The NFL’s new business year began this past Tuesday marking the start of free agency. While the actual signing period will go on for a couple of months, the first few days have the potential to substantially impact certain team’s fortunes next season in both a positive and negative way. In light of this situation, BetOnline as well as most of the other major sportsbooks in the industry have temporarily taken their Super Bowl and conference title futures off the board in order to allow the Oddsmakers to make any necessary adjustments to the original numbers.
Just hours after the free agent market opened up, the Miami Dolphins positively impacted their futures position with the signing of former Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace, who was thought to be the No.1 player available at that position. The Dolphins continued to dish out the cash by adding former Ravens’ linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and former Raiders linebacker Phillip Wheeler to bolster their defense.
BetOnline had opened Miami at +2000 to win the AFC next year and +5000 to win the Super Bowl. While these moves alone will not make the Dolphins one of the top contenders for either title, their overall odds are sure to come down.
The biggest loser after Day 1 was last season’s Super Bowl champions. The Baltimore Ravens has already lost the heart and soul of their defense when Ray Lewis decided to retire, but the loss of Ellerbe was unexpected. Add in the fact that they decided to part ways with safety Benard Pollard and their other safety Ed Reed is currently testing the free agent waters, one of the best defenses in the league for the past several seasons will have a completely new look come opening day. With wide receiver Anquon Boldin traded to San Francisco and offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie most likely moving on as well, the Ravens suddenly have quite a few holes to fill on both sides of the ball to try and successfully defend their title.
It would have been a tall task for Baltimore to repeat even without these losses as the last team to win back-to-back world titles was the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005. The Ravens opened at +1600 to defend their title, but look for that number to rise when the adjusted futures odds are released.
A couple of the biggest names still on the board that have the ability to further impact the futures odds if they land with the right team are offensive tackle Jake Long, wide receiver Wes Welker, defensive end Cliff Avril, wide receiver Greg Jennings and running back Steven Jackson. Most of these players might a bit past their prime or nursing some lingering injuries, but they all have the potential to fill a burning need on a number of different teams around the league.
History has shown us that it is very hard to build a championship team through the free agent market as most of the biggest stars never live up to their new fat contract. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles how that plan went after their major free-agent spending spree before the start of the 2011 season. They landed the biggest available free agent in cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and after two seasons he is back on the market after getting cut by Philadelphia earlier this week.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.