Free agency has been strange this offseason. It started with some of the normal big-name contracts, but has sense cooled. The remaining big-name players that didn't sign quickly seem to be left out in the cold. Teams just aren't willing to sign aging veterans to huge contracts.
Eric Winston is one such veteran. Winston said on Sirius XM NFL Radio that his asking price is anything over $3 million. The problem is that he won't be getting that kind of money, at least not until someone's right tackle goes down with an injury.
James Harrison has experienced similar problems after being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harrison and the Steelers couldn't agree on a lowered salary price, and Harrison essentially decided to take his chances on free agency. While we're not sure exactly what the Steelers were offering, it's undoubtedly higher than anything Harrison will garner in free agency.
These veterans, among others, are suffering because teams, for whatever reason, seem unwilling to build through free agency. Instead, teams are building through the draft, largely because it is seen as a more sustainable model for building a team.
Teams know that veterans' asking price will fall as training camp approaches, especially guys like Winston, who is 29 years old with plenty of good play left in him. A player with so much good football left will almost certainly accept $2 million to play a season than sit out and make no money at all. Free agency is being used as a way to plug holes, and players will have to adjust their asking price accordingly to land on a roster.
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