One thing I foolishly did not factor into my free agent thinking was the fact that Baltimore needs receivers more desperately than we do. They were probably one receiver away last year from being a much more complete team. In fact, they always have had bad receivers inexplicably. Just like the Eagles. Must be a mid-atlantic thing.
When a team in your division snags a guy at a position of need from you, it's not just a +1 for them, it's also a -1 for you. Boldin to the Ravens is bad news. I rely on Football Outsiders to do a lot of my thinking for me, since they are better at it (and they watch every game and chart every damn play). They repeatedly note that a) Flacco is better than people realize and b) they have one of if not the worst receiving core in the league. They particularly liked to joke that Mark Clayton is literally the worst starting receiver in the entire NFL.
Let's just hope their defense is getting old at a such a rapid pace the rise of their offense won't matter.
So Boldin is out. Walter is too. At $4 million a year, maybe it's a little high. But without guaranteed contracts, certainly affordable to any franchise.
That leaves Marshall, Owens, Bryant, Mason & Breaston as the realistic options. Apparently Marshall and Seattle are getting hot and heavy. And, wouldn't you know it, the TO to the Bengals rumors just keep on going.
Even Carson spoke about it, and in a positive way. Saying:
If any qb can deal with extravagant wrs, it's me.
Fair enough but I'd prefer that not to be his lasting legacy.
The only thing I like about TO is that he's a 1 year type of guy and the 2011 season looks to be in jeopardy anyway. Otherwise, I think his risk/reward no longer favors him, even in a 1 year hired gun role, which is best for him.
What actually encouraged me was this quote:
He also said he had reached out to another free agent wide receiver, Antonio Bryant, and hopes the Bengals will make him an offer.
I just hate it that our franchise guy has to hope the Bengals do something when it should be an obvious priority to talk to Bryant.
I haven't talked TEs much even though they can contribute as much to a passing game. I ignore it mostly because a)there aren't as many big names out there and b)the Bengals historically don't know how to incorporate a pass catching TE anyway. We've had the same coordinator for 10 years now (job security's good when the boss likes you) so I don't anticipate that to change. But it appears we are looking at Chris Baker. That's fine. Especially if it means we won't spend a valuable first or second rounder on another TE that ends up being Chase Coffman 2.0.
I repeat, you should hope we sign a TE just so it lessens the chance Mikey impulsively grabs one with a high pick.
Last, we brought in Chester Pitts for a workout or something. The interwebs inform me that he appears to have started virtually his entire career for the Texans. I hear he is okay. But I remember the Texans notoriously having one of the worst lines basically their entire existence. And he's been there for all of it. So just cause Chester started there doesn't make him good.
Regardless, Bobby won't be at RG forever and our best LG is our LT. So adding a guard to the mix shouldn't create a problem. Also, there's depth. A suspiciously absent ingredient for most of Mikey's tenure.
So that's as current a state of free agency as you'll get here at WDR. Normally we don't do stuff like this as much. Again, I'm about as far away as you can get from a talent evaluator, but I think I can talk basic strategy. And the off season is the front office's time to pursue their strategy for building a better team. Think of the Bengals moves in the off season is a barometer for exactly what goes on in the front office. It matters. And more often than not, it's embarrassing.