without Matt Birk plugging the middle. Given LeCharles Bentley is arguably the best young centre in football today and could help anchor a running game and protect a promising young QB in Charlie Frye for years to come. Jurevicius is the man too, the guy has great hands and is as tough as nails. He's one of the best veteran possession receivers out there and is a great character guy to have on your team. Seattle will miss him.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Culpepper is a tough one. He was awesome (as in second or third best QB in the league) in 2004, but struggled even before he got injured last year. Before that, I saw him a merely a league-average QB in the making. I agree with Dave on the LeCharles Bentley argument, the Saints ran much better up the middle than anywhere else last year. See,
Don't sell short the addition of LT Kevin Shaffer either; he was terrific in Atlanta last year. I like Jurevicius quite a bit as well, though how much of his success was Hasselbeck remians to be seen.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I feel kind of silly going too far in the other direction on Culpepper, because I've never been his biggest fan. I remember a Sports Illustrated cover with him talking about being one of the greatest combinations ever with Randy Moss and my basic reaction was "dude, it's Randy Moss, a lot of people could be a great combination with Randy Moss." That said, I really do think he is a very good quarterback. He has thrown for over 3400 yards four of six seasons, and has a career QB rating over 90. And he can rush well too. Yes, the injury is a concern. But how many QBs are there out there with his credentials? My list would be Brady, Delhomme, Green, Hasselbeck, P. Manning, McNabb, Palmer and Roethlisberger. That's a short list. QB's the most important position on the field. I don't give him up for a two. I like Brad Johnson, but he's got 15 games left in his career. He's going to get hit, and he's going to be done. I'm totally not sold on Cutler as a franchise answer either (or really completely sold on Young for that matter). I agree with you on Chester Taylor, by the way.

Was Tobeck that big of a factor with the Seahawks? I guess you would know better than me, but having Hutchinson and Jones in there gives you a lot of help. I'm not doubting Bentley, just the idea of giving that much money to anyone playing that position. I like the Shaffer acquisition.

6:38 PM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

Once you praised the Lions' signing of Kitna, I was too stunned to read any further. Yes, Detroit might have finally done something worthwhile.

I'm off to Vegas for the next five days - a mix of work and pleasure. Wish me luck.

- Matt in Anchorage

2:09 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Have fun! Don't gamble away your ticket home.

2:31 PM  

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