Unexpected (and expected) for Free Agency: Attack of the fax!

Well, well, well. We’ve now endured an entire week of the free agency frenzy and thankfully, we’re no worse for the wear at the NFL.com offices. The same cannot be said for several teams, however, as the frenzy struck hard and fast. Mike Wallace got how much? Where have all the punters gone? Wes Welker is a Bronco? The answer to some of these questions (but really, only one) and more in the Free Agency edition of the Unexpected (and expected). Let’s get to it!

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Lack of Jets action

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Aside from cleaning house on a number of old-ish players, there has been a surprising amount of inactivity, or rather, a surprising amount of smoke screens thrown up by the New York Jets regarding the two players who can never escape the spotlight (or over-attention from ESPN): Tim Tebow and Darrelle Revis. Are they being traded or released or retained? Who knows! It’s reached the point where I don’t think anyone in the Jets organization knows either.

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Fax-fiasco

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By now, you’ve been beaten to death, well, hopefully not death, but you have been beaten senseless by endless amounts of fax jokes. And if for some reason you haven’t had your fill, scroll back through our own Jeff Darlington’s Twitter feed to find some gems. But the fact that a deal for a Pro Bowl player was ultimately voided because of a malfunctioning fax machine in 2013 is absolutely ridiculous. And, unexpected! Hopefully the Broncos have learned now that there is this thing called the Internet (it’s basically just a series of tubes) that can transmit messages (or contracts, or pictures, or pick up attempts) in the blink of an eye.

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NFL stands for No Familiar Love

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With many teams in dire salary cap situations, a number of players saw the door instead of new deal or restructured contract. This isn’t exactly new in the NFL, but it was surprising to see the number of big name players released such as James Harrison, Charles Woodson, Antoine Winfield, Bart Scott, Brandon Lloyd and  Michael Turner.  Other players were also released, often times by a new front office regime coming to town or performance issues. In the case of Kevin Kolb and Ryan Fitzpatrick, it was both.

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The NFC West loads up on talent

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Remember a few years ago when having your team scheduled against the NFC West was a blessing from the football gods, as it almost assured your team three-four wins in interconference play? Well, those days are long gone as the NFL continues to be the league of parity. The Seahawks and 49ers have a wealth of fancy new acquisitions or draft picks, and the Rams added Jake Long to prevent Sam Bradford from becoming an official part of the field turf in St. Louis. Meanwhile, Arizona reeled in reigning Coach of the Year Bruce Arians to turn around their franchise. In no time you’ll hear media pundits discussing the NFC West as the league’s premiere division, as past powerhouses like the AFC North slowly erode. But the Ravens just won the Super Bowl you’re yelling from your computer chair? Yes they did, and it was truly generous of them to celebrate that win by bestowing some of their best players to virtually every other team in the NFL. Not saying they’ll miss the playoffs or anything, but the Ravens and Steelers won’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing teams as much as the Seahawks or 49ers will next year.

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Signing with the enemy

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It wasn’t a very common trend in free agency this year, but there were two notable instances where marquee players crossed the border to rival teams. Greg Jennings jumped ship for Minnesota, trading in Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback for Christian Ponder, which was instantly a hot internet meme. Meanwhile, Welker traded in one sure-bet hall of fame quarterback for another, joining up with Peyton Manning in Denver as he didn’t so much cross a physical border, but the borderline in the Manning-Brady rivalry. Both players play their former teams next season, so it will be even more enjoyable for us to watch these storylines play out.

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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