In full disclosure I will admit I am insanely pissed right now as I write this, but this has been brewing in me for a few days, and I was waiting on the DRC situation to play itself out before putting my foot in my mouth. Also I am going to apologize I have a lot of thoughts running through my head so if some things seem disjointed well all I can say is I am doing my best.
I don't know how many people have been watching overthecap.com (OTC from now on), but I have been very closely since the middle of last year watching what was going to be available to us, and how much money we could have this offseason to improve this franchise that desperately needs an infusion of talent.
What I found was a solid if unspectacular free agent class with some gems mixed in, but a list of players that could help this team both in the short term, and also long term as well.
Now I like everyone else was worried about Free Agency prices skyrocketing especially after the announced cap raise from 123-133 million.
Fortunately and unfortunately that has been the exact opposite of what we have seen, yes there were some players who got a little more than we would have been comfortable with, but for the most part players got what the market bore, and fans of the teams who signed those players are probably very happy with both player and price.
The NFL roster is 53 players deep plus practice squad lets say of those 53 players about 40 make 1.5m or less averaging out to a max total of 25m of cap space in a given year so in a year with 133m in cap space that leaves us with 108m to give to 13 players. so on average we can give 13 players 8m a year not counting dead money or carry over, and be right up against the cap. Now we know its not a good idea to restrict yourself like that so if you are in a good situation you want to leave about 10m in cap space for emergency purposes, and the following year depending on how many pending free agents you have. Right now our top 13 cap numbers for this year (when cutting sanchez) are 73.4 million plenty of wiggle room to add additional players. Note this is as of this morning so this includes Decker, Breno, Folk, Cumby, Pace, etc.
Before Free Agency started the mantra was fill holes in Free Agency, so you can draft the best player available, and that is a great strategy you never want to be pigeon holed in the draft to reach for a player because you desperately need talent at that position.
Well that is not something we need to worry about, because John Idzik has done such an awful job filling holes during the Free Agency period that we have so many major holes that he can still draft BPA and get a player to fill a spot where we probably don't even have a guy penciled in at the moment.
I want to make this abundantly clear I am not calling for Idzik to be fired, and I am definitely not saying we should have signed 6 major free agents and gone right up against the cap putting us right back where we were with Tanny.
What I am saying is there was an abundance of mid tier free agents that signed fair and reasonable contracts that we needed to be involved in. In the old system where you had to be at one players house at 12:01 I can understand letting good players slip through your fingers. Idzik had 3 days to reach out to players express our interest and throw numbers out there just as other teams did.
I get we are not the most attractive situation in the league, but we should have been a top 10 destination and probably higher for defensive players, and offensive lineman which was the strength of this class, and exactly what we needed.
We are a young team on the rise with plenty of cap space a new facility/stadium a players coach who is one of the best defensive minds on the league, a fantastic offensive coordinator who likes playing fast and loose.
But even with all of that no, players are flocking to the Browns, the Raiders, the mess that is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Does anyone here want to tell me with a straight face that we aren't better than those teams.
Thinking back on it we saw the signs of this last year when Idzik was making a big stink over guaranteed pennies in Geno Smith's contract because 2nd round QB's had been getting slightly more guaranteed than other players picked at the same spot and Idzik didn't want to give him the extra couple hundred grand.
One last cap point before I wrap up If we had spent $20 million more this offseason (so 3 pretty good players) and had all the cap hits spread evenly over the contract for sake of argument we still would of had (including carry over) 60 million in cap space for next off season. So to anyone thinking this would have put us in awful position in the future please take this into account when forming your opinions.
Now last year's draft class has the makings of being an all time great class if Geno, and Milliner can get their act together, and if we can do it again this year (hopefully with some more immediate results) we may not go 4-12 this year, but right now Idzik has put all of his eggs in a very very delicate basket hanging on a branch over a 50 ft ledge.
Everyone here wants this team to succeed this year which is why we are all so passionate about what has been going on this past week, but to this point I have seen nothing to suggest we are in for anything other than a long and disappointing year.