As any NFL fan can tell you, the period from the Draft (late April) to Training Camp (July/August) is a barren wasteland of football news, programming, and discussion topics. There's absolutely nothing going on. There's rookie mini-camps, which nobody can see, and nobody really cares much about (hard to get excited over "soon-to-be-cut-QB" overthrowing "probably-already-cut-WR"). The Draft is finished, re-signings and free agency is pretty much over, and from now until the preseason, there is very little happening in the NFL Universe (the occasional Pacman signing/arrest notwithstanding).
While thinking about this horribly boring period during the NFL offseason, I came up with an idea based around 3 of my favorite NFL offseason events: the Draft, Free Agency, and the Expansion Draft (last seen with the Texans). The Expansion Draft, for those that are unaware, is when every NFL team releases a few players, and those players are picked up by the Expansion team as sort of a base foundation for a roster, filled out by regular Free Agents, draft picks, and other various leftovers. So, taking those 3 events, I decided that holding a "Waiver Wire Draft" would give the league and it's fans another offseason event to watch, debate, and get excited about. More about this radical new idea :-P after the jump.
The most influential driving force of this idea was the NFL Draft. That is clearly one of the most popular days in the NFL calendar, right up there with the Super Bowl and Opening Weekend, and probably ahead of the Pro Bowl. The excitement of teams shopping for the new kids on the block fresh out of college and ready to make an impact is what makes the Draft such a huge event. So I took the player selection aspect of the College Draft and applied it here. Free Agency is always a fun time, with big names and proven players switching to new cities, so I decided to take the Free Agents and throw them into this mix. But we need enough players, and some big names, to get this idea off the ground, which is where the Expansion Draft came in. Here's the complete idea:
- Following the Draft, teams will release 4 non-rookies (no undrafted free agents or drafted players), free of charge, into the "Waiver Wire Draft" (the guy who comes up with the nicknames is on vacation) pool. The players released into this pool will instantly come off the team's cap, no charge, so teams caught under bad contracts or keeping players simply because it's too expensive, will be able to cut those players loose without penalty. This should lead to some bigger names and better quality in this draft, so there will be reason for fans to be interested.
- Those players will be put into a pool along with any regular free agents still unsigned. That's 128 players guaranteed, plus another 100 or so from unsigned free agents and street free agents. Plenty of players to fill a 4 round draft.
- The draft will consist of 4 rounds, 32 selections each, every team gets 1 pick in each round, based on the original College Draft order.
Essentially, you would get a second Free Agency period, mixed in with a Draft feel, and a chance for teams to get out from under bad contracts or to dump expensive malcontents. Teams with a good eye for talent can boost the bottom of their rosters by picking up "diamonds in the rough" let go by other teams, and there will be some very good players going to the worst teams, allowing the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams of the world to improve that much quicker (bad teams are bad for business).
Besides, we all know that we would watch anything involving the NFL, so why not churn rosters in the process? Discuss.