After 136 days of frowns, tears, negotiating, and disputing; the NFL lockout is finally over.
It took a very long time, and at times the possibility of losing games seemed very real. It is over now, and we can now (finally!) focus on football.
These past weeks have been incredibly hectic. From free agent signings to coaches cramming in every second of practice time that they can, this has been on of the craziest time periods in the history of the NFL.
One of the most important things have been the free agent signings. Here are the of the good, bad, and just plain ugly:
Eagles sign CB Nnamdi Asomugha- Asomugha was perhaps the greatest prize of all of the free agents, and the fact the he took his talents to Philly turns the Eagles into title contenders immediately.
Eagles sign DE Cullen Jenkins- In addition to the Asomugha signing, Jenkins will help bolster the Eagles’ defense. He will help put the pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Seahawks sign WR Sidney Rice- Sidney Rice is an extremely underrated receiver. He could be the spark that helps bring the Seahawks’ struggling offense to life.
Jets re-sign WR Santonio Holmes- It is hard to stress the importance of Holmes to this Jets team, both as a player and as a leader, and this resigning was a key in keeping the hard-nosed Jets among the top of the pack in the AFC.
Jets sign WR Plaxico Burress- While on the Giants, Burress was a force. Now that he is on the Jets, he brings more talent and experience to an already stacked receiving core.
Redskins re-sign WR Santana Moss- Moss is getting old fast, and is turning into a liability for the Redskins. They need to rebuild with younger players, not resign unproductive veterans.
Saints sign C Olin Kreutz- Last year for the Bears, Kreutz struggled mightily. The only role he took on for them was as a locker room leader. Drew Brees is the leader for the Saints, so if Kreutz is not a leader, and he is not productive, then what is he?
Eagles sign RB Ronnie Brown- The Eagles did great this offseason, but this was the one dark spot. Ronnie Brown has been struggling, and as a backup to LeSean McCoy, there seems no reason that he will pick up his game.
49ers re-sign QB Alex Smith- The 49ers need to invest in the future and rebuild their offense. Re-signing an ineffective quarterback will not help them at all.
Ravens sign RB Ricky Williams- Williams is getting old fast, and is not the type of character that the Ravens should want in their young locker room. As a backup to Ray Rice, and a terrible role model, this signing was pointless.
And, the just plain ugly:
49ers sign WR Braylon Edwards- Edwards, a reciever in the decline of his career, will be of no help to the 49ers, especially because they don’t currently have a reliable quarterback. They should have used the money they used to sign Edwards to get an effective quarterback. This signing is like baking a cake without heat. You have the cake (Edwards), but you need the heat (a good quarterback) to make it worthwhile.
Colts sign DT Tommie Harris- Harris didn’t produce at all for the Bears last season, and there seems no reason that he will turn around for the Colts, so this signing will hurt their defense, and put more pressure on their backups.
Seahawks sign QB Tavaris Jackson- As of now, Jackson is the Seahawks starting quarterback. If they are going to invest their future in him, then the future looks murky in Seattle.
It will be very hard for the rookies to adapt to the NFL after the lockout. Some will fail, and some will thrive. Here are 3 rookies who will thrive:
Mark Ingram (RB, New Orleans Saints)- Ingram has a running style fit for the NFL, and with Drew Brees and Sean Payton leading the offense, Ingram can blossom in 2011.
Jake Locker (QB, Tennessee Titans)- Locker showed promise in his first preseason game. If he starts for the Titans, his adaptability skills will help him to thrive in the NFL. Look for locker to be the best NFL quarterback of the class.
Patrick Peterson (CB, Arizona Cardinals)- Peterson is a freak athlete, and anybody with his physical talent won’t have too much trouble in the NFL.
Here are 3 who will fail:
Cam Newton (QB, Carolina Panthers)- Newton’s immaturity and lack of experience will not serve him well in the NFL. Look for Newton to be a bust.
Prince Amukamara (CB, New York Giants)- Amukamara is extremely overrated, and his level of talent just isn’t good enough for the NFL.
Christian Ponder (QB, Minnesota Vikings)- This was a terrible pick for the Vikings, as he may be decent in 5 years, but out of the gate, he will struggle. They need a quarterback who can produce and produce now.
There have definitely been many winners and losers over the past few weeks. Although there are many, there is one clear winner and one clear loser, here they are:
Philadelphia Eagles- Between signing Asomugha, Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Steve Smith, Vince Young, and Donald Lee, plus already having a killer offense and defense, the Eagles are now serious Super Bowl Contenders.
Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins didn’t make a signing at quarterback, the position they need a fresh face in most. Also, the only decent addition they made was Reggie Bush, but that’s after losing bothe Ronnie Brown and Rickie Williams. Overall, the Dolphins need to get a lot better, and not only did they not get better, they got worse.
This sure has been a hectic few weeks and a hectic few months in the pro football world, but now that the lockout is over, and the bulk of free agency has passed us, I have one question for everyone:
Are you ready for some football?
By Sam Brief