Free agency begins in the NFL in the next few days. It makes me think back to the 2011 offseason. The league was in a lockout then. The lockout lasted into the summer, meaning that free agency took place a couple of months after the NFL Draft. I liked the general idea.
The Draft is supposed to be a place where teams think about investing in the future. They are supposed to be thinking about the long-term future. Because of the way the NFL works, though, the Draft is also the last realistic avenue teams have to improve in the offseason. There might be a late trade or a camp cut, but no team can depend on these things to improve.
That year teams went into the Draft knowing they still had free agency after that so they might not have been as focused on needs. Instead, they had more of an opportunity to think long-term since they had another way to improve to come.
I see two problems with such a setup. First, it would feel like a move to save teams from themselves. If teams are so short-sighted that they only focus on needs in the Draft, why should the league help them out? It would also require the league to adjust its calendar since offseason workouts begin before the Draft.
What do you think?