While my colleagues on the NFL beat from sea to shining sea are working like dogs this weekend, it's been a relaxing couple days here at Packer Report World Headquarters.
Since breaking the news that the Packers were interested in standout Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty, the phone has been silent. My e-mail's inbox has been full, but only with news from around the league. That's good news for me, with a magazine deadline looming.
So, welcome to Free Agency 2009, which has a typical feel for Packers fans. While teams around the league are spending money that defies the real-world economic climate, all is quiet here in Green Bay.
Which maybe isn't a bad thing, when you look at the prime-rib money being spent on chuck-steak players.
The Chicago Bears spent $14 million on Frank Omiyale, an offensive tackle with one start in four NFL seasons. Go, Bears!
The Minnesota Vikings sent a fourth-round draft pick to Houston for quarterback Sage Rosenfels. Get your Super Bowl tickets now, Vikings fans!
The Detroit Lions signed career backup running back Maurice Morris and cornerback Chris King, who has zero interceptions in four NFL seasons. From 0-16 to 16-0!
There's a lot of money being spent, but not all of it wisely.
If any team should know that spending doesn't equate to winning, it should be the Washington Redskins. Yet, Daniel Snyder's fantasy football team is shelling out $41 million in guaranteed money to defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, a player a good percentage of league insiders believe won't be a dominant force now that he can wallpaper his house in $100 bills.
Throw in the $27 million spent on guard Derrick Dockery, who was thrown out of Buffalo this week just two years after being made the NFL's highest-paid guard, and the $54 million spent on cornerback DeAngelo Hall, a player with more attitude than game, and the Redskins dished out $71.5 million in guaranteed money to three guys who are anything but sure things.
It gets better, or worse, depending on your vantage point.
The Giants gave $25 million to linebacker Michael Boley — including $10 million guaranteed — even though Boley was benched at the end of last season by the Falcons.
The Texans signed defensive end Antonio Smith for five years and $35 million, including $12.5 million guaranteed. Not bad for a guy with 14.5 sacks in five NFL seasons in Arizona.
Cornerback Domonique Foxworth got $27.2 million for four years — including $16.5 million guaranteed — from Baltimore. That's pretty good for a guy who's never been a full-time starter and has four interceptions in four seasons.
Of course, not all the moves were bad moves.
The Chiefs flat-out stole quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel from the Patriots for a second-round draft pick. No wonder new general manager Scott Pioli wouldn't give me a juicy quote when I asked him about the pathetic state of this free-agent class while at the Combine last week. Vrabel might be a dinosaur, but he knows the 3-4 defense and would have made sense as a mentor for the Packers' outside linebackers.
The Jets gave linebacker Bart Scott $48 million over six years with $22 million guaranteed. That's big bucks for a guy who's never played without Ray Lewis on one side, Terrell Suggs on the other and Haloti Ngata at nose tackle. But, they get bonus points for swiping cornerback Lito Sheppard from Philadelphia for a couple of draft picks.
The Denver Broncos have added seven players, including running backs J.J. Arrington and Correll Buckhalter and safeties Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill. None were budget-busters. Dawkins got a five-year deal that could be worth as much as $27 million, but because he's 36, the deal was written so the Broncos can void it after two years and $9 million. Nice move.
If you're a frustrated Packers fan, keep this in mind. Last year's two Super Bowl teams, Pittsburgh and Arizona, annually are among the most frugal teams in the league. Championships aren't won in February and March. If that were the case, the Redskins, Cowboys and Vikings would be NFC powerhouses every year and the Jets would have won the Super Bowl last year.
What do you think about free agency?
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum.