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Sunday, July 24, 2011
Prepare for a chaotic week

By Rich Cimini



Random thoughts and observations as we head into the homestretch of the lockout:

• If free agency starts next Saturday, the latest tentative starting date, it'll make for a bizarro training camp. For the first few days of camp, teams will have swiss-cheese depth charts as their free agents shop the open market.

Imagine what it'll be like for the Jets: They will have Jerricho Cotchery (if medically cleared) and Patrick Turner as their starting wide receivers, with Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith potentially shopping for deals. At safety, you could see Jim Leonhard (if cleared) and Dwight Lowery, with Brodney Pool, Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo testing the market.

On, say, Day 3, they could have a new starting receiver show up, maybe Randy Moss. He'll sign his contract, receive a playbook and be sent out to the field to meet his new teammates. It's going to be chaos. It'll be a distraction for players and coaches, all of them wondering who's coming and who's going. It'll be taxing for the coaches, who will have to spend extra time teaching the system to new players. It'll be minicamp, OTAs and training camp all in one, with a revolving door of players. Fasten your seatbelt.

• I'm all for player safety, but the elimination of two-a-days and the reduction of padded practices in the regular season (only 14) is a bit ridiculous. Come on, it's football, not lawn tennis. I agree with Bart Scott; it'll make player soft. The product on the field will suffer, especially the tackling. Old-school coaches believe players lose their edge when they're not practicing in pads.

• The elimination of the No. 3 quarterback on the game-day roster, one of the proposed changes in the CBA, will increase the value of free agent-to-be Smith. A former college quarterback at Missouri, Smith can be the unofficial/emergency No. 3 while playing all his other roles. He'll save a roster spot or two, and that has value.

• I don't know Robert Kraft, and I didn't know his late wife, Myra, but after reading all the tributes and seeing the number of players and former players that attended her funeral (including Curtis Martin), it's not hard to see why the Patriots are such a well-run organization.

• You give Mike Tannenbaum six months to prepare for free agency, and you have to expect a big-splash move that catches people by surprise. He's not the wallflower type. If you're a Jets fan, though, you have to hope he doesn't outhink himself.

• If I'm the Jets and I can get Nnamdi Asomugha for Darrelle Revis money (about $11.5 million per year), with a creative, backloaded deal, I'd do it. I'd rather spend a few million more for Asomugha instead of overpaying Antonio Cromartie. How often does a player of Asomugha's caliber hit the open market? I say go for it.

• Question for owners: Was it really worth it?