Boldin, Delhomme, Quinn among the early winners in the NFL’s offseason game

Well into the chess game that is the NFL offseason, some moves were expected and others were surprising. It’s time to judge the comings and goings in the first 11 days of free agency:

Winners

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens. He was traded to a contender and also got the long-awaited new contract. If Boldin stays healthy, he will have a superb 2010 season and make Joe Flacco a better quarterback.
 
"From what I hear, (Flacco) is a great kid, humble kid, works his butt off," Boldin told reporters. "Baltimore has been looking for a No. 1 receiver. I’m looking forward to it."
 

Jake Delhomme will cash in whether or not he starts for the Browns.
Jake Delhomme will cash in whether or not he starts for the Browns.

Jake Delhomme, QB, Browns. Released by the Panthers, Delhomme landed on his feet, joining a team where he could start. Not bad for a quarterback who has more interceptions (30) than touchdown passes (23) the past two seasons. Oh, and he’ll receive $19.7 million combined this year from the Panthers and Browns.
 
Washington Redskins. Instead of plunging into free agency, new coach Mike Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen have a long-range plan that owner Dan Snyder has bought into — for now. Said Shanahan: "We have a plan; it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a process."
 
Mike Martz, offensive coordinator, Bears. The Bears added pieces that fit his system — a pass-catching back (Chester Taylor) and a blocking tight end (Brandon Manumaleuna). The key is getting QB Jay Cutler back on track.
 
Brady Quinn, QB, Broncos. Being traded gives Quinn another chance to prove he can start and win in the NFL. After taking over the Browns’ football operations, Mike Holmgren determined that neither Quinn nor Derek Anderson was the team’s quarterback of the future. Kyle Orton, a restricted free agent, still has the inside track to be the Broncos starter. But if Orton falters, Quinn could take over if he blossoms under the guidance of coach Josh McDaniels.
 
"We know (Quinn) has the tools," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "I honestly think the guy just needs to be in a good situation. I remember watching him in college; he was great in college. I’m assuming that our system probably is similar to what he saw in college. Hopefully, that will help the transition."

Losers

Arizona Cardinals. Even if the bottom does not fall out, it is hard to see them improving after losing Boldin, QB Kurt Warner, linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Antrel Rolle. The desert sun just got hotter for Matt Leinart.
 
Terrell Owens, WR, free agent. The Bengals opted for Antonio Bryant, even though Chad Ochocinco lobbied for Owens. Will the Raiders or Bears take a chance on T.O.?

Bryant believes he can be the deep threat the Bengals have lacked.

"I’m looking to be a threat, regardless of whether it’s deep or short," Bryant said. "Just a playmaker.  For the most part, I’ve never been in the same offense two years in a row. This situation worked out well for me. Chad was getting double-covered a lot.  You got to bring in guys that will help alleviate that problem."
 
Willie Parker, RB, free agent. Fast Willie is a step slower, making it harder to find a new home. How quickly things change for older backs.
 
Darren Sharper, S, free agent. Unable to land a big payday, Sharper might be forced to return to the Saints for less money than he hoped. 

This story appears in March 16’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

Clifton Brown covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at cliftonbrown@sportingnews.com.

Well into the chess game that is the NFL offseason, some moves were expected and others were surprising. It’s time to judge the comings and goings in the first 11 days of free agency:

Winners

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens. He was traded to a contender and also got the long-awaited new contract. If Boldin stays healthy, he will have a superb 2010 season and make Joe Flacco a better quarterback.
 
"From what I hear, (Flacco) is a great kid, humble kid, works his butt off," Boldin told reporters. "Baltimore has been looking for a No. 1 receiver. I’m looking forward to it."
 

Jake Delhomme will cash in whether or not he starts for the Browns.
Jake Delhomme will cash in whether or not he starts for the Browns.

Jake Delhomme, QB, Browns. Released by the Panthers, Delhomme landed on his feet, joining a team where he could start. Not bad for a quarterback who has more interceptions (30) than touchdown passes (23) the past two seasons. Oh, and he’ll receive $19.7 million combined this year from the Panthers and Browns.
 
Washington Redskins. Instead of plunging into free agency, new coach Mike Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen have a long-range plan that owner Dan Snyder has bought into — for now. Said Shanahan: "We have a plan; it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a process."
 
Mike Martz, offensive coordinator, Bears. The Bears added pieces that fit his system — a pass-catching back (Chester Taylor) and a blocking tight end (Brandon Manumaleuna). The key is getting QB Jay Cutler back on track.
 
Brady Quinn, QB, Broncos. Being traded gives Quinn another chance to prove he can start and win in the NFL. After taking over the Browns’ football operations, Mike Holmgren determined that neither Quinn nor Derek Anderson was the team’s quarterback of the future. Kyle Orton, a restricted free agent, still has the inside track to be the Broncos starter. But if Orton falters, Quinn could take over if he blossoms under the guidance of coach Josh McDaniels.
 
"We know (Quinn) has the tools," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "I honestly think the guy just needs to be in a good situation. I remember watching him in college; he was great in college. I’m assuming that our system probably is similar to what he saw in college. Hopefully, that will help the transition."

Losers

Arizona Cardinals. Even if the bottom does not fall out, it is hard to see them improving after losing Boldin, QB Kurt Warner, linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Antrel Rolle. The desert sun just got hotter for Matt Leinart.
 
Terrell Owens, WR, free agent. The Bengals opted for Antonio Bryant, even though Chad Ochocinco lobbied for Owens. Will the Raiders or Bears take a chance on T.O.?

Bryant believes he can be the deep threat the Bengals have lacked.

"I’m looking to be a threat, regardless of whether it’s deep or short," Bryant said. "Just a playmaker.  For the most part, I’ve never been in the same offense two years in a row. This situation worked out well for me. Chad was getting double-covered a lot.  You got to bring in guys that will help alleviate that problem."
 
Willie Parker, RB, free agent. Fast Willie is a step slower, making it harder to find a new home. How quickly things change for older backs.
 
Darren Sharper, S, free agent. Unable to land a big payday, Sharper might be forced to return to the Saints for less money than he hoped. 

This story appears in March 16’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

Clifton Brown covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at cliftonbrown@sportingnews.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*