For the first time since the advent of free agency, NFL franchises will draft prior to the acquisition of free agents. This was the message of football-business expert Andrew Brandt on the Four Letters and this is a message that should resonate with NFL fans. Why? Because 32 teams are competing for a Super Bowl title and, of the true contenders, it may very well be the front office that handles the confusion of the next few days that ends up hoisting the Lombardi in Indianapolis next February.
The league will be open for business as of 7 AM (CT) tomorrow morning with player trades possibly as early as the beginning of the second round (depending on legal disputes). If the 8th Circuit rejects the league’s proposal, free agency is likely to begin Monday morning. NFL franchises do not generally excel at operating on the fly. They are rigidly planed organizations. Bill Parcells used to have his travel arrangements for the entire season finalized before the start of training camp and would be upset when those plans were altered by anything non-natural. 32 NFL franchises will be forced to change their agendas. And change is basically overnight.
Are Jerry Angelo and his new right-hand Tim Ruskell up to this task? We are soon to find out. The Bears have specific needs overall, desperately seeking offensive line help and a big target, playmaking wide receiver. What were the Bears targeting in the free agency market? How confident are they about convincing a Sidney Rice-type to join Jay Cutler in Chicago? Can Jerry move back in the draft to acquire talent off another roster (available tomorrow) with a pair of second-round selections? Who knows.
The Bears are a Super Bowl contender in 2012. Will their front office adapt to the insanity of this week and put them in a better position to win their first title in 26 years? We start answering those questions tonight.