FA philosophies can differ
This thread is a starter to discuss your opinions on how to approach FA vs the draft. And your philosophy may change from year to year depending on the team's needs and FA's available and type of draft prospects entering the league. So I will start with mine for this year. Critique what I say and compare your philosophy to mine.
This year I would spend my FA money on rebuilding the OL, CB, and maybe one TE depending who becomes available (like Keller or Finley). I like Cox at CB as well. Without examining every FA this is where I would start.
Then I would invest my draft picks on playmakers like DE, WR, and one TE. As far as WR's I like Hopkins, Wheaton, and Goodwin. They all have the size, speed, and playmaking abilities you look for in Philbin's system. Specific targets in the draft would be the TE from Rice (forget his name) and those WR's. those 4 playmakers plus Bess, Matthews, Clay, and the one FA TE would make for a nice group for Tannehill.
How would approach the off season?
I can't hep but think that the fins will go offense in this draft, but if they can get that explosive Wr in FA I would personally pick up Clowney in the 1st round to help Cam Wake out, I don't think that CB is a pressing need early on, I would then go and get a TE that can run the seams of the field in FA, and then get a LB that can cover TE's, then I would look at a hard hitting safety opposite of Jones,. So it would look something like this.
Clowney pick 12
Matt Elam 2nd
WR, WR, TE, CB, CB, DE, OT, OG.
5 picks (first three rounds, should be able to get immediate contributors), and at least 3-4 free agent "spots" that can be signed. It's doable, but only if you hit on the draft picks. If you consider that realistically, you're only going to hit on 50% of your draft picks (best case), we probably won't fill all these needs.
I'd try for WR, TE, and CB in free agency.
I'd draft a WR, DE, and CB in the first three rounds.
Clowney would be the top overall pick in this draft if he were in it, but he'll be back at South Carolina so the NFL will have to wait until the 2014 draft. No doubt he is tremendously talented though.
Generally, I prefer to look for young veteran role players in FA. Not the top guys or the scrubs, but guys who fill holes without drama, without inexperience, and with a few years left. Normally, I'd be targeting an Andy Levitre type player, but he is the best guard in free agency so he may price himself out of contention for us. But this year, we have a lot of money and a ready-made fit at a position of need, Greg Jennings. So, that's where I'd start in FA. I would try to resign all of our guys to reasonable contracts, but that's not likely this year, so we may have to settle for less. I'm in the minority thinking we'll resign Jake Long, but that's what I expect. Ditto for Hartline and Starks. Reggie Bush may be the toughest, since the team thinks that Miller is a cheap ready-made replacement ... although I've always preferred Bush and continue to doubt Miller's ability to stay healthy when getting a lot of carries. Ditto for Daniel Thomas, a power runner with a concussion problem ... not a great combo.
Sean Smith is the head scratcher for me. Someone will pay him well, and I like the kid, but he's not worth big money. He makes no INT's and has sporadic coverage--although it's improving. Sometimes he's very good. But, we can't afford to pay him top dollar. That means we'll need at least 1 CB, probably 2. LT and CB will be expensive to fill in FA, so I look for the CB to be drafted.
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