Free Agency Frenzy is one of the most notable periods of the offseason, and is one that attracts large media attention. In this period, we see players disgruntled with their former teams, looking to move on and sign with new teams who are willing to spend tons of money to help improve their own franchise.
It has grown extremely fast, and is considered one of the top ways to rebuild a franchise. But — Free Agency Frenzy is becoming increasingly overvalued as time progresses, and teams are not realizing the direction they are trending towards.
Although Free Agency brings quite the excitement for most fans, there is so much that is being hidden, because fans are ecstatic that their favorite team signed a new player. The most obvious factor being covered up, is the money.
The amount of money teams throw on players who aren’t even particularly skilled or potential filled, is simply astounding. Orginazations are going purely off of team needs, and are overpaying massively as a result. The most recent example being of Jadeveon Clowney, to Tennessee. Clowney received a king’s ransom for a salary, cashing in up to 15 million dollars for one season, with incentives. The market for Clowney had gotten so desperate over months, that teams completely forgot about Clowney’s previous season with the Seahawks. He was injured throughout the year, and only finished with 3.5 sacks, a disappointment for the player who was considered to be a generational talent coming out of the draft back in 2014. And although Clowney does pose some serious athletic ability and run stopping ability to the table, 15 million dollars is nothing but an overpay for a player at his current caliber.
Clowney is one of several players who have been extremely overpaid in recent years during Free Agency. Contracts to the likes of Nate Solder, DJ Humphries, James Bradberry, Jared Goff, Sheldon Richardson, are all players who have taken in huge sums of money, but aren’t particularly talented players, or players that can turn around an NFL franchise for the better.
Teams like the Giants, Wash. Football Team, Jets, Rams, and Jaguars are teams that are usually very busy during Free Agency, and are notable for spending a lot of money for players in the open market. It hasn’t worked out for them, as those teams are either low on cap room, or aren’t very talented teams in general. They fall victim to naively spending money on players just to cover a team need.
Now, if I am to argue that teams shouldn’t be spending this much money in free agency, how else should they rebuild? The one and only answer to that is drafting well. Teams like the Saints, Seahawks, Chiefs, Cowboys and Ravens are known to have created dominant franchises due to stellar draft classes. These teams haven’t overpaid players in free agency, at least not to the extent at which some of the mediocre teams mentioned above do. Drafting well in early rounds is something most teams usually manage to do well, but continuing that throughout the draft is something very few GM’s and front offices can pull off.
In my terms of excellence for a football team, or for any sports team for that matter, is not throwing money carelessly and recklessly at players because you have the luxury to. It is about methodically thinking about ways that you can truly improve your team through efficient methods such as the draft and talent evaluation.
Super Bowl winning teams are teams that have done their work in the offseason at an extremely high extent, and spending money in a negligent manner during Free Agency is not the way any have succeeded.