Plan of attack…Free Agency
What do we know? We know that this year’s draft doesn’t have a plethora of QB’s that will change the game. Luck and RGIII will most likely go 1 and 2, so who’s left after them? Many draft experts say this is a heavy load of tackles and solid linemen. Not the type of players that demand too much media hype. Maybe that’s a good thing, but that’s not what we are here to talk about.
We need to understand what our plan of attack is this offseason. Who are our targets in Free Agency, what are we looking at in terms of drafting in the first round, what are our trade down scenarios and who should we resign?
Crazy amount of questions with a lot of unknowns, but that is why our new coach and GM make millions of dollars and we are left on the sidelines playing that what if game.
Let’s start with Free Agency…
Who is the sexiest and most alluring free agent this year? If you are thinking 6’6 built like a truck, laser vision and demands respect in the huddle, then you and I agree it’s not Peyton Manning, but Mario Williams. Mario Williams will be an unrestricted Free Agent this year and will most likely demand consideration for every team in this league. If all of this Peyton Manning drama was non-existent the only player we would be talking about is Super Mario.
Yes he is coming off an injury season, but who cares! Quick, name any other player in the NFL who has put up Pro Ball Numbers in a 4-3 and 3-4 D? Last time a player like this was able to hit the open market his name was the Reggie White. All Reggie did was sign with the Packers and lead them to a SuperBowl title…pssh nothing to get excited about it.
Will the Texans allow him to walk out the door? Truth is, thanks to the demanding contracts that were signed by Julius Pepper and Jared Allen, franchising Super Mario will be a cap hit of over 22 million dollars and with Adrian Foster looking for a fat contract, you have to start thinking about this becoming a real possibility.
Let’s dream a little deeper, what will Super Mario be asking for in terms of a contract? He is 27 years old and will be entering his prime in terms of his development in the NFL. He would have at least 4 to 5 years of Pro Bowl types of season. I would have to think he would take a 5 year 75 million dollar contract with at least 25 million guaranteed, plus a 10 million signing bonus. Now the last question is, how would you feel about having Super Mario eat 15 million dollars a year on our cap?
This is just my own guess, and hypothesis. Would I like to see it happen, of course, but at the right price. If we don’t get Super Mario there are is solid fallback option in Cliff Avril. Avril is entering his prime and put up a solid year for the Lions. He’s got experience in a 4-3 which the Lions implemented last year, is a year younger than Mario and would be a cheaper alternative. However, I can see a few teams lining up for his services.
Staying on the D side of the ball, there is still a problem that we haven’t addressed since…we left Brock Marion leave Miami. Our Safety depth is at an all-time low, and we still don’t have a true ball hawk in the secondary. The top free agent possibility would be LaRon Landry, however he’s coming off too many injury plagued season and the last thing we want to see is a 7 million dollar cost sitting on our bench. Who would be the best fit, the obvious answer is Reggie Nelson. Nelson has ties with our new DC, and is trying to shed the bust label being a former first round pick. Nelson enjoyed a career year last year and just reviewing his stats he outperformed all of our Free Safeties combined. This prospect could at least try and bring some sort of credibility to our Free Safety position.
Switching to the other side of the field, the most troubling position we have is our QB situation. This is now a pass happy league. We are now seeing teams passing to set up the run. We need a QB that can push out the opposing secondaries rather than pressing us. Matt Flynn has been the talk of the town and the truth is we don’t know much about him in only 2 NFL starts. Our new head coach has 4 years of experience with him. No one else in the NFL besides the Packers have this type of scouting report on Flynn. If we decide to make a push for Flynn then it has to be 100% related to Philbin saying I need Flynn to win. If we don’t go after him, that right there should be a clear indication that Flynn is not worth the hype. We can try and break it down and review his 6TD performance against the Lions, but it all means nothing if our coach who has worked with Flynn for 4 years doesn’t believe in him. We hired Philbin to make these decisions, so let’s trust in him.
I don’t even want to start with this Peyton Manning hype. Truth is I feel sorry for him. Peyton has to start thinking about life outside of football and his family. We don’t know what is going to happen when the pads come on and he takes a blind side hit. Let’s be honest, no QB can go a full season without taking a few hard hits. Safety concern is the only reason why I don’t want to see him on our team.
Based on previous knowledge, we know that we can’t build a team through Free Agency, kindly refer to the Eagles this past year for evidence. However, we have seen that with a few selective options we can build a solid foundation. Adding players to our team that believe and are able to grow in our system would be mutually beneficial from both sides. What we are looking for our players that are about to take their recent knowledge of the game and translate that into game experience.
Time will tell, but Free Agency is less than a month away, let the speculation begin.