Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operation John Elway on the sidelines prior to Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Free Agency Dynamos and Deadbeats


It’s still early but the returns are coming in on the main phase of 2014 NFL free agency.  Which teams came out winners and which ones bit the dust hard?

Dynamo:  Denver Broncos

Adding three Pro Bowl players to the defensive side of the ball, two of them under the age of 30 and that has to be considered a major victory.  The Denver Broncos made a statement they are not letting their Super Bowl defeat stop them from continuing the chase.  By adding Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward to the secondary and DeMarcus Ware across from Von Miller their defense suddenly has way more bite than a year ago.  Peyton Manning may have one last chance, but it should be a good one.

Deadbeat:  Oakland Raiders

Never mind the whole Roger Saffold mess.  Yes it was bad all around from the opening interest to the murky failed physical but the fact of the matter is the Oakland Raiders have utterly failed to bring in anybody of serious note in 2014 NFL free agency despite having the most salary cap space.  This was supposed to be the year they remade the roster completely into the first winner Raider fans have seen in over a decade.  Instead they’ve had to settle for older veterans like Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith to replace rising youngsters like Lamarr Houston.  Was it really that hard to interest top names when they had so much money to throw around?  Apparently.

Dynamo: Atlanta Falcons

Thomas Dimitroff had a plan for the Atlanta Falcons and he executed quickly and darn near flawlessly.  His offensive and defensive lines were the most in need of help and he got them plenty of it in the open hours on the market.  For the defense he added stout run plugger Paul Soliai at defensive tackle and solid defensive end Tyson Jackson while also bringing back Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux.  Then he shifted to the offensive side when he added 25-year old guard Jon Asamoah, one of the best pass protectors on the market.  Now the Falcons go into the draft much more stable and open to pursue the best player they choose.

Deadbeat:  Dallas Cowboys

Their two best pass rushers from a year ago in Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware are gone.  In their place the Dallas Cowboys have added Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey.  Hardly consolation prizes for a team that continues to believe it’s not too far off from competing for a Super Bowl.  Yet as they continue to wait the top defensive linemen continue to come off the board.  Julius Peppers is in Green Bay and Henry Melton, their best hope at this point might not leave Seattle.  Jerry Jones seems so confident he knows what’s best for his team.  It should be entertaining to watch him dig out of this hole.

Dynamo:  Arizona Cardinals

There comes a point when substance and style meet in 2014 NFL free agency and the Arizona Cardinals pulled it off more than once.  Every single need on their roster was addressed in some fashion and done so with a rather impressive bit of bargain shopping.  They swiped Jared Veldheer from Oakland to play left tackle, added Jonathan Dwyer to replace Rashard Mendenhall at running back, bolstered tight end with underrated veteran John Carlson and even gave their return game a boost by adding veteran receiver Ted Ginn Jr.  These signings not only improve the roster, it also clarifies a lot of their draft priorities.  That defines a win.

Deadbeat:  Carolina Panthers

One clear cut need.  That was it.  Nearly every expert agreed the Carolina Panthers entered the active part of the off-season with one need to fill and somehow they’ve bungled it.  Not only did they cut loose their best receiving option in Steve Smith, despite him being 34-years old, they failed to bring in any of the notable targets on the market.  Eric Decker went to the Jets and even their supposedly slam dunk option Hakeem Nicks shunned them for Indianapolis.  Their best hope at this point is to get back Brandon LaFell.  Never mind the losses they suffered in the secondary.  All around a rough week for Cam Newton and the Cats.

Tags: 2014 Nfl Free Agency Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Falcons Carolina Panthers Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders

  • powderBLUE801

    Can’t wait for manning to be gone from Denver. They can add all the fire power they want in guys who get hurt on defense but when Brock is under the helm they will be nothing but a memory.

    • 757Raiderfan

      See even a chargers fan agrees with raiders fans….crazy

      • powderBLUE801

        I will take the side of a raider fan before I ever take a side of a donkey lover!!

    • Erik Lambert

      Is your window that much more open with Rivers? At least they reached the Super Bowl and are striving to do so again. There really isn’t much to convince anybody the Chargers are any closer.

      • powderBLUE801

        My point is all Denver has done is signed a bunch of old guys whom are on the way out of the NFL. Rivers has been our QB for years and we stick with him. The Donks obviously can’t draft anyone good enough to start. All u do is rely on vets to come in and save the day. Soon enough you guys are screwed on cap money and your team will be in the toilet for years to come. So enjoy manning while you can.

        • Erik Lambert

          They’re trying to win now. That’s clear. To do that one must live in the present and not worry about the future. What matters is the answer to this question. Are they a favorite to compete for the Super Bowl in 2014? The answer is something every fan from every team wished they could say yes to.

