In a fantasy world delight, not many would’ve predicted the first week of 2015 NFL Free Agency and the topsy-turvy effect it had on the rosters of many of the perennial playoff contenders. From the opening gun at 4pm Tuesday when word leaked out that the Miami Dolphins had landed the jewel of free agency, to the stunning cleaning out of the cupboards in New Orleans this season’s open run on talent has been wilder than a Santa Ana wind. The 6 year $114 million dollar contract Suh signed with the Dolphins was the biggest by far and surprising as Miami was not mentioned as a potential destination until the very end of pundits prognosticating before the negotiating period on Saturday. Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie rejoined the New York Jets to upgrade a secondary that hadn’t been solid since they both departed two season ago. The Philadelphia Eagles traded LeShon McCoy to Buffalo but quickly replaced him with 2014 NFL rushing champ Demarco Murray for 5 years/$40 million and former Chargers back Ryan Matthews 3 years/$11 million to form a two back system to take pressure off of whoever lines up behind center (Sanchez, Bradford or Mariota?). The 49ers were busy restocking the shelves landing Reggie Bush (undisclosed), Torrey Smith 5 years/$40 million and Darnell Dockett 2 years/$7.5 million. The Indianapolis Colts went on a veteran signing spree with future Hall of Famer and Texans legend Andre Johnson 3 years/$21 million, ex-49ers star Frank Gore 3 years/$12 million and Eagles pash rush specialist Trent Cole 2 years/ $14 million. The Cardinals fleeced division rival San Francisco when it signed guard Mike Iupati for 5 years/$40 million and C.J. Spiller departed the Bills for New Orleans for 4 years/ $18 million.
Some of the surprising signings came by non-playoff contenders when Jacksonville signed former Broncos tight end Julius Thomas 5 years/ $46 million, ex-Lion Nick Fairley signed with the Rams 1 year/$5 million, Brian Orakpo landing with the Titans 4 years/$32 million, ex-Cowboy linebacker Bruce Carter ended up in Tampa Bay 4 years/ $20.5 million, and talented but troubled wide out Percy Harvin inked a 1 year deal with the Bills.
I have always viewed free agency as a “buyer beware” walk through the gridiron marketplace as teams rarely let ripe talent be picked by the opposition. The graveyard of free agent busts are littered with fool’s gold and dead money on yearly salary caps, putting teams in reverse progression and costing many a man his employment. The official start of the 2015 NFL calendar year has began and it remains to be seen whether this crop of free agent signings will be important members of the team hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy up to the sky after Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California next February 7th.