It’s well known by now that there’s no connection between making big-money free-agency signings and winning NFL championships. That doesn’t stop some teams from making big-money free-agency signings.
Despite the lack of sound football reasons for doing so, there are very real business reasons for chasing and catching a significant player in free agency. It allows a team to create excitement, to sell tickets, to move merchandise, and/or to commandeer the news cycle in its city. Whether it results in a better football team come September is immaterial to the benefits it can yield in March.
That’s why there’s always a team or two (or more) that will chase free agents in the early stages of the process. It’s not about winning games. It’s about making money, which is the fundamental purpose of every NFL franchise, whether they admit it or not.
This year, some team inevitably will spend more than it should in an ultimately failed effort to win football games. That won’t matter; the goal, as always, is to win football dollars. For some teams, a decision to chase big-name free agents early in free agency is one of the keys to making that happen.
Time will tell whether the various teams with significant cap space will succumb to the temptation to spend, spend, spend. Plenty of the teams with cap space will still resist the temptation to overpay out of the gates, cognizant of the fact that better deals will come later.