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Free Agency at Its Best—and Worst
Peter King
October 21, 1996
Even after four years of playing the unfettered free-agent market, a lot of teams still don't know how to invest wisely. There has been some classic waste—the Raiders' signing of cornerback Larry Brown (right) for $12 million and the Jets' $27 million commitment to tackles Jumbo Elliott and David Williams—and there has been some wise spending, too, notably the thrifty manner in which the Broncos built a defense. For $3.6 million a year, a little more than the Falcons paid for linebacker Cornelius Bennett ($3.4 million), the 5-1 Broncos got the free agents who have made the biggest impact in 1996: middle linebacker Bill Romanowski and defensive end Alfred Williams, who signed similar five-year, $9 million deals. Williams is tied for fourth in the AFC with 5.5 sacks; Romanowski's three takeaways and eight tackles keyed a 30-20 win in Seattle on Sept. 8. Here are the best and worst free-agent signings.
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October 21, 1996

Free Agency At Its Best—and Worst

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Even after four years of playing the unfettered free-agent market, a lot of teams still don't know how to invest wisely. There has been some classic waste—the Raiders' signing of cornerback Larry Brown (right) for $12 million and the Jets' $27 million commitment to tackles Jumbo Elliott and David Williams—and there has been some wise spending, too, notably the thrifty manner in which the Broncos built a defense. For $3.6 million a year, a little more than the Falcons paid for linebacker Cornelius Bennett ($3.4 million), the 5-1 Broncos got the free agents who have made the biggest impact in 1996: middle linebacker Bill Romanowski and defensive end Alfred Williams, who signed similar five-year, $9 million deals. Williams is tied for fourth in the AFC with 5.5 sacks; Romanowski's three takeaways and eight tackles keyed a 30-20 win in Seattle on Sept. 8. Here are the best and worst free-agent signings.

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