Last year after the NFL Lockout ended a lot later than most of us hoped, there was a bit of a weird glut in free agent signings by teams, even without checking out the players that they were signing to the usual level of detail that NFL teams usually do.
ESPN's Tom Pelissero wrote an excellent article on the subject on Monday, chronicling the adventures of guys like Remi Ayodele.
"This year, the fact that you can bring a guy in, talk to him, eyeball him, whereas last year, you were doing it on the phone just a few days before camp opened and you were saying, 'Hey, sign on the dotted line.' But that's a big part of it, man -- just finding the guy that's a right fit for what you do and not making those mistakes in free agency."
Case in point: Remi Ayodele, the big nose tackle who had started the previous two seasons in New Orleans. The Vikings gave him a three-year, $9 million contract that included a $3.565 million signing bonus and so far have gotten little in return.
It's not just the Minnesota Vikings who will need to be a lot more careful when scouting their free agent targets this season -- of course, they'll get a lot more time and ability to do so with no lockout looming this year -- but teams like the Vikings with smaller talent pools can't afford to miss quite as much in FA as teams like the Patriots can.