Since the mid to late 90’s most teams outside of Dallas and Washington realized that the key ingredient in the recipe for NFL success included a generous amount of astute drafting. Free-agency is useful for short term solutions and adding a last final piece. But since the invention of the salary cap the teams that have spent the most on free-agent contracts have more often than not been very disappointed.
Conversely the teams that have found the win column with more regularity than the rest have done their best work in April, not March. The only times teams like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York (Giants) or Green Bay is mentioned in free agency is, for the most part, when some other team signs one of their players. It took some teams longer to figure this out but over the last two decades teams have scaled back their free agent spending and focused more on the draft.
Until this year. Actually, until this past week.