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NFL salary caps are out in 2010. Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between players and owners is making no headway whatsoever. Owners have stated cash strapped ways will lead to massive changes down the road. Not yet though. NFL teams haven't wasted any time throwing big dollar contracts at top free agents. Some teams have been clear winners. A few, big losers. Here's my short list of best and worst moves...
Atlanta Falcons Improving defense is key if Atlanta wants to become a true NFL power. They took a step in the right direction by signing CB Dunta Robinson to help slow down opposing passing attacks. Atlanta has more work to do before becoming off season winners but at least they're addressing pressing issues for future success.
Baltimore Ravens Welcome addition to a terrible WR group... Anquan Boldin was obtain via trade and quickly rewarded with a handsome new contract. Coupled with Dante Stallworth, these two finally give Baltimore much needed solid targets for QB Joe Flacco.
Chicago Bears Heading into last year Chicago wanted us to believe all they needed was a QB change. They traded Orton for Jay Cutler. Cutler was a bust but is a talented QB who will get another shot in 2010. Now he has help. Chicago's secured three impact players: DE Julius Peppers ($42M), RB Chester Taylor & TE Brandon Manumaleuna. Is it enough for the Bears to catch division rivals Green Bay & Minnesota? Probably not but they'll be much better. Don't forget, new Offensive Coordinator is Mike Martz. Bears fans can be optimistic once again.
Miami Dolphins A team in need of star calibur players got a boost by signing impact LB Karlos Dansby (5 years, $43M). Hard hitting Steelers safety Ryan Clark is expected to be signed within moments. Chad Pennington is coming back as insurance for young QB Henne. More work to be done in Miami but they're off to a flying start addressing off season needs.
Buffalo Bills Chan Gailey as new head coach. Are you kidding me? With all of the available talented coaches available Buffalo goes with Gailey??? The Bills were rejected by Super Bowl winning coaches Mike Shanahan and Bill Cowher. At least their new head coach matches up well with current players. Buffalo will have to be very lucky if they plan on winning any games in 2010. They need help everywhere from front office all the way down. Current ecomonics begs me to ask one question... who would spend a $1.00 to sit in frigid conditions to watch the NFL's worst team content on losing ugly?
Dallas Cowboys Cowboy fans must love owner Jerry Jones devotion to everything Cowboys. However, he's prone to making moves which work against progress. Jones has vowed to make "many" moves this off season. Nothing substantial yet. Dallas needs to be careful. They have a great team. No need to shake it up. WR help is a must. Special teams tacklers could help too. Dallas hosts 2011 Super Bowl. Jerry wants Cowboys playing in the big game. The best move for this franchise is to scrap their offensive coordinator and head coach.
New York Jets Father's hide your daughters! Jets, a team on the rise, signed a problem child. CB Antonio Cromartie was once a very promising pass defender has been labeled uncoachable and locker room distraction. Poor practice habits, poor tackling and various off field personal issues including fathering seven children with six women in 5 different states (also named in 5 paternity suits in past 2 years). Is this really the type of athlete you want to throw away future talent (2 draft picks) to bring into your home?
New York Giants I've always been a fan of Antrell Rolle's talents. As a matter of fact, I was pleased to learn the Giants picked him up... until hearing NY made him the highest paid safetry in NFL history (5 years/$37M). Giants were desparate for secondary help especially after losing so many starters to injury in '09. On its' surface, Rolle's contract is way over priced. All will be forgotten and big money contract will be a bargain if Giants reach NFC Championship. There's more work to be done if this franchise has Super dreams (pass rusher, linebackers, WR's and special teams).
More to follow as NFL teams get ready for draft day.