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Very loudly, the Bills and Eagles get better

I don't like getting caught up in all the free agency hoopla. Sometimes it's fun, especially when it's your team signing guys. After you see them signed, after you watch their press conference and they stand their with the coach and the owner holding up the new jersey, your imagination starts running wild. You plug the new players into your Madden franchise team to see how they affect the overall rating. You re-play game from 2007 with these new free agents, and then play games for the 2008 season with them. Of course, you win the Super Bowl every time, and it fills you with hope for '08.

Like the draft, this is the magic of free agency. Unlike the draft, it's a bit of fool's gold.

Even so, sometimes (and it is rare) teams can make several first and second day moves that really enhance their team. Two such teams are the Buffalo  Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills recently swung a trade with the Jaguars to acquire DT Marcus Stroud. I have absolutely no idea why Jacksonville did this trade, because the two-headed monster of Stroud and John Henderson was the face of the Jaguars franchise for years. Their whole defense was built around those two tackles. Now ones of them will line-up for the Bills. Buffalo's run defense the past few years has been dreadful, and though they dramatically overpaid for Kawika Mitchell, adding Stroud will certainly improve a defense that sports a lot of young talent, like DT John McCargo and MLBer Paul Posluszny. Buffalo also acquired Vikings back-up DT Spencer Johnson, giving the Bills serious DT depth (a must while trying to run Cover 2)

Meanwhile, in Philly, the Eagles have significantly bolstered their defense by signing Asante Samuel and pass rusher Chris Clemons. We Colts fans should take a close look at Clemons' contract, which was a 5-year deal. Someone like Travis LaBoy will likely want a similar deal. Adding Samuel and Clemons, and allowing second year player Victor Abiamiri to develop, allows Eagles DC Jim Johnson to do what he does best: Scheme rush the passer and play man-to-man. There are also many rumors suggestions another New England free agent could land with the Eagles: Randy Moss. Stay tuned. It would be high comedy watching Randy Moss is Philly.

Both Buffalo and Philly upgraded their teams today. Is it enough to get them back in the playoffs? Yes, but there are still questions at the QB position for both teams, and without a solid QB, reaching the post-season is very, very difficult. These two teams also have some dead weight they need to remove in order to challenge for the post-season. Buffalo has to find someone to take bust QB J.P. Losman, and CB Lito Shepard's Philly days are numbered.

Update [2008-3-1 18:19:46 by BigBlueShoe]: I'm reserving my opinion on the Cleveland Browns' roster moves until I see them play. Yes, they re-signed Pro Bowl QB Derek Anderson and RB Jamal Lewis. They swung two big trades and landed two BIG DTs: Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams. They also just signed former-Saints-Eagles-Patriots WR Donte Stallworth. Cleveland has been very busy, but these moves reek of a "WIN RIGHT NOW!" philosophy, and that kind of thinking is always a loser. I know Chris at Dawgs By Nature is doing back flips over these deals, and he should. They are exciting. But, Cleveland gave up a second and third round pick this season to get those DTs, and it gave up a first round pick this season to draft Brady Quinn last year. With Derek Anderson re-signed, and Browns GM Phil Savage saying Anderson is now the starter no matter how poorly he plays in pre-season, it means last year's trade to get Brady Quinn was a waste. Again, no first, second, or third round pick this year for Cleveland. Ouch!

Anderson is only 24, and he was just rewarded with a lot of moola. If your philosophy is "WIN NOW!" then drafting Quinn was a huge mistake. You can't give up a first round pick for a player like Quinn to sit on your bench for three years. By the time Anderson's contract is up, Quinn's contract will be up. Does that make any friggin' sense? There just isn't any continuity from Phil Savage, and it's a big reason the Browns have STUNK under his watch. So, I'm reserving judgment on the Browns.