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What can we learn from Free Agency: What's obvious really isn't...

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Shaun Rogers: Recipe for Disaster?

[editor's note, by River City Rage]: Big Cat Country favorite NASF is writing a series for us about Free Agency and other issues. This is his first contribution, and we look forward to more!

What can we learn from the history of free agency.

A great indicator of future success and failure is taking a look back on history. A lot can be gathered from studying the trends that result in hitting the jackpot with a free agent, or coming up snake eyes. By no means is talent evaluation  and predicating the impact of a free agent an exact science. What we can do is look at what gives us the best odds for success, and the best bang for our buck. When I analyzed all 32 teams from last years free agency, I came away with a clear formula for why certain free agents were successful, and why others failed. The formula for success was with players who played at a high level for more than one year, were young and ascending, and had good character. The failures were generally with players past their prime, had an injury history, character concerns, and one year wonders, most notably in their contract year. You might be saying to yourself, isn't that rather obvious. Well you would
certainly think so, but applying those formulas to the moves being made in this years free agency, it is about as clear as the Okefenokee swamp.

Lets take the formula that we learned from the history of past failures, and apply that to three big signings that fit that criteria. The first one that automatically comes to mind is the Browns signing of Shaun Rodgers. Rodgers comes with a serious injury history, poor character stemming from weight issues and conditioning, taking plays off, and being suspended for steroids. The bad far out weighs the good, and if history is any kind of indicator, this will have bad move written all over it. Plus they gave up a 3rd and 5th round pick, and made him the highest paid DT in the league. Yup thats what you want to do, give a fat and lazy player, who doesn't love football, more motivation to work harder, by giving him enough guaranteed money to never haft to work again.

Next guy up that fits the bill is Javon Walker. The Raiders made a guy with a history of knee injuries that might require the dreaded micro-fracture surgery, the second highest paid WR in the league.  Walker comes fully loaded with at no extra charge, a reputation for not getting along with fellow teammates, coaches, and giving a half hearted effort when not being the goto WR on a play. Thats just what I want for my money.

Last guy but certainly not the last guy I could apply the formula to, is are very own Marcus Stroud. Stroud fits the formula, because he is at an age (30 when the season starts) that history has shown, players at the DT position start to decline. He also has on his resume, a serious micro-fracture injury, that players who have had the same procedure, have shown that the odds are stacked heavily against him, ever playing anywhere near the level he once played at. The Bills are hoping against all logical reasoning, that he will be the Stroud from two years ago, so much so they gave up a high 3rd round pick along with a 5th. To say the Jags got the better of the deal will be an understatement.  I wish nothing but the best for a guy that gave the Jags his best years, but if the odds and history are any indication, his best days are long gone.

Tomorrow, I will be giving an in depth analysis on the Jags free agents as to why I believe they will either fail or succeed.

-NASF