Of the many things that make the NFL great, one of my personal favorites is how new trends tend to pop up out of nowhere. Just when know-it-all types like yours truly think we have it all figured out, some new wrinkle arises that brings us crashing back down to Earth.
For example, we all understand that the NFL is a passing league these days, but it’s probably safe to say that next to nobody saw the read-option and power-running game trend that came on and played such a major factor in the league last season.
Read option? Power running? In today’s NFL? Nah! What coach is stupid enough to try that? Well, thanks to a new breed of quarterback, several coaches gave it a try and it worked. We’ll see if it continues.
In NFL free agency this offseason, thanks to a stagnant salary cap, there are a lot of usable veterans cut by teams and left on the market. In the past, many of these veterans would have signed bloated new deals with new teams on the first day or two of free agency.
These types of deals are still happening, but not quite like they used to.
Is this the new trend in free agency? It appears to be, for this offseason, anyway. More teams are taking the Packers’ Ted Thompson approach and being patient, either because they think it’s the right thing to do, or because they have no other choice due to the stagnant salary cap.
Don’t get me wrong, few teams — if any — are taking the extreme draft and development approach that Thompson takes, but the general trend appears to be heading in that direction.
This raises several questions:
- Will all of these unsigned veterans eventually just sign cheap one-year deals after a while?
- Will prices for these unsigned veterans actually go up as free-agency wears on and teams realize they need to fill a few holes on their rosters?
- Prices appear to be down for wide receivers and defensive backs this offseason. Is that because there are too many on the market? Is it becasue there are so many on the market? Is it because teams feel it makes more sense to draft and develop their own WRs and DBs?