Thursday, March 01, 2007

Free Agency Eve

Twas the night before Free Agency, when all through the league
Every GM was still stirring, oh the intrigue!
The stats were reviewed by the coaches with care,
In hopes that a left tackle soon would be theirs.

Okay, enough rhyming. And enough waiting. At 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time the 2007 NFL Free Agency period begins with players and agents all around the country waiting to see what’s under the sports-turf tree. And they’re not looking for the Nintendo Wii or a PlayStation3 (well maybe some are). No, the most desirable presents this year are guaranteed contracts with stockings full of performances incentives.

Of course with the NFL Network’s coverage of the Combine, Draft, and everything in between – you might expect live web-cams in the offices and even the bedrooms of the league’s 32 General Managers. It makes sense, the combine coverage last weekend bordered on the edge of Real World Indianapolis with the most disturbing scene being the bench-press exhibition in which a room full of reporters watched guys grunt and groan while benching 225 lbs 30 to 40 times! So the green-glow of night vision in Ozzie’s home office seems reasonable, right? Maybe someday soon, but for now, all a fan has to rely on is good old-fashioned news reporting. Well maybe not so old, considering the sports blogosphere will most likely provide the timeliest updates. (Sports Business Journal even included ESPN Page2 Columnist, Bill Simmons, and editor, Will Leitch, as two of the 20 most influential people in the online sports world.

The free agent class of 2007 unfortunately includes a few members of the 2006 Ravens, but former foes of the men in purple have also been admitted into the program including Pittsburgh’s Joey Porter and a few familiar faces from Indianapolis – Cato June, Nick Harper and Dominic Rhodes. Cap room may be the most important factor in forecasting where they will end up, but determining the dollars available is not a calculation you’d find on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. Have you seen this show yet? I don’t know how you’re supposed to feel afterwards. If you get the questions right – nice work, you are smarter than a fifth grader. If you don’t – well a fifth grader could figure that out. For those of you who actually want to know how to crunch the numbers in order for you to be able to implement a similar scheme in your fantasy football league, check this out: Ask the Commish. Speaking of which, how is the Tatum Bell trade to Detroit going to affect the fantasy value of Mike Bell and Kevin Jones?

Well the most important thing right now is that Dick and Ozzie know how to work the math and stay under the $109 Million mark for the 2007 season. Luckily for all of Ravens Nation, these guys are pretty handy with a calculator – or do they use Excel for everything like the rest of us. In any case, one only has to look to 2006 to see their success stories in action with Bart Scott earning a Pro Bowl spot and Trevor Pryce deserving one. Pryce was also named among the Top Ten Free Agent signings of last year on NFL Total Access, just one spot behind TO.

As is the case all around the league today, there are many decisions still to be made this morning and the madness of March could play a role in the playoffs next year. But unlike Lost and even Heroes, which all of a sudden decided to incorporate flashbacks into the show (providing the most exhilarating episode yet), the future cannot be foretold and the past cannot be revisited. All we can see, on this Free Agency Eve, is the ‘present’, under the tree.

Sorry, I said I would stop the rhyming and while I’m at it, no more puns either. Stay glued to your local blog for updates throughout the day.

No comments: