— Forget free agency winners and losers. Who knows now who won or lost? Let’s gauge the kneejerk emotions of the first three days of NFL free agency.
Hey, hey hey! It’s glaaaaad Albert! The former Titans defensive tackle gets a seven-year deal with $41 million guaranteed from the Washington Redskins in the first few hours of free agency. And then he steps to the mic on Friday and promises, “You’re not going to remember Albert Haynesworth as a bust.” Having seen Albert mad, it’s better for everyone to see him happy.
New York Giants
They take a chunk out of division-rival Dallas by signing defensive end Chris Canty, got defensive tackle Rocky Bernard from Seattle and very promising young linebacker Michael Boley out of Atlanta. In addition, they got running back Brandon Jacobs satisfied at the end of last week with a new deal. Yeah, it’s good for Big Blue.
After a brilliant but often under-the-radar career in Jacksonville, the classy running back gets a chance at a ring with the Patriots in 2009. Signed by New England on Friday, he becomes the breakaway weapon (yeah, even at his age) that slasher Laurence Maroney and pounder Sammy Morris are not. And he’s a pro that will fit in perfectly.
Kansas City Chiefs
Well, they got what they wanted so that makes them happy. Grabbing franchised quarterback Matt Cassel from New England for a relative song (the 34th overall pick) and getting outside linebacker Mike Vrabel tossed into the deal helps add a guy who knows what winning’s all about. But the agitation in the Chiefs locker room (Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters' feelings were hurt by head coach Todd Haley and GM Scott Pioli) means that everyone’s not grinning ear-to-ear in KC.
Out the door goes heart-and-soul safety Brian Dawkins (Denver). Out the door goes valuable backup running back Correll Buckhalter (also Denver). Out the door goes corner Lito Sheppard (although the package of picks coming back from the Jets ain’t bad). Likely out the door goes old lion offensive tackle Jon Runyan. In the door comes free agent guard Stacy Andrews who’s coming off ACL surgery and has no established destination on the offensive line. If, as was reported, Donovan McNabb wanted to see what the Eagles did this offseason before committing to stick around, it looks like they’re pushing him out the door.
The Texans starting quarterback saw the man Houston fans often lobbied for (backup Sage Rosenfels) get dealt to the Vikings but then watched as the Houston front office replaced Rosenfels with Dan Orlovsky. Now, Dan Orlovsky’s closer to Dan McGwire than Dan Marino but the Texans gave him a three-year deal worth $9.1 million with $2.4 million in a signing bonus. Smells like a lot to pay a backup. Who was with an 0-16 team last year. Hmmm.
Linebacker Bart Scott’s out the door (to the Jets). So is center Jason Brown (Rams). After hanging out on the corner under a streetlamp, linebacker Ray Lewis will probably re-sign (with some apparent reluctance). Veteran corner Samari Rolle says he wants to be cut. Tough weekend for the guys in purple.
They made several moves that should have them feeling giddy. But the fact is, their dalliance with dealing Jay Cutler is going to overshadow all of that. Cutler’s a sneering, high-maintenance player who exudes arrogance. His tender sensibilities (or inflated self-image based on the fact he can throw a football hard to spots he wants to) have been offended. And it won’t be easy for 32-year-old head coach Josh McDaniels to soothe them. Oh, yeah, wide receiver Brandon Marshall got arrested in Atlanta, too. Sweet! Fortunately for B-Marsh, the charges were dropped. But after having issues, shouldn’t he be a little further away from even perceived trouble?
While he could have made the list as a happy guy after signing with Denver, Dawkins got weepy during an interview with a Philly TV station. After 13 years as a spectacular player in Philly, the kind of guy that made legions of fans buy his jersey, signed somewhere else. And he was sad that it came to that.
Nobody (at least so far) has stepped forward to show they wanted the future Hall of Fame linebacker. He’s headed back to Baltimore eventually. And he won’t be happy with the ego-busting result of his free agent time.
The Broncos fired Mike Shanahan. Waaaah. The Broncos let go of Cutler’s confidante and coach Jeremy Bates. Double waaaah. Now, because head coach Josh McDaniels contemplated moving on from a clearly mopey mop-topped Cutler, the waaah-fest is really on.
T. J. Houshmandzadeh
Despite a weak market for receivers, the former Bengals wide receiver got only mild sniffs before choosing to join the Seahawks. He blamed the “dummies” in the media for making him sound old.
New England Patriots
People are questioning why the Patriots parted with Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel for just a second-round pick. And those people are ignoring the cap savings and the fact that they now have a first and three second-round picks with which to do damage with in April.
New England Patriots fans
After hearing how much better Cassel was than guys like USC quarterback Mark Sanchez and Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford — likely first-round picks next month — Pats fans were stunned when just a second-round pick came in for Cassel. And irate when they learned a favorite like Vrabel was going too.