The first few days of NFL free agency are a jumble of names, rumors, and fan delusion (mostly the fan delusion). No matter how many times we see a team win a Super Bowl on the back of solid drafting and player development, early March always becomes a time when the next big name is going to put that offseason champion over the top. After a week or so, the big prizes are gone, and attention turns to the next set of saviors — that year’s crop of first-round picks.
Moves that go down in May never come with the same fanfare, but especially with the current salary-cap landscape in the NFL (with player salaries outpacing the cap), there are still bargains to be had. There are still more than a handful of players out there who can make a difference for a team, this year and beyond, and to help sift through them, we put together what we hope is a helpful primer.
2012 team: Kansas City Chiefs
Winston was the most notable casualty during the regime change in Kansas City (aside from Matt Cassel, I guess, but c’mon). He signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Chiefs last offseason after being cut by the Texans, but with John Dorsey and Andy Reid coming to town and two franchise left tackles sitting there with the no. 1 pick, Winston was shown the door. Kansas City seems to have a better plan in place than Houston did a year ago. The right side of the Texans’ offensive line was a shuffling mess last season without their former right tackle, but now that the Branden Albert trade with Miami has fallen through, Kansas City will likely have no. 1 pick Eric Fisher on the left side and the franchised Albert on the right.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Matt Cain pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and the Giants won their record-tying sixth elimination game of the postseason, routing the Cardinals 9-0 to reach the World Series. The only hiccup came when rain began to fall late, and Tim Lincecum repeatedly wandered out to the field while the game was going on, holding out his hands and saying, "It's all so beautiful!" as he wept.
I may be the only degenerate football fan in the country who is going to miss the replacement refs. Not because I thought they were competent or belonged anywhere near an NFL stadium, but because during the short time they were employed, I enjoyed three straight winning weeks with my prop bets. Not sure that has ever happened before. Certainly it never will again.
Not to mention — I had big plans for Week 4. There was talk of players taking a knee to protest the replacements. I was hoping the shitty refs would stay, and the players would sit, so I could cash in on a 15-team all “under” parlay. All games end up 0-0?!! $1 would’ve paid $16,306.
But now that the lockout has ended, that’s all just a pipe dream. And I’m telling you now — if my luck starts to change, Ed Hochuli and I are gonna have a fistfight. (He must, of course, first agree to a steroid test.)
This year, I’m 84,000 jermajesties* in the plus. Let’s keep it rolling with Week 4 and remember — when picking my favorite games, I always keep in mind that it’s not about the X's and O's, it’s about the Jims and Joes. (If someone ever figures out what that means, please drop me a line.)
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Florida St. scored 28 points in the first half to beat Boston College 38-7. With the win, the Seminoles qualified for a bowl for the 30th straight season. With three losses and their long fall out of the Top 25, though, they also qualified for welfare.