Free agency is the NFL’s own version of March Madness and there’s as much of a shot at a perfect bracket (roughly 1 in the billions of billions of billions) as there is accurately predicting what these high priced signings will do.
Financially the big winners, as always, were the agents with the handlers of Julius Peppers, Antrel Rolle, and Karlos Dansby all smiles after the early horse-trading. On the field it’s much harder to call how this will affect NFL betting this coming season.
Chicago rolls the dice With no picks in the first two rounds of the draft, the beleaguered Bears had to make some moves in a limited free agent pool. Julius Peppers is a more reliable signing than most people think. There are no arguments over his talent but plenty of doubts over the value he can deliver Chicago. True he’s not as young as he once was and has a propensity for taking plays off but look at it this way, would there be as much doubt if the Colts or Pats made this move? With only two seasons in his career with less than double-digit sacks, Peppers has proven that attitude or not he’s worth the risk, even if he has a penchant for excessive celebration.
The other two signings have much bigger question marks hanging over them. Chester Taylor may have been protected throughout his career but can he really bring that much more at this stage in his career to the Bears backfield? Finding a place for blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna that doesn’t upset Greg Olsen will prove a challenge. Olsen was the favorite target of QB Jay Cutler last season and anything that upsets him could affect Cutler’s already questionable performance under center.
Surprisingly savvy Since when did the Jets become a smart team? Even if the moves they made in free agency don’t pan out, the potential losses are tiny. Antonio Cromartie cost New York little and more importantly if he flops the Jets can cut him at the end of the season without any salary burden. Releasing Kerry Rhodes and Lito Sheppard removes two players who, through either attitude or poor performance, were hindering the Jets making it to the next level. The only questionable decision was cutting Thomas Jones but Shonn Greene has shown star potential while Jones has only a couple of good years left in the tank at most.
High risk – Low return The Giants clearly didn’t learn much from their cross-town rivals as for the second year running, following the signing of Chris Canty in 2009, Big Blue have added a so-so player at elite money in the form of Antrel Rolle. Sure the former Cardinal could do a job in the Big Apple but his career to date has hardly shown the dominance of one of the league’s leading defensive backs. We expected this kind of expensive risk-taking from Al Davis, not the Giants. Don’t worry Al; the Raiders can always nab T.O. if you want to show some recklessness.
Football season may still be months away but there are early NFL betting options in Sports Interaction’s sports book to help build the excitement.