The 'Phoney war'.
These have been exciting times recently.
And I'm not talking about the Cowboys much heralded (and maligned) signing of the 'antichrist' who spells doom for the rest of the NFL. (I really do think he's being afforded a little more importance than he's worthy of)
No, I'm talking about the much anticipated (and realised this year) spending spree that occurs whenever teams want to slash their cap value or change their fortunes overnight.
I'm as guilty as the rest of us in this regard and make no apologies for it.
The Rams in recent years, haven't ventured into free agency as aggressively as other teams, and when we have, hindsight that wonderful facility that provides a superb 20-20 vista, tells us we've shafted it. Coakley, Claiborne, Hawthorne, Tucker, are the most recent example of the Rams trying to be sensible about overpaying for other teams leavings and getting nothing of substance as a result.
And therein lies the rub my friends. The problem with free agency is that because of it's very nature (Teams ditching contracts that age and recent performance make risky investments) those players that teams do pick up are only likely to provide expensive short term succour if they provide it at all.
There are exceptions of course. I think Witherspoon could well be an outstanding acquisition because his age would suggest he's on an upward curve and that he'll do really well, but the overwhelming impression that I get from watching this free agency jamboree, is that it's much ado about nothing.
Its a very expensive band aid that always comes off when it gets wet or dirty.
Compare this to the draft if you will. This is by far the most important factor in rebuilding any team. That's the way the Colts and Patriots are approaching it, and I thought the recent article that featured Bill Polian commenting on the departure of Edgerrin James summed up the responsible approach to building a franchise.
You build through the draft and fill holes in free agency. The long term success of your franchise is how well it drafts not how much cash you splurge in March.
Draft picks tend to play less than 50% of snaps in their first year, and this is the slack that free agents are meant to pick up. Long term responsible FO's are looking down the line.
The problem with us of course, is that the paucity of our drafts has given us many gaping holes that we're now being obliged to fill. I think we've made good strides here, but the point for me is this:
Don't get excited about who we've added up to this point in free agency, get excited about who we're going to add in the draft, because that's the real difference maker.
And this applies to everyone else in our division and the wider NFL too. I don't see many signings like the Witherspoon signing, a signing that becomes a solid foundation for our future. I see an awful lot of band aids.
And this is why the discussions betwen 16 and 39 about Ryans versus Greenway (and hotdogs????) are the important discussions, not whether we signed Baker or Turk. That's why the mock drafts are worthy of attention and the discussion regarding Hutchinson is fairly spurious. ($49 mil for a guard proves my point about the ridiculous nature of free agency, as well as this silly Burleson business)
Free agency is the 'phoney war' the draft is opening day of 'Barbarossa'.
And I can't wait............................