NFL.com has an article up celebrating 15 years of free agency. I have a vague memory of the NFL prior to free agency, and I remember when it happened (allowing players like Keith Jackson to leave the team they were drafted to and sign with another). NFL.com's Jason Feeler pays tribute to free agency by picking the top 15 best free agent moves in the last 15 years, with one selection per year. Feller's selection seem a bit inconsistent because the selections by year don't necessarily reflect that the free agent in question had an immediate impact that specific year. Some selections did, and many of them are obvious: Reggie White to the Packers in 1993, Deion Sanders to the 49ers in 1994, and Rich Gannon to the Raiders in 1999.
And some of the others are just down right dumb. Take Feller's pick for best free agent signing of 2007:
2007: Leonard Davis, CowboysFormer team: Cardinals
Reported terms: Seven years, $50 million
The second overall pick of the 2001 draft was once considered a disappointment as he started out at the tackle position. Upon moving to guard his career began to take a turn for the better and he enjoyed a career year for the Cowboys last season. He earned his first Pro Bowl invitation and was a key cog for the NFC's best offense last year, manhandling defensive tackles with his impressive strength. Honorable mention: RB Jamal Lewis
Um, I'm sorry Jason, but either you don't watch the football product that your website helps promote, or you are a raging Cowboys homer. There's just no other reason I can think of to explain why you would pick Leonard Davis as the best free agent pick-up of 2007. Players like QB Jeff Garcia took a lowly Tampa Bay team into the playoffs in 2007. Others, like Seattle DE Patrick Kerney, resurrected the Seahawks pass rush, generating 14.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. And unlike Davis, Kerney's team actually won a playoff game.
Maybe Feller is using Davis' Pro Bowl nod as justification, but that doesn't hold up because we all know the Pro Bowl is bunk. Roy Williams has been to 5 of them, and everyone and their grandmother knows he STINKS. Even his own teammates are finally saying it.
So, I literally have no logical answer for why Feller thinks Davis is such a free agent stud; unless, of course, Fellers comes from the Ed Werder School of Journalism and simply laps up everything the Dallas Cowboys dump on him. Guys like Garcia and Kerney made more of an impact on their teams as free agents than Davis did. It's obvious.
Feller also screwed up his 2006 free agent selection. I agree that Drew Brees is, without question, the best free agent pickup of 2006. However, the Honorable Mentions do not list Adam Vinatieri. They list Terrell Owens (another Cowboys who can't help his team win a playoff game), and Charles Woodson (who was injured most of 2006 and couldn't get the Packers in the playoffs). All Vinatieri did was help the Colts win a Super Bowl by making numerous big kicks both during the regular season and the playoffs, in particular at Baltimore.
I guess Feller doesn't think kickers are sexy enough to list as great free agents, but underachieving, overpaid offensive guards are.