DO YOU NEED FREE AGENCY TO WIN SUPER BOWLS?
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…
- Cardinals- Kurt Warner, Edgerrin James, Mike Gandy, Bertrand Berry, Neil Rackers, Chike Okeafor
- Steelers- James Farrior, James Harrison, Tyrone Carter, Mewelde Moore
- Giants- Plaxico Burress, Shaun O’ Hara, Antonio Pierce, Fred Robbins
- Patriots- Donte Stallworth, Mike Vrabel, Adalius Thomas, Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau
- Bears- Thomas Jones, John Tait, Mushin Muhammad, Roberto Garza, Fred Miller, Ruben Brown, Desmond Clark, Ricky Manning Jr.
- Colts- Adam Vinatieri, Jeff Saturday
- Seahawks- Joe Jurevicius, Bobby Engram, Robbie Tobeck, Chris Gray, Bryce Fisher, Grant Wistrom
- Steelers- Jeff Hartings, James Farrior, James Harrison, Kimo Von Oelhoffen
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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]