With Free Agency coming up, I had to start looking for holes in our offense and defense. It was a lot easier to find out where the strong parts of the team were. I got out a Steno pad and started writing down the positions we needed some shoring up, or at least needed to look at. The list was way longer than I liked.
HB: Jamal is getting older, those wheels will fall off eventually.
TE: Heiden and Royal are not doing the trick.
RG, RT: Simply put, the right side of the line is obsolete.
DE: The ends are ok, but we need quality linemen to keep the linebackers free.
OLB: Speaking of LB’s, we need a left side linebacker, pronto. Preferrably fast?
MLB: Someone to compliment D’Qwell Jackson.
CB: Second biggest need. Only Wright is a good look. Everyone else is mediocre at best.
FS: Biggest hole with Elam leaving. Draft?
K: Dawson retiring, need a young boot.
So out of the 24 positions on the field, 10 of them needed filling, or at least some band-aids. The gaping hole at FS and CB were unsettling, especially since our pass defense wasn’t exactly stellar last year. But I was happy to retain Edwards and a few other key players.
Over the course of free agency I was on a mad tear, looking into the premier players that we could possibly convince to come out to play for us. All in all, it basically turned out to be one player who could be considered elite would even consider it. Keith Bullock, fresh out of Tennessee, was interested in our 3-4 look. Eventually he went to another 3-4 team, the Patriots.
We ended up getting a lot of bandages to the defense, including two corners who would make our defense faster, if anything. Fabian Washington and Phillip Buchanon were both fast, with some upside, something I liked a lot. We also picked up three quick linebackers, a kicker, a wide receiver to make our four wide look a little more intimidating, and a back up quarterback. Ironically, it was Troy Smith, who snubbed Brady out of a Heisman (in my opinion). We looked a lot better going into the draft, and I felt a lot better not feeling like we needed twenty picks to even be competitive. The free safety and right side of the line still needed some help.
Free Agent Signings
CB Fabian Washington
CB Phillip Buchanon
WR Chaz Schilens
MLB Gary Guyton
OLB Pisa Tinoisamoa
K Matt Prater
OLB Antwaan Barnes
QB Troy Smith