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Compressed free agency: Who benefits?

7/7/2011

We all know how st8prop gets when he doesn't get his questions answered, so I promised this post and here goes. From the mailbag:

St8prop from Atlanta writes: "I seriously think the Free Agent market time frame will be so short that teams would be required to give players their 'best offer'... I don't see a lot of time for 'leveraging' between teams and players. Of all the Beast free agents, name one player that would benefit from a shorten FA period and one player that would be hurt by it?"

Dan Graziano: First of all, I think this free-agency period, whenever it starts, is going to be fascinating with some pockets of disastrous. I think the compressed time frame and proximity to training camps will prompt some teams to make bad offers and some players to accept bad offers, simply out of impatience and desperation. The teams and players who do the best will be the ones who keep their heads about them the best, and it's hard to say from here which those will be.

That said, just looking at the situations and taking my best-educated guess, I am going to answer the first part of your question by saying Ahmad Bradshaw will be helped by the odd circumstances. The Giants want him back. They need him back. And they need to know he's back before they work on the rest of their offseason plan. If Bradshaw leaves, or if they fear he'll leave, running back becomes the most important position for the Giants to address in free agency. He's the best and most important player they have a chance at losing, and if he were to leave they'd have to replace him with someone of very high quality (and therefore a very high price tag). I believe the Giants would get into the DeAngelo Williams bidding if Bradshaw were to leave. I still don't think he will, but I think his value to the team and the fact that he'll need to be an early-priority item on their agenda c0uld help him get a nice deal from the Giants.

To the second part of the question I'm going to say Quintin Mikell, because he wants to stay in Philadelphia but the Eagles appear to have made plans to move on without him. Additionally, the Eagles and other teams (such as the Cowboys) where Mikell might fit will be focusing early in the free-agent period on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Mikell is likely going to have to remain patient and wait out not only the Asomugha signing but also the top end of the safety market (Eric Weddle, Michael Huff, etc.) before getting a new deal. And I think the safety market is a buyer's market this year, with lots of nice options and not as many needy teams.

Those are the two guys I thought fit as answers to the question, but as always I welcome your thoughts. As Plaxico's pocket once said, fire away.