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NFL Debrief: Waiting for the next wave of free agency

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It's all happening in Arizona this week at the annual league meetings, where the world waits for the Jets to deal Darrelle Revis.

Rob Carr

Free agency took a much-needed pause Sunday night as the league's decision makers and media members descended upon the Arizona Biltmore. Stephen Ross' people used the break to refresh the Dolphins owner with three pints of Dan Snyder's blood. Others filled out their brackets. A few brave souls took a little time to talk to the press.

In honor of the owners meeting, this week's Debrief features a special appearance from Jim Irsay's Twitter account, which has been whipping the league into a froth all week with cryptic, possibly drunk tweets.

Waiting for Revis

There is another wave of transactions on the way. Some team will sign one of the bigger names on the market; a group of a similar signings will follow as the dominoes fall into place. Expect a slightly more measured news cycle than last week's snatch and grab frenzy of signings. The biggest move to come will happen when the Jets finally get a suitable deal for Darrelle Revis. Owner Woody Johnson and GM John Idzik discussed their prized cornerback Sunday evening in Arizona.

Both men were stayed on message about the Revis situation, but the usual platitudes were revealing. Johnson talked about doing what's best for the overall roster and the team. He said:

"This is a chessboard, and you have to move the pieces around. We're always trying to get better, and if anyone wants to make an offer on any one of our players, we'll always listen."

Idzik noted that Revis was still on the roster, and that the Jets would be taking the time to rehab his knee and let the situation play out. Translation: the offers just aren't what they want in exchange for Revis.

With owners, agents, coaches and general managers all under the same roof, this week's league meetings makes for a great time to hash out a deal. Suitors can get a sense of where their rosters and cap situations stand after the first week of free agency. The Jets can get a better sense of what they can get for Revis and seek out competing offers just by walking down the hotel bar.

Free agents are finding contracts a bit underwhelming this year. That fact is likely to dilute the return the Jets get for Revis. A first-round pick isn't out of the question. Fever dreams of multiple first-round picks are dead in the water. The Buccaneers were said to be the lead dogs in a deal for Revis, but Mark Dominik was unwilling to give up the 13th overall pick in this year's draft, according to Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports.

A deal for Revis still might not happen this week at the league meetings. The cornerback market still has a few names, including Brent Grimes, Antoine Winfield and Nnamdi Asomugha, that will appeal to teams needing an upgrade at the position. Then you have the draft. A team that misses out on one of the top prospects in April could then be persuaded to deal for Revis.

Thematically appropriate Jim Irsay tweet:

Hey, it's a roller coaster for us all, man. Just crank up some Van Halen, not Van Hagar, and get excited, "u guys."

Disappointment awaits

Free agency means different things to different teams. There are the rational approaches of Baltimore and Green Bay, where efforts largely hinge on finding players to bridge the gap between draft picks. On the other end of the spectrum are teams using free agency as a wholesale roster makeover.

The market's not the same thanks to the NFL having emasculated Snyder and Jerry Jones this year. Miami has admirably filled the void, handing out tomorrow's regrettable deals and trying to build a team through free agency. The Dolphins aren't the only ones scooping up free agents in bulk this year.

Indianapolis overpaid for middle of the road players, lots of them, while spending big for players they might have had for less. Teams active in the opening hours almost always overpay for players. The Colts gave Gosder Cherilus a five-year, $34 million deal. Almost a week later, the Rams got Jake Long for four-years and $36 million, and there are still some very good tackles on the market. LaRon Landry got four-years, $24 million and $14 million guaranteed. It's not an unreasonable deal, but it a market loaded with safeties, you have to wonder if they could have paid less.

After that, the Colts spent a grand total of $53 million on deals for Greg Toler (12 games in his last two seasons), Rick Jean-Francois (a backup defensive tackle) and Erik Walden (eight career sacks). Maybe those players will work out, maybe they won't. It will limit the Colts next season and beyond as they have to deal with the inevitable cap issues that come with a spending spree like that. Fans should hope it doesn't compromise their ability to lock up talented younger players acquired the team drafted.

Thematically appropriate Jim Irsay tweet:

Hmm, Robert Mathis was the Colts' fifth-round pick in 2003. Jeff Saturday was signed as an undrafted free agent after being cut loose by the Ravens. Middle linebacker Gary Brackett was an undrafted free agent too. Probably not the best examples for Irsay to use here.

Geno Smith is a real quarterback

I wasn't completely sure of that, not the way the NFL world has been holding its nose at the quarterbacks in this year's draft. From January to March, everyone with a Combine credential or the word "draft" in their Twitter handle - there's a lot of overlap - went out of their way to tell us that this year's group of signal callers did not have any players comparable to Andrew Luck or RGIII or Russell Wilson.

Oddly enough, Wilson's defining characteristic until last fall was the fact that he too was not RGIII or Andrew Luck. That and he is short.

Few quarterbacks come to the NFL as naturally gifted as Luck and Griffin, blessed with the arm, the accuracy and athleticism that made both of those players the complete package. Comparing players to those two is not a reasonable standard for judging quarterbacks from year to year.

Smith used his pro day last week to ease concerns about his NFL future, most of which stem from a lackluster second half to his final season at West Virginia. Following his workout last week, Todd McShay called him a top-10 pick for sure. Okay, okay, if Todd McShay isn't your thing, then look no further than what Mike Mayock said about him last week, praising his timing and accuracy. Said the NFL Network guru:

"There's no doubt that from a talent level, he's a top 10 pick."

In Monday's mock draft, Smith went second overall to the Jaguars, who had a large contingent on hand for Smith's pro day last week. Whether or not the Jaguars can help Smith realize his NFL potential is up for debate; nevertheless, the potential is there.

The beauty of the league's new rookie salary structure means teams don't get penalized with onerous contracts for taking a risk on a player. If the team that drafts Smith fails to turn him into a reliable NFL starter, they can move on with a minor setback to overcome.

Thanks owners!

Thematically appropriate Jim Irsay tweet:

Wtf? Exactly.

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