I really don’t like NFL free agency. Yes, it’s exciting seeing teams sign players that they hope will fill important needs at certain positions before the NFL Draft in May. Yes, it gives teams with cap space that had poor records the previous year a way to give their fans hope that playoffs are actually possible the next season. And as we’ve seen so often, a buying frenzy does not result in winning. This is the new world of Pro Football and the last CBA (ugh) But I guess I’m old school!
I miss the old days when a team drafted a player, and could “groom him” for a year or two to step in and be ready to be on that team for 4-8 years. They were OUR players, bled “green and white” like loyal Jet fans did, and they became “Jet family” forever, even after retirement. Quarterbacks were expected to take 4-5 years to mature and win. Now they have to be thrown in the fire right away, sometimes crushing them when they aren’t ready to play learning the position or the constant criticism of 24-hour sports shows and social media.
The draft was THE way to build the team, and teams that excelled in selections improved and players that were just cut by other teams could be added, with the worst record team getting first choice. Fans of each team knew players at each position and knew they’d be on that team and all the talk I hear about “money is all players care about”, “they don’t get as upset over losses as their fans do” was not what I used to hear. Of course, buying a favorite player jersey is no fun anymore, even if they are All-Pro, they could be gone in two years. Guess that’s why one sees so many throwback jerseys in the stands now.
I admit I’m breathlessly awaiting the news on the free agent signings by the Jets. But I feel so much better when we resign players we have. Plus Darrelle Revis just went to the enemy Patriots. He loved Rex and was the best DB in the game. But others (agents have ruined so much with their power) got to him, and “Revis Island” and commercials weren’t enough. Well, the Bucs were a bust for him and now he sticks it to us again. I can’t help it. I loved the guy as a person as well, and feel like a punch in the stomach.
I’m so proud of GM John Idzik. My emotions for the way football used to be wouldn’t let me stay the course the way he does. Now I must sit and be patient and watch the new “quiet and steady” Jet way unfold.