Redskins and Hangartners

by Rich

This weekend was an eventful one in the sports world, so I figured I’d touch on a couple of things that may have gone under the radar locally as we continue to struggle through this lovely Miller/Vanek-less period of hockey season:

The NFL’s free agency period began Friday, and to put it bluntly, I don’t know what the hell has been going on. There were hints around the league that owners may have been reluctant to spend money, what with the world ending around us and such (oh, wait…that’s just sensationalistic media coverage artificially damaging consumer confidence…clearly a gripe for another time). Of course, it really shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise that Dan Snyder evidently comes from the “when there’s blood on the streets, it’s time to buy” school; I don’t know how else to explain him forking out $155 million-plus for DeAngelo “Code Red” Hall and Al Haynesworth.

Yes, both guys are premiere players at their positions, but…is this really the best way that money could have been used to improve the team? Washington missed the playoffs last year, but their defense was the fourth best in the league. Granted, Hall was part of that unit, and his re-signing makes a decent amount of sense, but…I guess it just seems counterintuitive that the team that finished last season with the #4 defense and the #19 offense would immediately go out and spend a hundred million dollars on the defensive line.

Oh, and they signed some offensive lineman, too. I’m still not a hundred percent sure what happened with the Dockery situation, but Brian Galliford over at Buffalo Rumblings has indicated that the gentlemen at One Bills Drive may have passed up the opportunity to get value for Dockery, rather than simply releasing him. While that is a disconcerting possibility, it’s not nearly as scary as the alternative; the fact that the Lions may have realized that Buffalo would have to release Dockery in the near future anyhow if the trade were not completed, and actually made a smart football move. If Matt Millen were still employed in Detroit, this would never have happened. The Bills would have asked him if he were interested in acquiring Dockery, and Millen would likely have offered three to six first-round picks and/or Calvin Johnson in exchange.

The Bills did respond however, shoring up the interior of the line with former Panther Jeff Hangartner. Once again, I will point you to Buffalo Rumblings, specifically their “guest take” by their network’s Panthers blogger. I consider myself relatively informed about the NFL, but NFC South backup interior linemen are not my strength. Hangartner seems like a solid pickup though; at the very least it’s a good thing that he has the versatility to play both guard and center.

Other transactions of note:

  • TJ Houshmandzadeh, formerly of the Bengals, signed a 5-year deal with Seattle today. As a Seahawks wide receiver, he is scheduled for a physical (as well as the amputation of his hands) sometime later this week.
  • The Broncos have been busy, signing (among others) S Brian Dawkins, ILB Andra Davis, WR Jabar Gaffney and RB Correll Buckhalter. They also talked about trading Jay Cutler, and boy is he pissed.
  • The Redskins also released former Dolphin Jason Taylor today after just one season in the capital. Apparently there was some sort of disagreement about Taylor restructuring his deal and attending team offseason workouts (read: he didn’t want to do either). What’s odd is that the same sort of thing seemed to happen just before his departure from Miami. Not often you see someone who is hyped as a “character guy” like Taylor has been wear out their welcome with two front offices in less than a year.

I’ll chime in from time to time with more Bills-relevant news as free agency progresses. Word on the street is that One Bills Drive is going after Laveranues Coles pretty hard, but nothing’s done yet. Obviously, we’ll let you know if anything develops on this front.