Offensive crop offers few impact players
Originally Published: February 25, 2009Scouts Inc.
With free agency set to open Friday, Scouts Inc. takes a look at the top offensive players available in a position-by-position breakdown.
The Giants' Derrick Ward is set to hit the market and will benefit financially from this weak crop, but there are concerns about whether he can carry the load as a full-time starter. The heart of the class is made up of guys who have had success in the past but have little to offer at this point in their careers. This group includes Fred Taylor and Deuce McAllister.
QuarterbacksThe 2009 free-agent quarterback group is a mixed bag. There are quite a few veterans who have had success in the past, but there's also a group of young players who are looking to resurrect their careers in a new setting.
Although this group is solid at the top, do not look for a lot of movement in terms of players finding new homes. Matt Cassel leads this group, but he's been designated as the Patriots' franchise player. He'll be on the move only if New England opts to trade him, but that scenario might be unlikely with former All-Pro starter Tom Brady coming off a major knee injury. Arizona's Kurt Warner and Tennessee's Kerry Collins resurrected their careers in 2008. Both players understand they're best-suited to continue in their current roles with their current organizations. Of the veteran group, there's at least one player who will definitely be changing teams. Jeff Garcia, who has been told he will not return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season, could end up at the top of the Minnesota Vikings' wish list. Former Jacksonville starter and current Pittsburgh backup Byron Leftwich will probably draw interest, but he is a major medical alert. What makes this group interesting is the presence of three former first-round picks in Buffalo's J.P. Losman, Chicago's Rex Grossman and Baltimore's Kyle Boller. Don't be surprised to see at least one re-emerge as a starter in a new city.
Doug Benc/Getty ImagesJeff Garcia is done in Tampa Bay. Will Minnesota be his next stop?
Running backsThis is one of the worst free-agent RB crops in some time. Teams looking to solve their running woes might have to focus on the draft. The only player who could be considered a franchise-type back is Brandon Jacobs, who was franchised by the New York Giants. The San Diego Chargers also tagged Darren Sproles, even though he's viewed leaguewide primarily as a utility-like runner who is more capable in the role of third-down back and return specialist than starter.
New York Giants