This is a quick little post to let you know that while you are sitting around waiting, and waiting, and waiting for anything to happen that will give you something to think about, encourage you to believe that next year will be much different than this year, or a signing or trade to make you think that it won’t, fear not! For as you wait now, you won’t have a lot to wait for later.
Let me explain.
In years past (last year’s lockout season an exception), the NFL league new year started sometime between March 1st to March 4th. That means that from the time the Super Bowl ended, there was a lag of just over three weeks before the start of the NFL Combine and then about a week for the start of the league new year. This year, the start of the league new year is on the 13th of March. Creating a lag of almost five weeks from the end of the 2011 NFL season (the Super Bowl) and the start of the next one.
The Combine is still in play for the 22nd to the 28th of this month but there will still be two weeks left for the start of the league new year.
That’s when all hell breaks loose.
See in previous years, the start of free agency was a hellish ride of mid-night signings and a free for all weekend that tapered towards and ending roughly three to four weeks later when all free agents had pretty much found new homes. Concentration for teams turned to the draft and in those years, the late April mega-televised event would be about six weeks away. Aside from the occasional high profile college pro-day, nothing really moved in that time frame.
Mostly, that time was used to complete weekly or bi-weekly mock drafts. This year, fans of the NFL take that dull break a little bit earlier and it will pay off when the league new year finally does start.
This year, with the start of free agency beginning in week 2 of March, by the time the free agent window begins to close (three to four weeks after it begins) the NFL Draft will only be three and a half weeks away, assuming that the free agent market is relatively dry or the the action is dead by April 3rd.
So how is that good for the fans? Well, for starters having a three week window between the free agent period and the draft will allow fans and media the opportunity to have far more to discuss. So while it may appear that everything is at somewhat of a standstill, and rather boring in the news department (only so much Peyton vs. Flynn) when it does finally pick up, it should stay picked up.
Of course this does nothing to change the fact that when the draft is over, and the subsequent undrafted free agents are added to rosters, there will be a very long lag in NFL football and news from the end of April until training camps role around at the end of July. The NFL needs to find something to do in that time period. Regardless, enjoy the break we have now because we are almost done with it.