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  1. #1

    Winning free agency



    I haven't read too much on the board the last few weeks, but I can feel the anxiousness increasing with our, once again, relative silence in free agency. It feels like we go through this almost every year, with our biggest free agent acquisitions over the last few years (via either signing or trade) being Willis, Mason and Boldin in no particular order.

    And so with that, I'd like to do a little study on how to win at free agency. This is a pretty easy study, honestly. Most of us should already know the answer to the question "How do you win at free agency?" But it's still instructive.

    So here, I will list out the four finalists for the Lombardy, by year, and their general off-season recap.

    2011
    Giants - Interior OL Baas was their biggest signing, picked up to replace other guys lost to FA.
    Patriots - Bought low on a few talented guys that disappointed in their previous roles.
    Ravens - Picked up Lee Evans and Leach. Largely quiet.
    Niners - Bought low on a few guys like Whitner and Rodgers that seemed like cast-offs and turned out to play huge roles.

    2010
    Packers - Almost completely silent in the off-season.
    Steelers - Off-loaded more talent than they brought on. Remember, this was the Rapistberger/Holmes debacle off-season.
    Jets - Their biggest moves were getting Santonio Holmes in trade and signing Jason Taylor. Holmes was a steal, top talent for a fifth round pick. Taylor is a big talent but came cheap cause he's over the hill.
    Bears - Pretty big off-season here, signing Peppers and Chester Taylor.

    2009
    Saints - Active, but signing guys on the real cheap that wound up playing big roles. Similar to the '11 Niners. Sharper was definitely their biggest pickup, but IIRC he came cheap.
    Colts - Almost no activity outside re-signing their own guys.
    Vikings - Picked up Cedrick Griffin which was a moderate sized deal, under $6MM per year.
    Jets - Somewhat active, they took Bart Scott and a host of other defensive talent.

    Just a three year sample, but the general point is that of these 12 teams, only two of them had an off-season considered where they would make a big splash...the '10 Bears and '09 Jets. The rest mostly re-signed their own guys, picked up role players or generally took on very good talent that had completely underperformed elsewhere.

    This is how you win at free agency. Staying quiet, picking up key role players, not splashing around and grabbing tons of talent. Patience is the best policy here.

    - C -
    ---------------------------------------------------

    www.oblongspheroid.com

    A blog about any and everything football.

    Twitter: oblong_spheroid




  2. #2
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    Re: Winning free agency

    We live in an age of not just instant gratification, but also of constant gratification.

    If a team doesn't ink the biggest name to the biggest deal in history, there will always be a subset of marginally employable, barely literate fans who will crap their pants and declare the whole thing a disaster. Even though no one can remember the last time a blockbuster 100 million dollar signing won anybody a Super Bowl.

    Some teams are owned and operated by those same types of people. Those are the teams that go 12-15 years without winning a playoff game.

    Fortunately the Ravens aren't run by people like that.




  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by psuasskicker View Post
    I haven't read too much on the board the last few weeks, but I can feel the anxiousness increasing with our, once again, relative silence in free agency. It feels like we go through this almost every year, with our biggest free agent acquisitions over the last few years (via either signing or trade) being Willis, Mason and Boldin in no particular order.

    And so with that, I'd like to do a little study on how to win at free agency. This is a pretty easy study, honestly. Most of us should already know the answer to the question "How do you win at free agency?" But it's still instructive.

    So here, I will list out the four finalists for the Lombardy, by year, and their general off-season recap.

    2011
    Giants - Interior OL Baas was their biggest signing, picked up to replace other guys lost to FA.
    Patriots - Bought low on a few talented guys that disappointed in their previous roles.
    Ravens - Picked up Lee Evans and Leach. Largely quiet.
    Niners - Bought low on a few guys like Whitner and Rodgers that seemed like cast-offs and turned out to play huge roles.

    2010
    Packers - Almost completely silent in the off-season.
    Steelers - Off-loaded more talent than they brought on. Remember, this was the Rapistberger/Holmes debacle off-season.
    Jets - Their biggest moves were getting Santonio Holmes in trade and signing Jason Taylor. Holmes was a steal, top talent for a fifth round pick. Taylor is a big talent but came cheap cause he's over the hill.
    Bears - Pretty big off-season here, signing Peppers and Chester Taylor.

    2009
    Saints - Active, but signing guys on the real cheap that wound up playing big roles. Similar to the '11 Niners. Sharper was definitely their biggest pickup, but IIRC he came cheap.
    Colts - Almost no activity outside re-signing their own guys.
    Vikings - Picked up Cedrick Griffin which was a moderate sized deal, under $6MM per year.
    Jets - Somewhat active, they took Bart Scott and a host of other defensive talent.

    Just a three year sample, but the general point is that of these 12 teams, only two of them had an off-season considered where they would make a big splash...the '10 Bears and '09 Jets. The rest mostly re-signed their own guys, picked up role players or generally took on very good talent that had completely underperformed elsewhere.

    This is how you win at free agency. Staying quiet, picking up key role players, not splashing around and grabbing tons of talent. Patience is the best policy here.

    - C -
    How many players did those teams lose in free agency?
    He Who Dares.....Wins




  4. #4

    Re: Winning free agency

    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    How many players did those teams lose in free agency?
    I don't know about those other teams, but the 2011 Ravens lost 5 starters last offseason...

    Edit...make that 6 starters...

    Yet they made it further that year than they did the year before with all those guys there.




  5. #5
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    Re: Winning free agency

    Quote Originally Posted by Raveninwoodlawn View Post
    I don't know about those other teams, but the 2011 Ravens lost 5 starters last offseason...

    Edit...make that 6 starters...

    Yet they made it further that year than they did the year before with all those guys there.
    Very true tbh...

