Jason La Canfora is not a big fan of NFL free agency.
Actually, scratch that. He’s not a big fan of the manner in which many teams approach free agency.
“There’s a reason that the best players on the best teams never hit the market in their prime,” the CBS Sports NFL insider said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Because they’re signing them. Because they’re keeping them. They’re prioritizing those guys because they fit the culture, they fit the scheme, they fit the locker room. Everything is homogenous. And by the time they let them walk, they’re pretty much used up. The Packers, the Ravens, the Steelers, the Patriots – there’s a method to their madness. Yeah, if you’re the Broncos and you’re (in the) conference title game and the Super Bowl and you go out and basically sign (DeMarcus) Ware, (Aqib) Talib and T.J. Ward to what amounted to two-year contracts for all of them, I get that. That’s smart. But I just don’t think you can buy your way out of the abyss in this league. You can help yourself a little bit, but I’m a skeptic when it comes to NFL free agency, and this is not a very good class.”
Perhaps that’s why Malik Jackson – a former fifth-round pick who has never made the Pro Bowl – was able to sign a six-year, $90 million contract with Jacksonville. Jackson, 26, is now the fourth-highest paid defensive lineman in football – and the fifth-highest defensive player overall. He trails only Ndamukong Suh, J.J. Watt, Marcell Dareus and Justin Houston in the compensation department.
Jackson’s deal was negotiated before the free-agent market opened Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
“The best moves are made 48 hours prior to free agency,” La Canfora said tongue-in-cheek. “All the deals are happening before the market officially opens, and how many are we going to look back on and say, ‘Great deal’? Let’s go back two, three years ago. It was Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace at $10 million a year. Where are they now? It was Suh last year. They already restructured the contract. They’ve already double-downed and put $16 million down into year four. They turned a three-year, $60 million contract into a four-year, $74 million contract. How many titles are they going to win with Ndamukong Suh? Especially when he gets to be 30? You just go back and look at the first guys off the market. Even Cleveland a couple years ago (with) Karlos Dansby and Ben Tate – they’re all gone. They got older and worse. The year Miami won free agency with Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe and how about Tampa? The GM got fired and all those guys got cut? It’s fool’s gold, man.”