You can’t blame the Kansas City Chiefs if they were a little gun shy at the start of free agency. The team just lost two draft picks for “tampering” with then-Eagle Jeremy Maclin during last season’s anti-tampering window. (C’mon, guys, it’s right there in the name!) This year, instead of going after big-name targets from other teams, the Chiefs stayed closer to home, re-signing as many of their myriad free agents as the salary cap would allow: Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, and Jaye Howard are all coming back to Arrowhead.
Signing Maclin worked out nicely for the receiver-hungry squad last year, but splashy FA signings often backfire. (*Cough cough Miami Dolphins cough cough.*) Often, it’s the under-the-radar moves that work out the best – like retaining the core of a team that closed the regular season on an 11-game win-streak, or letting aging veterans walk when you see potential from younger, cheaper guys.
But results – or lack thereof – didn’t stop many teams from throwing around ludicrous amounts of money once again when free agency officially opened on Wednesday. Just how crazy did things get? A defensive end who had 7.5 sacks last year is now making more money than J.J. Watt.
Not every team succumbed to the urge to overpay. Fresh off a Super Bowl title, the Denver Broncos decided they don’t really need a QB and let Brock Osweiler go to Houston. Trevor Siemian, a seventh-rounder in last year’s draft, is now the only quarterback on the roster. Oops. [This just in: the Broncos acquired Mark Sanchez from the Eagles. Is this some elaborate ploy by John Elway in which he comes out of retirement halfway through the season to save the day?!]
I don’t have the time, nor the space, to run down every FA signing from the last couple days, but you can peruse all the transactions here. And below, you can find the updated odds to win Super Bowl 51 now that the dust has started to settle from the free agent windstorm.
The Giants and Dolphins (again) were a couple of the squads that saw fit to spend huge money on a few, select guys. Given what I said above, it’s no surprise that they aren’t the teams that see the biggest jumps.
Super Bowl 51 Futures (post-free agency)
Carolina Panthers: 15/2 (no change)
Seattle Seahawks: 17/2 (down from 8/1)
New England Patriots: 9/1 (no change)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 9/1 (no change)
Arizona Cardinals: 11/1 (down from 10/1)
Cincinnati Bengals: 12/1 (no change)
Green Bay Packers: 25/2 (down from 12/1)
Dallas Cowboys: 16/1 (no change)
Kansas City Chiefs: 35/2 (up from 22/1)
Denver Broncos: 20/1 (down from 14/1)
Minnesota Vikings: 20/1 (up from 22/1)
Baltimore Ravens: 30/1 (no change)
New York Jets: 28/1 (up from 30/1)
Indianapolis Colts: 32/1 (down from 30/1)
Atlanta Falcons: 32/1 (up from 35/1)
New York Giants: 38/1 (up from 40/1)
Oakland Raiders: 38/1 (up from 55/1)
Houston Texans: 40/1 (up from 50/1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 40/1 (no change)
Washington Redskins: 40/1 (no change)
Buffalo Bills: 45/1 (down from 40/1)
New Orleans Saints: 50/1 (no change)
Chicago Bears: 55/1 (down from 50/1)
Detroit Lions: 60/1 (down from 50/1)
Jacksonville Jaguars: 60/1 (up from 70/1)
Miami Dolphins: 60/1 (down from 50/1
San Diego Chargers: 60/1 (no change)
Philadelphia Eagles: 60/1 (no change)
Los Angeles Rams: 65/1 (down from 55/1)
Tennessee Titans: 80/1 (no change)
San Francisco 49ers: 90/1 (down from 80/1)
Cleveland Browns: 150/1 (down from 120/1)
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)