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NFL - Free Agency, Surprises, the Draft

By Scott Nichol
Tuesday, March 19th, 2002

Two years ago, the Ravens won a Super Bowl with defense. So every other team in the league built up their defenses. This year, the Patriots did it with very few big names. Since the NFL is such a copycat league, we are now seeing less of the big free agency signings. Teams would rather keep their own since they already know what they have. The days of free agency making a major impact are no longer among us.

This year, we have the Houston Texans building a roster. They have no real salary cap and they have the choice seat in the draft. I still think with all this, they will still be next year's worst team in the league. Sure, they have some names and they have a proven coach, but they have little else. I really cannot see the draft giving them what they need to win more than five games. The addition of another team is good for the league and opens the door to adding another team in Los Angeles soon. But new teams need years to build, the league can do only so much to make them competitive. I give them style points for the logo and little else.

As far as players moving, the biggest surprise would have to be the Saints giving up on Ricky Williams. I think the Dolphins will get a huge boost in the backfield if he can stay healthy. The Dolphins' passing game was awesome last year with Chris Chambers catching everything thrown within the same zip code. Now with the addition of Williams, the 'Fins have a well-rounded attack thru the air and on the ground. They should be fun to watch, yet the big question remains, will Williams stay healthy?

The other move that I personally hope turns out to be blessing in disguise is the trade the Packers worked out with the Patriots to bring Terry Glenn to Green Bay. Glenn is probably the best receiver the Packers have had since the days of Sterling Sharpe. The big question here is will his head be in it? The change of scenery to the north woods and the frozen tundra may be good for Glenn. He will also have Brett Farve to reel him in if he steps out of line. With the departure of all three of the Packers' top receivers, Glenn is now the star of the Packer passing attack.

This year's NFL meeting was more like a dinner party than a meeting. The only rule talked about was the tuck rule which helped get the Patriots to the Super Bowl. All it really does is gives new meaning to the arm going forward rule. But it was not even voted on at this meeting. Most of the talk was about the salary cap and how close every team is to the ceiling. This was just a reason to talk shop and get some golfing in.

The biggest move so far has to be the coaching move the Redskins made. Getting Steve Spurrier has made Dan Snyder look again like a man who is willing to spend anything, but still does not use his head. Spurrier has no experience at this level. Yes, he is a great coach, but I don't believe he is a coach who will succeed in the NFL. He may learn quickly that his style of offense is great in college, but lacking at this higher level of play.

In less then a months, we once again get to spend two full days watching the NFL draft. All the hype should start in the next week. There is no real number one pick on everyone's list. The Texans hold the key to that one and who knows which way they will lean.

Fellow football fans, that is about it for this time of year. Once the draft and mini camps take place, I am sure we will have much more to work with. Keep hanging in there in the dreary offseason!

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