NFL Free Agency Frenzy Shakes Up the League

Image property of Sports Illustrated.

Image property of Sports Illustrated.

The NFL free agency market this year has been one of the most prolific in history, with many big names being moved around the league by both powerhouses and rebuilding teams alike. Among the highlights of free agent signings so far are DeMarcus Ware, Eric Decker, Darrelle Revis, Golden Tate, Jairus Byrd, and Aqib Talib.

The Denver Broncos, coming off both the best offensive regular season in NFL history and one of the worst Super Bowl blowout losses in NFL history, have decided to spend some of their extra money on recharging their defense and making sure Peyton can get the ball back in his hands as quick as possible. The signing of the heavily coveted DE DeMarcus Ware and CB Aqib Talib brings a new element of pass rush and pass defense that the Broncos were lacking last season.

Eric Decker, who was released by the Broncos due to cap space, was coming off one of the best single seasons a number two wideout could ever hope for. The Jets, who have struggled to get a decent passing game going with inexperienced quarterbacks over the last half a decade, have nabbed him up in hopes that he can be their number one target.

To make up for the loss of Aqib Talib, the New England Patriots were lucky enough to entice the only other free agent cornerback that could be considered an upgrade; Darrelle Revis. Signed only to a one year deal, his contract allows him to still be franchised next year if the Patriots choose to do so.

Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the speedy Golden Tate has always played with a chip on his shoulder. Considered by many to not be worthy of a starting role at wide receiver, he has always answered the call when the Seahawks needed him, and now has a ring to prove it. The already pass efficient Detroit Lions have grabbed him up, and are likely to start him opposite of NFL superstar Calvin Johnson, which should open up opportunities for each. With these two on the field at the same time, defenses are going to have their hands full trying to cover them both at once.

And Jairus Byrd, one of the best safeties in the entire league, has gone to the New Orleans Saints. Byrd played for the Buffalo Bills, and his talent often got overlooked or just flew under the radar due to the poor records and limited coverage given to the team. Now with the Saints, their pass defense gets an upgrade that it has been starving for to compliment it’s seemingly unstoppable offense.

There are plenty more free agents still on the table, many not mentioned in this article, and many relatively unknown ones that will have a breakout career at their new homes. As the NFL draft approaches, look for this free agent class to continue to shake up the face of the league, including by who and when the incoming rookies get drafted.

Wing Review: Jay’s Lounge

Jay's Wings

Jay’s Lounge is a low-key bar in Niles, Michigan, popular among a middle-aged to older crowd of people who don’t care much about personal appearance. I’m not saying this place is dirty, it’s just really laid back and predominantly a redneck senior night. Every Wednesday however, an apocalypse of hungry people of all ages descends upon the establishment for their 25 cent wing night. At a price that low, these wings could completely suck and I would still eat them. Luckily, they aren’t half bad, and are definitely worth the price. Now that I’ve given them a compliment, let’s see what the judgmental food critic in me has to say.

WING REVIEW (all scores out of 10):

Size: 7

In years past, their wings had been pretty small, but upon my recent visits to Jay’s they have been big enough to satisfy my fat man’s appetite quite well.

Texture: 6

Cooked well, but sometimes the sauces are a little oily and acidic and seem to seep through the chicken skin if the wings not eaten in a short time after being served. This is especially evident in all sauces that are mixed with a hot sauce. Definitely better fresh than leftover.

FLAVOR REVIEW:

Spicy BBQ: 8

I love the taste of this sauce, and I would have likely rated it higher if only it actually had a bit more BBQ to it. Essentially just another hot sauce with a hint of hickory, but good nonetheless.

Caribbean Jerk: 9

Great flavor, and tastes exactly as advertised. I don’t really know what else to say except that I would positively recommend it.

Sweet Heat: 6

This is exactly one of those over-oily sauces I was referring to. It tastes ok, but whatever hot sauce mixture they use is basically pure liquid with little substance to it. If they made this sauce a bit thicker, the rating would be much higher.

OVERALL WING SCORE: 7.2

The Caribbean Jerk sauce helped saved Jay’s overall score from tanking, as I am strongly critical of having hot-flavored oil passed off as legitimate sauces. Still, for 25 cents apiece, this is one of the best deals in town and I will likely continue to take advantage of it for years to come.