bill-swift - March 15, 2012
Agents around the country have been doing some last-minute scrambling to try to get their clients signed to their next deal. Coaches, general managers, and owners have been busy making the tough decisions—who to keep, who to cut, who to go after.
On Tuesday afternoon it became time to see if all the work that had been done in recent days was going to mean much or just end up being needless waste. It was time for free agency to begin.
As usual, some guys stayed put while some guys left for greener pastures. In case you haven't been able to follow all the moves, don't worry; we got your back. If you're wondering who won in the end we'll tell you that too!
Vincent Jackson: the now former disgruntled Charger is a happy and filthy rich Buccaneer after signing with Tampa Bay for $55,555,555 for five years ($26 million guaranteed). This one was obviously all about the money. Tampa Bay is a running team; Josh Freeman is an average passer at best.
Cortland Finnegan: the lynch pin of the Tennessee Titans secondary has a new home with a familiar face. The veteran cornerback is expected to sign a five-year, $50 million deal when he visits St. Louis on Friday. This is a great move for him and the Rams. Finnegan gets reunited with a head coach that knows how to use him, and the Rams get a defensive back they can count on to do his job.
Pierre Garcon: Garcon did what a lot of guys do; after one solid season he took the money and ran. This could end up working out real well for him assuming the ‘Skins take Robert Griffin III as expected. RG3 will have a field day chucking the ball deep and letting Garcon run underneath it. For the sake of the ‘Skins fans, hopefully he'll catch it.
Josh Morgan: Morgan was easily dispensable for the 49ers after they signed Randy Moss; he never did much anyway. If he can come back from his injury and continue to develop he could be a good complement to Garcon. At $12 million over the next two years I'd say the Redskins over-paid (shocker).
Jason Campbell: When the Raiders snagged Carson Palmer the writing was on the wall. Landing with the Bears could be a real good thing for him. Jay Cutler has done well, but he has also really stunk it up at times. There could be an opportunity there if he can be patient and concentrate on getting better. This one is a winner for both; Campbell has a job and the Bears have a pretty decent back-up (kind of a rarity).
As can be expected there were a number of players that did not change teams namely Marques Colston, Carlos Rogers, Terrell Thomas, Dwight Lowery, Reggie Wayne, and Red Bryant. All but Wayne come as no surprise; if you have a job you might as well keep it. Too often folks think the grass is greener, and typically it is not (just ask Vincent Jackson after the '12 season).
Reggie Wayne re-signing with the Colts is a shocker. For weeks the media has been filled with stories about how he'd like nothing more than to follow his buddy Peyton to wherever he signs, but on the first day of free agency he resigns with the Colts, a team that is likely to suck again since it has cut most of the talent it had.
The deal of the day was not a free agency signing, but a trade. I'm talking about the Dolphins sending Brandon Marshall to the Bears for a pair of third round picks. The move was likely made in order to free up cap space to sign Peyton Manning, but why would he want to sign there now? The team just got rid of its best offensive weapon!
The Big Winner
And the big winner of the day is…the Chicago Bears! Signing Jason Campbell gives the team a much-needed back-up QB that can play. The team found out the hard way last season what it's like not to have a capable back-up. Marshall is a steal for a pair of third round picks.
The beautiful part of the whole thing is this—free agency has just started! If the rest of it is anything like the first day it is going to be one exciting summer!