I guess it's hard to criticize NFL owners for spending every cent of their salary cap dollars. The way the NFL's popularity is expanding at a celestial rate, there's just a lot of money floating around. And who can really be frugal? My tax refund check hasn't come yet, and I've already spent that money on a new guitar.
The difference being, I spent that money wisely. I did my research and got the best guitar I could afford. I didn't pick out the piece-of-shit starter guitar and say, "What's the market on this? About $75? I'll give you $400 for it."
The trade that sent Adam Archuleta from the Redskins to the Bears for a 6th-round pick shows just how poorly NFL teams are spending money. Last year, Archuleta was given the largest contract for a safety ever. This year, the Redskins were thrilled that they could trade him instead of releasing him so they got at least something back for their investment.
The Redskins, of course, are notoriously poor in free agency. But they made a mistake that a lot of teams do -- not only did they give Archuleta way more money than he's worth, they proceeded to force him into their way of things. Archuleta, a run-stuffer, was relied on to play in coverage. Coverage is, always has been, and always will be Archuleta's achilles heel.
If you're going to spend that much money on a player, you should be spending it to put him in a position to succeed. But teams are incredibly egotistical -- they think that their coaching is good enough to make a square peg fit in a round hole, despite the opposite being proved over and over every offseason.
The odds are there -- every year, there will be a big-money free agent turn into a bust. The Patriots, who signed Adalius Thomas to the second-biggest contract of the offseason, did it right. They identified the best player to fit into their scheme, and signed him. Sure, they paid a lot, but there's less of a risk involved because Thomas is proven in the Patriots' style of defense.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, have fun with Nate Clements, San Francisco.