March , 2009

Sideline Scouting

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Free Agency - First Thoughts

Posted by Administrator On March - 1 - 2009

48 hours ago, the open season on free agency kicked off with Albert Haynesworth receiving a 7-year, $100 million contract. This may seem like a solid deal as Haynesworth is considered to be one of the top defensive players in the league but once you scratch the surface, you will find that this may be a costly mistake for the Washington Redskins.

This “titan” of a defensive tackle has a reputation of only playing for money. In two contract seasons, Haynesworth has accounted for 14.5 sacks. In his five previous seasons, Haynesworth has amassed a total 9.5 sacks. Without a doubt, a statistical representation of his play implies the fact that Haynesworth, a former first round pick, only turns the heat up when money is on the line.

Add in the fact that Haynesworth has had multiple run-in’s on and off the gridiron and we have a very suspect individual that may actually throw it in neutral now that he has his money. This could prove to be a costly risk for the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins pounced on another questionable player at the start of free agency — cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Hall’s contract is way too pricey for an individual that has yet to prove he can be a difference maker when playing man-to-man coverage. Remember, this is the same cornerback that was let go by the horrid Oakland Raiders organization. Washington is Hall’s third team in two seasons.

Another free agency blunder happened in Arizona as they failed to re-sign star defensive end Antonio Smith. Smith signed on with Houston where he will have an impact immediately alongside Mario Williams and Amobe Okoye. The Arizona Cardinals now have a major question mark at defensive end and second-year player Calais Campbell will have a big pair of cleats to fill. Houston on the other hand now has someone that can get pressure opposite of Mario Williams, making this defensive line one to be reckoned with in 2009.

The Philadelphia Eagles failed to re-sign safety Brian Dawkins. This is a disappointing blow to a fanbase that has seen its fair share of questionable moves by the front office. Dawkins was an integral cog within the Eagles organization and is arguably a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Dawkins went on to sign with Denver for a five year, $17 million deal. It is obvious that Dawkins wanted a long-term deal done and the Eagles would rather sacrifice him than hold a spot on the roster for a 35-year old safety. Dawkins still has plenty of “Weapon X” in him but the contract with Denver will expire when he is 40 years old.

Kerry Collins re-upped with Tennessee. This is a bold move for this organization as it seems that they do not have faith in former offensive rookie of the year Vince Young. We can expect to see Vince Young get more playing time in 2009 but this is Collins’ job to lose.

Assuring their defense remains competitive while improving it at the same time, the New York Giants were quick to swipe outside linebacker Michael Boley, a free agent from the Falcons. Boley is an upgrade over Danny Clark and his impact should be felt in a move that we like a lot for the Giants. His ability to play the pass is impressive as he has tallied five interceptions in his young four year career.

The signing of Michael Boley will also allow the Giants to focus on a less important area in the draft where they can build depth and increase their talent.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a bold move by trading picks to Cleveland for tight end Kellen Winslow. This all came a day after they released five key parts of their organization — LB Derrick Brooks, WR Joey Galloway, RB Warrick Dunn, LB Cato June, and WR Ike Hilliard. The rebuilding will continue for Tampa Bay so do not expect them to compete immediately.

In the biggest move of the free agency season, the Kansas City Chiefs traded its second round pick (34th) overall to the New England Patriots for quarterback Matt Cassel. In reasonable fashion we think that this deal will look more like the Scott Mitchell trade than anything else. To Kansas City’s credit, Cassel is more proven than any quarterback the Chiefs can expect to get with the 34th overall pick but his stock is inflated and could burst like the housing market in 2008.

Other Thoughts

Baltimore signed CB Domonique Foxworth to a rather large deal. Getting more money than expected, we doubt the return will exceed expectations as Foxworth has been nothing more than average since being drafted in the 2005 NFL Draft by Denver.

By signing OT Stacy Andrews, the Philadelphia Eagles now have a chance to plug Todd Herremans at right tackle and pursue a guard in the first round of the draft, like some sources have indicated they would.

The New York Jets made their run defense a heck of a lot better by signing ILB Bart Scott. Scott, a tackling machine that was let loose by the Ravens will now get to team up with ILB David Harris and form one of the best linebacker duos in the league.

We have said that Anthony Henry, the former CB for the Dallas Cowboys is overrated for a while now and the outright trade of him to Detroit for QB Jon Kitna just proves our point. The sad fact of the matter is that Henry is an upgrade over any CB on the Lions roster right now.

Despite signing OC Geoff Hangartner, the former center from Carolina, expect to see the Buffalo Bills to take a long look at centers in the upcoming draft.

Kurt Warner and his agent have had some serious talks with the San Francisco 49ers. Without a doubt, Warner would be an upgrade over Shaun Hill but he is not the long-term solution head coach Mike Singletary should be pursuing. We seen how ineffective Warner was in bad situations in cities other than St. Louis and Phoenix.

Several teams have been very quiet in free agency thus far, including the Green Bay Packers. Rumor has it that they are taking a long look at several key free agents, including former Jacksonville DE Paul Spicer. Spicer’s better days may be behind him but he could be a temporary band-aid for a defense switching to the 3-4.

For all of your draft related information, visit Sideline Scouting. This article was written by Pete Dymeck.

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