9 months ago
For NFL fans, the eve of free agency each March is akin to Christmas Eve, a day when they can optimistically look forward to the presents the general manager of their team will be bringing to town the following day.
When free agency officially opens on March 14 this year, however, most fans should only be expecting to wind up with a lump of coal, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s “MMQB.”
As Breer points out, the crop of free agents in 2018 is fairly devoid of high-impact players. There are plenty of skilled offensive lineman to go around and some decent depth pieces at other positions (albeit with strings attached, like Patriots corner Malcolm Butler, or injury concerns, like Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson), but when Kirk Cousins is the highlight of the class, it simply demonstrates the crop “kinda stinks.”
The main reason for this is teams are finding it easier to sign their players to deals before they become free agents because the salary cap keeps rising. Also, franchises are getting smarter about structuring deals and manipulating the cap so they can fit more players under it. (For reference, here’s what the Patriots routinely do with Tom Brady’s contract.)
“It’s been a trend and it makes sense,” a lead negotiator for an NFC team told Breer. “It certainly fits with the logic that more teams are being more proactive in locking up their own players. I don’t know that there’s even another side to it.”
Long story short: Just like with actual Christmas, don’t get your hopes up about what Santa will be bringing this March. Hey, there’s always the NFL Draft to look forward to in April.Read the full story at Sports Illustrated