We've already delved into grading Thomas Dimitroff's efforts in the 2008 NFL Draft, and now it's time to move on to the Atlanta Falcons' free agency efforts during the 2008 offseason. For an overview of this series, check out our introductory article.
While it's relatively simple to establish an objective framework for grading a draft, things are a little more fluid in assessing free agency, which we should probably actually describe as veteran acquisitions or something like that, because players acquired by trade should be considered, also.
In Dimitroff's first year at the helm for the Falcons, he made a couple of really strong moves, and a handful of middling to poor ones.
Falcons 2008 Veteran Acquisitions
Seahawks 2008 Veteran Acquisitions
Giants 2008 Veteran Acquisitions
Browns 2008 Veteran Acquisitions
Michael Turner: Turner didn't play out his contract, but he definitely earned his money. Turner played a huge role in the development of Matt Ryan, who would not have had the success he experienced as a young player without Turner's productivity.
Erik Coleman: Coleman was also released by the team prior to the end of his contract, but he was productive while he remained on the roster. He played 44 of the 64 games he was initially under contract for, starting 33 of them. He finished his Falcons career with 231 tackles, three picks and 11 passes defensed.
Ben Hartsock: Hartsock was a good blocker, and injuries hindered him, but only played in 11 of the 64 games covered by his contract with the Falcons.
Jason Elam: We all have some fond memories of Elam, who had a spectacular first season with Atlanta, converting 29 of 31 field goal attempts. His second season, however, was abysmal, and he converted just 12 of 19 attempts before being cut late in the season.
For veteran acquisitions, I'm just going to average the scores, because we're not working with a specific baseline number of players.
Falcons (Average - 2.625): This veteran acquisitions period yielded a couple of very productive players and a handful of guys who didn't live up to their contract. Dimitroff does deserve credit for the decision to bring Michael Turner on board.
Seahawks (Average - 2.75): This wasn't a terribly impressive year of free agency for the Seahawks. Neither T.J. Duckett nor Julius Jones lived up to the expectations Seattle had for them. Kicker Olindo Mare was their best signing of this period.
Giants (Average - 4.2): This was a strong showing for the Giants. David Carr only played in two games, but he was signed to an inexpensive contract to be Eli Manning's backup, and he lived up to that role. Both Danny Clark and Renaldo Wynn were statistically productive acquisitions for New York.
Browns (Average - 2.8): Donté Stallworth kind of threw a wrench in things for the Browns here. Stallworth had one lackluster season and then was suspended by the league after he struck a pedestrian with his car, killing him. The Browns subsequently terminated his contract.