Being a Dallas Cowboys fan during the start of NFL free agency looks a lot like the faces seen in the above photo.
Remember becoming a teenager and going to your first real party? And remember hearing the first five seconds of “Back That Azz Up?” As luck would have it, there was always one guy left out looking completely lost and wearing embarrassment on his face because he was the lone person not dancing during a song that turned boys into men.
The Dallas Cowboys are that guy. Big names hit the market and some teams drastically improve. Then, there were the Cowboys sitting in the corner with not a soul to talk to because a $2.3B franchise had no money to mingle with marquee players and other teams.
Instead of bringing everyone down to the pits of my pigskin depression, let’s recap some of the week’s biggest moves.
1. Eric Decker Signs With The Jets
Contract: 5 years, $36.25M ($15M guaranteed)
I like Decker. Even when Tim Tebow was his quarterback, I always saw something special in the guy. But now comes a test. We know he’s a legit wide receiver and almost as reliable as they come in a league blessed with athletic freaks at the position.
Who the hell is going to throw him the ball though? Going from Peyton Manning to Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez is the NFL equivalent of champagne to Aristocrat. If we never hear from him again, at least he got paid.
2. Justin Tuck Heads West, Signs With Raiders
Contract: 2 years, $11M
1. With two Super Bowl rings to his name, getting the most money possible was the smartest move the soon-to-be 31-year-old Tuck could’ve made (even if he never saw it coming).
2. From a Cowboys fan, good riddance. Those unreal Giants defensive lines of the past were the spawn of Satan.
3. Who The Hell Does Jim Harbaugh Think He Is?
Harbaugh’s great. I love the fact he pisses so many people off and doesn’t bother apologizing afterwards. A man of many projects took on two more this week when the 49ers picked up Jonathan Martin and traded for Blaine “Sunshine” Gabbert.
The latter of which should go over quite well with Colin Kaepernick, who is looking for a hefty contract extension and now has to live with the reality his backup will make more than him heading into the 2014 season.
4. The Browns Get Defensive
Contracts: Dansby – 4 years, $24M ($14M guaranteed) | Whitener – 4 years, $28M
Cleveland’s defense was already showing signs of being a force to be reckoned with last season. Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitener and Isaiah Trufant aren’t huge names, but they do represent upgrades to a defense already featuring the likes of Joe Haden and Barkevious Mingo.
Also, releasing Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell all but confirms the Browns are taking a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick.
6. Jarius Byrd Heads To The Big Easy
Contract: 6 years, $56M ($28M guaranteed)
Rob Ryan – the former defensive coordinator of the…nevermind – has a new weapon. A new weapon that comes in the form of a three-time Pro Bowler, Jarius Byrd. The former Bill entered free agency as one of the most coveted names in the league and – according NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal – “will pair with second-year pro Kenny Vaccaro to form the best safety duo East of Seattle.”
7. The Broncos Reload With Big Names On Defense
Contracts: Ware – 3 years, $30M ($20M guaranteed) | Ward – 4 years, $23M ($14M guaranteed) | Talib – 6 years, $57M ($11.5M guaranteed)*
Some say it wasn’t Denver’s defense that scored eight points in the last game of the season, but good grief. John Elway broke the bank, proving those impressive marijuana sales figures in Colorado are helping all facets of the state. On paper, Denver wins the always-coveted Spring Super Bowl by revamping a defense with TJ Ward, Aqib Talib and *sniff sniff* Demarcus Ware.
Still an extremely effective player when healthy, hopefully Denver uses D-Ware on a D-Wade-like maintenance plan in a pass-down pass rusher sort of role. Good luck doubling Ware and Von Miller.
* – Pending Talib’s stay in Denver goes up in flames in year one, the Broncos do have an “escape route” already planned.
8. Revis Island Heads To New England
Contract: 2 years, $32M
Darrelle Revis could very well be a free agent this time next year. The second year of his contract has Revis slated to make $20M, a figure the Patriots likely will not pick up. But the move comes in obvious response to Talib’s relocation to Denver. After knee surgery and an overall disappointing one-year stint in Tampa, Revis needs a statement season for a squad desperately attempting to win its fourth title in the Brady/Belichick era.
And don’t look now, Brandon Browner could soon be on his way to New England as well potentially creating a no fly zone in the AFC East. You know, Dallas needs secondary help, too. Whatever.
9. Golden Tate’s A Detroit Lion
Contract: 5 years, $31M ($13M guaranteed)
The guy who caught the most controversial touchdown in Monday Night Football history is now Calvin Johnson’s partner-in-crime.
Win a Super Bowl and break the bank. Get your money, man.
10. Don’t Look Now, But Jacksonville’s Defensive Line Is Getting Real
Contracts: Clemons – 4 years, $17.5M | Hood – 4 years, $16M
Already resigning Jason Babin, Gus Bradley and the Jags brought in Ziggy Hood and Chris Clemons. The two signings basically say A) “There’s no way Jadevon Clowney drops to us at No. 3.” and B) “We’re definitely drafting a quarterback.”
11. Jason Hatcher Signs With The Enemy
Contract: 4 years, $27.5M
I’m sick. Not only does Dallas have to find a way to replace Demarcus Ware. Not only does Dallas have to find a way to replace Jason Hatcher, but of all teams, he signs with the professional football franchise in Landover, Maryland.
Only time will tell if the Redskins get last year’s version of J-Hatch (a complete monster for a good portion of the season) or if this is the latest example of Dan Snyder overpaying an aging player.
WTF though, Hatch? Did it have to be in the division?
12. Panthers Cut Steve Smith, Smith Vows Payback
Spitting into the wind, tugging on Superman’s cape and pissing off Steve Smith are three things a person should never do in life.
The Panthers did the last one by cutting the most popular player in the franchise’s history. Like clockwork, the city of Charlotte acted accordingly. Where Smith ends up remains to be seen, but it’s probably to a team that’ll play Carolina.
Of playing the Panthers in the future, the man who gave us the classic quote “Ice up, son” said this, “Put your goggles on cause there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere.”
Steve Smith for President.
13. Darren Sproles Traded To The Eagles
So an offense already touting Chip Kelly’s play calling, Nick Foles, Shady McCoy, Desean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek adds another speedster?
Take it away, Lt. Daniels.