In this episode of our podcast, we go longer than we typically do. We are talking about the NFL free agency period. This period takes the center stage before the draft as teams are trying to solidify their current rosters with proven NFL talent. Picking up talent in the draft is a much cheaper option, but draft picks take time to develop. Signing free agents is a quicker way to build roster depth.
During this time period, teams need to decide if they are going to try to sign free agents to help them complete or try to rebuild through the draft. Some teams have been slowly signing free agents over the years to backfill their roster in hopes of another deep playoff run. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the teams using this strategy.
They know they have a proven winning quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger. He is just entering the twilight stage of his career. They need to press into win now mode by signing free agents and hoping Ben does not retire. They already have talent on offense and they made sure to keep it by signing a big front loaded contract with Antonio Brown. This means they will have cap space in a few years when they will have to rebuild after Ben Roethlisberger retires. Their main needs now are on defense. The Steelers can make an attempt to lure in a big time defensive player or wait and try to fill in their talent gaps in the draft. Waiting for the draft is a bigger risk, but in a few years they may be able to avoid a full rebuild year if they are able to build around a young and hungry defense.
Moving away from the Steelers, running backs are in a rare position of high availability this year. It is scary to think that a contender could bolster their running attack by signing a veteran running back like Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles. These are premier names in the NFL and would make a great second or third option for a playoff contender. With running backs having a short shelf life, a team could pick up a great free agent running back for cheap.
We end the podcast by talking about the NCAA once again. Last week, the NCAA stepped in and suspended five University of Richmond baseball players for participating in a fantasy football league. The irony is that this suspension comes during March Madness, where the NCAA promotes false gambling like fantasy football by advertising bracket picks directly on their own website.