This is little more than an op-ed piece. No breaking news or analysis, so if you're not interested then I just saved you some time.
I'm sitting here right now at work doing what I do most days: submitting reports, organizing spreadsheets and periodically checking CSR to talk to the community. Today though has a slightly different element to it, my first taste of free agency in the 2011 season. While I'm writing this I'm lurking over at Carolina Hurricanes' blog 'Canes Country' following their hockey free agency open thread, and I realized quickly just how much I miss free agency, not just in the NFL, but as a concept.
This year I should already be in the full free agency swing. Any other typical year hockey fills the gap a slowing NFL market leaves and then the NBA takes over from there. It's a magic time where every fan can openly critique other teams saying "TEAM ____ PAID TOO MUCH!" as a catch-cry to lessen the blow that their team of choice didn't loosen the purse strings a little more.
More after the jump
I don't want to say that free agency is meaningless to a large market, but when you're a fan of a team based in New York or Dallas for example, big signings become passé, par for the course-- a regularity. However, when you're in a small market you may only see 2-3 'big' signings a decade, and the rest of the time an organization is filling holes where needed. Nevertheless, there is always a renewed sense of eternal optimism that 'this year' will be the one where a team gets out their checkbook to really make a splash, and that's always fun.
So, I continue to sit here... lurking on Canes Country. Pouring over every free agency signing in the NHL, thinking to myself "TEAM _____ PAID TOO MUCH!" while realizing I've been missing this so much. I want NFL free agency, I want to pine that this is the year the Panthers make a splash, like they did when they signed Ken Lucas and Mike Wahle.
In summation: NFL, NFLPA please cut the bullshit and get a deal done. This has gone on long enough and I want my free agency to return.