NFL fans, you're nearly there. The month after the Super Bowl tends to be the toughest—for the first time in about six months, you've got nothing to do on Sunday afternoons and no fantasy football to work on during business hours. It can be a difficult transitional period for fans, but one that's rather short-lived: Today starts a new league year in the NFL.
No fans are going to be lighting fireworks, and there's no ball to drop in Times Square, but NFL teams, players, and agents are still getting very lit today. Free agency officially begins with the start of the NFL New Year, and as we saw over the weekend, teams have wasted no time in setting up contracts and preparing pens. Ndamukong Suh is headed to the Dolphins for $114 million. Byron Maxwell will be a Philadelphia Eagle by the close of business today. Jeremy Maclin's headed to the Chiefs for $11 million annually. Today's the NFL's equivalent of signing day.
These signings, however, come with high risks. Far too often, antsy teams get ahead of themselves and drop way too much cash on Day 1 free agents. More often than not, in hindsight, the worst deals are signed on Day 1. We've seen Dan Snyder's Redskins do it repeatedly. The Raiders never seem to learn that building through free agency is dumb. It's not too often that the best and smartest teams pull the trigger this early in free agency, and the teams who do make marquee signings aren't always that much better for it. See for yourself in Splash: How the NFL's Best and Worst Teams Handle Free Agency Day 1.