          • powderBLUE801

            I still would not put money on Donks and mr chock artist himself manning. They are bolstering the defense when in fact it was the offense who could not hang. Yes they will go far but Seattle is the champs and will be again.

    • Joel Ayala

      And in cap hell!! Fuck the donkeys. SD

  • Don

    Overpay them deadbeats Donkeys!

  • Chris Schroeder

    The Raiders bolstered the hell out of their pass rush with the signings of Tuck, and Woodley. Then they get Antonio Smith, and Terell Brown. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Tuck and Woodley even being slightly older than Houson could run circles around him. Tuck alone had twice as many sacks than Houston last year. Woodley nearly matched his number playing in less games. Houston is good, but Id take the swap for Justin Tuck anyday just for leadership ability alone. the tools he brings to the table are far superior to what Houston brought. 6 sacks is ok but 11 sacks plus a lockeroom leader and mentor. To you that’s concdiderd a deadbeat, when teams like the Donkeys over pay for a cornerback who by the number wasn’t has good as the one who left, and a linebacker who
    Is starting to go downhill, again by the numbers. At least Tucks numbers are growing and not declining. Good luck with your great signings Donkos . Go loose another SB 48-8. The 8 points by the way was all on your playoff flop QB not your Defense.

    • Pridenpoise

      He’s obviously parroting what all the other so called journalists have been saying, because the Raiders have taken a different approach to FA it’s considered bungling, I’ll take Tuck and his 11 sacks. The Raiders did, IMO I think make a mistake in letting Veldheer walk, however, voiding a contract because you were sold damaged goods is prudent business, at least where I come from. We will be the ones that get the last laugh, hell the Raiders won 4 games last year, and were very competitive in a handful of others, while half of their payroll was either retired or playing elsewhere, let’s see another team pull that off.

      • Erik Lambert

        Keeping Veldheer goes beyond the argument of damaged goods. Who do the Raiders have to replace him? Nobody. So now, instead of possibly getting that quarterback or even Sammy Watkins, they may have to take Jake Matthews or one of the other tackles and take their chances in the later rounds on quarterbacks and receivers. You can argue they were competitive all you want. Bill Parcells said it best. You are what your record says you are and I have not seen enough activity from them to dissuade me otherwise.

        • Pridenpoise

          You should probably reread my post, I said I disagreed with the Raiders letting Veldheer walk, I believe I said it was a mistake. To be perfectly honest I don’t want the Raiders taking a QB in the first round, and I don’t think it was ever their intention, and I would rather take Matthews than Watkins. The Raiders have many needs and they were not all going to be filled in one offseason, but they seem to be moving in the right direction. As someone who follows the team, I’m more aware of what their philosophy is going forward then someone who takes a minute out of their day to repeat the same BS that every biased writer and wannabe writer scribbles in a post.

          • Erik Lambert

            You underestimate me, PaP. I can see what they’re doing quite clearly and it’s called wasting time. Davis made it rather easy to understand that patience with Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie won’t run beyond 2014 if they finish with another bad record. This free agent haul is not good enough, which puts even more pressure on McKenzie to have a lights out draft. Can he do it? Sure. Still, based on the returns from the 2013 class I have my doubts.

          • Pridenpoise

            I haven’t underestimated you I’ve pegged you and I have a quote for you,forgive me I can’t recall the author, but it goes like this opinions are like assholes, I’m sure you know the rest.

          • Erik Lambert

            Clint Eastwood, “Heartbreak Ridge.”

          • Pridenpoise

            So you still don’t have your own thoughts, I might respect the post, if it wasn’t the same regurgitated crap that a lot of misinformed people write.

          • Erik Lambert

            You started it, PaP. Don’t complain just because I threw your own style back at you. You want my thought? Here it is. The Oakland Raiders have no direction. They have no quarterback and their offense has little or no star power. They signed on two pass rushers who are nowhere near their primes anymore, a corner who was cast off by a team that needed corners to begin with and a tackle who is not anywhere near the level of the one they let walk in free agency. They have seven draft picks but no 5th rounder. Their owner strikes me as timid and cautious. Nothing about what they’ve done or what they can do tells me they are going to compete in 2014.

          • Pridenpoise

            Lol, I started it, I was commenting to someone else, you felt the need to add your two cents, you’re obviously uncomfortable when someone disagrees with the opinion’s of whoever it is that you like to parrot, as I said I don’t care what you think, refer to my older post. I know you have to get the last word in, you remind me of a 5 year old. I’ve obviously hit a nerve questioning your writing skills or lack of, but by all means continue to spin those yarns about those amazing bears, and that great signing Jay Cutler and his contract you want to talk about waste of money, Charles Tillman. Later. You bore me.

