Monday, July 14, 2014

4 comments Bleacher Report Has a List of Surprising Moves Every NFL Team Didn't Make They Obviously Should Have Made

Today, Bleacher Report tells us the most surprising move EVERY NFL team didn't make this offseason. Every single NFL team had to decide on at least one surprising move they didn't make. There's no way (for the sake of pageviews) every NFL team didn't make a surprising decision. There's nothing like a little second-guessing based on what the media or fans think a team should have done in the offseason.

Sometimes we know exactly what a team needs in order to improve heading into the next season, and the powers that be totally disregard what seems like the best thing for the organization. This can leave fans and media alike shocked and concerned.

And of course the fans and the media are always correct about what the best thing for the organization may be. So it's surprising these NFL teams don't listen to fans and the media. After all, when has the media or fans ever been wrong?

Let's start the slideshow!

Miami Dolphins

Adding a Game-Changer

A game-changer is a guy who is elite at his position and can turn a game around single-handedly with superior skill.

Yeah, why didn't the Dolphins add one of those many game-changers that were available this past offseason? There were game-changing players available everywhere on the free agent and trade market. All the Dolphins had to do was just pick one.

Receiver Hakeem Nicks would have been a highly affordable option to help bolster the passing game.

Oh, to "bolster the passing game" means Nicks would be a game-changer? Perhaps the author has a different definition of "game-changing" than I do. I would not consider Nicks to be an elite receiver at this point in his career.

Brent Grimes is one of the best players at his position, but he is a fringe star at best in this league after dealing with a severe injury in 2012.

So Brent Grimes is one of the best players at his position, but he is a fringe star because he suffered an injury in 2012. Hakeem Nicks is one of the best players at his position, and he also suffered injuries in 2012 and 2013, but he's still considered elite? Consider me confused. 

Darrelle Revis is another name that would have been worth considering.

And he only cost $12 million to acquire! The Dolphins did draft Jarvis Landry, but I guess he doesn't count as a "game-changer," or as "elite" is better known, someone who can "help bolster the passing game."

New England Patriots

Adding More Receiving Weapons for Tom Brady

You mean other than signing Brandon LaFell and drafting Jeremy Gallon while hoping that the two rookies from last year (Dobson and Thompkins) can take a step forward? Nah, probably best to give up on them after one season.

With that said, you have to wonder how secure the Patriots feel having Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola as the starting flankers. Behind these two is a lot youth and inexperience. This system is notoriously challenging to master, and some players never end up panning out. 

The same could be sad for any young or inexperienced wide receiver trying to master any NFL team's offensive system. Receivers don't pan out all the time, even those that don't play for New England.

The Broncos have taken a similar and perhaps even more desperate approach to the offseason—but at the end of the day, only one team can reign supreme.

Congratulations on being the AFC representative in the Super Bowl, Denver Broncos!
New York Jets

Adding More Offensive Weapons

Outside of signing Eric Decker and drafting Shaquille Evans, Jalen Saunders, Quincy Enuwa and Jace Amaro? The Jets added four offensive weapons in the draft and signed one in free agency.

Adding three draft picks to the wide receiver position last week was the implementation of quantity over quality. Perhaps this was in the hopes that one of these mid- to late-round prospects would become a significant weapon.

Oh, so these players who were drafted don't count because they are mid-to-late round prospects. Got it. I guess a second-round pick is a mid-round selection? How many draft picks does the author think the Jets had early in the 2014 draft? The Jets drafted offensive skill position players with 3 of their first 5 picks.

Baltimore Ravens

Trade Ray Rice for Extra Draft Picks

I'm LOL'ing right now. Let's see...running backs are being devalued, Ray Rice just signed a new large contract and there is a video of him dragging his wife off an elevator after punching her? Why wouldn't a team give up extra draft picks for him?

It's like the author doesn't understand that other NFL teams know the same things that the Ravens know about Ray Rice.

Last year Rice struggled with injuries and put up his worst numbers as a pro. He claims to be back to full health and is looking forward to a rebound season.  He is in the third year of a six-year deal and is expected to count $8.75 million against the salary cap this year. His price certainly exceeds the 3.1 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns he had in 2013.

So it wouldn't be hard at all to trade Rice for extra picks! Every NFL team wants a running back in legal trouble who carries a high cap figure!

Trading him for extra draft picks could have saved the team money while allowing it to add more youth and depth on the roster. The Ravens could have even used the extra pick to take one of the talented young running backs available in this class.

