Yeah the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t live up to the lofty expectations they set as a self-proclaimed “Dream Team” last year but could they have inspired another team to attempt their own version of the Dream Team this offseason?
The Eagles went into last offseason still riding the high from Michael Vick’s strong 2010 campaign. Although the Eagles would suffer an early exit in the playoffs at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, many believed they would be a force to be reckoned with in 2011.
That may be one of the reasons so many players were ready to sign on with the Eagles during the 2011 offseason. The Eagles were also convinced of their own impending greatness as they quickly moved to sign big name free agents once the lockout ended and the free agency period began.
So are there any teams this offseason that may be “feeling” themselves in a similar nature? Any teams that look like they are on the horizon of greatness that free agents may be tempted to flock to? Well there are a few teams this year that may be tempting destinations for free agents looking to cement their legacies with postseason success.
The Lions finally made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Although they were blown out in their Wild Card appearance against the New Orleans Saints, the Lions had a strong season overall. Led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Lions displayed an explosive offense that could play with anyone in the league. With key pieces like Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril, Brandon Pettigrew and Stafford in place, this team could be even more dangerous next season if they can add some pieces.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco went from a 6-10 team with a rookie head coach and a washed up quarterback to just a few plays shy of appearing in their first Super Bowl since the 1994 season. Coach Jim Harbaugh turned this team around and had them playing championship ball. They easily won their division and they are favorites to take the division crown once again this year. Another solid draft class like the one they had last season coupled with a few good free agents could ensure this team doesn’t come up short again in its bid for a Super Bowl in 2012.
Led by the “other” Harbaugh brother, the Ravens were also a few plays from a Super Bowl bid. The Ravens looked as if they were going to take the AFC Conference Championship game against the New England Patriots into overtime until kicker Billy Cundiff shanked a makeable 32-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds of regulation. The Ravens seemed to have swung momentum in their direction and would probably have beaten the Patriots in overtime had Cundiff made that kick. Now they will be looking for players that can help them get over that hump and finally appear in their first Super Bowl since 2000.
The Texans made their first playoff appearance in history beating the Cincinnati Bengals before falling to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional round. The thing that should scare teams around the AFC is that they made it as far as they did without their star quarterback Matt Schaub who was lost to injury ten games into the season. If he can stay healthy and the defense can play as well as it played under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips then this team could be a title contender in 2012. Nothing like a team with title hopes to draw perspective free agents.
The Eagles may also be looking to restock after their disappointing season. Despite the bad start, the Eagles finished off strong last year and will be looking to redeem themselves in 2012. You won’t hear the word Dream Team coming out of Philadelphia this year no matter how active they are in free agency but if they do have another good recruiting class and have a good season the media may nickname them the “Redeem Team.” There’s only one name they want to hear though and that is “Super Bowl champs.”
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and also writes for both The Penalty Flag and Outside The Redzone. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist and add him on Facebook Roosevelt Hall Thesportmentalist.