Football's Free Agency Period Is Totally Crazy This Year

Thanks to the lockout, all trades will take place in the course of a few days instead of the usual four and a half months



Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), and Emma Carmichael (writer, Deadspin) discuss football's free agent frenzy.

Hey, guys,

NFL fans got a gargantuan gift this week when the league ended its lockout. Besides, of course, that we avoided the horrors of not playing the full preseason schedule.

But the league's millionaires and billionaires gave us a much greater gift—and it was totally unintentional on their part. NFL Free Agency—that semi-popular combination of cattle auction, game show, and crap shoot—traditionally proceeds methodically over four and a half months, dribbling just enough news to keep us interested. (Unless a Bret Favre comeback is involved, in which case the dribbling is more like water torture.)

Not this year. Free agency has gone from a drawn-out routine and background noise in the nation's sports consciousness to a mad scramble for talent. All four-plus months worth of negotiations, evaluations, and signings are getting crammed into just a few chaotic, and already entertaining days. As of this writing, something like one-third of the players remain without a contract, and the rush is on. It's like the football version of those wedding dress sales where brides-to-be-fight over gowns.

Just look at all the quarterback craziness—all the unfounded rumors and roster-hopping. Matt Hasselbeck wants out of Seattle. Matt Leinart is apparently on his way there. Tarvaris Jackson will likely leave the Vikings to join him, while Donovan McNabb is rumored to be bolting DC to take Jackson's place. Denver, all gung-ho for Tim Tebow, put Kyle Orton on the trading block. He might take his (cough, cough) talents to South Beach, while Carson Palmer has decided to retire rather than be a Bengal—that's got to make a Cincy fan feel good.

There is no question, though, about my favorite rumor in this frantic free agency. Just for old times sake, and because I'm a masochist, it's a joy to know that Brett Favre might be contemplating a comeback.

Jake, I'll bet you've got your eyes on the frenzy.


Presented by

Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.


Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.


The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.


Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.


Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses


Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In