Why is it that every time a free agent signing comes along that has an impact on the game, there always seems to be twice as many that appear to have little or no effect? It seems that we focus on the failings and disappointments much more than we do on the successes, and it’s probably due to the amount of money associated with these kind of players.
Occasionally, throwing a whole bunch of cash at a problem area can work, as we saw with the 2016 New York Giants. After failing to make the playoffs for three consecutive years, general manager Jerry Reese decided it was time for a massive defensive overhaul, spending over $200 million in the process on free-agent contracts.
Consequently, the Giants made the playoffs last year as a wildcard and even accounted for two of the three Cowboys’ defeats in the regular season.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have little to show after shelling out around $500 million over the past three years. From 2014 through to 2016, their 11 wins was the fewest in the NFL, but this hasn’t seemed to deter them and they once again spent big in the preseason.
Now that we’ve passed the quarter mark of the normal season, let’s take a look at some of the good and the bad signings of 2017 so far.
Source: Calais Campbell via Facebook.
Campbell started off this year in the best way possible, recording a career-high four sacks in the Jaguars’ opening game against the Texans. This led to him being named the first AFC Defensive Player of the Week and put him on track to have a monster season. He’s also racked up 19 tackles and forced a fumble, proving that he is still efficient away from the quarterback.
The Los Angeles Rams were second from the bottom last year in sacks allowed by an offensive line, and Whitworth has dramatically helped to turn that around. The Rams have given up just four sacks so far this year, which is equal to second-best in the league.
Source: Jordon Poyer via Facebook.
Poyer’s first year with the Buffalo Bills’ defensive line seems to be suiting the young player’s style of play nicely. In the game against the Panthers, he chalked up an impressive team-leading 11 tackles, three passes defended and a sack. After a great start to the season so far, he is in line to have his most productive campaign if he can avoid injuries and play all 16 games.
So much has the Bills’ defensive line changed that they now sit comfortably behind the Patriots to finish second in their division. According to bet365 NFL odds, they are currently at +500, with the Miami Dolphins back at +2800; an extremely positive sign for their playoff chances as they look to clinch one of the wildcard slots.
Source: Eddie Lacy via Facebook.
Lacy has already been on the inactive list for one game and failed to get on the field for another. He’s currently on 16 rushing attempts, with a dismal total of 55 yards. With Chris Carson out indefinitely after suffering a leg injury, a chance has opened up for Lacy to try and cement his place as the primary ball carrier for Seattle. However, he will have steep competition from C.J. Prosise and Thomas Rawls, who are both eager to become bigger contributors.
Kalil’s certainly hasn’t lived up to his huge $55.5 million contract so far at the Panthers. He missed most of the 2016 season through injury and many were quick to criticize Carolina for committing to such a big deal. Things haven’t gotten much better this season either, with the offensive tackle surrendering five sacks already.