Tuesdays with Smitty: Winners & Losers of NFL Free Agency

By Aaron M Smith


(AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
(AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)

It is hard to believe March is here already. While it may have snuck up on us, it has certainly started off with a bang. First March has brought us a new release from the Irish rockers, U2 ( ‘No Line on the Horizon’). But March has also brought us the beginning of NFL Free Agency. I must admit, writing an article while listening to a brand new release is the way to go! Earlier this year it was Bruce Springsteen – this week – it is U2 reminding us why they remain a force to be reckoned with. I must admit ‘Moment of Surrender’ has been the first song to grab me – but many of the other songs are quickly moving up the board.


The NFL has also seen a flurry of activity within the first 72 hours of its free agency period. I am here to hopefully to make sense of what has happened. In order to do that, let’s take a look at the last 72 hours winners and losers:


New York Jets – The Jets have been active early on in this free agency and have added quality pieces to the puzzle. Think new head coach Rex Ryan isn’t preaching defense wins game? Within the first 24 hours, the Jets added serious muscle to their defense adding lineback Bart Scott from the Ravens and trading for CB Lito Shepard from the Philadelphia Eagles.  Monday, the New York Ravens…errr Jets continued their purge of the Ravens when they lured safety Jim Leonhard away. The Jets also released Lavernus Coles and with the retirement of Brett Farve – there is obvious work that needs to be done on the offensive side of the ball. But for now, the Jets have gotten off to an aggressive start.

Washington Redskins – Yes, the Redskins make the list and it seems like they make a big splash every offseason. So is it ever going to translate? Not sure right now, but the pressure is going to be on second year coach Jim Zorn after the additions of Albert Haynesworth and the resigning of DeAngelo Hall. People, including myself are questioning whether Haynesworth is worth $100 million dollars, but if it translates into capturing the NFC East, then consider it a bargain.

Kansas City Chiefs – First the Chiefs overhauled the front office and the coaching staff. Scott Pioli and Todd Haley are going to bring excitement and optimism to Kansas City. With one trade they managed two things – get a good young quarterback in Matt Cassel, a good LB in Mike Vrabel, and help create a mess in Denver. Cassel is not going to be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but given the right system and with good targets – he is going to be an effective QB in the NFL. With Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez as his targets – Cassel has the weapons. Add another quality receiver to that mix and the AFC West is certainly up for grabs.

New England Patriots –  No homer alert here. By dealing Cassel and Vrabel, the Pats were able to clear up $19 million dollars in cap space. This allowed for the signings of Fred Taylor and Chad Baker. Taylor could end up being a key pick up, since the Pats tend to run the ball by committee. Also, by acquiring the #34, the Pats have now put themselves in a position of having a late first round pick and 3 second round draft picks in a draft that is considered by many to be very deep. Expect the Pats to concentrate on shoring up an aging defense.


Denver Broncos – Sure the Broncos have added some nice additions in S Brian Dawkins, WR Jabar Gaffney and RB Correll Buckhalter. But where the Broncos have shot themselves in the foot is in the apparent attempt to deal for Matt Cassel and trade current QB Jay Cutler. Obvious new coach Josh McDaniels is comfortable with the QB he has worked with – but if you are going to gamble, you had better have the cards. The Broncos gambled in their attempt to get Cassel and now have a major problem on their hands.  Cutler is unhappy that they tried to trade him and now wants out. Problem is, the Broncos don’t have an ideal replacement and now have egg on their face.

Buffalo Bills – For a team that does need help, they sure look comfortable. For the Bills the only activity over the weekend has brought a new backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to the team. I suppose for Bills fans the end of J.P Losman era is a nice start, but the Bills faltered when they lost Fred Taylor to the Patriots. With Marshawn Lynch facing a possible 4 game suspension to start the season, Taylor would have been a nice replacement for the first quarter of the season.  The addition of C Geoff Hangartner was a nice pickup, but the rest of the teams in the AFC East are improving their rosters immensly. Is it enough? Of course there is a report that the Bills have signed CB Drayton Florence and are bringing in the likes of Cato June and Lavernus Coles for a visit. This grade could change, but for the first 72 hours, they get a failing grade.

Cincinnati Bengals –  When you biggest free agent signing this offseason has been Cedric Bensen – you know you       tjhous have problems. Plus, the Bengals lost their best and most dependable wide receiver – T. J.  Houshmandzadeh. Are th Bengals expecting Chad Johnson to clean up his act this year? Good luck. Think Carson Palmer is sitting back and thinking – ” Hmmm, Tampa Bay needs a QB, maybe even Denver..”.

Baltimore Ravens – So far the Ravens are being ravaged. Gone are starters Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard. Ray Lewis remains unsigned and Samari Rolle wants out. Good news though, Kyle Boller is available in case you want to bring him back as a back up QB. Of course the Bills passed over him…

13 Responses to "Tuesdays with Smitty: Winners & Losers of NFL Free Agency"

  1. Casey   March 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    What do ya think about Marvin Harrison in a Giants uniform? If nothing else between Plax and Marv the NRA could get a foothold in the locker room.

    Creepy picture of Cassel waving good bye.

    Will the Pats draft a QB? I can Belichik grabbing the Boltes kid from Hartwick That way he can add to his resume as the first coach to groom a D3 kid under center.

    Shhhh…that sound you hear is the Bills season ticket sales dropping.

  2. Ol' Swede   March 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Don’t you know – OFFENSE wins games; defense wins championships.

  3. Smitty   March 4, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I am amazed that the Giants want Plaxico back.. First he has to get by Goodell and I am thinking that he is going to be suspended for half of the year. But do the Giants really want him back, or is there absolutely no market for a troubled wide receiver ? Drew Rosenhaus must be disappointed.

    Adding Harrison to the G-Men would certainly give Eli another viable target. If anything Harrison and Plaxico could have some target practice with all of the lame ducks Eli throws in that Giants Stadium wind..

    How about Donovan McNabb? After watching Bryan Dawkins, Lito Sheppard and Correl Buckhalter bolt – do you think he is reconsidering his thoughts about signing an extension with the Eagles?

  4. Casey   March 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Speaking of Rosenhaus – did you see that Kurt Warner and his agent have made the Cardinals an offer? Did I miss something? Or is there something I don’t understand? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Isn’t the team supposed to make the player an offer?

  5. Casey   March 5, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Terrell Owens?

  6. Smitty   March 5, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I am shocked and not surprised that the Cowboys released T.O. – I am surprised that it took this long. I think Marvin Harrison ends up in Dallas now.
    I am also believe that this is going to expose Tony Romo to be the mediocre quarterback that he is. Think teams will be banking on him to throw to Jason Witten in tough situations?

    The Jerry Jones empire is beginning to crumble. Wade Phillips better get his hard hat on.

  7. Lovie Smith   March 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I’ll take Tony Romo in a heartbeat.

    By the way, Mr Smitty, can you really be shocked and not surprised at the same time? Boy, I’d like to see that. Could use you on my football team.

  8. Smitty   March 5, 2009 at 11:24 am


    My apologies.. I didn’t have my morning coffee yet when I wrote that. Then again, I probably described the look on your face everytime the Bears run a play on offense.

  9. Casey   March 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Wally – thanks for clearing that up. I was wondering the same thing. Although Smitty does make a good point about the the look on your face when the Bears run a play.

    Lovie? Are we on Gilligan’s Island?

  10. Smitty   March 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Just look at the name on his response.. Lovie Smith

    Roy Williams got the pink slip and Torry Holt is apparently going to get the pink slip too. Either the economy is affecting the NFL more then they are letting on or there is one heck of a lingerie party going on .. 🙂

  11. Casey   March 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Wow! I completely missed that Wally gave himself an alias. And here I thought Thurston Howell III had joined the discussion on the Pine.

  12. Lovie Smith   March 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Guys —
    Please stop … your talking in circles and my head is spinning. I have no idea what’s going on. I guess I feel right at home though. Hey, what’s that thud I heard? Uh oh … we must’ve got stuffed on 3rd and short again. I have no idea why that same play we run never works. Like Bowden down there at FSU, I’m completely bumfuzzled. I’ll talk to our guys and see how they feel about it … hope they feel good, cuz that’s what I want to see. Feelings are really important to a football team, ya know.

  13. Muels   March 5, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Should Patriot Fan be interested in Greg Lewis and Shawn Springs joining the good guys today? I hope Springs has some spring left in the tank to help our secondary (lame I know, but totally unavoidable)…

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