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Early reviews are in

The good, bad and ugly moves of free-agency period

Posted: Tuesday March 6, 2007 12:57PM; Updated: Tuesday March 6, 2007 1:06PM
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Ten Moves I Liked

Wes Welker led the Dolphins in receptions, punt-return average and kickoff-return averge last season.
Wes Welker led the Dolphins in receptions, punt-return average and kickoff-return averge last season.
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

1. The Patriots trade for Wes Welker -- Whether it's at slot receiver or in the return game, Welker is a pesky little play-making presence that gives the opposition fits. The Patriots gave up second- and seventh-round picks for him, but with two first-rounders this year, that lessens the blow to New England's first-day draft haul. As a bonus, the move also potentially weakens a division opponent, which is never a bad idea. Get ready to see Tom Brady throw a ton of those receiver screens that the Patriots love to Welker.

2. The Jets trade for Thomas Jones -- Am I missing something here? I would have given New York kudos for acquiring the productive Jones from Chicago in exchange for its higher of two second-round picks (37th overall) straight up. But for the Jets to get themselves a 1,200-yard running back in the process of swapping second-round selections with the Bears (New York gets Chicago's No. 63 pick) registers as a steal in my book.

3. The Chargers re-sign Kris Dielman -- It's simple, really. Being able to retain your own quality players in free agency is almost always the smart play, compared to signing someone else's. The Chargers didn't look likely to retain Dielman, who is one of the keys to their superb offensive line, but they snatched him away from Seattle and that's another feather in the cap of San Diego general manager A.J. Smith.

4. The Chiefs re-sign Damon Huard -- Maybe the Chiefs will be Brodie Croyle's team by 2008. Maybe Trent Green will remain in Kansas City and rebound after a forgettable 2006. All I know is that Huard was head and shoulders the best quarterback the Chiefs had last season, and no one other than perhaps Larry Johnson was more responsible for them squeaking into the AFC playoffs when all was said and done. K.C. went 6-3 in games Huard played in last year, and two of those losses were by three points. His 11 touchdowns, one interception and 98.0 passer rating still begs the question of why he wasn't playing when the games mattered the most in Kansas City?

5. The Steelers release Joey Porter -- It's not that I think Porter has played his last good football, or that he won't be a quality free-agent addition for Miami, which wrapped him up Tuesday. He's still a potential impact player and the Dolphins owe a word of thanks to the Steelers for letting him go. But that said, giving the soon-to-be 30-year-old Porter the long-term deal he sought and probably deserved in Pittsburgh would have been a gamble for the Steelers. It was a tough call because Porter has been an important cog in Pittsburgh, but in this case, sentimentality for a big-name veteran wasn't the way to go.


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