Saturday, February 24, 2007

Player fit is key for free agents

Now that's what I've been talking about! Clark Judge at CBS SportsLine warns about free agents.

"Just because a veteran was productive with one team doesn't necessarily guarantee he will be productive with another."

Players need to fit the scheme they are playing. Jeff Garcia, one of the examples cited in the article, was successful because he fits Philadelphia's west coast scheme. His problems in Cleveland and Detroit were more due to terrible lines on poor teams, according to Judge. Age is another "gotcha" factor with free agents. Garcia is 37. He could have a rich payday with another team, but Philadelphia is the place for him.

Judge lists four other free agents in his article to make the point (Clements and Fletcher-Baker not among them). In this free agent market, it seems all the "keepers" have been kept by their teams via the franchise tag. The unrestricted free agents, a rather ordinary lot in my opinion, head into an enriched market. Smart fans, and smarter player personnel guys, should "ask what's wrong with these guys" before signing them. Better questions: what holes are we filling? What are the skill attributes needed to fill the need? Who has those skills?

The best fit isn't necessarily the biggest name. Caveat emptor!

Buyer beware: Think twice on these free agents

Photo: Adam Archuleta and Joe Gibbs in happier days. Archuleta is a good player poorly used in Washington's defensive scheme. The Redskins need a good free safety with strong coverage skills, not a strong safety clone of Sean Taylor.

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