When people complained that I was doing another unoriginal winners and losers list I looked through them and saw...my momma. When they didn't like who I had chosen as winners and losers I looked and saw...my momma. When they criticized my grammar and punctuation I looked right through to the other side of them and saw...my momma. And when the cop caught me doing a fat rail of coke in my car and threw me in jail for an overnight I saw...I really scary looking guy covered in tats that I avoided at all costs.
Seriously, why was Dion Sanders talking like he was at a Christian revival meeting while giving his Hall of Fame speech? I'm all for giving thanks to our moms but all he had to do was replace "momma" with "Jesus", throw in a couple of "Amens!" and "Hallelujahs", and top it all off with a man being commanded to walk from his wheel chair and he's ready to start his new gig as a Christian minister when he's done with the NFL network.
But on to the winners and losers in the NFL free agency so far. Obviously there are more moves that will be made so things can change. I remember a week ago when the 49ers were considered losers in the free agency market and all they've done since then is address every need except getting out of that icebox known as Candlestick Park. So things may change before the season actually starts, but here's some of the teams that have done the most and least to fix their needs.
This one's hardly a surprise. They signed the most coveted free agent in the market in cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, traded for another solid CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, or DRC for those who can't be bothered typing out his whole name, signed defensive ends Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, and topped it all off by signing quarterback Vince Young, running back Ronnie Brown, and offensive tackle Ryan Harris. It was such an impress haul Babin told reporters, "I feel like we're the Miami Heat of the NFL," which is a dumb thing to say considering the Dallas Mavaricks won the NBA championship. But the analogy is fair in the sense all those free agent signings have put a big bulls eye on their backs as the team to beat in the NFC. Although I'm guessing their fans hope the end result isn't the same.
I don't know if any team had more free agents than the Cardinals with 25. Just a short time later 12 of those players have been resigned and another 9 have been brought in from other teams including linebacker Stewart Bradley, guard Daryn Colledge, tightend Todd Heap, and conerback Richard Marshall. However, their biggest acquisition was the trade for quarterback Kevin Kolb. They gave up a lot to get him, only balking when the Eagles asked for Ken Whisenhunt's first born child, but it will be worth it if Kolb can become the long term answer at the black hole that was the Cardinals quarterback position last season, and isn't that worth mortgaging a little bit of your future? That is, of course, unless it doesn't work out in which case it was a horrible bonehead move. Either way I'll be able to retroactively look back in the future and act like I knew this was a great/horrible move.
The Patriots haven't actually done a whole lot in the free agent market. They lost defensive end Ty Warren, who they released after he missed all of last season with a hip injury, but they replaced him with defensive ends Shaun Ellis and Mark Anderson as well as defensive tackle Andre Carter. Yet where they really scored big was when they traded next to nothing in two separate trades to acquire Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco. If those two players start playing like they've done in the past when they've made Pro Bowl appearances, this will have been a huge steal for the Pats, and if they don't pan out, no big deal. They will have lost some lower round draft picks but Bill Belichick stock piles draft picks the way a white supremest stock piles guns. What's a couple of draft picks when you already have twenty more?
The Bucs came into free agency with 18 players looking for better deals, and they've done a solid job in resigning eleven of them. Where they haven't done so well is getting other players to take their talents to The Bay. So far only punter Michael Koenen has signed on. Not exactly the kind of thing that's going to invigorate a fan base. What makes this especially hard for the fans is the Bucs still have $29 million in cap room. In fact, it's because of teams like the Bucs that the new CBA has a salary floor coming into effect next year. So for one more year they can horde their gold like a lunatic expecting the end of the world in 2012. Hey, if John Cusack managed to survive why not me? And I'm not expecting to run/drive/fly through a constant rain of hellfire and brimstone. So take heart Bucs fans. Next off season they won't have any choice but to spend their money, which technically was yours since you gave it to them.
If Ty Warren can come back from his hip surgery, the Broncos will have a solid player to anchor their defensive line for the next two years. Donte Rosario and Deniel Fell are also nice players at the tight end position, but that's about all that's gone right for Denver. They lost defensive tackle Ronald Fields and offensive tackle Ryan Harris, but where they totally flubbed (yes, that's a real word) is with the handling of quarterback Kyle Orton. The came into the free agency period expecting to get a lot in return for Orton but now all the teams that needed a quarterback already have one. The Cardinals, Seahawks, Titans, Vikings, and 49ers have all found at least a temporary solution for their quarterback position. That leaves only the Dolphins and now they have Matt Moore. So who's left? They can't start Orton since that would hurt the progress of Tim Tebow but benching Orton or even releasing him would get them nothing in return. When the lockout ended the Broncos were hoping to deal Orton for a nice package, maybe similar to what the Eagles got for Kolb. Now I can't help but think they'd be happy with a 7th round pick and comp tickets to "The Book of Mormon" musical.
As if losing Nnamdi Asomugha wasn't bad enough they also lost offensive lineman Robert Gallery, quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, and tightend Zach (once again proving English makes no sense since the "ch" is pronounced "k") Miller. And who did they replace them with? They got tight end Kevin Boss, quarterback Trent Edwards, and offensive tackle Stephon Heyer, all of whom are worse than the players they're replacing not to mention the huge hole left by the absence of Asomugha. But take heart Raiders fans, Al Davis can't life forever, I think.