There have been some big free agency signings, but only a few really turned around a team in a big way. These signings are listed, and you must remember that some of these might involve a sign and trade. That is actually where we start because this trade and signing had everything to do with how basketball looked from 2008-2012.
Pau Gasol was actually traded to the Lakers by the Grizzlies in return for what amounted to nothing. He probably goes down as the best trade of all time because the Lakers convinced the Grizzlies to take nothing in exchange for a first ballot hall of famer who helped the Lakers go to three straight finals and win two. His move to LA was done because he did not want to sign in Memphis again, but he was willing to sign in LA. He struck the deal, and the Lakers were able to follow up their dynasty of Kobe and Shaq with Kobe and Pau.
The free agency market opened up in the NFL with Reggie White doing the first big move. He went from the Eagles to the Packers for a lot of money, and he proved that the market for free agents was very strong. There were a lot of other people who were ready to sign with other teams, but they were not able to do that until they saw that Reggie White could move around the way that he wanted. That was important because it set off a season of free agency that we see every year now. It is just as important as the draft, and it helps spread talent around the league.
Reggie Jackson To The Yankees
Reggie Jackson going to the Yankees helped them win a World Series, and he got the name Mr. October because of all the things he was able to do in the postseason with such a good franchise. That was a big deal because it allowed the Yankees to rise again with all the other talent they had on the team, and it made them into a team that was going to be good into the 80s. That made them relevant, and it showed other baseball teams that it was necessary.
The A-Rod contract is one that people still cannot believe because he signed in Texas for what seemed like way too much money, and then he got just as much money from the Yankees after he got traded there. He is really the biggest free agent in baseball who also became a big bust. His career came crashing to an end, but he showed that players could get a lot more money than they thought they could get in the past. That helped a lot of other players get their money, and it is something that people can thank him for in the future.
Peyton Manning moved on to the Broncos when the Colts were done with him and had to draft Andrew Luck. He moved to the Broncos thinking that they had the best chance to win a title. He went to two Super Bowls and won his final game in the Super Bowl for the Broncos. That meant that they paid for the right person to come to their team, and it helped them bring more prominence and value to the team. They built a defense around him that was worthy of a title, and it helped set their team up for the future.
Josh Hamilton went to the Rangers when the Angels found out that they had a commodity on their hands, but they had no idea how good he was going to be. He got two contracts in Texas, and they went to two World Series in a row. He helped to make the Rangers relevant, and he made sure that the team was going to be worth people coming to see. He was the best hitter in baseball for a five year stretch no one will forget, and he made it so that people had to take the Rangers seriously again.
Each of these contracts are interesting, and they all represent a shift in sports power.