I was thinking about this as it went down this past week and before I could even write it up, Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post wrote an interesting piece on it the other day, titled "Could LeBron Power Play Happen in NFL?" Brandt writes a regular column for the NFP, aptly called "The Busine$$ of Football." The story was about the slim possibilities that what recently happened in the NBA with the Miami Heat signing the top three free agents to put together a team poised to be the favorite to win it all next season.
Imagine if that happened in the NFL? While Brant's piece had a different scenerio, I was thinking what three free agents the Baltimore Ravens would love to have on their team this season that in reality signed elsewhere.
While basketball has only five players on the court at one time, football has eleven and twenty-two overall. Three guys will make a much bigger difference in an NBA game than it will in an NFL one. However, signing the top three free agents on the market would still set that town ablaze with talk of getting to and even expecting to win the big game. This past off season, the top free agents in the NFL that ended up switching teams consisted of this group of players (my opinion): DE Julius Peppers, DE Aaron Kampman, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, CB Lito Sheppard, and LB Karlos Dansby.
Notice that there aren't any offensive players on this list? The Ravens got the best WR out there, although via trade. Fans in Miami (Brandon Marshall) and Cincinnati (Antonio Bryant) might argue otherwise. I didn't look at the QB or RB positions and didn't see any top-tiered guys on the offensive line or at tight end to consider them worthy of being in my "threesome" (although that doesn't sound good).
As good as the Ravens defense has been over the years and as challenged as the offense has been, the biggest needs were thought to be on the defensive side of the ball. Knowing who we've already drafted (and traded for) might be a bit unfair, but let's see the top three that I would like to have added as of today:
DE Julius Peppers
LB Karlos Dansby
CB Lito Sheppard
Sheppard may be a bit of a reach to some of you, but knowing our uncertainty at the CB position along with Sheppard's success with the Philadelphia Eagles, I put him on my list. I could have easily added another DE (Vanden Bosch, Kampman), but then how would that affect the current guys on the Ravens defensive line?
Peppers would immediately boost our pass rush and take the double-teams away from Suggs and Ngata, automatically improving our defensive backs abilities to cover the wideouts for less time. Dansby would pair with Ray Lewis right away and ultimately assume that leadership position once Ray retires. Sheppard would give us the insurance and flexibility at cornerback, depending on the health of our injured defensive backs aloing with how their performance will be once they return.
Take a look over at NFL.com for the entire list of who the free agents were this off season and where they signed, with the understanding that I did not pick players that re-signed with their own team. Post your comments and let the debate begin.