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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Good Time To Be Broke

(or, alternately, "sometimes nothing's a good hand". I might've used
that one already, recently.)

With free agency off to a mammoth start, and Carolina having already
spent its money in 2011, now comes the waiting game. And that's where
you can really make a difference.

Sure, Miami improved by massively overspending for Mike Wallace.
Contenders like SF and Seattle have made improvements with Anquan Boldin
and Percy Harvin (who also got paid in a big way), but at a high cost.
Cleveland seems intent on spending all it can, early as possible.

And that's just not where the best stuff happens. Sure, if you have to
have a Mike Wallace, you're not going to get him in mid-April at a
budget cost. But when you hang $11 million a year on a player, you
inevitably increase a failure rate, too. If Wallace signed for a two
year deal that was fairly lucrative, it wouldn't really matter if he
fits the west coast offense. It wouldn't matter if he were used mostly
as a deep threat. Now he's the premier guy in the Miami offense, the
only guy who has to be respected - the guy who'll have to make Tannehill
look great in year two, the guy who'll have to do it without any running
game (so far). Now it absolutely matters if he can run the drag, if he
can go over the middle every time. If he can carry the whole team, even
though that's terribly unrealistic. Every drop is a bipolar swing of
epic proportion.

Carolina's looking for veteran roleplayers, including possibly at wide
receiver. There have only been hours since free agency officially
started at 4pm yesterday, and they're not after the guys who go to the
highest bidder. It'll cost them a couple middle-class guys (Chris
Canty, for instance), but they'll hopefully get some guys who are very
good that will still be there in two weeks. There, they might find a
value at WR, and be able to afford the DTs, CBs, and FS they need, too.
With enough luck, they might even end up with some depth.

Or not. Who knows - they could pick up a couple DTs at the end of the
month that have good credentials, and it could be a disaster. But they
won't be stuck with that player three years from now, having to decide
whether it's worth taking a hit to ditch the guy (they'll have enough of
that with their own this year and next).

This actually isn't that far off from Marty Hurney. Carolina hasn't
been active in free agency since 2007-08, and then '11, and most of
those were roleplayers, too.

And to credit Dave Gettleman, he hasn't pretended Hurney didn't exist -
he hasn't pretended everything Hurney did was wrong. It's obviously
easy, when a new guy's here, to say "this is how we do things" and
people marvel at it, expecting it'll be completely different. I don't
think Gettleman will be falling over himself to pay millions to more
linebackers and running backs, but the approach won't be so far off
overall, either.

They won't be falling over themselves trying to get the high bid in
today. In a few weeks, the high bids won't be so high. It just
requires patience.
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