Here in dream world this is a fantastic idea. In the real world, where GM's don't actively look to make bad trades this isn't such a great idea.

It’s reasonable to consider the possibility that the smallish Rice, who runs like a power back at times, has too much mileage and will never be what he used to be.

It's also reasonable to consider the possibility that other NFL teams know this and wouldn't give up a draft pick or draft picks to acquire Rice. It seems the author has Bill Simmons Trade Disease where he thinks a trade that only one team would realistically consider is a brilliant trade idea.

These are good practical football reasons to move on from Rice if him punching the woman he now wants to marry isn’t a good enough reason for you.

Yes, but give me a reason why a team would trade for him.

Cincinnati Bengals

Going Big on a Free Agent

Imagine if they would have made a run for Darrelle Revis, Jared Allen and/or Julius Peppers?

Then they would have possibly signed a guy on the downside of his career and potentially paying him for past production?

They should have tried to land a safety like T.J. Ward, Donte Whitner or Jairus Byrd. Adding a presence like that could end up being the difference between a playoff appearance and a Super Bowl ring.

I think Ward, Whitner, and Byrd are great players but they are not the difference in a playoff appearance and a Super Bowl ring. All things being equal, none of these safeties are worth 3-4 playoff victories.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Drafting Secondary Early and Often

On the size tip, the Steelers added DE Stephon Tuitt and NT Daniel McClullers. Tuitt stands 6’5”, 304 pounds, while McClullers measures in at a whopping 6’7”, 352 pounds.

The strategy seems to be—win the battle up front with brute strength while outrunning the opponents from the flanks. This is exactly what they need to do to get back to Super Bowl-caliber level.

Yeah, but the Steelers should have drafted players in the secondary early and often AND drafted brute strength and speed with those picks as well. I'm sure the NFL wouldn't have noticed if they had drafted two players with one draft pick.

I do love how the author says the Steelers draft strategy was exactly what they needed to do in order to get back into the Super Bowl, but he also criticizes them for not drafting more players in the secondary with the picks. Can't have it both ways. 

However, one critical area of the defense remains too slow, too old and lacking in depth. Starting cornerbacks Ike Taylor and William Gay are serviceable players, but they lack top-end speed. This is critical when competing against today’s offenses. 

Maybe the Steelers are trying to increase pressure on the opposing quarterback, which in turn would allow their serviceable secondary to not be such a liability.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The author doesn't actually list what he thinks is the most surprising move the Jaguars didn't make this offseason. I guess Bleacher Report had to fire some of their editors to make room for the influx of writing talent they have seen over the past year. Presumably, improving the pass rush was the surprising move the Jags didn't make.

With that said, the pass-rushing unit could've certainly used some more TLC this offseason. 
For several years, Jacksonville Jaguars fans have been clamoring for a pass-rusher. Needless to say, the team has failed to prioritize the position year after year.

Why don't the Jaguars listen to their fans. They could have Tim Tebow as their quarterback right now!

Oakland Raiders

Sign Young Free Agents

Surprisingly they opted out of overpaying for young talent with promising futures in favor of cheaper veterans who are entering the back nine of their NFL careers.

Why didn't the Raiders choose to overpay for talent? It seems like that's worked out so well for them in the past that they would try it again. Why did they choose to sign cheaper veterans with proven production who aren't all on the downside of their careers instead of overpaying young talent in the hopes they get a return on their investment? WHY???????

Aside from that, their additions this offseason have taken on the look of a team desperate to win now while disregarding the need for building a dynasty.

The Raiders completely disregarded their need to build a dynasty. They had a chance to build one and said, "Fuck that, we don't want a dynasty."

Adding guys like QB Matt Schaub, WR James Jones, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, CB Carlos Rogers, DE Antonio Smith, DE Justin Tuck and LB LaMarr Woodley to short-term contracts is essentially renting veterans for a year and starting all over next offseason.

The better idea would have been to overpay young talented players (you know, all those young talented players available in free agency) in free agency and then take a cap hit when they have to start all over in a season or two.

GM Reggie McKenzie is on the hot seat this year and understands that if he fails to show significant improvement this season he’ll likely be sent packing. He seems to believe that if he can’t save his job now, he won’t be able to continue building through the draft like he prefers.

Why is McKenzie choosing to sign veterans to short contracts? Because he selfishly wants to win football games now. He shows no regard for the future by not locking the team into large free agent deals and has signed productive veterans to short-term contracts. He's trying to improve the team in the short-term and give the team cap room in the long-term. McKenzie is trying to improve the team and win now to keep his job. What a selfish asshole.

