Friday, February 27, 2009

NFL Free Agency Updates

NFL Free Agency began this morning at 12:01 AM and as expected we have already seen a number of big moves. Three of the top defensive players have already agreed to new contracts led by the top free agent available defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth who signed with the Washington Redskins. On the offensive side of the ball we haven't seen any major free agent signings but we did see one surprising trade as the Cleveland Browns traded tight end Kellen Winslow to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a couple of draft picks. Here is a small rundown of each of these two moves and what they mean to their new clubs.

1. Albert Haynesworth signs for 7 years-$100 million dollars: At first glance it may seem as though the Redskins are back to their free spending ways where they sign every free agent and try to 'buy' their way into the playoffs. But the reality of it is Haynesworth was the best free agent available and has been a defensive force for his entire career. Now many will question whether the Skins were wise to spend so much on a defensive player to add to a defense that ranked 4th in the league in yards allowed. While the Skins were very efficient to holding opposing offenses under 20 points, Washington was among the worst teams in terms of getting to the quarterback and forcing turnovers. The Redskins finished 28th in the league in both those categories. Haynesworth should immediately help generate a pass rush as his 8.5 sacks were more than twice what the Redskins leader had. Haynesworth is also the type of player that can help the entire defense around him. Haynesworth is simply a force in the middle that will clog running lanes and occupy multiple pass blockers. Having him on the roster frees up the rest of the defense which could mean big things for ends Jason Taylor and Andre Carter. There is a negative side to signing Haynesworth as well, he has never made it through a full 16 game season, and he's had issues keeping his weight in check. Also by tying up so much money into Haynesworth the Redskins might not be able to sign any offensive linemen which is one of their biggest weaknesses. This is one time though where the reward is worth the risk as Haynesworth was far and away the best player on the free agent market and should make the Redskins a better team. Grade: A-, Haynesworth's talent is too good to pass up.

2. Tampa Bay trading for Kellen Winslow from the Browns: Since we don't know yet exactly what draft picks the Bucs gave up for Winslow its hard to grade the trade effectively. If I had to guess I'd say that its probably a 2nd rounder this year and a late rounder in 2010 or a 3rd round pick in each year. If its anything more than that Tampa overpaid since they will have to now sign Winslow to a big time extension as well or risk losing him after 2010. Winslow has the ability to be one of the elite weapon in the league. He will be just 26 years old next season and possesses the speed and hands of a receiver and the size and strength of a tight end. If you look at just 2006 and 2007 Winslow was just that, when he combined for almost 2,000 yards in over 170 catches. The problem is Winslow has been in the league since 2004 and in those other three years he has only 48 catches for 478 yards. He has had 36 games wiped out due to injury or suspension throughout his career and has been considered somewhat of a problem in the locker room. It's a bit of a surprise that the Buccaneers would add a player that has been divisive in the past, especially to an offense that lacks a true leader to keep him under control. This could be an ominous move for Tampa and has the potential to blow up in their face. If the Buccaneers can keep Winslow's focus on the football field, then they will have a great option in their passing game. Grade: C+, Winslow is a high risk, high reward player.

I will continue posting more thoughts on free agent signings and offseason trades as they happen.


  1. Great blog SteveO.
    I think the Haynesworth signing is a great move by Washington. At first, I was a little nervous that this was just another signing that Snyder would regret down the road. However, I think Haynesworth will make the Redskins Defense better all around. It will free up Taylor and Carter to get to the Quarterback (something we couldn't do last year). Haynesworth will stuff the run (occupying 2-3 blockers at a time) and he is the best DT at sacking the QB. In the last two years, no DT has had more sacks than AH. In theory, the Redskins pass defense will reap the benefits from the pressure Haynesworth will put on the QB. He is a force to be reckoned with and will improve the whole defense. Also, don't let the 7 yr/100 mill. fool you. Chris Mortenson from ESPN reported that it is essentially a 4yr/48 million deal. When AH turns 32 the Skins will probably either cut or restructure his contract...something that the Skins are famous for. Overall, great move for the Skins! (if he stays healthy and motivated)

  2. Hey thanks Joe,
    Yeah I think Taylor, Carter and Griffin are all licking their chops right now. I also think the happiest guy has to be London Fletcher, he's never gonna see another lineman again. It should free him up to make some big plays.

  3. I agree! And I hope this starts a new trend in smart Redskins free agency moves...I'm impressed what they've done so far...especially if we can get another O Lineman!