According to a recent article by Arizona Republic reporter Kent Somers, Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim would ideally almost ignore free agency.
If he can get the roster set up the way he would prefer, he would let most free agents go, replacing them with players he already has on the roster -- players that he drafted.
The result? Even more draft picks, as they would get compensatory picks.
So far as general manager, he has had to be very active in free agency, filling holes and depth by, for the most part, signing players to short-term contracts. The method proved to be effective in its first year and, if all goes as people hope, will bring more success in the second year.
This situation brings up a question worth debating. Which is better -- signing veteran players to reasonable, one-year deals who can contribute immediately, basically making it impossible to acquire compensatory picks, or to try and do all the team's building through the draft?
It's not an easy question to answer. On one hand, the draft really is a crapshoot. You are banking on the development of players who have never played in the NFL. A veteran player will not always be a success, but you have the assurance that they can do it in the league.
On the other hand, as the salary cap rises, being able to sign players to cheap, short-term deals becomes more and more difficult. It worked out well last offseason because the cap was flat and the market was tough for veterans. Adding $10 million to the cap this offseason has led to higher offers and longer deals -- simple supply and demand concepts.
Which is the better way to go? Going the route of almost overlooking free agency requires a team to draft extremely well. Missing on a pick can set a team back. Using free agency, you could get big production out of a guy for one year, only to see him sign elsewhere.
If you had it your way, which way would you like to do things?
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