New York Giants

Drafting a Tight End

Tight end is a glaring weakness when you look at the names currently on the roster. Adrien Robinson is expected to start and is followed by Kellen Davis and Larry Donnell. If you don’t know who these people are, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

If Robinson falters, it could be a long road for Eli and the G-Men.

Right, the Giants entire 2014 season hinges on whether they get the production they need from the tight end position or not. If Adrien Robinson isn't very good, there's no way the Giants bounce back and have a great season. Tight end is really the only position that determines a team's success during a season.

Philadelphia Eagles

Keeping DeSean Jackson

When you release a productive and dynamic playmaker like DeSean Jackson, it’s going to leave a hole on your roster that won't get filled overnight.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly attempted to throw some dirt on that hole by drafting Oregon receiver Josh Huff and highly productive Vanderbilt wideout Jordan Matthews. Both players had productive college careers and were brought in specifically out of immediate need.

The Eagles currently have Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin penciled in as the starters.

If Maclin, Matthews and Huff (three guys who had zero production last year) combine for 82 catches, 1332 yards and 9 touchdowns then they literally would have filled the hole in the Eagles roster left by DeSean Jackson. Sure, it took three players, but Jackson's production can be replaced this season with these three players. So he can be replaced overnight.

Washington Redskins

Changing Their Name

Really? You are surprised the Redskins didn't change their name? What indication did Daniel Snyder give at any point in the last year that he would change the Redskins name?

According to Mike Holmgren per NBC’s Pro Football Talk, even he thinks the Redskins are due for a new name. He went on to add, “I think it’s the right thing to do. Now, apparently 50 Senators also agree with me.”

I'm confused. Why would "even" Mike Holmgren think the Redskins need a new name? Has Holmgren previously said the Redskins didn't need a new name? I just have a lot of questions because the author seems to indicate by using the word "even" in this context that Mike Holmgren thinking the Redskins need a new name is surprising or should carry more weight than that of a retired NFL head coach.

Green Bay Packers

Drafting Tight End Crockett Gillmore

Whatever the case may be there, Crockett Gillmore is the tight end who was drafted the very next pick and is a much more productive and impressive prospect from what I can tell in scouting them both.

Maybe Bleacher Report did have to fire a lot of the editors to make room for the new writing talent. I miss a word or two in a sentence, no doubt about that, but shouldn't there be an editor who can fix this sentence almost a month after the column was originally posted. So I would say the most surprising move Bleacher Report didn't make was hire more editors for their columns.

Atlanta Falcons

Drafting Anthony Barr or Aaron Donald

Yes, it's surprising the Falcons chose to protect their franchise quarterback. Why on Earth would they choose to do that?

OLB Anthony Barr and DT Aaron Donald were the best available pass-rushing options when they opted for Matthews with the sixth overall pick.

They chose to protect their franchise quarterback because the NFL is a quarterback dominated league. What a crazy decision.

Offensive line is a huge need but one that could have been filled later in the draft. Dominate pass-rushers were off the board early this year, and the Falcons missed out on a key opportunity to address a critical need.

No, they chose to address a critical need and then fill the pass rusher need in free agency. The Falcons did draft Ra'Shede Hageman in the 2nd round and if the author saw Hageman in college then he would know he could be a pretty good interior pass rusher from the defensive tackle spot.

New Orleans Saints

Adding More Pass Rush

This offseason there were several viable options worth exploring in free agency, but it seemed as though the team was not interested in spending the money in that way. Adding a guy like Michael Bennett could have been a huge boost to the Saints' Super Bowl hopes.

Two issues here:

1. Michael Bennett has played his entire career in a 4-3 defense. How does the author know Bennett would be successful in the predominantly 3-4 defense that the Saints tend to run?

2. Two NFL teams did offer Bennett more money and he chose to stay in Seattle. How does the author know the Saints didn't try to add Bennett? That's the issue with second-guessing these NFL teams and naming the surprising moves the team didn't make. Perhaps the team did try to make these moves and couldn't get a deal done.

Carolina Panthers

Signing WR Hakeem Nicks

This guy loves himself some Hakeem Nicks.

Carolina drafted Kelvin Benjamin with its first pick, and he will give Newton a reliable target, but the Panthers still need an additional receiver or two. Besides, Benjamin is raw and completely unproven as a guy who can fill the role as a No.1 WR.

