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Thursday, December 8th, 2016

DO YOU NEED FREE AGENCY TO WIN SUPER BOWLS?

7

I was in the car Friday night listening to sports radio here in Chicago. The host of the show is a knowledgeable football reporter, well-respected in the city.

He was dismayed by callers saying that the Bears should do more in free agency. He maintained that spending does not equate to wins, playoffs, etc. One of his examples was the Redskins. They are usually big players in free agency and they usually miss the playoffs. He asked that we should be ‘smart’ football fans here in Chicago.

Another example was the 2006 Bears team that won the NFC. He mentioned how that team went to the Super Bowl because of all the good drafts they had. True, that was a big part of it. But the Bears don’t even sniff that Super Bowl without Mushin Muhammad, John Tait and Thomas Jones– all free agent acquisitions. The host also maintained that free agency is best used to fill out depth on your roster. On that I couldn’t disagree more.

Certainly you’d like to obtain the meat of your team through the draft. But my thought was that you have to succeed at both the draft and free agency. So do you need free agency to win championships? Or do you use it just to “fill out depth”?

Let’s look at recent conference champs to see if some of their integral players were acquired via free agency. My definition of integral: A starter or a player whose contributions were clearly a factor in that team’s Super Bowl run. The breakdown is after the jump…

2008:

  • Cardinals- Kurt Warner, Edgerrin James, Mike Gandy, Bertrand Berry, Neil Rackers, Chike Okeafor
  • Steelers- James Farrior, James Harrison, Tyrone Carter, Mewelde Moore

2007:

  • Giants- Plaxico Burress, Shaun O’ Hara, Antonio Pierce, Fred Robbins
  • Patriots- Donte Stallworth, Mike Vrabel, Adalius Thomas, Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau

2006:

  • Bears- Thomas Jones, John Tait, Mushin Muhammad, Roberto Garza, Fred Miller, Ruben Brown, Desmond Clark, Ricky Manning Jr.
  • Colts- Adam Vinatieri, Jeff Saturday

2005:

  • Seahawks- Joe Jurevicius, Bobby Engram, Robbie Tobeck, Chris Gray, Bryce Fisher, Grant Wistrom
  • Steelers- Jeff Hartings, James Farrior, James Harrison, Kimo Von Oelhoffen

2004:

  • Eagles- Jon Runyan, Jevon Kearse, Dhani Jones, Mark Simoneau, Darwin Walker. (Terrell Owens had agreed to a deal with Philly but ended up being traded from SF to the Eagles.)
  • Patriots- Rodney Harrison, Rosevelt Colvin, Keith Traylor, Christian Fauria

2003:

  • Panthers- Jake Delhomme, Stephen Davis, Todd Steussie, Jeff Mitchell, Kevin Donnalley, John Kasay, Terry Cousin
  • Patriots- Antowain Smith, Roman Pfifer, Tyrone Poole, Christian Fauria, Mike Vrabel

2002:

  • Buccaneers- Michael Pittman, Keenan McCardell, Ken Dilger, Roman Oben, Jeff Christy, Greg Spires, Simeon Rice, Shelton Quarles
  • Raiders- Rich Gannon, Charlie Garner, Jerry Rice, Lincoln Kennedy, Frank Middleton, Sam Adams, Bill Romanowski, Rod Woodson, Trace Armstrong

2001:

  • Rams- Kurt Warner, Adam Timmerman, Tom Nutten, Chidi Ahonutu, Jeff Zgonina, Mark Fields, Kim Herring
  • Patriots- Antowain Smith, Mike Compton, Anthony Pleasant, Mike Vrabel, Otis Smith

2000:

  • Giants- Kerry Collins, Lomas Brown, Ron Stone, Dusty Ziegler, Glenn Parker, Christian Peter, Micheal Barrow, Dave Thomas
  • Ravens- Trent Dilfer, Qadry Ismail, Shannon Sharpe, Rob Burnett, Rod Woodson, Micheal McCrary, Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams

It looks to me as if teams need free agency to win championships. The Colts may be the exception to the rule. But even they needed the #1 overall pick to get Peyton Manning, and he is one of the best QBs ever.

So if I am a Bears fan and their big free agent dealings are to sign Frank Omiyale and try to re-up with John St. Clair, then yes, I am a little aggravated about that. Especially since they are about $18-20 million under the cap. Why not go for T.J. Houshmandzadeh? He’s a Pro Bowl player and better than anything we have on the roster. I’d sign him and STILL draft a receiver in the first 2-3 rounds.

[tags]NFL, Super Bowl, Chicago Bears, Peyton Manning, Arizona Cardinals, Kurt Warner[/tags]

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  • dhaab

    The most successful franchise in the history of the NFL is the Steelers and they rarely use free agency to fill out their roster. The Cowboys are also traditionally a great franchise and their best teams were always built through the draft. It could be argued that Jerry Jones has screwed them up over the past 7 years with all of his free agency signings.

  • http://www.tddance.blogspot.com McSpazz

    Free agency is a necessary evil, but spending wisely is even more important. The Omiyale signing makes no sense to people, because the average football fan has never heard of him. But if you look closely and study his game you’ll see that he is an up and coming versatile player at a position of weakness for the team. Spending money on players like TJ who already over 30 and now grossly overpaid makes no sense. Now if the Angelo wanted to pick up a (WR) he should have looked at Nate Washington or Brandon Jones. There are potential very good players to be picked up in free agency and those aren’t necessarily the “BIG NAMES”. Look at James Harrison, nobody knew his name until the Steelers picked him off the scrap heap.

    The draft is where you get the meat of your team and free agency gives you the toppings to finish off the sandwich.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Everyone wants to point to the Steelers. How about the Cardinals roster?

  • http://blogdownchicagobears.com Orton’s Lazy Eye

    Kurt Warner would tell you that free agency helped the Cards. Matt Leinart would tell you the draft helped the nation see how overhyped USC quarterbacks are.

    As far as Jerry Angelo, he’s too conservative. I understand managing the cap and all of that, but if you’re too far on either side (JA vs Daniel Snyder), you’ll ultimately fail. You need balance.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Exactly!!!!

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