With the 2013 NFL season over, football fans are licking their chops for any scrap of pro football news they can find. With many veteran players changing teams, this free agency period is certainly proving to be an entertaining one.
To satisfy the craving for news, we’ll take a quick look at which teams are “winning” and “losing” free agency.
LOSING: The Carolina Panthers have not been able to re-sign any of their top four receivers from a year ago, leaving the cupboard bare at that position. The combined career stats of the remaining wide receivers include 29 games played, five catches, 83 yards and one touchdown.
The good news for the Panthers is that this year’s draft is deep with wideouts, so they may be able to bring in some young talent. However, it seems likely that the team will sign at least one player in the coming months.
WINNING: The New England Patriots picked up a pair of cornerbacks that automatically make their secondary one of the best in the AFC. The Pats signed Darrelle Revis to a two-year deal worth $12 million in the first year, and $20 million in the second.
New England also landed the heavy hitting former Seattle Seahawk, Brandon Browner. Although Browner will be suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the Patriots will have a dynamic pair of play-makers at the cornerback position.
LOSING: The Seattle Seahawks were unable to hold on to Golden Tate as he bolted for Detroit to the tune of $31 million. Seattle has also lost Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Brandon Browner, Breno Giacomini, Clint McDonald, Chris Maragos and Walter Thurmond. Some of this attrition was expected due to a need for cap space.
It’s best for Seahawk fans to trust in coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, who are known for being excellent evaluators of talent and for finding quality players in unlikely places. Look for the Seahawks to make moves at wide receiver, defensive line and offensive line.
WINNING: The Jacksonville Jaguars are making waves with their signings on the defensive side of the ball. In addition to signing former Seahawks defensive linemen Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, the Jags have also signed veterans Jason Babin and Will Blackmon.
On offense, Jacksonville has signed the hard running tailback Toby Gerhart. It’s no surprise that a strong running game and a tough defensive line are the goals of head coach Gus Bradley, who is a member of the Carroll coaching tree. Bradley served as defensive coordinator under Carroll until leaving for the head coaching position in Jacksonville after the 2012 season.
The trend around the league has thus far been defensive improvements.
“Other teams are trying to replicate the Seahawks defensive formula,” PLU senior Jeff Linxwiler said. “Teams are also starting to look to the Canadian Football League for talent, like the Seahawks did when they signed Brandon Browner.”