The Week In Sports #13: Aging NFL Free Agents

The NFL season begins next week and there are still quite a few big name free agents sitting by their phones. Players like Marvin Harrison, Shaun Alexander, Joe Horn, Amani Toomer, Matt Jones, Derrick Brooks, Michael Boulware, DeShaun Foster, and Joe Jurevicius are still on the market looking for a home, as are many other big name players. How is it that so many household names remain unsigned this close to the season?

Many of these guys can still play and could be a valuable addition to any team. But, to attempt to understand why so many of these guys remain unsigned we need to look no further than Marvin Harrison. Harrison has 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns in his thirteen year career, but he’s 37 years old. In wide receiver years, that’s ancient. Last season he had 60 grabs for 636 yards and 5 touchdowns. That’s a reasonable year for many receivers, but not Harrison.

It’s obvious that most NFL coaches don’t believe that he and many of the other aging free agents don’t have enough left to warrant signing them to big contracts. Many of these guys, like Harrison, have probably had nibbles by coaches. But, nobody wants to sign a wideout on the cusp of forty for a few million per year unless they can guarantee that he’s still got it. It’s a lot easier, safer and cost effective to give a rookie free agent or a young unproven talent the league minimum and hope he becomes a stud. Guys like Harrison won’t be signed unless they are willing humble themselves and play for a lot less than they are used to.

MLB: There’s been news that former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is thinking about the possibility of running for the senate seat vacated by the recent death of Ted Kennedy. I guess he wasn’t completely serious and was just throwing that out there. He has no experience in politics, but if he decided to run I guarantee that he’d get at least a few votes. There are many people as popular as Schilling in Massachusetts after what he did for the Red Sox in ’04. The bloody sock alone should be enough to get him on the ticket.

NFL: Brett Favre played into the third quarter in his second game for Minnesota. He finished 13-18 with 142 yards and 1 touchdown. His best play though was a handoff to Adrian Peterson in the first quarter. Peterson took the ball, found a hole and rumbled down the field for a 75 yard touchdown. In other news, Mike Vick is going to be eligible to return for the third game of the season. It remains to be seen in what capacity the Eagles will use Vick.

National Lacrosse League: Syracuse attackman Cody Jamieson, the predicted number one pick in the National Lacrosse League draft, has decided to stay at ‘Cuse for his senior year and won’t enter the draft. The Rochester Knighthawks have the first two picks of the draft and were expected to pick Jamieson. Now they’ll pick Former Duke and Bryant Attackman Zach Greer #1 overall and Syracuse defender Sid Smith with the #2 pick. Greer is the all-time leading scorer in division I history. The draft will be held September 9th at HSBC Arena in Buffalo.

College Football: The College football season started this week. Last night South Carolina beat North Carolina State 7-3, #14 Boise State defeated #16 Oregon State 19-8 in a game that was not as close as the score and #19 Utah beat Utah beat Utah State 35-17. Some key games this weekend include #20 BYU against #3 Oklahoma, #13 Georgia against #9 Oklahoma State, #5 Alabama against #7 Virginia Tech. Former Duke basketball star Greg Paulus makes his much anticipated debut as Syracuse’s starting quarterback against Minnesota. My Notre Dame squad faces Nevada in a tilt in South Bend.

Tennis: The US Open is being played right now in Flushing Meadows, New York. In second round action in the men’s bracket, Andy Roddick beat Paul Capdeville 6-1 6-4 6-4 and Novak Djokovik beat Carsten Ball 6-3 6-4 6-4. Roger Federer hadn’t played his second round match at the time this was written. In Women’s second round action, Serena Williams beat Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez  6-4 7-5, but Sanchez won the longest name of the tournament award. So she’s got that going for her. The big upset was Melanie Oudin’s win over Elena Dementieva 5-7 6-4 6-3. 

*Are you a fan of a sport that you want me to cover next week or have any sports stories you want me to mention? This is your article, not mine. Have at it. Throw me an email

Image credit: Kriss Szkurlatowski

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