Earlier, before the Saints replaced Reggie Bush with a poor man’s Reggie Bush and before the Buccaneers signed two more of their core players long term, and before the Cards wrapped up another key cog, and before Vince Young became Michael Vick’s backup (italics necessary), I sent a message to Goal-Line Stand contributor Sean Tomlinson suggesting that this might have been “the craziest f—in’ day in NFL history.”
And while the first day of free agency is annually quite wild and draft day is sick and the Super Bowl is a spectacle, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen something like this in my 46 years covering professional sports.*
It was a day that started with Adam Schefter reporting before sunrise that the Redskins had actually found a way to dump Albert Haynesworth’s contract … and in the most unlikely place in the world: Foxborough.
Seventy-four transactions and 73 Adam Schefter reports later, the day closed with news that Young was going to take Kevin Kolb’s spot as Michael Vick’s backup in Philadelphia.
Between those two moves, the Patriots also dealt for Chad Ochocinco, the Cardinals traded away a young starter and a high pick for Kolb (then handed him an out-of-the-world contract), Reggie Bush took his talents to South Beach, the Bears sent Greg Olsen packing, the Texans signed a Pro Bowl-caliber corner, the Eagles signed a double-digit sack guy and the Bills added a dynamic wrinkle to their offense. On the same day, Young and Bush, the No. 2 and No. 3 picks from the 2006 draft, and two of the most famous college football players of all time, were sent packing by their respective teams.
Those were the moves we got to personally. Each would be a mind-blowing story in isolation, but they’ve all blended together in a haze of transaction euphoria. It’s almost too much for a football fan to handle in one 18-hour stretch. We’re failing to fully grasp the immensity and historical relevance of the deals being made before our tired eyes.
Unfortunately, those moves made it impossible for us to get to a few of the deals that ordinarily would have been front-page news. For example:
The Falcons wrapped up highly sought after tackle Tyson Clabo for the next five years, removing him from the Bills’ reach for the low cost of $25 million (with $11.5 guaranteed). GLS MOVE RATING: 7.5/10
The Cardinals re-signed underrated starting center Lyle Sendlein despite the fact he was reportedly drawing interest elsewhere. Considering how poorly Kolb performs under pressure, it was important they kept Sendlein in place. GLS MOVE RATING: 7/10
The Buccaneers wrapped up two starting offensive linemen, giving guard Davin Joseph $53 million over seven years (wait, what?) and Jeremy Trueblood an undisclosed amount over two years (that sounds a little more reasonable). Regardless of the ridiculousness of the deal given to Joseph, it was important that the Bucs keep a very good line together as Josh Freeman continues to become a star. Remember, they gave big money to star left tackle Donald Penn a year ago. GLS MOVE RATING: 6/10
The Saints quickly replaced Bush with former Charger Darren Sproles, who’s getting a very reasonable $14 million over four years and adds that extra jolt as a change-of-pace back. Some think he’s better than Bush, and comes without the baggage and is less of an injury risk. He’s also a great receiver out of the backfield. GLS MOVE RATING: 8/10
And finally, the Texans continued to rebuild a bad secondary by giving a four-year, $20 million contract to former Bears safety Danieal Manning. At 28, Manning is just entering his prime and is exceptionally good against the pass. It just so happens that the 2010 Texans were exceptionally bad against the pass. GLS MOVE RATING: 9/10
You’ll notice that four of those six moves were re-signings. In fact, the vast majority of the transactions made during the first three days of this free agent signing period have been teams rewarding their own players. That’s the healthy way for free agency to take place. Is it less fun? Maybe. But what we’re lacking in movement among average-to-good players we’re making up for with blockbuster trades and big-name signings.
Quality over quantity.
And so ends the wildest day we’ve ever seen in NFL circles. But then again, it still hasn’t really ended. Nnamdi watch continues…
GLS DAY RATING: 11/10 (okay, we admit that was cheesy)
* May have exaggerated by approximately 40 years.