The 1st week of FA was exciting for 3 main reasons:
1. The cap was managed expertly, to include re-ups of Wilson, LVE, Tron (the latter 2 at shockingly good value).
2. The Gilmore trade: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/walkthrough/2023/best-and-worst-moves-nfl-pre-free-agency.
3. Resisted the urge to splurge: OJB, Hopkins, Cooks. Actually this is not surprising for the FO, but many fans and FPWs have been clamoring for this move.
So it's exciting, mostly because no groan-worthy moves have been made and there is cap room to keep the momentum going. But make no mistake, aside from Gilmore, we haven't upgraded the overall team yet. The missing players:
1) RB to replace Zeke.
A vet like Mattison makes sense, but there are going to be a legit NFL RBs in the 2-3rd round. Let's get one.
2) WR threat to compliment Lamb.
1st round of the draft makes sense. Also the season wouldn't end if Lamb is out.
3) TE to replace Ferguson
(who replaces Shultz). I think Shultz is available (joke), but the 2-3rd round will have starter worthy guys.
4) RT/LG to replace Steele (temporarily we hope) and McGovern.
For all of the nice talk about Tron moving to RT, or LT and letting Tyler play OG, it all goes out the door if he gets hurt. The draft options aren't deep IMO, so signing a FA is ideal. Maybe Billy Turner is healed. Maybe Justin Pugh will be inspired playing for a contender. Maybe Isiah Wynn wants a change of scenery for a year and thinks he can win the spot over Steele going forward? In any event, who has faith in Waletzko or Ball or a (non 1st round) draft pick?
5) DT to replace Watkins, Hankins and more.
I say more, because DT has been a weak spot for a long time and it's the obvious missing link for a Boomsday Defense.
Although there may be a few guys who could make a difference as a rookie (Breese, Smith), the FA market is begging us to spend about $10-12m (I'm guessing) for 2 of A'Shawn Robinson, Shelby Harris, Calais Campbell, Matt Ioannidis, Akiem Hicks.
So looking at the whole team, are we going to throw a ton of cap money at a splashy WR like Hopkins? Or prudently upgrade the holes on the roster?
Assuming we're prudent, are we going sign bargain bin vets (the FO SOP) and/or rely on the draft too much? Hopefully, we spread the money out and bolster the trenches with respectable vets, then draft our skill players. From my POV, this is the way.
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