There are smoke screens and there are out-and-out lies that transpire during VFA and Draft time, but I am really wondering what’s going on with the Rams. JEFF FISHER has been adamant about SAM BRADFORD being the main reason he took the HC job in St. Louis, as recently as during Combine pressers. Then one of the big bangs at the start of the VFA period was the trading of BRADFORD to the Eagles. Are FISHER & LES SNEAD still on the same page, or has FISHER just become unreliable in what he tells the media and public? Clearly, it would seem we have a bit of disconnect somewhere on the personnel front with the RAMS hierarchy.
Speaking of the RAMS, they may be back in the lead as the team most likely to end up as the NFL’s next franchise in Los Angeles. The RAIDERS have supposedly reached a deal to stay in Oakland pending stadium upgrades, and the Chargers may finally be getting commitments from the the San Diego area politicos to get a new stadium built. Momentum might seem to be growing for a RAMS move back to their original home area in SoCal.
Several NFL cities and their media outlets are claiming to be the big winners in NFL VFA for their early signings, but in several instances, it seems to me some who have crowed the loudest about their roster additions have failed to own up to the subtractions from their rosters taking place at the same time. I’ve always subscribed to the assertion that plusses and minuses have to be taken in balance at this time of year.
One of my most questionable teams in early VFA activity has been the Dolphins. Much of their local media is gaga over their signings of NDAMUKONG SUH/DT, JORDAN CAMERON/TE, BRICE McCAIN/CB & their trade acquisition of KENNY STILLS/WR from the Saints. Other than SUH being grossly overpaid, my biggest concern is that these acquisitions and the need to make room for them financially has stripped the Dolphins roster of more talent than they could afford to lose. Gone to make room for these players are DT/JARED ODRICK, DT/RANDY STARKS, WR/BRIAN HARTLINE, WR/MIKE WALLACE, TE/CHARLES CLAY, S/JIMMY WILSON, OG/SHELLEY SMITH & LB/DANNEL ELLERBE. I am not convinced I see a net gain in these transactions right now.
And then we have the franchises who are clearly just spinning their wheels. A bright and shining example of that would be the hapless Buccaneers of Tampa Bay. Last year their three name VFA acquisitions were QB/JOSH McCOWN, ANTHONY COLLINS/OT & DE/MICHAEL JOHNSON, all of whom were significantly overpaid to help lead the BUCS out of the wilderness. Before VFA even got rolling this year all three were cut from the team because of their lack of impact in 2014. So much for progress? And to add salt to the wound the BUCS let former First Rounder ADRIAN CLAYBORN/DE sign away as a VFA. This year so far the BUCS appear to be bargain shopping to help Lovie’s Defensive forces. HENRY MELTON/DT, S/CHRIS CONTE & LB/BRUCE CARTER have been their VFA signings to date. By now I would have expected the team to have signed an OL or two, and another WR in anticipation of the arrival of JAMEIS WINSTON/QB. BUCS fans do not be fooled into pre-paying for any play-off tickets down in Tampa any time soon.
For those fans whose teams have not made any significant VFA signings yet, let me try to break it to you gently; Round One of VFA is just about over. The list of players still out there to be signed is rather slim and uninspiring. Now here is the good news. That thing called the Draft is only about a month away. And within a week or two of the Draft’s conclusion teams will be cutting some more vets who they deem no longer needed as a result of their Draft Picks. So hang in there friends, as there will be two more chances for your favorite team to improve their roster quality.