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I think the Patriots did a great job adding three HUGE pieces to a team that was already one of the top two or three in the league that were obvious positions of need, and while they made amazing moves that clearly will make them the Super Bowl favorites across the board from just about, if not every media outlet, they actually had the second best off-season.
The slam dunk best off-season of 2007 HAS to go to the San Francisco 49ers. The difference between what the Patriots did and what the 49ers did is separated by the fact that the Patriots were already in the Championship picture, regardless. San Francisco has completely turned over their team, adding three really solid WR's to the collection, making huge additions to the defensive back field and a whole new corps of LB's to go with Manny Lawson. On top of that, they were able to give Alex Smith more protection by bringing in a guy who will be one hell of a LT in Joe Staley.
These moves helped reinvent their franchise and will help turn them into a legit, playoff contender out of the NFC West as opposed to having been complete pushovers the last few years. The Patriots filled in the blanks on a three page essay, the 49ers wrote page three. I didn't like Ashlie Lelie as a #1, but he'll make an adequate #2 behind Darrell Jackson, and both are better than anything San Francisco had going for them last year...
SF and NE obviously had big offseasons. They brought in all kinds of talent and really improved their teams and IMO, they both made quality signings and didnt just foolishly throw around money b/c they could afford to.
However, you dont have to sign marquee players to have a good offseason and a number of teams had low-key but very strong offseaons.
I personally liked what the Raiders did this off-season a lot. Al did a great job managing the situation IMO. The pickings were slim at HC but Al brought in a good young offensive mind and got an experienced OC to assist him. We didnt cash out for big name FAs, but we had some very solid additions to help our offense. Cooper Carlisle and Jeremy Newberry are both good vets who can help the O-line right away and Rhodes is a nice weapon to add to the offense and then in the draft we get our franchise QB, our TE and then possibly our future HB and a talented pass-rusher. We get Mike Williams and McCown for a 4th to solidify our QB situation and get a chance to revive BMWs career and then we dump Randy, even though I felt we shoulda got more for him. Overall though, we really changed the face of the team without making any huge moves and I like the direction were headed in.
Thought Buffalo had a great Offseason. As bad as many think it is, it really wasnt.
CJ Ah You
We lost 2 LB, Spikes and Fletcher. Spikes was on the downside, and Ellison is an up and coming LB and should be more than a replacement. Fletcher racked up alot of tackles, but many were WAY off the LOS. Pos will perform much better than Fletcher did, as Pos will be playing the MLB. We lost Willis, who was a cancer to the team and wasnt at all near the hype he made himself out to be. Lynch should be more than an adequate replacement for him along with Thomas and Wright. The OL was upgraded HUGE. Should help the run game, JP Losman get time, and let the TE be free so they dont have to stay in and block. We lost NAte Clements, who I think was the biggest lost. But for a cover 2 corner, he wasnt worth 80 million. Ashton Youboty is still solid, and will be good as the cover 2 corner. I think they had a very solid off season.
I am very critical of the Bills' offseason, it was easily the worst in the league IMO.
My number 1 criticism of the Bills' offseason:
Overpaying for Dockery and Walker. Dockery gets nearly 50 mill, Walker nearly 40 mill. Dockery is a guy who never did anything special in his career until he was in a contract year and even then he wasnt that great. Even if he continues to play like he did in 06, hes still not worth the 49 mill and chances are he wont, that was a career year for him. And let me tell you as a Raider fan Walker is awful. He was probably the worst starting OT in the league last year, in fact, he was EASILY the worst. I watched him get blown by almost every third down last year. It actually got to a point where I could predict he would get blown by and his man would sack the QB on a consistent basis and I would be right a lot of the time. Those were by far the worst signings of this offseason...
