MVP Sports Channel

Free Agency: A Good Place To Start The Season

General-Manager ParkingCongratulations!  You’ve just been named the general manager of an NFL team.  For any armchair quarterback, it’s a dream come true!  Now you have your chance to showcase your expert football acumen.  However, before you pop the cork on the champagne and fire up the corporate jet, hold on a minute.  There’s much to do before hoisting a trophy.

The “dream job” of  running a professional football franchise in the National Football League has often become a nightmare for  many who sat in the GM chair only to be quickly disposed of like yesterday’s newspaper.  Americans still get newspapers, right?

More often than not, a GM’s decisions made during the NFL draft are where the dream derails.  Impatience and pressure from the fan base often leads to drafting a quarterback too early and failing to find the face of the franchise.  Waiting too late means your divisional competition, twice a year for the next decade, may be fielding the superstar you missed on.

Despite the gamble, through the years, most NFL decision makers have given in to the idea of rebuilding through the draft is the surest way to put a team in contention of a championship.  The other option; rebuild through free agency.

Drafting may the perfect approach for a few teams who are cash-strapped against the salary cap. Or for teams with key franchise players still in their prime this is a viable option.  In these situations, there is sometimes (a little) less pressure from owners, fans and media to convert top college prospects into pros who can compete with the best of the best.

Frankly, there are too many questions about players from the college ranks for a GM to sleep at night.  Although the league has helped teams alleviate the feast or famine issue over the past few years by capping the rookie class salaries, still, there is a lot of time, effort and money wasted on draft choices who fail to make the grade.  Let’s look at a few examples:

Will they be able to live up to their hype bestowed upon them? (see Ryan Leaf)

How will they deal the pressures of sudden wealth and fame? (think Adam “Pacman” Jones)

Will they fit the system the current coach and/or coordinator runs?  And then there is the question of “How will they stand up to the physical nature of the NFL?” (see Jake Locker)

More teams typically find themselves in a “must win now” phase.  This is where free agency can and should be a no-brainer option for a team in need of a total makeover.

Each player is an investment into the team’s future and general managers can easily draw inevitable comparisons to stocks, bonds and mutual funds.  Why are free agents a safer bet?  They are proven commodities and the buyer knows, with very little exception, what the investment will yield.  Like a good stock or other capital investment, some are riskier than others and timing dictates the price paid.  However, many day traders and high rollers go broke when pushing their luck too far.

Most every financial planner or stock brokers will tell you, a good portfolio is a diversified portfolio.  Certainly with a combination of experienced veterans and a few key draft choices this seems to be an ideal mix any organization would want to maintain continuity.  No successful portfolio is complete without a solid compliment of tried-and-true mutual funds, sprinkled with a few higher risk, more aggressive investments.  A patient owner with their eye on the future is also a big plus.

Minimizing the guess work is half the battle!  There are enough quality free agency choices to stay under the estimated salary cap and field a complete team for the 2015 season.  This is not just a team, but a competitive team in any division of the league.

With a blank slate, here is MVP Sports Channel’s 53-man roster we’d sign:

Defensive Linemen

  • Ndamukong Suh- DT  DETROIT LIONS
  • Nick Fairley- DT  DETROIT LIONS
  • Terrance Knighton- DT  DENVER BRONCOS
  • Cory Redding- DE/DT  INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
  • Karl Klug- DE/DT  TENNESSEE TITANS
  • Kevin Vickerson- DT  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
  • Jerry Hughes- DE  BUFFALO BILLS
  • Jason Pierre-Paul- DE  NEW YORK GIANTS
  • Osi Umenyiora- DE  ATLANTA FALCONS

 

Linebackers

  • Justin Houston- OLB  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
  • Dwight Freeney- OLB  SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
  • Akeem Ayer- LB  NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
  • Lance Briggs- OLB  CHICAGO BEARS
  • Brandon Spikes- ILB  BUFFALO BILLS
  • Rolando McClain- ILB  DALLAS COWBOYS
  • Larry Foote- ILB  ARIZONA CARDINALS

 

Defensive Backs

  • Byron Maxwell- CB  SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
  • Brandon Flowers- CB  SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
  • Darrelle Revis- CB  NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
  • Terence Newman- CB  CINCINNATI BENGALS
  • Devin McCourty- FS  NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
  • Rahim Moore- FS  DENVER BRONCOS
  • Louis Delmas- SS  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
  • Ron Parker- S/CB  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
  • Major Wright- S  TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
  • Quintin Demps- S/ KR  NEW YORK GIANTS

 

Offensive Linemen

  • Rodney Hudson- C  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
  • Mike Iupati- G  SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
  • Stefen Wisniewski- C/G  OAKLAND RAIDERS
  • Dan Connolly- G  NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
  • John Jerry- G  NEW YORK GIANTS
  • Michael Roos- OT  TENNESSEE TITANS
  • Bryan Bulaga- OT  GREEN BAY PACKERS
  • Jason Fox- OT  MIAMI DOLPHINS
  • Marshall Newhouse- OT  CINCINNATI BENGALS

 

Quarterbacks

  • Mark Sanchez- QB  PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
  • Jake Locker- QB  TENNESSEE TITANS

 

Running Backs

  • CJ Spiller- RB  BUFFALO BILLS
  • Frank Gore- RB  SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
  • Justin Forsett- RB  BALTIMORE RAVENS
  • Ray Rice- RB  BALTIMORE RAVENS
  • John Kuhn- FB  GREEN BAY PACKERS

 

Wide Receivers

  • Dez Bryant- WR  DALLAS COWBOYS
  • Reggie Wayne- WR  INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
  • Randall Cobb- WR  GREEN BAY PACKERS
  • Demaryius Thomas- WR  DENVER BRONCOS
  • Wes Welker- WR  DENVER BRONCOS
  • Hakeem Nicks- WR  INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

 

Tight Ends

  • Julius Thomas- TE  DENVER BRONCOS
  • Charles Clay- TE  MIAMI DOLPHINS
  • Matt Spaeth- TE  PITTSBURGH STEELERS

 

Special Teams

  • Brett Kern- P  TENNESSEE TITANS
  • Stephen Gostkowski- K  NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

 

 

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