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Saturday, March 05, 2005 


Every year, some great stories come out of free agency. This week, the Patriots offered more money than the Ravens for WR Derrick Mason, but Mason's wife wanted to live in the Maryland area, and that was that. The Patriots could be thin at WR if Troy Brown leaves or retires.

Mason's signing came shortly after Mushin Muhammad agreed to terms with the Bears. Why he wants to play for the Bears is beyond me. Head coach Lovie Smith obviously doesn't believe in Rex Grossman or Chad Hutchinson as his QB, since he's courting Kurt Warner, Brad Johnson, and Jay Fiedler. None of them would excite me much if I were a free agent wide receiver.

Two players I've always liked changed teams this week. RB LaMont Jordan left the Jets for the Raiders, and LB Dexter Coakley was quickly picked up by the Rams after being released by the Cowboys. Jordan has been a part-time back for 4 years behind the seemingly ageless Curtis Martin, and it will be interesting to see how he does in a full-time role. The Jets must feel Martin has plenty left in his tank; they signed the smaller, quicker, Derrick Blaylock away from the Chiefs to fill the roster spot. Blaylock has talent, but is not an every down back.

Coakley became a part time player too last season as Parcells showed his preference for bigger linebackers. Even though he is 32, Coakley depends more on speed than size, so he was smart to stay on turf and sign with the Rams. It might have been smarter for the Rams to get more physical on defense, but Coakley should help.

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