Letting Clements walk I dont have a problem with. You free up cap room, and you have his replacement ready with Youboty, and it woulda cost a lot to get him to resign rather than hit the open market. And 80 mill is a lot to spend on a CB when youre runnig the cover 2. But if youre gonna use that freed up cap room to sign Walker and Dockery, then im very critical of letting Clements walk b/c he is a top 10 player at a valuable position while Walker is one of the worst RTs in the league and Dockery is a quite average player at one of the least important positions, and he has bust/1 year wonder written all over him. So the money management was awful is my point.
Letting Fletcher walk I believe is the right move. He was good but I think his stats were somewhat misleading and hes not as good as they expected. Crowell will slide inside and should be as good as or maybe even better than Fletcher.
The Spikes trade I dont like. OK, Spikes is not the player he used to be and he might have been a little bit on the outs with the team, but they pretty much gave him away and he was still a damn good LB on a team that was pretty thin at the position. The Eagles I think were gonna cut Darwin Walker at some point this offseason and I just feel the value on the trade was awful and its not as if Spikes was a poor character player who was hurting team chemistry that they needed to get rid of.
Then we've got the McGahee trade. I dont have a major problem with it. While Im a big fan of McGahee and think hes one of the more underrated backs in the league, I recognize he was on the outs with the Bills and would be a FA last year and they'd lose him without compensation so getting 2 3rd rounders for him was not a bad deal really.
What I dont like is the way they dealt with the HB situation afterwards. Bear in mind that I am a big Marshawn Lynch fan...But the way I feel about it is they trade away a former 1st round pick at HB who has proven himself to be an excellent starter at the position and get 2 3rd rounders for him. Keeping in mind that HB is one of the most easily replacable positions in the league, I expected they would adress HB thru FA and later in the draft. Instead, they use their first rounder on Lynch. To me, it doesnt make sense to draft a talented HB coming off a gruesome injury in the 1st round, watch him get healthy and develop him into a star and then after 1 dissapointing season trade him away for two 3rd rounders and spend another first rounder on a HB. Even though I like Lynch, I just dont like what they did overall.
One move I did like was trading up for Poz, I think he should help the team a lot and was a very nice value in the 2nd round. Trent Edwards I suppose was a good pick but Lossman had a nice year and I feel is the future at QB so Im not as hyped on the pick as some people are. I like the CJ Ah You pick late and John Wendling was a nice value and I like Wright. Very solid draft.
Overall, I think the Bills did a bad job of managing cap and made some poor choices. B/c they spent big dollars on Walker and Dockery they wont get high comp picks for losing Fletcher and Clements. They coulda upgraded that OL much more intelligently and efficiently and I think they should have added a WR and more depth at CB. Evans is a rising star but Price stinks and Parrish is only really a slot guy and there were a lot of solid wideouts on the market and in the draft who could have fit into their system and been effective no. 2s but the Bills passed on all of em and they dont have enough targets in their passing game. And while I disagreed with those that called CB a round 1 or even day 1 need, they didnt draft a single CB and are quite thin at the position now. Youboty, McGee, Kiwaukee Thomas and Greer just doesnt sound too good to me.
I really like what Oakland has done. They once had a wreck of an offense and a clueless coach to go along with it. Since then, Al has given power (say in the draft?) to aspiring young offensive guru Lane Kiffin. With the defense already playing at a high level, they now have the pieces set in place to become a good, young team in the near future.
The OL was upgraded HUGE. Should help the run game, JP Losman get time, and let the TE be free so they dont have to stay in and block.
Langston Walker should be in the negative column, not the positive column.
In all seriousness, the guy was flatout terrible last year. I kid you not. Sure he's huge, but the man just can't handle anything that moves faster than a tortoise. He gets beat on any and every kind of move and he's just not that special in run blocking either.
Jamal Lewis is a great fill over Ruben Droughns and our OL is alot better than Baltimores and Lewis is now healthy.
I'm not so sure that Jamal Lewis is going to be any better than Droughns was for you. He is slow, he's lost a lot of his power and he just doesn't have any kind of moves. He is not even close to the same player he was when he had 2,000 yards rushing.