The stock market may be a bear right now, but the first day of the free agent market was bullish. The opening day acquisitions have been somewhat surprising considering the fact that most MLB teams spent the winter in hibernation despite a very soft luxury tax and most NBA teams scrambling to gather as many expiring contracts as they could in preparation for the salary cap decrease, the loaded free agent market in the summer of 2010, and the impending lockout in 2011.
The big news of the day was the signing of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth signed with the Washington Redskins for seven years and $100 million dollars
Haynesworth was the top rated defensive end on the market (and arguably the most talented free agent out there and is a huge loss to for the Tennessee Titans, but a huge gain for the sack-challenged Redskins. He had 8.5 sacks, rare for a defensive tackle (a position yet to be justified by a stat other than the team’s average rushing yards allowed). The Titans also had a top ten rushing defense for those wondering.
For those screaming that the Redskins desperately needed help in the secondary, Washington also resigned corner back DeAngelo Hall. The Redskins defense is intact and positions the Redskins for a possible run as a competitive team in a division that includes the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants.
In other moves the Carolina Panthers resigned Jordan Gross. The offensive tackle is a major key to keeping the Panthers powerful running game going. The New England Patriots franchised quarterback Matt Cassell just in case Tom Brady’s career as a top tier quarterback has been ended by his ACL and MCL injury or his rumored marriage to supermodel Giselle Bundchen.
Brandon Jacobs stayed at home with the New York Giants, who only need to resign Derrick Ward. Of course, the Giants also need to find a game breaking receiver since Plaxico Burress is probably not coming back.
The market was not the only way to get talent. The Bucs tried to upgrade their passing game with the addition tight end Kellen Winslow for draft picks. Did the Browns want to get rid of a player who had been a constant disappointment despite his incredible talent? Did they want to dump salary because fans are less likely to purchase tickets to a floundering team in the face of an abysmal economy? Tampa does not care. They got a much needed weapon in the field.
The Minnesota Vikings tried to solve their problems behind center by trading for Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans. I do not think Rosenfels is the answer to replace Tavaris Jackson. Rosenfels has been on the Vikings wish list for two years now. I think the Vikings will find that their move will do nothing but get them into the playoffs in a weak NFC North and out of the postseason after the first round (much like this year).