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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Moving and Shaking Up the League

NFL free agency starts today and teams have already begun moving, snipping, rearranging, and contorting to make their power moves within the confines of the league’s salary cap. There have already been several noteworthy moves.

Having trouble keeping up? Don’t worry. The changes will continue! Here are a few of the transactions sure to impact the coming NFL season.

Power Moves

Anquan Boldin traded to the San Francisco 49ers from the Baltimore Ravens

This is a huge win for the 49ers. The Niners have spent the past three years trying to find a threatening bookend for Michael Crabtree. Their passing game has been limited and predictable during Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s tenure. After being carved up by Boldin in Super Bowl XLVII, I guess the Niners’ brass saw all they needed to see. Baltimore’ salary cap misfortune is the 49ers’ good fortune.

The floor demonstration made an impression on the 49ers. 1
Percy Harvin traded to the Seattle Seahawks from the Minnesota Vikings

Harvin is a game breaking superstar. The Vikings had a bit of a problem with Harvin’s diva like tendencies (which are found in most exceptional NFL wide receivers) and a big problem with the money that Harvin said he wanted in a new contract, either now or when his current deal expires after next year.
The Vikes knew they could not afford Harvin’s market value. Coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks said, paraphrasing rapper Ill Al Scratch and singer Brian McKnight, ”If you don’t want him don’t waste your time! I’ll take him.” The arms race is on in the NFC West.

Harvin (left) is coming and apparently Leon Washington (right) is going. 2
Wes Welker reported to be testing the open market

Welker, who is an unrestricted free agent, has been reported by multiple outlets to be set to shop the NFL free agency market after failing to agree to terms on  new deal with the New England Patriots. Those of you who read the Hat Trick often know I don’t like Brady or the Patriots, so I would love to see Welker find greener pastures. Frankly, from an on the field standpoint, Welker fits best with the Patriots and the Patriots’ offense is a clear step better with Welker than without him. They need each other and that is why I expect, in the end, that New England will make the most attractive offer to Welker.

I'm sure Welker checked with his wife, Anna Burns, before shopping around. 3
Tony Gonzalez to return to the Atlanta Falcons in 2013

To my bitter disappointment as a Saints fan, as I indicated earlier today, tight end Tony Gonzalez announced that he will not retire and will return to the Falcons for another campaign in 2013. This is HUGE for Falcons Fan. The Falcons waived running back Michael Turner for salary cap reasons. Turner was productive, but declining and expensive. The assurance that Gonzalez (93 receptions in 2012) will be back next year means there is one less hole for the Falcons to fill.

(sigh) 4
Mike Wallace gets 60 million reasons to take his talents to South Beach

Wallace reportedly agreed on a deal with the Miami Dolphins for approximately $60 million over five years. With the trade of Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears last season, the Dolphins were is great need of a big threat wide receiver for second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill to throw to. They’ve got it in Wallace. The Dolphins defense is fairly solid and Tannehill had a good rookie campaign considering what he had to work with on the offensive side of the ball. Perhaps the Dolphins will make a push for one of the AFC’s Wild Card spots.

With Wallace at wideout, Ryan Tannehill (left) can be excited about hooking up during and after work (his wife, Lauren Tannehill is on the right). 5
Tomorrow: Belt Tightening – Nnamdi Asomugha, James Harrison, DeAngelo Hall, Beanie Wells, and Eric Winston.

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