March 06, 2010
It was the first free agency day without a salary cap since 1993, and the fear was that with labor unrest on the horizon and the possible threat of collusion among owners looking to set a new market, player transactions would be on the decline. But day one of this new kind of free agency brought big money to several players, and depleted more than one team. Here's a quick look at the teams that hurt themselves the most.
Arizona Cardinals: In a word, ouch. In one day, the Cards lost their starting free safety (Antrel Rolle(notes)), their best inside linebacker (Karlos Dansby(notes)), and their toughest inside receiver (Anquan Boldin(notes)). This, on top of the retirement of Kurt Warner(notes), puts the Cards under the wheels. No wonder Darnell Dockett is displeased...
Carolina Panthers: You knew the Day of Reckoning would come with that awful Jake Delhomme(notes) contract, but Delhomme's release was tough on everybody. Delhomme, head coach John Fox, and general manager Marty Hurney all had trouble containing their emotions when the quarterback's departure was announced. Losing perhaps the best defensive player in franchise history in Julius Peppers(notes) ... well, that doesn't help. Both moves were expected, though replacements may be hard to come by. Has quarterback Matt Moore(notes) proven enough to earn the first-and-third-round tender the Panthers placed on him, or was that a move born of desperation? We can but wait and see...
Seattle Seahawks: There's no question the Detroit Lions overpaid Nate Burleson(notes), but the Seahawks' inability to re-sign their one consistent receiver last season puts them in the uncomfortable position of possibly putting out way too much scratch for Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall(notes). That Marshall is visiting Seattle with a first-round tender on his head means that unless Seattle can negotiate a better deal, they'd have to give up their sixth overall pick AND sign Marshall to a fat contract. For a team with so many needs, this appears unwise, no matter how good Marshall is. They're not free agency losers quite yet, but they're on the path.
Washington Redskins: Well, not really losers so much as -- where have they been? Isn't this the time for Dan Snyder to overspend for every player he possibly can? Apparently not. The 'Skins contented themselves with unloading several bloated contracts (the hangovers of past endeavors) and stuck close to home by re-signing end Phillip Daniels(notes), guard Mike Williams, and center Casey Rabach(notes). They had a look-see at Packers tackle Chad Clifton(notes) before Clifton re-signed with the Pack. What's going on here? Has Snyder been stowed in the gorilla cage, a la Clarence Beeks in Trading Places, by Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan? This newfound fiscal responsibility is most intriguing.
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