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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- I'm a big consumer of local sports media. This is a fantastic market for coverage. 106.7 the fan, ESPN 980, Comcast Sportsnet, the Washington Post (and the many comments they get) all give an idea of what local sports fans are thinking.
So it's come to my attention that Redskins fans are jumping for joy, knowing that their football franchise should have around $20 million in cap room to spend in the 2014 offseason.
Sorry to be a debbie downer, but I'm here to remind you that free agency almost NEVER works. Free agency is like going partying for New Year's Eve: it's expensive as hell and you almost always regret the night. It's a flawed system. It's fool's gold.
Let's start with the 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, arguably the worst team in the NFL this season. Boy, the 2012 signings of receiver Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks plus the sign-and-trade (essentially a free agent acquisition) of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson really have panned out, haven't they? Bad coaching or not, the Buccaneers are tangled mess and free agency has arguably added to their problems.
I'm sure Miami Dolphins fans are quite happy with the $60 million they paid for Mike Wallace, a receiver who is now magically unable to get open since his pay day. He's been targeted 79 times and has 40 receptions this season. Pathetic.
I even idiotically bought into the Atlanta Falcons hype this offseason, picking the NFC South squad to reach the Super Bowl. I should've remembered they tried to use free agency to get over the hump. Brittle running back Steven Jackson has suited up in just five games, mustering a cool 151 total yards rushing. Osi Umenyiora has 4.5 sacks -- too bad it's for Atlanta's 25th ranked defense he was supposed to put over the hump.
Well at least the St. Louis Rams aren't getting totally screwed by their signing, left tackle Jake Long. The Rams have allowed 24 sacks this season, ranking 16th in the NFL. A scout I chat with tells me Long isn't as dominant as he was with the Dolphins. Surprise, surprise.
Seven quick paragraphs into an article blasting free agency, and I haven't even brought up the Redskins failures in what has become the NFL's version of a pyramid scheme. Antwaan Randle El ($31 million), Jeff George ($14.8 million and his arrival sabotaged what could have been a long Brad Johnson era) Dana Stubblefield ($36 million), Adam Archuleta ($30 million), Deion Sanders ($56 million), Albert Haynesworth ($100 million), Brandon Lloyd ($31 million). I'm sure I'm forgetting others. The only Redskins free agent signing that has panned out is London Fletcher. I guess you could say Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield too, but then again the Redskins defense has ranked near the bottom during their entire stay in D.C.
To me, it's hilarious when people say the money the Redskins lost in cap penalties doomed Mike Shanahan. Free agents are guys that teams are letting go. If they were truly essential to a football organization, they get a contract renewal.
Once in a blue moon, you'll have a Drew Brees leave the Chargers. Or a Charles Woodson leave the Raiders. Or a Wes Welker leave the Patriots. Believe me, there are no borderline Hall of Famers on this 2014 free agency class. Joe Haden is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL right now. But will he be once his bank account is fully loaded?
Small scale free agent signings are fine by me. They aren't winning you playoff games though. If you actually expect the Redskins to go out, splash in free agency, and turn from NFC East cellar dwellers to going back to the playoffs -- you've lost your mind.