Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
Sports media has been driven by coverage of the NFL lately, and it’s the beginning of March (i.e. the offseason). Consumers are just starving for content. According to Jason Fitz of The Jason Fitz Show, all other leagues should look at the NFL and emulate what they are doing,
Before Fitz got into specific winners and losers from a hectic first day of free agency in the NFL, he wanted to recognize the brilliance of the NFL in general.
“Wednesday, March 9 became a day dominated by the National Football League,” said Fitz. “This is amazing. This is a moment in which every other league should study the NFL, because what the NFL does, dammit, is right. What they’ve done is find a way to make us care about the beginning of free agency on March 9.”
The total value of contracts signed on the first day of free agency breached one billion. Repeat: more than one billion dollars in contracts were signed in the first 24 hours of free agency. And we all were watching, Fitz certainly was.
“Man, a billion dollars spent on March 9 and we watched the hell out of it,” said Fitz. “It doesn’t matter where I was, every TV in my house had NFL Network on it, so as I walked room to room I could hear if the Raiders finally signed a cornerback. That is the day that March 9 has become, and it’s living, breathing proof that no one won more yesterday than the NFL.”
Getting into the free agency on micro level, Brock Osweiler, Chase Daniel and marginal quarterbacks everywhere are huge winners. Osweiler got a $72 million contract from the Houston Texans, while Daniel got a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to compete for Sam Bradford’s starting job.
“There were some huge winners on a very specific level yesterday,” said Fitz. “Brock Osweiler, the amount of money that he gets for essentially three or four good starts. That’s insane money.”
The Broncos lost Osweiler and now have no recognized starting quarterback. To Fitz, that spells a big payday for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Robert Griffin III.
“Ryan Fitzpatrick, he’s a winner,” said Fitz. “Why is he a winner? Because the Broncos have nobody: he just got leverage. RG3 to a certain extent is going to win here. Now he has a place that might give him a home where he might do something decent.”
But with the signing of Osweiler and Daniel, Fitz sees an underlying message: the teams they left did not want to keep them at such a high price. John Elway and the Broncos didn’t want to Osweiler that kind of contract.
“Do not undervalue the fact that these players have been seen by particular coaches,” said Fitz. “Do not undervalue the fact that John Elway thought that Brock Osweiler wasn’t worth $17-18 million a year, because they have seen him practice every single day for the last four years.”
Daniel was the Kansas City Chiefs’ backup last season, where new Eagles coach Doug Pederson was and worked with him everyday.
“I want to understand one thing out of the gate. I want everyone to come to an agreement on one thing: contract value doesn’t matter,” said Fitz. “It no longer matters if you’re overpaying for someone. For the most part, most of these teams are getting into these deals then getting right out of them.”
Fitz did admit that some of the numbers are a bit askew, some of them are inflated. He points the $85 million contract Olivier Vernon signed with the New York Giants.
“Yes, some of these numbers are disgusting. The fact that Olivier Vernon is now paid more than J.J. Watt,” said Fitz. “Now I ask you, for all that Olivier Vernon is capable of doing, what did it do for Miami last year? At least JJ Watt willed the Texans to some wins.”
For fans of those who didn’t buy a shiny new toy in free agency, don’t fret. Fitz reminds his listeners that the teams in the upper echelon of free agency spending are teams that don’t draft well. And teams that don’t draft well aren’t successful.
“The guys who spend huge on free agency are doing so because they haven’t drafted well and because they haven’t drafted well is why they haven’t won games,” said Fitz.
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.