Home > Free Agency, NFL > Building a team out of what’s left in the FA Market

Building a team out of what’s left in the FA Market

Can a team with no cap committment use the FA market to build a winner?  The answer is not clear, but a two-deep depth chart could be created using only players still looking for a job, and in many ways, such a roster would rival a lot of teams sitting around the league average.

Obviously in a real game, this team would have no stars, and it would be easily schemed against by pro coordinators.  But the larger concern is whether or not a team can be made out of players without a contract that rivals current NFL teams.

In parenthesis, I have provided the cumulative AV rating of a two deep (46 players total) roster in anticipation of a full draft class.

Quarterback (55) – Vince Young, Donovan McNabb

This team gets two guys at quarterback who have each won plenty of games in this league (both are well above .500 as starting QBs in the NFL).  Neither is ideal as a starter at this point, but at the same time, neither deserves to be available at this point in the league year.  We’re happy to have them.

Running backs (43) – Cedric Benson, LaDainian Tomlinson

Cedric Benson is a good pickup for this team, although he doesn’t have a ton left in his legs heading into his eighth season.  Tomlinson is still a major contributor in the passing game, but a high percentage of the carries on this team would end up going to an undrafted rookie, and not to a RB currently on the FA market.

Fullbacks (7) – Mike Sellers

Mike Sellers could captain the special teams unit and can still catch the ball in the flat.  It’s odd that the FB market went so much quicker than the RB market.  Sellers is unlikely to find a job in this league.

Wide Receivers (58) – Braylon Edwards, Mike Sims-Walker, Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton

There’s no quality number one receiving options on the market, but there are three guys on this team who have very recently been go to targets on NFL teams.  Braylon Edwards still has a lot of career left, he’s under the age of 30, as is Sims-Walker.  Williams and Crayton are veteran receiving options.

Tight Ends (42) – Dallas Clark, Jeremy Shockey

I’m excited about the tight ends still available.  Dallas Clark doesn’t fit of a lot of systems, which is why he is still out there, but he would be an excellent slot receiver H-back combination in this offense.  Shockey is more of an in-line tight end.  This team would probably end up starting two tight ends.

Offensive Tackles (72) – Marcus McNeill, Kareem McKenzie, Barry Richardson, Demetrius Bell

Plenty of injury concerns at the tackle position for our team.  McNeill and Bell both can’t stay healthy.  Richardson is a good option off the bench.  Kareem McKenzie might be done.  But he’s the one guy of this group who has showed up and played consistently each of the last eight years, making him the easy first choice at RT.

Offensive Guards (56) – Kyle Kosier, Vernon Carey, Jake Scott

I’m very excited about having a chance at Kyle Kosier, who has recent experience at both left and right guard.  Vernon Carey is a swing player of sorts, who might end up playing tackle if McNeil and Bell can’t stay healthy.  If so, I’d have no problem with Jake Scott stepping into my starting lineup.

Centers (38) – Dan Koppen, Andre Gurode

Dan Koppen is a former pro-bowl center from a super bowl team.  If healthy, he and Kosier would combine to make an interior two guys that very few other teams could match.  Gurode served in a backup role last year for the Ravens, but I would be comfortable with him starting for me.

Nose Tackles/3-techs (70) – Kelly Gregg, Amobi Okoye, Aubrayo Franklin, Luis Castillo

There’s a lot here at the defensive tackle position.  Okoye can get after the quarterback and is just now coming into his own.  Franklin is scheme versatile, and can replace Gregg in either a 3-4 or 4-3.  Castillo has health concerns, but would be an interesting projection as a three technique.  This group also gives us the flexibility to play a multiple defense, necessary because of a lack of true pass rushers.

Defensive Ends (78) – Shaun Ellis, Andre Carter, Jason HunterMatt Roth,

I have to grab the Ellis/Hunter LE duo to support more pure pass rushers in Carter and Roth.  This becomes a weakness of the team, although not nearly the weakness it probably should be considering that Carter, Hunter, and Roth all can get after the passer a little bit still.

Linebackers (117) – E.J. Henderson, David Hawthorne, Geno Hayes, Quentin Groves, Bradie James, Gary Guyton

The strength of the team.  Henderson and Hawthorne are an excellent ILB group for sub packages.  Geno Hayes is just 25 and is already a quality starter in this league, albeit coming off a poor season.  Groves is a great backup who can help in blitz package schemes and isn’t yet thirty.  James is over the age of 30, but can get after the passer as well.  Guyton has been a nice contributor for the Patriots over the last four years.

Cornerbacks (61) – Terence Newman, Bryant McFadden, Alan Ball, Justin King

This is where we start to get to the point where we can’t build a great defense.  That’s an excellent linebacker level we were able to build.  But this group of cover guys can only achieve success with the presence of a great pass rush.  This team’s best pass rushing duo is Andre Carter and Jason Hunter.  That wouldn’t be the worst group in the league, but it also wouldn’t make the top 28.  And then it’s on Terence Newman and Bryant McFadden to wear the treadmarks of the opposing defense.

Safeties (81) – Yeremiah Bell, Chris Harris, Jim Leonhard, Abram Elam

For as weak as teams are claiming the secondary market to be, that’s a pretty strong group of available safeties.

Kicker (0) – Neil Rackers
Punter (0) – Daniel Sepulveda
Long Snapper (2) – Ken Amato

Cumulatively, this team would be as deep as any team in the entire NFL.  It’s problematic though that this team could not rush the passer, can’t stop the pass, and would ultimately find itself in shootouts with Vince Young or Donovan McNabb at quarterback.  One thing this team would be excellent at is stopping the run.  There are a ton of linebackers and box safeties out on the market, and the defensive lineman still out there are aging, but are disciplined and can hold at the point of attack.

This would be the oldest team in the league, by far.  But it would also be the one least affected by injury to its starters, so that would curb the effects of being an old team a considerable amount.

I would expect this team to win between 6 and 8 games per season.  Currently, between 1/8th and 1/4th of the league would be expected to win less than that.  Which means that a team built entirely off of free agent scraps, and whose only limitation is no existing contracts could not only compete in the modern NFL, but could beat about 5 or 6 NFL teams consistently.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: