CBS Sports' Clark Judge tells us who he admires when it comes to teams and free agency:
Indianapolis. New England. The Giants. San Diego. Baltimore. If they were active it was primarily in re-signing their own players. Free agency is overrated, and the proof is the 2007 Giants. They did next to nothing last year and won a Super Bowl. The 49ers, meanwhile, spent zillions on their defense and still wound up with a losing record. Look what happened to Indianapolis last season: The Colts lost three starters from their '06 defense to free agency, yet they were better, much better, a year later. Now look at San Francisco. The 49ers invested zillions in free agents like Nate Clements and Mike Lewis, yet moved up only four notches in the defensive rankings, from 26th to 22nd. More important, they won two fewer games. There's a message there, folks.
However, when it comes to actually winning football games, big name free agents do very little to alter the bottom line. Smarts trades, smart signings (aka, anything other than the Bernard Berrian, Javon Walker, or Alan Faneca contracts), and smart drafting win you football games. You start with a plan and follow that plan through until the end. It's for these reasons that I'm not sold on Cleveland, who just gave a boatload of money to Shaun Rogers after re-negotiating his deal.