Free Agency Will Be More Interesting

Let’s face it, the NFL Draft this year was boring. I was stuck watching the ESPN broadcast and I have to say, I will never watch them again unless I have to.  Even the 4th round coverage by the NFL Network was superior to ESPN’s first round coverage.  It really has become a back slap fest of look at me on ESPN rather than “coverage” of the event.  Alas, that is simply my impression and I know other will feel differently.

Still, this draft lacked the excitement of years past and you don’t really need to look any further than the league imposed lockout to find the answers.  No players could be traded over the weekend which made it harder to move picks and with no future drafts guaranteed the amount of teams moving future selections wasn’t as common.  The biggest trade of course was Atlanta doing what they needed to do to move from 27th in round 1 to 6th overall.  That was exciting.  And then it died.

At least we have free agency to look forward to.  Someday.

While the Dolphins filled some holes on their roster they surely left room for free agency help.  Consider they will still need to add another running back as both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams as well as Patrick Cobbs should all be gone.  They addressed one of those spots with Daniel Thomas in round 2.  So they will likely take a long look at the available backs in free agency.  Many think that De’Angelo Williams of Carolina is a target.  He is tendered so he will cost picks in next years draft.

Then there is the offensive line where the addition of Pouncey fills a hole at either center or guard but not both.  So free agency should allow the Dolphins to add another guard to the mix.  LB?  The Phins didn’t address the position in the draft and will need to look at the market to get one.  And then there is the QB spot.

Miami could have drafted Colin Koepernick, Ryan Mallett, or Andy Dalton in round 1.  They passed.  This leaves Tom Brandstater and Chad Henne as the only two signed QB’s on the roster with Tyler Thigpen tendered but un-signed.  They will need to shop the free agent market to find a veteran.  Vince Young, Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, and very few others may be available.  On the surface, there is no future leader among them, but that’s an article for another day.  The above are all pretty much stop-gap options unless you pony up for Kolb and he pans out.  To put is simply, the Dolphins could add any of those QB’s and still need to look at drafting one next year.

On top of the names that will be added to the free agent ranks of veteran players will be a host of a hundred or so undrafted rookies who will also be looking to make it in the NFL.  Guys like Davone Bess who not only found a spot on the roster but found a starting role as well.  So when the NFL decides that free agency is open for business, it won’t be veterans alone stealing the spotlight but instead a run on the rookie guys who are sitting in limbo as well.  In fact, it will be more likely to see those guys taken before many veterans step foot into a facility for a visit.

Unlike most years, the NFL is not heading into it’s dull off-season of rookie mini-camps and nothing else until July.  Free agency is waiting in the wings for a new labor deal and it may be an interesting time to look at whether or not the league should consider moving free agency to after the draft where it will command more attention and make the draft more interesting for teams as well.  It could benefit those free agent players as well.  Who knows.

Until the lockout is lifted, which I hope will not happen until the NFLPA goes back to the bargaining table, it’s all nothing more than waiting.  And hoping.  And speculation.



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Tags: Chad Henne Daniel Thomas Donovan McNabb Jeff Irleand Kevin Kolb Miami Dolphins NFL Draft NFL Free Agency NFL Lockout Ricky Williams Ronnie Brown Vince Young

  • fins4ever1

    Interesting comment on the coverage at ESPN. I watched the draft (or a good portion of it) on the NFL Network, mainly because I like the in depth analysis of Mike Mayock. The first few rounds were excellent. They gave detailed information along with highlights of each player selected.

    However, somewhere around the 4th or 5th round the coverage disappeared and it became a talk show, talking about something unrelated to the current pick. All you saw was a flashing banner of “pick is in” in the background but it was not acknowledged by any of the commentators. Dissapointing!

  • hawkfinfan

    I was stuck watching Espn. It was terrible coverage. They used to have repotrs from the team headquarters. They had very few. The lack of reports on players was terrible. Also they had way too much traffic garbage on the ticker on the bottom of the screen. It was very hard to tell who was picked. Next year I will watch the first round only.

  • Michael Rosenbloom

    As someone who has worked for ESPN (briefly) in the past, their coverage this year wasn’t any different than it was in previous years. The first few rounds were all about the players being picked currently, and by round 3, it was more about what had already happened than what was currently happening.

    For the later rounds, they would have show a “previous picks” board and recap a few off the board to highlight. This was the first time I was able to watch NFL net’s coverage and I liked it. I think we are just getting tired of the same coverage year after year by ESPN, but I don’t think it was bad.

  • markeyh

    I thought ESPN’s coverage was dreadful!!!! I can’t wait for Warner Cable and the NFL Network to come to some kind of agreement. I will never watch the ESPN draft again….

  • Brian Miller

    Sorry Michael, I think it was horrible. They cut to commercial when the commish was coming to the podium 3 times on Thursday and seemed to do it almost every other pick on Thursday. Their coverage was scattered and at times Berman was talking more about the hosts than he was the players being drafted or had been drafted. The first round was not very well produced and it seemed as if they were simply going through the motions at times. Where was the speculation on who teams might take? In fact, Berman would spend the last few seconds of a teams clock surmising who it might be and that was only after he saw who might be on the phone.

    Also, they were so slow to get to the trade compensations while NFLN seemed to be on top of them. No war room cams as in the past either. I found it boring and without character.