how are teams looking into free agency now since the draft became weaker do to some top draft choices that will remain in college? Will this also change the draft strategy by teams?
01-17-2009, 06:27 AM
Well don't look at it as some top draft choices remaining in college. With the rookie salary scale issue looming there are a lot of underclassmen flooding to enter this draft before there is any rookie salary scale. That's why you see redshirt sophmore's even looking at the draft in large numbers. Take WR's for instance, Crabtree and Maclin will be 2 of the top ones, and they're way young. So all in all, I think this draft looks to be a very deep draft with a lot of raw talent at the top. Next year's draft will likely be weak by comparison, so people want their draft picks this year.
Free agency hasn't really changed in GM's minds. Some GM's still want that one missing puzzle piece and throw cash at marquee names that usually woefully underperform. Other GM's, like Ireland thankfully, look for solid young veterans that can be had for a reasonable price but offer a lot of reward for minimal risk, like last year when we signed Smiley (hit), Starks (hit), and that tall WR whose name escapes me (miss). None were expensive and the one major miss wasn't a big deal.
Some positions simply aren't available in FA, like LT's, so if you want one of them you still need to get him through the draft. Others, like QB, are very limited in FA, but can be had; but in the draft it's a gamble drafting a QB early and more like playing the lottery drafting one late. Some positions, like WR, have a lot of difficulty translating from one scheme to another, and draft picks take about 3 years to develop properly, so the choice comes down to how badly the coach needs it and how long is he (and his job) prepared to wait.
So, FA is very much an incomplete chess board. Some pieces are always available and others are overpriced or unattainable. The draft is more like farming, you plant the seed, nurture it, cultivate it, and eventually it'll probably grow into a nice player, but it's those unforseen acts of God that can ruin all your work before harvesting time comes, or if they reach free agency just when they're becoming ripe, somebody may sneak into your fields at night and pluck him away early before you reap the benefits.
Hope this helps.
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