          • Erik Lambert

            The fact that you felt the need to hit a team we weren’t even talking about pretty much proves my point. I may bore you, but your blindness to reality fascinates me. I could care less how much you attack my writing skills because one thing remains the same. I will keep writing regardless of what you think. Attack the Bears all you want, it doesn’t change how I see the situation that is the Oakland Raiders.

          • Erik Lambert

            Here’s one for you, “Refusal to believe until proof is given is a rational position; denial of all outside of our own limited experience is absurd.”

    • Erik Lambert

      Yeah, they sure handled their issues with a 31-year old who got over half of his sacks against RGIII and that horrific Redskins offensive line. Woodley meanwhile hasn’t started a full season in four years and hasn’t posted double digit sacks in that same timeframe. You talk about guys going downhill. At least Houston was trending up. The same can’t be said for those two.

      • James Schroeder

        I guess you can say the same thing about the 31-year-old Demarcus ware who had to face RG three and the whole horrific offensive line. But yet let’s pat the Donco’s on the head and say “good job buddy”. They also downgraded from Cromartie to Talib for more money and yet let’s say “good job buddy” also, Justin Tuck had Pro bowl numbers last year compared to his previous two years so when you talk about him going downhill and past his prime, I don’t know how that computes in your head to making sense but the logic there is that he is back to his initial form and not that he is going downhill. And you also have to understand that this is the first real year of rebuilding where they actually have money to play with so having veteran leadership especially from a player like Justin Tuck speaks volumes over what Houston ever could have brought. He can teach and mentor the younger players on how to rise to a pro bowl level when Houston has yet to become that himself. I guess I wouldn’t expect you to see the big picture so there’s a bone, but that all you’ll get.

    • Luis Hernandez

      Mannings got maybe another year or two and that’s about it. That’s why they’re frantically signing and overpaying big name FA so they can win now, knowing they don’t have much time. Once manning is done, donkeys will go back to sucking it with osweiler under center. Let them have their 15 min of fame, or should I say 48-8 superbowls hahahaha. Raiders baby!!!

  • 757Raiderfan

    Omg these articles are infuriating. We sign a couple older veterans and we’re the dumbest team ever. Besides the people just signed seabass and c wood most of our team is extremely young. Everyone just wants to crown Denver all the time. Keep signing defense because your ” amazing offense” only put up
    8 points they will blow it again next season.

    • Erik Lambert

      It’s not the fact you signed them. It’s the fact you had multiple chances to get younger, more long-term answers and it didn’t happen. What about these additions say they can challenge the three other teams in that division who made the playoffs?

      • 757Raiderfan

        True but competing against the chefs or donkeys is let’s be real gonna be real damn hard after only one off season to spend money on quality FAs and still have a full complement of draft picks. These are just the first steps towards turning the organization around. All the purging doesn’t count since its been needing to be done for awhile. These signings bring the mentality and mentorship that will help turn the team around…..there may be some bitterness haha but I firmly believe these are great signings. Even Richard Seymour’s old ass helped Tommy Kelly and Lamaar Houston improve greatly.

        • Erik Lambert

          You say that and yet those same Chiefs managed to do it last year, going from 2-14 to 11-5. Do you believe McKenzie and Allen have enough leeway to survive another tough season? Based on comments I’ve read from the ownership, I have reservations. I won’t deny the leadership element improved, but that should’ve happened already with the addition of Charles Woodson last year. It takes more than experience to win. It takes talent. They don’t have enough.

          • 757Raiderfan

            You can’t compare the chiefs from last year to the raiders. The chiefs already had so much talent on that roster during that horrible season. The raiders don’t and by adding talent all be it a little older does not make them FA deadbeats

          • Erik Lambert

            Part of being a free agency deadbeat is not being able to change the status quo. Even with the additions of Tuck and Woodley there is nothing to say the Raiders can climb out of their hole in 2014. They still have no quarterback, offensive line, receivers, or IMO a reliable secondary. I don’t believe they can fix all of that in the draft with just seven picks. Free agency was supposed to be their springboard to relevance. This group they’ve brought in inspire little confidence.

  • Jaime Olguin

    Your an idoit Eric, and I’m spelling it with a c just because. You have no idea of what your talking about period

  • Jaime Olguin

    And I would love to see you call Tuck &Smith old men , they will definately bring it come game day.

  • ahrcshaw

    Like Yoga Berra said “It is never over until it is over” Looks like a total make over for the next two years. Go Panthers.