March Madness is usually all about College Basketball. The Bracket Challenge. The hype, the dramatics, etc. . . March is also the time when NFL fan bases get over-hyped or overly depressed because NFL free agency has begun.
It’s usually fan bases of bad teams that freak out. If you’re a fan of the Jets, Bears, Browns, Giants or any other team that has a top-ten draft pick – it’s a nervous time.
But is it, really?
Every team enters the offseason with holes. Whether it be because of lack of talent on the roster or someone is being paid too much. Regardless of what it may be, free agency – in some people’s eyes – is the “quick-fix” to all their problems. In truth, free agency can be just what a team needs to get over a hump or take them to the promised land. For example, Peyton Manning signing with the Denver Broncos in 2012 (jeez, that was already SIX years ago. . .). Or even in 2014 when the Patriots signed cornerback Darrelle Revis. On the other hand, free agency can be the equivalent of a broken water pipe being fixed with some duct-tape. For examples of bad free agent signings just look up any of these Redskins signings: Albert Haynesworth in 2009, Adam Archuletta in 2006 or even Jeremiah Trotter in 2004. . . Oh, those Redskins. . .
This season, there were names that every bad franchise’s fan base wanted them to throw money at. So far some players have agreed to terms with teams wanting their services. This includes “household names” like Albert Wilson, who has agreed to go to Miami for three-year $24 million dollar contract and Trey Burton who has agreed to a four-year, $32 million dollar contract. Now, one isn’t saying that these men aren’t “good” and I could care less about the money they’re getting – BUT – fan bases all start to follow these type of guys on twitter and “all of a sudden” become experts on the “hidden talents” that players like these possess.
Come on, man. . .
Burton was the third best tight end in Philadelphia and Albert Wilson was probably a three or four guy in Kansas City. If these are the caliber of players that will get fans in a frenzy because they “missed out” on these guys – then maybe, just maybe – you’ve lost it a little.
It’s easy for fans to say, get this guy – spend this money and fill that hole. But the NFL is all about the right guys who fit in the right systems. This is why an intelligent player like Richard Sherman, who’s only worked in one defensive system in his career, chose to sign with the 49ers who run a similar defensive scheme. This is why teams like the Jets and Vikings are looking at Kirk Cousins to be their next quarterback. Cousins just ran a west-coast style offense in Washington, and the Vikings and Jets (if we are to judge by their offensive coordinator hires) will be doing something of the same ilk. Meanwhile, former Bears linebacker Christian Jones who played in a 3-4 defensive scheme is now going to play for the Lions who typically run a 4-3 defensive scheme, so if this signing turns out to be a bad one – there’s your first big clue as to why.
Listen, everyone loves free agency. But when it comes to cursing out a general manager because he didn’t fill “a hole” with some over-priced shiny new object, there is no reason to throw a fit or curse your general manager’s family from now till eternity. Oh, and it definitely doesn’t call for burning players’ jerseys. That’s just stupid. If we’ve learned anything it’s that winning teams are put together by smart people. The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers pretty much get it. They never want to over-pay for talent – they’d rather find those who can fit in their systems.
So if your team is sitting on millions upon millions of dollars and not spending it like crazy in free agency, don’t flip out. There’s a draft and there is also a coaching staff in place that is there to make players better – imagine that. . .
I mean, if you’re a Jets fan though. Yeah, I’d be mad as all hell, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.