    And at the time Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, and Kelly Gregg arguably had more impact to our team at the time than JJ, Redding, AND Grubbs had for us in 2011.




  6. #6
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    Re: Winning free agency

    Look how far it got "The Dream Team" last season...
    90% of the game is half mental




  7. #7

    Re: Winning free agency

    Let's not make any mistake though.

    The Ravens are up against the cap and have lost some guys they really wanted to keep due to that.

    They are very hamstrung cap wise and it's showing.

    It's not something that is surprising or came out of nowhere but it's real.

    PP




  8. #8

    Re: Winning free agency

    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    How many players did those teams lose in free agency?
    We've lost what, two players that are truly meaningful? The others we lost were role players and should be easily replaced.

    Quote Originally Posted by purplepoe View Post
    Let's not make any mistake though.

    The Ravens are up against the cap and have lost some guys they really wanted to keep due to that.

    They are very hamstrung cap wise and it's showing.

    It's not something that is surprising or came out of nowhere but it's real.

    PP
    There's no real reason for the Ravens to be signing anyone. The OL is the big spot that needs to be upgraded. LB could use an upgrade but it's not like that position is particularly critical overall.

    The way I see it, the Ravens are sitting tight, knowing that, while they have cap space to make a move, they also will need to re-sign Rice, Webb and Flacco very soon. Any big FA signing will result in them being virtually guaranteed to lose one of those three guys. It's all about trade offs. So would you rather hire someone in FA who comes in and doesn't know the team or the system, or would you rather keep someone that's tested and proven and a known commodity and knows the system?

    I far prefer the latter, and I'm glad the Ravens do too.

    - C -
    ---------------------------------------------------

    www.oblongspheroid.com

    A blog about any and everything football.

    Twitter: oblong_spheroid




  9. #9

    Re: Winning free agency

    Quote Originally Posted by psuasskicker View Post
    We've lost what, two players that are truly meaningful? The others we lost were role players and should be easily replaced.



    There's no real reason for the Ravens to be signing anyone. The OL is the big spot that needs to be upgraded. LB could use an upgrade but it's not like that position is particularly critical overall.

    The way I see it, the Ravens are sitting tight, knowing that, while they have cap space to make a move, they also will need to re-sign Rice, Webb and Flacco very soon. Any big FA signing will result in them being virtually guaranteed to lose one of those three guys. It's all about trade offs. So would you rather hire someone in FA who comes in and doesn't know the team or the system, or would you rather keep someone that's tested and proven and a known commodity and knows the system?

    I far prefer the latter, and I'm glad the Ravens do too.

    - C -
    The team offered Grubbs 32.5 million bucks.

    They really, really wanted him back.

    IMO that shows that the team saw a real reason.

    I agree with what you said.

    My point was that the team has definitely lost guys they wanted to retain due to cap restraints.

    It wasn't as if they rinsed their hands of every UFA that has left like they did when the purged Gregg/Mason/Heap/McGahee last season

    The team is against the cap because they've signed guys over the years that every fan woudl've gone nuts if they hadn't. Only so much pie to go around.

    PP




  10. Re: Winning free agency

    Quote Originally Posted by purplepoe View Post
    The team is against the cap because they've signed guys over the years that every fan woudl've gone nuts if they hadn't. Only so much pie to go around.

    PP
    Kind of like Ray Rice, Webb, Flacco, etc. that are/will be in that situation now.

    We can't bring guys in here that appear to have gas left in the tank but also have checkered pasts either because that tends to set off another set of fans as well even though they can be had at great prices.
    Will Die A Ravens Fan!!




  11. #11
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    Re: Winning free agency

    My hope now is that we sign Vernon Carey to play guard for us. We also need to move back to a man blocking scheme, none of our current offensive linemen players fit a zone block scheme.

    McKinnie- Better at man blocking, no where near the atheletism to be effective in a ZBS, but good enough strength to be effective in a power man scheme.

    LG- This is up in the air right now, but there is nobody on the market who would fit a ZBS. Only a hand full of guards in the draft could fit the ZBS.

    Birk- Maybe about 3 seasons ago he would perfectly fit the ZBS, but he's just too old and slow to be effective in a ZBS these days. This is why I felt like signing Gurode was the better option since he is bigger and stronger and would fit the man blocking scheme better. Birk is probably as close as it comes to being a good ZBS lineman on our team (apart from Yanda.)

    Yanda- Good at both really, but lets be real he is a true road grader and didn't come out of the draft in 2007 known as a "finese blocker". Either way he is an elite guard in both cases.

    Oher- This is the most obvious one really, Oher had a solid rookie season at RT when we where man blocking, and it's obvious this is where he excels. Since going over to a ZBS, he is no where near the player he was in his rookie season and college. It's not that he isn't athletic, but he isn't smart enough to be effective in a ZBS, his power and brute force is better used as a man blocker.

    So who's idea was it to go to a ZBS, when we had success running a power man scheme anyway? It's a bit of a head scratcher tbh.




  12. #12
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    Re: Winning free agency

    The Ravens, like other good teams, don't do a lot in free agency early on, because there isn't a real need to. The Ravens are masters of building through the draft, getting some good years out of players, and letting some other team overpay for that player down the road.

    Think about it - how many of the Ravens lost free agents have gone on to have better careers, or even good careers after they left?




  13. #13

    Re: Winning free agency

    [QUOTE=alienrace;435759]The Ravens, like other good teams, don't do a lot in free agency early on, because there isn't a real need to. The Ravens are masters of building through the draft, getting some good years out of players, and letting some other team overpay for that player down the road.

    Think about it - how many of the Ravens lost free agents have gone on to have better careers, or even good careers after they left?[/




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