I'm not talking about waiting a week or so. A team that offers you a contract within the first 12 hours of free agency is not about to yank a contract off the table after a day or so. You can be sure of that, because that means that the team is really A) in love with you as a player B) too stupid to actually look around and search for alternatives.
I'm talking more about waiting a day or two, to gauge other team's interests.
We all know from the Rod Coleman thing last year, that a player can easily visit two cities in one day, and I'm sure with even careful planning, one could make it possibly three. So if a player waits another 48 hours to sign on the dotted line, he may be able to visit 3, 4, or maybe 5 more teams, to see exactly what they are like.
I recall one signing (can't remember the player) this year that signed at 2 A.M. on March 2, two hours after free agency officially began. That's just crazy IMO.
Sometimes it seems that it's either a testament to the charisma of the wooing team (which often seems to be the case in Atlanta) or just the stupidity/greed of the player that these guys are signing within 12 hours of free agency beginning.
I'm just of the mindset that if I was a top free agent that I know I'm going to get a lucrative contract, I'm going to see where my best option is. And depending on the player, it might depend on which he prefers: 1) most money 2) best playing environment. Either way, you can't gauge that over the phone, which seems to be the case when players are signing on Day 1 of free agency, because I doubt they've visited all the teams that are interested in them.
I don't know, maybe when a player was given a contract offer early Wednesday afternoon, their agent then called up some competing GMs and gave them the terms, and then those GMs then said, "We're not in a position to match that contract offer." Then of course, it would be OK to sign on the dotted line.
But I think you'll often find GMs and coaches saying that, because I think a lot of guys out there are pragmatic about free agency, and would like to bring in guys for visits, talk with them, work them out, check them out medically, etc. before they start getting to the nitty gritty of contract offers and details.
Let's take Antonio Pierce for instance, who just recently signed with the New York Giants last night. I figure from the details of his contract, that the Giants offered Pierce the best contract. I doubt the Redskins or any other team was willing to match that deal. And I'm also sure that whomever Pierce's agent was over the past week or so has been secretly trying to gauge the interest of teams for his client. And I'm sure he's found a way to whittle down the possibles to 3-5 probables (almost all players seem to have a Top 3, Top 4, or 5 list of teams). But I also think that Pierce made a mistake just simply taking the money in New York and not looking elsewhere. Sure, maybe other teams weren't prepared to match the $6.5 million bonus he got from the Giants, but in this case, I think this is a good example of looking around for a bit before signing. Coughlin is an infamous disciplinarian, which means you either love him or hate him. And from the Giants FA moves last year, signing with that team doesn't necessarily mean you actually love him (it would rather seem you love the check more than the coach). So in Pierce's case, he probably could have waited a day or two, visit some other teams and see if he liked their coaching staffs better and see how much closer they offered to what he got from the Giants. I'm not saying that Pierce should have gone elsewhere, but just saying that I think he is an example of a player that it wouldn't have hurt to wait a day more before signing.
Yes, if you let the waiting period drag on for too long, like 3 or more days, then I would say it can definitely hurt you. But if a team is willing to offer you a contract in the first 24 hours of free agency, then I don't think you have to worry about them reneging on a deal over the next 24-48 hours. And if they do, then that means that's an organization you DON'T WANT TO PLAY FOR.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.