He's unproven as a guy who can fill the role of a #1 wide receiver mostly because he's a rookie and has never played an NFL game. Every rookie is unproven to fill any role on an NFL team before he actually plays an NFL game. Also, the Panthers receivers suck, but they aren't going to ask Kelvin Benjamin to be the #1 receiver if he isn't showing he's ready for this task. Just because he's the team's first round pick doesn't mean he's the team's new #1 wide receiver.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Giving Rookie QB Brett Smith Some Time 

Yes, it's surprising the Buccaneers didn't keep an undrafted rookie quarterback around. What a shock.

I firmly believe this is a kid who belongs in the NFL and can have a lot of success under the proper tutelage.

New offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford has a reputation for being great at developing quarterbacks.

This is the list of Tedford quarterbacks:

Trent Dilfer
David Carr
Akili Smith
Joey Harrington
Aaron Rodgers
Kyle Boller

Tedford has a reputation for being great at developing COLLEGE quarterbacks. As the author said in regard to Kelvin Benjamin, he is completely unproven as a guy who can develop an NFL quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals

Not Bringing in Josh McCown 

It's surprising the Cardinals, who already have a starting quarterback, didn't sign a free agent quarterback who wanted a starting job?

The Cardinals should have pushed hard to aquire veteran QB Josh McCown during free agency to not only provide insurance to Palmer, but to compete for the starting job in an open competition.

And what could go wrong in this situation if there ends up being a quarterback controversy? Aren't those types of controversies usually productive for NFL teams?

Bleacher Report has improved, but as long as they employ the "overly-long slideshow with the last slide of one slideshow being the first slide in the next slideshow" concept I'm afraid I'm still going to think of some of the writing as a ploy for pageviews.


Rich said...

Starting cornerbacks Ike Taylor and William Gay are serviceable players, but they lack top-end speed. This is critical when competing against today’s offenses.

The Giants won a Super Bowl with Corey Webster and Aaron Ross as their starting CBs...

and Aaron Ross is awful ::stares at Aaron Ross jersey::

Tight end is a glaring weakness when you look at the names currently on the roster.


In 2008, the starting TE was Kevin Boss and in 2012, it was Ballard.

Would Eli benefit from having a pass catching TE? Absolutely, he played well with Bennet the year he was with the Giants.

However, given the turnover on the Oline and the general shittiness of the front five last year, I'd rather have a really good blocking TE to allow Cruz, Randle and Cruz Jr. to create separation.

As I've said before, I didn't like the Beckham pick (seriously, a small slot WR?), but the next three rounds went Center, DT, RB.

Given that the Giant's have gone through 4 centers in three years and are relying on a guy coming off a severe ankle injury, I can't argue with the second round pick.

They also cut Marvin Austin and lost Linval Joseph, so getting depth back at DT is important, especially given the losses at DE as well.

Finally, given the relatively ineffecti... sorry, I fumbled the veness... of David Wilson, going for a RB in the fourth was a good value pick.

After that, you go with the best player available as I don't think there was TE worth going after at that point.

That and you know what the Giants really needed? A fuckin' linebacker.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, the Panthers won 12 games last year with an UDFA, a dwarf, and some guy I can't even recall his name right now playing corner. Pressure on the QB is how you win games and make the secondary look good.

Tight end has been a funny position for the Giants. It has been a weakness on paper until the season started. I don't think I would have gone TE if I were the Giants.

Welcome to giving Jon Beason a new contract. His body begins exploding as soon as you hand him guaranteed money.

Anonymous said...

Bengals - "Sign a high-priced FA".

Haven't I heard that every year in the last dozen, how ESPN or somebody will love us if we get some big ticket FA like Revis. The Bengals have **five** first round picks playing at corner already. The team actually did pick up a modest FA S, Daneal Manning. Has the advantage that he's played with one of our coaches before.

The Bengals are a team with a lot of young talent that is starting to need to be paid. Dalton this year, Gresham and AJ Green next year. They don't need to burn salary on a rental just so we can bench our young talent.

Bengoodfella said...

That makes sense to me. I feel like the Bengals constantly drafting CB's in the 1st round. Leon Hall, Dennard, Kirkpatrick, and Joseph. These writers are obsessed with a "big ticket" player as if they just exist out there easily available for a modest price.

Besides, corners can look good if a team has an excellent pass rush. work on the pass rush, don't spend tons of money on corners.